Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Mother's Dream

On Sunday we celebrated Mother's Day. My husband, Frank, delivered a message that brought me to my knees. It was entitled, "A Mother's Dream" and I just have to share some of it with anyone who reads this.

"One thing we must always remember is that God chose our mother for us and us for our mothers. None of us could make that choice as a newborn baby, but God knew who would be the best for us. God, in His infinite wisdom and knowledge, knew just which mother I needed to teach me those things that He wanted me to know. I am a lucky mother is still here today and I know that at one time she had great dreams for me and for my little brother. In these days....too many mothers are not fulfilling their roles and are not training up their children in the ways of the Lord. I see this sad statement of truth everyday....I teach high school.

I can and do thank God for my mother because she cared for me, taught me right from wrong, and watched over me. Any mother worth her salt lives with a prayer on her lips that her children will grow to be strong, healthy, model citizens who live for God. I know mine did....and here I am today. I am not perfect....but I do live for God. Charles Spurgeon once heard his own mother praying, "Now Lord, if my children go on in sin it will not be from ignorance that they perish and my soul must bear swift witness against them at the day of judgment if they lay no hold on Christ and claim Him as their personal Savior." All Christian parents should pray....we cannot make our kids serve Christ but we have to teach them about Christ so that they can know what the way of Salvation is even if they choose not to follow it.

Frank and I have great hopes for our daughters and we have done and continue to do all we can to help them become the best they can be. It is a life-long job to encourage the girls to learn more, become more, and mature into the greatness that God has placed within them.

I am no different from any other mother....I dreamed of my children becoming doctors, lawyers, astronauts, firemen, policemen, ministers, teachers...or any of a host of honorable professions....of course they had to make up their own minds....just like I had to make up is my life. I love my job....I love every day that I get up and go be with the high school kids. It is the testimony of the love of a mother that no matter how far from God her children may run...or what kind of life they are living....she never gives up on them.....but continues to hope for their becoming great burns in her heart. I have run from God....and I know it made my mother sad....but I found my way back....and when I did...Oh Happy Day!

Thank God for mothers who never give up on their kids. Thank God for our mothers who never gave up on Frank or me. Thank God for a mother who cared enough to teach us about God. Thank God for a mother that stuck by us when we did not deserve her loyalty.

I want to encourage all mothers out there today to dream big dreams for your children and never give up on those dreams. When times are hard, hang in there and be the strength of your family. When the children push you to the breaking point, hold on to the hand of God and keep walking. You are responsible for raising and teaching your children in the fear of the Lord. Our society today is in trouble because too many mothers have forgotten their responsibility to their children or even have led them away from God and His word.

Dorothy Law Nolte's poem, "Children Learn What They Live" really hits home right now.

"If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn.

If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight.

If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy.

If a child lives with shame, he learns to feel guilty.

If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient.

If a child lives with encouragement, he learns confidence.

If a child lives with praise, he learns to appreciate.

If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice.

If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith.

If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself.

If a child lives with acceptance and friendship, he learns to find love in the world."

AND...if a child grows up in the church and learns the love of God, he or she will never forget it.!

Tears flowed freely from my eyes on Sunday. I want to thank my darling husband for letting God give him the words I so needed to hear.

I love you Momma. Thank you for giving me the road map I needed to find The Way!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The World's Worst Mother Award

In the Waverly bulletin last week I used a wonderful devotional I found online that was a tribute to Mother's. I have thought about it all week and felt like I needed to share it with my readers today.

