Monday, August 25, 2008

My Baby Girl

Well, it happened. I became one of those parents who said "it seems like yesterday she was just a baby". I thought that only came from old people, but today, those words left my lips. The words left my lips as tears left my eyes. My baby girl had her first day of high school.

We have spent weeks shopping for the right clothes, the perfect purse, and the coolest backpack. She has spent weeks anticipating this exciting day, as I spent those same weeks dreading it. High school means she is growing up. High school just sounds - well, grown.

I remember when I was in high school. I remember feeling so grown up, so with it, so all together, and so smart. I remember feeling like I knew all there was to know, and that life was just a bowl of cherries waiting to be eaten. Now I look at my baby girl, who has grown up to be a beautiful young lady with a heart of gold, but I still see a little girl. It is hard to accept that she is growing up - especially when just last week she convinced me to buy her a new colorbook and a 24 pack of playdough in great awesome colors! Im getting mixed signals here!

We arrived at the school this morning fifteen minutes earlier than expected, and her friends were not there yet.... so we sat in the parking lot waiting for them.... cursed would be the day that she would walk in alone! As I sat there, watching her call her friends, text her youth pastor, look around at the all the kids walking through the parking lot, and checking her hair in the mirror - I prayed.

I prayed for God to guide her not only through this day, but through the next four years. I prayed for God to protect her until she was able to make good decisions on her own. I prayed for God to keep her safe from harm. I prayed for her to be able to stay strong in her faith, even when all odds are against her. I prayed for the devil to stay far away from her, and for God to put an army of angels around her to shield her from temptations, peer pressure and people who will not have her best interest at heart.

As the time came for her to go inside the school, she suffered through a hug and a kiss from mom, and jumped excitedly out of the car. A smile covered her beautiful face, but I knew that anxiousness, nervousness, fears, excitement and insecurities were raging inside her heart. So I prayed for God to give her a peace to help her get through the day, and He did.

I realized that I cant keep her in my little bubble anymore, even though I would like to. I have to let her live, but for a while I will still have the awesome privilege and responsibility of holding the reigns. For a little while longer, she will still need my hugs, even when she says she doesnt want them. She will still need my love, even when I say no to her weekend plans. She will still need my advice, even though she will think she knows more than me. She will still need my shoulder, when her heart is broken. She still needs her mom, just in a different way.

As I watched her walk into the building, as tall as me, long hair, trendy outfit, all dolled up for her first day of school - fond memories came flooding back. For not that long ago, I had watched her. I watched her walk into her first day of class in her little blue jean skirt, with a purple butterfly on it and a frilly, purple shirt to match. I watched her bend down to carefully tie her shiny new white tennis shoes. I watched her toss her golden curls back and bat her big blue eyes with beaming confidence, as she put away her new crayons and settled into her tiny desk. I watched her wipe away a tiny tear as she waved bye to mom and dad.

But today, I was the one wiping away a tear - but it was a tear of happiness. A tear of joy that God has blessed me with this precious girl, and given me the incredible joy of raising her. A tear of joy for what an amazing person she has become.

My job as a parent continues, but just in a different season now. My job as a parent consists of more than taking care of her needs, but taking of her heart and her soul. I can now not only watch her grow, but watch her grow in Christ. I can watch her not only try to fit in her with friends, but watch her learn where she fits into the kingdom of God. I can watch her find her way, and pray that along the way, she will hold hands with her heavenly father............and if Im lucky, maybe even me.

My Baby GirlSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Share The Virus

We had the greatest experience at church this morning. My church organized a missions weekend, with a dinner last night featuring an awesome singing group from Zambia, Africa, and they also sung this morning for our congregation. It was such a blessing to have them perform for us and share Gods word through the gift of music.

It has been said that Zambia is a country where not much good can come out of it - but this group of talented young men proved that rumor wrong and are a shining light for what God can do even in the worst of circumstances if people are willing to share His love.

In coordination with their visit, our pastor gave a message on the importance of missions. He "spun" his message around an interesting concept - viruses - and I want to share the basic parts of his message with you because it was so interesting!

