Life is all about change. When you trust an unchanging God - you have the ability to embrace change and trust Him in the midst of it. Join me as the Lord leads me through a new phase of my journey.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Monday Musings - Spiritual Velocity

Spiritual Velocity

Matt started a new series this week called Spiritual Velocity.  There were some great things that Matt shared and they got me to thinking about a lot of other things.  So here are my Monday Musings . . .

Velocity - the speed of something in a given direction.

The messages over the next few weeks are going to be from the book of Colossians  I love the book of  Colossians.  It is a personal favorite.  So spiritually speaking - what is your velocity?  Is your growth progressing and in what direction are you moving? 

Verses 1-14 are full of clues as to what we are to look toward as we access our spiritual velocity.
Faith in Christ -- involves hearing the word, believing the Word, trusting God’s character and living in grace
Love for the saints -- the greatest form of love is sacrifice
    Matt gave 5 warning signs that you are not loving the saints as you should:
    *you are not serving others
    *you do not give to those in need
    *being absent from the body -- we need to be a part of a body of believers!
    *being judgmental or unforgiving

Do you look like this?
Bearing fruit of the gospel (Do you look more like Jesus now than you did a year ago, a month ago, a day ago?)
Filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding
Pleasing Him in all respects
Bearing fruit in every good work
Increasing in the knowledge of God
Strengthened with all power according to HIS glorious might (I love that it is His might - not mine)
Steadfastness, patience, joyously giving thanks
Rescued, Redeemed, Forgiven

Are you counting your days?  Are you investing your time wisely?
Have you stalled out or are you becoming more like Jesus?

How do we cultivate maturity?
*Ask good questions
*Learn from more mature Christians - there is always someone who is farther down the road
*Be committed to a body of believers
*Be grace motivated - not guilt motivated

That is only the 1st 14 verses of that chapter!  Colossians is such a practical book.  We spend a lot of time wondering what God’s will is.  Well - if you just tackle these verses, that will keep you busy enough.  Just imagine if we all lived out what is written in these verses!  Wow - we really could change the world.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thankful Thursday - Jessica

I had a great Thursday - spin class and then painting at Hamilton Elementary.  It only got better when I got to meet my friend Jessica for dinner.  

I met Jessica back in the fall when she came to my small group.  I was just drawn to her immediately.  She is a beautiful girl - both inside and out.  She moved here from Michigan not too long before I moved here.  She stumbled upon Destination Church and came several times.  When small groups started up, she decided to give it a try.  Boy - am I glad she did!

Jessica came here with some hurts and struggles.  I have had the amazing privilege of watching the Lord work in her life in some amazing ways.  She has seriously blossomed!  As I sat across from her at dinner tonight, I was just marveling at the JOY on her face and the increased peace in her life.  She has made some tremendous strides.  There is freedom in her life that didn't exist a few months ago.  She is not only a part of Destination now - but she is leading.  She is encouraging others who are having a hard time.

Jess still has some tough things in her life and in her family.  She is dealing with those issues - but doing it in the freedom and joy that she has in Christ.  I am so proud of her and so thankful for her.  She is an incredible blessing to my life.

I am thankful for my Jesus who is changing lives every day.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Monday Musings - Hmmm . . .

I've been thinking about this since Saturday night.  So here goes . . .

I went to Target on Saturday night.  I was back by the bedding and I saw a little girl - I'd say 4th or 5th grade  - go up to her Mom and comment on something she was buying.  I gathered she thought something else would look better.  Her Mom didn't appreciate the input.  She started yelling at her using every word in the book - and I'm not talking about the good book.  All those words your momma told you not to say were flying.  I literally cringed!  No child should be talked to that way - I don't care what they did.  It really broke my heart.

Of course, I thought about the Mom too.  Maybe she didn't know any better - maybe she was talked to in the same way by her Mom.  Maybe she is insecure and feels uncared for - lashes out at others.  Maybe she was stressed and troubled.  I don't know.  Not really my place to judge her - I'd rather try to understand her.  Regardless, it made me sad.