I am no different from most kids. I thought most of the time that my mother was the worst mom alive. If I could have nominated her for an award it would have been the World's Worst Mother. So I have peeked your interest and you are wondering how is this a tribute to a mother....sounds like a slam to is a tribute. I am who I am because of my mother.... " 1. She made me eat green vegetables with nearly every meal. I now enjoy good health." If I had had my way it would have been oreos and french fries three meals aday. "2. She insisted on the use of a foreign language...."Yes sir and Please." I have good manners now because she taught me this foreign language. " Foreign...because I teach high school and these words are rarely heard in the hallowed halls of learning. The language I hear there is profane and vulgar. "3. She spanked me when I was out of line. I learned respect for the law and officials who carry it out." I think today's children need a little more of that kind of teaching....but parents don't anymore. "4. She required me to do chores and I developed good work habits and a drive to succeed." I hated those chores....especially when my friends were outside playing....and I was was not just was not fair. I made sure I made my kids do chores. "5. For yelling, "Clean up your pig-pen of a room." I remember one time having to wear dirty clothes to a party...because I did not put the dirty clothes where they were supposed to about an object lesson. I was mortified. "6. For forcing me to take typing in High School. I have an enduring practical skill." Although I do not type on a typewriter anymore....I can tear a computer keyboard up. Thanks Mom! "7. For nagging me to continue practicing the piano. I have an appreciation of music." I don't play the piano...that did not take....but I can play the guitar....and sing...and write music....and I owe it all to those agonizing piano lessons. "8. She encouraged me to read. She inspired a lifelong desire to learn and grow." I would still be in college if someone would pay me to be a student. I was also one of the youngest people to ever hold a library card in Palm Beach County's Public Library....I also devour books. I LOVE to read! "9. For dragging me to church ever Sunday. My mother allowed God to literally change my life." And here I am today....a preacher's wife....who would have thunk it? "10. When I wanted to be left alone during a difficult divorce she persisted in helping me care for myself and my daughter. Now, I more clearly understand the meaning of the word love. There you have it. The evidence is overwhelming. She consistently refused to allow me to do whatever I wanted and because of it, I am eternally grateful. My mother deserves to be honored as the "World's Worst Mother' and I praise God for her influence on my life and the life of my daughter. Solomon wrote about women like my Mother in Proverbs: "Her children arise and call her blessed: ' Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.' Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise..." (Prov. 31:28-31) Have you given an award to your mother lately?

