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The Finish Line

God gave me a neat analogy on my morning run today,
thanks to a conversation with my new friend, Holly.

We were talking about how mental running is. Conversation turned to the last (and I do mean LAST!) half-marathon I ran in December. (The first half I ever ran was an amazing experience.) The only reason I wanted to do this local half involved having my family at the finish line. It was a windy day and I didn’t feel too well from about mile 9 to the finish line.

We talked about how tempting it is when you’re by yourself to walk, give up, and not push through. I told her the only thing keeping me going, besides prayer, was knowing my man and my boys were waiting for me at the finish line.  Holly said, “How great is it that God provided someone for you at the finish line to help you get through the race?!” As I processed that comment (because I was too winded to respond! :-)) I thought of how that could be such an encouragement in my spiritual life.

God is waiting for me at the Finish Line!
(this might not be a new revelation to many of you, but it just hit me in such a sweet personal way today!)
He, along with the saints in heaven, is cheering me on!
He gives me everything I need to run this race of life well!
He has plans for my success!
What inspiration to keep going, not walk, not give up, and not faint!! (Galatians 6:9)

Here are some of the scriptures that came to mind as I thought about the Finish Line.

  • Hebrews 12:2 “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him (at the Finish Line – my addition) endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
  • Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
  • 1 Corinthians 9:4 “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.”
  • 2 Timothy 4:7-8 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”
 

We’re in this for the long haul.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, knowing He’s waiting for us at the finish line, cheering us on as we run.
I want to hear, “Well-done, good and faithful servant”
I want to “run and not be weary, walk and not faint”
I want to keep that Finish Line in sight!
and I’m glad I have people here on earth and in heaven who help me do just that!
How’s it going, fellow race-runners?

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Posted by on September 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Lean On Me

Lean on Me

When you’re not strong…

I’ll help you carry on

I’m so amazed that every time Nathan plays drums God gives him a lesson in dependence.
Every. Single. Time.

Last weekend Nathan played. But he almost backed out. Circumstances were less than ideal, especially for my one who likes to know ahead of time what’s going on and likes to be prepared. So here are all the obstacles Nathan faced this past weekend:

  • First week of being a public school student – time taken up with school
  • Getting adjusted to the schedule & lots of late nights meant Nathan was pretty exhausted
  • Because he’s in school during the day, he’s lost a lot of his practice time. We don’t let him wail on the drums too late in the evening…we want our neighbors to like us! 🙂
  • He didn’t get the songs they were playing until Thursday afternoon after school
  • He didn’t know any of the songs!
  • His drum teacher couldn’t help out because he’s busy on the weekends with his band

Nathan hit the wall Thursday afternoon. His response was, “I can’t do it!” and beyond. But in the stress, God gave Nathan a chance to learn some neat lessons.

  • I told Nathan that if God calls, He enables
  • Nathan learned that God provides, too. I let him know that he probably wouldn’t get to meet with his drum teacher, but God would provide someone to help him. Within minutes – LITERAL MINUTES! – one of the high school drum players texted Nathan about getting together & helping him with the songs.
  • Pastor Ryan really encouraged Nathan to be all in. Ryan talked Nathan off the ledge and over his first hurdle in his 8th grade year!
  • Pastor Ryan also made some adjustments to the songs so Nathan wouldn’t have to learn 3 songs

Nathan did play, as you know.
And it was a blessing to my friend
to see the middle school kids leading in worship,
knowing kids in middle school are willing to publicly proclaim what they believe.
It was a blessing to some of the student ministry partners,
knowing they were watching the future worship leaders of the church.
It wasn’t perfect, but it was good.

And Nathan learned, again, to Lean on his Faithful God!

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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CHANGE in 5 minutes

God did it.

Again!

Had me ready for the 5 minute Friday topic…

CHANGE of running time this morning

Sharing with the girls that I wasn’t sure it would work.

Why?

The less than stellar beginning of our home school year.

Yep. Reality Check

(funny, God was convicting me I needed to post about this side of life anyway,
lest any of you think things here are always peachy!! 🙂
and funny that the home school front has been the battle ground!
Landings has been easy peasy..so far. Nathan’s had some battles, just not on that front.))

Lost my buffer when life CHANGED & my oldest enrolled at Landings

Left with my 2 sparks – who are all in!
Either all in giggly and silly with each other (which frustrates their No Nonsense Mama to no end!)
OR all in – fighting like cats and dogs.
Not a lot of middle ground with my 2 youngest.

