Sunday, December 26, 2010

A White North Carolina Christmas

Grandpa and Grandma's home sweet home

My sweet dad and mom...Grandpa and Grandma

The beautiful backyard

I went out this morning to take pictures of the winter wonderland and daddy caught me. He was busy taking pictures of me taking pictures...

catching snowflakes on his tongue

J and Kase

Graham has had yet another ear infection...we had to call in more medicine on the way to NC but the poor little guy is getting better...

These little red boots were first Leah's then Kristy's and then mine....then they were passed down to the grandkids.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

...where people live....

The Lord has opened up some doors for me to teach the Bible to a local Boys and Girls Club in a government housing project in our area. Last year I was able to tutor some of the teens in math and English, praying and hoping that one day it would open the doors for the teaching of God’s Word to them. This past year it has transitioned into teaching the Gospel of John right there in the club to the teens. We have been working with the teens for over a year now, but over the last months the Lord has put on my heart the younger kids as well. The Lord again opened that door and I began a reading time with some of the younger ones. I was reading to the 4-6 year old class The Jesus Storybook Bible this past week. After reading I was trying to emphasize that the earth’s not perfect because sin. And we all have sinned. I was asking the kids how they knew the world wasn’t perfect. Hands flew up…one of the little girls somewhere from age 4-6 told me she knew the world wasn’t perfect anymore because “some bad guys came and shot my cousin and killed her.” Her response just keeps coming back to me and hitting me…I guess mainly because it was such a young girl. One of the young girls there had seen her mom get shot. It’s just so obvious that the world is not perfect. There’s so much need. There’s needs across the world, but there’s need right down the street too. Many times we spend money going hours and hours away to places to share Christ’s love when we neglect to live that kind of lifestyle right here in our own neighborhoods and cities. I don’t want to miss either one. I’m thankful I have such examples in my life. One of my favorite passages of scripture is Is 58.

“….to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free and break every yoke….
sharing your food with the hungry
and to bring the poor and homeless into your house,
to clothe the naked when you see him
and not to ignore your own flesh and blood...
Then your light will appear like the dawn
and our healing will quickly appear.
Your righteousness will go before you
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer…he will say: Here am I.
If you get rid of the yoke from those around you,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
and if you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like noonday.
The Lord will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
Some of you will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age old foundations;
you will be called the Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorers of streets where people live.” (NIV and HCSB)

I desire that "spent" life. God’s got His work cut out for Him when it comes to me, but I’m so thankful for the many promises that He has for me. That’s another entry- but I’m just left trusting that He will do what He says He will do in my life. His word never fails. No matter how many times I fall and fail, His Word stands strong.

In thinking of the plight of people right here in our own nation, the people right down the street, the people we may know, the people we may ignore…the poor…the needy, rejected, the lost…I can’t help but to think of the relationship between the rich, meaning the rich in Christ- all those who have been given the greatest wealth of all, and the poor, needy. I wonder if part of the problem is that we don’t see them. Is seperation part of Satan’s strategy? We are so separated from the plight of the poor right here in our own backyard. We live away from “them”, we stay away from “them”, we definitely don’t invite them home to be with us, we walk on the other side of the street so many times…I wonder if we have somewhere lost the sight of how God pursued us. I can picture Christ pursuing us a Prince pursues His precious Bride. How in an adventure story the Hero rides off on his horse to rescue the beloved…leaving all behind for the adventure that awaits him. What a beautiful scene. So who are we pursuing? Seeking out? Maybe just in prayer right now….maybe we can have the privilege to cry tears for someone before we even know them…asking God to reveal Himself to them and do a mighty work in lives around us. Waiting and watching. Waiting, in the divine action of intercession, before we see the Work of God around us. Waiting in divine expectation- ready to move about or speak out. Maybe the person we’ve been sharing the love of Christ with just needs to hear the gospel explained. Sure we can share Christ’s love with someone without ever saying a word, but there comes a time when we have to say, to tell, to share with words- Jesus Christ.
One of the things I am praying for right now is one specific little girl and boy that the Lord has laid on my heart. I started praying for a chance to meet their mom and several weeks ago I was able to meet her in passing- at first she looked a bit confused on who I was and why her little ones knew me, but she knows my name and face now. It’s so fun to see how the Lord works- not my working- His working and just our willingness to listen and act on command…or on whisper!