When we think of a virus, we usually think of something bad, such as germs, illnesses, infections, and yuckiness. But if you think about what a virus really is, it is simply something that spreads quickly through its host, making changes in bodies, and then is easily contagious to others.

Lets look at the Webster definition of a virus:

a: the causative agent of an infectious disease
b: any of a large group of submicroscopic infective agents that are regarded either as extremely simple microorganisms or as extremely complex molecules,that are capable of growth and multiplication
c: something that poisons the mind or soul

Hmmmm... very interesting huh?! I thought so! I have never thought of Christianity as a positive virus, but we can actually apply the above definition to our faith. We want to be a causative agent, causing others to "catch" the vision of a life filled with Christ. We want to help the kingdom of God grow and multiply as a result of our love for Him and sharing our beliefs with others. And although we dont poison the soul, we can penetrate the souls of others by leading them to Christ, forever affecting their mind and their souls for eternity.

The pastor went on to explain that this "virus" crosses all cultures, languages, locations, countries, ages, genders, etc. Christianity is not for one specific group or country, it is for everyone. It is not an exclusive religion, but instead is one that includes anyone and everyone who embraces it with their heart. Therefore it is our calling to spread our faith with everyone we can, in the US but also throughout the world - thus the importance of international missions.

It is our God given duty to spread the gospel to those who have no other way of hearing His word, but just as importantly, we are to share the gospel with those who live in our country, in our communities, our neighborhoods, and our own homes. So many times we try to keep our worship focused in our own churches, denominations, specific worship styles, and our own music and rituals - but its not about us - it is about reaching the lost for Christ. Amen!

He also mentioned that viruses experience exponential growth. If you are like my family, if one person gets the stomach virus, it is only a matter of days before everyone else has it too! Viruses are so contagious! Isnt it awesome to think that we could have that same impact for Christ? If we tell one person, then may tell two people, who might tell three people, who each tell four more people - THE WORD could spread like wildfire!

So many times we may think that we cant make a difference - but friend, we can! God can use even the smallest child to make a difference, but it has to start with a willingness to take that step out of our comfort zone and share His love and His truth with someone in need. Then the rest is up to God - it is His job to grow the seeds, it is simply our job to plant them - to start spreading the virus!

I love the way 2 Timothy 2:2 tells us to act, and here is that verse from The Message Bible:

1-7So, my son, throw yourself into this work for Christ. Pass on what you heard from me—the whole congregation saying Amen!— to reliable leaders who are competent to teach others. When the going gets rough, take it on the chin with the rest of us, the way Jesus did. A soldier on duty doesn't get caught up in making deals at the marketplace. He concentrates on carrying out orders. An athlete who refuses to play by the rules will never get anywhere. It's the diligent farmer who gets the produce. Think it over. God will make it all plain

Isnt that awesome?! We are told to throw ourselves into speaking out for Christ - to spreading that virus, to pass on what we know, to share that hope that each of has tucked away in our hearts. It may not always be easy, but knowing that we could possibly be used by God as His instrument to build an army of leaders is a huge privilege!

Matthew 9:37 says Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.: Sadly enough, even in biblical times, there was a shortage of people who were willing to take a step of faith and be willing to share the truth of Christ with those who were lost or hurting. There are so many Christians in our country, so many wonderful people who God could use to exponentially grow His kingdom - if only they would say yes to be His voice. If only they would be willing to be His hands and feet, to be the salt and light of the earth.

You know, we probably all spread a lot of things every day. Some days we spread happiness and encouragement, maybe even joy and compassion. But unfortunately, there are days when we also spread negativity, discouragement, gossip, bitterness, bad moods, pessimism and a lot of other ugly viruses.

Lets make a choice to spread something good today - the love of a Savior who wants to reach the hearts of every living person - are you with me?

Share The VirusSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Friday, August 22, 2008

Swimming Upstream

Well, summer is almost over. School starts on Monday, and I hope to make the most of the last vacation day with my sweet children - ages 14, 12, and 8. We might go to the movie, do a little shopping, and maybe have one last swimming pool outing.

