Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mother's Day Cause

As most of you reading this blog know, in January I had a breast biopsy. The test results came back negative. I am still praising God for these results. Breast Cancer is a cause that I hold very close to my heart because even though the test was negative, it brought a huge awareness of the disease to me.

I watched a little video yesterday that brought me to tears. A guy I went to high school with is trying to raise $30,000 for cancer research. He and his wife recently welcomed a baby girl into their family. This will be his wife's first Mother's Day. His wife's mother died the day after Mother's Day, a little over a year after her daughter was born.

Please watch this video and if you can, donate to a very worthy cause.



Monday, April 27, 2009

Childlike Faith

I was cleaning in my girls' rooms today and I dusted off one of my favorite pictures. It is a picture of Jesus with children. It made me think about my girls and the faith lessons that they have taught me. Their childlike faith moves mountains. When they pray they have no doubt that God is listening.

Last night my husband said that my middle daughter prayed that people would ask Jesus into their hearts. Tonight she prayed with me that everyone that comes to church would listen and be kind because we are there to learn about Jesus.

As I have written in the past, I prayed one nighttime prayer as a child and into my early adult years. "Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep and if I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take." Then I would ask God to bless the people that I loved.

My children have never learned this prayer. From the time they started to pray they have started their prayers with "Dear Jesus. . .". They pray for anything and everything. In fact, on Saturday night, my littlest one prayed for a duck that had died. After she prayed she said, "Mommy, why did that duck have to die?"

A couple of weeks ago our youngest went to bed early. We took the opportunity to watch "The Passion" with our older girls. They are only 6 and 8 so we knew that we would be editing the parts that we knew they were not old enough to see. It still amazes me the impact that the movie had on them.

We did not edit out Satan and we explained to them that he is very real. It gave us an opportunity to also talk to them about the protection we have because we have Jesus in our hearts and the power of God to defeat him. We did not watch any of the scenes in which Jesus was beaten. However, we did let them watch Jesus carry His cross. My oldest daughter said to me, "Mom, if He wasn't the Son of God would He have lived through the beatings?" I told her that no I didn't think that He would have lived through them. I also was honest with her and told her that in real life Jesus would have looked much worse than He did in the movie. After I said this to her, the tears started to flow down her face.

She may only be 8, but her heart was aching for the pain that Jesus endured on that day. I believe with all of my heart that she also understands that the pain he endured was for her. After the movie we turned to the gospels and we continued the story. We read how Jesus visited the disciples and showed them the nail holes in His hands and feet. I didn't think our 6 year old was really paying much attention to the movie. After all, they are speaking Aramaic and she is just learning how to read. We would read to her the parts that we really wanted her to hear. When Jesus was on the cross, she did ask, "Are they casting lots for his clothes"" That made me know that she had been listening a couple of weeks ago when her dad read her the story of Easter.

We watched the movie on Saturday night. The girls went to Kids Church Sunday morning. I was kind of hoping the girls wouldn't talk about us letting them see the movie, too much. Most parents probably wouldn't have approved of us letting them see it when they are so young. I should know better. My middle child doesn't hold anything in. I think she might have told the entire story to her Kids Church helpers. At lunch that day she told us everything she had told them at church. One of the last things she said was, "And I told them that when Jesus went to His disciples they thought he was a ghost, but He showed them the nail holes and He said, ghosts don't have bones."

I guess she was watching and listening. They both were watching and listening. They may be young and people may say that they could not possibly understand. I disagree. They both will tell anyone that asks that they have Jesus in their hearts. They believe that He helps them sleep at night, He heals people that are sick and He protects them every day.

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:1-4

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Breath of Life

Spring is finally here. My girls went from wearing winter coats on Sunday, to no coats today. . .crazy South Dakota weather. Today we also celebrate Earth Day. It is still a little early to plant anything so we may have to just go for a nature walk to celebrate the day. It is supposed to be 80 degrees here today so it will be a great day to be outside.

It amazes me every time I think about creation and God speaking it all into existence. I love the verse in Genesis 2:7, "the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being."