I often think about the orphan and pray that those precious ones will find a forever family.  Then I think about those children who have a family - but it is a hard, discouraging, hurtful and fearful place.  That makes me just as sad.  I want every child to be loved and cared for.  I want every girl and every boy to feel like they are princesses and princes.  I certainly am not the perfect Mom and I made mistakes along the way - but I'd venture to say that my girls always knew they were loved and cared for.  They always knew that they were my princesses. (I guess you would have to ask them!)  

God is the Father to the fatherless.  I believe that applies to those children who are in families but don't have a godly parent.  He can fill those voids and heal those wounds.  My heart breaks.  I literally feel sick inside.  

Oh Lord - please make yourself known to all who so desperately need you - the orphan, the unloved, mistreated child, the hurting, angry Mom and the unloving, emotionally vacant Dad.  So much hurt - so much pain.  So deep is the need for a Savior. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Freaky Friday

Okay - it wasn't really that freaky but it seemed like a good title.  I had such an interesting Friday that I thought I would write about it.  Also - I'm still working on my Thankful Thursday post so it will probably not appear until next Thursday!

My day started out with painting at Hamilton Elementary.  Fun week - Finishing "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" and then painting Peter Pan, Tinkerbell and the crocodile.  I left today with the crocodile still toothless and not quite done so I will finish him next week.  It is hard to have a bad day when you are painting Peter Pan and Tinkerbell!  

At 1:00, I walked over to a Starbucks to meet a mysterious person that I had been exchanging emails with.  For the past two weeks, we had been corresponding.  She (as it turned out) was asking for information about small groups at church and specifically the one on Sunday which I am leading.  No name, no phone number - just an email address.  We went back and forth finally discovering that she really wanted to be in a womens group, not a coed group.  We don't have a women only group this time around, so I offered to meet with her one on one.  She took me up on it and I got to meet her today.  She was very nice - she does have a name - and just like most of us, she had a story.  We had some great conversation and I think I was able to encourage her.  I hope I will be meeting with her again.  Love how God works.

After that, I got to spend time with Amanda and her daughter Emily - her husband works with Alan.  That was also a sweet time.  Our husbands are working around the clock right now - so some good, encouraging girl time was in order.  

Tonight, I had a couple over who are from TX.  They moved to Chicago not long after us to plant a church.  I didn't know them - but we have mutual friends, so I invited them over.  What a great couple and what a sweet time of fellowship we had.  They are an amazing couple who have such a heart for the Lord and for Chicago.  Love that!

All in all - a great Friday.  A whole day spent building relationships and loving on friends - doesn't get much better than that!  I love how the Lord orchestrates my days - they are always full of surprises.  Love this walk with Jesus.  It is good indeed.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tuesday's Thoughts

I don't seem to be able to get my act together on Monday lately, so I may just have to change the name of my post permanently!  I have had such a great past week so I thought I would share some of my blessings with you.

I flew back to Chicago last Tuesday with my Mom by my side!  She just left yesterday - so we had some good time together.  We went out to brunch, did everyday errands and hung out at home a lot.  Of course we had wind chills below zero while she was here so sitting in front of the fire was pretty nice!  Mom helped me get ready for my Valentine Brunch that I gave for my Chicago friends.

The brunch was such a sweet time.  I can not believe the friends that the Lord has already given me in this city.  I looked around the room and was just overwhelmed by the blessing these people are in my life. God is so faithful to provide me with great friends.  I am in awe of His goodness.

My neighbor Jamie

Mom, Lisa, Rachel, Cathy, Vinita, Beth, Stefani, Heather, Kez, Myself, Christen and Alison

I have always been a big fan of Valentine's Day.  It is such a reminder to express our love and care for those around us.  Sure - it can be about romance and I am very thankful for my Valentine - Alan.  But it also gives us a chance to just love on our friends.  It is a reminder that Jesus expressed His love on the cross and that He lives today equipping us to love others.  Without His love, truly loving others would be impossible.  

Happy Valentine's Day to all of you - I believe every holiday should last at least a week if not longer! 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thankful Thursday - So many things . . .

Thursday rolls around again and I have so many things to be thankful for that I don't even know where to begin.  I'm back in snowy, cold Chicago and it is always good to be home.  My Mom came back with me and is helping me give a Valentine Brunch this Saturday for some sweet Chicago ladies.  Much fun.