I could list dozens of reasons why I love summer so much, but if I had to choose one thing that tops everything else, it would be that we can take a vacation from all the "stuff" at school. Although education is a number one priority in my family, I am thrilled every year when school is finally over, and we can enjoy lazy summer days, but most importantly - because we can take a vacation from all the school "stuff" for a few months.

What is "stuff", you ask? It would be things such as: too much homework, stress over not understanding math, problems with friends, problems with boyfriends, trying to make new friends, feelings of not fitting in, insecurities, fashion woes, self image woes, mean girls, uncompassionate teachers, drama, drama, and more drama. Did I say drama yet?

Other fun things in the "stuff" category would include things such as: "All my friends are going to see the rated R movie, why cant I?"; "All my friends get to go to the party, why cant I?"; everybody else has a Facebook; nobody elses mom cares about what they watch on TV, or if they have boys over, or if they wear immodest clothing, or if they stay out late, or if they text all night long.

Sometimes I think if I hear the word "everybody else" one more time, I might explode.

Do you ever feel like you are the only parent in the world who cares about the welfare of their kids? Do you ever feel like you are the only parent who wants to raise their kids with strong Christian values and an understanding of right from wrong? Do you ever feel like the only parent who sets any limitations whatsoever?

Do you ever feel like you are swimming upstream against a current so strong that you are not sure if you can survive? I know I do.

Despite my frustrations, I know that I am not the only parent who cares about the welfare of their kids. I know Im not the only parent who takes their kids to church. I know that most parents adore their children and want to do what is best for them

However, one thing sets parents apart. I believe the difference between true Christian parents, and just parents who are Christians, is that they are not willing to give up the fight just because it would be easier than fighting to the finish.

Nobody likes conflict - especially me! Lets face it, life would be much less stressful, with much fewer arguments, if we didnt care what our kids wore, what they did, where they went, who their friends were, whether or not they use cuss words, go to parties, drink, smoke, and watch whatever they want on television despite the content or the language.

Sometimes it may seem like looking the other way would make life simpler. Sometimes we probably all feel like giving up the fight. But lets ask ourselves - is my childs well being and the stake of their future really worth a little less stress? Absolutely not. Is my child worth the years of effort and frustration and constant teaching, if it helps them to grow into adolescents and young adults who love God and can make good choices as a result? Absolutely.

Proverbs 22:6 says this, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." This is a well known verse by most Christians, but I think it is one taken much too lightly by Christian parents. This verse seems to be viewed as a guideline for Christian parents, instead of a truth that needs to be taken seriously.

Being a Christian parent entails so much more than just taking kids to church or teaching them to pray. Training a child up in the way he should go doesnt stop when you leave the sanctuary. It is an every day battle.

It may even mean being labeled as one of "those" parents.

One of "those" parents who all the other kids think are too strict. One of "those" parents whom other Christian parents think they are taking their faith too far. One of "those" parents who are willing to set boundaries, carry out consequences, and stick to their guns even when it doesnt win them the popularity contest.

I have known many Christian parents whom I very much like as friends, however, I very much disagree with their hands-off parenting style. It seems that often parents take their roles very seriously when the kids are infants, toddlers, and elementary and middle school ages, but when they hit the teen years, and things get a little tougher, they give the kids the steering wheel and take a backseat in their lives.

When the going gets tough, the tough should get tougher. The responsibility of being a parent is not one that stops when the kids get old enough to feed and dress themselves, or even drive. In fact, our role gets even more important as they grow older. Dont you agree?

Unfortunately, the world we live in is not one that promotes the role of the Christian parent. In fact, our society poisons the minds of children starting a young age through the media and social pressures. But our role as Christians, and Christian parents, is to be in the world, but not of the world, and to be set apart - not set aside.

It is our god-given duty to hold the reigns until our children are old enough to make good decisions on their own. We dont have to let our kids do things that we do not approve of, simply because all the other Christian parents are letting their kids do it. We always have a choice - to go with the flow, or stand up for our beliefs.

