Do you cling?

Last week Eddie was out of town and for the first time in a while, it was me, by myself, with my kiddos for a few days.  I have to say, I was enjoying having my undivided attention on Grace and Jude.  I took a break from working for a few days to fully enjoy the alone time with my kiddos.  I had asked the kids what they wanted me to make for supper one night.  Grace chimed in first to say that she hadn’t had my lasagna in a while, Jude followed suit and before you know it I was listening to a duet of “We want lasagna, we want lasagna”.  So, after I dropped Grace at school Jude and I headed to get the ingredients.  When we got home, I quickly made the lasagna so Jude and I could play some ball before he had to take a nap.  I was just about done with the dish and Jude couldn’t wait for me to finish.  He wanted to go outside right then.  I told him to go ahead outside and wait for me.  He ran out with the ball and bat in his hand anxious for me to follow as soon as I could.

 

About two minutes later I hear a squeal unlike a squeal I have heard before and I see Jude’s little spiked hair as he runs around the bar to where I was standing.  His cries were desperate, his eyes were wide and completely terrified.  In an instant I was trying to figure out the problem, he couldn’t speak, just scream.  As I frantically looked him over, I saw a large amount of fire ants around his ankles and all over his shoes.  Without another second, I stripped him as quick as possible and put him in the sink. In about .7 seconds I had washed all the ants off of his legs and we were surveying the damage.  After calling the doctor about what to do, and getting her assurance that a visit to see her wasn’t necessary I smothered his little ankles with cortisone cream, and held my little man for a while.

 

Even now, when I think of Jude’s face, it makes me emotional.  He ran to me, in the midst of his urgency trusting that I would know how to help him.  He didn’t care about being scolded earlier in the day, or that he might of been upset with me about giving Grace a piece of candy for helping and he didn’t get one.  At the point of his crisis, he was clinging to the fact that he knew I would help, no matter what.

 

In Joshua’s farewell address in Joshua 23:8 he tells the children of Israel this,

 

But you are to CLING to the Lord your God, as you have done to this day.

 

The use of the word cling in this passage is captivating.  In one of Joshua’s last statements his charge was to cling.  The children of Israel knew what it was like to be hopeless.  They knew that in some of the situations they were faced with without God’s utter might, they would have been completely wiped out as a nation.  They recognized desperation, and they knew Who their Deliverer was.  Even still, Joshua said “cling”.

Why did he give this charge?  Because Joshua knew how easily they wandered from the Lord.  He knew the temptation for them to rely on themselves, when there was not impending danger.

 

Isn’t it so true that in a panicky moment like Jude and the fire ants, or news from the doctor, or a pink slip at work, or a letter that you get in your mail, or wondering where the money is going to come from to pay the mortgage, we CLING to the Lord.  Clinging in rough times seems so natural because we need a Savior.  Then there are days when we just get paid, and the kids are behaving, or we get a promotion, and we are just doing well that we tend to forget where those blessings come from. We slack in reading our bibles and praying because we are doing ok without it. When things are good, sometimes God is the farthest thing from our mind. Why is that?  He is the same God, and worthy of the same adoration.

 

If you are doing well, it isn’t because you are super smart or got it all together, it because God is blessing you. He loves you so much that He wants to bless you, just like you love to bless you children.  Don’t forget in the great times in your life to praise Him for his goodness, and have the attitude of still being desperate for Him.

 

King David in the Psalms is the perfect example of CLINGING to the Lord.  He knew when times were bad that God was HIs only hope, and when times were amazing God was the only reason.

 

I leave you with this.

 

Psalm 107:1

 

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

Haters

I was speaking a few years ago to a large group of people in Indiana.  The crowd was men, women, and children.  It made for an interesting day, however, I prayed and prayed about what exactly God wanted me to share.  I had not taken this engagement lightly and was completely excited for what God was going to do that day.  I decided to share my testimony about my previous husband and God’s grace to me through that situation.  I knew that the topic would be heavy, but made sure it was age appropriate.  I prayed before I took the stage, I remember being honored this group would even have me, I was so grateful for the experience.  Because children were present I decided to share how my daughter Grace got her name.

