Nov 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Blessings

Where do I even start? This year has been so full of blessings! Even though this year has had some major struggles along the way, I can honestly say without hesitation that I am thankful for it all. God's presence has never been felt more, and never have I been led so strongly to obey Him. Above all, I have come to a deeper understanding of God's Word where the Holy Spirit is concerned, and how to realize the power that it can hold in my daily life.

Just to name a few of the top blessings that have amazed me this year:

*My love for my husband has grown deeper and stronger with each passing day. I have loved him for 20 years, but I am still falling IN LOVE with him.

*My brother has rededicated his life to the Lord in a way that has completely changed his life and his childrens' lives for eternity.

*My church has had so many salvations, baptisms, and life change throughout this year, and I got a front row seat in seeing it occur. To God be the glory for it all!

*An abundance of new friendships. I have been blessed with so many wonderful, dear friends through the years, but especially this year. God knew I needed them so much.

*Our family has found contentment and peace that we've prayed to find. I know that seasons and circumstances can rapidly change, but I am grateful beyond measure for what we have right now.

My hope is that each of you can take time to reflect on God's goodness and thank Him for all you have been given. I would love to know how God has blessed you most this year. Happy Thanksgiving friends!

Nov 11, 2009

No One Can Do It All- So Quit Trying

Doing for others before doing for myself is a common mommy fault of mine. I would totally fail the airplane protocol of putting the breathing mask on yourself before helping someone next to you. I'm sure I'm not the only one who disappoints themselves before inconveniencing others, but I know that this mindset will have to change as I take on more responsibility in the future.

Just this week I missed my Annie's puppet presentation at school because I was staying home with my sick son. I have plenty of friends who would have gladly popped in so I could have gone, but I wouldn't dare bother them with such a thing. Besides, he did have the flu. Germs-Ahhhh! Thankfully over the last several years I have come to realize that my husband, who works full time is happy to be more involved in taking over some roles when I will release him to do so. My first thought is always, "I'll go to this meeting since he has already worked all day and needs to rest." Or I'll say, "I don't need to go to this function or event. My time at home is more important." In the process of doing this over and over, you really deprive yourself of a much needed break and your spouse of his duties and privileges as a father. Skip went to the puppet show and had such a fun time. Also there was some technical difficulties with the recordings and a dvd player, and since Skip is Mr. Media, he was able to save the day (or at least one kid's puppet performance).

This weekend I am going to the Women of Faith Conference in Houston, Texas with many of my relatives and a few friends. I had so many reasons not to go: Seth is just recovering from being sick, what if the other kids get sick, we really don't have extra money for me to spend, and the list goes on and on. However, this is something I need to do for me. I lead bible studies in my church, I am taking on the Women's Coordinator role for our church womens ministry, and I'm a pastor's wife. There needs to be some time when I soak in the wisdom of godly women to fill me up so I can then give to others. Selfishly I am also desiring a fresh, new word for what God wants to do in the hearts of our Real Life Women for the year 2010. Somehow just knowing that so many women are going to be gathered together singing God's praises and encouraging one another, gives me reason to believe I will receive this gift.

And while this mama is away, my husband and children are going to have a blast. He is already planning what they are going to do which will include a lot of movies, eating junk food and laughing. It won't include structure, bedtimes, or cleaning-this I know for sure:) Isn't God good to give me such an opposite of myself to balance out our children.

Friends, is there too many plates spinning? Are you taking time for yourself? Even better than that, spending time at the feet of Jesus? Giving him all your struggles, all your obligations and asking Him to help you first and foremost before you go to anyone else, is the key. Let's learn this lesson together and see all that God is going to do to give us a peace in this crazy place called Life.

Psalm 55:22 "Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall."

