Monday, December 6, 2010

Dangerous Surrender

I have recently started reading Kay Warren's book Dangerous Surrender and already know that God intended for me to read this book...because Satan is showing me a million other things to read or do instead and I've only read to part of chapter 2. How often do we actually surrender everything we have and are to God's will and abandon ourselves for His purpose. The humanity in us wants to hold on to everything - every plan or dream - we have for our lives and not let go. Like a little child holding onto a beloved blanket or many times we say "O.K. God, I surrender to you but oh this dream of mine if you want it you will have to pry it from my cold, dead fingers". I was like that. So many times I would pray for God to show me his will or to send me his will for my life but I never really wanted to let go of my dream of a perfect life of serving Him in the perfect church setting just singing my songs and playing the piano and worshipping alongside the perfect man with the perfect little family then going home to our perfect house and living our perfect story tale lives. There is one big problem with that - most times our vision of perfect and what God desires for us are light years apart. First, I never expected to be 37 and single and childless and certainly I never expected to be able to write that statement and be ok with it. I think I have grown more spiritually in the past 2 years than in all the other 35 combined. I have often thought that my divorce would be the catalyst for God's ministry for me. I have such a desire to help others hurting and to help others from making the same mistakes I've made. Lately, I am feeling a leading to help others hurting in a specialized way. I see a possible ministry opening up for me that God has been working out in my life for 2 yrs. I moved to a place I never wanted to move to, I met 2 friends whose lives have been forever altered by sexual crimes, I dealt with my own problem with reading online erotica - yes pornographic stories, women fall victim to it too!!!. God even gave me a name for a ministry a year ago With a Limp. I don't know what He is doing or where He is leading but I know that He will give me the tools. I have never before even considered working with the families and children of those in jail but more and more it is on my heart.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Ahhh Contentment ~ my journey as Scarlet O'Hara

I love the feeling that for one of the few times in my life I know that I am where God wants me to be and doing what He wants me to be doing..While I grew up in a pastor's home and have been in church my entire life and even went to a Christian college, I feel closer to God at this point in my life than any other that I can remember. There is something to be said about God putting us in our lowest place to bring us closer to him. I have been reflecting a lot the past few days on the last 2 years. I have spent a lot of those 2 years complaining and questioning God as to why my life ended up in the place I found myself. At times it was just so hard to grasp how I came to be in my late 30's, single, living with my parents with no job, no friends - -nothing but a bedroom. I just couldn't, no matter how hard I tried, fathom how it would end or even grasp the concept that there was a light at the end of the tunnel. When I 1st lost my job and we moved, I was excited because I thought I would end up spending a lot of time with my cousin, Kathy. But then I found out just the opposite was true. I started going to FBC Bushnell on Sundays. On my 1st Sunday there I noticed this youth guy who I figured was single. He was cute but I of course never approached him. I went to church once in a while but not on a regular basis. I spent a lot of time on the internet playing games or on online dating sites...I did meet a couple of guys - one reconciled with an exfiancee and they are now married, the other one and I are just friends but God did use me to help him during his time of divorce. I participated in all the free eharmony weekends...In October 2009 on one of these weekends I was matched up with a guy from Bushnell who is my age and a youth minister, let's just call him Rhett Butler...I thought that he may have been the student minister at FBC Bushnell but wasn't sure....Anyhoo, I got off internet dating after the free weekend and never heard from him (little did I know he didn't even read his matches) The Sunday before Thanksgiving we went to Pleasant Hill Baptist Church and ended up joining a couple of weeks later. The pastor is single and young and I became attracted, we'll call him Ashley Wilkes. He kept talking about his friend at the Christian Bookstore in town that I had never met and so finally just to shut him up I went in. I was very pleasantly surprised to see the guy from 1st Baptist...We chatted for a while after I told him what church I went to and then I asked him was he on eharmony and lo and behold it had been him I was matched up with. We became friends on facebook and I would go into the store whenever just to chat or to get cds. I always felt bad that I was taking up his time or keeping him from his work and while I was very attracted to him, I had this stupid crush thing on the pastor, and Rhett knew it. So, for months I convinced myself that Ashley was wonderful and possibly THE one....I laughed at all his jokes and I just thought he was it! Then I woke up and realized that no he wasn't. I think my heart realized it a lonnnggg time before my head did. My main problem with him is he always says such mean spirited, almost evil things about Rhett behind his back and I never knew if that was because he was trying to be funny or he really was interested in me and he didn't want me and Rhett to get together or he was selfishly trying to keep me at the church. [Rhett went to a different one] So, it finally got to the point where I had had it and I stopped laughing at his stupidity and he has started noticing. Anyhoo, Rhett got in a place where he needed some help and me being without a job volunteered. That was 3 wks ago and I realized this past week how God has been orchestrating things. In his infinite awesomeness God knew 2 yrs ago that Rhett would be needing me now. And all the twists and turns have brought me to this place. All the ?'s about why haven't I found a job yet are answered with because God knew that he would need me. It is so heart warming being in the store with him.. It is so peaceful and whether we are talking or helping customers or just sitting here waiting on someone to come by or working on returns or an order I know that this is the place where God would have me serve him at this point in my life and there is no other place I would rather be. Would I like our partnership to have a more permanent basis - -yes but I am waiting on God for that. He brought me this far I know he will continue the journey...a journey that may have to take different paths than I ever thought and may lead Rhett & I to places of service we never thought we would be but if those places bring the same sense of contentment and peace that I have about serving God thru helping in the store then I welcome them.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Serving under Fire!