 

My daughter Grace is part of God’s grace to me.  I won’t ever forget the week after my divorce from my previous husband was final my family and I went on vacation.  We NEEDED a vacation so bad due to the huge amount of stress the whole situation caused.  We went to Gatlinburg, TN.  I remember sitting in a hot tub by myself one night talking to God.  I at that point was content to be single for the rest of my life, but I said this to God that night, “God, if you bless me with a baby girl one day, I will name her Grace because of the grace you have shown me.”   I prayed for a while that night, and always remembered my promise.

 

Well, wouldn’t you know a few years later, I was remarried, and pregnant and I knew even before the ultra-sound tech told me that it was a girl.  Her name is none other than Grace.

 

I shared that with that crowd  thinking it would resonate.  I left the stage and gathered my belongings to head home.  I remember many coming up to me saying they enjoyed what I shared.  As I went to leave on woman was waiting for me.  She came right up to me and said, why would you ever share that about your child’s name.  That is inappropriate, and I don’t think you should tell anyone that she was named after a bad marriage.  Her advice to me was to keep it a secret.  I left feeling a little defeated, but confident in my message, and I have come to realize that there WILL ALWAYS BE HATERS.

 

I read the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead today, you can find the entire story in John chapter 11.  It’s an amazing story about one of Jesus’s closest friends getting very sick and before Jesus could make it to heal him he passed away.  When Jesus finally got to his home He was questioned as to why He waited to get there.  Jesus’s response was, vs.40b “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God.”  The He prayed, and called Lazarus out of the grave and the dead man came back to life and walked out still bound.

 

The whole story is captivating, but one part caught my eye.  If you read the story in it’s entirety you will see vs.45 many Jews believed in Jesus that day.  But verse 46 says,

 

“But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them the things which Jesus had done.”

 

Even Jesus, who the Jews just saw Him raise the dead, were haters.  It didn’t matter what this man did for humanity, they didn’t like Him nor did they want Him spreading His  truth.

 

I think of us…..Sometimes, we are doing all we can for the glory of the Lord and we get bogged down by a single comment of negativity.  Our hearts are righteous before the Throne, and someone takes what we do and pulls it apart.

 

Let me encourage you today, DON’T GIVE IN!  If God has called you to do a specific thing to further His name, do it.  Let the haters hate, and let God take care of them.  Whenever we do something for the name of Christ, satan doesn’t want us to succeed so he tries as hard as he can to destroy us.  There will always be someone who doesn’t like everything you do, but remember to keep your eye’s on our God, and He will give you the strength to overcome!

What do your roots say about you?

Yesterday, I made a trip to Galveston to work.  The trip was a long one, and even longer when you factor in traffic for no reason in a random place, and Houston’s rush hour traffic.  I enjoyed my time though, I prayed and prayed for the direction of Blush and where God is going to lead us in the very near future.  I listened to some new worship records that I haven’t had a chance to get all the way through.  I was immersed in my Jesus when I noticed something that I have never seen before.  I began to see on either side of me big trees that were dead from about the middle to the ground.  The tops of the trees were completely bright green.  I was amazed by the sight.  Some of the leaves were brown and completely dead, and literally one branch above them there were leaves that were bright green.  I just looked in awe for several miles wandering what could happen to make the same tree so drastically different.  The Lord brought to my mind several things as I was gazing in awe, one of them is this passage of scripture.

 

Psalm 1: 1-3

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.  HE SHALL BE LIKE A TREE PLANTED BY THE RIVERS OF WATER, THAT BRINGS FORTH ITS FRUIT IN ITS SEASON, WHOSE LEAF ALSO SHALL NOT WITHER; AND WHATEVER HE DOES SHALL PROSPER.

 

I couldn’t help but liken the trees to some Christians.  I have rarely seen a more beautiful group of people than Christians.  We get all dolled up on Sunday, we fix our kids hair all cute, and wear a cute number that we just picked up from the mall, and come to church all beautiful.  We say the right thing, like “praise the Lord” or “Amen” or even “I’m praying for you” regularly, but beneath the surface some of us are spiritually dead.  I have talked and counseled with some of the most beautiful individuals you would ever see, and they look like they have it all together, and yet they are dead inside.

