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, December 29, 2011

Thankful Thursday - 2011 Review

Well - here we are at the end of 2011.  I don't know how the years fly by faster and faster - but they do.  It has been am amazing year and I could not be more thankful for all that the Lord has done in my life.  I'm also thankful for the struggles that have drawn me closer to the Lord and more dependent on Him.

*I'm thankful for my neighbors and the relationships that I have with them.  One couple moved to MN (miss you Alison and Ryan) and another dear neighbor family (Ryan, Michelle and Hannah) are moving to Cleveland in February.  I am thankful for every moment with these friends.

*I am thankful for the growth in our church.  Destination has grown from around 35 people when we first started attending to a pretty steady 100 now.  We moved from the comedy club to a school auditorium.  It has been a true blessing to see more people coming to know the Lord and being involved in the community of this church.  

*I am thankful for the many painting projects at Hamilton Elementary and Prescott Elementary.  They bring me so much JOY.  I am grateful for the staff, teachers and students that are such a blessing to me.

*I am thankful for time with my family.  We have had some great times in Chicago, Colorado and Texas.  I'm thankful for emails, facebook, pinterest, text messages and phone calls that keep us connected - even with the distance.

*I am thankful for city life in Chicago and country life in Colorado.  I have the best of both worlds and I do not take that for granted.

*I'm thankful for friends near and far.  I feel so fortunate to know so many amazing people that make my life rich, indeed.

*I'm thankful for a personal Lord that loves me too much to leave me alone.  He challenges me, teaches me, encourages me and loves me.  His grace, mercy, love, and forgiveness mean everything to me.

*I'm thankful for another year stretching out before me - a year full of potential and opportunity.  I love not knowing what is around the corner - but knowing that no matter what it is - Jesus is already there.

I think it is a good practice to reflect back over the past year.  For some, that is a painful process - for others it is full of great memories.  For most - it is a mix.  There is always much to be learned from the experiences we have had.  Most of all, I see God's faithfulness in the good times and the bad times. 

I am wishing each one of you a Happy New Year and praying that you see the Lord in new ways and experience Him at every turn.  Praying that this next year will draw you closer to Jesus and that in turn, you will be more like Him.  Blessings friends!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Musings - God Came Near

This was a really different Christmas for us!  It is our first Christmas where both of our girls were with their in-laws.  Apparently, we have to learn to share over and over again our whole lives!!  

Fortunately, I really like my husband - so all is well!  It has been a quiet holiday.  Even the usual neighbors here in Colorado are out of town.  We have seen very few people and it has been SO quiet.  We walked down to the lake this afternoon and it was so still, so quiet and so beautiful.  I think it was God's Christmas present to us.

Our shadows + Quincy

This Christmas has been a good reminder of some pretty important things.

*You need to develop your relationship with your spouse all along - even in the midst of raising children and busy careers.  When it gets back to just you two - you want something to be there!  I am fortunate to be married to my best buddy and I truly enjoy being with him.  I'm thankful for that!

*Christmas is Jesus.  I love everything about Christmas.  I love Christmas trees, buying gifts, cooking, sending cards and watching Christmas movies.  I love being in Colorado and seeing snow out my windows.  I love the down time and the fun that surrounds the holiday.  Most of all - I love that we pause to just praise God for carrying out such a scandalous plan!

*Those things that you love about Christmas - continue to do them throughout the year.  Give that unexpected gift.  Have people over.  Write someone a card.  Let people know you love them.  Praise God for the gift of Jesus.

It sounds a little hokey to "carry Christmas in your heart throughout the year" but as a believer, that is exactly what we are to do.

After all ~
Christmas abides in us.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thankful Thursday - It's almost Christmas!!

Jesus loves me this I know 
because He graciously allowed it to snow. 
Flakes showering down just like His grace.  
Oh, how I can't wait to see His face.

It is a little hard to see - but the snow is coming down!  I asked the Lord if we could get some fresh snow for Christmas so I truly believe that He thought it would be fun to surprise with this fresh snow!  Waking up to it this morning was such a treat.  By the way - I'm not launching a song writing career - so no worries! 