Thursday, May 8, 2008

On Motherhood

Today I want to send a shout out for all the mothers who have sat up all night with a sick toddler in their arms, wiping vomit laced with a hotdog and red Kool-Aid as they said to their upset little one, “It’s okay, Mommy is here.” I have to digress for a moment and tell a story of my daughter Kathryn. I do not do vomit...never have...never night Kat and I were in the rocker....she had a severe ear of course came on Saturday morning....and by Sunday night and through all the old wives rememdies....I was exhausted....and so was she. Anyway, I was rocking her....holding her in front of me....looking at her....pleading with her to please sleep.....when she vomited....right in my face. It was not the cute little baby spit up.....ohhhh was full fledged vomit.....and as soon as it hit my face.....I vomited right back at her. There we both were....crying and rocking....and vomiting....until finally her daddy came and relieved me of my duties....sent me to bed....cleaned her up....and I sank into a much needed sleep. I woke up feeling like the worst mother of the year.....but it has made a great tale for mothers to be and what to expect. I have others....but Kat would kill me if I told them here. Moving the mothers who sat in a rocking chair for hours soothing a crying baby who could not be comforted any other way. To the mothers who have gone to work with spit-up and milk stains on their blouses and a diaper or wet wipes in their purse. For the mothers who run carpools, make cookies, sew Halloween costumes, sit in the car and catch up on bills and reading at ball practices, dance lessons and endless instrument lessons, there will be a jewel in your crown….and for the mothers who can’t….because they are busy supporting their family… will have one too. To all the mothers who gave birth to babies they’ll never see and the mothers who took those babies into their homes there is a special place for all of you. This is for the mothers whose priceless art collections hang on the refrigerator doors, I know some of my most valuable work was a Mother’s Day card, complete with drawings, done by my daughter at the age of 5, that proclaimed: “Moms are great, moms are grand, moms are everything but a man.” How profound she was at such an early age. To the moms who have sat on hard bleachers at basketball games instead of cleaning house and responded when asked, “Did you see me, Mom?”….with a smile and “Of course, I would not have missed it for the world,” sincere response. This is for the moms who yell at their kids in the grocery store and swat them when they stomp their feet and ask for ice cream before dinner. It is also for the moms who count to ten instead, and for the ones who battle with child abuse issues. Anger is a tough thing to overcome….especially if you are the single mom. This is for the moms who sat their children down and explained the facts of life….and for the grandmothers who wanted to, but just couldn’t find the right words. This is for the mothers who go hungry, so their children can eat. My mom used to practice FHB (Family Hold Back) and suddenly declare that she did not like apple pie anymore when company would drop in unexpectedly. For the mothers who read the same book twice a night for a year and then read it again, “Just one more time.” In our household it was I Can Do It Myself. I read it so much that Kat knew it by heart. She was also that way about the video of Robin Hood by Walt Disney. For all the mothers who taught their children how to tie their shoelaces before they started kindergarten, and for the mothers who opted for Velcro….there is no shame in Velcro….trust me. Sometimes you have to opt for the easier road. It does not mean you are a failure. My son just refused to learn to tie shoelaces. I think he was in the third grade before he ever mastered the technique. This recognition is for all the mothers who have taught their sons to cook and iron and taught their daughters to change a flat and cut the grass. For every mom whose head turns when they hear the word, “mom” spoken….even when they know their children are at home, at college, or have families of their own….it is instinct. For ever mother who has sent a child to school with a stomach ache…..assuring them they will survive….only to get a call from the school an hour later asking them to pick their child up…..Right Now! For the mothers of children who were victims of school shootings….and for the mothers whose children where the shooters….it is difficult either way. For the mothers of the survivors who sat in horror in front of the television….and hugged their child extra hard when they came home from school. For mothers whose children have gone astray….or runaway….and for the moms who have had to bite their lips when their child comes home with funny colored hair, a tattoo, or a nose ring. To all the mothers who taught their children that peaceful was the only way to handle conflict and now pray daily that their children will come home from the war….alive. Mother’s Day is a special day just for you….it is a time when your children….acknowledge that we are aware of all you do and sacrifice for us. It took me a long time to get that point…..actually….it took becoming a mother…..and realizing….that no matter how much you love your children….they will hurt you….they will grow up and have opinions of their own….they will leave home…..(sometimes they will return)…..but….they love you….just like you love them… is that always kind of love. So for all the mothers out there today… and old…..I salute you…..without you…most of us would not be who or what we are today. You were our driving force. Thanks Mom!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

On Being a Worthy Woman

I got an email this week from a woman friend of mine. It was very touching and made me think about all the things we as women do .....don't do....and bear the load for. I had to share it with those of you out there who read my blog. It is called:

