Friday, September 25, 2009

Sometimes Life is Hard . . .

And sometimes it isn't fair and sometimes stuff just plain stinks! Anybody know what I mean? Do you ever find yourself going through life, maybe even thinking you are about to have victory over something and then WHAM! - Didn't even see it coming kind of wham. Or at least hoped it wasn't coming again kind of wham.

I can't tell you the number of parents I know who are going through tough stuff, really tough stuff, with their teenagers and young adult children. The kind of stuff you pray as a parent you will never have to go through and then you find yourself in the middle of a world that feels like it has spun out of control at any given moment.

People who are battling for their marriages with all sorts of junk. Thinking that things are better, then finding themselves in situations they didn't want to be in - again.

Loved ones with cancer and other sicknesses. It's gone - then it's back. Or just unexpected results or trials.

Finances that seem to only get worse no matter how hard people try to get ahead and stay afloat.

Just this week God taught me something in His Word. He knew I would need it today. Nehemiah 8:10 says in part: "Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength". I like this verse, but today I love it with a new found passion. I can't really describe what it used to mean to me and how I applied it. But it was something to the effect that I would be joyful in a situation just because scripture says so. There are some situations that aren't joyful no matter what angle you look at them from. But see, I have the Lord. Let me repeat I HAVE THE LORD and HE is MY strength. These battles of life are His to fight with His strength. I have some joy goin' on because I know the Lord is my Savior and will take out the enemy with His righteous right hand. Glory be to God!

I know you go through tough stuff too. You aren't alone. This battle may not be over, but the day is coming. Oh the day is coming when the One who is called Faithful and True, with a fire blazing in His eyes, riding on a horse will fulfill Revelation 19:21 "The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse".

Until that day comes, stay on your knees, pray, believe and never give up. There are some battles worth stayin' the course for and fightin' through to the end. Praise God.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Words from the Lord

"What has the Lord given you lately from his Word?" That question just screamed at me from the pages of "Breakthrough Prayer" by Jim Cymbala yesterday. What has the Lord given you lately from his Word? Seriously, how different would our lives be if we got up every day and had that thought pressing in our minds. I truly believe that some spiritual conviction and some spiritual growth would be taking place if we peppered our conversations with other believers with that thought.

It begs two things. One that you have read the Word. Two that you thought about what it was saying to you.

So, what has the Lord given YOU lately from his Word?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Kids and Porn

The title isn't for shock value. It is more of a disclaimer. I don't want to write this post. I want apple crisp and coffee on the porch with my husband. I fear not writing this. So here it goes. . .

Every single day I think about the effects that pornography and strip clubs have on young women and young men. Every day I think about what God would have me to do with this burden. Every time I think about it my heart aches - deeply. Then I read Anne Jackson's blog "Addicted to Porn?" Then I went here. Dirty Girl Ministries. I think that what these women have to say and the fact that they are speaking out about it is admirable. It isn't easy to admit these things. Too often people think that porn only effects adult men. And certainly not Christians and certainly not young girls.

Two weeks ago I was here and at the conference they talked about addiction and grace and trauma and healing and forgiveness, etc. One of the things that keeps sticking in my mind is this: what is addictive to you or me might not be to someone else and vice-versa. Just because it isn't addictive to you, doesn't mean that it won't be a devastating addiction to someone else. Porn can be like that. I know people who looked and left. I know others who were shown a magazine at a very young age and found themselves highly addicted to pornography at a very young age. The magazine under the bed isn't harmless, anymore than a fully loaded gun would be. The gun just kills faster. Pornography might not kill you physically, but it kills something inside of you.

The girls in the strip club and the girls in the magazines/internet are someone's daughter. It can be justified and said "well they are adults and they know what they are doing - no one is making them". Well that might be true. But to the person going to the strip club and looking at porn, do you know what you are doing? Do you know how degraded that young girl feels? Do you know the hurt and lack of self-worth she feels? Do you know the guilt she will feel later in life? Do you know she is someone's mommy? She is a person. It might be legal, but it doesn't make it right.

To the guy who just wanted to show his friend the magazine or just a quick peek at some 'girlie' website: Do you know your friend has a highly-addictive personality and after just one 'quick-peek' will find himself in the strongholds of sexual addiction and/or pornography addictions? To the guy who sits on the stool/chair (or whatever it is) and watches for his self-pleasure the girl dancing before him, which one of you will feel worse at the end of the night?

Sadly, I know of teens who are taking nude pictures of themselves and sending them over their cell phones. I know someone whose husband took nude pics of her and sold them to a magazine. I know a young girl who struggles with her sexual identity and often finds herself in strip clubs just looking for someone or something to get her through the night. To each of these women and to others like them, I am sorry. I am sorry you have been hurt and I am sorry that I haven't done more.