Sooo… I was sharing with the girls how things weren’t going as smoothly as I would like.
Lots of pulling teeth to focus and finish (yep, that’s my mantra lately!)

What a CHANGE when I came home! Both David & Michael were busy with their work and had been!

My question to Tim – “What on earth did you tell them this morning? I want to use it daily!”

His response: “We wrestled in bed for a little this morning.”

hmmm. Maybe need to CHANGE the morning routine?? 🙂

In reality, though, as I processed the day I realized CHANGE is needed

IN ME!

God convicted me today that my attitude hasn’t been right.

There’s land to take right here! In my home!

Attitudes and habits that need to CHANGE to be in line with God’s.

And that CHANGE starts with me, so battles can be won in God’s strength.

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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11 Random Questions to answer

This one’s because of a new blogging friend, Dolly, at Soul Stops. She sent me this.
My 11 questions to my Liebster Award winners are:

1. Are you a morning person, or a night owl? Or neither?

Definitely a night owl!

2. Who has had the biggest positive influence in your life?

My parents, especially my mom

3. Why? if you answered Question #2

Both Mom & Dad made God their priority and lived that out in front of my brother & me. When my dad went to seminary I was in 5th grade. Although he had a tough work load, he never missed a piano recital of mine or a soccer game of my brother’s. He even coached Matt’s team one season! Mom is wonderful at discerning and asking questions to help me see where I’ve been and where I’m going. She still asks great questions & they both pray for Tim & me & the boys daily. They instilled Biblical principles into us from an early age. Some of my earliest memories are of them reading The Bible In Pictures for Little Eyes at bedtime, and of us going to church as a family. I sure do appreciate the Godly heritage I’ve been given!

4. What is something God is teaching you lately?

I’m still processing this one, but (little scary for me here!) the theme of silence has come up often in the past few weeks. hmmm. That’s a toughie for me since my favorite spiritual gift is the gift of gab 🙂

5. What do you know now that you wish you knew 5 years ago?

I’m not sure, but I do know that I appreciate who I am more now than I did when I was younger. (That makes me sound old, I think, and I’m not old! :-))

6. What makes your heart sing for joy?

Seeing God reveal Himself to me or others in His word. I just love reading the Word and having something jump out at me! Then being able to see His hand in what’s happening in the circumstances of life. That’s mainly what I blog about.

7. What are your favorite foods?

Appetizers – Super Bowl Party food!

8. What do you look for in a friend?

Probably the biggest thing is reciprocity.

9. How did you come to have a love relationship with God based on faith?

Through my parents, which is another reason they’re my biggest influence. I remember the morning I climbed into their bed and told them I wanted to trust Jesus. They explained to me that I was a sinner and that sin separated me from God. Then they told me that Jesus had come to earth to die on the cross & take the payment for my sin on Himself. I accepted God’s gift of eternal life that morning with my parents’ help. The more I get to know God the more amazed I am!

10. What do you most want me to know about you? OR How can I pray for you today?

I love to read! Absolutely love!
As far as prayer goes, I’ve got two. 1st – pray that I will listen to God daily (even if He’s going to take me down a road learning about silence!), and operate in His strength, not mine. 2nd – pray for schooling this year: for Nathan, who’s in public school for the 1st time because he’s obeying God’s call to be a light, and for Michael & David who are home with me. With Nathan gone I lost my buffer between my last 2 🙂

BONUS – here is one more random fact about me and one more random tip from me.

1st – I love practical jokes, especially being on the giving end! The best ones are those that aren’t super intentional on our part. Like the time Dave & Kim let us use their house since it was close to church, (& ours wasn’t) we had a youth event on a Saturday night, and they were gone. We made copies of pictures of ourselves & stuck them in their frames. Just for fun we put “Caution, enter if you dare” yellow tape outside their door to make them think we’d really done something to their house. Cute.

The best part was the fact that it was October. And Dave was the pied piper of his neighborhood, always giving to the kids, encouraging them, etc. So when Dave & Kim came home, their front yard was full of kids expecting the haunted house they just knew was behind the “Caution” tape! We couldn’t have done any better!

OR…the time Bart & Shonda let us stay overnight at their house on the way home from vacation. I totally didn’t want to deal with changing sheets for just one night, so we all slept on sleeping bags on top of the beds. Therefore, we didn’t realize that Bart & Shonda’s kids had short sheeted the beds! When they got home they thought we’d done payback, but really they’d short sheeted their own beds. 🙂 Perfect!

