Friday, May 31, 2013

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

My Passion

 
 
I tried to embed a video into my blog but for some reason because of the privacy settings it would not work.

Please click on this link below and go to my Facebook (IF you have a Facebook account) and listen to this video of little Aubrie talking about JESUS.

 
If you do not have a Facebook Account....little Aubrie is answering questions about Jesus.  She tells that Jesus DIED to SAVE us.  He died on a SAD day.  He AROSE.  They put him in a TOMB.  He came ALIVE.  He didn't DIE again.  He went to HEAVEN.
 
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AND....this is WHY I LOVE teaching the little ones at church in Sunday School and on Wednesday nights.  This is little Aubrie and the video was recorded the first of May by her babysitter.  I might add that Aubrie is 2 1/2 years old. 

She is just ONE of the many blessings I am greeted with each week.  You NEVER know what they will say, or what they will do, but through it all, they are listening and absorbing more knowledge that you can even imagine.

The little ones are my passion.  I have always had a heart for them because I have always felt that if you can reach them at a very early tender age, it will stick with them for life. 

Unfortunately, the two and three year old are many times neglected in churches.  Too many times they are thrown into a "play room" and not TAUGHT until they are a few years older.

The little folks are eager and ready to learn NOW so lets grab them while we can.  Valuable teaching time is being lost.

Next time when someone wants to over-look the little ones, I hope you will remember this video and stand up for the rights of the toddlers to learn.

Wrap It Up

I teach school so therefore, it is that time of year when we completely "wrap it up".  Yesterday was a work day.  Today....we give out grade cards.  Our rooms are packed away; everything is labeled and off the floors.....and a very short Summer Break begins.

Whewwwww....what a year.  The end-of-the year chaos is always CRAZY.  The students are ready to move on.................we the teachers are ready to close one chapter and begin another one.  We are burned out and ready for a rest.  Come August, we will face our new group of students with re-newed excitement and energy.

Let's see.....in less than a week and a half, Vacation Bible School starts....and don't forget I teach the pre-schoolers on Sunday morning and Wednesday nights...........so my teaching days do not completely come to a siesta in the Summer....only my 6th Grade Computer Lab rests. 

I will miss this years' students; some more than others.  BUT, I look forward to a new group of students next year.  Life moves on.

You know...sometimes in real life, we need to just stop and "wrap it up" and open a new chapter.  Sometimes it is time to move on.........sometimes God is speaking to you to try a new adventure........sometimes you are just in a rut.........and sometimes you just need to stop and count your blessings. 

Regardless.....from time to time, let's "wrap it up" and start with a new energy!!!


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Six Months

 
HAPPY SIX MONTHS!!!
 
Cameron Lee Hicks has brought us much joy.
 
 
As much as we love "Little Man".....God loves us more. 
 
I'll tell you like I tell my students at school....if you get tired of seeing pictures, just skip through them.....can't promise I won't post them.  Smile. 
 
 How can you look at a baby....or look at nature and NOT believe in God?  They are both miracles that could only come from God.

Monday, May 27, 2013

MEMORIAL DAY

 
MEMORIAL DAY
 
This day is more than barbeques, cookouts and having fun.  Yes, it is the day we use to officially begin Summer, but it is more than that.  It is the day set aside to remember honor our men and women who have lost their lives serving in the armed services, where they fought to keep America free.
 
A special thank you to all of the current military folks also.  We appreciate what you do.....and we're praying you stay safe.
 
May you have a very safe and enjoyable Memorial Day!!

BLESSINGS....

 
HAPPY 6th ANNIVERSARY to
our daughter & son-in-law.....Yesterday!
May 26, 2007
 
 
Six years of marriage and a 6 month old, but they were able to get away for the weekend.  They went to Atlanta to celebrate their anniversary and take a few days off.  It looks like they enjoyed themselves........................but I'm sure not as much as we did.  SMILE.  For them to have from Saturday to Monday "away", we were privileged to keep "little man".  This was their first time away from him overnight and our first time to keep him overnight.
 