We all know children are a blessing, but we also need to bless our kids - with the gift of Godly parents. Godly parents that will stand up for their faith, despite the pressures to go with the flow that are inflicted by other Christian and non-believing parents.

Todays definition of "wrong" is much different that what it used to be - in fact, the line between right and wrong is so blurred, kids today are confused! As Christian parents, we can help clear up the confusion by training our children in the way they should go, even when it is not fun.

Being a Godly, Christian parent is not a suggestion --- it is a biblical command from the creator of heaven and earth. Yes, it would be much easier to swim with the current, and let the ways of society and the pressures of others guide our kids, all the while asking God to watch over them - but is that really enough? Is the easy road really the best road?

Swimming upstream with so much "stuff" in the water is not easy. Swimming upstream in a society which wants us to think that "anything goes" is a hard swim. Swimming upstream against a culture that promotes everything that God is against is exhausting. But you know what? I believe my kids are worth it. Arent yours?

Take a stand for your faith today by being willing to step up and be the Godly parent that God has called you to be. It will be well worth the swim.

Proverbs 22:6 Point your kids in the right direction— when they're old they won't be lost. (MSG)

Swimming UpstreamSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Praise God!

Great news friends!! After Luann's 700 Club story was shown, the response was amazing. We all knew that Luann's story would affect the lives and hearts of many - but listen to this - CBN emailed Luann and told her that 326 people accepted Christ for the first time as a result of seeing her story! Can you believe it??!!

Before the story ran on the 700 Club, Luann sent all of us at Proverbs an email requesting prayer. It seemed that the mean 'ol enemy was attacking her heart. In anticipation of the show running, she became insecure about everyone knowing her heartbreaking story of abuse and unforgiveness and several marriages.

She began worrying about what others would think about her, and the judgement that could come as a result. We all prayed for her with our whole hearts, that she would have a peace come over her that the devil could not touch. We reassured her that God would use her story in powerful and amazing ways - AND HE DID!

For years I was scared to share my story too. I kept it bottled up inside, allowing the devil to keep me in a constant state of self condemnation and insecurity. I listened to the wrong voice for far too long. I was too ashamed to tell my testimony, scared of the judgement, the gossip, and the pain. But one day I grew weary of running from God, and reluctantly responded to the call.
One day I finally came to a point where I wanted to be used by God, and wanted to see His plan in action. We can always run, but we cant hide from or God or escape His call on our life.

When I finally quit running from what God asked me to do, and took that first little step of obedience, God gave me the courage, the grace, the mercy and the confidence I needed to walk in faith, and not by feelings. God has done miraculous things once I was willing to depend completely on him, just like He did with Luann - just like He can do with you, and through you.

We know that all things work together for the glory of God who are called to His purpose. Do we really believe it?

Every experience you have had in your life - good, bad, or indifferent - has equipped you to say yes to Gods call on your life. The only remaining question is this: will you say yes? Will you be willing to put aside your feelings, and put your faith in control? Will you give God the opportunity to change hearts and lives through a change in your heart and life?

Trust me friend, your story is actually is His story. He has authored an amazing, unique and powerful story in your life. He is simply patiently waiting for you to share it. We are called to be transparent for Christ, and today could be the day for you to get started. Are you ready to be a story teller for Christ?

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you; plans to prosper you and not harm you; plans for a future and a hope.

Praise God!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Friday, August 15, 2008

This Is The Day - 700 Club Show

Friends, if you did not see the 700 Club show today - I want to encourage you to go to this link and watch it! My dear friend and Proverbs 31 sister and team member, Luann Prater, shared her amazing story of forgiveness and redemption. It is such a powerful story, I know that God will change lives and heal hearts through her willingness to be transparent for Christ.

Here is the link:

I pray that God will move in your heart as a result of watching this clip. His plans never cease to amaze me.

This Is The Day - 700 Club ShowSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Make A Joyful Noise

I had an amazing day today. Yesterday I traveled to Lynchburg, Virginia for the Piedmont Community Impact Organization's first annual leadership conference. Some incredibly gifted pastors from around the counrty were present to lead group sessions, and I had the privilege of leading several breakout sessions today for the women in attendance.