Being in Durango is always fun.  We went into town yesterday.  Here is something fun we saw - just made me laugh!
I got to start out my day getting my hair done by my friend, Janelle.  She is such an amazing girl - just love her.  

We even ran into her at Walmart on Sunday and got to meet her husband Erick.  I started going to Janelle about 5 years ago.  I just walked into a salon to see who I could make an appointment with.  Janelle had an opening.  I would say it was a divine appointment!  I have loved journeying with Janelle through life and listening to her stories about her family.  She is such a hard worker and has such a tender heart.  When I got to the salon yesterday, she was just finishing up with a client.  She was hugging her and crying - telling her that she was not going to charge her for the services and that she was giving her a gift certificate for another cut and color in the future.

After her client left, she began to tell me what was going on.  She told me that her client's sister was a friend of hers and that the sister had been killed in a plane crash at the beginning of December.  That sister had wanted to give her big sister a gift certificate for Christmas to treat herself to a hair treatment by Janelle.  This big sister had practically raised her since their Mom died when they were 15 and 7.  Losing her little sister was like losing a sister and a child.  So difficult.  

I love that Janelle had such a tender heart that she wanted to fulfill that little sister's wishes to bless her big sister.  Janelle was one of the last people to talk with the little sister before her death, so the big sister just wanted to know what they had talked about etc.  Janelle totally surprised her and blessed her by treating her to a relaxing salon treatment for free. 

Isn't that so like our Savior?  He knows our hurts and He seeks to heal those wounds.  He heals the fresh ones and He heals the ones that have scabbed over and scarred up - yet are still painful.  He uses us to love on and bless each other.  Janelle was an extension of His grace.

I am thankful for people like Janelle that are tender to those who are hurting.  I'm thankful that we have the privilege of loving people in such tangible ways.  I'm thankful that the Lord saw fit to give me Janelle as a friend here in Colorado.  Her enthusiasm, joy and tender heart are always a blessing to me.  

Where have you seen God's grace extended?  
How can you be an extension of 
His grace this Christmas?

Christmas is really hard for some people.  I feel like loss and pain are somehow magnified.  
the great hope is in that message of Christmas - a Savior born to us - Emmanuel - God with us.  
God came down to show us how to live and 
then He died for us on the cross and 
rose again so that we might truly live.  
Even in the darkest moments - 
this is good news.  

Merry Christmas to all of you! 
Thank you for being such an encouragement to me!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Monday Musings - Do you wish?

It was hard to decide what to write about today.  I feel like the Lord has been giving me so much rich food from His Word this week.  Perhaps it is because I have been in Colorado and can really focus and take all the time I want to soak it up.  Maybe I should learn from that??

I decided to go with what I read this morning.  I feel like we need to always be recounting what the Lord is teaching us daily.  Keep it fresh and pay attention to what He is doing now.

When Jesus saw Him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, 
He said to him, "Do you wish to get well?"  
John 5:6

This comes from the story of the Pool of Bethesda.  An angel would stir the waters and the first person in would receive healing.  This man could not get to the water fast enough in his condition.

I think this passage is so interesting.  The whole idea of an angel coming down - the angel of the Lord - is fascinating.  It speaks to heaven's grieving over disease.  It speaks of God continuing to interact with His people, even though, as a whole, they had moved far away from Him.

Why did Jesus pick this particular man?

I don't know, but I find it very curious.  I find the question He asks him fascinating as well - do you wish to get well?  I don't think Jesus would have asked this unless there was something in this man that drew that out.  Jesus is not cruel or uncaring.  He needed this man to address that question.

Do you wish to get well? 

Thirty eight years of disease, discouragement and being disillusioned.

Sound familiar?

Maybe not 38 years - maybe only a short time - or perhaps, you too, have been suffering for a very long time.  Perhaps you have grown accustomed to your own kind of paralysis or your own brand of illness.  I had to ask myself this question -

What am I living with that the Lord 
longs to give me freedom from?
Is He stirring in me that desire to get up, 
take my pallet and walk?