Why do you serve the Lord? Why do you get up every Sunday morning when millions of others are still in bed and do what you do? For me it is breath and it is life to be in service to the Lord. I was raised knowing the importance of service in my local church. The importance of offering all that I am & all that I have at my disposal to God in regular service for the sake of worship and for the furtherance of his kingdom. But lately through nothing that I can see that I have done my service has come under attack and I feel that I must walk on eggshells at church. I am not allowed the opportunity to go to church to worship and to be renewed. How can I do what God has called me and equipped me to do when I am in constant fear of being admonished? I am at a cross roads in ministry and at a point where I am conflicted by what to do. Do I resign and find another church or do I stick it out for the sake of the choir yet not be fed or worship myself? I am at the point to where I hate for the pastor to say he has to talk to me or to email me or to call me because I know that I am going to be reprimanded for something. I have been told where I can and can't sit during services because I am distracting when I get up for the invitation. This is so stupid because I am sitting where countless other worship leaders I have know in my life have sat in their respective churches. I have asked several times for a key but have been told he doesn't trust me with a key or that he wants me to have to depend on him for a key yet Russ leaves me alone at his store with $$$ in the register to run it and completely trusts me. I have had church keys for years at churches I was just a member of much bigger than this one. I even had a key to a church in Alabama that I just worked part-time in the daycare at. Yet the church I am a member of, worship leader of, and serve at won't let me have one. The last music person had one and oh wait he was also paid. I don't mind not being paid because I am of the conviction that if I am in a position in my home church I shouldn't expect to be paid to serve. However, I should receive the respect that someone in the position who is paid gets. I mean I do all the work the former music people did so it would be nice to be respected. I get reprimanded for standing up for myself when people complain about the music and the pianist yet when others attack me for the same thing my own pastor sits there and doesn't stand up for me and those on my committee the music committee stand there and throw me under the bus. I am tired of leaving church in tears. I am tired of trying to make our worship experience meaningful and exciting and wonderful for everyone only to have it constantly backfire on me. I never wanted this job to begin with. All I have ever wanted to do is play the piano at church and sing a solo now and then. Yet I was raised to know that if there is a ministry need at church and I have the talents, skills, education, whatever to meet that need then I should and that is what I have been trying to do. The sad thing is Philip has no clue what a mess things are in and how unkosher things are at the church. The church has no idea what they are doing as far as setting themselves up for a mess. They are content because they are not asked to do much and know that if they don't do things they'll get done anyway because the pastor and his parents will do them. This is such a bad situation for all parties because #1 the church members are not learning how to serve and do the various things in the church so if they ever need to they will not have the ability to do so. Secondly, he will not be the pastor here forever and he is creating a huge mess for the next pastor(s) to have to deal with. Third, there are many just problematic situations taking place...a)the pastor and one or both of his parents are on EVERY committee of the church, they do all the purchasing for the church, he handles the bulletins each week, b) the church treasurer does not attend church on Sunday mornings because they work at a flea market and then she leaves for several months in the summer to go back up north & on Wednesday nights she stays in the office and works on the treasurer stuff so she is only in 1 service a week, c) a lot of people are joining the church but never walk the aisle to do so...he just talks to them and then at the end of the service he mentions them but then there is no follow up or discipleship of them. I have seen situations like this before in 2 other churches - @ Eastside Baptist where the pastor and his father-in-law could sign a check together and @ Gibsonia where there was a lot of questionable activity going on with the pastor and it breaks my heart to see it again. The church members are great and I love them but I fear the church is going to die with out changes. We are not reaching younger people and I wonder if they really want to. Lord, show me what to do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

World Changers 2010 ~ unhindered~Saturday, 7/24/10, Heading home

I got up super early on Saturday because I wanted to make sure I washed my hair before heading back home. We deflated our beds and waited for the guys so we could go. We got on the road around 6:30 central time and headed home. We stopped for gas and Dennis started driving so Philip could sleep. Since Dennis and I didn't talk much I spent most of the 4 hrs he drove in prayer. I did see a coyote in the median in Alabama. Philip & Clifford woke up about the time we were driving thru Atlanta. We stopped around 11 for lunch at a Burger King and Philip took over driving. A short time later we stopped for a potty break. Philip had to actually buy a pack of toilet paper since there was none in the men's room and the guy said they were out. I bought ice cream treats for me and the kids. While waiting for Philip we saw a huge praying mantis on the wall. We got back on the road and headed home. Saturday's ride was very enjoyable for me since Philip and spent the day talking and laughing at Clifford. We stopped at the welcome center at the FL State line for orange juice much to Dennis' irritation. It started raining on us about time we were coming thru Ocala. They dropped me off first. I was so happy to get a real shower!!!!

