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.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thankful Thursday - My Peers

I live in a very young area of Chicago.  Most of my neighbors are in their 20's - most of my church is in the 20's.  Of course, I think I'm in my twenties so it works out pretty well!  I love the energy and vitality of this place and these amazing people I get to hang out with.  

But . . . sometimes you just need a peer group.  I have a wonderful group of ladies my age and stage of life back in Texas and I knew that the Lord would provide those kinds of friends here in His time.  So - - I have 2 great friends that have become my peer group :-)  

In November, God saw fit to move Steve and Karen Cunningham to Chicago.  They were already connected with our church so they started attending there.  They are in their 50's!!!  We were so excited!!  We really love each other and we can relate with each others lives in so many ways.  Karen is my Chicago sister and confidant.  She is so much fun and is such a great friend.

Then, also in November, God brought Marifran into my life.  We met one day in a boxing class at the gym.  After class we began to talk and we really haven't stopped since!  We were just instantly friends and I have loved watching that friendship develop over that past few months.  We have so much fun together and we motivate each other to work out (YAY).  If I don't have my Marifran fix each week, I'm the worse for it!

I don't know what I would do without these two ladies.  They are such a great support system for me and they understand those things that only women over 40 get - you know what I mean?  I am so thankful for them and just praise God for providing those friendships that He knows are essential to my life. 

When I look around me, I am so often in awe of this life I have.  Is it always easy - No - but it is always good.  God is gracious.  He knows my needs and He meets them.  He puts such amazing people in my life of all ages.  I can't even believe I get to be me sometimes!!  

So today - I am especially thankful for Karen and Marifran.  I love you two!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thankful Thursday - Ashley

I had such a great week in TX last week.  We hit the ground running with wedding details and errands and really accomplished a lot.  It was great to get all that done - but the sweetest thing about the week was the time I got to share with Ashley and those that she loves!  I have the greatest daughters that are my closest friends.  I feel so blessed.

Here are some of the things I loved about this time:

I loved my time with Ashley . . .
      time to eat some good food
          time to hang out and catch up
               time to take some pictures and even eat fried, bacon wrapped deviled eggs (only in TX)

I loved my time with Ashley . . .
     time to share in worship together
           time to enjoy with her friends
                time to ponder and plan

I loved my time with Ashley . . .
     time to meet with our wonderful florist, Tracie
          time to meet with Reata about catering (YUM)
               time to meet our good friend DavidMc for dinner

I loved my time with Ashley . . .
     time to hit every Hobby Lobby and Michaels around
          time to have lunch with our sweet friend Mandy
               time to organize invitation parts and stamps

I loved my time with Ashley . . .
     time to help her at work and see how God is using her
          time to catch up with friends
               time to go to youth group and see God move

I loved my time with Ashley . . .
     time to head down to Waco to hang out with my Mom, Dad and Hannah!
          time to address and stuff lots of invitations!
               time to visit some of our favorite Waco haunts

I loved my time with Ashley . . .
     time to be reminded of what an amazing woman she is
          time to just revel in God's work in her life
               time to just count my blessings.

Ashley has amazing people in her life and I loved getting to spend time with them too - James (my soon to be son in love), Meghan, Mandy, Blake and some great people at Milestone Church.  Thank you Lord for my sweet daughter and the incredible gift she is to my life!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday Musings - In a Whisper

I took last week off as I spent the week in Texas helping Ashley and James get a lot of wedding details taken care of.  We made huge progress and are really counting down the days until the big event!  We are very excited!!  May 22nd will be here before we know it.

I went to Ashley's church a week ago Sunday and heard a message that included some scripture on Elijah's life.  We didn't get to the following scripture in the sermon, but as I was reading ahead, I was reminded how very much I love this passage.

In 1st Kings 18, Elijah has just had an incredible victory over the prophets of Baal.  He then prayed for rain and God answered that prayer.  Upon arriving in Jezreel, he learned of Jezebel's plans to kill him.  Talk about highs and lows!  I love what happens next.

In 1st Kings 19, it says that "Elijah saw how things were and he ran for dear life to Beersheba and then went on into the desert another day's journey."  He was frightened.  He says, "Enough of this, God!  Take my life - I'm ready to join my ancestors in the grave!"  Exhausted he fell asleep under the lone broom bush.  Elijah was at the end of his rope.  He was spent and he was ready to give up.

Then, some really interesting things happen!  First of all, an angel shook him and said, "Get up and eat!"  A meal was prepared for him and he ate.  He fell back asleep and once again, the angel woke him and fed him again telling him he had a long journey ahead.  He indeed did, as he then traveled for forty days and nights all the way to the mountain of God, to Horeb.  When he got there, he climbed into a cave a feel asleep once again.

Okay - this is my favorite part!  The word of God came to Elijah and asked him ,"What are you doing here?"  He goes into his speech about how hard he had been working for God and all it had gotten him are threats to his life and loneliness!  As far as he knew, he was the only godly man left!  Here it is  . . . get ready!  He was told to go stand on the mountain at attention before God and that God will pass by.  WOW  Even as tired as Elijah was, he would not miss this!  He goes out of his cave and stands on the mountainside.

