Saturday, June 30, 2018

Waiting Well and Walt Disney

My husband and I told our daughters about our plans to vacation at Disney World this fall.

Talk about waiting with anticipation! When the trip was still 9 months out, our girls were already wearing us out with questions and suggestions. As we're getting closer to our departure date, their excitement only grows.

This is how I feel like I should be waiting when I am waiting on God - imagining, dreaming, asking, seeking...

BUT, what exactly am I waiting for?

Yes, I may find myself in a season of waiting for various news or specific resources. However, ultimately, as a Christ-follower, shouldn't I primarily always be waiting for His return? Am I anticipating the time when I no longer wrestling with my sin? Am I anxiously awaiting the day when the consequences of living in a fallen world have all disappeared?

Most of the time, for me anyway, I do not live waiting like I should. I don't think about eternity. I don't look at my life through the lens of His perspective. I don't wait with anticipation of His return.

For me, it is SO easy to become distracted by lesser things, things that pale in comparison to the unshakable things that Hebrews 12 tells about.

For me, there are the daily demands and routine responsibilities that keep my focus on the temporary trappings of this world.

For me, I settle on selfish goals and seem to forget the reality of Jesus returning.

The tension -or balance- is hard to achieve. Anyone got any ideas on how to be faithful in the mundane everyday AND the desire to just stand on the side of a mountain looking to the skies?

My prayer is that I would be looking toward eternity in the same way we are looking toward our Disney World Vacay . . .

1. We are talking about it. -What we are going to do, going to eat, who we will see, where we will go? Rarely do we gather around the family dinner table and NOT talk about Disney. When we gather with other Christians, we should share the anticipation and talk about the glory days that we have yet to experience.

2. We are seeking help. -We are working with an awesome travel agent. (If you need one, message me and I'll get you her contact 411!) We are asking her questions and listening to her answers. She has been there and done that and has the experience we lack. True, it is not very likely any of us can sit down and have a conversation with any person who's been to heaven. . .  BUT wait! Jesus did give us the ultimate Helper in the Holy Spirit. He can guide us and prepare us for the journey ahead better then any travel planner ever.

3. We are actively planning. -Our daughters are already talking about what they will pack. From clothes for the parks to books for the trip, the preparations at this point are still mainly mental, but they are well underway. I am reading blogs and monitoring Facebook pages to gain fresh perspectives and new insights since our last trip 4 years ago. As Christ-followers, as long as the Lord waits to return, we should be actively "packing" -learning new Biblical truths and growing in our faith, leaving behind the fleshly desires of our old nature and putting on the new.

4. We are intentionally investing. -No doubt, a trip like this for our family is expensive. Any link on Pinterest that has the phrase "Disney on a Dime" will be followed! We are setting aside funds and making payments so when we load the car and begin our trek south, we are not thinking about the financial sacrifice. As Christians, yes we give money to the local church. We tithe and make offerings. We also support other ministries with monetary gifts as the Lord leads - but our investment in the coming Kingdom is much more than financial. We invest in each other -our children, the members of our church and others God brings across our paths. Discipleship done right is downright messy and expensive. It costs us time and emotion. It requires us to sacrifice our own desires to make it happen.

The more our family talks about it, seeks help, actively plans and intentionally invests in our trip, the more focused on it we will be. The same holds true with learning to live with an eternal perspective while we wait on Christ's return. . .

My husband and I do not regret telling the girls about the trip. We are loving watching their anticipation grow. We are getting such enjoyment from seeing their faces light up and hearing the excitement in their voices. This is part of the fun. The waiting is even good . . . As a Christian, my anticipation of the second coming of Christ is a good thing as well. One day, when He does return, the waiting will be over and it will have all been good. The getting there is not just worth the destination, it is part of its ultimate worth. This "waiting" experience will add to the sweetness of what I am waiting for.

Lord, help us to wait for You the way You would have us to . . . Let us talk about it, encouraging each other. Let us look to Your Spirit to help us. Give us an active plan to grow in Your ways. Help us to intentionally invest in our faith and in each other. Be glorified in our waiting . . .  