World Changers 2010 ~ unhindered~Friday, 7/23/10

Waking up Friday was bittersweet. Knowing it was the last day and you were going to have to say goodbye to the people you had become friends with so quickly was sad. I had done each of my kids names and had a few to finish up and put in their envelopes. On the way to the house we had the kids sign the "Labor Provided by World Changers" signs we would give to Ms Woods and Mahlon. We had one for Mrs Nancy too but since we had messed up the sign from the front of the house asking people to use the side door, she had us use her sign to make a new one for Ms Woods front porch. The kids got to work painting the blocks at the back of the house and the back porch. By about 10:00 our house was finished and we were just killing time. Tori came and asked Mahlon if she could use his cell phone to call her mom since they left theirs at home. Then 2 of the boys snuck up behind him with the cooler of water and drenched him and Mrs Nancy. Around 10:30 Mrs Nancy and I drove several of the girls around to witness at the different houses. We arrived back to find lunch has just arrived and Brynne was sleeping in the chair. We enjoyed a lunch of burgers with the trimmings, chips, cookies, brownies, more apples, lemonade and tea. After lunch Ms Woods joined us for our last devotion time. It was so sweet that she had joined us, since she has not been able to go to her regular Bible study due to her open heart surgery. Afterwards, we presented her with her sign, a picture of us taken the 1st day we worked and a Bible. We cleaned everything up and go the ok to leave the site at 1:30. Since we couldn't go back until 4 we took the crew to Sonic and WalMart to kill time and then headed back to shower. Dinner was spaghetti and salad. Kayla was happy because on of the GRBC church men made her some fried green tomatoes. After dinner we had our closing celebration sitting with our crews. The crew chiefs, encouragers, and group leaders all got WC hammacks which led us to tease Mrs Nancy about purpling in the hammock since both she and her husband got one. They showed the video of the week and a video of Jeff Foxworthy doing "You might be a World Changer if....". Then they closed it by singing "Sweet Home Alabama"!!! We went off to the cafeteria for our crew chat to say goodbye and exchange addresses. Our crew entertained those in there by singing Lean on Me and with a race between Christian and Mahlon. We met back into youth groups for Worship and for our final youth group devotions. Philip seemed to be a little disappointed when he asked our kids what the best thing this week was and all they said was playing with a dog and going to the mall. We headed back to our room and packed up giving Philip & Dennis what we didn't need to put in the van. Then to bed for the last time.

World Changers 2010 ~ unhindered~Thursday, 7/22/10

Thursday morning the girls on my crew were excited because finally we would be able paint with green paint!!!! WOO HOO no more white. We had help that morning when they sent us another crew who had already finished their home to paint with us. I spent the morning with Anna who I nicknamed the Energizer Bunny of painting, as she painted the window frames sometimes spending 20 or more minutes on one frame getting the green all the way to the edge by painting a little and then wiping it off the metal and painting again. Mahlon and Mrs Nancy worked hard all morning on the windows. The Ladies SS Class of FBC Saks brought us lunch of hoagies [turkey and roast beef], with all the trimmings [lettuce, home grown tomato slices, cheese, onions, pickles, mayo, mustard, ketchup], chips, apple slices and berries that had been soaked in 7-up overnight to keep the apples from turning, cookies, pink lemonade and tea. After lunch we worked on touching up the green paint and painting the planter on the front porch. Anna and Courtney asked Ms Woods if they could decorate her planter and came back and painted some swirls and dots and her name on it. After it was done they went and had her come out to see it and she loved it. We had our usual afternoon popsicles, cleaned up and headed back to shower. Dinner that night was BBQ chicken, baked beans and corn. After dinner we had adult prayer, worship with the emphasis on salvation and youth group devotions. During devotions Philip was speaking about his favorite verses out of the book of Daniel. I had noticed Mrs Nancy's church was on the other side of the church. I did think that Philip was getting louder and louder and all of sudden Mrs Nancy caught my eye asking me to have him quiet down. He was embarassed but all went well and we finished. For a treat after devotions we took the kids to Sonic where Philip had a burger and fried pickles, I had a frito wrap, Dennis had a iced mocha thing, and the girls had Sonic Blasts. The best part of the evening was Clifford who ordered a foot long chili cheese coney. When this guy Russ came up [who happens to look and kinda sound like Stone Cold Steve Austin], Clifford was all excited about telling him about his hot dog - -so Russ nicknamed Clifford Weinie Man!!!! We went back to the church to get ready for bed.