Another thing I have been pondering right here in America is the wealth even that some of the poorest have…at least in comparison to the poor in other countries. As I have prayed, I understand that there is need that has to be met by the means of money, but what many people lack most, even the poor, is just plain old intimacy. I think of John 15 and the Master Gardener. I often think of His hands, a gardener’s hands are rough, dirty, nothing glamorous. I think about how a gardener often has to pull up old stuff, get down deep into the soil, not be afraid to get down on his knees and work hard, sweat and get a little messy in the process. I am so thankful that the Lord has gotten down deep into the soils of my soul and heart. That He hasn’t left me on my own, but that He has gotten His hands dirty with all the work He has had to do and still has to do with me. Now imagine those same dirty Hands as the Hands of the King. And so many times, I am afraid to just go a little bit deeper…it may get too dirty…. In John 11 we see Martha telling Jesus that the stench of Lazarus’ four day dead body would be horrible at this point, but Jesus wasn’t scared away by the foul odor. The reek of a four day old dead body didn’t hinder him. The stench just didn’t bother Christ. Will I be able to stand the stench? He does- so I think I should too. If I love Him, I will follow Him. I was thinking of something more that we could do for this one specific lady that we have grown to love….this lady gets help for essentials- in comparison to other countries she is doing pretty well. As I prayed the Lord seemed to whisper the word intimacy. Deeper intimacy. Deeper still. Love like Christ loved me-He looked beyond the ugliness, the filth, the stench, the very things that God hates He looked beyond when He pursued me. And He didn’t just stop when things got a little “too much”…He always keeps on…going deeper and deeper. He loves me no matter what. And oh how that makes me love Him more! Sin doesn’t increase, love increases with that kind of love. I love that kind of love! Who wouldn’t? Not just a gift. But a life shared. A gift implanted. A life planted. Even with the worst. Because at one time I was the worst. I was the enemy of God. He loved me and died for me while I was a sinner. While I was filthy, nasty, lying and playing in my own sin. And He continues to pursue me when I fail. He doesn’t give up on me. I am so overwhelmingly thankful He has not given up on me. I would have given up on me. But, I pray that He never will. I cling to the promises that He never will. I memorize, meditate, recite some of those promises that He won’t give up on me. I can put all my weight on those promises. I think at times I do give up on me, but He doesn’t. And He won’t. Wow. That’s exhilarating. And at the same time it gives me rest.

I look around at some of my friends here, at some of my friends in other places of the country and world, and then I look at our families… We have been so blessed with examples and relationships that bring us closer to the heart of God….the Lord continues as He always has to love on people through His people. God’s people willing to get dirty in the lives of others just as God Himself has had to reach down and get deep into our own lives. Not just a handout, not just money thrown their way, not just a moment of thought…but real, real intimacy. Intimacy that says I’m not afraid of how dirty my hands will get, I’m not afraid of the work it will entail (it’s not my work anyways- It’s God’s work; His yoke is easy the burden is light.) An Intimacy that just says that I’m not afraid of the stench. (That’s something that we all need, huh?) A people who aren’t afraid of a life that has not yet been touched by God’s saving grace. Why would we back down from that invitation? Oh that we would not love our lives so much as to shrink from death (Rev 12:11). Death is the only way resurrection life comes.
Hope given and Light breaks forth. Noonday.

Sunlight through a window. A Door of Hope.

