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.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Thankful Thurday: Color Splash

I spent the better part of two weeks in Texas.  A good bit of that time was spent with Ashley, working on a painting job at Highridge Church in Ft. Worth.  Ashley is a designer and we have a business together called My Brush Design.  Ashley had done a series of drawings to present to the church to redo their children's ministry area.  

Now, I know I am her mother, but seriously, she is a genuis :-)  Her drawings were phenomenal - but the true excitement was seeing those drawings come to life over the 6 days that we painted together.  We started out painting about 1800 square feet of wall space, white.  Yes - white.  It took us two days to get that done and another day to get it all taped off for the design.  It took a lot of prep work - a lot of patience and a lot of perseverance.  

As you might imagine, all the hard work truly paid off when the color began to go on the walls.  It was so much fun to see this design come to life.  This area went from a dark, rather unexciting hallway to a bright, fun, energizing space.

This is the starburst wall behind the check in desk. Signage for the children's ministry will go in that white circle.  

One side of the wall is solid, geometric shapes.

The other side of the hallway has diagonal and vertical stripes.

This helps you to see part of the process.  Lots of measuring, lots of taping and a 12 foot high wall.  We were really thankful for the lift to help on the high parts.

YAY!  The wall of squares was finished!  We were so excited to see this come to life.

Like so many things in life, this job was such a picture of the spiritual processes in our lives.

It took a lot of planning and preparation.

Spiritual maturity is not going to just "happen".  You have to be intentional about making the time and making a plan to spend time with God and to involve yourself with a Christian community.

It took patience and perseverance.

Growing in our faith takes both.  We have to be patient with ourselves, patient with God's timing and we have to persevere like no other.  I have to say that parts of this job were just tedious, but our perseverance paid off in the end.  Sometimes those little things that we have to do and need to do bog us down.  Keep your eyes on the goal ahead.  It's worth it.

The designer knew all along how this would come out.

Ashley had a vision and she put together the steps to make it happen.  Jesus has a vision for your life.  He is transforming you step by step into His own image.  He is the Master Designer.  He created you in the womb and He is not giving up on you until you see Him face to face.  He will see His vision complete.

Everyone benefits from good design.

It was so much fun to watch people's reactions during this process.  The more we got on the walls, the more excited everyone became.  We had lots of hilarious comments from kids.  This design will benefit the children's ministry in so many ways.  It is a win - win.  The same is true in your own life.  God's design for you not only gives you the life you were meant to live, but it benefits everyone that is in your life.  When you walk according to God's design, He uses your life to love, encourage and testify to others.

I am so thankful for the opportunity to paint with Ashley and to see her design come to life. 

7 gallons of white
6 gallons of color
840 yards of tape
70 hours of labor X 2
1 chalk line
8 foam roller covers
6 regular roller covers
1 artist brush
1 lift
2 ladders
6 days painting 

A sweet, priceless gift.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday Musings: Pursue

Whew - it has been a crazy, busy, awesome time in Texas.  I can't believe that I leave tomorrow - but I am so grateful for the time with family and friends.  It is hard for me to believe that I am not the most blessed person on the planet.  Surely - I am.

In the midst of it all, the Lord is good to continue to speak to me and equip me for the task at hand.  Ashley and I have had a BLAST painting this past week.  I went to Waco over the weekend to see my parents and my grandmother.  I got the chance on Sunday morning to just relax and hang out with Jesus for a bit.  It was a powerful, illuminating time.  Here is what I learned . . .

1st Timothy 6:11-12 . . . pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.  Fight the good fight of faith, take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

We often wonder what to pursue.  The world screams - PURSUE ME - in a hundred different ways.  This scripture is very specific about some things that we should be pursuing.  I spent some time picking this apart and looking at each worthy pursuit.  I hope it will be as helpful to you as it was to me.

Pursue righteousness -- righteousness means justice, fairness, goodness, honor, uprightness and virtue.  It is pursuing a "right" relationship with the Lord.

Pursue godliness -- godliness can also mean holiness.  It is to pursue building character that reflects the character of God.

Pursue faith -- faith means belief, certainty, confidence, assurance and conviction.  Faith means to trust in something and fortunately, true faith places its trust in Jesus.  Because of who Jesus is - I can be certain, confident and assured.  My faith is placed in the One who is Faithful.

Pursue love -- love means adoration, allegiance, delight, devotion, fervor, fidelity, passion, respect, tenderness, yearning and zeal.  WOW - no wonder love gets so complicated.  But as I look at this description, I realize that loving God first and foremost allows me to love others with this kind of energy.

Pursue perseverance -- I automatically grit my teeth when I think of the word perseverance.  It means diligence, hard work, determination, drive, endurance, grit, guts, persistence, purposefulness, stamina and tenacity.  Without pursuing perseverance, I'm not sure we can really pursue the others. 

Pursue gentleness -- I looked up the word gentleness and one definition was "deliberate mildness."  I find the word deliberate very interesting.  It also means kindness, tenderness and interestingly enough - caution.  You have to choose gentleness.  It is not the default setting for most of us.

After this list, we are told to:

Fight the good fight of faith

Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called.

To pursue something is so active.  The word reeks of intent, purpose, choice and direction.  The Christian life is anything but passive. 

Is this life worth it?

Is this life worth our energy and efforts to pursue these things?

Verses 13 - 16 answers these questions.

God gives life to all things
Jesus is the blessed and only Sovereign
The king of Kings
The Lord of Lords
Who Alone possesses immortality 
and dwells in the unapproachable light
To Him be the honor

Embrace this life you have been given.