Monday, July 26, 2010

World Changers 2010 ~ unhindered~Wednesday, 7/21/10

Wednesday morning began just like the day before with breakfast at 6. We all left at 7 and got to Ms Woods house and began working on painting the rest of the white. With the boys and the girls painting white it really came together. The kids did a great job painting on the east side of the house even with the difficulty from the sun shining a glare on the stucco. After they finished we moved around to the front of the house and painted it and the columns on the porch. Wish I had gotten pictures of the girls practically hanging off the house trying to get all the way around the columns. We left the boys painting the high parts of the front of the house and the girls moved to the back which was by far the biggest part of the house to paint white and those girls painted their butts off to get it done with only a few parts left for the boys paint. A trio of men from FBC Saks brought us a wonderful lunch of BBQ sandwiches, baked beans, cole slaw and apple cobbler with ice cold sweet tea!! After lunch we had another devotion led by Christian and the kids really opened up and enjoyed it. Then it was back to work to finish painting all the white so we could do the green the next day. The new windows arrived and Mahlon and Mrs Nancy began getting them ready to hang. We had gotten smart so most of us had our clothes with us to get straight into the shower lines so we could go to the block party.
Normally at WC you start by arriving on Sat and going to your host church on Sun with the afternoon off on Wed for the church youth groups to go have fun. This year with an abbreviated week they didn't give us the afternoon off but instead we had a block party for the entire community at Zinn Park in Anniston. There was free food [hamburgers, hot dogs, sno cones, popcorn, chips, chips and salsa, cokes, water], different local churches had games set up like face painting and football toss and watermelon seed spitting and a fish pond, and there was entertainment. We enjoyed music from 3 of the WC churches and from a local church group who also performed some drama. Philip spent the time witnessing to several people including a woman named Cynthia and her son Jamal. Cynthia was one of the 12 people to accept Christ that night. Dennis and the 3 kids from our church spent the evening playing frisbee with one of the WC frisbees that also had the plan of salvation on them. Because my gout had decided to act up that day due to me having sneakers on 2 days in a row, I spent the evening worshipping in the concert area. While there I got to enteract with the cutest little boy who happened to have Down's Syndrome. He walked up to the girl next to me and we started playing with him. He was absolutely beautiful and while I never really interacted with his mom I know thru our acceptance of him we showed her love and acceptance as well. We headed back to the church for our youth group devotions. Clifford gave us an interesting view on world history on the way back with Hitler and Jaques Cousteau being contemporaries and Germany being surrounded by water. We had our usual free time and then headed to bed.

World Changers 2010 ~ unhindered~Tuesday, 7/20/10

Tuesday morning began bright and early with breakfast [eggs, biscuits & gravy, sausage and juice] at 6 am. Then we all went down the hill for the great send off. Then it was back up the hill to go to our vans and head to the worksites. My crew was named Scrape, Splatter & Roll. In our crew we had 6 girls [Anna, Anna/A-Dub/Root Beer, Kayla, Courtney, Savannah, Tori], 3 boys [Christian, Tommy Joe, Brynne], and 3 adults [Mahlon-the crew chief, Mrs Nancy - the crew encourager, and me]. We arrived at our house around 7:30 and the guys started working. Because the old paint on the house was so old and was lead based they would not allow the girls to do any of the scraping, so we had to wait until the guys were done. While waiting around the girls did some bonding and then went to a few houses doing evangelism. At 11 am the youth group from FBC Saks showed up with our lunch of hot dogs, chips, little debbie cakes, water and gatorade. They joined us for our devotion time led by Root Beer. After lunch, we were finally able to begin painting on the house while the guys finished scraping. Around 2 or 2:30 it started raining on us and we had to sit in the van for a while with the a/c running. The popsicle crew brought us our afternoon snack and we ate it in the van. After it stopped raining we washed out the brushes and headed back to the church. We all got in line and waited our turns to shower - we had disaster relief shower trailers with 6 stalls. Dinner of Nachos/Taco Salad was at 6. After dinner we had youth group leader prayer time and then worship. The worship that night was called Concert of Prayer. We entered the sanctuary in complete silence and the stage had a cross on it with a purple drape. The worship leaders were in the balcony and it was a very reverent service of prayer, song and scripture. Upon entering we had each been given a jagged rock and during the service we were asked to think of something in our lives that hinders our service to God and turn it over to him. Then we went up and placed our rock at the foot of the cross and picked up a smooth rock representing God working in our lives. We left in silence and went out to the hill for youth group devotions. Free time and lights out concluded the evening.