I just want to add on the reminder that God is a prayer-answering God. I once heard the pastor of Brooklyn Tabernacle preach while I was at Liberty University- I don’t remember much from that sermon but I will always remember that he kept saying to “pray through.” To pray until we see the answer- maybe not always the answer we wanted, but to always, always be praying. Always be praying. Oh that I may not ever waste a day without prayer. To walk in prayer, to live in prayer, to love in prayer. I wish I could sit down with all the followers of Christ and hear all the answers to prayer and all the stories of how God works…I just love hearing how great our God is amongst us normal, ordinary people. My sister and parents with a group from their church just returned from Jamaica a couple of weeks ago…I love to hear them talk about how God has miraculously worked on behalf of the people there…I can’t wait to sit around the living room and hear more stories and look at pictures of God’s workings in a little place called Canterbury in Jamaica. Maybe that’s something we will do in heaven- we can all just share those stories with one another…maybe around the table of the marriage feast of the Lamb…At the end of our lives, may we all have stories to share…all to the glory of the Father. I wonder what our stories will be….

Monday, December 13, 2010

A wonderful Thanksgiving!

My sister and her kids got to come for Thanksgiving! We had such a wonderful time!
The favorite thing was walking to the creek...and in the creek! We love going here on pretty's just a couple of minutes from our house....

Kase and J got deep!

Pretty Kali

I thought this was sweet of Kobe helping little Hud

Kobe and Graham

oh boy.... Wild man Graham

Working out!! He's big stuff! ha!

Dress up with five boys was a bit interesting....

We had so much fun with you guys! Wish you could've stayed another week or two!! Come back soon!!!!!

Last soccer pictures....

I enjoyed seeing J make some of those same memories I have of soccer in the rain....we had such a blast! The season is over now and we are looking forward to next year!

He scored three again!

Wet but happy!!

Friday, November 26, 2010

I CANNOT believe it!!!



The Lord listens. Hut had been saying that he wanted a dog. David said with a laugh "I don't think so". We happened to see a labradoodle out walking one day and David said, "If we were to get a dog, we should get that kind." I said, "Huh." The next week we go to NC. I realize the assistant pastor's wife at my dad's church raises and sells goldendoodles(half golden retriever, half poodle). I laugh and think, wow- if we could get one of those. But, there are no puppies. I tell her that we will be praying for a big litter this year. Hudson is really wanting a puppy. We go and play with the other dogs at Kellie's house. Hudson is now really wanting a puppy. We go to sleep that night in NC and this is when the story gets sweet. I have a mental picture imprinted in my memory of Hudson closing his eyes, bowing his head, and squeezing his hands together...he concentrates and prays slowly..."Jesus, thank you for all the puppies. Can I have one?" Next morning my sister, Kristy, gets a phone call from Kellie. "Have ya'll been praying for a puppy?" Long story short, but a pastor in the area had bought a puppy the day before and realized how much work little pupps were (He already had one godlendoodle). He took the dog out for a walk and prayed about what to do. Through a series of events, he calls Kellie and asks if she knows of anyone who would want a goldendoodle puppy. She calls us. We go pick up the puppy and fall in love. Now we can introduce you to the other girl in our family. We call her Lina for short. I love this story, it's just so amazing how God is- his character. He is strong enough to crush a nation. His wrath is very real and very evident. His strength is stronger than the mightiest ocean storm. His power is uncalculable. Lightning, earthquakes, oceans obey Him. Everything under His control. Demons shutter. The nations bow. And then He clothes the tiniest of birds. He whispers the wind across our skin. He sees the clenched hands of an almost three year old. He hears his little voice. If you are still reading this, maybe He is wanting to whisper to you that He cares. He really does care. And He is listening. He is powerful, yes. But He is also gentle. He is all knowing, yes. But full of grace, slow to anger. He cares. He listens. I am often reminded of the strength of a tree but the genltleness of a spring breeze making the leaves dance. Christ has painted such a beautiful picture of who He is. Everything points to Him. It really is amazing. He cares. Just listen to the birds outside. He cares about the little things.

The first couple of days Hut carried her around everwhere he could.

This was the first time we saw her at Kellie's house.

Soccer is her favorite game!!

Pretending like he's sleeping with Lina.

Several weeks later....she's getting big fast!!! We decided to dress her in one of Graham's shirts...ha

Hudson is THREE!!

