Monday, April 29, 2013

Mission Trip-Part 1

Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”  Psalm 37:4
This verse became the theme of a wonderful, life changing event that the Lord allowed me to experience.  This month I went on my very first mission trip; notice I said “first”, because after what I experienced, I would absolutely love to go on another one.  
I call the verse above my “theme verse” because for a very long time now I have had a desire to go on a mission trip to another part of the world.  The verse in Acts 1:8 says that we are to be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth; the Lord has allowed me to be a witness for Him state-side, so I was willing and very eager to be His witness in the “ends of the earth”!  
On April 11, I had the blessed opportunity to travel to Jamaica, and not just me, for I was a member of a wonderful team of 22, eager and excited about what the Lord was going to do while we were there. As many of you know who have been on mission trips before, sometimes the living quarters are much different than what you are accustomed to, but it’s amazing that you really don’t seem to mind that, if you have prepared yourself beforehand.   We were encouraged to “turn off our switches”.  What does that mean you may ask?   Basically, you have the mindset that you are not in the states anymore, not in the comfort of your own home anymore, so you mentally and physically adjust to the present situation and accept it as part of the journey.   There was not anything that I encountered that would hinder me from doing it all over again!
Ladies, I must say that I truly fell in love with the people; so gracious, so kind, so hospitable, and such servants!  The Lord gave me a heart for the people of Jamaica, and reminded me that when we all get to heaven, there will be saints there from “every tribe and tongue and people and nation”.   Revelation 5:9     In their worship services, the people really have a heart and mind to praise and exalt the Lord in song, and everyone is encouraged to participate.   I loved it, for in heaven we will all stand around the throne, glorifying and worshiping our God and our Savior!
I am so excited about sharing more details of my journey with you, so later this week I will share specifically about some of the ministry opportunities that we had.   Until then……………………….

"Little Man"

I'm thought you survived one blogging session without me sharing "Little Man's" picture.......but NOT.  He was 5 months old yesterday.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

"Doubting Thomas"

Since Thursday, we have been praising God for healing Roger. 

Already, we have run across some "Doubting Thomas's".  You know them....they are the ones that are always asking for prayer requests, etc............BUT, when God DOES answer the prayers, they are like, "So....he never had cancer?  Wonder why the doctor would say he had cancer if he didn't, etc." 

In other word, they want you to PRAY, but they really don't BELIEVE God will answer the prayers.

Why does God heal some and not other?  That is a mystery, but I am sure He has his reason.  It is not always God's will for a person to be healed.  Sometimes, he can use their sickness to minister to others.  Sometimes God chooses to heal to show Christians what happened when two or more are gathered together and pray BELIEVING.

Regardless.............We are giving God the PRAISE for healing Roger this week.  There is no doubt in our minds that PRAYER CHANGED the course of his journey.

Let us always PRAY.....BELIEVING.....and TRUSTING!!!

Friday, April 26, 2013

PRAYER.......really does make a Difference!!

Our church is a beautiful, country church, that was rebuilt about 18 years ago when the new highway got their old church.  We started out with 12 people for Sunday School and 32 people for preaching.  Several years ago we added a new fellowship hall witch is the buildings on the left.

Last Sunday we had 68 people for Sunday School and over a hundred for preaching.  Praise the Lord.  For the past four weeks, we have had someone join our church each week....either by letter or salvation.  God has really been working in our church this year.

This is all AWESOME!!!! did not JUST happen.  PRAYER made the difference

Roger and I have prayed for help for years for our church.  BUT the difference came a little over a year ago when a group of our men began meeting between Sunday School and preaching and praying over my husband.

About six months ago, one of our young married men asked Roger if he would mind getting to church 30 minutes before Sunday School so the young men could pray over him. 

Roger was excited that not only were the older men praying over him before the worship the younger men were praying over him before Sunday he told the church about it and how blessed he felt.  Then the teacher of the older women's class spoke up and said, we have been praying for you at the end of Sunday School in our classroom for some time.

We have three groups, consistently praying for God to give Roger the words to say that would honor him....each Sunday.

