Bragging on the wonderous works of my God

Posts tagged ‘church’

January Blues

January 1, 2012 – – Well, we’ve reached 2012.  Some would call it a milestone. I just feel like it’s another day.  Yesterday, while I showered and got dressed, I felt the Spirit speaking to me.  I had always wondered what my “fruit” was and yesterday, He told me.  Through teaching my step-daughter about Jesus, she is now actively involved in church and her youngest, Dekoda, was telling my step-son’s girlfriend, Kaitlyn, about Jesus.  How awesome is that?

I was soooo relieved yesterday to hear Beth Moore talk about her “wild man” husband, Keith.  She told us he goes to church when HE wants to.  She couldn’t make him do anything.  But it didn’t stop her from going, of course.

So, I felt like I had been sitting around here wallowing in self-pity for a year, waiting on Hallmark Man to make up his mind.

So, still struggling with the submission thing, I was praying in my heart about church.  I sensed the Spirit telling me to confront Hallmark Man head-on about it.  So, after wrestling with that for a bit, I finally asked him, “Ok. I’m going to ask you a question and I want you to be honest with me.”  He just stared blankly at me.  “Do you want to go to church or do you really just not care?”  I was hoping he would say he didn’t care and I could go back to MY church family.  I didn’t get that answer.  “I want to go to church.  I just haven’t found one I like.”  Well, Lord…now what??  He can’t find one he likes sitting on his butt on Sunday mornings playing video games.  

I can’t just up and leave him(did that for a year) if he wants to go (but I don’t see an effort here).  Why should I be the one to come up with the ideas???  Isn’t HE supposed to be the spiritual leader of the household??  I am the one to submit.  Yet, I am feeling guilty about not being in church.  I miss seeing the same faces on Sunday morning and Sunday night.  Wednesday night always made me uncomfortable.  I don’t know why churches insist on having small table groups and “everybody pray” (awkward) or come to the altar and pray if you feel led (even more awkward silence).  I know typically Wednesday nights are smaller crowds—not even a crowd–should say “group.”   Wednesday nights are hard to get to church. That is when I am usually the most tired.  Half the work week is over and I am ready to sleep.  What is it with Baptists and Wednesday nights???

Ok. I am rambling here but that’s how I feel.  Needed to get that out there.

I know I am losing weight still but feels like it is taking forever.  My leg is better.  I think squatting down to feed the little miniature dachshund behind us has actually strengthened it.

My size 22 black jeans are baggy.  I am thinking about trying on some 20’s at Wal-Mart this weekend—IF I can find any.  I looked before and couldn’t.  I may be stuck with the 22s for a bit longer.  Maybe I can go to the thrift store and find some decent pants to get me through. I hate to pay full price for pants I’ll shrink out of.

You know, maybe I should write in this journal in the mornings. I have more on my mind then.  By the time the evening comes, my mind is toast and I am fighting with my attention to the TV for it.

Next month is going to be hard on Mom.  Their wedding anniversary and the anniversary of his death will be here.  Can’t believe it’s almost been a year since he’s been gone. I miss him, but I know not like Mom does.  She’s all alone.  She needs a dog.  I don’t know what I would do without mine. She is so much company.  I get the attention from her that I don’t get from my husband.  I know he gets jealous of her but she does things that I like to do and he won’t.  Some days I get lonely and I don’t like more than 2 days off.  I can’t stand not having something to do.  I know…I’m weird.

 

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Obedience Equals Joy

Last week, in our latest Bible study, our facilitator encouraged us to journal through the study.    I don’t know about you, but personally, I do not like to hand-write.  If you are a lefty like me, you’ll understand.  It doesn’t matter what pen I pick up, I end up with a smeared page and ink on my hand.  The OCD part of me comes out and it drives me nuts.

Beth Moore’s Bible Study “Stepping Up” is a step-by-step journey to draw us closer to God.   Each day is an exciting experience and I don’t want to forget any of it (but I don’t want to write it down, either).  Can you see my dilemma? So, I’ve decided to journal it here.  Maybe some of you can relate to my experiences. 

One challenge we were given was to lie facedown and surrender to God every morning.  Yes, facedown on the floor.  At first, I thought, “How can this make a difference?  I pray every morning anyway.”  It only takes a few seconds and it feels awkward at first, but after last week, I relish it.  Yes, I’ve gotten up with animal fur stuck to my forehead or in cases when I’ve forgotten about my dog in the room, she’s licking my ear feverishly and whining wondering why I am on the ground like that. 

The body in an posture of surrender seems to make the heart and mind follow.  Let me share  something that happened last week with you.

We were getting low on groceries and didn’t have any money.  I knew at some point that I would be getting either some money or a stub for my property management fees, depending on whether they took out my dues or not for the month.  I prayed silently about that check and how much we needed groceries for the week.  I went to the mailbox Thursday and there was an envelope for me with what appeared to be a check in it.  My heart skipped a beat.  I prayed on the way to the house, “Lord, I’m scared to open it.”  But I thought whether it was $25 or $75, I would be grateful and get what we could with it.  Hands shaking, I opened the envelope and it was for $179.  I squealed and shouted, “Thank you, Lord!”  I was grinning from ear to ear! 

