June 30, 2006

God Doesn't Expect Me to be Nicole Kidman (Urban)!

“Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” --Proverbs 31:30

“Mama, how old are you?” CJ recently asked. We had just celebrated my birthday, so the question didn’t catch me by surprise; however, CJ’s reaction to my reply was a bombshell. “Oh, Mama, that’s almost old!” she informed me. Call me uneducated, but I didn't realize that that mid-30s (okay, late-mid-30s) is old!

As much as I was convinced CJ was wrong, her comment kept coming back to me, probably because Satan knows my insecurities and wants to prey on them. I can’t be the only one who often envies the women in Hollywood – those ultra-thin, super-rich, beautiful-beyond-belief ladies who never seem to age. Our enemy would have us believe that they are the gold standard. That’s a lie! Scripture tell us that Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7). God has given us His own gold standard, and we find her in Proverbs 31. She really intimidated me until I realized that God doesn’t expect me to exemplify all of these qualities at one time. (Thank you, Lord!) Rather, He is telling me to focus on one, get that right, and move on to another. I’m not sure I’ll finish the journey on this side of Heaven, but, like Paul, I keep pressing toward the goal.

I’m desperately in love with my husband. I can hardly believe that God gave me the most handsome man I’ve ever laid eyes on. R’s compliments can give me goose-bumps. But my poor heart does flip-flops when he tells me that he sees Jesus in me…I have never felt more beautiful.

The Psalmist gives us advice that we women would be wise to heed: Listen, O daughter, consider and give ear: Forget your people and your father’s house. The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord.” (Psalm 45:10-11) Difficult as it is, we must not buy into the images we’re bombarded with. Forget the worldly standards. Forget spending too much money on false guarantees of beauty and youth. Instead, honor God. If that means getting sweaty and dirty on the mission field, foregoing sleep to minister at a youth camp, or simply getting down on your knees wearing a bathrobe and no make-up…do it! Dear One, our King will be enthralled by your beauty!

June 29, 2006

13 Good Things about this Week


1. Tomorrow is FRIDAY! I'm taking CJ & a friend to Busch Gardens.

2. I found blogging! Thanks to Lisa Whelchel's website, I found Sarah's blog & I'm quickly becoming addicted! This is a great creative writing outlet!

3. I have a 4-day weekend coming up!

4. R. is finished with graveyard shift, so I get to cuddle with him again! I love CJ, but I'm tired of fighting her for the covers!

5. I made it to exercise class twice this week.

6. I had lunch with a friend who's moved to Memphis. She came home to visit her family, and we got to catch up over crab quiche and espresso cake.

7. My friend Kara killed a snake at my front door! Seriously. He was curled up on my front porch right beside the door. I stopped cowering behind the door long enough to grab the Swiffer so she could get him off the porch. (you had to see it to believe it!) Then I managed to gather my senses and get a hoe so she could kill it. (R. was conveniently at a ball game.) WAY TO GO, KARA! She's officially earned the nickname, "Snake Charmer"!

8. A 6-month old gave me his best toothless grin! My friend, Susan, has the cutest son. I just love to watch him smile!

9. I'm on a diet, & I didn't gain any weight even though I didn't stick to it (see #6). I didn't lose any weight, either...but there's always hope.

10. I got to see my sister, my niece & my nephew. A priceless luxury.

11. I was blessed to have 9 women in my home tonight for Bible study. We're brave enough to tackle a study on the Proverbs 31 Woman. We cried & laughed. I love it when the Holy Spirit shows up!

12. My boss' wife brought me a vase filled with gorgeous pink roses. This time of year, she does that every week (she has 44 rose bushes, and is a gardening diva!). Still, it always makes me feel so special!

13. R's promised me that I'll be able to use the back porch NEXT WEEK! I can hardly wait! I think he's procrastinated because he's afraid I'll never come back in the house! I'm not making any promises!

June 27, 2006

13 Reasons why Life is Good...

I saw on Sarah's blog that she's into lists (I believe it's the Thursday Thirteen). She's inspired me, so I'm jumping in(even though it's only Tuesday!)

On a trip to Boston last September (BTW, I absolutely love Boston!), R. & I went to the Life is Good store. Don't know if you're familiar with Life is Good, but they've got the cutest
t-shirts. I've posted two of my favorites (which I actually do own).

Here goes - "13 reasons why Life is Good" (in no particular order after #4...I mean, #3!)

1. JESUS! He took all my filthy robes of sin and gave me a brand new sparkling white gown! Need I say more?

2. My handsome, sweet, sexy & talented husband, R. He love me unconditionally, supports me without wavering, gives great hugs, always makes me laugh, is a great dad, and looks really cute in shorts! To top it all off, he makes the best breakfasts EVER!

3. My precious daughter, CJ. She's just like her dad, and I love her so much! At 7 1/2, she cares more about people than I ever have. God has given her a sweet, compassionate spirit. She loves to help. She practically has her own fan club at church. She cracks me up, puts life in perspective, and even puts me in my place now and then. (I only mind it when she's right)

4. Coffee (you probably guessed that from the t-shirt picture)

5. Coffee ice cream.

6. Reese's peanut butter cups.

7. The Food Network.. I'm learning to be a better cook by just WATCHING Paula, Giada, Rachael, Bobby & Tyler (at least I keep telling myself that, especially while I'm buying yet another one of their cookbooks!)

8. Mint oreo blizzards. If you don't have a Dairy Queen near you, you're really missing out!

Lest you think I'm all about food...

9. Good books. It doesn't get much better than lounging in my recliner with a great read!

10. Great friends. God has placed some of the most amazing people in my life. I have a circle I can laugh with, cry with, pray with, and just have fun with. What else do you need?

11. Snow. We have mild winters here in my corner of the world, so I rarely get to see a good snow. But I love those rare days when I get to watch God blanket the world in white.

12. R.'s getting ready to finish my Mother's Day/Anniversary present...a screened-in back porch! I can grab a cup of coffee, look out over the field behind our house, spend time with God or just enjoy the quiet.

13. Autumn. My favorite season of all. I love bonfires and football, crisp breezes and harvest moons. All the colors remind me that God is not only our Creator, but He's also very creative! Just another reason to love Him so...but that's another list!

June 26, 2006

A Woman's Plans

"In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps." - Proverbs 16:9

I must admit, I'm a bit of a control freak. Always have been and, barring a miracle of God (which I'm not discounting!), always will be. I like a schedule (I recently got a PDA...WHERE has this little wonder been all of my life?!). I like plans. I HATE surprises. Like Billy Crystal's character in "When Harry Met Sally...", I find it nearly impossible to read a book without jumping to the last page to see how it will end.

Years ago, I had my life all mapped out. Big plans. NO surprises. When I think of those dreams now, I realize God was just shaking His head (and probably laughing) at my foolish, foolish heart. You can imagine how the story ends...my visions of grandeur were replaced with God's vision for my life. Praise His Name...long before I ever knew Him, He was orchestrating events to bring me where I am today. And I like where I am...correction, I love where I am. In His grace and mercy, He has given me a Godly husband and a wonderful daughter, friends who bless me more than I could have imagined, and an amazing church family. My life is complete and I don't dwell on those dark places that owned my soul before I came to Christ.


There have been occasions when God has brought me face-to-face with some mistakes in my past. His timing seems to coincide with my general attitude...thinking I'm just great on my own, not needing Him so much, and feeling like I'm gaining a slight bit of control. Well, one of those mistakes walked right up to me recently and it was more than a little uncomfortable. Especially considering my husband was in the same room! Years didn't matter. Forgiveness didn't matter. The guilt was oppressive. All I could do was think about what my plans had been. Then, I began to thank God that He knew better than to let those plans succeed. "God, I would've walked through hell for that man, " I thought. And God, in His incredibly sweet but no-nonsense voice, spoke to my spirit, "If it weren't for Me, you would have."

As a young woman, I was convinced my heart was right. I had yet to learn "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. " (Jeremiah 17:9) I had plotted my course, and it didn't involve God. I'm so incredibly thankful that He determined my steps. Steps that brought me to my husband and, ultimately, to Him.

Whenever I start thinking that I'm wise and mature enough to make my own decisions, God reminds me where those decisions would've taken me. On days when it's hard to trust Him, He reminds me that He knows the outcome. He has big plans, and although He might like to surprise me, nothing surprises Him!

Inspiration for the "Breath of Life" blog

“Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”
--Genesis 2:7

It had been a long day, and I was worn out. Just before going to bed, I felt a little strange. Attributing the sensation to exhaustion, I lay down and tried to sleep. A couple of minutes later, I was breaking out in a full-blown case of hives. Fortunately, my husband R. quickly found an antihistamine for me. The itching began to subside as the medicine finally took effect. As I lay there in the darkness trying to go back to sleep, I began to realize that I had to tell myself to breathe. I listened intently to my breathing patterns and tried desperately not to panic. Still, I was petrified. If I fell asleep, would my body naturally breathe? I began to plead with God, “Please let me wake up in the morning, Lord. There’s so much you’ve called me to do that I haven’t finished yet. CJ’s so young. If you don’t mind, PLEASE, I need more time.” I kept repeating that prayer until my body gave in to the medicine and I fell asleep.

The next morning God reminded me of this Scripture, which He began laying on my heart several months earlier. This one simple verse has become so important to me. Can’t you just see God, the Almighty Creator, bending down & breathing life into Adam? The very thought slays me!

Beloved, there is NO life without Christ! Although I was telling myself to breathe that night, it was His voice that my body was obeying. Just as He was ordering my lungs to inhale, He is also calling us to breathe Him in – through Scripture, prayer, and worship. In order to get that cleansing breath we need, we must spend time with Jesus. We can’t function physically without taking air in, nor can we function spiritually without the Breath of Life. Yet breathing isn’t all about inhaling; a complete breath requires that you exhale. Try this exercise: take one deep breath and hold it for as long as you can. Before long, your body has to release the air. If we’re spending time with Christ, we should naturally exhale Him onto others.

Lying in bed that night, I wasn’t having a problem exhaling. My lungs instinctively knew to expel the air I had taken in. I had to keep reminding myself to inhale. Dear One, aren’t we like that spiritually? We teach, serve, and minister to others, exhaling without thought. We have to remind ourselves to inhale. Here’s another exercise: take a deep breath, then breathe out as many times as you can without inhaling. I don’t know about you, but it makes me dizzy! How effective are our efforts to breathe Christ onto others if we’re not getting fresh air ourselves?

I awoke the next morning feeling much better. God had watched over me while I slept, making sure my lungs were functioning properly. Maybe He even knelt down and breathed life back into my nostrils … a little Heavenly C.P.R., Christ-Powered Resuscitation!