Anybody want to invite us over?? 🙂

2nd – Random Tip: it is not wise to combine different brands of bullion cubes without keeping the instructions of both brands. 🙂

PS – Forgot to say: I LOVE that my married initials are ME, cuz that’s who I get to be with Tim. 🙂

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Take the Land Part 3 – Days that Echo for Eternity

An amazing day in Student Ministries for me!

1st – Nathan & his friend Alex were able to play in the band together for the first time. (Nathan’s playing is another post in & of itself!) I love seeing the students leading their peers in worship! A friend of mine was watching and got tears in her eyes seeing young kids live their faith out loud. Sorry the picture’s a little blurry – trying to time the lights so I could get a picture was challenging! As it is, you can’t really see Nathan behind the glass, but he’s there! 🙂

2nd – Another beautiful message from Joshua (even though I took it out of the Old Testament a few weeks ago :-)) But, like my friend Kerri said, the “damage” has already been done, so might as well keep it and the Student Ministries staff intact. 🙂 (If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, click here, then here! please!) Today was Joshua 6&7 – the battles of Jericho & Ai

Bottom line – it’s all about the focus.
“Your posture precedes your portion”

  • Where is the focus of my life?
  • Where is the focus of my source of strength?
  • Where’s my focus when I’m in the desert or things are silent?

Ultimately all of those answers need to be “God”. Am I looking for GOD to do something, or am I focused on my own strength and thought process? I’ve already shared my Jericho/Ai personal illustration with my 1st 2 races. One little 5K (I blew it!) & one big 1/2 marathon (God did it!).

Joshua’s posture of humility before and dependence on God resulted in victory at Jericho! Israel’s reliance on themselves + sin in the camp resulted in defeat at the puny town of Ai.

Here are a few of the notes I wrote down today:

  • The Israelites’ time in the desert was to form their character
  • Your vertical relationship determines your horizontal relationships
  • The question isn’t “WHAT” am I living for, it’s “WHO” am I living for?
  • Power isn’t in what you’re doing, it’s in WHO your doing it for
  • Silence preceded Shouts of Victory
  • We want to have students whose days Echo for Eternity!

I LOVE! how our students are being challenged and called up – in an inspiring but also very realistic way! Yes, there is land to take, but there will be battles to fight when you take that land, and you’d better make sure you have the right posture – empty of sin & self so you can be filled with God & move in HIS strength!

I LOVE! that I can serve in Student Ministries and get something out of that message as well!

I LOVE! that the series ended with a chance for those students who felt called to take the land to stand, be surrounded by adults & peers, prayed over & commissioned to go out and Take The Land, and that Nathan was able to pray for people. He was excited about that.

I LOVE! that Michael stood up & was prayed over, knowing he has been called by God to TAKE THE FIELD – his football team.  (Still can’t believe I have 2! in Middle School!)

I LOVE! all of you that have encouraged me in this blogging thing and have assured me of your prayers for Nathan as he is at Landings this year. Your prayers will Echo for Eternity as you go with him daily into his battle ground. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Take The Land part 2-Middle School Mission Field

Nathan has been called to the Middle School Mission Field.

How I appreciated those words from my friend Joy as I tried to explain to other home school moms why I had just enrolled my son at Wellington Landings Middle School! That’s exactly what happened. I’ve just been too shocked, then super busy, to be able to put it into words. (read Part 1 here)

Seems like God never gives me a ton of time with this kind of decision! He must know I’d over-think it and try to get out of it or control it. We put Michael in school for his 3rd grade year – which happened in a matter of days. Same thing here. Nathan’s initial suggestion about going to Landings came exactly one week before the first day of school!  (By the way, I fired most of the student ministries staff last week and took the book of Joshua out of the Old Testament – or at least told them they can’t use it for any messages any more, so I think we’re ok now. Not that any of that really happened, but it made me feel better to think it & threaten it! :-))

Seriously, though, I loved seeing what God has done during the week.

1 – Tim gave Nathan the Object Lesson of the year. Nathan was on a chair & Tim said, “Pull me up.” Of course, Tim went nowhere! When Tim pulled on Nathan, down he went – easily. I think Nathan got the picture!

2 – Nathan has been very realistic about what to expect and how he’s going to approach the year. I’m praying for a specific proactive plan for him. Most of what he’s thinking right now is reactive. It’s good, just reactive.

3 – I’ve so appreciated and enjoyed the enthusiastic support friends & family have given us! My friend Kadi reminded me that Nathan’s been prepared to face hostility from his teachers because of his football experience last year! Only GOD!

4 – God even gave Nathan a little bump in the road over the weekend, which provided a great chance to talk about opposition and how sneaky the enemy can be.