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

More on Waiting

How do you know when God is speaking to you?

For me, there seems to be some common "threads" or similar themes that keep popping up as I read scripture, listen to sermons and expose my mind to other Biblical sources.
Since my posting the other day, I read the following excerpt from Desiring God on Instagram:

"As we seek to accept and rejoice in God's handling of our lives, including his timing, we can ask God to work in us two main things, so that our waiting is not in vain: humility and trust.

1. Humility
Sometimes, when I've found myself getting impatient and upset, I will remind myself that God is the one who put me here. My life is not my own. This is humility. It is coming to realize that we are a breath and God owes us nothing (Psalm 39:5, Luke 17:7-10)

2. Trust
Then comes trust, which means believing at least two things about God: he is powerful, and he is loving."

As I thought about this posting, I realized a few things: 

1. God is still teaching me about waiting. 
2. The Holy Spirit is still convicting me about how I wait. (I wrestle with pride and a lack of faith.)
3. I need to pray for the humility and trust that I need to wait well.

Our God most certainly speaks to us, if we would just listen. This is what He is speaking to my heart right now. What is He speaking to yours?

Monday, June 25, 2018

Waiting for Him

I don't like waiting.

Few of us do, I just don't do it well . . .  in the least.

Whether it is on traffic or on my kids, my patience is easily tried, time and time again.

Sometimes we find ourselves waiting for all kinds of things, most minor, others more major. We pray for direction and discernment, confirmation and conviction, help and healing, provision and promises -fulfilled.

Recently, it was my turn to share during our weekly staff devotion time. My name had been by this date on the calendar for several months and as the time approached, this idea of "waiting" kept coming to mind.

"Okay," I thought. "I will do a search on what the Bible has to say about waiting."

I went to and to see what verses would pop up.

My findings? Lots of examples of Biblical peeps "waiting" or being warned about those who "lie in wait." The results I found in Psalms, Proverbs and Isaiah seemed to be just the promises I was looking for. I wanted the devotion I was leading to be encouraging and up-beat.

Then a particular reference from Isaiah caught my eye:

"Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you,

    and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.
Isaiah 30:18a

All the other passages seemed to speak to those of us who "wait on the Lord" - You know, because then He will renew our strength, etc... BUT, this verse was different. The subject was not expected. We are not the ones doing the waiting - God is. 

And who is He waiting on? Us. 
Why? To be gracious to us. 

Here I am in my arrogance, self-righteousness and pride thinking I am the one waiting on God. I am praying for His timing and His provision and His will without acknowledging that in the waiting He is graciously giving me all three. 

The devotion I thought would be encouraging to others, turned out to be convicting to me.

As He waits, He is revealing His exalted place as my Creator, Savior and Lord. By comparison, especially without Him, I am lowly and insignificant. 

Like an unbelievably patient parent waiting for their toddler's temper tantrum to pass, He is responding to my impatience with mercy.

The last part of verse carries just as much weight: 

For the Lord is a God of justice;

    blessed are all those who wait for him.
Isaiah 30:18b

He is indeed a God of justice. He is not making us wait unfairly or without gain. When we find ourselves waiting for Him, He sees us. He knows and we are blessed. 

He always does immeasurably more than we ask or imagine. He doesn't waste time in our waiting. He is working on us and for us and in us in ways that are higher than our understanding. 

My eyes seemed to be opened by this new-to-me perspective on waiting . . . If God is patiently waiting on me, then who am I to not wait patiently on Him?!

Let's face it, whether it is for test results, a committee decision, or a returned phone call, when our perspective is where it oughta be, we are all ultimately waiting on Him anyway. 

And in that waiting, let's wait like we know we are being blessed for it. As He graciously waits for me, so I will wait for Him. 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

In Awe

I have always loved the story of Cinderella.  What little girl does not?  Cinderella goes from being a slave to her mean stepmother and stepsisters to being a princess and living in a beautiful castle. As a child, I dreamed of living in Cinderella’s castle.

