Saturday, January 30, 2010

Scripture Memory 1/30/10

This is the part where accountability really counts for me. I want to just leave up the pics and post announcing the birth of our first grandchild, Simon. But thankfully there will be more of those in the days and weeks to come.

So my verse to memorize this week is actually part of our upcoming women's bible study.

"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer".
Psalm 19:14 NIV

I have a portion of this verse hanging in my kitchen. There have been many days and occasions when the words should have been much lower and larger on the wall, if you know what I mean. I certainly have way too many occasions when the words of my mouth are not pleasing in the sight of my Lord. Those are usually easily recognizable and I feel an immediate conviction when my tongue speaks without my brain engaged.

The meditations of my heart have been a different matter. It isn't that I intentionally ponder and meditate on things I shouldn't, but God has been shining a bright light onto the meditation of my heart lately. Even if I'm not speaking it, am I holding onto thoughts that might be displeasing to God?

For the last several days since I actually decided this would be my verse this time, God keeps nudging me when my thoughts maybe aren't so pleasing to him. I'm talking about thoughts that don't line up with truth of scripture or when I choose anxiety and worry instead of believing and meditating on the Word of God! I praise God for the convicting power of the Holy Spirit and the power of the Word of God as we meditate on it and let it all soak in.

So if you want to join me (go here for original post) in this year of scripture memory, just leave a comment with the verse written out that you will memorize, with which translation you are using and your name. We will choose our next verse on February 15th.

The Newest Addition to our Family

Introducing Simon Ryan Humphrey
6 lbs. 15 oz. 19 inches
Graced our presence for the first time on 1/29/10

Shane and Jillian and Simon - the first family pic!

Kenny - with the new title 'grandpa'
Simon has already stolen his heart

Justin - first time uncle
Would have held Simon all night if we had let him
Has plans to spoil his little nephew

But I think, Nana gets to spoil him more!
What an unspeakable blessing

Welcome to the family Simon. You are already loved beyond words.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

There Are Days

There are days when:

1. You have been told you still need a root canal
2. You have been told you will then need another crown (cha-ching!)
3. Your husband also needs a crown (double cha-ching!!)
4. You are told that you may have to wait yet another day for your daughter to be induced to welcome your first grandchild into the world
5. You didn't budget enough in your Health Savings Account to cover so much dental work
6. You are wondering how great a vacation you could have gone on for the price you will pay your dentist
7. You believe your metabolism has officially shut down
8. It is time for dinner and you have no idea what you are making
9. You get the opportunity to invite someone to church who doesn't know Jesus and they say "yes"
10. You get to invite two women to bible study who probably don't own a bible and they say "yes"

The eternal ALWAYS outranks and outshines the temporal. Thank you Jesus!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Scripture Memory

As a little girl I remember memorizing scriptures at church camp to earn points for our team. The more you memorized; the more points you got. I wasn't very good at sports and wasn't much help there, but I could memorize. 30+ years later I still know some of those verses.

Last year I signed up on Beth Moore's blog to memorize 2 new scriptures a month for a year. It was wonderful. The accountability of having to sign-in and list your scripture on the 15th and 30th of every month caused me to pay attention to whether I was actually memorizing or slacking. I have to confess it was fun to sit in church, hear a verse and immediately think "I know that one!". Made me want to learn more.

While there are a lot of reasons to memorize the Word and apply it, something really cool happened last year that has been part of my inspiration to keep pushing on. One night my sweet husband said or did something that upset me. My verse that week was 1 Thessalonians 5:15: "Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else." My flesh wanted to respond by paying back wrong for wrong. My heart and mind went to the scripture and my tongue stayed quiet. I immediately kept repeating that verse over and over and over in my head. It wasn't too long until my feelings of being wronged were gone. I honestly cannot tell you what it was that upset me, but I can tell you what stopped it. If I had answered in the flesh, I most likely would be able to remember what happened. God tells us that he will purify us with his word.

Although that group is not doing the same scripture memory idea this year, I have decided to keep it going in my own life. I could just do it and not post it on here. But I know my flesh too well, and after awhile it would be a verse here and there instead of at least two a month. I wanted to stay with the 15th and 30th because it is easy to remember and I am already in the habit of that. So although it is almost the 30th, I am actually posting my verse from this week and will start another on Saturday.