World Changers 2010 ~ unhindered~Monday, 7/19/10

Monday morning we got up and again had breakfast at the hotel. Then it was on the road to Anniston, Alabama. Philip did stop and let me take pictures of the Atlanta Motor Speedway. He also helped Clifford and Dennis work on their witnessing techniques by pretending to be a Muslim they were trying to convert. We had a good trip to Alabama. When we got off the interstate we did have to find a detour because there was a train just sitting still across the road we needed to take. We went to Ihop for lunch before finding the church for registration. After a little confusion due to the address supplied by World Changers we arrived at Greenbrier Road Baptist Church in Anniston for the week. Philip checked us in and we found our rooms. I got our air mattresses set up in a room with about 20 other girls/ladies. Then I volunteered for me and the girls to move because they were going to put 3 girls from another church on the ground level away from everyone else and the oldest one was only 20 and I felt more secure moving since I am older than that. We got settled in and then went to the opening celebration. We all had dinner [meatloaf, mashed potatoes & gravy, green beans, salad, roll and dessert] and then went down the huge hill to have the group pic taken. We got our crew assignments and had our evening worship service with our youth group devotions. After some free time and a coke in the concession stand, it was time to go to our rooms for bed.

World Changers 2010 ~ unhindered~Sunday, 7/18/10

Sunday morning we all got up and had the continental breakfast at the hotel. Philip had found a dog outside that he fed eggs to. After everyone was ready we headed to worship at Crestview Baptist Church which just happened to be down the street from our hotel. We joined them for Sunday School with Philip and Dennis going into the young adults, Clifford in the preteen class, & me and the 2 girls in the youth class. When one of the boys heard we were from FL his 1st ? was were we Gator fans!!! We enjoyed a quick time of worship in the SS room and a good lesson. Then we went to the contemporary service. This was very different for all of us but more so for Dennis, Cliffor and the girls. They are used to being at our church with a very traditional service so not using any hymnals and all the different songs was a change for them. The people at the church were so very super friendly and welcoming and really made us feel right at home. The pastor prayed for us and our World Changers experience. After church we went to lunch at Applebees. We had noticed several of the church people there and Philip spoke to them. While we were waiting on our lunch a waitress came up and asked us what we wanted for dessert . She said that the table in the corner told her about us being on a mission trip and that they were picking up our entire bill including dessert. What a blessing!!!!! After lunch we went to Wal-Mart to get some febreeze for the van. Philip had realized he forgot his pillow and blanket so he bought a pillow and a zebra print snuggie!! We went back to the hotel to swim and play with the beach ball I got at Wally World. The kids spent some time in the work out room of the hotel and then that evening we went to Arby's for dinner. We spent the evening chilling and got a good night's sleep before the next day.

World Changers 2010 ~ unhindered~Saturday, 7/17/10

My World Changers experience was more than I ever imagined it would be. I have always wanted to go on a mission trip and until now had never gotten the opportunity. So, I was super excited when the other female chaperone had to get out of going so I could go. Here are my highlights for the week....
Saturday, July 17th - The church van picked me up around 7 am...Cricket did catch the back of Philip's jeans because she thought he was stealing my stuff when he carried it out of the house. We picked up the kids at their homes and went back to the church to drop off Bro Jim and hit the road. We were on the road by 9:30 am. Philip kept us entertained with his ipod - -Dennis, TJ, Clifford & Lexis didn't really like his choice of music, but I have pretty much gotten used to it and do actually like some of the songs...especially since he still has my fave Christmas song on and I got to hear it. There were even a couple of times when I would have him play it just to irritate them. We stopped somewhere in Georgia to fill up and ate lunch at Chick-fil-a. Philip and I were having such a good time talking to each other that we actually missed our exit on I-75 and had to take this huge detour thru the GA backroads. We arrived at the Hampton Inn in Griffin, GA around 3 or 4 pm and checked in just in time for it to start pouring rain. The guys brought our bags in and after the rain stopped Clifford, Lexis, Philip and I hit the pool for a while and then changed and we all went to CiCi's for dinner. We had a devotion in our hotel room and all went to bed for the night.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Diary of a Mad White Woman