Fast forward to when my children were preschoolers.  My in-laws took our family to Disney World in Florida.  We were so excited.  The boys wanted to meet Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck.  However, I was anticipating seeing Cinderella’s castle.

As we enter the gates of the theme park and made our way down the street, I was beyond excited.  Now understand, I was in my late twenties and giddy.  Suddenly, there in front of me was Cinderella’s castle.  I stopped in my tracks and literally started crying. I was in awe because the castle was everything I imagined it would be.  My little girl dream had been fulfilled in a small part. (Now, my husband and two little boys did not understand why I was bawling in the middle Disney World.  They were ready to hit the rides, but I just needed a moment to absorb the magic of my personal moment). 

 As I remembered this moment in my life, I began to wonder how often I have stood in awe of God.  Honestly, there are times when I do not look for his glory. I believe as ministers’ wives we often take for granted the “awe” moments that God shares with us.

Just the other day, I was suffering terribly with allergies.  My voice has been gone for a week and a half. I was on every medicine I can take and have had three rounds of steroids.  My doctor said there is nothing else he can do for me.  As I sat feeling hopeless on Friday night, God sent a friend over to visit.  While she was there a strong thunderstorm blew through. I did not think one thing about the storm.

The next morning my voice, although not strong, was back.  The air outdoors smelled clean and fresh.  The yellow haze of pollen had been washed away in the storm.  I stood in awe and praised God for his awesome power for something as small as the storm.

Here is another thought that has crossed my mind.  How often as believers to we take for granted that we have a heavenly home waiting for us? I know I do.  The Bible tries to describe what heaven will be like with streets of pure gold, jasper walls and crystal seas.  For me, it is too much for my earthly imagination.  My mind has designed a heaven like what might be experienced here on earth complete with a banquet table full of chocolate goodies.  However, our minds will never be able to grasp the splendor of our heavenly home until we see it for ourselves.


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Sunday Mornings for a Pastor's Wife

My husband and I have been in full time ministry for many years.  We raised our two PK son’s now 34 and 31in the “glass house” world.  One thing I have learned is that every day is a battle with the evil one.  Oh, there are awesome days when all is right in the world and there is peace on earth.  However, let SUNDAY roll in and the wham!  Life seems to fall apart.  That is Satan trying to keep you from God’s work. 