James 1:22 Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. (NIV)

I need to remember that hearing the word and memorizing the word are not the same as doing what it says. This will undoubtedly be a great foundation for the rest of the scriptures this year. I am so excited to see what God has in store.

Feel free to join me if you like. Just list your verse, the reference and translation and your name.

Monday, January 25, 2010

So "What is God doing in your life?"

I totally amaze myself and how I can go down a twisted path of thinking that is all in my head. Let's back track. I am walking down the hall at work. I see a co-worker who has been serving overseas for the last year. I immediately think "He's going to ask me 'what has God been doing in my life?' " I translate that in my own head to mean: "So what amazing and spectacular things has God called you to do?". Again, the only person talking is the voice in my head. I now want to avoid this person because I don't want to have this conversation with them. Whew.

I am stressed over an imaginary conversation that never took place. So, why? Because I have felt for quite some time like God has me on hold and isn't working a whole lot in my life right now. (I am not looking for rebuttal - this is a confession.) Somehow I have come to equate God working in my life with: future projects, future retreats, future plans and visions and excitement. Busyness.

For the last 7 hours I have been mulling this over in my head. I venture to guess that there are others out there who have had some similar thoughts. As the last few dishes were going in the dishwasher, God reminded me of what I am doing and what He has called me to do:

Bake brownies for the men's group that meets at our house on Tuesday night
Pray for a group of young women all expecting their first child (one of them is my daughter!)
Pray for some people going through a difficult time with cancer right now
Pray for a group of women that I will be meeting with for bible study on Tuesday nights
Minister to a wonderful group of women on Tuesday nights
Pray for and minister to my husband who is about to preach his first sermon on Sunday
Pray for some young men that are far from God and need to turn back
Pray for someone who is facing criminal charges
Build some relationships with the clerks of the local stores so that I can share Jesus with them
And that list goes on.

I don't say these things for any reason other than to bring glory to God and to remind others that God asks us to do things all the time. It is our interpretation and imagination that can mess up how we perceive this and what we do with it. Too often I minimize the tasks that God has given me.

So what is God doing in your life?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Waiting on a baby

I have two children, so you would think that I would already have some understanding of what it means to wait with great expectancy on the birth of a child. But I have never had a grandchild, I have never had one of my children expecting a baby, so all of this is new. All of this is so very exciting.

Our daughter's due date is January 23rd. Suddenly I find that every decision I am making is based on the anticipated arrival of this little one. The car may need some work done. The dilemma: Can it wait until after the baby arrives or should we get it done asap in case we need two vehicles when the baby arrives? I am supposed to have a root canal and I am trying to schedule it around the delivery of the baby. Our next women's bible study starts in 2 weeks, so how far ahead should I prepare? Have all the bills been paid, is the laundry done, is the house clean? For cryin' out loud - you would think I was having the baby! I don't know if you can nest vicariously, but I feel like I am having full-blown nesting syndrome for my daughter. I just pray I do not have labor pains for her.

In but a breath, this little one will forever change our lives. I will instantly go from being a wife and mom, to the added title of grandma or nanna or whatever name the child chooses. A generation will be added to our family. There will be more birthdays on the calendar to celebrate and more stockings hung at Christmas. There will be more memories, more pictures, more laughter, and more prayers.

Little one, we anxiously await your arrival. We have been praying for you before you were conceived. We have been praying for you daily and many others have lifted you to the throne room of heaven seeking God's blessing and grace upon you. We don't know if you are a boy or a girl, but God has wonderfully made you and knitted you together in your mommy's womb. I pray that God will fill you with a desire for the things of God from the moment you have your first thought. I pray that your life is full of joy and laughter. I pray that you will pursue God all the days of your life and that you will serve Him and love Him well. I pray that you will always honor your daddy and your mommy. May you love others as Christ has commanded. May you receive the richest of blessings that God has to offer and may you use them all to the glory of your Maker. You have already consumed our thoughts and filled our hearts with love for you. Until I see you and hold you, may you know that you have been cherished and wanted and loved unconditionally all the days of your life. Waiting for your arrival with great anticipation -I love you, Nanna

Thursday, January 14, 2010

On a Flight from Chicago

Jeff Selph wrote a blog this week that is just irritating me - in a good/bad sort of way. It was a kick-in-the-pants sort of post where I realized that perhaps I have been waiting a little too much on God to open doors and make a way. There are some areas of my life that I do need to wait on God, but there are many others that I just need to get up and DO!