All the world and everything in it was created by God. Every living thing is alive because we have been given the breath of life. When I take in the beauty that surrounds me I have no doubt that it could only be from God.

One of my favorite places outside is right on my front porch. Fortunately, we have a very quiet neighborhood. No one lives across the street from my house so I can sit out there and just enjoy the fresh air. It is one of the places that I feel the closest to God. I don't have any beautiful scenery, (I am staring at an empty swimming pool right now), but it is quiet and I can hear the birds and not a lot of traffic.

I have never been a huge nature lover. My wonderful cousin did give me a little appreciation of it in college when she would run off to pick wildflowers or hug a tree. But as I continue on my faith journey God continues to amaze me with His creation. In just a week the grass is starting to turn green and soon the trees will start to bloom.

This morning in my quiet time I was reading about Noah. After the flood, God made a covenant to him. Genesis 9:16 says, "Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth."

Have you ever pointed out a rainbow to a child. They get so excited to see it. If only we could have that same excitement. God gives us the rainbow as a gift and as a remembrance of His promise. When Noah saw rain clouds in the sky after the flood, he did not get nervous because he knew that God had promised to never destroy the earth by flood again.

I challenge you to spend some time outside today. Celebrating Earth Day. Celebrating God's beautiful creation. Be alive and remember that God breathed you and I into existence with the breath of life.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


My family attended a funeral visitation last night for the father of some dear friends. We did not personally know the father. Although when I was an infant this man was the pastor in my mom and dad's church and he baptized me.

As we left the funeral home I opened his funeral service bulletin and read about his life. One statement that I read was this, "His most important thing in life was passing on his faith in Christ and the importance of each person's relationship to Him."

Wow, what a legacy to leave. Although I did not know him, the legacy he left to his family had a huge impact on my life. His son and daughter-in-law played a huge role in both my husband and I seeking and accepting Christ. They were two people that also know the importance of passing on their faith in Christ and helping others to seek that relationship for themselves.

We only knew this couple for three years before we moved. In the big picture of life, that is not a long period of time. However, in those three years our lives were changed forever and they will always hold a special place in our hearts. They were an example to us in so many ways. Most importantly, God was the center of their lives, their marriage and their family.

As my husband and I talked about the impact this couple had on our lives, we talked about the opportunities we have now. So many times we have an opportunity to pass on our faith in Christ, yet we remain silent.

Acts 4:29b says, "enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness." I know that Christ's intention was for us to spread the gospel to all the nations. We need to learn to spread the gospel with boldness without turning others away.

I come back to this couple. They showed us Christ's love through the examples of their lives. They shared their faith with us in a gentle, nonthreatening way that led us to dig deeper into ourselves. The passion they had for the Lord is lived out in their lives. We have been very blessed with a core group of friends in the last six years that have shown us great examples of this through the lives that they live.

As I begin another day in my journey, my prayer is this: "Lord, help me to speak your word with boldness to others in a way that draws them closer to a relationship with you. Lord, help me to live my life for you in a way that no one doubts my faith."

I also pray for the family that will lay a wonderful Godly man to rest today. We all have an opportunity to leave a legacy when we leave our earthly home. I pray that someday my family will be able to say without a doubt that I lived my life for Christ everyday, and that I shared my faith with everyone along the way.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Have You Seen Jesus?

He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. Mark 16:15-16

Last week I read something in My Utmost for His Highest that said, "Jesus must appear to you and to your friend individually; no one can see Jesus with your eyes."

As I spend time in prayer and reading my Bible, Jesus continues to open my eyes to so many things. I feel He places many things on my heart and in my mind that I want to share with others. When I do share in conversation or in my writing, I want everyone to see Jesus.

In this same entry in Utmost I was taken to Mark 16. Jesus had risen from the dead and was appearing before different believers. He encouraged them to tell others what they had seen. Jesus had appeared before Mary Magdalene. Scripture states, "She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping. When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it." Oswald Chambers finished his entry with this statement, "When you see Him, you must tell, even if they don't believe."