Praise the Lord........that has made all of the difference.
  • We are growing closer to the Lord. 
  • We are growing closer to each other. 
  • And, we are growing in numbers. too. 
  • People are energetic and dedicated and yearning to work for God.
Our little country church that is becoming not so little, is living proof that PRAYER.....really does make a Difference!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Prayer Changes Things

Three and half weeks ago, as I mentioned in my "Roller Coaster" blog, my husband was told by his Urologist that "You have prostrate cancer.  Now, we need to schedule the biopsies to determine how to treat you and get you better."  There was no doubt in the doctor's mind that Roger had cancer.

What a scary word......that involved lots of people.  We were scared.  Our children were scared.  Our moms were scared.  Our extended families were scared.  Our church family was scared.  Our friends were scared.

Through this diagnosis, everyone pulled together and PRAYED like they've never prayed before.  On at least three occasions Christians got together and circled Roger and prayed for his healing.  Roger's secular job is a computer job with a large Insurance Company.  On one of the occasions, the Vice President of the company called and asked if he and a group of other Christians could circle Roger and pray over him.  Or course, Roger told him he would be very appreciative if they did.  I think about 30 men and women from the job, met together and prayed for Roger.

Well, today was the BIG DAY.  We went and met with the Urologist and find our which direction we would go next.  The doctor came in and said, "NO CANCER....not even any pre-cancer."  He was very surprised and you could tell that he wasn't even sure what to say. He was sooo sure it was cancer.  The only instructions was that Roger needs to have it checked again in six months.

PRAISE THE LORD!!!!  The doctor may be shocked and in amazement......but WE know the answers.....PRAYER CHANGES THINGS.

Thank you for the prayers.  We do not know why God saw fit for our journey to end this way, but we are not questioning it.  God chose to show his amazing healing in this case.  I know other faithful Christians that have been struck with a fatal illness and regardless of the praying, God still sees fit to take them home.  BUT....when this happens, I always remember what my Dad said about that when he was alive.  (He was on the kidney dialysis machine for 20 1/2 years.  Men prayed over him many times begging for healing.)  Before he died, my mom was discouraged and asked him, "Why won't God answer our prayers for healing?"  My dad's reply was, "Maybe he is.....death to a Christian is the ultimate healing."

Regardless, I give God All of the Glory!!!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Anchor Holds

Roger sang this song Sunday morning at our church and did an awesome job.  He has sung the song many, many times, but Sunday, with our "waiting game" took on a new meaning for me. 

It is soooo true, with everything else; our lives, health, the world situation, etc., the only thing that is safe and secure is the anchor of Christ.

I have journeyed
Through the long, dark night
Out on the open sea
By faith alone
Sight unknown
And yet His eyes were watching me
The anchor holds
Though the ship is battered
The anchor holds
Though the sails are torn
I have fallen on my knees
As I faced the raging seas
The anchor holds
In spite of the storm

I've had visions
I've had dreams
I've even held them in my hand
But I never knew
They would slip right through
Like they were only grains of sand
I have been young
But I am older now
And there has been beauty
That these eyes have seen
But it was in the night
Through the storms of my life
Oh, that's where God proved
His love to me
I pray that you too will find peace with "The Anchor Holds" matter what you are currently going through in your life.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Roller Coaster Ride

I feel like Roger and I have been on a huge roller coaster ride for the past several weeks.  It's been a scary, unexpected ride.  

For a year, Roger has had four tests, checking his PSA levels.  A year ago at his checkup, it was elevated, so he was told to come back in a few months and check it again.  It was up a little more and was told to come back in September and have it checked again.  In September, his numbers were down, so his Urologist said that maybe everything would be okay, but we would "watch" it.  (I might add that he did not and does not have any other symptoms other than the higher PSA levels.)

He went back the last week of March for his yearly check.............the numbers were back up again, so the Urologist told him, "You do have prostrate cancer and we need to do biopsies and see how to treat you."    The BIG "C" word.....the word everyone dreads and fears.  

Last Tuesday, he had 36 biopsies.  Now comes the waiting game.  We go back to the Urologist this Thursday to find out the results and what to do from here.

I say this is like a roller coaster ride, because it caught us off guard and knocked the breath out of us......we are anxiously waiting to see which way the track will curve or how high the climb will be or how far the fall will be.  ANTICIPATION.