5 – I really do have an absolute gut-centered peace about this year, even though it doesn’t look anything like I planned it! I was as certain as I could be that all 3 boys would be home this year. But in the planning and prep, I put Michael & David together for this year for the 1st time. Usually it’s Michael paired with Nathan. God had me ready without my knowing it! Nathan’s decision didn’t really impact the flow of my home school day.

6 – As I typed out the last post, line after line confirmed Nathan’s decision. Then the sermon in middle school this week was another confirmation. It was “Next Steps” (Joshua 3) – absolutely perfect for Nathan before his 1st day!

  • Get your heart right: Make sure you don’t have sin in your life. Make sure you take every step with Christ
  • Decide who you’re walking with (Nathan starred this point)
  • Know your role (Nathan starred this point, too & wrote – Plant the seeds) more confirmation for me that Nathan is being realistic and not idealistic. One of my fears was that he’d be discouraged if he didn’t see any fruit this year. But planters don’t see the fruit! 🙂
  • Celebrate the GOD moments – in both high and low places.
  • Bottom Line (this was for me!) – if you don’t take your next step you’ll miss the God moments

So today, Nathan took his first Next Step. He went to Wellington Landings Middle School. He was nervous about the schedule, since he hadn’t seen it before, and getting around.

When he got in the car this afternoon he said, “One blessing we have to thank God for. My first class was band! Then one of my friends showed me where to go to my next class since he was going that direction. Nice move.”

Ready to Take The Land!

We’re looking forward to many more blessings we need to thank God for on this journey!
We know it won’t all be sunshine, rainbows and cotton candy,
but every lesson will be worth it!

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Take The Land-part 1

My world turned upside down.

“Take The Land

Reap a harvest

Don’t look at it, take it

The victory is ours. At the end of the book God wins

The gates of hell will not prevail against what God has called you to do

God has called you right now to move right now

Your destiny isn’t some far off future; it’s now.

When God calls you to move, your procrastination is sin”

And I’m in the back thinking, “Oh yes! Preach it! Amen! Throw down the gauntlet to THOSE kids! What a great message for THOSE middle-schoolers! Wow!”

And it was.

until…

MY son (who’s been home schooled all his life & has NEVER wanted to go to school) said on Monday,
“Mom, I think God is calling me to Landings.”(the local middle school.)
Me: Really? Why?
Nathan: Because of what Allans said on Sunday. And because of the Sun Stand Still (another series they did over a year ago based on Joshua 10).

WHAT?!?!? ARE YOU SURE YOU HEARD CORRECTLY?!?!? I’M SURE THAT’S NOT WHAT YOU HEARD!!! I CAN HEAR GOD’S VOICE BETTER THAN YOU CAN!!!  God was gracious and stopped the flood of things that were on my tongue! After I stopped hyperventilating, I thought OK – maybe it was a fluke. He said it after he was frustrated with math. Let it ride.

But he said it again on Tuesday. And his main reasons were spiritual. He was responding to what he’d heard in church. What do Tim & I do with that one???

  • we had him list his pros and cons of both Home School and Landings Middle
  • we told him he needed to be 100% sure that’s what God wanted him to do
  • we tried to help him be realistic without being overly negative
  • we told him to pray & that we would too

I tried to talk him out of it by reminding him he’d already doubled his territory at Landings this year since he was planning on going to both advanced and jazz band classes. Nathan’s response: “Well I’ll just sextuple it!” (since there are 6 periods in the day!)

When Nathan seemed pretty sure Tuesday night that God wanted him at Landings, Tim & I huddled up in our room. We discussed the reasons we didn’t want Nathan to go. Most of them were fear-based. We decided the bigger fear – the bigger miss – would be to step in and make Nathan feel like he really didn’t know how to listen to God – that his response to the message wasn’t valid unless it looked like we thought it should.

God kept whispering to me – “Isn’t that why you wrote the journals?
So that kids could know they can hear God’s voice and respond to His leading on their own?
To give them that courage and independence?
To know that the Holy Spirit is their teacher and He lives inside of them as long as they have trusted my Son & His death on the cross?
Why are you freaking out that your son is responding to Me??

and I’m thinking, “Darn it! Those journals worked just a little too well!”

What other choice did we have? When Nathan confirmed God’s calling to him Wednesday morning we gave him our blessing and enrolled him at Wellington Landings Middle School as a full time student. You can’t argue with God.

click to read part 2 – and I’m sure there will be many other parts throughout the year! 🙂

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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