But here is the thing.....although I went there to serve, I was also served. I went there with the hopes that God would use me to encourage other people in their journeys of ministry, but I walked away being more blessed and encouraged than I could have imagined. We had some great discussions that the Lord used to help clarify His calling and His will for many of us. You just can't beat sisters in Christ!

Each woman I came in contact with was so sweet, and obviously loved the Lord immensely. Their enthusiasm for God was so contagious, and so uplifting! Even though everyone had their own set of challenges in ministry, we were able to see that God can and does use all things to His glory. With each expression of discouragement, someone in the room could turn it around to help us see it from God's perspective. What a blessing!

I found myself wishing I could bottle up that enthusiasm and passion and bring it home for a rainy day!

The worship style at this conference was much different than what I am accustomed to in my more conservative church, and that made them even more special, exciting and memorable. The pastors let it all out, and God could be felt all around. Nobody held back. Nobody worried about what someone else was thinking. The Spirit flowed, God moved in people's hearts, and the people expressed their joy in the Lord openly, excitedly, and loudly! It was awesome!

What a great example of how we should all worship - with excitement, enthusiasm, passion and power. God adores all types of worship, and thank goodness He did not make us all alike. Whatever way you choose to do it, make a joyful noise today! You just might like it!

Make A Joyful NoiseSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

More Than Crumbs

I just got back today from a wonderful vacation at the beach with my mom, brother and his wife, sister and her husband, nieces and nephews, my husband and kids. We also spent a few days with our best friends of twenty years at their beach house too. We had such a great time!

The vacation was super - however, it came to a screeching halt, as vacations tend to do. We had to hurry and get back today because my son had football practice tonight, and Kaitlyn woke up at 3:30am with a stomach virus (yuck - always the test of true motherly love). I have a million loads of clothes to wash, and have to pack to go out of town tomorrow afternoon for a speaking engagement - so - we are officially and quickly off of vacation and back to reality now. :) Heavy sigh.

But before we left, God spoke something sweet to my heart.

On my last morning at the beach, I had gotten up early for my morning run. As I was running, I caught a glimpse of a few seagulls aimlessly wandering around the beach. I noticed that there were not many seagulls to be found this early in the morning, and then I starting wondering why.

Seagulls are funny creatures. They could smell a potato chip crumb a mile away. You could be sitting there peacefully on the beach without a seagull in sight, and then one kid throws down a piece of crust from their sandwich, and suddenly dozens of seagulls come swooping down from out of nowhere! It is like being in the middle of the movie set for that old awful movie, The Birds!

I thought about how seagulls always stay at a distance, until they want something to eat, or think that someone has something to give them, then they come running - or should I say dive bombing. As that thought crossed my mind, God impressed upon my heart that I am often just like those seagulls.

I could go several days, maybe more than a week I am ashamed to say, without really sitting down and talking with God in focused prayer. I could go days without actually studying His word and digging into the meaning of passages to apply to my own life, never giving Him an opportunity to help me or guide me.

But, oh boy, as soon as something happens that makes me mad, sad, worried, frustrated, confused or upset - I go flying straight over to God, swooping in out of nowhere, dive bombing into His presence and expectantly awaiting Him to give me a profound thought or answer to prayer.

That must disappoint God. He has so much more to give me than mere crumbs that I ask for when I am in times of disappointment or turmoil. I believe that God is always there for me, holding baskets of baskets of delicious morsels meant just for me, but since I do not ask, I do not receive.

I need to focus on the fact that God's wisdom, blessings, comfort, love and guidance are readily available all the time. He is always ready to fill me up with whatever I need. I know He can fill every void or emptiness in me, any hurts or concerns, any frustrations or anxiousness. But I have to ask! And not only when I am hungry for Him to toss me a few crumbs in a time of need.

Have you been keeping yourself at a distance from God, either purposely or inadvertently, and then begging for crumbs from Him when you get desperate? Or are you actively seeking God in your every day life and expecting to be filled to the rim with all He has to give?