Hudson turned three on the 13th!! He is such a blessing to us. He teaches me so much about simply enjoying life. His smile and sweet hugs are one of the sweetest blessings.

This year we "partied with Chuck E" at Chuck E Cheese! We had fun!

My camera was a bit "fuzzy" was on a wierd setting so we didn't get great pics....but there was a few that turned out...

Kent and J

Hut in the "ticket blaster". It was so sweet, he trusted us the whole time, putting on the goggles, stepping into the machine, but it only lasted a second or two once the tickets started flying around....and he was done!!

So Greg saved the day and got the birthday boy more than 500 tickets:-)

Not too great of pictures, but we had a great time!


One of the boys' favorite things is getting packages in the mail from Grandpa and Grandma!! They get so excited! He loved his present!

Thank you David!

I am so thankful I am under your leadership and care. I am so blessed to be partnered with you as we walk after our Lord. By His grace, I love you David.

Father King

Graham has been off and on sick for a little while now. First he had a swollen lymph node (Huge!! Biggest thing I have ever seen sticking out of someone’s neck!!) . Right now he has hand foot mouth disease. The poor guy is pretty miserable with all the pain in his mouth. As a mother, we know that we wish we could take the pain away from our little ones- but knowing we can’t, I truly do love taking care of him when he isn’t feeling well. There really is so much joy found in taking care of little ones that are sick. I love it. He is actually still for a moment for me to love on him!! Tonight as I was rocking and singing to him, I found myself stuck on the phrase Father King. I love to talk to God using the using the name Father. I just found myself singing Father King over and over. Father King. Father King. As children of God, our Father is the King. And then as Christ followers, we were rescued by the King! Jesus King! What an incredible wonder! A poor pauper girl rescued by the King! And then adopted into His family so that I may call Him daddy! We are children of the King. Father King. Just meditate on that little phrase and hear what the Spirit has to say to you today. Father King. Father King. Oh that we may truly live like children of the King. As small children, obeying His every word. Following Him wherever He leads. Like a son in his father’s arms, no fear. What do we have to fear? We aren’t in the arms of just anyone, we’re in the arms of the King. Not a king. Not even just a father. But Father King. A pauper in the arms of the King! Isn’t that worth exulting in? And resting in? Trusting in. No fear. Just faith. Father King. What love. What security. Our foundation-our obedience to Him is nothing else but a Rock. We can put all our weight on Him. He can carry us. Maybe we need to jump up in our Father’s lap tonight. Allow Him to sing over us. What joy!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Don't forget Haiti

Please pray for Haiti. I recieved an email from a missionary that serves there routinely with a letter from Senator Bil Frist, M.D. The Senator's letter stated that the Cholera problem is "400% worse than the official numbers reflect." Two organizations (that he mentioned) that are working against the disease in Haiti: Samaritan's Purse and Save the Children. There are many other organizations on the ground fighting the disease that we can be praying for. He said that the "epidemic is larger than previosuly thought or reported, we are drastically underequipped to deal with it, and it's moving fast." I talked to a Haitian friend of mine that lives here in the states but who has family back in Haiti, she also was alarmed and asked for us to pray. I can see the faces of the people there, smell the air, feel the heat, and my heart goes right back to Port-Au-Prince to those precious children; God's children there in Haiti. Please pray for them. All kinds of evil flow out from the heart of Haiti, but we must not forget God's people that are also part of that country. Please pray for them.

Imagine this scene: "After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands....They fell down and worshiped God..." Rev. 7:9

There is a time coming when no man can work but while we are in this world, we must be the light of the world (John 9:4,5). Right now we have the privilege of working on behalf of God's people; His children. Beth Moore has said that "we need more Christians with carpet fibers up their noses." We have the privilege to pray for these precious people. A time will come when we no longer will be praying for them, but we will be together in paradise, praising our Lord, side by side before the Lamb, worshipping as one. I love the scene. But our time here is short, let's not miss out.