One thing I have discovered about Roger and I during this journey....we are use to ministering to others and not being minister to.  We have had to be open and call upon our brothers and sisters in Christ to help us pray about this "ride".  We have had people calling us, emailing us, texting us, etc. just to check on us.  We are not use to this.  It has been a very humbling experience, but we really appreciate the prayers and concerns.

We have NO CONTROL over this...........but GOD IS STILL IN CONTROL.  Please send up some prayers for Roger this week.  Thank you in advance for your prayers.

We never have control over our journeys in life and must ALWAYS rely on God and his guidance. 

The Boston Marathon runners had trained and prepared for the race......however, no one prepared for a bomb going off.  Life is full of the unexpected and we must always be prepared.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

He Never Changes

Recently, I had the privilege of leading the mid-week Bible study for our church's student ministry. Our student minister was in Louisville at class that day and he had given me the freedom to teach whatever I felt led to teach. After praying about it for a couple of days, I felt sure that I needed to share with the teenagers what God had been showing me. However, I did not want it to be about me. I wanted to them to see God and what He was doing.

After dividing them into teams, I set a timer and asked each team to list as many Old Testament miracles that they could remember. Then I challenged them to list as many New Testament miracles as they could think of as well. We looked up over 15 verses from both testaments that spoke of God's everlasting faithfulness and how He never changes.

During the course of our evening together, Blow-Pops and mini candy bars were won and eaten, but the point I prayed that each took home in the end, was that our same God is the same God who did all those miracles. I wanted each student to truly know and see Biblicaly that their God never changes and can be depended upon to keep His promises - that they can trust His word.

Near the end of the hour, I did share about James and how faithful God had been to me through the days and weeks that followed his death. I pray that could see how our God is really, truly there and that He is the same God that parted the Red Sea and brought Jesus back from the dead. THAT is the power that resides in us. THAT is the God we serve. He never changes.

Dear Sister, I have no idea what God is leading you through right now. Ministry may be hard. Your husband may seem distant. You may feel alone. On the contrary, things right now may be easy and you find yourself praising God for this time of rest. Regardless of what you may or may not be going through, rest in the knowledge, in the grace that our God never changes.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

He Never Leaves

In the days that turned to weeks following James' death, I quit praying. I didn't stop altogether or all at once. I didn't make a decision not to. I just didn't.

For years I have kept a prayer journal writing my thoughts to God 5 to 6 days a week. I love prayer journaling as it keeps me focused in prayer as I write, creates a lasting record of my spiritual journey and is often how I see God's faithfulness as He answers my prayers. Usually in times of loss or uncertainty, my prayer journaling discipline has been crucial to me as I seek God, His guidance and His peace.

I still don't know why, but after being interrupted from my journaling the morning after James died, I didn't pick my pen back up. I sent countless "Why God?" whispers to His throne. Many prayerful sighs and even desperate pleas were breathlessly uttered for peace as I witnessed my husband, his parents and James' wife, Cindy, mourn. Physically, my body was spent and I asked God to carry me through. I plead for comforting words as I held Cindy as she cried and for answers as I sought something to say to my 12 year old niece's questions about what was happening.

Looking back, God never left me. He so gently, graciously answered every prayer - spoken, unspoken by me, by our church family, by my sweet friends and family states away.

By His grace alone He never left any of us during that dark time. His peace and presence was not dependant upon me seeking Him in a quiet time or through my practice of meeting Him on the college-ruled pages of my trusty prayer journal. He never withheld any part of Himself that I needed. He never begrudgingly answered my prayers despite the fact I was neglecting my personal time with Him. He willingly, lovingly, abundantly never failed to keep even one of His promises. He never left.

Sweet Sister, I am so thankful that this is the God that we all serve! In this time of bombings in Boston, factory explosions in West, tornados in the west and all sorts of uncertainty ahead - our God never leaves! Praise Him with me!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

God is Still God


How quickly our world changes!

Last month when it was my turn to blog, my husband's older brother, James, had just unexpectedly passed. I intended on blogging throughout that week, but honestly, became quickly overwhelmed and could not live up to my honest intentions. Between trips to the funeral home, out-of-town visitors and trying to just "be there" for, well everyone, I fell short.