One Flaw In Women
Women have strengths that amaze men.
They bear hardships and they carry burdens,
but they hold happiness, love and joy.
They smile when they want to scream.
They sing when they want to cry.
They cry when they are happy
and laugh when they are nervous.
They fight for what they believe in.
They stand up to injustice.
They don't take "no" for an answer
when they believe there is a better solution.
They go without so their family can have.
They go to the doctor with a frightened friend.
They love unconditionally.
They cry when their children excel
and cheer when their friends get awards.
They are happy when they hear about
a birth or a wedding.
Their hearts break when a friend dies.
They grieve at the loss of a family member,
yet they are strong when they
think there is no strength left.
They know that a hug and a kiss
can heal a broken heart.
Women come in all shapes, sizes and colors.
They'll drive, fly, walk, run or e-mail you
to show how much they care about you.
The heart of a woman is what
makes the world keep turning.
They bring joy, hope and love.
They have compassion and ideas.
They give moral support to their
family and friends.
Women have vital things to say
and everything to give.
I just had to share this with all the women out there I know and don't know. This was written with me in mind....and I know it probably fits many of you. If I had to choose a major flaw and broadcast it....weight not would be that many times I have lost sight of my worth. Many of included are products of a strong willed parent. I had one of those. My mother is very strong willed and it resulted in me not having any self-esteem at all. I have been singing since I was mom could have been a stage mom for a beauty queen. All my life...I have had to sing on demand. Even today at 54, when my mom says....sing....I open my mouth and out comes a song. It is very frustrating to be treated in that way. My that was a different story....he has always been supportive, loving, kind, and when I was crying....he made me feel as if I was somebody. I never felt like somebody with my mom.....she was somebody....I was her shadow....or puppet....kind of like Waylon and Madame. I was the dummy doll. Oh, my mom loved me....she was just such a strong personality....that I got lost in the shadow of her. My dating life....was not much better....I tended to gravitate to people who were strong personalities...I was the wall flower of most groups....unless music was involved. Then and only then would I shine. I married young....I was 20....and my husband had a very strong personality....and a daughter with one too....Once again....I drifted into the woodwork. It was not until I had my daughter....that the fighter in me began to emerge. I realized....I was somebody....not just Ronnie's wife...and Jeni's mom....I was me....I was screaming to get I went to a Master's Degree.....I had arrived. When my daughter graduated from high school....I went one more step to freedom....I left my husband...and became single. Becoming single....was really just a justification....I had been a single mom a long time....just a married one. Sounds pecular huh? Well....I was a single mom....My life centered around the kids....his life centered around him. At the age of 44 I walked out on 22 years of marriage. I thought I was ready for it....but the first few months....I spent most of my time away from a fetal position crying myself to sleep. I was terrified. I wanted him to miss me....I wanted him to want me back....and it did not happen that way....I drew the line....he did not step across I had to find out if I truly could do it on my own....the day I signed my divorce papers....I got in my car....with no shoes purse....and found myself out of gas...outside of Tuscaloosa....a very kind employee at a truck stop....fed me, put a tank of gas in my car, and listened to me cry.....and when I tried to send money back....told me....just do something nice for someone it forward. I have never forgotten that day...I realized that day....I was somebody....worth being friends with....worth being the child of....worth being noted. That was in 2000. In 2002 I attended an Emmaus Walk....I found myself....with the help of a wonderful table of ladies that God put there just for me. He showed me how wonderful life can be....he does not make junk and I am His I am not junk! I am first run.....I am the best there is. Now, here I am in 2008. The group I sang with opened last weekend for Cowboy Crush....they said we were really good...I have a great husband....who is proud of me....encourages me....supports me....loves me inspite of myself.....I AM SOMEBODY OF WORTH. I AMA CHILD OF GOD! That makes me royalty! PTL!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Victim

“Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him;” Job 13:15,

I sometimes become a victim to my emotions....yep I is true. Often my circumstances stir up my emotions and I respond inappropriately....hey...let's just say I blow it! While my emotions toward my situation are not entirely wrong; they are just not entirely reliable. But you know...I know that my God is.

Adversity, trials, and sufferings are God’s greatest tools for growing us spiritually. However, our emotions sometimes tell us otherwise, making it hard to trust God for a good outcome. I think the reason it may be hard to rely on God in hardships is because I sometimes forget who my God is. I become so focused on what my eyes can see instead of the unseen hand of God at work in my life that I miss the boat entirely. My mom used to tell me it was God building character in me...and after struggling for so long....I would wonder....what kind of character God was wanting me to be.

A prime example of this happened a couple of weeks ago. My parents live with alone time for my husband and I is at a premium....if it even exists. Well....I had been praying for some alone time with my husband....and I got it....just not quite like I had envisioned it. I was thinking romantic....not stuck in a hospital room with my sweetie...strapped up with I.V's and monitors. Two weeks ago, my husband, Frank, came home from work complaining of chest pains. I normally would have blown this off....but Frank has a high pain tolerance....if he said his chest was hurting....he was probably having a massive coronary. This was something to worry about.....and I worry with the best of them. This time I was consumed with all the “what if” questions. What if it’s really a heart attack? What if he dies and I am widowed and alone? What if this trial is a test of faith? Like Job, will I be able to say, “Though you slay me, I will trust you?” I hoped so.