Nov 4, 2009

An Aunt Has to Brag a Little

It has been a while since my last post written about my nephew Matt Prokop, but there is something new coming up that I don't want you to miss. Matt is guest starring on the tv series Medium next Friday, November 13th. I am so excited for this first dramatic role of his career. He says the character is pretty dark, so it will be a far cry from his fun-loving Jimmy"the Rocket" from HSM3. I will be at the Women of Faith Conference in Houston, Texas that night, but I am SO running across the street with my sis, (Matt's mom) my aunts, cousins and friends to catch the episode in our hotel rooms. My hometown newspaper just put out an article to highlight his current accomplishments. You can read it yourself here.

Matt is also starring in Furry Vengeance coming out Spring 2010 starring Brenden Fraser and Brooke Shields which should be a great family film to check out. I can't wait. We are so proud of you Matt. Don't forget to mention my name when you get your first Oscar! It won't surprise me in the least.

Nov 3, 2009

Patience - Can't We Skip This One Fruit of the Spirit

I am in the middle of my 11 week study "Living Beyond Yourself, Exploring the Fruit of the Spirit" by Beth Moore. I have absolutely loved this study more than any other study I've ever done, and yes, I always say this about every new Beth Moore study I take on. It is because every new study I do is miraculously the exact thing I need to work on in my spiritual life at every given time I've started a new one. Isn't that awesome how God works that out?

Well, as much as I've loved this study, I don't like this week. There is a road barrier of sorts that has come up. I am trying to push on through, but it is difficult. This week's study is making me cry uncontrollably, get angry with myself, and bringing up so many things I have pushed down for the last 2 and a half years. Let's just say, "I'm not enjoying it one bit." This week is on patience. Okay, I can handle patience. I had to endure my son's illness when he was born, I had a house on the market for over a year, and I have three children-need I say more. However, during day 3 Beth turned this whole subject of patience in a direction I wasn't ready to go. She started teaching on judgment of others. Okay, yes I know this is a toughie. "I can soak this in and learn something new," I told myself. Then she suddenly took another turn on day 4 and started bringing "forgiveness" into the mix. Wait a second, how can we go from patience to forgiveness. I wasn't anticipating having to work on that particular area. It wasn't in the syllabus. I started reading quotes like, "If we neglect the necessity of forgiveness, we fail to complete the portrait of biblical patience. Then I read, "Patience is the vessel through which God pours His mercy. Mercy is fueled by biblical patience."

Normally I can say without a doubt that I have forgiven every wrong done to me, either intentionally or non-intentional. However, as I'm reading the following verse, I realize, I am still holding on to something I need to let go of- and quick.

Mark 11:25 "And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

Wait a minute God, I thought I laid that "thing" down at your feet a long time ago, but just this morning when I encountered a thought about that "thing" I immediately let a negative thought come into my mind. Well, I guess I'm not quite done with it after all. Sometimes, forgiveness can be taken care of immediately with a prayer. Mine hasn't obviously. Beth went on to say that the Greek word most often used for forgive is aphiemi, which means "to let go from one's power, possession, to let go free, let escape." I don't even know if it is so much that I don't forgive a person or thing, but instead the fact that I know that others still hold something against me and my family. That is tough. I don't know if they would even read this blog, or if they even have thoughts about us anymore. I want them to understand why we did what we did at the time, but most of all it comes down to I want their forgiveness for us.

There is a patience that can only come from God and it is called "makrothumia" in the Greek form. This is the "patience" towards others that results from being filled with the Holy Spirit. I want this patience in my life, so that I may forgive freely, that I may not judge others, so I can give mercy as needed, and so that I can live life with a clean slate. Maybe you are fortunate and harbor no un-forgiveness in your life, but if you are like me, you need to stop whatever you think needs to be done right now, and get on your knees. Ask for God to let forgiveness rule over personal feelings. It doesn't mean that the hurt didn't happen, it doesn't mean wrong was not done to you, but it does mean that when you stand before God one day, you will be forgiven as you have forgiven others. That is my choice today, and I hope you let it be yours.

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." Col. 3:12-13