I grew up believing in God and believing that Jesus died for my sins. However, I was not saved until I was in my 20's. I know that as some read this, they do not understand. I believe that it is not enough for us to believe in God and believe in Jesus. We have to see Him.

Have you seen Jesus? If you have, you will know. Just as Chambers says, "But once you have seen Him, you can never be the same." My life changed the day I saw Jesus. I wanted everyone to see Jesus. As I sit here and write, I want everyone to feel what I feel. The unconditional love that I cannot receive from anyone but God.

Jesus knew that so many that heard the gospel still would not believe, but He told them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation."

Through the words that I write and through the life that I live, I want everyone to see Jesus. But you will never really see Him until you see Him through your own eyes. You have to seek Him. I think that others can see Jesus working in my life, but they cannot experience a life with Him through me.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

You are kinda weak

The other day I was talking to my middle daughter about T-Ball. She informed me that she wanted her dad to coach her team, not me. I asked her why, (sometimes I think I maybe shouldn't ask for explanations), she said, "because you are kinda weak."

Interesting observation for a six year old. She is probably remembering our little family of five softball game last summer. My hubby was pitching to me and my oldest daughter was playing catcher. It had been a long time since I had swung a bat. I missed a few times (or a lot of times). Without hesitation my little catcher hollers at her dad, "get the tee". (That is what they say when one of their little buddies keeps missing the ball in t-ball.)

I have spent my entire day today thinking about God's strength. I am focusing on one characteristic of God each day and today I am focusing on His strength. As my middle child pointed out, "I am kinda weak". In fact, "I am really weak." There are many days that without the strength I get from God, I would fall apart. There are many days that I don't rely on the strength I could get from God and I do fall apart.

We are not meant to get through life with our own strength. There are so many scriptures that reaffirm this to us. This morning I meditated on Psalm 28:7-9. "The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song. The LORD is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one. Save your people and bless your inheritance; be their shepherd and carry them forever."

He is not just my strength. He is strength for all "of his people". It is okay to recognize we are weak because it brings us much closer to realizing that we need God to give us strength. Whatever you are struggling with today, whatever your weakness is today, turn to God and He will give you the strength that you need.

I had a hymn rolling around in my head tonight and I had to call me mom to figure out which one it was. I just kept singing the following line, "I am weak, but though art strong". She had just been playing, Just a Closer Walk With Thee on her piano before I called. God is so good.

I am weak but Thou art strong
Jesus keep me from all wrong
I'll be satisfied as long
As I walk let me walk close to Thee

Just a closer walk with Thee
Grant it Jesus is my plea
Daily walking close to Thee
Let it be dear Lord let it be

Friday, April 3, 2009

Sticks and Stones

Whoever coined the phrase, "Sticks and Stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me", was very wrong. Words are very powerful and words can be very hurtful. However, some words can also bring healing and hope.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." John 1:1

All you have to do is open the Bible up to the first verse in Genesis to see the importance and power of words. As John 1:1 states, "In the beginning was the Word. . ." Genesis 1:3 starts to show the Word's power. God spoke and with His Words, he created the World and everything in it. He created everything we see by speaking it into existence.

Words have power. I was reading different scriptures this morning that talk about the words that we speak. What I read was very convicting to me. One of the scriptures I read that really jumped out at me is found Matthew.

"But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken." Matthew 12:36

Careless Words
There is a reason that we are to think before we speak. How many careless words came out of my mouth this week? I think that my biggest problem is that a lot of times my definition of careless is very different from God's definition of careless. I reflect on my week so far and it hurts. There were many times that I wish I could take some of the words back that I said, but life doesn't work that way.

"Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord." Psalm 139:4

If I really believed that God knew every word on my tongue, maybe I would stop and think before I opened my mouth. In the Love Dare book written by Stephen and Alex Kendrick, the first dare is to say nothing negative to your spouse, at all. This dare is to be followed through every day for 40 days. I love my husband with all of my heart and I respect him more than words can express, but I will be honest with you, this dare is not easy.