Well girlfriends, that is why God made chocolate and a little humor for the us.  I am sharing today a FEW of the SUNDAY events that have occurred in our ministry.  They are very real moments in from this crazy, blonde, chocoholic preacher’s wife life.  See if you can relate to any of them.
1.      “Do I have to go to church AGAIN?”  Let’s see.  Are you running a fever or throwing up?  No?  Then yes, you GET to go to church again.
2.      “Mommy, I have going to wear my cowboy costume to church today because Jesus loves cowboys.”  Hmm, he got me on that one.
3.      As my husband leaves for church one SUNDAY morning, he casually mentions that I need to bring a casserole for lunch because a Sunday School class decided to have a pot luck.  Hmm, let’s see.  The pantry is empty and I still have to get two children under five to dressed for church.  NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!
4.      A certain two-year-old decides to play Army man on a SUNDAY morning.  He scales the piano bench and climbs on top the piano. I realize the house is too quiet and peer around the corner of my kitchen just in time to see my little one attempt to jump from the piano to the coffee table.  Instead he hits the corner of the table with his head.  He screams. I scream. (I want to run for chocolate ice cream!) Running to check on my little one, I discovered a huge goose egg bump on his forehead.  Thankfully, there was a nurse in our country church who lived across the highway.  Note to self:  never, ever leave a two-year-old independent future military guy unattended especially on a SUNDAY and you might want to become a military medic in case of battle injuries.
5.      As I stood in my bathroom in my robe with wet hair with two preschoolers who are crying for breakfast, my smiling, fully dressed for SUNDAY morning husband steps in and says, “Honey, I am heading to church to prepare for the message.  See you there.”  In my mind I imagine myself walking in to church in my bathrobe and wet hair dragging to two crying and hungry preschoolers who are clinging to my leg.
6.      Once I was so proud of myself because I actually going to be on time for Sunday School.  I was dressed; kids are fed and dressed.  As I gathered my purse, bible, and diaper bag, I heard squeals of laughter coming from our sons’ room.  Soon I saw my three and half year-old chasing his one and half year-old brother down the hall.  The younger of the two had decided that clothes and diaper are optional attire for church. I sigh, grab the streaking toddler, slap a diaper on his bare bottom and head to church.  You can always dress him there. Lesson to self:  Pride comes before a fall especially on SUNDAYS!
7.      My husband was baptizing a child during the morning service.  I was sitting at the back of the church with my toddler, who is watching intently, on my lap. (Yes, it was a small church with no nursery).  Suddenly, as the new convert was dunked under the water, my toddler started crying, “I want to go swimming with Daddy too!”
Note to self:  Always wear a clothing article that coordinates with the deep red coloring in your face.
8.      I was huge pregnant with my second child and trying to entertain/restrain my toddler.  Suddenly, the fiercely independent future military toddler spotted his favorite church member in the choir and skillfully slid like a wet noodle out of my lap.  The future military man then proceeded to “army man” crawl under all the pews all the way to the front of the church to go see his buddy. Hmm, those crawling skills did help develop him in to an awesome military officer.
9.      A visiting pulpit committee takes our family to lunch to further get to know our family.  The meeting lasted a couple of hours.  In the process our six-year-old and three-year-old decide they needed to go to the restroom which is across from your table.  After several minutes, the three-year-old ran in to the restaurant dining room screaming, “Bubba is locked in the potty and can’t get out!” Hmm, at least he didn’t fall in or the three-year-old flush Hot Wheels cars in the potty and cause a flood.
10.  Same pulpit committee, same lunch, same people, and same children.  Our three-year-old decides the “meeting” needed some entertainment.  Mr. Mischievous Funny Man crawled under the table and began barking and panting like a dog.  Hmm, at least my toddler did not think they were fire hydrants.

Sigh . . .SUNDAYS!  I did survive . . .I think.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Can You Imagine?

Just recently I visited one of the most beautiful and exquisite homes that I have ever seen. It is a famous landmark and tourist attraction, and I know many of you have heard of it. With 250 rooms and 8000 acres of breathtaking gardens and immaculate landscaping, it is a site to behold. As I toured the home, I tried to imagine actually living there in all of its grandeur.

As I contemplated, “What a house!”, I also thought about another grand and glorious place, a place not made with human hands, a place of infinite wonder and beauty, the sights of which this world has never seen. I thought about heaven.

Do you ever think about heaven? Do you ever wonder how it will feel to be in the presence of our Father and our Savior forever? Can you imagine?

A few months ago, there was a movie in the theaters called, “I Can Only Imagine”. The movie was based on the highly popular song of the same name written by Bart Millard of the group Mercy Me. The song was written at a point of deep sorrow in Bart’s life, and even though the song was conceived out of grief, its message is one of hope.

As I listened to the lyrics of the song, I am moved to imagine what heaven will be like; unending fellowship with the Lord, away from the presence of all the hurt, pain, and turmoil of this world. No more evil. No more sin. Can you imagine?

All of us have seen beautiful and memorable places and have experienced joyful situations in our lives, but none will be able to compare to the glories of heaven!


When life gets tough, gaze on heaven.

When life hurts, meditate on eternity with Jesus.

Wow, imagine that!!

Friday, June 1, 2018

We are ALL Winners!

Kinley played T-Ball and Cameron played Coach-Pitch this year. 
May we ALL be as positive as them.  Cameron's team did not win the championship, but you will not be able to convince Cameron of that............he keeps saying,
"We are the winners!"
May we ALL keep that positive attitude.  Because we ARE all winners if we know CHRIST!!!