Inside of me is an evangelist just dying to get out. Not the obnoxious type, but the kind that genuinely thinks everyone should know about Jesus and that if I ask God he will point me in the right direction and make the opportunities happen. For example, several years ago I was in Chicago for a conference at Willowcreek Community Church. While at the airport waiting to return home, I really felt a desire for God to lead me to someone to sit next to that I could share the gospel with. Afterall, I could catch up with the others from church anytime and they already knew Jesus. So I prayed and as we boarded the plane, I kept praying and asking God to direct me where to sit that I might be able to share Him with someone. I was almost to the back of the plane and no audible shouts from the Holy Spirit. Finally realizing that about all that was left were my co-workers, I sat down. True evangelist at heart - my bible was out and ready. And God saw fit to use me anyway.

Not more than a few minutes into the flight, the lady beside me started a conversation and in her lap was a Hindu 'bible'. Her name was Pallavi and she was from India. She and her husband were living in Cleveland and commuting to Chicago every week for work. She had been seeking something more in her life and wanted answers, but hadn't found peace about these things yet. God opened the door wide! And in I went. My faith was fresh, alive and our testimony of God's grace and goodness and miracles was vivid and active in our lives. I could have shared 8-hours worth of flight time of testimony if God had allowed it. But seeing that He loves Pallavi as much as he loves me, he only gave us an hour together. I shared the love and miracles of God and Pallavi asked questions and shared her quest for truth with me. We landed in Cleveland, got off the plane, continued the conversation as we waited in the baggage claim area and then hugged good-bye. We exchanged email addresses and actually did the polite thing by emailing each other - once.

God has been repeatedly bringing Pallavi to the forefront of my thoughts lately. I prayed for her for a long time after we met and then I just kind of stopped. While I may have to wait on God for some of the ministry desires of my heart, I don't have to wait on him to witness to others. I emailed Pallavi right before I started this post. Who knows if she even has the same email address, but I figured it was worth a shot.

As long as I can remember I have wanted to share the love of Jesus with anyone - everyone. I have allowed life and critics and circumstances and naysayers to dampen my passion. Maybe it is time to start doing what God created me to do and to stop waiting. I pray there is a follow-up to this post concerning Pallavi. But if not, I pray there are more posts about witnessing to those that need to know Jesus.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I Talk to Myself

Surprise, surprise, surprise. I talk to myself. My family has begun to just accept it. And I have stopped trying to stop. I think being an only child for 6 years was the beginning of a life destined to be filled with talking to myself. We were taught way back then to use our imagination. So I did. Apparently I just didn't have anyone to share it with.

So somehow it isn't a surprise that the next women's bible study we will be doing is Me, Myself and Lies, by Jennifer Rothschild. The back of the workbook says "Ever wonder what you should say when you talk to yourself?" I know what I say - but perhaps what I say and what I should say are two completely different things.

To add to the draw was the subtitle: "A thought closet makeover". My personal closet needs a radical makeover and just this week I seriously asked God to make me more fashion savvy than I am. It might sound shallow, but sometimes a girl needs a bit of help. I have kept way too many old clothes in my closet just so it looks like I have a lot. Sad, but true. And truth is, I have kept way too many thoughts about myself that also needed to go out in the trash with the 1980's fashions I still own. (You just never know when you will need that homecoming sweater!)

Sometimes we hold on to thoughts and things that people said to us 20 or 30 years ago (okay Jeanette and Susan - 10 years ago) and we find them resurfacing from time to time. Just this week my husband said the most innocent thing and out of nowhere it brought back something that was said to me as a young girl that still affects me to this day. I just don't generally think about it. But apparently I need to clean it out of my thought closet because it doesn't belong in my life any longer.

So, February 2nd - our women's bible study will kick back up. I have a feeling that God has something incredible and totally unexpected in this study. Can't wait to see how it fits! Can't wait to see how I talk to myself after this!