Why does negativity and anger come so much easier at times than kindness and forgiveness? Why is it so easy for us, [women] to speak harsh words about someone else, instead of good? Why do we find it necessary to knock someone else down to build ourselves up? It is something that I have always struggled with. There is a line in a song that my daughters listen to by Pure NRG that says, "everybody's talking about someone else, trying to feel better about themselves." Does it really make us feel better to cause someone else to hurt?

As someone that has a desire to write, I think about words a lot. I feel that the ability to write is a gift that God has given me. I know that with this gift He intends for me to bring honor and glory to Him through the words that I write and speak. The farther I walk on this journey that I am on, the more I realize how my view of the world differs from God's view of the world. My view of the world leads to sin, God's view of the world leads to righteousness.

"I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." Psalm 119:11

God's words give us hope and healing. God's words give us wisdom and guidance. I don't want to cause other people pain through the words that I speak. It is not my place or my job to judge others, especially when I have plenty to work on myself. Like I said before, this is an area that I struggle with. I think that it is an area that most women struggle with. I know that I do not have the ability to change on my own. Thankfully, God is a big God and He has the ability to change my heart.

"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer." Psalm 19:14

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Junk Drawer

I love a clean house. (Mine is not clean as I am writing this). It makes me so happy to look around the house and see that everything is in its place. I am gearing up to have a big cleaning day tomorrow. Today I promised my daughter I would play with her all day, and she is holding me to that promise.

I will clean the bathroom, the kitchen & dining room, the bedrooms and the living room, all of the rooms that will be seen by any possible visitors. However, I have a drawer that very seldom gets cleaned. In fact, most of the time, I only open it far enough to shove things into it because I have no idea where else to put them. I think everyone has one of these drawers, or maybe it is a closet, or a room. Somewhere in our house that we can close and no one can see. Unfortunately right now, my entire basement is kind of like a junk room. . .but that is a blog for another day.

Even though we would like to forget that we have a drawer like this somewhere in our houses, they are there. And I don't think we really forget about them. I think we just keep shoving stuff in them to deal with later, but later never seems to come.

I think along with junk drawers in our houses, we have junk drawers in our lives. We have things that happen to us and we try to shove them in our junk drawers. We are never sure how to deal with these things so we try to shove them out of our memories, forget they happen. But, guess what they are still there, and the junk doesn't just disappear. In fact, I think junk has the opposite effect. I think that junk grows.

We like to try to hide it from everyone. We make it look like everything is all cleaned up, but we would be horrified if somebody got a glimpse of our junk. We look at other people's lives and we like to tell ourselves that they don't have any junk. Guess what, I don't believe that. Everyone has it. Somebody else might only have a little drawer, but somebody else might have an entire basement.

A couple of years ago my family was out of town when a big rain storm hit. We had never had rain like this so we were really worried about getting water in our basement. To my absolute horror I had to call one of my girlfriends and ask her to check on our house. I wasn't worried about asking her because I knew that she would do it, but I knew that the state of my basement was horrible. She gladly came over and checked everything out for us. She didn't care that my basement was a mess. (It probably killed her to leave and not clean it, I love that about her). She helped me out, she didn't judge me for the mess I had and she knows, I do not have it all together. And I am pretty sure she still loves me just the same as before she saw my mess.

Wouldn't it be nice if we could start to deal with some of the junk in our lives. Wouldn't it feel good to start to take stuff out of that drawer, one thing at a time and deal with it once and for all. I don't think we are supposed to just dump out all of the junk and try to sort through it in one sitting. I think that would just leave us frustrated and we would shove it all back into that drawer and save it for another day.

Lucky for me, when I asked Jesus into my heart, he didn't care about my junk drawer. He opened His arms and welcomed me in with all my junk. I can't hide it from Him. He knows it is there and He loves me just the same.

I do know that He wants me to get rid of my junk and He is going to help me if I let Him. He doesn't want me to try to just shove it to the back of my mind and try to forget that it is there. He doesn't want our junk drawers to cause pain that never goes away. He wants to free us from it, all of it. Wouldn't it feel good to wake up in the morning and know that every drawer is clean.

For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:9