I was told this evening in response to something I had posted on facebook to not be angry with bp gas stations over this oil spill. I have thought about that comment and a subsequent one about if I boycott bp stations it will only hurt us in the long run because where will they get the money for clean up and that the one i should be angry with is the governmet. Well, #1 I am irritated that they allow off shore drilling and that they want to do it all around the coast of Florida. While I don't always like life in Florida, I am proud of the fact that not only am I, were both of my parents as well as my Grandpa Stokes and my Granny Sizemore all native born Floridians, but that our family traces back to Florida pioneers. I love that on any given day I can go to the beach, go to the woods, go to a theme park or go to a swamp. What I don't like is the traffic and that as a native of my state I am a minority. So I am angry and have every right to be angry. I am angry at the fact that at this moment there are 11 families mourning the loss of their loved ones. I am angry that at this moment birds and sea life and other wildlife are fighting for their lives in this oil spill. I am angry that people are having to watch out for sludge and tar balls while trying to enjoy their days. I am angry that restaurants like Nichols Seafood in Milton are wondering how long they are going to have the very thing people come to them for. I am angry that men and women whose entire lives have been spent around fishing boats and whose income from those boats is now being irradicated or at the very least threatened. I am angry for the charter boat captains. I am angry that the pristine white beautiful Gulf coast beaches are being threatened. I am angry that at any moment a hurricane or tropical storm could come up and blow all that oil inland. I am angry that they say it may not be fixed until August and possibly by September the oil & it's damage will surround the coast of Florida and head into the Atlantic. I am a Gulf of Mexico girl. I love the gulf coast. Some of my earliest memories are in Bradenton going every weekend to Coquina Beach or Anna Maria Island. I saw my first sting ray on the pier at Anna Maria. We love the beach. Some of my greatest college memories are in Panama City Beach. My first outing with a youth group was to Panama City Beach. I have great memories of Pensacola Beach with Kim. The only time I've seen the Blue Angels show was on Pensacola Beach. I keep hearing everyone talk about how we need to pray about this situation and be prepared because it will send gas prices up and that angers me. I say we need to pray about this and we need to pray for the families that are going to be affected by this. The men and women who are going to find themselves unemployed or facing losing their homes because of this. So, don't tell me not to be a Floridian and an American I have every right to be angry at this entire situation do I have the right to act in anger NO! which brings me back to my comment about boycotting BP - -I don't even buy my gas at bp on a normal nothing happening day - 1) because they are usually nasty looking stations and 2) I am cheap and I can get a 3 cent per gallon discount at Winn Dixie.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

God works at Shuttle launches

I got to sense God in an awesome way at the shuttle launch yesterday...Just the thought that He indwelled in someone the knowledge to a)build a shuttle and b)be able to carry human life to outer space is humbling. We were so blessed with a truly great day. First, Austin & Abby were with us - they had a "family emergency" and couldn't go to school. They were really great. Austin is so willing to serve others and to help out - anything we asked him to do he jumped to it. He is teetering on the brink of boyhood and manhood and is so funny. He forgot his sunglasses and was very appreciative of the ones I got him. Abby is still young enough to have seen it thru a little kid's eyes. We were blessed with being able to find a spot to watch it that was unobstructed. We left here at 6 am and got there at 9 - would've been earlier but we stopped at Subway for lunch, Mickey D's for breakfast, and then I got my shirt filthy somehow so I had to go to Wal-Mart for a new tank top, Austin some glasses, Mom a book and Abby a hat. We got to the park and the gate was closed, but I was able to do a uturn and found a spot next to the park fence on the side of the road. Then we got a great spot to set up the chairs and chillax for the next 5 hours. At first the park guy said "No Dogs Allowed" (all of you that watched Snoopy are now doing the voice in your head - I know you are because I am), but when he found out how far we had driven, that cricket is like a therapy dog for mom and that I had been on the city of titusville website to check if she could come and they didn't have anything on it about no pets and that I had poopy bags ~~ he let her stay and she was an angel....didn't bark at anyone, didn't bother anyone just laid under my chair or in mine or mom's arms all day!! There was noone around cussing, noone making out, we only saw a few people drinking but noone got obnoxious, there were no fights. It was just one big party celebrating the same thing. At the end, noone pushed or shoved or got rude trying to leave. We talked with several people around us and one guy even took Cricket's picture!!! One family was from Ohio and their daughter who looked to be 12 or 13 was their to do a science project. She had a Lego space shuttle and had to make it move without physically moving it - so she (& her mom) hung it up between 2 palm trees with fishing line and secured it to the ground with some sticks...when the shuttle went up she took pics of hers with the smoke from the real shuttle to make it look like it was moving...this is where I almost got to reinforce my lesson of the day with the kids about paying it forward - Earlier in the day a man came by offering a bag of ice to anyone who wanted it for free..we took it and I told the kids that now we had to pay if forward...when the girl with the project was setting up and waiting she noticed her batteries were dying and they didn't know if they brought extras..I offered to let her use my extra set if needed during the launch...but she didn't need them...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