I had so many feelings I wanted to share with you, but looking back on it now, my feelings were so new and raw. It really wasn't the time.

So, I anticipated my turn to once again blog. I have some things that God has shown me over the last 5 weeks, but then Monday our world was turned upside down yet again.

As I type, some news outlets are reporting that an arrest has been made in Boston. Lives there have been forever changed. Families are planning their own funerals. A new reality is settling in for many Americans as we are all reminded how the world changed on September 11th.

Our tranquil everyday lives have all been interrupted and we are reminded of the many things we take for granted.

One of those things: God is still God.

I know this isn't "new" to any of you, but it is one of those things that God has shown me since James' death. The truth washed over me anew on Monday afternoon when I turned on the television to see the confusion and the chaos at the marathon's finish line.

What truth did God remind you of?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Promise or Principle?

From the moment I found out I was pregnant my heart’s desire was to raise Godly kids.  Not simply being content or satisfied with “good” kids….but Godly kids.  This is no easy feat for anyone—especially someone like me who had no role model growing up that would have given me a basis for attempting to do something like that!  I learned very early that it had little to do with me and lots to do with God!

I knew I had to do my part….thus the “precedent principle” I mentioned a few days ago, and I knew I needed to walk before them a life that glorified God….I needed to be in the Word, speak the Word, pray the Word and live the Word….but in the end…..God was the One who would create a new heart in them to love Him with all of their heart and soul and mind and strength.  Just like my husband and I gave them a physical heart somehow through the conception—it was really God who created them physically and I knew He was the One to recreate them spiritually.

In order to “do our part” to raise Godly kids….we had rules.  One rule was that they were never allowed to be in any home where a parent was not present.  Not a friend’s house.  Not our house.  Too many things happen when minors are left alone.  I know….I did lots of those things!!

Many times we would get a phone call saying that their friends parents left to run an errand and would it be OK for them to stay.  The answer?  No!  Again….I cite the precedent principle.  If I rationalize and it becomes OK for just a few minutes….(after all it will just be a few minutes and it will require me to get in the car and go get them)….what’s the big deal?  The big deal is that what I am saying to them is that the rule really does not matter.

Another rule was that no one of the opposite sex was allowed in their bedroom with the door closed.  In fact, only on very rare occasions were they even allowed in the bedroom.  I could cite more “rules” but the point is this.  Do the rules guarantee Godly kids?  No.  Only the work of the Holy Spirit makes Godly kids.

I cannot tell you how many nights I prayed all through the night for our son.  There were times where I literally felt I was battling the enemy for his very life!!  It was spiritual warfare and I knew I had to go to battle for him!! 

Ladies, if you are in the midst of the battle with your child….perhaps they are only two years old….or twelve….or sixteen….or thirty!!!  Do not grow weary in well doing.  Fight the good fight.  Run the race.  It is well worth it.

It humbles me to share that I am now a pastor’s mom and a pastor’s mother-in-law….only by the grace of God!  Does that mean I am “done”?  Finished?  NOT!!!  Never!  The enemy is even more seductive and dangerous….you KNOW!!  You are a pastor’s wife and he is prowling like a roaring lion seeking some ministry he can devour!!  Be encouraged, however!  Cast all of your cares on Him because He cares for you and for your children!!

There is something I would like to hear back from you about….there has been some discussion among some of the ladies in our church about Proverbs 22:6 which says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.”  Some believe this is a promise and others believe it is a principle or a truth.  I’d love to hear your thoughts!  Thanks!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Parenting and Worship

When our children were old enough to go to “big church” it was important that they sit with me instead of with their friends…..their friends were MORE than welcome to sit with us but I needed/wanted to know what they were doing (or were not doing) in church.  I could do this since I was/am not a “good” pastor’s wife because I don’t play the piano and I do not sing in the choir or praise team!  Shocker I know!! 
Anyway… you, It was SO important to us that they LOVE going to church….we wanted it to be a good and fun experience for them.  At the same time, it was also important for them to be respectful to God and others and learn to worship well, so they needed to be quiet and still. 