My daughter and I headed to WalMart and I got a front parking space (which is not easy!).  I whispered, “Thank you, Lord.”  I cashed my check and we got groceries.  I had a buggy full.  I got what we needed and checked out at $99.  I was estactic!  I grabbed $20 and put it in my pocket. I promised the Lord I was going to tithe off that money and I couldn’t wait until Sunday to be able to put it in the offering.  This time, I was not ashamed of how much I was putting in.  I realized that pride had been holding me back on tithing off my meager income.  Wondering what people were thinking about my small amount and if I was “tipping” God kept me in a state of pride and I didn’t want to be “embarrassed” so I didn’t tithe.  God was trying to show me the error of my ways.

As we pulled out of the parking lot, I told Lindsay that if we obey God and keep his commands, He will bless us.  She, being in the attitudinal-teenage-phase, snapped back at me, “Mom, just because you do something wrong, doesn’t mean God is going to leave you.”  I patiently explained that I didn’t say that God was going to leave me.  I just said that He would not bless us if we continue to blatantly disobey Him.  We had allowed sin in our lives and God had given me the courage to speak up this week and to stop it.  His Word says that if we knowingly allow sin to continue and do not say anything, we are  equally guilty.  He will not honor or bless that.

Sunday morning rolled around and as usual, I had a mental battle as I got out of bed.  Having some physical ramifications from a surgery over ten years ago, I struggled with pain around 5am and tossed and turned until time to get up.  As I got ready for church, the mental temptations kept barraging me.  “You don’t need to be there. There are plenty of people singing this morning.”  “You need a break.”  “You can just go to church, skip Sunday School.”  On and on it went.  Even the high about tithing had gone away.  But I know, as most of you should, especially if you are a female, you cannot go by how you feel.  You should just do what you know is right and leave the consequences to God. 

After I woke up fully, had my shower and got my coffee, all the while steadily praying about what to wear (another female issue), I got it together and headed out the door. 

As I sang Sunday morning, I felt free.  Free to worship and praise the Lord without the burden of guilt, self-loathing and sin hanging on me.  I sang for Him. 

Obedience equals joy…!

How many parties do you have?

Hunger turned into anger as I stomped through the house last night. No meat. No veggies. No eggs. Basically, nothing to cook. I was eating Ritz crackers and ready to cry. No money either. Finally, I thought of something we could eat: pancakes! We had some mix in the refrigerator. My son graciously cooked them for us and as I sat down to eat, he mentioned that he had the heat on a little to high. I didn’t care as I scarfed them down.

After eating, I glanced at the clock and realized that I was going to be late for our Wednesday night prayer meeting. I ran into the bedroom and quickly changed clothes, brushed my teeth and ran some gel through my hair. “This will have to do.” I thought.  “No make up.  I’m gonna be a scary sight tonight.  Oh well…” 

Driving to church, only ten minutes away, seemed to take forever and I felt like an elephant had sat on my heart.  It was heavy.  I fought tears. I prayed.  “Lord, we are drowning!” 

I came into the back of the chapel as they were singing the last song and was prepared to sit alone.  I wanted to be alone, to sulk, pout and have a pity party alone.  But, my friends saw me come in and called me to their table.  Darn! 

I sat down in that chair as tense as could be and as we sang, I again fought tears.  I took the words of the song, taken from Psalms 119, and put them to use.  “Not to us, but to Your Name be the glory…”   I was not in that church for me, I was there to glorify His name.  The tears that were welling inside, came to an abrupt halt and my spirit lifted as I sang to honor Him. The One who gave His life for mine.

After the message, prayer requests were lifted and our table talked about issues we had and I listened intently as I heard heartache after heartache lifted to God.  One woman was in a bad car accident on Christmas day and lost her daughter.  Another widow suffered in silence trying to raise five children alone in a drafty house without central heat and air. Others were grieving deaths.  Some facing surgery.  Wow…I didn’t say anything at all to my table last night and they noticed and asked if I was OK.  I nodded.  Yes, I am OK.  The Lord has me in the palm of His hand and nobody, nobody can take me out.

I have problems, yes, but not near as bad as others and I should be thanking God that I have a home, hot water, and a family to clean up after.  Instead there are days where I complain because of the mess they make or the house is drafty. 

I am more blessed than the richest person on this planet because I have Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.  I cannot imagine going through life without Him.  He is my Rock.

Oh, the coolest part of my day yesterday?  I met a woman through Facebook who lives in Kenya.  She is a Christian as well.  She sent me a text last night at 1am and mentioned that it was 8am there and wondered what time it was where I lived and how I was doing.  I met a sister in Christ that I will never see this side of eternity. But thanks to the God-given talents of those that invented technolgy that we have today, I have met her virtually.  I just love “meeting” new people. 