"A hurricane wind ripped through the mountains and shattered the rocks before God, but God wasn't to be found in the wind; after the wind an earthquake, but God wasn't in the earthquake; and after the earthquake fire, but God wasn't in the fire; and after the fire a gentle and quiet whisper."

I love that our God is MIGHTY and that things like hurricanes, earthquakes and even fire remind us of God's consuming power, but note how He chooses to speak to Elijah.  In a whisper . . .  God then goes on to question Elijah, give him his next task and encourage him with the news that there are 7,000 others who have not bowed down to Baal.  Then (it gets even better!) he gives Elijah, Elisha - who became his right hand man.  God heard the cry of Elijah and He met his needs while still giving him work to do.

As a Mom, I learned early on that yelling did not accomplish much.  When I had something really important to say to my girls, I would lower my voice and that got their attention.  They had to look at me and even strain to hear what I was saying.  I had their attention 100%.  God treats us the same way.  He knows that there are countless noises all around us daily.  Sometimes it is hard to discern what voice is coming from Him.  So - He invites us to slow down, come out of our cave of chaos and stand still.  He longs to come by and whisper in our ears.  Those whispers may be the most important words you ever hear.  I love that my Almighty, Powerful, Good God chooses to whisper to me.  It is so intimate - so personal.  He has a word that is only for me so He whispers it to me.

What is God whispering in your ear? (I love to ask people that question!)  Are you weary and worn out like Elijah?  Do you feel alone or defeated?  Are you afraid?  Here is a good word for you.  God sees you - He longs to minister to you - He longs to whisper.  Be still.  Open up your spiritual ears and take it in.  

You will be equipped, encouraged and blessed.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thankful Thursday - Heather

I have had such a great week with Heather here.  I have already written about Heather, but I have to tell you that this time with her in Chicago just makes me more thankful than ever for her!  She is a pure delight.

I am thankful for time to chat
     time to catch up on shows
          time to bake
               time to worship together
I am thankful for time to serve together
     time to shop together
          time to eat together
                time to ride the train
I am thankful for time for meaningful conversation
     time to see a musical
          time to laugh (a lot)
               time to share our hearts
I am thankful for a daughter who is such a great friend.

I am thankful for Heather.

Monday, March 7, 2011

It has been a busy week!  Some working out, a lot of painting and good time with friends.  I met with a young woman who is struggling with many issues.  It breaks my heart!  I am going to begin to meet with her weekly.  I’m going to need the Lord’s wisdom and grace to be used in this situation.  God always provides when He calls so I’m excited to see how her life will change as she begins to truly trust the Lord again.

What is the Lord teaching me?  In reading Exodus 23:10 - 24:18 this week, I was really struck with a new and very comforting thought on this passage.  This is reiterating the covenant that the Lord made with the Israelites.

What really struck me was the passage in chapter 23.
“Behold, I am going to send an angel before you to guard you along the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared.  Be on your guard before him and obey his voice; do not be rebellious toward him, for he will not pardon your transgression since My name is in him.  But if you truly obey his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.  For My angel will go before you and bring you in the land of the Amorites the Hittites the Perizzites and Canaanites the Hivites and the Jebusites and  I will completely destroy them.”

These were promises made to the Israelites when they were in the wilderness. I don’t want to take it too much out of context - but I think there are principles here that can be applied to our current situations. 
*I believe that God does send angels to guard us along the way and He fully intends to bring us to the place he has prepared for us - both here and in eternity.
*Be obedient - there are consequences for disobedience!  Sometimes we forget this.  We know we have forgiveness because of the cross - and that is very true.  But . . . there are consequences to our disobedience that are often lingering.  Our bad choices often hurt others.  This is serious business! 
*Obedience always brings blessing.  God says that my enemies will be His enemies.  Well - I don’t have enemies like one would typically think of an enemy.  I may have people who don’t like me - but I don’t think I have anyone who is out to get me and make me miserable  -- except for our common enemy satan.  He is my truest enemy and I do believe that the Lord fights on my behalf against him.  Satan is actually referred to in scripture as our adversary and he certainly is.  God says that He will become an adversary to my adversary.  Good news indeed!
*God says he will completely destroy my enemy.  He already has.  The battle is won.  Jesus rose from the dead and satan is ultimately defeated.  In the meantime, while satan roams this world as my adversary, God is for me.  He is with me. 

This has been a week of seeing satan rejoice in his temporary victories on this earth.  The headlines have been full of murder, deception and tragedy.  A pastor in Arlington TX, murdered senselessly in his church.  Satan’s fingerprints are all over that one.  Two children found dead in a canal in Florida.  A man shot and killed in a Chicago neighborhood.  How we need God as our Warrior.  How I long for that day when satan is thrown into the pit - when his influence is gone.  Come Lord Jesus!