"Therefore turn thou to thy God: keep mercy and [justice] and wait on thy God continually." Hosea 12:6

This morning I find myself back in that little upper room of the orphanage. We were kneeling beside baby Melissa's bed with the other young girls. Melissa is gone now, the Lord decided her fight on this earth was over. But the other girls are there. They are in that little room, probably right now as I type this morning. Real people. Real children. Just like ours. Just like ours. They are His children. Our Father's children. Our family.We were reading scripture to the girls around Melissa's bed and one of the young orphan girls read her favorite chapter to us: Psalm 4. I can hear her sweet little voice in my head and heart. Oh that this will be our prayer! Please take a moment and pray through this portion of Scripture.

Psalm 4
"O Lord, how many are my foes!
How many rise up against me!
Many are saying of me,
'God will not deliver him'

But you are a shield around me, O Lord;
you bestow glory on me and lift my head.

To the Lord I cry aloud,
and he answers me from his holy hill.

I lie down and sleep;
I wake again because the Lord sustains me.
I will not fear the tens of thousands
drawn up against me on every side.

Arise, O Lord!
Deliver me, O my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
break the teeth of the wicked.

From the Lord comes deliverance.
May your blessing be on your people."
Psalm 4

"But they are your people, your inheritance that you brought out by your great power and your outstretched arm." Dueteronomy 9:29

The missionary in Haiti reminded our team to be in special prayer for the christian leaders there in Haiti. My heart normally goes straight to the children, but the Haitian pastors, leaders, and adult church body need our earnest prayers as well.

"When you have eaten and are careful not to forget the Lord your God...You may say to yourself, "My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me." But remember the Lord your God who gives you the ability to produce wealth...There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded..." Duet. 8:10, 11, 17, 18; 15:11

Friday, September 24, 2010

It's all about Him.

Have you ever thought about how your footprints in the sand disappear when you are walking in the water. You might see them for a second, but soon they are washed away by the water. Wouldn’t this be wonderful in our Christian life? Oh how I desire it. That my tracks would disappear. It’s a sweet reminder that when I walk in the water of the Holy Spirit, people won’t see my tracks, but instead they will only see the faithfulness of the tide. Or in the spiritual metaphor- faithfulness of the One who brings the tide. What a beautiful scene. Exulting in His work. Forgetting about one’s self. It's not about me. It's all about Him. Matthew 6:1 (MSG) "Be especially careful when you are trying to do good so that you don't make a performance out of it. It might be a good theater, but the God who made you won't be applauding." Revelation 5 foretells of a song we will be singing to Him one day: "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever. " We might as well start our anthem to Him today, let's not wait for that day. Let's sing it today. Not just with our mouths, but with our hearts. With our lives. What if we lived every day with that song in the background? What if it became our breath? What if we could clean house, talk to our children, visit a neighbor, everything- all to that tune? It's all about His Glory. Not my tracks, not my glory. It's not about me, it's all about Him. The reality of the joy of the resurrection came only after a painful death. May He continue to work in us that death- and out of us, His resurrection. May we not shrink from the cross, but embrace it. Can’t you taste that third day? Can you smell it in the air?

Sand Dollars

I am actually looking out over the ocean from our balcony right now. My sweet husband took me to the beach for the weekend to celebrate our five year anniversary this past spring. And my sweet mother-in-law (and Mamaw, Pops, and Papa) are watching the kiddos . John David and Papaw might be playing solitaire on the computer right now while I am typing!!

For those of you who know me well, know that I love to walk on the beach. I grab some music and headphones and head out to walk with my Lord. And I enjoy watching people looking for shells, swimming in the waves, or lying out in the sun- just enjoying the beach . I can’t help but to be reminded of the goodness of our God. Although so many laugh and accuse Him, He still allows them to enjoy this place called earth- the works of His very hands. The man basking in the sun, the couple jumping the waves- no matter where they stand with Christ, still finds themselves in some type of grace in this present world. I am reminded of His love filled attitude towards the people He stood in front of before he was crucified. And then the words of Christ on the cross, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Can’t you hear the love in those words? Grace. Grace is all around us here on this earth. I once heard the statement, “Either this present earth is as close to hell you will ever get or its as close to heaven as you will ever get.” Praise the Lord, He is calling people out, clothing them with His righteousness and preparing a place for them. Grace.