I can only speak for myself - but I simply do not want to be satisfied with crumbs! I want the whole basket of goodies! What about you?

More Than CrumbsSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Someone To Hold

I have a very special and most important message to encourage you with today. Just as I mentioned in todays P31 devotion, we all need to know that we are being held by God, and that He is holding our loved ones in His arms during difficult trials.

We also want to know that He is taking care of us, watching over us and meeting our needs. However, sometimes we forget that the way God meets our needs is through other people, not just supernatural miracles.

Have you ever considered that YOU could be the person that God uses to hold one of His children in His love? Let me tell you a story of how God is using me to hold someone special.

Last August, I had the amazing opportunity to visit the city of Quito, Ecuador. I participated in a vision trip with Compassion International, and although I looked the same on the outside when I boarded the plane to come home, I was a completely changed, different person in my heart.

Prior to leaving for Ecuador, I was complaining to my husband about the emerald green carpet in my home. I had chosen that carpet nearly twelve years ago when we moved into our new home, and at that time, jewel colors were the trend. It seemed like a treasure then, now it had become a major thorn in my side. I hated my green carpet!!

Although I complained relentlessly to my husband that I wanted to replace the carpet with a neutral color, he had yet to succumb to my wishes. I knew it was not a completely necessary expense, but it seemed extremely important to me.

It seemed really important, that is.............until I visited the home of Gabriella.

Sweet Gabriella is a child participating in the Compassion International program. She lives in a small mountain town in Ecuador, with her ten family members, including her mother, cousins, brothers and sisters, grandmother and aunt. They all live in a four room dwelling, made of concrete blocks, plastic ceilings, and a hard dirt floor.

(Here is me and Melissa Taylor, my P31 sister, standing behind the family).

Furniture was sparse, and what was there was shabby, broken and falling apart.

The entire family slept in two beds, which were merely a few blankets draped over some wooden slats on a bed frame. One light bulb dangled from the ceiling, which was the only light for the entire home.

The family cooked every meal over a little fire of small logs, which sat directly on the dirt floor in a hole - in the front room INSIDE of the home. A thick hot smoke filled the home so intensely that my eyes burned and watered from the sting. They had a stove, but it was useless, so it was simply used as a cabinet instead.

The children's feet , even those of a tiny three year old little girl, who hid playfully behind a pole while I took her picture, showed skin of tough leather – an obvious sign that no shoes had ever covered their little feet.

Their sunburned faces, dirty noses, taut skin and tattered clothing told a story of a lifetime of poverty, insufficient shelter, hunger, and desperation.

But their hearts showed Jesus.

The mother of this family was so excited we had come to visit her. She could not wait to show us her home, teach us how to pull corn from the stalks and show us how she milked their cow.

She explained through our interpreter that her husband had left her many years ago. Her brother had taken responsibility for the care of she and her family, but unfortunately he had died two years earlier, leaving this large family with no men to help work the fields or provide for their needs. They were doing the best they could with their circumstances.

But their hearts showed Jesus.

The mom explained how God had so blessed their family with this new “home” they lived in. Their other home, which was merely a pile of rubble (pictured below), had caved in on them, barely missing the grandmother who was sitting inside (also pictured below).

As a result, they were left homeless – until Gabriella’s sponsor sent a gift of $400, which allowed them to build their new residence.

But their hearts showed Jesus.

I held a precious little baby boy in my arms who was about two months old. I asked what his name, and was saddened by the response. Apparently the people of this community do not name their newborns, due to the infant mortality rate being so high. Once the baby survives for several months, then they will give him or her a name. That was heartbreaking.

But their hearts showed Jesus.

Not once did I see the mother of this family lose her beaming smile.

Not once did I see any of the children whining or fighting with each other.

Not once did I hear the young daughter, probably nine years old, complain that her back was hurting from carrying the baby in a sack on her back for hours - every day.