Instead of having pity parties, let’s pray for one another.  There is always somebody else worse off that we are at this moment.  We are so blessed. Thank you, Heavenly Father, for Your loving care and watching over our lives.

God’s Providence, Part 2

What changed?  Everything… 

I was brought up in a Christian home with loving parents who sheltered me from the world.  I went to the same school and church for 18 years. My parents were so involved in church. They worked the sound system and got “burnt out” and stopped attending by the time I hit my teen years.  I decided I wanted to go on my own, so Mom drove me to church.  At that time, it was a very legalistic church.  Women were not supposed to wear pants, work outside the home, swim with boys, go to the movies, listen to rock music, etc., etc.   I got sucked into the “all or nothing” of man’s laws.  God’s grace is so much greater, I’ve learned since then. 

I accepted Christ as Savior at a very young age.  But when I graduated from high school, I needed to figure out who I was and what I believed.    I went to another church down the road and within a year, met my future husband. He didn’t go to church at that time, although he professed to be a believer in Christ.  He happened to be living at home with his parents and I remember when I saw him, he took my breath away. 

After we married in 1986, we went to a small church that was started by an former youth pastor I knew.  We stayed there for 13 years. His parents and my parents joined with us because we kept talking about it and how great it was.  I was born and raised in the same home for 19 years.  When my husband and I married, we lived in the same home for 17 years before we moved.  We had steady jobs.  He’s had his current employer for 35 years now.  We just didn’t change much.

But I began to have panic attacks after my son was born. Our great little church, or so I thought, had a magnanimous split that just rocked our world.  We tried to stay on but it wasn’t the same. So we went church hunting for years.  After my daughter was born, we went to the sister church that had split off from our church and ended up leaving there because of some squabble that happened between my stepdaughter and the preacher’s daughter.  We went back to our small church and stayed there another 3 years under a new preacher.  My husband and father worked the sound board while I sang in the choir and sang solos.  We finally ended up moving our membership back to the church  that I grew up in.  It was one of the largest churches in Savannah.  I started singing in the choir and singing solos and the panic attacks hit worse than before.  I had to leave church services and go home crying because I was so upset.  Nothing seemingly set them off.  I finally got help for depression and panic attacks.  I tried to go back to church but I was so embarrassed about my sporadic attendance that we stopped going to church after a while.  Satan will use any tool that will work and he got me good with my mind.  Deception and lies and I fell for it…hook, line and sinker.

My kids just saw that we jumped churches. They didn’t know all of the whys and what happened.  It was a poor testimony to them, regardless of the reason.  And my single regret is that they did not get the lifelong instruction from Sunday School teachers that I did.   I am praying that the Lord will use me now to make up for that neglect.

He is using me and I love every opportunity.  More to come!

Be blessed in the Lord!

God’s Providence

I’ve been known to run from the Lord.  Not literally.  Just in my mind.  Why?  Because I allowed the enemy into letting me fall into the fear trap of what if….

Our church has been going through Beth Moore’s study on the book of Esther.  For such a small book, there is a ton of treasure in it to glean.  One of those treasures is God’s providence, His timing.

I met Lori in June of 2008.  I was working at an open house for Re/Max and that afternoon, she and her husband popped in.  “We need to find a house by next week.” She stated matter-of-factly.  I was floored and excited at the same time.  Wow!  The Lord was truly blessing me but not in the way that I first thought.  Hindsight shows different.

She and her husband immediately began to search for a church home.  We had been in the area four years and had drifted back and forth between looking for a church and going back to Savannah to our home church.  They visited a couple of small churches and ended up going to First Baptist.  We had tried there a few years back but I was not “feeling it” and was not happy with what I had seen during a Christmas program with teen girls on stage shaking their tops.  I was shocked and appalled and decided that was not where I wanted to be.   It wasn’t until she saw the church with fresh eyes and began to share how the pastor preached the Word of God and was dead on, that I began to reconsider.   I really was weary of driving back and forth to our home church and the preacher there had started catering to the younger kids and seemed to drift from just preaching the Word.  I prayed and was impressed upon by the Spirit to cut those apron strings and move on with my life to the one He was calling me to.  My parents and sister attended the home church so that was another tie in that string.  But, in order to fulfill the life God had planned for me, it had to be severed.

As I began to faithfully attend, my husband and kids followed suit.  We re-joined as a family in September of 2008.  I was overjoyed.  My kids were leary because we had changed churches so many times in our lifetime (lots of “reasons”…more on that later).  My son told me that if we stayed at that church, he would come.  My teenage daughter still had a chip on her shoulder and was not happy about going. 

I still held back.  Not sure why except that I was afraid of commitment.  What if somebody wants to see a house and I am in church? What if I don’t want to go to church and just want to relax at home?  I know, stupid….right?  But those were the type thoughts that ran through my mind.  I let them plague me and torment me for a year.

What changed?  More to come. Stay tuned.

Be blessed in the Lord!

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