As I was walking today, I kept coming across pieces of sand dollars. It was amazing how many of these pieces I saw. Maybe I just overlooked them before in my pursuit of trying to find something else. I picked up as many as I could, but soon I couldn’t hold them all. I was sweetly reminded of Christ coming for the broken. How He walked the sands of this life looking for the broken. Remember the story of the fishermen who had come back in from a day of fishing without any catches? Jesus spoke to Simon and told them, "Put out into the deep and let down your nets [again] for a catch." This story brings joy to my heart this afternoon. A teacher of mine has reminded me, “What God initiates, He anoints.” When Christ tells you to “drop the nets” and you do it where He said, he provides the fish. Remember how the story goes? It’s in Luke 5. Simon tells Jesus that they have been toiling all night and have caught no fish, but that he will do what He says (I can almost hear myself in his response, “Lord, seriously I have already done that).But, they go out and drop their nets. After their obedience, their nets begin to break…there is an overload of fish. (I think the miracle occurring after their obedience is a very important to note, since some blessings are very much a direct result of our obedience- check out James 1:25. ) The fish begin to overflow and they shout for a second boat to help. Soon both boats begin to sink with the enormousness of the catch- Simon falls to Jesus’ knees, realizing who he is and who He is in front of him. Jesus responds, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men." I wonder if sometimes we go out looking for something specific- we walk and we are looking (perhaps even toiling), but we catch no fish. But like in the story, can’t you hear God telling us to drop our nets again. Don’t you think we should obey Him? Just maybe when we do, our response will be something like Simon’s. I wonder too- if He is reminding us to look for the broken. If we are to be fishers of men, it might be smart to follow the Master Fisherman. So- where do we see Jesus dropping His nets? Among the needy. "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners" – Jesus words in Mark 2. In Luke 4 we see Jesus opening up the book of Isaiah and finding the place where he wanted to read. What did he read? He read, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He appointed me to preach the good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery for the blind, to release the oppressed...” (Luke 4:18, where Jesus is quoting Isaiah 61:1). We sing songs and pray prayers for the Lord to come and meet with us. I wonder what would happen if we would really listen... if He is telling us instead to “go” be with Him? Why don’t we listen, watch, and then go out and meet Him? But where is He? He must be with the broken and the weak- the needy. And who knows, maybe that’s your neighbor. Even your rich neighbor. Maybe that’s the lady in the line behind you. Just maybe it’s the kids in that neighborhood on the other side of town. Maybe it’s the person in your own house. Maybe the man you pass everyday on the way to work. Or maybe the older widow in that house you keep thinking about it. Do you hear his whisper, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch." Where’s your deep?

Ephesians 2:14-16 (MSG) “He tore down the wall we used to keep each other at a distance…Instead of continuing with two groups of people separated by centuries of animosity and suspicion, he created a new kind of human being, a fresh start for everybody. Christ brought us together through his death on the cross. The Cross got us to embrace and that was the end of the hostility.”

Matthew 9:36 “When [Jesus] saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.”

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Go Tornadoes!

J's season is off to a great start!! We are so enjoying it!!!

This cracks me up! From Pops, the farthest right, to the farthest left is all there to cheer on little J! He was so excited everyone got to come!
Blair and John David!
J has played three games by now and has scored nine goals!! He's catching on and getting into it!!
This picture brings such a smile! J was so excited to have his "big brothers" cheering him on!
We've been working with these guys for about a year now and each one of them gave their lives to Christ this summer! We serve such a mighty and gracious God! They each are such a blessing to David and I and to our boys! The joy that the Lord has given each one of them brings such a smile to my face....and eyes full of tears too:-)
The Love of Christ....The Gospel....