Not once did I hear anyone groan about what they didnt have, and I most certainly did not hear anyone complaining about their flooring - despite the dirt and rocks they had to step on in their bare feet every day.

They were excited that we had come to visit and proud to show us the new home God had given them through the miracle of their sponsor. They felt blessed to show us how they made home made grain tortillas, and even more pleased when when we ate them.

Their smiles beamed love and gratefulness for what they did have, not discontent for what they did not have.

And their hearts showed Jesus.

Throughout the week, as I visited several homes of different families in similar situations, my heart began to ache......not only for these sweet people who were happy with so little, but in such need of so many basic things, but because I realized the sourness of my own heart.

I realized the severity of my discontentment, even though God had blessed me more than I could ever imagine.

I realized that as I complained about my plush carpet, they were walking on bare dirt and rocks inside their home.

I realized that as I complained about changing light bulbs, they were so thankful for having one light bulb.

I realized that as I wasted money on frivolous things, they were going hungry that night.

I felt so ashamed for not being content with the enormity of blessings that He had bestowed upon me, and God changed my perspective on life through these precious people of Ecuador.

In prayer, with tears in my eyes, as I lifted up all these sweet families and this country up to God, I asked God to engrave the memories of this experience and these people so deeply into my heart, that I would never, ever forget them and how they changed my heart.

In America, we live in such a self-centered culture. We take things for granted, and are rarely truly thankful for our blessings. We are brainwashed by the media and the norms of our society to try to keep up with the neighbors, get all we can get, do all we can do, make the most money we can, spend as much as we want, and in a nutshell, always strive for more, more, more.

Discontentment seems to be the heartbeat of our society.

But as Christians, we do not have to be like the world........ we can choose to set ourselves apart. It is a choice we have the power to make.

We can choose to allow God to use us to do something incredible for someone else. We can choose to to be Jesus to those who need to feel His arms around them.

If this post today has touched your heart in a special way, God may want to give you a special assignment today - an assignment that could be the miracle for someone less fortunate. An assignment for you to help a child feel held in His arms.

My current God assignment, is named Marlon. Marlon is a five year old little boy, and is my sponsored child. I had the rare opportunity to wrap my arms around him and feel his sweet lips on my cheek during our visit in Ecuador. I met his mom, and wiped her tears as she thanked me for caring about her little boy from so far away. It was the best gift I have ever received.

Are you willing to let God use you to do something amazing for someone else? Are you anxious to be the miracle that a little child is waiting for? Do you have a desire to be Jesus to someone in need?

I want to encourage you today, to consider and pray about sponsoring a child through Compassion International. For a mere $32.00 per month, you can make a life changing impact in the life of a needy child and his or her family. Think about it, for the cost of a few lattes, or one night out at a restaurant, you could improve the lives of an entire family.

Their family will be blessed, but trust me, you will be blessed even more.

It is an blessing for me to be a part of Marlons life, to read his sweet letters, to see the pictures he has drawn, and to hear about his two little brothers. It is an honor that I don't deserve, to be able to help this family put food on their table and clothes on their bodies.

And most importantly - I know that Marlon and his family are learning about Jesus through their involvement with Compassion. Their physical and spiritual are needs being met. That is why every speaker at Proverbs 31 Ministries has sponsored a child, and our ministry also sponsors a child.

If you will take just a minute to click on the link below, you will see pictures of children who are in need of sponsorship right now, today. These are real kids, with real needs. This is real life. They are not just photos on a card. Compassion International is an amazing Christian organization that can help meet the needs of the kids through your kindness and sponsorship.

They need someone to be Jesus to them...someone to hold them from afar.

Could that person be you?

Matthew 25:40 The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

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Monday, August 4, 2008


I stopped at the produce stand this weekend to get some fresh fruits and vegetables. After picking up several yummy items, I decided to get a watermelon. My kids love watermelon in the summer, and sometimes I think I could a whole one by myself!

I took the watermelon home and pulled out a big knife. I carefully sliced it open and the two sides fell apart, and I was shocked at what I saw. I gasped aloud, and my mom yelled over from the living room to see what was wrong. It was bright yellow inside!

