Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Hiiii Kidssss!


       Pen and paper can't do these two words justice. You really need to experience them. Let me explain them to you. When my children were young we lived far away from my parents and hometown. As a young mother, I was busy with the day to day life of raising my five children and was distracted enough to not miss home until halfway through the year. On occasion I had to stretch that out to almost a full year. As we would draw near to the Indiana state line, knowing that meant only a few more miles, my heart would start to race. My mouth followed shortly after with nonstop comments to my children about details of every little thing we drove past. When we would pull up in front of the house my parents would run out to meet us with opened arms and hugs to go around. 
     
      On one of our trips home our children started telling stories with all the details of what was to come as we drew near. Just before arriving, in unison, they all said, "hhhiiii kkkkidssss". You have to understand that my children were growing up in the south with a very southern draw, while I grew up in the north. My mom in her excitement would raise her voice a bit and add in a little nasally sound while she announced her joy of our arrival. I was so excited to break loose from a 16 hour car ride with 5 little wild kids, I had never thought about how she sounded, or her true excitement in getting to see them. I had joys of my own in being there that also drowned out what God was teaching me . This "hi kids" has been a fond memory for our children for many years. It only now means so much more. The last five years have been a whole new world for me. I am now a grandmother with the given name of "Meme". My children have been great and still are. So many awesome experiences I don't have time to share about in this story.

       This past year our oldest son has been back in the states raising support and visiting sponsoring churches. They have spent hours working on paperwork to file for their residency visa. As they have crisscrossed the states in all their efforts they've been able to catch up on family time. We have been blessed to have a room and beds for them to call their own when they come through. This past week it had been some time since we had seen them last. They had just had one of those long days of many hours driving, as I remembered from our days of having little ones in a car. We had been watching out the window for the head lights. Suddenly there they were, two bright lights comings down the road. As they pulled in the drive we started making our way out the door. Only one child was awake. As the door on the other side of the car opened and my son started to get out, the dome light lit up my middle grandson's face who had the most excited look on his face. Hands held high in clinched fist, with all the energy he could muster, I could read his lips as he said "Meme". I ran to the car, opened the door and couldn't unbuckle the car seat fast enough. I'm sure I said something but I couldn't tell you what it might have been. Do they see my excitement? Will they one day anticipate seeing me run out to them? Will they quote me and my quirky way I greet them? I pray one day I overhear all my grand kids laughing and sharing together about the silly way Meme welcomes them into my home. More than that I pray they understand why.
   
      Gods plan for family is awesome and to think he waits for us to visit him. It may be in prayer at those scary moments of life or when you have opened his word to learn more about him. I like those days when I'm walking along in silence and see his beauty. You see, he, more than I could ever imagine, waits and anticipates our arrival into his arms. Why do we seem to hold back? I want him to hear us sitting around chatting about our encounters with him. Will he hear us reveal something he didn't expect us to grasps in our small minds?

      Just like my children know I will always have a room ready for them, He always has one ready for us. When God cries out to us does he see us full of excitement, clinched fist, full of joy in his presence.

      This is my favorite holiday, as i'm sure it is to some of you. Have a blessed Thanksgiving and find the excitement of God in your life.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Trapped!