There problem is almost always and INACTIVE WALK WITH CHRIST.  Without Christ, and the Holy Spirit you lack the power for anything.

 

Romans 8:13 says clearly,

For if you live according to the flesh (or ourselves) you will die.

 

I know that some of you out there are tired of playing the nauseating, church, country club game and are ready to commit fully to a relationship with God that is not a show, but an outpouring of your heart.  To me, there is nothing more amazing than to see a person completely in bondage to themselves, and their ideas, SET FREE.  Guess who offers that freedom?  His has a name that is above all other, Jesus Christ.

 

I can speak to this so passionately because many years ago, I was the tree who looked nice on the top, but whose roots were completely dead.

 

Choose to commit and stop playing the fence today, I promise it’s worth it to let go of the control.

Your Appointed Time

It almost hurt to breathe yesterday as I walked my vivacious, beautiful, kind and compassionate baby girl into the elementary school doors for the first time. She was ready, she has been ready.  God has given her such a passion for living and expressing her joy through her most bubbly and captivating personality.  Just Sunday night, as we always do Eddie and I sat with her by her bedside to kiss her goodnight, and to sing her her song of choice as a lullaby.  However, it was different this Sunday.  I sat by her side and told her the gifts that God has given her, she smiled huge as I was speaking to her strengths. I sat there and prayed for God to protect her eyes, ears, and mind from the influences of the world.  I have been a stay-at-home mommy for almost six years, and Eddie and I have been the only major influences in her life.  Knowing that that was going to change the next day made me pray with extra conviction.  After we prayed, I asked Grace what song she wanted to hear, she said confidently, Jesus loves me, and as I was beginning to sing, she said no mom, Baby Mine.  Baby Mine is the song from the movie Dumbo, and when I was five months pregnant with her I memorized the song to sing as her lullaby every night.  I sang it for almost 5 years solid, until Jude started liking to hear Jesus loves me.  Sunday night was the first time she has requested it in a long while. I began to sing, and the tears came.  They were definitely not tears of regret or anger, just tears because my girl had completed one stage in her life, and is now on to the next.  I ended up having to leave the room and let Eddie finish, and came downstairs to process.

 

I sat on my bed and let myself have a good cry.  I know that God knows exactly how I was feeling, after all, He sent His Son to earth for us.  In that moment, I let myself go back to the cradle, and the first steps, and the first words of my girl.  I let myself take a minute to thank God for the time that she has been with me 24/7.  Although it has been a challenging job, God sent me to do it.

 

Ecclesiastes 3:1 says,

There is an appointed time for everything, and there is a time for every event under the sun.

 

This was Grace’s appointed time to move on to what God called her to do on this earth.  She has a calling, just like I do, and influencing the body of Christ, through her little classmates, at this time in her life is one of them.  I sat back and began to recognize the bigger picture, and God began to bring peace.

 

How fitting that one of Grace’s favorite stories is of queen Esther who was placed on earth, “for such a time as this.”  This time period in Grace’s life is her appointed time, just like yours, and just like mine.

 

We are not placed on the earth to take up space, we are called to work for our King.  The choice is ours.  I think of so many people who waste their lives, trying to get a bigger paycheck or more notoriety and look back when they are on their death bed and realize what life was really about.  If we are Christians we have a very specific guidebook to follow.  The bible clearly tells us how to raise our kids, and treat our spouses, and use our spiritual gifts, but we have to study it and see what it says.

One of the best things I could ever tell you is to study the Word of our God for the steps for your life.  God doesn’t always promise millions of dollars or fame, but He does promise living an abundant and purpose filled existence.  After all, you are here for this appointed time for an appointed purpose.  If you know that you need to make a change, there is no greater time than the present.  Take that step of faith to fulfill what God has been begging you to do for sometime, and He will give you the grace and strength to do it.  God is waiting……