Sunday morning was "interesting".  Our son and daughter-in-law are at our house, so it is always interesting on Sunday mornings, but add a 6 months old to the scene and it was very different.  However, we managed it all, with everyone pitching in and even made it to Sunday School on time.  It really helps that he is a very good baby.
 
We have certainly enjoyed two nights and three days with "Little Man".  (All four of us have passed him back and forth so he will be even MORE rotten when he goes home.)  BUT, I will admit, NOW I understand why mom and dad needed a break.............whew....I had forgotten how demanding little ones are. 
 
God is so good.....and we are really blessed. Our two children were truly Gifts from God.  Then, God blessed us with two more gifts by marriage.  And....what can I say, Little Man has truly been a blessing to us all.  Thank you, God, for being so good to us.

 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Stability of Our Times

The chaos in Moore Oklahoma, the hysteria of Boston Massachusetts, the devastation of West Texas have all happened here in the United States in the last 5 weeks. Globally, there is the heartbreak of the clothing factory collapse in India, the commonplace violence in Syria and the threat of annihilation from North Korea.

We can use many words to describe our times, but I doubt anyone would use the word "stable."

"Unstable" or "in stable" would be more like it.

While I have not faced the loss of life or possessions in the last weeks, and I do not pretend to equate my crazy busy life with what so many others are facing. I can say that as I have run from recitals to end-of-the-school-year activities that the things going on outside the little bubble of life have definitely put things into perspective for me. The month of May may be the new "December" with mounting monetary expenses and a busy social calendar, but I have definitely appreciated my "obligations" and "responsibilities" a little more. How blessed am I?

I have wondered what kind of world am I raising my kids in. What is God doing? I know He is in control. I know that He is loving. I know He works ALL things for His glory and our good. But, it is so easy to take our eyes off Him when we see all the results of sin in this fallen world we live in.

God gave me this verse this morning:

"and he will be the stability of your times, abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is Zion's treasure." Isaiah 33:6

Ladies, if we believe this verse, if He is the STABILITY of our times - providing us with an ABUNDANCE of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge - then what do we have to fear? The only thing we should fear is the Lord and this same verse reminds us that is Zion's treasure. The craziness of this world should remind us that we should not fear this world, but the God of angel armies who is in charge of this world.

What better times for us to live in then the times that God has ordained for us? He is our stability. He is our rock. Let's praise Him in the midst of our storms. He is.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

When Last I Blogged . . .

It is my turn to blog again! As I prayed over the weekend about what to write about, I kept drawing a blank. I hadn't begun to worry as I knew God would provide the topic, but I was wondering . . .

Then Monday came.

I was on the way home from the church, listening to the KLove station out of Nashville when I heard something that honestly filled me dread. The details the DJs were discussing were sketchy, something about Oklahoma, tornadoes and school children.

I arrived home, let the dogs out back, settled my daughters and clicked on the television. The pictures were overwhelming. The details still too new to be comprehended. Each station was scrambling to get the information out - where Moore, OK was located, how big the storm was, and how many people were injured, dead or missing.

On my last turn to blog, the news of the Boston bombings and the destruction of West, TX filled the media airways. Now, the largest most dangerous possible tornado has the nation gripping their TVs, tablets and computers to hear the latest. Children are gone. Homes lost. Lives destroyed. Can this really be happening again? So soon?

My heart has been heavy. The one victim actually named so far is a nine year old girl. My daughter was nine until her birthday last week when she hit double digits and turned ten. I cannot imagine dropping her off at school and then not seeing her again. But God has gently reminded me that none of "my" 3 girls are actually mine. They are His and He has only entrusted them to me for a short time.

If you've been reading the blog for awhile, you may think you've found a typo . . . You may be thinking that Wally and I only have 2 daughters . . . Well, God has entrusted one more little girl to us. We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of Eliza Joy in September! Isn't He good?!

I have more I want to share this month and I will. But, I want to end today just encouraging you to pray. Please pray God's glory to be shown in the aftermath of Monday's storm. Please pray for my pregnancy - rejoicing in His goodness and seeking His watch care.

Thanks in advance for going before the Throne on my behalf.


Friday, May 17, 2013

Spiritual Giardia

Psalm 1 tells us the secret to being happy!  We are not to do certain things and we are to do other things. 

What not to do?  Do not walk or stand or sit in the counsel of the wicked, in the path of sinners, or with scoffers.  (Notice the progression!!  It starts with us first walking along side ungodliness and if we are not careful we stop and hang out and before we know it we are sitting down comfortable there!!)

What to do?  Delight in the law of the Lord and meditate on it day and night.

Hummmm.  Meditate.   Ponder.  Think on.  Chew.  Digest. 

So, no wonder we are not happy!!  How often do we read our Bible or have our quiet time and go on our way and have NO IDEA what we just read?  Think about it.  At the end of the day….do you remember what you read that morning?  Yesterday?  A few minutes ago?

The reason?  Are you ready for this?  I believe many of us have spiritual giardia!!  Ha!  Ever heard that in church before? 

You might want to refer to my last post where I shared about when I had the parasite giardia.  Giardia attacks the lining of the intestines and strips away all of the fibers that takes in nutrition and the end result is my intestines were more like a drain pipe where everything that went into my system simply ran through it instead of being “grabbed” by the little fingers of a healthy intestine.

I believe that many of us have spiritual giardia.  We read or hear something from God….and instead of meditating on it, chewing it, and thinking about it, it simply runs through our mind and runs out just as quickly because we do not meditate.  Ponder. Chew. 

We know the Word is life.  It feeds us.  It nourishes us.  Perhaps that is why the church is weak and malnutritioned.  We are not meditating.  Pondering.  Chewing.

Next time we “eat” of the bread of life—let’s not let it run right through us….let’s get into the habit of meditating.  Pondering.  Chewing!

Eat up girl!

Assumptions

I was dying. Slowly. Secretly. Subtly. Dying. I found myself in a hospital bed in San Antonio, Texas weighing less than 100 pounds (which is not good for a 5 foot 6 inch woman!)  Our daughter was about three and our son was still in diapers and without me knowing it, I was starving. Forgive me if I am being too graphic, but I would eat and it would immediately come out. 

There was a gastroenterologist in our church and I began to see him early on….when the symptoms first started and long before I was down to less than 100 pounds.  He could find nothing wrong.  Nothing!  I was ‘fine’.  The diagnosis?  Are you ready for this girl?  Here is what he said to me.  “You are a minister’s wife.  That is what is wrong with you.  This hospital is full of beds with ministers wives in it.  Stress is doing this to your body just like it is doing it to all of the other ministers wives in this hospital.”

I was dumbfounded!  What?  Are you telling me that all of this is in my head?  That being a minister’s wife is killing me?  Ladies…to this day it brings me to tears as I contemplate all that this means.  The fact that there are hospital beds full of ministers wives who are under so much pressure and stress that they have to be hospitalized!!  The fact that my ‘issues’ were being dismissed so easily just because my husband is a minister!  My heart hurts thinking about it.

That doctor finally came to his senses when he realized that I was doing really, really badly.  He admitted me to the hospital so he could run some tests and keep an eye on what was going in and what was going out of me J. 

It was during one of those tests that he discovered the problem.  I was laying up-side-down on some torturous table and he was looking in my intestines (crazy huh?) and he saw something he (nor anyone else in the hospital) had ever seen before.  They had read about it, but never seen it in person—giardia! 

Giardia is a small parasite that eats away at the lining of the intestines and those little guys had been feasting for so long that there was no lining to my intestines….the food went in and went out….no finger-like fibers to grab the food and digest it.  My husband and I were so grateful to know what was causing me to waste away and that it was not because of ministry!!

As a ministers wife we are often “misdiagnosed” and “put into a box” and people make lots of “assumptions” about us.  And it hurts.  And it is hard.  But it happens!  We must not become angry or frustrated or put barriers up around us.  And we must be sure to NOT do the same things to other people!  Perhaps if we look at ourselves really hard…..we might see that we, too, often “misdiagnose” others intentions and motives—maybe, just maybe they ARE pure!  And maybe, just maybe we also put those trouble makers “into a box”.  And maybe we also make lots of “assumptions” about people.

Grace, my friend!  We must give and receive lots of grace!!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I’m B-A-C-K!!

“I’m B-A-C-K!”  That was the subject line in the email I sent the ladies who attend the Sunday school class that I had stepped away from teaching.  I shared with you in an earlier post that I felt compelled to step away.  Had too.  Needed to.  Wanted to. 

I honestly was not even totally sure why I had to, needed to, and wanted to.  Was it because discouragement had set in?  Was it a lack of feeling appreciated?  Was it something someone said or did or did not say or did not do?  Was it because of sin in my heart?  Was it because I thought God was done with me?  Was it all of the above?  Was it none of the above?

During those three months of not teaching the class much happened in our church and in my heart and mind.  I can look back and see how it was good for me to be able to have a place of refuge with the first graders during our church’s season of pain and difficulty….a place to ‘hide’, so to speak.  (Since I could not run away which is what I really wanted to do!!)

God also reminded me once again that I KNOW I am to teach women!  He has put it in my heart and it is something I must do!  The time away reconfirmed that for me and they graciously welcomed me back!!

Do you want to quit?  2 Corinthians 4:1  “Therefore, since God in His mercy has given us this new way, WE NEVER GIVE UP!!”

Are you discouraged?  2 Chronicles 15:7  “But as for you, be strong and courageous, for your work will be rewarded!!”

Do you want to give up on something?  Everything?  Anyone?  Everyone?  Remember that Hebrews 12 tells us to run with endurance the race God has set before us by keeping our eyes on Jesus!!! 

The truth is I had taken my eyes off of Jesus and put it on to other people and what they thought and what they wanted….and, much of the time I did not really even know what they thought or what they wanted but I was speculating!!  Crazy huh!!!???  Vain imaginations getting me in to trouble A-G-A-I-N!!!

Take courage my friend!  Run the race God has set before you….not the race someone else has set before you!!  Remember how precious you are and how loved you are!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Weeds in my Garden and Spots on my Windows


Have you ever noticed that some people think ministers and their families are perfect?  I cannot tell you how many times ladies in the church or people I meet believe our homes must be harmonious, perfectly clean, and children absolutely precious and obedient at all times.  I have even had some people state, “Oh, but I am sure you never sin.”  Please!!!

I have lots of weeds in my garden and spots on my windows.  First I have an addiction-chocolate.  It may be a harmless substance but I do have to have it daily.  On a serious note, I often struggle with sin that pops up like those pesky weeds in my garden.  For example, I worry.  No matter how often I pluck it out of the garden of my heart and place it at Jesus’ feet, I seem to always pick it up and examine it some more.

Then, the window of my heart gets cloudy and spotty just like the windows of my home.  I can wash them but the spots and dirt come back.  For instance, I do get angry and sometimes have bitterness.  I continually ask Jesus to help me overcome this sin but Satan has a way of knowing my weakness.  He will often throw a little more mud on my heart’s window.

I learned years ago that even as a minister’s wife I am not perfect.  Until Jesus calls me home, I will always have a few weeds in my garden and spots on my window.  Thank God loves me just as I am-an imperfect sinner saved by Grace.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Grounded


A few weeks ago I was to travel with a team from Tennessee to Jamaica on a mission trip.  I was so excited about the trip.  The one task that the team would be doing is to love on the ladies of Jamaica and hold a women’s conference.  I had my bags packed, passport ready and I was prayed up.  All that was left for me to do was to load the car and meet up with the team in Tennessee.  However, God had other plans.  He grounded me. 

That’s right.  One Sunday before I was to drive to Tennessee on Wednesday I awoke in extreme pain in my lower back.  Monday morning I had it checked by my doctor and she said with much conviction that I would not be traveling anywhere especially out of country for at least weeks.  The next morning I started physical therapy for a herniated disk in the lower back.  I still do not know what I did to cause the problem and probably will never know. 

Girlfriends, my heart just broke into a million pieces.  I wanted so badly to be with my Jamaica team members.  I wanted to experience what they would be experiencing while they ministered.  I cried for two days straight from back pain, from the loss of experiencing the trip, and from just plain wishing my mom were still here to make me feel better.

However, on Wednesday morning I decided that I needed to be a big girl and focus on getting well and on the team.  Yes, I was grounded to the house and I could not go on the mission trip.  However, I could still pray for the team and visualize what they might be doing. 

God and I met each morning for devotional time.  Our team had a devotional guide written for the time they would be away so I used this guide as my main focus.  In addition,  I also continued my quiet time by reading from Journey devotional guide by Lifeway and from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.  Girls, I was amazed at how all three devotionals went together.   I looked forward to my time in the Word daily and I even found myself praying for the team during my physical therapy sessions.

One particular day called us to stop and focus on what God was doing.  We get so busy in the work that we forget to see God.  Boy, was I guilty of that!  I had been so focused on “going” on the mission trip that I forgot to really focus on what God might need of me instead.  Apparently, He wanted me to stay home and pray for our team and the work they would be doing.

Yes, I was grounded by my doctor to my home for basically two weeks.  However, God grounded me in a different way.  He opened my eyes to His word and allowed me to discover some deep seeded truths for my life. 

Have you ever been grounded?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Mission Trip-Part 2

My sisters, as I mentioned in the blog earlier this week, I had the joyous opportunity to go on a mission trip in April.  As you all know, some events in our lives serve as markers or milestones, things that happen to us that are life-changing and encourage us tremendously in our walk with Christ.   This mission trip was one such event in my life.  This journey lasted only 7 days, but those 7 days left an indelible mark on my heart.
One of the highlights of the trip was our school visits.  Members of our team split up into groups and visited various schools, and the school that I was blessed to see was a Christian school that had the sweetest, most well-behaved kids I had ever seen in a classroom setting: very courteous, very polite, and so respectful!   I had a chance to speak to the children about what they desired to be when they grew up, using Jeremiah 29:11 as my subject verse.  These precious kids aimed high; I heard some say doctor, teacher, veterinarian, even cardiologist…and these were elementary aged children!  What a blessing it was to visit these little ones and meet their teachers.  I will never forget their beautiful smiling faces!  
I believe that the most memorable event for me was the women’s conference that was held the Saturday we were there. Women from all over the Linstead community in Jamaica came to be fed spiritually from the word of God.   Ladies, can you believe that we had about 600 women in attendance!  The conference included main speakers, seven different breakout sessions, praise & worship, and a movie shown at the end.
 I was blessed to lead a session on prayer, and I felt very overwhelmed by the women’s interest on the subject.   Amazingly, just this week I was able to speak with one of the women from my session; I prayed with her and encouraged her, and she requested some additional information on prayer.  Furthermore, what also truly encouraged me happened at the end of one of my sessions. A precious sixteen year old girl came up to me with a fervent desire to talk with me, and she asked many deep questions on various subjects from the Bible.  How I wish I could have spent more time with her, but the minutes that I had to share with her from the Scriptures will be a memory I will always treasure!
God is so good to allow me to take this journey.  He even provided some rest time for our team before we were scheduled to return home.   Of course, I could go on and on about other things that I experienced, but for now I will simply say that my life will never be the same because of this mission trip, and I am more than willing to go again, as He provides the opportunity.  
So, my sisters, if the Lord is tugging at your heart to go on a mission trip, watch what He will do in your life if you say, “Yes, Lord I will go.  Send me!”