Devotionals from Mom
My oldest daughter called me with quite a dilemma. She had managed to lock herself out on a balcony two stories up. There she sat looking at her cell phone on the table on the other side of a locked door. The phone started ringing, and her not able to answer it to receive help. She began to search for another way out. At this point in her story her phone died. Knowing that this call was from the same phone that was earlier on the other side of a locked  door we weren't worried. I retold the story up to this point to my Parents whom I was out of town visiting with. We all laughed and waited for her to call again to finish the story. 
This reminded me of a story  from years ago. I was a teenager and had gone out with friends on a Sunday afternoon. Now don't stray from my story and make it about church attendance cause that's the farthest thing from my point. Put it this way my friends rarely went to church and found any excuse to not go, me on the other hand wanted to be there every chance I got. The leaders of my church lead by example and I didn't question. I knew this was where I needed to be for strength and support. My friends drug their heals all afternoon until it was time for me to leave and we hadn't even gotten dinner started. The three of them through a fit. I didn't drive my car cause they said, "don't worry will take you, and we might even go". I saw this an an opportunity to reach out to them, they thought differently. The truth was they thought I would forget about going and we would all hang out for the evening at my boyfriends house with no adults. They had trapped me. I had aloud myself to be trapped. Was I really trapped?
Have you felt this way, trapped with no known way out.? Maybe you said something you regretted or even changed the truth into a lie. Maybe you got yourself backed into a corner with people who will make your life measurable if you choose to go against the flow. 
My daughter finely called again. As she told her story she sounded so helpless with such despair. She was house sitting out in the country and the owners wouldn't be back for a week. To add to that we were out of town as well. She knew she had to find a way out.
Sometime or another we all feel trapped. Trapped by our temptation are sins even the guilt from it all. 
There she sat with a short ladder and a tie strap. After exhausting all other possibilities the only way off the balcony was over and down. Don’t ask me how, it was a little hard to picture. Using the tie strap to securely hang the ladder off the edge of the porch from the railing she then proceeded down. She had to climb around to the back side of the ladder half way down to keep it from swinging upward towards the roof of the porch below. After it was steady she reached the end. She fixed her hands on the last ring of the ladder and then it was time to drop and hope it wasn't too far. After reaching the ground she was overwhelmed with emotion. As she looked up from the ground where she was now laying limp, heart pounding from the rush of adrenaline she was in awe that she had really done it.
1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
Sometimes the place called “not beyond what we can bear” is pretty tough. God always provides a way out ....He also never said it would be easy.
As for me and my friends, was I really trapped? I stood up and announced that it was time for me to leave. I reminded them that this was the plan. My boyfriend drove me to the church and said nothing the whole 10 min drive. As he left you could hear his tires pealing out as I walked in. Later that night he came to my home. He was still upset over the evening but not the way I thought. He apologies and said, "I Know I shouldn't have been such a jerk. I made the evening worse." I do want to tell you this though, " I wish I could have the kind of faith you have. A faith that when all your friends have trapped you back in a corner you didn't give up."
Not only had God provided a way out but also a way to touch another life. My daughters courage to trust her physical way out was a great reminder. We need to trust his word. Trapped? Never when the lord is with you. There is always a way out!

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Fear !!!

        Fear takes on a whole new meaning at this time of year. Children seem to find joy in being scary and sharing that fear with others. They dress up in different attire and pretend to be something scary or just try to disguise themselves so no one recognizes them. Over the years it has meant a lot of things to different people. This year my husband brought home a very simple message through the time of year known as Halloween. Our church decided to put on a fall festival. The highlights were a bouncy castle and hayride. We had games, hot dogs and of course candy. We wanted to end the evening by gathering all our visitors to the center of our parking lot for song and prayer. Craig was to say a few words of encouragement. What do you say to those who are there for the fun of the season, that will give them more than the excitement or sugar they were hyped up on?
       A few days before he was pondering this very message and he shared it with me. "Tomya he said, "please help me remember this thought. This time of year we think of bats, spiders and the things that scare us. We want to have fun with the element of fear. The thing is that after the holiday is over we put that all aside, blow out the candles in our Jack-o-lanterns and go back to the normal. Not all people can do that. They go home to a life that is still full of fear, scary uncertain existence they live with every day. Children who are afraid of the discipline from an abusive parent. Parents not knowing where the next meal will come from. A wife who fears where her husband is at 2 am. A husband who seems to never make his wife happy. Fear is all around us. Some never get away from it. God knows about our fear. Joshua had his own fears. When Joshua was fearful and uncertain about the future, God told him to be strong and courageous. Not just once but several times. Chapter 1 of Joshua we read that Moses has just died and he is now to lead the people. God tell him this:

           Joshua 1:7-9 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."

         When Craig shared this message even though it was for only 3 minuets  you could feel the peace and warmth as we stood in that circle. What as awesome message God placed on his heart. Thank you for being a man of God with a heart to remind us when life seems to be fearful and we are too weak to go on God is there. Joshua was a young man with a big job to do. We may feel we can't go on some days but he is there to remind us we can. There is a family for you. A place to draw on the strength of God to make us strong and courageous for our walk ahead. Fear.......does not have to own us. Leave fear for the holiday. With God as our hope and strength we can be strong and courageous. Thanks Craig for the reminder.

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