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Do you ever have anxiety? Sometimes I do. I don't suffer from full-blown panic or anxiety attacks and I am very thankful. But occasionally, there is this anxiousness that just wants to wash over me. Unfortunately, I can't explain why. I will just feel it coming over me without warning and without any discernible reason. Case in point, just took a nap, woke up and there it was lurking over me.

If you have never suffered an unexplained anxious thought or episode, I can't explain it to you. It just happens. When I was little they gave me little green pills to take care of it. However, I couldn't swallow pills, so the cure for the anxiety only increased it. I was 8. I'm not really sure why I stopped taking them or why the anxious thoughts went away, but they did. Maybe it was Jesus. That was about the same age I started going to church camp, which to this day I swear changed my entire life. Another blog for another time.

Anyway, memorizing scripture and prayer have been the greatest relief for me when it comes to the anxiousness. When the anxiety starts welling up in me, I either start focusing all my thoughts and attention on God and prayer or I start reciting scriptures in my head. Sometimes I have to say the same scripture over and over and over again until I feel it pass. I don't necessarily have a specific scripture that I use or one that is necessarily relevant to the anxiety I am feeling. Any scripture that comes to mind seems to work for me.

I'm not really even sure why I am sharing any of this. But I recently read on Anne Jackson's blog that the best way to blog is to be yourself and to let people see the real you. I do know that sometimes when you talk about the things that the enemy uses to hold you back and tie you down - it tends to set you and others free. Hopefully someone will take something from this and know they aren't alone.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Unresolution List

We have all seen or made a list of things we are going to different or give up in the year 2010. It's tradition to do this the first day or week of the New Year. So as we start the 2nd week of the New Year I thought I would list some things I am NOT giving up:

1. Frozen M&M peanuts
2. Coffee
3. Books
4. Time with my family
5. Time alone with my husband
6. Memorizing Scripture
7. Women's Tuesday night bible studies
8. Cutting coupons
9. Prayer
10. Believing God
11. Naps (I almost forgot to include this!)

I know, seems like an odd combination and not in proper order. The order is just really random. But that's okay, I'm learning how to not stress over details that aren't really that important. Please note that I did not include keeping stress in my life for the year 2010. So the list stays as is.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Ugly Packages

Have you ever gotten a really ugly package? We did. Not too long before Christmas God delivered a personal package to us that was U-G-L-Y ugly. When it first arrived, I really, really wanted to give it back. I could not understand how God would want to us to receive a gift that appeared mangled, beaten-up and had a stench about it. It didn't seem like much of a gift at all. More like a bad dream where you wonder "is it over yet?". As life would have it, it was ours to keep.

So we accepted the ugly package. We looked it over. Checked it out from side-to-side, top-to-bottom trying to figure out what God wanted us to do with it. It was still ugly, but somehow after holding it for a bit, it wasn't quite as ugly. Actually, I became a little curious as to what might be in the package. Not so curious that I wanted to open it, but willing to sit in the corner, thank God for it and wait to see if something emerged from it.

Initially the packaged just started smelling worse. I thought if I could just put it outside for awhile - perhaps the theory of "out-of-sight, out-of-mind" would actually make the package disappear. Didn't happen.

Then something odd began to happen. The package started shedding its ugliness and we would see glimpses of a real gift - something valuable that only God could give us. Little by little, the ugly packaging was falling off. At first, I just stood back and waited to see if it would just turn back into something ugly. But it didn't. God began to unwrap our gift and to take off the ugly packaging. It seemed that only the Holy hand of God would be able to fully unwrap this gift. Human hands would only tarnish what was inside the ugly packaging. But Holy Hands - now that is something different. Holy Hands can take what appears to our human eyes to be ugly and distorted and mangled and make it into something far more beautiful and magnificent than we could ever imagine.

God is still unwrapping the ugly package. As he continues the process, something absolutely amazing is appearing from within. My heart is overjoyed at the amazing and personal gift God gave us - in some really ugly packaging.

So how about you - has God ever given you something that made you wonder "why" or "how" or "what am I going to do with this"? I'm not talking about material gifts. I'm talking about those life experiences that don't seem to make any sense in the beginning. They aren't pretty, they are hard and difficult and sometimes make our heart ache. But if given time and praise, God begins to unwrap the ugly package and inside we find the most treasured and wonderful gifts that remind us just how much God loves us. Don't discard the ugly packages - they tend to have the best gifts inside.