A yellow watermelon?? At first I thought it must have looked ripe on the outside, but been unripe on the inside. Then I wondered if some crazy scientist had mixed up the seeds between a watermelon and a pineapple. But I took a chance, and tasted it. It tasted exactly like a bright red juicy watermelon!

For those of you who knew yellow watermelons existed, you probably think I am very silly. But I never even heard of a yellow watermelon, much less seen one up close and personal! The sign on the watermelon stand didnt say anything about yellow watermelons, so I thought I was purchasing a regular ol' red watermelon.

It took a little prodding and convincing, but finally everyone agreed to taste the yellow watermelon, and then, everyone wanted more. It was delicious! In fact, if I closed my eyes, I couldnt even tell the difference!

I thought this was a prime example of exactly how God operates in our lives. (I know, I know... it is amazing how I can turn a little watermelon eating into a biblical thought isnt it? My kids always poke fun at me about that. Smiles.)

But God truly does deal in surprises. We seek out to get a certain thing, we think we are getting what we wanted, and then God surprises us with something even better than we imagined! Something more exciting, fun and fulfilling than we thought was possible?

Obedience to His call on our life is kind of like this, dont you think? We want to obey God, but we are afraid to try to something new. We think we are going down the same old path, but when we begin to lean on God, He throws in a little surprise for us. When we finally trust Him fully and give into His plan for our life, the outcome is so much better than what we thought we would get!

Submitting to God’s will often requires costs or sacrifices, but if we truly trust Him, we will believe in our hearts that He will have something far better for us than we ever expected, or can even imagine. I dont know about you, but I am axiously awaiting for God to throw me a few surprises!

Proverbs 3:5 Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he's the one who will keep you on track. Don't assume that you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil! Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life! Honor God with everything you own; give him the first and the best. Your barns will burst, your wine vats will brim over. But don't, dear friend, resent God's discipline; don't sulk under his loving correction. It's the child he loves that God corrects; a father's delight is behind all this. (The Message)

Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked hard at them and said, "No chance at all if you think you can pull it off yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it."

Surprise!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Friday, August 1, 2008


Whew, it has been a long week. In addition to our normal family chaos of non-stop sports practices, social agendas, work, ministry, and of course drama, we had some extra excitement.

Last week on Thursday night my mother called me with concerns about her right hand being completely numb, and serious pain in her right arm. It had been bothering her for weeks, and it was now a severe health problem.

I rushed over to her house to pick her up and take her to the emergency room, at which time they quickly admitted her within five hours. It was the fastest emergency room service I have ever seen! (Kind of sad to think five hours is quick, huh?!)

After a long week of her being in the hospital, I am thankful to God that she was able to come home today. Her diagnosis was a complete blockage of the artery in her right arm, caused by compression on the artery by an extra rib - yes, I said an extra rib!

The good news is that the doctors know what caused the problem, were successful in cleaning the blocked artery, and regulated her blood accordingly.

Bad news is this - she has to have major surgery in four weeks to have that crazy extra rib removed, otherwise, the compressed artery could potentially get blocked again and rupture. Bummer. She is not looking forward to that and is understandably anxious.

My mom, Barbara, is a beautiful lady, "a picture of youth" as one of my sweet P31 sisters described her. She has a zest for life like no one else I know, and makes it her purpose everyday to help others in any way possible. She is truly a blessing to all who know her. She loves the Lord, and that is evident by the way she lives her every day life. As you can tell, I am her biggest fan!

So, will you please keep her in your prayers? She needs healing in her right arm from the surgery. Also, she is an amazingly gifted, and talented artist, and this injury prevents her from drawing and painting to support herself financially.

She needs angels surrounding her every day as she prepares for this upcoming surgery. It is a serious surgery, in a major part of her chest, which is always risky, but we have faith God will guide the doctors hands and bless her with a successful surgery.

Your prayers and Christian sisterhood mean so much, so please lift her up if you think of her during your prayer time. I truly believe that prayer is the miracle working medicine that she needs right now.

Thank you friends!

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