Why take the pallet?  It has to be a bit nasty.  It may have even been falling apart after many years of use.  Perhaps Jesus wanted him to take it to remind him of just what he had been freed from.  We are sometimes so comfortable in the crap (sorry - it just fits) we know that letting it go is scarier than the hope of freedom on the other side.

Let me assure you that the freedom on the other side is worth the risk of standing up on your weak legs.  

If Jesus bids you to do it - do it.  

In the words of Kelly Minter - whatever God is urging you to clear away cannot begin to be compared to what He ultimately wants to bring you.

Do you want freedom?
Do you wish to get well?

Praise God that we do not have to wait for a stirring of the waters.  He is here - He is near - He is waiting to give you freedom.

So if the Son makes you free you will be free indeed.
  John 8:36

Friday, December 16, 2011

Thankful Friday - Consuming Fire

Thursday was another travel day for me - so I waited until this morning to sit down and write.  Alan and I drove from TX to CO yesterday, watching the temperature drop and the snow begin to show up.  This is what I saw when I looked out my back door this morning!

Seriously!  I could stop writing right now and that would be more than enough to be thankful for!!

I have been reading through Hebrews in this last week and when I read this verse, I thought - Wow - I am so thankful for this truth!

Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe;  
Hebrews 12:28-29

Our earthly kingdom is often shaken - literally and figuratively - things happen every day that disrupt our lives, disturb our spirit and realign our plans.  Nothing is as it seems.  Just when things appear to be moving along "normally", we are thrown a curve ball and are left shaken.  ONLY God's kingdom is stable, secure and strong.
What is acceptable service?  I'm not sure and again, I confess that I am not a Bible scholar!  But, I think it needs to be service that God has initiated or called me to do.  It needs to be done for Him.  It needs to be done with the right motivation and the right heart.  It needs to be done with an attitude of gratitude and reverence for Whom I am serving and awe because I have the privilege of serving - all for God's glory.  

Do you consider your service in that light?

I love the imagery of God as a CONSUMING FIRE.  It is such a powerful imagery.  On the earth, fire destroys and even takes lives.  In minutes, forests are set ablaze and homes are destroyed.  Having said that -  we are also captivated by it.  We love gazing at campfires and are drawn to sit by the fire in our fireplace.  I suppose that fire under control is the most satisfying.

In God's kingdom, fire consumes what is worthless but it purifies and refines what is of God.

I am thankful for the refining process of God in my life.  It is ongoing and He is faithful to burn away what is not of Him and refine those things that make me more like Jesus so that He can use me to further His kingdom.  In this case, fire is not under my control - it is a work of God.  It is a humbling and amazing process.

Do I remember that Jesus, my friend and Savior, is also a CONSUMING FIRE?
He is to be approached and served 
with reverence and awe.

Lord Jesus - may your refining fire continue to make me more like You.  I praise you for your unshakeable kingdom.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tuesday Thoughts: Hope

Monday musings were muddled - so here we are at Tuesday's thoughts.  It has been a whirlwind of activity since I arrived in TX on Thursday.  I have been to Tyler hanging out with Heather and Cooper; been in Dallas meeting my new great niece, Sophie Grace
 and go to Courtney Collin's (and Adam's) graduation from PT School (so proud of their achievements!);
to Arlington to hang out with friends (I even got to stop by and see my in-laws) and then over to Haslet to be with Ashley and James.  Not a lot of sleep but a lot of fun!

So many things have been going through my mind.  I feel like the Lord and I are in constant dialogue and I am learning something all the time.  This is what I read last night.

"This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil."  Hebrews 6:19

not optimism
not a wish
not a dream
not luck
not fate


Hope is not a feeling
Hope is Jesus
Jesus = Hope

I have had some discouraging things happen over the week in the midst of a lot of really great things.  The major discouragement I had was like a punch in the stomach.  It literally took the wind out of me and I was enveloped in sadness.  It caused me to take a long, hard look at what my hope was based on and ask myself why I felt like I did.  It wasn't fun - but it was good.

Here are some questions I asked myself.  Perhaps you need to ask and answer them also.

Is my hope anchored in Jesus or is it tied up in people or performance? prestige or principles?

How can I tell?  Perhaps by how easily it is dashed.
How do I react to disappointments?  

Am I able to keep my eyes on Jesus or do I immediately look inward and spiral down?

Am I trusting Jesus with those I love - 
with those that I have invested in?

Am I so anchored in the Lord that when the tidal waves of disappointment or discouragement come my way - I remain steadfast in Him?

Do I trust that my anchor will hold?

The word hope is used frequently in scripture 
My hope is in You
You are my hope
Hope does not disappoint
Rejoicing in hope
the hope of righteousness
the hope of the gospel
the hope of glory
the hope of salvation
the hope that is in You

I have seen those huge anchors for cruise ships and warships.  They are massive!  My hope in the Lord is massive too.  It is good to be reminded that He is the only One that I should be placing my hope in.  If I can rest in that - I am freed up to love without reserve and to give without limits.  


In the words of an old hymn:

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
           On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
           All other ground is sinking sand,
           All other ground is sinking sand.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Fun Friday

I have made the trek to TX - much to tired when I arrived at 11 last night to post!  I am thankful for safe travels and being with my sweet daughter Heather and her husband Cooper.  I even get to see my grand-dog Miles!  I went to school with Heather today and got to help her with her 4 year olds in the HeadStart program.  Never a dull moment! 

Here I am with all the kids.

I didn't get a chance to write about the Santa Hustle 5K that Alan and I did last Saturday.  A group of friends got together and ran it - hilarious!  We all brought toys for Toys for Tots and our entry fee went to a charity that does a running program among the homeless community - pretty interesting.  It has been found that setting goals and building self esteem through running is beneficial to a segment of the homeless population.  

The morning was rainy and cold - but we were very fortunate that the rain stopped just in time for the race to begin.  It was quite the sight to see 4,200 people running in their red Santa shirts, hats and beards.  Here are a few pictures just for fun.

Ashley Cauble and I before the race.

Alan and I
Alan - Fully suited up and ready to go!

Can you see the twinkle in my eye?

Our group of friends who ran the race - Mike, Jessica, Lesa, Alan, myself, Greg, Ashley and Ray

                         myself, Alan, Ashley and Lesa
Quincy joining in on the fun when we got home

I am thankful for such a full life that is fun, friend-filled and just a little bit frantic.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Monday Musings - God's Presence

We had a guest speaker at church yesterday, Byan Mowrey, who was a great communicator!  He did a presentation of God's presence that was so awesome that I wanted to share it with you.  I love when someone takes something familiar to me and turns it on its side - just to allow me to see it a little differently.  I love that at 52, God continually surprises me with new revelations of Himself.  Here are some of his thoughts mingled in with some of my observations.

God's initial presence is revealed in Genesis 1 - "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters." Wow - God is hovering - He is moving.

Next, we see God in the garden, walking and talking with His creation.  Love how God is all about relationship.

Next, God presence is seen in a burning bush as He is speaking to Moses - take off your shoes for this is Holy Ground!

Next, we see God's presence on the mountain.  Moses climbs up the mountain and speaks to the Lord.  Moses brings the word of the Lord down to the people.

Next, we see God's presence in the tent of meeting and then the tabernacle.  There was a cloud by day and fire by night.  That gives me chill bumps!

Next, God's presence is seen in the ark of the covenant.  The Israelites took it with them wherever they went.

Next, we see the building of the Temple and God's presence dwelling there . . . the holy of holies.  Only a priest could enter the holy of holies once a year and there was a heavy curtain that hung there - partitioning this off.

Then, we have the books of the prophets. 
Ezekiel 36:26-28  Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My ways .  .

We see some transitional language here and we can tell that something very new and different is on the horizon.
And . . . indeed it was!  

The gospels tell us that the very presence of God came down to earth in the form of Jesus.  God came near.  Wow - hard to wrap your mind around.  The presence of God dwelling in a human body!  Jesus lived here in this earth - died by being crucified on a cross to cover our sin - and overcame death as our Resurrected Lord to give us eternal life.

Then, came Penecost and the Holy Spirit came down to indwell believers.

Are you ready for this . . . God's presence is now in each one of us.  Now, this was not new news for me and it may not be for you either, but nonetheless, I am blown away by the truth of this.

It isn't about buildings, or a day of the week or a certain posture.  It is about the living Jesus dwelling in each of us that have embraced Him as Savior. 

We are the temple of the Holy Spirit.

Don't gloss over that -- we are temple of the Holy Spirit!  As we begin to understand Whose presence we are in - it changes everything.  What we say, what we do, how we think, interact and react - are all done in the presence of Jesus. 

Life is hard sometimes.  We struggle, we grieve, we strive to be enough.  God, the I AM, dwells in me.  This tells me that I AM is enough.  In other words, as I live and breath with Jesus as my Savior, I am enough.  It isn't about where I live, what I do or what I own.  God's presence is with me.  I am never alone.  What a profound gift - the very presence of God that indwells someone as undeserving as me.  

Only grace . . . Only God.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thankful Thursday - Legacies

I'm getting to that point in life where there have been some very special people in my life that have passed away.  It is always hard to say good-bye.  Even when we know that someone we love is no longer suffering and is with the Lord, it is still painful to feel that loss.  Last week, my dear friend, Aimee, lost her Dad.  Here is what the obituary said.

Lacy Worley Jr., age 73, passed into the presence of the Lord on Wednesday, November 23, 2011. He was born to the late Lacy and Mittie Worley on August 9, 1938 in Sprague, WV. Lacy was an active member of Karl Road Baptist Church, where he loved to serve. He was a Navy veteran, having spent four years on active duty and 18 years on active reserves. Lacy retired from Englefield Oil Company, but didn’t stop working his two favorite jobs as a construction assistant with his son Sean and as a Red Coat at The Ohio State University. He loved the Lord, his family, and the Buckeyes. He will be dearly missed. In addition to his parents, Lacy is preceded in death by brothers, William Worley, Ray Worley, and Ed Worley; sisters, Margaret (Worley) Spadafore, Mary (Worley) Reed, and Evelyn “Jim” Worley. He is survived by his faithful wife of 46 years, Judy; loving children, Aimee and Sean; devoted granddaughters, Alexis and Elizabeth Worley; mother-in-law, Juanita Pierce; sister, Mae Worley; brother and sister-in-law, Jack and Dannie Worley; sister and brother-in-law, Jim and Ruth (Worley) Kitchen; numerous nieces and nephews and friends.

This is what the obituary couldn't cover . . . 
*Lacy made you feel like family.  You were loved, hugged and cared for from the first moment you met him.  
*Lacy would do anything to help you.  If he heard about a need, he wanted to meet it.  There is no telling how many houses he has worked on, yards he has helped in and families that have been blessed by Lacy's heart to serve.
*Lacy loved the church.  He loved greeting people on Sunday morning and helping around the church building.  Everyone knew who Lacy was and felt welcomed and cared about when they walked in.
*Lacy loved his family.  He and his wife Judy were a team.  They held together during tough times and laughed a lot during the good times.  They did a great job raising Sean and Aimee into two amazing adults.  Lacy loved his granddaughters Alexis and Lizzy.  He was a safe place and a rock of stability for them.
*Lacy loved The Ohio State University.  As most of Columbus, he was a huge fan and he served as a Red Coat during the games.  He considered it such an honor and he made a difference to everyone who worked with him and all those who walked past him in the stadium.  

When someone leaves this world, it makes me think about the impact they made while they were here.  My life has been forever changed by my grandparents, my aunt, my friends Marcy, Janeth, Dave, Jim and Jill and many others that I could name.  I have been touched by the way they lived and by the way they died.  There is such peace when you have the assurance that they have not just passed on from this life but that they have crossed over to be with the Lord.  They have all left their mark on my life and I aspire to love and follow the Lord as they did.  

I am so thankful for the legacies that these dear friends have left.  They soaked up everything that the Lord had for them and lived life to the fullest.  They inspire me to do the same - and for that, I am very thankful.