Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Potter and the Clay

I thought I would share a great story from Anne Graham Lotz's book Just Give Me Jesus.

You have probably heard a rendition of this before.

"A good friend of ours enjoys making pottery. The process of transforming wet, pliable, dull gray clay into beautiful bowls and vases and jugs and plates is fascinating. Our friend begins with a shapeless blob, which he places on the potter's wheel. As he spins the wheel, he gently caresses the clay, applying pressure with his fingers and palms. Beneath his skillful touch, the turning clay responds to the varying degrees of pressure until it begins to take the shape of what he has in his mind, whether it's a vase or plate or bowl or pitcher.

When the shape pleases him, our friend removes the clay from the wheel. He then paints it with beautiful designs, but the colors are dull and lifeless. At that stage, the quality of the colors makes it unattractive, and the softness of the clay renders it useless. So our friend places it with other vessels into a kiln, where he bakes the pieces for hours in heat that reaches 1,700 degrees F. When the pottery emerges, not only is it strong enough to use, but its colors are also brilliantly vivid. The heat transforms the weak clay into a useful vessel and transforms the dull, ugly colors into radiant beauty.

And so it is with our lives. Jesus makes the suffering understandable; as the Potter, He uses suffering as the pressure on the wet "clay" of our lives. Under His gentle, loving touch, our lives are molded into a "shape" that pleases Him. But the shape that is so skillfully wrought is not enough. He not only desires our lives to be useful, but He also wants our character to be radiant. And so He places us in the furnace of affliction until our "colors" are revealed-colors that reflect the beauty of His own character.

Without the preparation of the loving, skillful touch of the Potter's hand, any usefulness or beauty the clay might have would be destroyed by the pressure and heat. But Jesus makes suffering understandable to this blob of clay. In the midst of the pressure and the heat, I am confident His hand is on my life, developing my faith until I display His glory, transforming me into a vessel of honor that pleases Him! I don't trust any other potter with my life."

Jeremiah 18:3-6 "Then I went down to the potter's house, and there he was, making something on the wheel. But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make. Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, 'Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?' declares the Lord. 'Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel."

Lord, I pray everyday that as I yield myself to You, I become a vessel that is not only useful, but also reflects your glory. I confess that most days I feel like a big old blob of clay that you forgot to fashion into a beautiful vessel. I have such a long way to go, but I am so thankful that you have not given up on me. I am a work in progress.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom

Today is my mom's birthday. She is shown in the picture to the left with my Dad and Reagan. Isn't she pretty?

Mom, I just wanted you to know that I love you and I am so thankful for the great relationship that we have. I love that I can pick up the phone and talk to you about anything, regardless of the time of day. I can cry with you, share all my worries with you, list my pros and cons , get your advice and just laugh and talk with you. If you are busy you never let me know it. Even better than talking on the phone is getting together and just hanging out.

We are alike in so many ways. It is scary, really. We both worry needlessly....did you teach me this? We both have a terrible sense of direction. We both like to shop....but of course, we will walk the outlets for an entire day, but only buy one thing because we are both so cheap...I mean frugal. We both love to read. We both like to keep a journal. We are both interested in alternative health and I get to bring a lot of my questions to you. We both like a clean house and we like to cook. How many recipes have I gotten from you over the years? How many phone calls have you received from me while I was standing in the grocery store because I forgot which ingredient to buy or what cut of meat to get? We both love to walk for exercise. We both love the Fall season and all the great family times that come with that time of year. We would both consider our best friend to be our husband. You and Dad have a great love and you have always modeled a godly submission to him over the years, as well as a great respect for him. You guys showed me what a healthy marriage should look like and for that I am grateful. We are also alike in our love and devotion for our kids. I love both of my girls and I feel your love for me everyday.

I love that you are so actively involved in my life and in the life of my girls. Reagan adores you and I know that Gracen will too.

I love that you are growing in Christ, that every time I am at your house, your Bible and devotional guide are open on the kitchen table, that you are actively involved in your church, that you serve in ministry there, that you pray on a regular basis for many things including me and my family. I see the growth in you. Your life is bearing fruit. You are modeling Christ to me and my girls.

Happy Birthday, Mom! I love you and I hope you have a wonderful day.

Monday, September 28, 2009


I have decided that I am a pretty fickle kind of girl. I go back and forth between being totally content with everything in my life to being totally dissatisfied. Let me give you an example. I was in one environment at the beginning of last week that made me so thankful for my home. I walked inside and thought, "Ya know, I am really blessed to have a home like I have." Every room brought me a sense of thankfulness and I was able to look past all the things that "need" updating. Fast forward to the end of the week. I went into a beautiful house, the kind that looks like every room was decorated by an interior designer. Flat screen televisions in every room, stainless steel appliances, granite counter tops, beautiful light fixtures, etc. I came home after that experience and was disgusted by everything I saw. Every single room "needed" something done to it to make it even close to acceptable. Can anyone relate to what I am talking about?

With my girls, one week I think they have everything they need. Then I hang out with a group of moms and listen to them discuss recent purchases and immediately start to think, "Well, Reagan needs that too!" It can be clothing, devotion material, a DVD, a craft activity, ....anything.

Why am I like this? I know that God desires contentment and thankfulness. I want to be content and thankful. I want to enjoy where I am today and all the blessings that God has placed in my life. The "American Way" is to buy, buy, buy. We aren't content. We aren't thankful. Once we have made that purchase, that item that we just had to have, we focus our attention on the next must have item.

I already see this behavior in Reagan. She loves to go to Target and Wal-Mart because she wants to get something. It can be anything! She just wants to get something. When she is at home she will see something advertised on TV and ask me for it for weeks. I will finally get it for her and she will play with it for a day or two and then throw it to the side. As a parent, I want her to be thankful. I want her to realize the blessings that she has and all the good things in her life, and how differently things could be. I guess this is too much to ask of a 3 year old. But it isn't too much to ask of an adult believer. God desires the same thing of me. He desires that I live in a state of thankfulness.....thankful for everything.... my family, my home, my clothes, my material possessions, my health, my salvation,.......

My parents model contentment for me. In prosperous times and in lean times they love each other, they love their lives, they love their children and grandchildren, they love their home, they love their church, etc. When it comes time to buy them a birthday gift or a gift for Mother's Day or Father's Day, they always say they don't need anything. They cannot think of one thing they want. I, on the other hand, always have a list of things I want. It is September and I am ready for Christmas....ya know what I mean? How did they get to such a place of contentment and thankfulness?

Maybe I'll arrive one day. Until then I will continue to pray about my desires and ask God to give me an appreciation for all the things that I have.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Well Little Miss Gracen had her 4 month well visit today. She is actually 4 months and 3 weeks old, but the doctor's vacation got me all off track. I tried to tell him that this was going to make my baby book and Gracen's first year calendar entries all off as well, but he still chose to take a vacation. I guess 10 years from now it won't matter that my dates are 3 week off. Anyway, she is doing great, measuring 25 inches in length and weighing 14 pounds. Dr. Simon said her neck is looking a lot better with great range of movement, so all the exercises we have been doing have paid off. She is the happiest baby. After 2 shots she whined a minute and then smiled at the nurse who gave her the shots. I ran some errands with her after our appointment, and I don't think she made a sound in the car.....even after all those shots. As I shopped, she laid in her stroller and cooed and smiled. Now, that's what I am talking about. We had a "fussy" baby the first go around, so this is a nice change of pace.

As I read through the Facebook entries today, everyone is saying that they are ready for the weekend, but I got to be honest. Our weekends are pretty busy. I prefer the week days myself.
I don't know how our weekends keep getting so busy, but September and October are jammed packed. Tomorrow (Friday) I have to go to the grocery store in the morning to buy stuff for a hospital snack basket and food our college fellowship, after lunch I have to drop my kids off at my Mom's house and then go to visit a friend in the hospital, then return to pick up the kids, get back home, get some food ready, and the college girls will be arriving around 7:30. Saturday morning I have to get up and cook some quiches for a shower, go to Riley Anne's baby shower from 10:00 to 12:00 (which I am helping with), come home for lunch, and then take Reagan to a birthday party from 3:00 to 5:00. On Sunday, we are at church from 9:00 to 12:00, come home for lunch and nap, and then head back from 4:30 to 8:00. Yeah, the weekend is busy.

The next 2 weekends are exactly like this. It makes me tired just thinking about everything we have to do. I guess each thing in and of itself is not bad, but when I am working around 2 children, nap times, and nursing sessions, things get a little bit tricky. It was so much easier to work everything in with one child. Reagan was at that age where she was easy. She went wherever I did and her nap time wasn't a huge factor. But having an infant again....let's just say that I am still getting used to it. Of course, I wouldn't trade Gracen for anything. Thankfully, as I said above, she has an easy disposition, and she really does roll with the punches.

It was hot and muggy today. I am so ready for fall and the cool weather. It is my favorite time of year. I can hardly wait to post some pictures of the girls at the Pumpkin Patch and get them all dressed for our Fall Festival on Halloween weekend. Great times ahead.

I'll try to blog tomorrow but don't be surprised if it doesn't happen. I will be leaving the house at 8:00am and won't return home until late afternoon.....with people coming over a few hours later. Like I said, "I'm ready for the work week to return."

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Waiting on God- 4

Well, last night's sleep was somewhat better. I shortened Reagan's nap time by over an hour, which killed me yesterday. I had to wake her up pretty quick after I finally got Gracen to sleep and that hurt. When you have little ones, any free time you can find is precious. Anyway, she seemed tired by 8:00 last night, but still talked and sang songs in her bed until after 9:00. This was better than 10:00 or 10:30 like the nights before.

If you know Reagan, you know she loves to talk. I mean LOVES to talk. If I ever tell her to be quiet because I am trying to think or work on a church lesson, she'll tell me she is going in her room to talk and she will. She'll talk to her dolls, talk through books like she is reading them, and talk to herself. I am not sure she really knows how to be quiet. A lady at church on Sunday said to me, "You know, Reagan's personality is adorable and her conversational ability is quite interesting, but I bet that gets pretty tough to take 24-7 at home." Yes....Yes it does. Thank you for feeling my pain.

On top of Reagan's incessant talking, her Gran bought her a microphone that you hook into the radio. The radio acts just like a speaker and now her voice is amplified all over the house. Yeah! That was a really neat gift for about 10 minutes. This is a gift that we need to share with Gran. I'll be sending it to her house when Reagan goes for her next visit.

Waiting on God....continued
I wanted to share a little story from the book Just Give Me Jesus that reminds us that there is a purpose for our suffering/waiting.

"There once was a little boy who was confused by something his pastor said one Sunday morning. When he saw the pastor in the parking lot, he ran up to him, tugged at his sleeve, and inquired respectfully, "Sir, can I ask you a question about your sermon?" The pastor graciously halted on his way to the car and gave the young boy his full attention. "Sure, son, what is it?"
The boy explained, "You said I could ask Jesus to come into my heart."
"That's right," the pastor responded.
"But Jesus is a Man in a man's body," the little boy replied.
"That's right," the pastor patiently answered.
As a frown creased his brows, the youngster persisted, "But I'm just a little boy."
The pastor gravely nodded, "That's right."
The puzzled look on the young boy's face betrayed his total ignorance of the truth he was about to utter. "But if I'm just a little boy and Jesus is a Man, if He comes into me, He'll be sticking out all over."
"That's right," the pastor agreed with a knowing smile."

"Suffering is not only the platform for our witness, but it also often seems to be the pressure that pushes the character of Christ to the forefront of our lives so that others see Jesus "sticking out all over.
Has God increased the pressure in your life? Then praise Him, not for the pressure, but for His transforming power at work that will use it to produce His character in you until others can see Him. Paul described it this way..."We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us . We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body." (2 Corinthians 4: 7-11)
Our ultimate aim in life is not be be healthy, wealthy, prosperous, or problem free. Our ultimate aim in life is to bring glory to God. So would you start praising God for your "thorns" and limitations and handicaps and suffering and heat, asking Him to open your eyes to the opportunity He has given you to display His glory and character in your life? So that even your spouse, your child, your parent, your roommate, your friend, your coworker, your pastor, can see Jesus sticking out all over you."

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Waiting on God- 3

Well, you will remember yesterday's post and our issues with Reagan's sleep. The phase has not passed yet. Last night, I heard her talking and singing until well after 11:00pm and she woke me up at 4:00am. I did get her to eventually go back to sleep, but I have been unable to go back to sleep myself. Got to love it! I am so ready for the day when I can go to sleep when I want to and get up when I want to. I realize this will be years from now..... it's depressing to think about. Anyway, I was starving when I got up at 4:00, so I ate breakfast. It is 7:00 now and I am eating again and I'll be ready for my mid-morning snack by 10:00 or so. All that can't be good for the waistline. Breastfeeding really makes me hungry though.

Speaking of breastfeeding, I have some major pain on one side. From what I have read, I have a blocked milk duct. I am going to have to get on the phone this morning and figure out what to do for this. I am literally throbbing as I sit here......NOT looking forward to Gracen latching on this morning. Anyway, I hope this issue isn't the beginning of problems. Nursing has so been sweet and such a bonding time with Gracen. I love to watch her wrap her little legs around my arm or grab my hand and hold on while she eats. She is starting to grasp my chin or rub my cheek as she's eating, too. So sweet! I hate to be forced to stop before I am ready. In some ways, I am ready to stop, in other ways, I am not. I do want it to be my choice though, not caused by some infection.

Recently I have posted a few entries about waiting on God. When we are suffering, from whatever the cause, waiting on God's answer is difficult. I have been reading Anne Graham Lotz's book called Just Give Me Jesus and she has several interesting chapters on suffering. I thought I would share some of her thoughts today.

John 9: 1-41 The story of the blind beggar....blind since birth


"After considering whether your suffering is your fault, or your parent's fault, or someone else's fault, realize it may be that your suffering in no one's fault. The disciples, who were so sure the poor man's handicap was someone's fault, were admonished by Jesus, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned...but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life." John 9:3

"The apostle Paul was in some way handicapped himself. He referred to it as a "thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan" that tormented him. He pleaded with the Lord to take it away but He responded in 2 Corinthians 12:8-10, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

"Suffering gives God opportunities to work for His glory. That is why Peter, who himself had been beaten, imprisoned, and persecuted, encouraged other believers while awaiting his own execution, "In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith, of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire, may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed." 1 Peter 1:6-7

"What kind of trials have caused you to suffer grief? Could it be that God has given you a platform of suffering from which you can be a witness of His power and grace to those who are watching? Because if we always feel good and look good and lead a good life; if our kids always behave and our boss is always pleased and our home is always orderly and our friends are always available and our bank account is always sufficient and our car always starts and our bodies always feel good and we are patient and kind and thoughtful and happy and loving.....others shrug because they're capable of being that way too. On the other hand, if we have a splitting headache, the kids are screaming, the phone is ringing, the boss is yelling, the supper is burning, etc., and yet we are still patient, kind, thoughtful, happy, and loving, the world sits up and takes notice. The world knows that kind of behavior is not natural. It's supernatural. And others see Jesus revealed in us. Suffering is a gleaming showcase for the display of the precious gems of His character that are reflected in you."

I don't know about you but her insights on suffering have given me a lot to think about....and I'll share a few more in the days to come. When I read on suffering I am always reminded of my infertility and all the feelings associated with that time. I still think God will use it in some way. I pretty much have a Bible study laid out and ready to go on enduring infertility and the lessons I learned....but haven't had the platform to teach it yet. I am also drawn to GracePlace Pregnancy Center. I would love to get involved there and maybe be a volunteer counselor. I thought I would do that when Reagan entered school, but now Gracen is here. So that will have to wait for a little longer too.

God prepare my heart for the platform you will give me!

What have you been through? What platform has God given you? Maybe you have endured infertility, disease, death of a child or loved one, financial loss, natural disaster, divorce, abuse....Be reminded and encouraged that God uses everything for His glory.

Monday, September 21, 2009


It's 2:24 pm as I sit down to start this blog. Yes, it has been one of those days. I didn't blog over the weekend and for anyone who is following this, I am not going to even try to blog on Saturday or Sunday. We are just too busy and with Gene at home, it throws me all off a good way.

Monday is my grocery day, so we leave here at 8:00 and take Reagan to preschool. Gracen and I head to the grocery store and any other store I need to go to while I am out and about. I try to make it home by 10:30 to unload the car, and then Gracen is ready to nurse at 11:00. Nursing STILL takes 40-45 minutes, and I have to get back in the car to pick Reagan up by 12:00. She has Flip Factory on Mondays, so I do not have to pick her up until 12:20, instead of the usual 11:30. As soon as we get back home, Gracen is ready for a nap, and Reagan and I are ready for lunch. After we eat, Reagan is ready for a nap and Gracen is about ready to get up. Anyway, you get the idea. I do not think I'll ever blog on Monday before about 1:00, and it could be later than that, like today. I will try to do better the rest of the week.

I am a creature of habit. I guess we all are to some extent. With children, being a creature of habit is difficult because they are constantly changing. We have all used the expression, "It's just a phase," or "This too shall pass," when referring to our kiddos. Well, Reagan has entered the "I DO NOT NEED ANY SLEEP" phase and I hope this one passes quickly. She really doesn't want to take a nap during the day, but she really needs one. She is a bear by 6:00pm if she doesn't rest at some point. I would just put her down for the night at 6:00, but I am really afraid at what time in the early morning she would wake up....totally refreshed and ready for the day. When she does take a nap, which she needs, she is not tired at bedtime. Her normal bedtime is 8:30 and we put her in her bed, whether she is sleepy or not. But, she will literally talk and sing for 2 or 3 hours. It's ridiculous. Her voice rings out all over the house. I guess Gracen is used to this "noise" because she sleeps right through it. We have even tried spanking no avail. It does not make that child stop talking. She does hit the pause button to cry, which Gracen also sleeps through, and then goes back to talking and singing when she is finished crying. God Bless Her she loves to talk. Anyway, I have checked on her at 10:00 and then 10:30 for the last couple of nights and she is still wide awake. I really hate to go to sleep knowing she is awake, but I just don't have the stamina to stay up with her. This morning I woke up around 4:30am....I know, also ridiculous....but I couldn't sleep. I immediately went to her room to check on her and her lights were on and there were toys scattered everywhere. She was asleep, but I can't help but wonder what time she finally went out. I wish I had a video camera in there so I could see how she entertains herself all night. I would probably be horrified. Despite how late she goes to bed, her body clock goes off about 6:45am every morning. And then the cycle repeats nap....bad attitude....talking to all hours....up at 6:45. I just keep telling myself that this is just a phase and this too shall pass.

I started thinking about sleep this morning and the passage in Ecclesiastes 3 came to my mind. Ya know, the time for everything passage....."A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance...." I thought surely "a time to sleep" would be listed and I could use it in our family devotion time tonight. Do you know that it is not listed? Are you kidding me Solomon? Sleep is a pretty important aspect of our lives. There were some other phrases that I could use with her though, like maybe "a time to be silent" in vs. 7, which she really needs to practice...."a time to die" in vs. 2, which is what may happen to her if she doesn't start sleeping more.
If you come across any good verses on sleep, let me know. We will definately use them in our devotion time and we just might memorize them as a family.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Pictures of the girls

How sweet is this picture!

Gracen is finally ready to sit in her jumper even though she got tired of it pretty quickly.

Gracen has had some neck issues but is finally holding her head up without crying while on her tummy.

Gracen loves to stand up. It always makes her smile.

Two pretty girls laying on the den floor.

Reagan loves to hold Gracen and is so sweet with her.

Gracen is really starting to hold on to things. She has some strong little fingers.

Gracen was ready to watch her first Auburn Game on TV. Her daddy, the Alabama fan, loved this.

Gracen is 4 and half months old and that time has gone by in a blink. Reagan will be 4 in January...unbelievable how quickly the time goes by.
Thank you God for allowing me to be a Mommy.
Help me to enjoy every moment.

TV Viewing

I am going to come back to idea of waiting another day. This morning I want to share how God has put his finger on my TV viewing and how he confirmed it in church last night. I want my blog to encourage others in their walk with Christ, as well as update you with things that are going on within my family. I debated on this entry, but I really want to be honest and maybe my struggles will help you with your struggles.

Back in early August I was convicted about shows that I watch occasionally. Let me stress the word occasionally. These are not shows that I had to watch or watched every time they came on or anything like that. None of the shows are R-rated or show naked bodies, etc. We have blocked many channels for this very reason. We have no movie channels and have blocked FX, MTV, and VH-I because of the content, commercials, and language. Anyway, one particular show I started to watch was Bravo's Housewives of Atlanta, Orange County, New York, and New Jersey. I have seen episodes from all the cities and I get sucked in to watching them because their lives are crazy to me. I cannot imagine having that kind of money to spend, and I am fascinated with their worldview. Anyway, I really got hooked on watching this during the first 3 months of Gracen's arrival because I was nursing after everyone else went to bed. It seems that Bravo was always running reruns and I got sucked in. If you have watched the show, you know that there are curse words sprinkled throughout and they certainly don't live Godly lives, to say the least. The language and lifestyles would make me cringe and I started to think that my time could be better spent....even though I was stuck in a chair nursing. I knew I could read, pray, etc. Another show was Days of Our Lives. I used to watch Days growing up. I'm talking Jr. High and High School. The interest in Bo and Hope's lives goes way back. Again, while I was nursing I discovered that it comes on at 3:30am on the Soap Network channel. For a couple of months, I got pulled back in.
I could easily argue that watching these shows was not affecting my Christian walk and it couldn't be considered a stumbling block to anyone because I watch it in my own home and besides Reagan is asleep right.

Then I came across a few verses in Psalms that changed my mind.
Psalm 101:2-3..."I will walk within my house in the integrity of my heart. I will set no worthless thing before my eyes."

Psalm 119:1..."How blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord."

Pretty powerful scriptures. I would be embarrassed if my college girls or other minister wives knew I watched these shows...even if it was just a couple of months. That meant I was not walking in integrity within my house. My way couldn't be considered blameless. I also started to notice that the more I watched the Housewives, the more I thought about material things. Why do they have so much Lord and we struggle with unexpected expenses. What I watch clearly affects my thoughts! I wrote all this down in my prayer journal because I wanted to keep these verses and lessons that God is teaching me along the way.

Anyway, I haven't watch either show in about 2 months but the pull is still there. Sin in any form is like that, isn't it? I am no longer up at 3:30am, but at 12:30 everyday, when Days of Lives comes on, I can't help but wonder what Bo and Hope are up to. I can also flip by Bravo's housewives and really want to watch it, but I won't. I committed my TV viewing to God. Even if if doesn't affect anyone else, I know it breaks the heart of God. My holiness, my sanctification is that important to Him. Even my TV viewing matters.

About a week after this conviction of watching certain TV shows back in early August, I read a study about the connection between children viewing immorality on TV and having premarital sex at a young age. The numbers were scary. Well, premarital sex is shown on almost every TV show that comes on at night. How can I protect Reagan and Gracen from this? As I read the study, another show came to my mind that I love and one Reagan watches because it comes on when she is awake......The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. My first argument is that there is nothing really wrong with these shows....not a stumbling block....not affecting my walk. But as I think about Reagan and this study, what is she learning about finding the spouse God has for her? What is she learning about dating? I remember one episode where Jillian and her "men" were offered the key to their fantasy suites and it showed them in their bedrooms, in the bathtub, massaging one another on the bed, etc. What is this teaching her about purity? What is this teaching her about "trying men out to see which one is the best fit"? Anyway, we won't be watching those shows anymore either.

Last night in church, Bro. Glenn talked about holiness and how God desires us to live as Christ he expects us to be different from the world. He spoke a lot about the TV shows we watch and quoted the exact verses I listed above and shared the exact study on the link between what children view on TV and early premarital sex. I showed Gene my pray journal last night, and we both thought it was pretty neat that Bro. Glenn shared the exact things I wrote down and committed to God almost 2 months ago. God is a very personal God and He cares about every aspect of our lives. If you are being convicted about something today, confess it to Him and lay it down! Even if it is difficult, God blesses our obedience! Trust me!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Waing on God- 2

Waiting on God has been on my mind lately....probably because I am teaching on that topic in the college girls' DT class. Anyway, this morning I was thinking about Reagan and what I am teaching her about waiting and delayed gratification. I love her so much, and I want her to have so many things. I want her to have the desires of her heart. I so enjoy giving her gifts and watching her little face light up as she opens the bag or the wrapped gift that I, or someone else, hands her. I think every parent out there knows what I mean.

She is at the age where she "needs" everything she sees. She is starting to comment on every toy commercial, letting me know that she doesn't have the item that is before her eyes on the TV screen. "I want that, Momma," she'll repeat over and over again until I give her some kind of response. She certainly doesn't understand the value of a dollar or why she cannot have everything. That would be nice, wouldn't it? But really, I guess that would eventually get old too! King Solomon discovered that, of course, I would like the opportunity to discover that truth for myself. With Reagan, I am discovering that she is never satisfied. I just bought her a new Barbie movie called The Princess and the Pauper. She loved it for about a week until she saw Barbie and the Three Musketeers being advertised on TV. She quickly told me I could get it at Wal-Mart. "Yes, Reagan. I know where we can get the movie, but we are going to wait a little while before we buy another new movie," I tell her. "Why?" she questions me. On and on the discussion goes with many "Why's" scattered throughout. I want to say, "Reagan, just be grateful for what you have. You have so many blessings." Ouch....I bet God wants to say that to a loud, audible voice.

Most days I am just like Reagan in my relationship with God. No matter what He gives me, no matter how much He blesses me or blesses my family, I can always think of just one more thing that I "need". Don't we all behave the same way. We tell God that if He will just heal this child, give this new job, raise this salary, take this pain away, etc. that we won't ask for anything else, that we will be completely satisfied. Just as that is not true for Reagan, it is not true of us either in our relationship with God. Just as I know, in my limited wisdom, that it would not be beneficial for Reagan's character to get everything she wants, God knows the same thing is true about us. He knows that He simply cannot give us everything we desire and so we pray and wait and as we wait our character is developed. Just as Reagan is going to have to learn to wait for some things, I am still learning to wait on God. I am afraid that this is one of those life lessons, one that will literally take my entire life to grasp. I'm getting there. I would like to think I have a better handle on waiting than Reagan does, but then something happens or I have to wait on something and I catch myself stomping my foot at God again.

I have been reading a book by Ann Graham Lotz called Just Give Me Jesus in the mornings and today I started a chapter on why we suffer. Coincidence....I don't think so. It has a lot to say about the topic of waiting and I'll share some of it over the next couple of days.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Waiting on God

What a great day we had in church yesterday! To be around fellow Christians energizes me and truly gives me focus for the week ahead. Between Sunday School and worship, I had to go to the nursery and nurse Gracen. As I was walking down the hallway, I came upon a chance opportunity or maybe a divine appointment. I saw a sweet friend of mine sitting in a chair. I could tell that she was distressed. As I sat down beside her, she began to talk and then cry about a situation in her life. She is trusting God with a struggle she has been facing for many years, a situation that not only affects her, but her family as well. She is a faithful follower of Christ who loves the Lord with all her heart. But at the same time, she is frustrated, she is tired, she is done! As I sat and listened to her, my mind was flooded with all the emotions that I experienced during my YEARS of infertility. I was praying as she was talking, asking God to give me something to say to her, something that would be an encouragement to her, knowing in my heart that I didn't have the answer she desired. She wants her prayers to be answered, for her wait to be over. Just as I wanted a baby, she wants healing, and only God can bring those kind of things to fruition.

Waiting on God is tough. We are talking about this in the college class that I teach on Sunday nights. We are all waiting on something. We wait to graduate from college, to find that perfect job, to find that perfect spouse, to get married, to have children, to see how our children's lives will turn out, to retire, to find healing, to just make it to the next day.....on and on the list could go.

When we are in the middle of a wait we ask questions like:
When is this going to end? (Lord, I can wait patiently if I just know that you are going to bring a baby to us.)

Why is this happening to me? ( Lord, you are bringing babies to everyone....why not me?)

Did I totally miss my chance? (When my 30th birthday came and went, then my 31st, and my 32nd, I certainly felt like I was getting too old to have children.)

What should I be doing differently? (Lord just show me what you want me to do and I'll do it.)

Is there some kind of sin or shortcoming in my life that is keeping me from achieving happiness or the thing that I desire most? (Being a minister's wife, this question plagued me....there has to be some kind of sin in my life or God would give me the desires of my heart. My sweet friend voiced this very same question as we talked yesterday. She felt this health situation was God's discipline.)

I certainly don't have all the answers. But, I do know that God loves Me and He loves you. He surely has a plan for each one of His children, and He has not forsaken us as we endure a wait.

Jeremiah 29:11 says "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."

I love that verse. I held on to it during my infertility. I gave it to my sweet friend. I reminded her that God has a plan for every single thing that touches our lives. During our greatest wait, God builds our character and teaches us to hold on to Him. God uses our experiences to minister to others, to not only grow in our personal faith, but to encourage others to do the same. This life is not just about our happiness, but rather, it is about bringing God glory. That's tough because I know I am not the only one out there who would rather just be "happy" all the time. Looking back over some of the struggles I have endured so far, I can honestly say that I am so grateful for all that I have been taught by God and for all that I have received from God. I would like to think that I am a little more grounded in my faith because of my infertility, and Reagan and Gracen were definitely worth the wait! Today I can say that I would not change a thing. If you are in the middle of a wait, hold on sweet friend. Cling tightly to Jesus Christ. He is your hope. He is your answer....even if His answer is different than what you would have chosen for yourself.

Friday, September 11, 2009

My Apologies

My apologies for not writing a true blog today. I know there will be days where I simply cannot get to it, but I really didn't think it would happen within the first week of starting. Gracen has been pretty fussy today. Maybe her teeth are starting to make their arrival, even though I cannot see anything yet. Who knows? I think she has slept an hour all day and those 60 minutes were spread out across the entire day. I would have preferred a full hour nap, rather than 10 minutes here and there. But, oh well.

I will share a quick funny. This morning Reagan asked me, "What is an Ethiopian?" I am assuming her question is from the Bible story about Philip sharing the gospel with the Ethiopian eunuch...but who knows. I told her that an Ethiopian was a person from Ethiopia, just like she lived in America, which made her an American. I gave her several other examples....Asian-from Asia, African-from Africa, Mexican- from get the idea. She looked real confused at first and then smiled and said, "And when you're in Target you are a Target-er." All I could do was laugh and say, "Yep! You got it girl." Out of the mouths of babes. I guess I'll try another history lesson in a few years.

I have a pretty busy day tomorrow too. I am one of the hostesses for Kimberly Collier's shower and have to make lots of chicken salad sandwiches in the morning , then get myself ready (all while taking care of both kids while Gene does yard work), and then the shower is from 2:00 to 4:00. When I arrive home Gene will be asking, "What's for dinner?", then bath time for the kids, and bedtime. I will try to get back in a bloggy groove on Monday.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

So Proud

Reagan is growing up so fast. She just started our Awana program at church called Cubbies and she absolutely loves it. She has been eagerly waiting for her Cubby vest and bag because she has seen all the big kids wearing this at church on Wed. nights. Well, you just don't get a vest and bag. You have to memorize the Cubby key verse (1 John 4:10), Cubby motto (Jesus loves me), and 2 others verses (Romans 3:23 and Romans 5:8). I was told that it could take several weeks for the children to learn their verses and just keep working on them. Last week was the first week of the program, and she had learned her Cubby key verse and the motto, which she recited to her leader. She wanted her vest and didn't understand that she had more to learn first. Needless to say she was a little disappointed when she left church last week. Well, we have worked on all 4 verses each day and she recited them all to her Cubby leader last night. When I picked her from class she came running to me and said,"Look Mommy! I got my vest, I got my vest, I got vest!" She was ecstatic. She was literally dancing in the hallway of the church. She ran up to several people and showed them, beamed as she told her Daddy, and even ran up to our pastor, Bro. Glenn and shared the news with him. I was so proud of her. As soon as we got home, she wanted us to take a picture of her wearing her vest....which I am sharing with you today.