My Prayer

This was a harder than usual mother's day for me. I mean I am usually bummed a little because yet another year has gone by and still not a mommy, but today was really hard. So hard that I cried twice - yeah, twice- during the sermon. It is so hard sometimes because I know I would be a great mommy - the kind of mommy who makes holidays special and loves to sit in the floor and play legos or Barbies, the kind of mommy who takes 100's upon 100's of pics of my kids and floods fb with them, the kind of mommy who would bake cookies or make green mashed potatoes or goop or edible play dough, the kind of mommy who would love to do nothing more than sit and cuddle a sick child or curl up with books on the couch on a rainy afternoon. The kind of mommy who takes her babies to church from day one and sings Jesus Loves Me and Veggie Tale songs for hours on end and lets her babies know they are the most special people in her world and that Jesus loves them and that I love them and no matter what they will always have a home and love and care and a shoulder to cry on and a cheeleader and a biggest fan and a mom. So I don't understand why God has't answered my prayer to be a mom. I don't get why these people can have kids out there and neglect them and abandon them and just not care and throw away the one thing I have wanted my entire life. I don't want to be famous or have this huge successful career or have my name in lights or be a ceo or anything other than to be someone's wife and someone's mom. That truly is the greatest title you could ever have to be so and so's mom. So today I sat there during the sermon and wrote a little prayer and put it in my Bible in 1 Samuel that said "Lord, Please make me into a Mommy!" and then I read and meditated on Hannah's prayer in the temple - you know the one she was praying when Eli saw her lips moving and thought she was drunk...this prayer "LORD of Hosts, if You will take notice of Your servant's affliction, remember and not forget me, and give Your servant a son, I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life,..." And tears welled up in my eyes and streamed down my face and I realized that for the 1st time I truly felt Hannah's despair and desperate longing to have a child - for to want a child so badly and not have one year after year after year is a powerful ache or affliction. The 2nd time was when the pastor talked about what a noble calling it was to just want to be a wife and mom and that was just as noble as someone being in the military or on the mission field and again the tears came because that is my life's calling to be someone's wife and mom. Imagine if you were a doctor, you had always wanted to be a doctor from your earliest memories, had studied for it and prepared for it and knew you could be a great doctor - but it just never seemed to happen for you, noone would come to be treated, you were never called to perform procedures and you watched others do what you were called to do...that's me - -my greatest desire and calling is to be a wife and mom, yet I'm not and I don't know why. So my prayer is that just as he did with Hannah the Lord will look upon me His Servant and see the affliction of my heart and answer my prayer to be a wife and mom.

Friday, May 7, 2010

mother's day for non mothers

There are 2 holidays that are just plain sucky for me - Valentine's Day and Mother's Day. Single people just do not need several months of reminders that they are single and lonely and we already live every day watching all the couples out there and realizing that this is really a couple oriented world. Mother's Day is perhaps even worse....:( especially to someone whose entire life's dream has been to be a mommy. The funny thing is the one place where you should be able to go for solace doesn't even help on Mother's Day...Granted alot of the churches are now just giving something to all women and one Mother's Day at FBC Graceville they recognized the women who weren't moms but worked with the children in some form which was so super cool to me. I do feel like all the kids I've loved thru the years are my kiddos. All the kids from Sunday School or Preschool Choir or the ones I babysat on a regular basis are so special to me and I rejoice everytime I see them accomplish a goal. This month I am so happy for 3 of my "kids"..2 boys I grew to love in South Dakota are graduating from high school and on the same and then one of my girls from Alabama has grown into a beautiful young woman and will be a beautiful bride on the 15th. I think alot of times we focus on motherhood as being giving birth to a child or raising a child but we forget those little moments spent with a child is mothering them as well. To all my kids wherever you are, I am very proud of all of you and carry you in my heart every day.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Spiggots and Sponges

The other day I was flipping thru channels and stopped on one with a woman's Bible conference being televised. The speaker was talking about people who continuously arrive late at church and have the attitude well I made it for the sermon. Her next points got my attention and stuck with me. She made the point that our worship services should be in basically two parts - Worship and Word. The 1st 1/2 of the service or the "Worship" part is all about us pouring out our love and adoration and praise and worship to God. It is the part where we are the givers and God is the "taker". The time where we are the active participant, the performers, and He is the audience. Then the 2nd 1/2 of the sermon, the "Word" is the time when He pours out on us and we are the receiver of the message He would have us hear. I used to not get the churches that had 1 hour of music and 1 hour of sermon, but more and more I am getting it and more and more I am reevaluating the typical Sunday service in a typical Baptist church. How can we effectively worship or pour out our praise and adoration and thanksgiving to God in a corporate worship setting if we are so limited and broken on how we do it? The hymn, hymn, announcements, offetory hymn, offering, special setting just doesn't cut it. I love my church, but lately I have noticed that our worship time is severely lacking. Most Sundays we sing 2 hymns and a fellowship song. OK 1st why is a fellowship song necessary? Take this past Sunday for example...before the service, I was making observations from the piano bench...I had started out playing To God Be the Glory and some other joyful songs in the prelude until I noticed that the atmosphere in the congreation was getting rowdier and rowdier and rowdier and I thought why are we here? I need to stop here and say that I am not saying we should come into the sanctuary and sit like a bunch of zombies not looking around or laughing or visiting with others; what I am saying is it was like we were at a Youth Rally or like how the kids are all excited and loud and hyper before VBS each night. So, I changed to more reverent songs and then I kept observing things - -ok announcements are important, but does it take 10 to 20 minutes to do them? Do we have to announce everything coming up in the next 6 weeks every Sunday? Do we have to go over everything that happened in the past week? {Yes I am extremely frustrated!:)} So within the 30 minutes alloted for the musical part of the service we have 2 hymns, the stupid fellowship hymn [which for the record if you have been walking around visiting others before the service and you talk to people after the service why do we need to take time away from when we are supposed to be worshipping God to visit with others!?], 10-20 mins of announcements, the offering and the special music and it's just gonna have to be enough, but it's not. The people are begging for more music. The choir thinks it is stupid to come up for just a couple of songs and you know I am not gonna fight them on it, because I think it is too. I also think it is incredibly tacky to go to the mike and say all right choir come on up! The choir should be adult enough to know who they are and to know that there is a choir on Sunday mornings and to pull on their big boy/girl pants and come up without being asked or to at least have the brains to come to whoever is leading the music that day and ask are we having a choir?! I miss worship. I miss having the songs back to back to back to just lift our praise and adoration to God.
I guess what it all boils down to this is sometimes you should be the spiggot and sometimes you should be the sponge and in most of our church services we have all become swollen, overfilled sponges and clogged up spiggots. We sit and take so much in but we are never give the opportunity to let it flow back to God.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Good will come