Well - just in that paragraph there are multiple things to be thankful for:
*my trip to see my girls
*my girls
*My Mom
*My Chicago friends

Here is a picture of one of the rooms we painted at Ashley's house - the color sets off their art.  

God's hand was all over this trip.  I flew out of O'Hare the first day it was open after the blizzard and snuck into DFW before their next storm.  I also flew out of DFW before they got some more ice on Tuesday night.  I'd say that the Lord orchestrated my trip!  Heather was able to drive up on Saturday although her trip up was a little stressful - but by the time she went back home on Sunday, everything was good.  It was such a sweet time to spend with both of my girls.  I really cherish those times.

Ashley and I did a lot of wedding talk and we all got to taste cupcakes to make our choices for the wedding.  That wedding is going to get here quickly!  Lots of fun to come.

My neighbors Ryan and Michelle had their baby this week - born early Wednesday morning (on her due date!) and she is healthy and beautiful.  They are such a sweet family that I am so thankful for.

Ryan, Michelle and Hannah Elizabeth

 I am thankful for my friend Karen who came to walk Quincy every day while I was gone.  Also - my neighbors Ryan and Ali who walked Quincy in the evening.  Alan is working 24/7 so their willingness to help allowed me to fly to TX with no worries about Quincy.

Alan lost his Aunt Berta recently.  She had been battling health problems for some time.  It was very sad to see her go - but also a relief to know that she is in no pain and is with her Savior Jesus - which is exactly where she would want to be.  She was an amazing lady - so good to everyone.  She had a gentle and quiet spirit along with a great sense of humor.  She had two children, 8 grandchildren and I believe 8 great grandchildren although that count may not be 100% correct.  Everyone has been having babies in that family so I might not be caught up!  She ran the library in her city for many years.  She knew so many people in town and helped them in numerous ways.  She always made you feel special.  I am thankful for Berta's life and the difference that she made.

I am thankful for the ongoing opportunity to paint at Hamilton Elementary.  Here are two pictures of what I have painted so far in the library.

The Giving Tree

Green Eggs and Ham
What are you thankful for this week?  Start making a list and you will feel a smile creeping across your face.  Blessings friends.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Monday Musings - time in Texas

I flew down to Texas on Thursday. I left the blizzard of Chicago and flew to the ice of Texas! I was very fortunate to get out of O'Hare and into DFW. Both airports had been a mess. James and Ashley picked me up at the airport and we made the icy and sometimes dicey drive to their new home. James and Ashley boughts house in Haslet which is just outside of Keller. Ashley moved her stuff in the weekend before I got here. Her roommate Meghan is living here until the wedding when James will move in. Their house is very cute! Such a perfect place to start out and make their own. We did some painting when we got snowed in on Friday.

Heather drove in from Tyler on Saturday. Sitting at lunch with my two girls was bliss! We had a good time together just hanging out, going to church on Sunday and catching up. I have loved every stage with my girls and this one is no exception. Having two adult daughters is such a blessing. We share both family, sisterhood in Christ and friendship. I could not ask for more.

I'll post some pictures when I get back to Chicago. I head back from now sunny and no snow TX to snowy Chicago.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Monday Musings on Tuesday

We are bracing for a blizzard.  I'm watching it move in as I write. We could get 1 - 2 feet of snow.  I'm staying warm and cozy in my house and hoping that none of this messes up my flight to TX on Thursday.

Here is a bit of what God has been teaching me as I watch the snow pile up outside my house.
Surviving a blizzard and living an abundant life:
*Have food and water on hand -- Feed on the Word and drink deeply from the Holy Spirit.  (John 4)
*Stay home if you can -- Abide in Jesus - He is your true home.  (John 15)
*Bundle up if you have to go out -- Be clothed in Christ!  You have His righteousness - wear His grace, mercy and forgiveness.  (Romans 13:14)
*Invite your neighbors over for a blizzard supper -- Fellowship - we need each other.  (Acts 2:42)
*Know that there will be an end to the storm -- Hang in there.  Jesus is our Hope.  (Isaiah 43:1-2)

Just about everyone I know is having some crazy weather right now.  Enjoy the unexpected family time and the forced slowing of your pace.  Soak in some good time with the Lord.  Spring is coming . . . eventually.