If you know Reagan, you know that she has such a joy for life. Her face beams with the smallest accomplishment. She is happy all the time and she gets so excited over the smallest things. In the mornings she looks out the window and says, "Look mommy, it is a brand new day. Isn't it a beautiful day?" It can be raining and she will say that. I wish I had her perspective. I wish I could recapture that simple joy just for life even when it is raining outside. I tend to focus on the negative more than I should....immediately thinking that the rain will just ruin my day, my plans. God wants his children to have joy, joy that comes from Him, joy that is full, joy that shows in our everyday lives, no matter what we are going through, a joy that makes other people ask what we have that is different. I pray to focus on all the good things that I have, to focus on my good health, the health of my children, my loving family, the ability to stay home with my kids, the home that we live in, cars that are paid for and still run, etc. etc. etc. Lord convict me when I start focus on what I don't have, what I want, what I "deserve". Renew my joy just for Life.

Another lesson learned from my child.....they just keep coming.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I think one of the most frustrating things about being a mom is the loss of any time for yourself. I love to read and I love Bible study. I remember the mornings before children...I could easily spend 2 hours doing on-line Beth Moore studies, etc. I had a great prayer time and felt ready to conquer the day. I love my girls, but man, I miss that so much.

I have really been struggling with having a "meaty" quiet time. Not only for myself, and my family, but the college girls I teach as well. I want to be able to give to them out of the overflow of my own heart. I want them to see a passion in me for God and His word, not a worn out mommy! You'll remember that I determined to start getting up at 5:00am to get my quiet time in.....NOT because I felt like I had to do it and check it off my to-do list, but because I truly desire that time with God. Well, this week, both of my kids have decided to start getting up earlier. Reagan has been consistently getting up before 6:30 and Gracen was up at 6:00 yesterday and 5:20 today.......5:20.....are you kidding me? It is like I have a radar on me and when my feet hit the floor, they know it. Well, I cannot get up before 5:00am, so I am frustrated. I want God in his sovereignty and His unlimited power to make my kids sleep. Is that too much to ask, really?

I think I just feel a little "dry" because of the season of mothering that I am in. I have missed the last 3 or 4 worship services or at least most of them because I am in the breastfeeding room nursing Gracen, and even in my own car, I miss singing along with my praise and worship music because Reagan is listening to a CD or watching a movie or just talking.....not to mention when Gracen starts to cry.

This morning after dropping Reagan off for preschool, Gracen fell asleep in the car and I dug out one of my old Jeremy Camp CD's. I started listening to the words as I drove home. I couldn't help but sing and as I did, my eyes just filled up with tears. Read the words below:

As I stand here in your presence
Of Your beauty I will always stand in awe
I reach my hands out to the heavens
And I lift my voice to You alone
As I bow my head before You
I lay my burdens down at your nail pierced feet
Every ounce of you radiates Your glory
With You I know that I am complete
And I sing, Hallelujah, You are my God, Maker of the heavens
Hallelujah, You are my Lord
I bow before your presence

There are a few more verses, but they are repetitive in nature, so I think you get the idea.
Let me stress that I am so thankful I am a mother after 10 years of desperately wanting a baby. Before children, the house was so quiet, too quiet really. But now, I am trying to figure out how to balance it all and still have those quiet moments with God.

Psalm 42:1 "As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God."
I am discovering the true meaning of this verse. The deer depends on water and so I must depend on God. I am thirsty and can't seem to fill my cup. I need some encouragement from other mothers. How did you survive during the season with little ones?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Foot in Mouth

Who really wants to share about their faults? I don't, but I really put my foot in my mouth and Gene felt the lesson was blog worthy. Easy for him to say, right? It wasn't his mistake. Anyway, this past Sunday morning, we were close to loading the car to head to church and Reagan starts going on and on about needing to take a Bible. She specifically wanted an extra Bible that Gene keeps at home. In all honesty, I didn't know where the Bible was, the search for the little black Bible would make us late, I didn't feel like looking for it, nor did I want to keep up with it at church. I mean I have enough stuff to carry with 2 girls, their bags, and my own stuff. Her rantings continued for several minutes, which felt like an eternity, and to end the conversation, I said, "Reagan, you don't need to take a can't even read it!" I know, horrible right. Her whole countenance fell. I knew I had hurt her feelings, telling her she could not do something. She looked at me with a very hurt expression and said, "The Bible is about God, and we are going to church where we learn about God.....and anyway, my teacher will read it to me." Of course, she said it in her 3-year old voice with some pauses in between. Yes, I felt terrible. Here I am, a minister's wife and I am discouraging my daughter from carrying a Bible to church.

I remembered that I still had a brand new white Bible that she received for her Baby dedication in her closet. I apologized to her and said that I had a special Bible just for her. She was thrilled with it and said, "Oh, it's so pretty and I know Esther is in there." (She has developed a fascination with the story of Esther....ask her and she tell you about her) Anyway, I sat down with her and found the book of Esther and turned down the corner of the first page so she could find it later.....and yes we were late for church.

When we arrived at church and entered her class, I was still thinking that she didn't "need" the Bible and it was something else for the teacher to keep up with. I was just about to apologize to the teacher for bringing "something else" when she said, "Oh Reagan, you have your Bible today. Let's put it with the others and then we will get it out during our story time." It was like salt in the wound. I really thought Reagan would be the only one with a Bible, but no, she was probably the only one without a Bible. I know, I know, horrible. Here I am a minister's wife and I haven't been sending a Bible with my child to church. I did talk to the teacher about it later and she said that even though they don't read from their Bibles, they do need to get in the habit now of bringing it to church. How true!

All I can say is that I am learning on my first child. Gracen is just 4 months old and I think I'll start putting her little white pocket Bible in her diaper bag now.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

I am already seeing a beginning to Reagan and Gracen's "sister" relationship. It is so sweet. When I place Gracen in her Bumbo or her bouncy seat, Reagan just has to sit down beside her to "chat", as she calls it. She gets right in Gracen's face and says, "I'm your big sister," "You love your big sister, don't you?", "Here is sister!", etc. She says these phrases over and over again. It is cute to watch. Gracen is probably thinking, "I know who you are and get out of my face."

Reagan made Gracen laugh first, even though I tried and tried. Reagan was dancing in front of her, singing and doing jumping jacks, and all of a sudden, Gracen gave the deepest belly laugh. It surprised me and Reagan. Reagan continued her show and Gracen continued her deep little laugh, and I just about wet my pants from laughing at the two of them. One of those moments I wish I had on video. I wish it could always be this sweet. No sibling rivarly, no jealousy, no fighting, just love, smiles, and giggles. A mom can dream right?

I do pray for a close, loving relationship between the two of them. All of my childhood memories involve my sisters in one way or another. I love them both and cannot imagine my life without them.

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Good morning all! I love the mornings. The house is so quiet and still and smells of fresh brewed coffee. I love reading my Bible and talking to God in prayer. I have asked God over the last couple of weeks to give me a greater portion of himself and I am so thankful that He is answering that request. I have felt a disconnect from Him over the last couple of months because I haven't been as consistent in my daily time with Him due to Gracen's is all her fault really. At the end of my pregnancy, I just didn't feel good and really couldn't get up early and couldn't seem to concentrate on what I was reading. Then with Gracen's entry into our home, I was up every couple of hours at night and keeping up with Reagan and Gracen during the day. Needless to say, a quiet time didn't happen. If I found a "quiet moment" I fell asleep. So I guess the distance I felt was bound to happen. The old saying is if you feel distant from God, He is NOT the one who moved. Now that Gracen is sleeping through the night consistently, I am working on that regular time with Jesus. Like I said yesterday, I need it. And trust me, my family wants me to have it too. I am much more patient and loving when I invite God into my day.

I have been convicted about the prayers I pray for my children. It is my responsibility to pray over the 2 girls that God has entrusted to me. Who else will consistently pray for them, besides Gene, if I don't do it. This week I read a devotion about a mom who was saved later in life. She also had 2 daughters, both of whom were in their 20's when she became a christian. One daughter was addicted to drugs and the other daughter became pregnant at 19 years old. She made the comment that she wonders how differently things would have turned out if she had become a Christian earlier in life and if she had prayed over her girls every day...if she had prayed about their friends, their decisions, their futures, etc. Prayer matters and I want to be a mom that prays over my children. I have made a list for each daughter where I am praying about things for each them, starting with their salvation, the most important thing. I am praying for their health, their safety as they play, their current and future friends, their current and future teachers, that they both would honor and respect those in authority over them, that they will hate sin, that they will be caught when they are quilty and learn a lesson, that they will remain pure until marriage, for their futures spouses, that they will totally submit to God and bring Him glory........etc., etc. etc. This kind of prayer takes some time. Time that I am trusting will pay off in the future.
James 5:16 says, "The prayer of a righteous man (or woman) can accomplish much." I am trusting that my prayers are being heard and I will see the fruit from my prayer time years down the road.

I am making a new prayer book this week...a new way to organize my prayer list. I'll share it at our momMEtime meeting on Sept. 17th. Maybe it will be a format that will encourage you as well.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Here We Go

So many people have asked me to write a blog...old friends that I don't see very often, family members, other moms in my mommy group, and college girls in my husband's ministry at I am going to give it a try. I don't really know where to start or really what I have to say that might be of any interest, but I guess everyone feels that way about themselves. I love reading blogs. I have many blogs saved on my "Favorites" that I read every single day. Some are inspirational in nature and some allow me to keep up with family and friends. I love reading those that challenge me in my walk with Christ and inspire me to be a better mother. Regardless of their content, I get something out of each one of them and look forward to reading them, so hopefully, you will feel the same way about reading mine. I cannot promise I'll write something everyday, but I'll do my best.

Right now I am struggling with my personal quiet time. I have a 3 year old and a 4 month old and it is harder to find that time to spend with God with two children. With one child, it was easier. I could have that daily time with God before she woke up in the morning, which was 8:00, or during her nap times. With two children, there is so much more to do and I can't seem to get their nap times together. I really like the early morning time. There is nothing like drinking a cup of coffee and getting into the Word, but I don't like getting up too early. I have been getting up at 5:30, spending some time with God, showering at 6:00, getting Reagan up at 6:45, nursing Gracen from 7:00 to 7:40, getting Reagan ready for preschool from 7:40 to 8:05, and we hit the door running at 8:10. After this, the day doesn't slow down and nap times are sporadic, at best. Thirty minutes with God just isn't cutting for me, so I am going to try to start getting up at 5:00 starting tomorrow. I want an hour with God, I need an hour with God, but can I get up at 5:00....really? I don't know. Isn't part of the beauty of being a stay home mom sleeping in a least that is what I thought until I became a stay home mom.
I am going to ask God to help me spring out of that bed tomorrow, because if He doesn't help me, it won't happen. My husband is such an example to me. He is up every morning spending that time in the Word and in prayer from 5:00 to 6:30. I am scared to tell him to drag me out of the bed because he will, literally!
Psalm 5:3 "In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch."
In the morning my mind is clear, I can focus on God, and I can commit my day to Him. I hope each one of you has a regular time with God. That regular communication with Him is so important. Leave me a comment and tell me about it. I could really use the encouragement.