God only eliminates the things in my life that don’t “look” like Him. If there is a characteristic in my life that needs to be put to death, I can trust God will do it and I’ll be better off without it. While my mind may acknowledge this truth, my emotions need God’s grace in order to trust Him in the process.God’s grace is always sufficient. He is enough for whatever I face.

God’s faithfulness has been evident in my past and it helps me trust Him in the present. Like David, Habakkuk and many others, I stir my faith in God by remembering those past victories. David was able to face and slay the giant because he remembered God’s faithfulness in his past battles. Habakkuk, as he prayed about his situation, remembered God’s history with the Israelite children and how He brought them triumph. Remembering the past victories reminds me of just how big and able our God is, and rescues me from any doubt in the present situation. It offers strength, hope, and the faith I need to endure.

It is human nature to fear. But as a child of God, I have got to remember exactly how the righteous live. They live by faith. So I’m learning to say in my circumstances, “God, this is not what I want. It’s not what I planned for my life, but though you slay me I’m choosing to trust you.”

After all the testing....the pain that Frank was suffering....could not be diagnosed as a heart attack. He would live to be my husband for many more years with some behavior modification smoking and start exercising. The gray spot on the xray and from the stress test were not visible in the heart cath. The doctors were was I. Then, I realized that God not only eliminated the condition Frank was suffering from..... He also eliminated another layer of doubt in my life. In the hollow of that place, a deeper faith in God took root.Instead of trusting my feelings, I’m choosing to trust my God. He is enough both now and always for whatever comes my way. While my emotions are still going to trip me up from time to time, still, I will trust Him. Why—because if something needs slaying in my life, I’m better off without it and God is just the one to make the change a success.

I may not always understand what’s going on in my life. This may not be what I planned, but I will choose to trust God...I am going to rely on the fact that He will help me to see the good in every one of my situations, and He will also bring our the good from within me. I can count on that!

Friday, May 2, 2008

What is In Your Closet?

I was looking for a verse this to claim for the day and came across this one from Colossians 3:12-14 and I just had to share it with you. “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. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

I suffer a little from OCD.....Obsessive Compulsive Disorder...I have to lay out my clothes the night before I have to get up and go to work. It is one less thing I have to think about when I get up. It allows me to be more objective and intentional instead of rushing to decide what to wear.

In Colossians, Paul shares an analogy of clothing because our behavior is something that people see about us. Just like a bad suit, we look bad in negative behavior. Paul admonishes us to clothe ourselves in love. He then says to accessorize love with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and forgiveness. What an ensemble. Can you imagine if we were intentional in putting on this behavior everyday? What a difference it would make in our life and the lives of those around us.

So, from now on when you decide what you want to wear...think on this. What you put on....inside and out is your choice. God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, has custom made an outfit just for you. The clothes fit perfectly and bring out your true self. Go ahead, find a quiet changing room and go change. Clothe yourself today with love, compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and forgiveness.

I know I need to wear something different in my heart. I am ashamed to say that I haven’t been wearing the clothes He gave to me when I became a Christian. Today, Friday, May 2nd I am making a conscious effort to change the clothes of my heart and put on love, compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and forgiveness. I want to dress for success....inside and out. I want to look my very best. I am wearing my Bee pin this morning....because it reminds me I can Bee....whatever I want to Bee....I want to Bee my best for God.....Today, Tomorrow, Forever!

Here's to change! K

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Questions 54 and 55

I got an email this week from my friend Pam George....she always sends profound emails to I don't just hit delete....I always take the time to read them....this one was truly profound and thought provoking and sparked me to take the email and adapt it to my life. It began by stating that most of us tend put off something that brings us joy just because we haven't thought about it, don't have it penciled in on our schedule, didn't know it was coming or are simply too anal to vere from our routines.