How in the world was I going to teach them that?  I was not taught that as a child….I did not grow up going to church….how in the world was I going to impart a love for the Church and for worship?  How was I to keep youngsters still and quiet and engaged and love going to church and still be able to worship and listen and learn myself?  Not an easy feat that is for sure!! 
Through prayer and the power and grace of God that is how!!  By me modeling a love for Christ and the Church and worship before them!  What a responsibility!!  And, to be honest, I failed a lot!!
There were Sundays when I just did not "feel" like going to church!  (Surely I am not the only PW who has not wanted to go to church...?)  I wanted to stay at home in my pj's and read the newspaper or something....anything....but go to church!!  Then I would remember.....this is all much bigger than me!!!  There are little eyes watching and little ears listening.....My choices set precedences that might just affect generations to come and "as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!"  What kind of legacy will I leave behind? 
On a side note, We would say, "We get to go to church!" instead of "We have to go to church."
Like many of you I would have paper and pen ready!  (There is just something super fun to a little one about getting to use a pen instead of a crayon J!)  The hard part was having something for them to do that a) would not involve the loud noise of rustling paper and b) keep them engaged in what was going on.

Recently, our church stopped having children’s church and so we now give out fun bags to all school aged children as they come into “big” church that has lots of fun things for them to do in it….much of it dealing with what they hear and/or see in church.  When church is over, they keep whatever paper/activity they used and leave the bag at the welcome center.  It’s a great idea!!  Each week they might get a different bag. 
One of my favorite memories of having the kids sit with me at church was during the offering.  At that time we received the offering right before the sermon and I would always lean over and pray with my kids for their dad right before he was to preach.  Sweet times!!

There were many times when they did not behave in church….and there would be consequences.  At the same time, when they were great…..we would oooohhhh and aaaahhhh over their behavior to reinforce positive expectations.  The precedent principle came into play (see previous post)!!
Parenting in the ministry is hard.  Many children who are raised in ministers homes leave the church….the statistics are staggering…..and fearful.  We need each other.  We need God!

What tips, ideas, suggestions do you have?  If you are singing or playing an instrument during church how do you "deal" with your children?

Oh Father, we confess that we are incapable of so much!!  We ask for Your wisdom as we parent our children.  You are able and we are weak.  Please wrap Your arms around the mom reading this whose heart is broken over her child.  Pour out Your love upon her.  I stand against the enemy who would cause us to want to give up or be discouraged or defeated.  We desire for Godly kids who love You with all of their heart and soul and mind and strength….give us the grace to parent well.  In Jesus’ name….amen!!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Precedents and Parenting

In college I took a Business Law course and learned all about “precedents”.  You see, in law, once a case has been determined it sets a “precedent” for other similar cases.  If a ruling is set that something or some act is deemed “OK” (or not "OK"), then future lawyers can site that case saying, “If it was ‘OK’ then (or not "OK"), it is ‘OK’ (or not "OK") now.
I am not sure why (since I was a young college student) but during that study of “precedents” in the Business Law class a light  bulb went on in my mind!!  This is an important parenting principle!!  Parenting?  Why was I even thinking about parenting???  I didn’t even want to think about parenting….anyway….I am digressing….

Fast forward a few years and my husband and I have become parents and I still have on my mind the precedent principle….and we raised our children on this principle.

When our children were small I did not want them eating and/or drinking all over the house….only in the kitchen….and I wanted them to sit down when they did!!  I can picture it to this day….I am handing them their cup and their little bottoms hit the floor!  Reason?  I wanted to contain messes!!  A selfish motive on my part you might think, but that was one way I could help manage our home as well as teach them boundaries. 
So, I am on the phone and our toddler daughter wants to walk around with her milk/juice/whatever all over the house….what do I do?  My goal is for them to stay in the kitchen (yikes, that sounds like a dog command!  Stay!”) when they eat and/or drink….yet I am on the phone.  Busy.  Distracted.  I think to myself, ‘What’s the harm just this one time?  It will be fine.’  So, there she goes….doing the very thing I don’t want her to do and I have just set a “precedent”! 