I awake the other night with the thought in my head of the phrase "No good can come of this". Then God just spoke to me and I realized the falsity of that statement. In every situation, no matter how bleak or dreary there can be good. While we may not see it at the time, good can be seen in the end. When we are faced with losing a loved one or a parent having to sit and watch their child struggle with cancer or watching a person loose their dignity to alzheimers, we don't always see how there can be a good outcome. These are the times God molds us and grows us. It is in these times that people learn to reach out to God and trust Him. It is in these times that we learn to face our fears and fully trust in God and His faithfulness. I never thought I would have been 36 and divorced and single with no kids. Me the girl who played mommy from the time I could 1st pretend. My only dream in life has been to be a wife and mom and active in ministry as a helpmeet and supporter to my husband. I so desire to be & fell the calling to be a pastor's wife. So I have struggled with why I am still single. Today I remembered the scene in Facing the Giants where she declares that she will still praise God even if she's never a mom. I do feel that way, I know that I can praise and serve God to my fullest ability as a single woman. I know that God has opened so many opportunities for me as a single woman in His service. I know that I am continuously being molded for something special. I have never wanted to be a part of youth ministry - -I worked in the children's department. However, lately God has given me such a heart for youth ministry. I have the desire to reach out to teenage girls and to show them I love them and that I care about them and what happens to them. We have a group of 6 girls in our church that I have such a burden for these days. I find myself praying for them as I drive by their school and I just want to reach out to them and show them that they are special and God loves them and He wants them to be the sprecial young ladies he has created them to be. I have also learned lately that alot of time I pray something continuously but in my head I have a desired answer. I have been praying about someone I was interested in and while I have had some nagging doubts in the back of my head about some things, I chose to ignore them. So I prayed that God would either take away the feelings or bring someone else into either of our lives. Last week the prayer was answered when I realized that I no longer had feelings for him. So good has come from it!!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Youth Car Wash

On Saturday, March 13, 2010 the Youth from Pleasant Hill Baptist Church had a car wash in the parking lot of the Sonshine Christian Bookstore in Bushnell. They had a good day, worked their tails off and made $250. Great Job Girls!!!



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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Your Friends are the Family you choose for yourself

I read somewhere a few months ago that your friends are the family you choose for yourself. This is such a profound and true statement for true friends do become more like family than friends. Friends also many many times are more active and supportive in your life than your birth family is. This is so especially true when your friendship is based on God's word and His plans and teachings. I had a traditional family 1 dad, 1 mom, 1 brother, 4 grand parents, several aunts and uncles, and many cousins. However, I have not always felt the love or support from my family that I did from my friends. I have always been involved in church. I was the kid that was there every service and several times in between. The church office, library, fellowship hall, nursery and class rooms became my play areas as much as my bedroom or back yard. I spent many hours entertaining myself when Dad or Mom had a meeting as I got older I even did homework while they were at a meeting or teaching a Bible Study. Perhaps, this is where my love for being at church or working at the church comes from. Thru the churches we went to I have had numerous sets of granparents or aunts or uncles even a few 2nd moms. I have always loved being with the older people and hearing them talk about their lives. I loved being the PK because of the love I felt from the older ladies that I never really felt from my grandparents. I thank God for all the people He put in my life to fill the void my blood family left in a young girl's life and heart.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Looking out from the bowl

I have said for years that living in the ministry is like living in a fishbowl. Think about what we know about fishbowls. First the fish are on display and everyone knows what they are doing and there are certain expectations for the different kinds of fish towards their behavior, etc...The minister's family lives in a fishbowl of the church. We are always expected to be available and are always on display. There is a set way the minister's family is expected to act and be. Just as you only want the most colorful fish in a bowl the pastors family is to be the best dressed.