Think about all those women on the Titanic who passed up dessert at dinner that fateful night in an effort to 'cut back the calories'. I don't know about you but I've tried to be a little more flexible!! How many women eat at home because our husbands didn't suggest going out to dinner until after something had been thawed? Does the word 'refrigeration' mean nothing to us?

How often have the kids dropped in to talk and sat in silence while we watched some insipid show on television about people we don't know or care about? This was a big one for me. My parents live with me....and watch the game show network 24/7. Whenever my daughter comes to see them....she doesn't visit with them....she watches television with them. You can only talk during commercials. I have grown to hate the television for that very reason. I used to watch it at night....but I hate game shows....and until my parents go to bed that is all that is on in my house.

I cannot count the times I called a friend and said, 'How about going to lunch in a half hour?' only to hear them stammer, 'I can't. I have clothes on the line. My hair is dirty. I wish I had known yesterday, I had a late breakfast, It looks like rain.' And my personal favorite: 'It's Monday.' One day we will wake up and our friends will be gone.....we aren't getting any younger you know and we will never have lunch together again.

We cram so much into our lives, we tend to even schedule our headaches. We live on a sparse diet of promises we make to ourselves when all the conditions are perfect! We'll go back and visit the grandparents when we get the baby toilet-trained. We'll entertain when we replace the living-room carpet. We'll go on a second honeymoon when we get the kids out of college. Life has a way of accelerating as we get older. The days get shorter, and the list of promises to ourselves gets longer. One morning, we awaken, and all we have to show for our lives is a litany of 'I'm going to,' 'I plan on,' and 'Someday, when things are settled down a bit.' This truly hit home for me last week when Frank came home complaining of chest pains. All of a sudden I was thrown into an unknown realm. I was looking at the fact that I could be a widow....and I did not like that at all. I sat in the room and thought about all the things we want to do, need to do, should do....and knew it was possibly too late. God gave me a second chance and believe me....I plan on siezing this moment....Carpe Diem it is.

When anyone calls I am going to be open to adventures and available for trips.I am planning to keep an open mind on new ideas. I want to have an enthusiasm for life that is contagious. After a five minute conversation with me I want you to be ready to trade your bad feet for a pair of roller-blades and skip an elevator for a bungee cord. Well....maybe not quite that extreme....but I do want my friends to be ready at a moments notice for what I have to suggest. Gas may be 5.00 a gallon this summer....but it is going to be the summer of the new me. I am going to seize the world by the horns and ride that puppy.

I stay on a perpetual diet. I have since the birth of my daughter, Kat....28 years ago....but you know....I love ice cream. It's just that in the past...I have felt that I might as well apply it directly to my stomach with a spatula and eliminate the digestive process. With my new zest for life and living next time I want ice
cream. I am going to stop the car and buy and ice does not have to be a triple-decker....but it will be ice cream...that way if my car hits an iceberg on the way home, I will die happy.

Now...go on and have a nice day. Do something you WANT to......not something
on your SHOULD DO list. If you were going to die soon and had only one phone
call you could make, who would you call and what would you say? And why are you waiting? My friend Bill lost his friend Morris this week....he sent me an email that said....he had just talked to him that morning....if he had known his conversation was going to be the last one he had....would he have said or done something different....I want to leave this world with no regrets! I think that is going to be my new mantra....instead of No Fear! Mine is No Regrets!

Have you ever watched kids playing on a merry go round or listened to the
rain lapping on the ground? Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight or gazed
at the sun into the fading night? Do you run through each day on the fly? When
you ask, 'How are you?' Do you hear the reply? Do you really care?

When the day is done, do you lie in your bed with the next hundred chores
running through your head? Ever told your child, 'We'll do it tomorrow.' And
in your haste, not see his sorrow? Ever lost touch? Let a good friendship die?
Just call to say 'Hi? When you worry and hurry through your day, it is like an unopened gift....Thrown away. ... Life is not a race. Take it slower. Hear the music before the song is over. 'Life may not be the party we hoped for... but while we are here we might as well dance!'