In her little mind I am saying, ‘it is OK for you to eat/drink out of the kitchen when I am on the phone or busy or distracted’!  So she thinks that since it was "OK" last time….next time it should be "OK" too!  Yet the next time I correct her and she is confused!!  No wonder our kids are frustrated and out of control sometimes!!  It is because we confuse them!!  Sometimes it is “OK” and other times it is not!!???
What I learned is that if a parenting principle is important to me and/or my husband….consistency is key!!  It is hard.  It takes time and focus and discipline on our part but it is so important to remember the precedent principle!! encouraged!!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Runaway Place

When our children were younger, I had a dear friend who would call to tell me that she was running away to the WalMart parking lot for some “Mommy time.”  The first time she called to tell me this I just laughed and said, “Ok.”  Later, I went to WalMart and there sat my friend in her car having a good Mama cry. 

Well, I have not run away to the WalMart parking lot, but I have run away.  A few years ago my husband went to work for the AR Baptist Convention.  Because of school and my work, my two teenage sons and I stayed behind in the town where my husband had served as pastor.  We were to move at the end of May.  Our family was basically separated for almost six months.    Now trying to raise two teenage sons, who did not want to move and who were at the age that they got on each other’s nerves, was not fun.  Stress piled up. 

One day the boys were fighting.  Actually, it sounded like a war.  My nerves were shot and I made a decision.  I was running away.  I grabbed my keys,  my purse and headed for the door.  I stopped where the teenage war was raging and said calmly, “Food is in the pantry and refrig.  I am running away.”  Before I closed the door, my sons fighting ceased and I saw bewilderment on their faces.

As I hit the road I called my best friend in town and told her that I was running away for a while.  She laughed and assured me that she would make sure the boys were taken care of.  (Don’t you love girlfriends like this?  They fully understand when you need to “Mama runaway” for a while).

After an hour or so of driving around and crying my heart out, I returned home.  I felt better and knew God was in control.  My sons were a little relieved when I returned.  I wish I could say that I never ran away again but that is another story.

I look at Jesus and realize that He ran away from the crowds and disciples at times.  He had to in order to have real quality time with his Father.  Likewise, we need to runaway to unwind and relax in the Father’s arms.  I like to picture myself crawling like a little child in to the Lord’s lap and then nestling my face upon His strong shoulders. 

As mothers, wives, employees, etc, stress gets high and life gets hard.  Out of curiosity, I did ask a few ladies to share with me where their favorite runaway place was and here is what they said:

*a bathroom with a LOCKED door

*Catos or Sams

*Memory form bed

*jetted bathtub with candles

*the garden


My dream runaway place is a deserted island with a good book, a massive bag of M & Ms in a variety of flavors, and an extra large Diet Coke.  Only two things are allowed at my runaway destination:  girlfriends and lots of laughter.


So ladies, tell me where you like to runaway to when you have to escape the chaos of life?


Monday, April 1, 2013


Here in Arkansas the weather is always a rollercoaster.  If you do not like the weather today, wait until tomorrow for it will almost always be a different type.  Springtime in Arkansas brings a lot of thunderstorms too.  One minute it is bright and pretty and the next minute Mother Nature releases her fury.

The other day I sat at my kitchen table looking out at a dark and dreary morning and listened to the spring thunderstorm.  The thunder rumbled and shook the windows of our house.  Lightning flashed and streaked across the sky.  Rain pounded on the roof top and saturated the ground.  My first thought was how long would this storm last.  Then suddenly, the storm ceased.  The sun began to peek out and the birds chirped in the springtime weather. 

In a flash, I realized that life presents in the same way.  We all go through dark, dreary thunderstorm days such as tough ministry times, tight finances, illness, and loneliness.  These events shake the very core of our faith.  Hopelessness sometimes streaks in and trials pound all around us with unrelenting force.  If we are honest, we wonder when these thunderstorms will end.

Then, one day we come out from our present “thunderstorm of life.”  We see the sunshine peeking out and it brings renewed hope.  Our souls sing celebrations of praise to the King of Kings who has walked with us through our thunderstorm and brought us safely to a bright new day.  We breathe in and relax for we have survived. 

Dear sisters, if you are walking in a thunderstorm, hold tight to the Father’s hand.  Let Him be your guide and shelter you.  When He brings your through the storm, do not forget breathe, relax, and praise Him for His care for you.  Then prepare yourself for the next approaching storm.