Saturday, June 28, 2008

Ends of The Earth

There is a song we sing on Sunday mornings that often I just cannot bring myself to sing all the lyrics. Let me explain.

A Bible teacher once shared, "You should never do something during your worship in public (ie, raise hands, go down on knees, etc.) that you wouldn't do in your own personal time with God." That teaching has stuck with me for many years because I desire to worship God, through music, with a genuine heart and spirit. And just as I feel I shouldn't worship God differently in a public setting as I would in private, I have also felt as if I shouldn't sing lyrics that I didn't believe I could follow through with wholeheartedly. This one line in a well-know Hillsong worship song is where my dilemma began.

Jesus, I believe in You and I would go to the ends of the earth

I believe Him. I do. I believe He is the Son of God, capable of taking over my life with His resurrection power and in turn, allowing me live abundantly. Then why would I not go to the ends of the earth for Him?

Because for so long, I thought this song only applied to Missionaries and I didn't feel called to Missions, at least not the get-on-a-plane-and-go-somewhere-with-no-running-water-and-having-to-learn-another-language-missions. Please don't judge, just trying to keep it real. So, anytime we sang this song on Sunday mornings or at a commissioning service for the many Missionaries our church sends out, I just kept my lips sealed tightly, and prayed, Lord, I want to do what YOU want me to do, but just NOT that! And then one night, as a sweet friend was commissioned to travel to a far away land to serve God beyond her comfort zone, God revealed something so small but yet so profound.

Your 'ends of the earth' are not the same as someone else's 'ends of the earth'

How life changing and freeing is that? It forced me to think outside of the box and really ask, "What are MY ends of the earth?" Mmm... now this is where the transparency comes. My 'ends of the earth' have to do with me being a stay-at-home mom. GASP! Yes, I admitted it! I struggle with being at home with the biggest blessings the Lord has entrusted to me, second only to my salvation and my husband. Just typing it makes me feel so selfish. But what God has shown me over and over again is my greatest challenges required His greatest power to take over ALL of me to live out daily what He has called me to do for Him. I love my boys, so much that I never knew this kind of love existed, but mothering, being a mom, doesn't come easy to me. It just flat doesn't. I see so many around me that it is just who they are as people, naturally nuturing, and that is just amazing to me! And if I am not careful, it can cause me to get in a pit of comparison and guilt, and that is so not of God.

But as He stirred up the questions within me and urged me to walk it out with Him, He had me stumble upon this scripture:

2 Peter 1:3

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the full knowledge of the One who called us by his own glory and excellence.

HE IS ABLE. He is! He is able through His divine, resurrection power, to take over my heart, feelings, mouth and all and help me be the mom He wants me to be, to His great glory. Take a moment to chew on that.

And after that has sunk in, I challenge you to ask Him, "Lord, what are MY 'ends of the earth'. Is it working at loving a difficult family member or friend? Is it sticking out a job that you don't really enjoy but know it pays the bills? It is being obedient to God in an area that you are not seeing what the exact point or purpose is? It is so worth it, ask Him. Give it a shot. Give Him a chance to show you exactly how His power looks in your daily life. Here is to praying we can all sing the lyrics below, all the way through, very soon.

Love unfailing
Overtaking my heart
You take me in
Finding peace again
Fear is lost
In all you are
And I would give the world to tell Your story
Cause I know that You've called me
I know that You've called me
I've lost myself for good within Your promise
I won't hide it
I won't hide it
Jesus, I believe in You
And I would go to the ends of the earth
To the ends of the earth
For You alone are the Son of God
And all the world will see
That You are God
You are God

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sneak Peek

*** Update 7/9/08 My friend came through! Check out this new artist.

Music is so huge for me. It is what motivates me to get through a run or a workout when I just don't have the will or desire. It also has the ability to take me back to times and places that hold dear memories. More importantly, it is the way that God speaks to me the loudest and clearest. For as long as I can remember, He has encouraged me, challenged me and His love for me has been made more evident through the words of so many Comtemporary Christian Musicians' gifts. I am dating myself here, but I can still recall my first cassette that I bought. Love, love, love Stephen Curtis Chapman. Now that man has had some hairstyle changes. Please continue to pray for his sweet family. Their manager gives updates here on specific ways to pray for them.

Third Day is one of the first groups that I discovered that was fast enough to add to my workout playlist but had serioius lyrics that ministered to my soul. Their new CD comes out the end of July, but you can go here and listen to it as much as you like until the end of June. And if you love it as much as I am loving it, you can head over to your local Lifeway and pre-order the CD for $7.99 and as a bonus, you'll get a $5 savings card and a t-shirt.

Does music have an impact on you as well? Share the artists that motivate and minister to you.

My current favorites are:
Group 1 Crew
Matthew and Lizi
Lindsey Kane
Addison Road

I am hopeful a certain friend will comment because she ALWAYS has the lead on great music! Anytime I think I've discover some new amazing group, they are always her BFFs. And certainly, if you haven't heard about this guy, give him a listen. I have it on good authority he is a great guy with a tremendous heart for God and ministry. My husband has known him since he was 7, I think, and he not only was the best man in our wedding, but co-wrote a pretty amazing song with my man. Not a dry eye in the place. What a great day!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

An Adventure To Live

Happy Father's Day To The Man

*who chooses to live the adventure,

fight the battle and rescue his beauty daily

*who chooses to love above else, strives toward integrity

in all the challenges he faces and knows

taking yourself or anything too seriously isn't worth it.

*who loves his God and his family fiercly

*desires his sons to be men who love God above all else

and choose to serve Him daily

*who dreams big but never loses sight of the plan God has for him

We are so blessed to have you lead our family.

May you always know how deeply you are loved and respected.


L, JT & W

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Father's Day Tradition

As Hallmark is reminding us, Father's Day is this Sunday. Don't get me wrong...who doesn't want a singing card? And there is an endless assortment of golfing and grilling accessories at any local retailer, you don't have to travel far. But if your man is anything like my man, he already has found a way to make his the things that he wants and can afford. Hence, the idea of taking a picture of me and the boys, framing it, and wrapping it up for Father's Day came to be our go-to gift for Father's Day.

I have to admit, I used to be a lot better at taking pictures of the boys. I don't know if it is because they moved less years ago, but these days, not only are they not going to tolerate being still for a picture (unless you count posing on top of the big red cement balls outside of Target....what purpose do those beauties serve anyway?) but they have inherited their father's dislike of looking pleasant in pictures.

Our very first attempt at this was captured at JC Penny when W was just over a year old. All things considered, it went pretty well. Then we progressed to Picture People, because they had fun props, but at the end of that session, we were on a white backdrop, just us. Now, that didn't really work out like I thought. But we returned to Picture People again the next year, all wearing Astros jerseys...and that was one of my favorites. And then just two years ago, we went with our 'when all else fails' backdrop, and that is our fountain in our backyard. It is a blurr why I dropped the ball and didn't update Tray's picture frame last year BUT today is the day. Today is the day I must figure out the best possible bribe I have to take the annual Father's Day picture in time for Sunday. Just this last November, I discovered the 'continous clicking' feature on my camera that allows for continous shots until you stop pushing the button. Now that is just a blessing from above and allowed me to capture the picture below. Not bad for two boys standing on an ice chest and begging to go play on the playground.

So, here is what we came up with, trying to capture my heartfuls and handfuls looking endearing. To see my changing hairstyles and color over the past five years is worth the cost of admission, trust me on that.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Best Kept Secret

I LOVE to read- All mediums of print about any numer of subjects. If I get a bee in my bonnet about a certain thing, you better believe I look for lots of books on that subject because just one book couldn't possibly offer all that I need to know about whatever I am seeking to know more about. I am even sick in the head and type-A enough to read directions of new things I purchase, just to make sure I am using the correctly ( As I sit here, our new printer sits in its box, mocking me. But that is a job for later).

Those of you that know me well, know that I am always on the hunt for a deal as well. And what better deal than to read endless amounts of books and watch any number of movies without spending a dime? That is why I feel this is the best kept secret in Houston. Yes, I am a card carrying member of the Harris County Public Library. Now, I know some of you are thinking, "Seriously, Is that it? That is the best secret you can offer?" Oh but you see, I haven't shared with you my most favorite part of this resource. The Harris County Library has 26 branches all over the city and they partner with Montgomery County as well. Stick with me.. this is where it gets exciting.

I love Christian Fiction and am so blessed that the HCPL does carry many titles in their branches... But only a few branches are close to me and their selection varies. So, when I am really wanting to reread a page-turner like this, I jump online, log into my HCPL account, find the book and if it is not available for check out at my 'home' branch location (that I selected when I set up my online account), they will not only ship it to my home location, but put it on a 'hold' shelf with my name on it! How AMAZING is that? I just walk right in, find my items on hold right in the front of the library, check them out and I am finished! Now, I know some of you love the hunt for a good book and I hear you, but I am the type that wants those moments back of my life when I read a bad book, know what I mean? I have even been known to look up new books I hear about on and read the reviews. Now that, it time management, friends!

So, I encourage you to find a library close to you and take advantage of all they have to offer. The selection of books, movies, past seasons of tv shows (who doesn't love a little 24 or NCIS?) and even music will surprise you and this is something that benefits your entire family. Think of the thing you have been dying to learn more about and make it happen!

And on a side note, if you are one of those that likes to write in your books and that is why the library isn't your fave, give these guys a visit. Many locations to serve you and more current selections than you think.

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Summer is here...what to do, what to do?

If your summer hasn't started yet, by the end of the week it will. Summertime conjures up so many emotions, different for many people. A time to leave the structure of the school year and play a bit more. A time to swim daily, let the kids play outside until the last possible moment and then go to bed a bit later to catch the last inning of the 'Stros game. For some, summer means 2+ months of endless opportunites. For others...60+ days of your kids asking you, "What are we doing today, Mom?".

A sweet friend of mine, Christina Flanigan, has created a wonderful resource to answer that exact question and so many more. For several summers, she has created this amazing list detailing where kids eat free, what churches in the area are offering VBS, summer camps and even suggestions for area doctors. Her new site launched yesterday and it is a blessing!

This list is a great springboard to get your summer started. And if the reality of having your kids home every day from 8-4 is new territory, consider reading Gary Chapman's The Five Love Languages of Children. It is on my list of summer reads!

My prayer is that we will all take advantage of the next months to 'be all there' with our kids, learn more about them and make some memories along the way.