I know that pornography is found in "adult magazines" and "adult websites" and "adult clubs" and in "adult videos". So if that's the case, then why are kids exposed to it, addicted to it and often times abused and hurt by it? Adults use the word 'adult' to say it isn't their fault. The kids shouldn't have been looking or the kids shouldn't have been doing something else. Well here's the deal, it isn't just an 'adult' problem. It is a problem for teens, pre-teens and for young adults who got caught in a web that they don't know how to get out of.

I haven't figured out yet what God wants me to do with this burden. I also know that sometimes our greatest ministries come from our greatest hurts. So I guess I will just see where God leads. This isn't my greatest hurt, but I figure I will see what God does with the burden He gave me.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Apple Pie and Jesus

It's bible study/small group night at our house. For the last 5 years we have been doin' life with the same two other couples. Others have come and gone in that time, but we have stayed together. We laugh, we cry, we eat, we pray and then repeat. At the same time we are digging in and dissecting the Word of God and trying to figure out how to apply it to our lives. We hold each other accountable. We hold each other up. We did the Emmaus thing together. We love each other. They have been there through thick and thin. We are family.

How God would so graciously join together such a group of misfits and use us in ways beyond our understanding is beyond me.

They are all on their way to our house now. The apple pies are baked, the ice cream is chillin' and more food is on the way. It's gonna be a good time. Apple pie, friends and Jesus. So much to be thankful for.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Worth it All

I know that blog posts about one's spouse aren't always a favorite topic of anyone reading them - but I cannot help myself tonight. In two weeks we will have been married for 24 years and we have been together, counting dating years, for 27 years. Without question I love him now more than ever and the romance is better than ever.

I had been gone all day and my man was going to be gone all night. But when I got home, there were notes - everywhere. He knows me so well . . . . first the note in the bathroom because he knows it will be the first place I go when I walk in the door. Next was the note on the computer keyboard, the coffee pot and in the fridge. He knew instinctively after all this time the exact places I would go when I got home. And he loves me enough to let me know he knows.

There is an extreme amount of comfort in knowing that he knows me that well and that he cares about me that much. We may not have gotten the marriage thing right for a lot of years - but let me tell ya - we are making up for lost time and it is a blessing beyond description!

Praying blessings all over my man as he does what God has called him to do!!! Preach it baby.

Saturday, September 5, 2009


I love Fall. Although it technically isn't fall yet - this morning feels like it. The coolness of the morning. The quiet. The leaves just slightly starting to turn color. A hint of dew on the ground. Without question Fall is my favorite season. It is the perfect time for all my favorite clothes - blue jeans, flip-flops, sweaters and sweatshirts. Cool nights are the absolute best snuggle weather. No air conditioner. No furnace. Just open windows and blankets. Baking with ingredients that leave your house smelling fabulous - pumpkin, cinnamon, apple - ooooooh. Mums, pumpkins - vibrant colors. If I could capture this season and just have it year round - I would.

I pray that this season brings you much joy. May you find yourself closer to God and seeking Him more!

Friday, September 4, 2009

My Hospital Stay

I know this will sound weird, but the last few days as I walk out of the office to my car, I feel like I am walking across a rehab or hospital parking lot. Seriously. You know on Patch Adams how they have this hospital that doesn't really look like a hospital - yeah it feels like that.

From what I know, there are times when someone is in need of rehab for addictions or illness and they are either in denial or just have no idea how sick or addicted they really are. Or perhaps, it is like the elderly who are taken to a nursing home for some healing and they don't understand why are they are being taken out of their home. Or possibly, it is similar to someone who looks a little sick and when they open them up they find they are full of cancer and need extensive treatment. I think I was all of those. And so God picked me up and placed me at the seminary. I didn't understand, but I think I am starting to get it. It was to be my place of healing in so many, many ways.

Just like drugs you can be addicted to church or ministry. It gives you a spiritual high. You want and need more. But you suddenly find the church or ministry controlling you and you have lost sight of your first love relationship with God.

Then there is that cancer inside of us. Those things that have been growing for years. In the last two years, God has gotten out his scalpel of humility and carved away at my heart. It was apparently in need of a good circumcision. More importantly, it was in need of some serious chemotherapy treatment. It needed some radiation to heal some dark, ugly spots that had been there for years.

You need some physical therapy to heal and mend and strengthen the broken places in you. Parts that were broken, but never healed properly. Parts that were just misshapen by time and circumstances and using the wrong procedures to correct them. Sometimes they need to be re-broken and re-set so that you can walk and run and move the way you were created to. I was in need of some that.

So God took me to the Seminary. There he would place people in my life who would help remove the scales from my eyes and gently work on a heart transplant. He placed people in front of me who knew how to heal the places in my heart through prayer and some wise counsel. So with a daily dose of medicine, some heart therapy, a large array of people from all over the world - God would remold, remake and heal this wounded soul. I didn't even know I was in need of such major work.

I don't know first hand what it is like when your family or friends come to you and take you away for intervention or rehab or psychotherapy. But I do know was it is like when God does.