  Pursue that which 

is worthy 

for the One 

who is Worthy 

above all. 


Monday, June 18, 2012

Monday Musings: Catching Up

I have had such a busy week that I thought I would just catch up on this Monday.  I was driving from Chicago to Tyler, TX last Thursday and I was sure thankful to arrive in Tyler safely and to have Heather with me for the ride.  It was 16 hours of mother/daughter sweetness.  Construction about drove us over the edge, but that was far outweighed by conversation and singing worship songs together.  It was a Thankful Thursday - indeed.

I got to spend the weekend with my girls and their husbands, my Mom and some very dear friends from Ohio.  We were all gathered here to celebrate our long time friend, Annie's, wedding.

I have known Annie since she was 13 years old.  I have to say that she was very impressive then and she still is now.  She was 13 going on 30 - so bright and self assured.  I was the leader but I think in a lot of ways, she was the teacher.  I was with Annie for 6 years in Ohio and then we moved to TX.  Annie graduated the following year and decided to come to Baylor University in TX.  We were so excited to have her near.  In the years that have followed, Annie spent countless hours at our house - spent holidays with us and was truly a part of our family.  We love Annie like our own.

It is a sweet thing to see her so happy and off on a new journey with her new husband Darrell. 

The weekend included time with friends, time at our Arlington church, Father's Day celebrations and lots of parties.  What a fun weekend.

This week I am helping Ashley on a painting job.  This means that I am exhausted and deliriously happy.  Spending all day, every day of this week with Ashley is such a treat for this momma.  

Life is a sweet thing.  It doesn't always go according to plan and it comes with its share of disappointments and frustrations - but I am thankful for each and every day.  I hope that this week brings you great joy. 

Thanks for catching up.


Monday, June 11, 2012

Monday Musings: My Story

I love to read.  There is just nothing like getting into a good book and savoring each moment.  I love working toward the end and seeing how the author wraps it up.  I love solving a mystery or seeing a relationship resolved.  Books are just fascinating.

I was reading in Psalm 18 this week and when I got to verse 24 - it grabbed my attention.  I began to look at it in different versions and got really excited when I got to The Message.

"God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to His eyes."

Wow - I got so excited.  I see this as my life before living for Jesus - a book that I was scrambling to scribble page after page - trying to write a story that would assure me of a favorable outcome.  I would write and write, frantically erase and then write and write some more.  I would insert some interesting characters . . . oops . . . wrong ones.  I would work to manipulate situations so that things would go my way only to be disappointed in the end.  Maybe I could add some humor here or some drama there.  Surely, I can make this story turn out just as I have imagined.  More frustration.

What a relief to turn over the pages of my book to the Author.  

Only He knows the plot.

Only He knows the best cast of characters.

Only He knows where this story is going.

Some chapters are more difficult than others.  Some hold such surprises that I gasp with sheer delight.  I could never have written such a story because I could not have even imagined it. Some chapters are sad, some stressful  and some are so blissful that they seem like a fairy tale.  But this is no fairy tale - this is life walking with Jesus.

He writes my story so that each page moves me closer to Him.  Each word engages me with The Word.  Each chapter leads me toward His intended outcome.  

I can get excited as the story moves ahead and I can be assured that the ending will be perfect.  Unlike reading a novel where you might be tempted to jump to the last page, I know the ending of my story.  That gives me freedom to relax as the chapters unfold and trust that the Lord is weaving a tale that only He could write.  I can rest in the story that He writes because He always has my best interest at heart.

He wants my story to always 
point to The Story of my Savior.

May every page of my story point to the 
Author and Perfecter of my faith.

Write on . . .

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Prayer

In my reading, I am in the book of Ephesians this week.  Two of my favorite prayers in scripture are in this book.  Every time I read them, I feel so lifted up to the Father.  They are wonderful prayers to pray on the behalf of others.  Sometimes, we just don't know how to pray for someone.  Maybe we don't have daily contact with them and don't know the specifics - but these two prayers are always good ones.  They will always bless and address the needs of the people in your life.

Ephesians 1:15-23

For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

and Ephesians 3:14-21

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.  Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

I would challenge you to day to choose several people from different parts of your life and pray these words over them.  Not only will they receive a blessings, but you, in turn, will feel that connection with the Lord that intercession brings.  We are joining Him on behalf of another.  

It is a powerful thing.

I am thankful that I can come along side the Lord and lift others up to the Father.  What a privilege.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Monday Musings: A Cheerful Heart

I've been reading through Proverbs.  I always enjoy Proverbs because it is so full of practical, everyday wisdom.  Again, God has not left us with "no clue" as to how we should live.  I came across one of my favorite verses the other day.  I used to have it painted on my kitchen wall and I just might need to do that again.

". . . a cheerful heart has a continual feast." Proverbs 15:15b

A continual feast?  That sounds good to me.  What does it mean to have a cheerful heart?  Well, sometimes I best understand a concept by working through what it DOES NOT mean.  

A cheerful heart does not mean plastering a fake smile on your face.

A cheerful heart does not mean being blissfully unaware of reality.

A cheerful heart does not mean that you are merely optimistic.

A cheerful heart does not mean everything is going your way.

A cheerful heart does not mean that life is easy.

A cheerful heart does not mean that your heart is not breaking in some way.

So, what does it mean?

Do others see you as one who has a cheerful heart?

Where is your focus currently?

 A cheerful heart means that you make a choice to focus on:
     *who God is
     *what He has done in your life
     *the gifts you have been given
     *the hope of eternity
     *the presence of Jesus

A cheerful heart means that you trust in the Lord's: