Monday, October 24, 2011

When God speaks

God has been speaking to me...

I struggle with several things that I have begun to realize I will ALWAYS struggle with!  That, in and of itself, is a WIN!  I don't like it, but hey, who said everything was going to be roses in life!

However, a couple of things happened this past week really took me by surprise, touched my heart, and made me hear God speaking to me!
In our small group last Thursday, we went around the room and each person had to choose someone and tell them what we appreciated about them.  A friend chose me and then she began to explain why...She appreciated that I was so open and upfront with my struggles, my flaws, and my mistakes.  WHAT?!?!?

First off, I thought my flaws were pretty obvious!  I'm so 'in your face' most of the time so I always assumed that EVERYONE just knew what my flaws were!
Secondly, I only share with my small group because I feel safe there.  I know that they will not judge me or think less of me because of my mistakes.
Lastly, I didn't even realize that this person struggles with some of the same things that I struggle with.  She is a private person and it's just not her nature to expose shortcomings to others.  So by my sharing, I inadvertantly ministered to her on a quiet level (, quiet?!? Only by God's grace!)

Then, a couple days ago, I got a facebook message from an old youth.  She said that she missed me and everything I stood for.  She said she liked that I wasnt afraid to let my personality show...
This youth has alot of the same struggles and "flaws" that I have, so she admired that I was able to be the real me.  WOW!

So, God has been speaking to me in BOLD ways about the fact that He created me in a wonderful and beautiful way!  I just can't figure out why it has taken me this long to allow God to talk to me so freely!

Psalm 139:13-14
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Can't put into words!

My husband, Claude, he is one that I just can't put into words how special and unque he is!  I've never known ANYONE that can do so many things and still be humbled by the compliments he gets over the things he does!  Well, one of his MANY talents is welding!  I caught him welding together a new cart for our portable church!  Very cool stuff!  Check it out:

How lucky am I!?!  I get to spend my days and nites with this man!  As Julie Andrews said in The Sound Of Music..."I must of done something good"!!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I got nothin'...

I am sitting in front of the computer thinking about all the stuff that's been going on over the last couple weeks and I am drawing a blank on what to blog about...LOL!!  It's funny because there HAS been things happening, but it's just "life" so I don't think too much about it as "blog-worthy".

However,  THAT made me think about something I learned this year at the CATALYST Conference in Georgia...

There was a speaker there named Priscilla Shirer.  She told this story about herself growing up.  She was asleep in her bedroom (that she shared with her sister) when a fire broke out at the house behind theirs.  She said her sister literally climbed over her in the bed to look out the window that was over HER bed and that her mom came into the room and hovered over her to look out that same window...all the while, she slept through it.  She slept through the fire engines and the ambulance noises.  SHE SLEPT THROUGH IT!!!  Her point to the story (or what I took from it!) was that important things happen and we often times "sleep" through them.
Sometimes, we are so busy looking back to the past thinking, wondering, wishing...
Sometimes, we are so busy looking to the future thinking, wondering, hoping...
We are so busy with the past and the future that we are "sleeping" through the present!  We miss the little things that are happening in our day to day lives that make it beautiful, precious, liveable!

So, I want to look to the future and remember the past, but I really want to focus on today and what God is doing in my life daily!  There is so much in my everyday life...I don't want to sleep through it.

Monday, October 17, 2011

I am learning!

Ever since we moved to NC from FL to help plant a church, I have felt "unqualified".  I mean, seriously, think about all the things that you think you know spiritually and how your spiritual maturity is your own responsibility.  But then think about the idea of being "on display" as an example for others of what to be (or, in my case ALOT OF TIMES, what NOT to be!).  I am not sure where my insecurities generated from.  I had always considered myself bold and "confident".  But for some reason, I had lost that confidence and had allowed satan to slip in the back door and use me because of them.

God has been teaching me so many things over the past several months.  I have so many things to work on and to allow God to work on through me.  One thing I am definitely starting to believe is that God CAN and WILL use me, flaws and all, IF I allow Him to!  He can use a loud, feisty, bossy, take-charge, no room for error, roll over people to get things done kind of woman!  He made me with the personality to be bold and to stand firm.  He also can TEACH me how to do things with grace and with kindness!  I am starting to believe that God CAN USE ME and I am qualified!  


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

But I want what she has...!

I am reading this book with a couple of great ladies at church and we meet once a week to discuss what we've learned and how we can apply the truths to our own lives! The book is called" Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl". Let me tell you, this woman could've been me!!! She writes and it sounds like things I have thought, wished, wanted, done, imagined, acted, said, understand!!!

In one of the chapters she's writing about becoming more than a Bible study girl in our relationships. She talked about how we as women so many times want to be other women or to attain the status of other women, to have attributes of other women, or simply possess the lifestyle of other women. I humbly admit that I have done all of these things at least a thousand times in my life. One paragraph in particular really made me stop and cnsider what God wants from me and how I am so far from hitting the mark on it. She quotes Matthew 11:28-30 where it talks about Jesus telling us to come to him all of us who are weary and heavy burdened because his yoke is easy and his burden is light. Now, I've been a Christian for a very long time and I gotta say that there have been MANY TIMES when I would not have considered the yoke easy and the burden light!!! But, she points out several thngs that I hadn't considered. First, I am probably trying to carry the burden myself, thus, it's not easy and light! Well...DUH! The second part I will quote so that I don't lose the meaning she intended:

"Note a couple key words in these verses. A yoke is a wooden frame used to harness two draft animals to whatever they have to pull. The Greek word for "easy" can also mean "well-fitted". Combine this information together and it appears that Jesus is saying he has equipped each of us with well fitted assignments in life. As long as we do and aspire to only what he calls us, our burden will not only be changeable, it will be light."


The more I study and read about how God has a unique plan for me, the less I worry about wanting to be someone else! I'm not saying that I am completely free of this struggle, but I have more peace about myself, my calling, and the things God has in store for me!!!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Trying to "let go"

I know that there are so many folks out there that have so much more struggles and obstacles to overcome than I do...I know it in my head, but sometimes, like I know everyone does, I don't remember it in my heart.  I have a selfish tendancy to think that I am the only one suffering and struggling, that I am the only one who has EVER gone thru what it is I am going thru, that no one know how I am feeling, that I am all alone in my struggle.  LOL!!!  Yea, and how many times did I say "I"?!?!?!?

So, for those who read this blog (all 3 of  you!), I hope and pray that you know that:
Joshua 1:9
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

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.

Hebrews 4:16
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I know, I know...another post!

So, I am doing this accountability study with 3 fabulous ladies from Discovery Church, and we are reading a book that has me crying and seeing things in my life that I need to work on...and I'm only on page 34!

This book, Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl, has made me stop and think about some things in my life lately.
I battle this temptation called "If Only...".
If only I had a skinnier body
If only I had more money
If only I had a better personality
If only I had a baby

Matthew 6:19-21 says "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

People and possessions are meant to be appreciated and shared to encourage and bless us & others.  However, if I am setting my heart's desire on obtaining more things, comparing my body & self to others rather than Jesus, obsessing over that child I don't have, I become more and more vulnerable to the possibility of loss.  Not loss of the things/people, but loss of myself to selfishness and ungodly living.  I can't follow after Christ and the world around me too.

There are times when I question my"adequateness" of being a pastor's wife, a leader for kids and teenagers, a friend to ladies that I seriously don't deserve in my life!  Psalm 119:105 says that God's word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.  This "path" that I am on was chosen for me from the God of all creation!  It's only when I learn to follow Him and trust Him for each step in that path that I can be assured I'm right where I am meant to be and doing exactly what He's called me to do.

I am seriously going to love this study and the wonderful ladies that are taking this journey with me!!!

See You At The Pole 2011

This morning, we got up at 5:30am to get ready and be at our local high school for the annual "See you at the pole".  It is a student led gathering that is done across the country where students meet at a certain time before school at their flag pole and pray for the events that are going on in their school, state, country, etc.

We had a turnout of 10 from our youth group and about 25 students in all, who came out to prayer before school started.  It was a neat experience to see familiar faces, but even more so the unfamiliar faces!  I will admit that I partly "expected" our kids to be there because we do our best to stress to them not just "talk the talk, but walk the walk" (or as Claude likes to put it: "Are you smokin' what you're sellin'?"!).  It was really great to know that there are other students in South Central High School that are Christian and will pray for their school.  They come out there early and are willing to stand around the flagpole, bow their heads, and pray...while other kids are being dropped off, walking by, wondering what is going on.  THAT TAKES ALOT OF COURAGE!  Others were watching these kids and will know as they see them in the halls that they were praying to God!  It kinda provides a "step up your game" atmosphere for these kids.

I came home and a song kept running in my mind.  It's an old song by an old Christian "Rock" group named Petra.  The song is called "This Is My Prayer".  One of the verses (the one that was stuck playing in my head) says:
Let me be the evidence of what Your Grace can do
To a generation struggling to find themselves in You.
May they come to know the Love of God, may their eyes be made to see;
Give me the opportunity to share the truth that sets them free...

The prayers of these kids are that they are struggling.  They know God is there but for one reason or another He's not real to them.  They don't feel His love and His power in their lives.  They are dealing with so much CRAP everyday at school and for some it doesn't end when they go home.  We, as adults, think that their struggles are the same as it was when we were there...NO WAY!  Yes, it may have some of the same issues, but there is so much more pressure and it's so much easier/accepted to do things that we know are wrong.

So, this is my prayer for these kids.  I ask God to become larger than Life in their everyday lives.  I pray that He boldly shows Himself to them and gives them the courage and guts to stand up even when they have to stand alone.  I pray that God gives them an abundance of blessing for doing what is right and that He brings alongside these kids people who will hold them up and encourage them!  Friends, leaders, parents that will understand how BIG their struggles are and be the shoulder they can lean on when they need to rest!

Here's that song that's been in my head!  Ignore the hair, the clothes, the "oldness" of the video and really listen to the words!  They are truly powerful!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A mind that's prone to wander...

2 years ago, I was driving out of the local Target parking lot and was heading to my next errand stop (I honestly don't remember where that was, but it doesn't matter to the story!).  My mind was going a mile a minute (as is pretty normal for me) and I made a wrong turn. I decided that rather than making a U-turn, I would go down to the next street and go around the block.  Well, that decision changed my life.  I ended up in a car accident that totaled our minivan.   That day made a difference in my life, in my husband's life, in the teenagers of our church's lives.  That choice changed things.

When I think about how it all went down, it makes me realize how much my thoughts impact my life.  I mean, if I would've been thinking about what I was suppose to be doing, I wouldn't have turned the wrong way.  I never would've been behind the woman who stopped in the intersection.  I never would've slammed into her.  But, because my mind was wandering it changed the course of my life.

Sometimes, my thoughts take me places I definitely don't want to be.
One thought about how much better someone else has it - leads me down a path to an ungrateful heart.
One thought about how unappreciated I feel - it leads to a path full of resentment & anger.
One thought about how unattractive I am - it leads to a path full of lies about myself that makes my heart sad and lonely.

I know I can physically learn to control my tongue and my actions (although it's still a daily battle for me!), but it's really hard for me to control my wandering thoughts.
So, I claim 1 Corinthians 10:5 and ask God to help me in the battle for my thoughts.

1 Corinthians 5:10
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Why am I up?

It's after 1am and I can not sleep.  My mind will not stop thinking about some things that are on my heart.  I don't even know how to put the thoughts into words...

How does a parent stand and watch their child change right before their eyes?  How do they watch as the child that they have loved and cared for, the child they have poured into and nurtured, start down a wrong path that will lead to heartache and sadness?  What kind of emotions and struggles must that parent go through?  I mean, you can't make every decision for that child, right?  How difficult it must be for the parent to have to let go of that child and rest on God's Word that He loves them MORE than you, the parent, does!

The older I get...the wiser I become...the more I work with kids and teenagers (especially teenagers!!)...the more I see how God knew exactly what He was doing when He chose NOT to give me children of my own...I don't know if my heart could take it., teenagers, adult "kids"...if you are so blessed as to have parents (or a parent) in your life, THANK GOD for them and TELL them how much you love and appreciate them!  They have a NEVERENDING job that doesn't stop when you go to bed.  They don't quit loving/worrying/begging God on your behalf!  Once you are a parent, that job is yours until the day God calls you home...

Mom & Dad, there will never be enough words to express my overwhelming thanks and admiration.  You raised ME...I know I was a challenge (still am, at times!), but you were tirelessly praying and fighting for me to have the best that God had planned for me.  I get that now.  Til the day I die, I will always consider you my heros.  I love you and...Mom, the tears, the prayers, the pain, the sacrifices...they were NOT in vain.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


So, I guess to a certain extent I am past the "being sad" about not having any kids of my own...because I have kids from our youth that have started pro-creating!!!  Check out these pics!

born August 18th, 2011
8lb. 13.9oz.  20 inches

Mommy, Kelsey and Baby Caden

She's such a cutie pie!  And a rolly polly!

This girl is sportin' some style!!!

born September 8, 2011 @ 9:07pm
6lb. 14oz.  20 inches

He is so stinkin' precious!  (of course, I might be a bit biased!)

Proud family!


born September 11, 2011 @ 5:05pm
5lb. 10 oz.  17 inches

Mommy, Julianna, and her baby!

Godfather, Cory, and baby Rayden

Family and friends!  Cory, Daddy-Ray, & Mommy-Julianna

Me & Claude with Baby Rayden!  He's a gorgeous baby!!!

The "Do Do" verse (aka Dr. Suess verse!)

Romans 7:15-20

15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.18 I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.19 For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. 

Sometimes, I just hate myself!  
This verse is soooo ME!  I find myself not understanding why I do the things I do!  I do the same sinful things over and over and over.  I know in my heart they are wrong, I feel so horrible inside when I've done the sin.  I cry out to God to forgive me and help me to love Him more and take away this love of sin.  But, I turn around and do something else that I know is sinful.  WHY?!?!?!?  
I don't know why!  But, I love how Paul writes about the frustration with sin and the law and the grace that comes from Jesus!  Sometimes, I willingly do things I know are not's hard to admit that, but it's the truth.  Sometimes, I do things not really thinking about it and there's a conviction afterwards.  Either way, Thank God for His grace and mercy that convicts and prompts me when I am wrong.  
Romans 5:20b
20 ...But where sin increased, grace increased all the more!
I am claiming Romans 6:14 and will continue to ask God to show me when my heart is not right.  When I have the victory, I will praise Him, and when I fall short, I will claim His grace.
Romans 6:14
14 For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fake face

OK, so a couple days ago Claude posted a comment on Facebook about "Guess who went goth?".  Well, it was me...sorta!
I went to the new ULTA store because I wanted to check out the nailpolishes and I decided to let them give me a "eye makeover"...BAD IDEA!!!  When I came home, I looked like someone had punched me in the eyes.  Seriously, my eye makeup was all purple and gray and it was all over my eyes, including UNDER my was horrible!!!

That evening when I was taking my shower, I tried cleaning the eye makeup off.  It took me THREE times using my face cleanser to get that stuff off!!!  As I looked into the mirror, I thought to myself how much it reminded me of our Christianity.  We put on "makeup" to make ourselves look different.  We try to cover up the flaws and enhance things that we think need more attention.  And the more "makeup" we use, the more time and effort it takes to "clean" it off of us.  I'm not saying that it takes God more effort to clean us, because I believe completely that Jesus washed ALL our sins away with one act, the Cross.  I just think that the more we pile on the CRUD, the longer it takes us as humans to clean up.

It's kinda like this...I've heard several people in the last week talk about habits and trying to work towards good routines and form positive habits.  When we start "cleaning' up our lives and start forming good clean routines/habits, it allows others to see the real us and, hopefully, see Jesus through us...NOT the fake "face" we put on.
James 4:8

Monday, September 5, 2011

Monthly Blues

Sometimes I just wish all my female parts could just be taken out & I wouldn't have to "deal" with them anymore. After all, they haven't done what they were suppose to do anyway. Each month it's like an annoying reminder of something I can't do!

Ok, that's how I start off feeling.

Then I am reminded of God's grace and His abundant blessings in my life. He never told me that my life was going to be all roses and happiness. He never said that I wouldn't face heartbreaks and troubles. He did, however, promise me that I would have a Comforter to help me through the hardships. He did promise that His grace would be sufficient to see me through the heartbreaks and disappointments.

When my "friend" visits me, I am just so glad I am heathly and that I have God's unconditional love and grace in my life! I am so thankful that God keeps His promises! How LUCKY am I!?!?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Crosslink ALWAYS comes through!

I have to brag about my Linkrz!!!  They are always ready and willing to help others!  This time was NO EXCEPTION~  We took a handful to Claude's mom's house in New Bern yesterday.  She has a big yard and she was physically unable to do the work needed to clean up the yard after the hurricane.  So, Kyle Kulickowski, J Mike Williams, Mackenzie Moore, Leo Oliveros, Megan Roman, and Sarah Joyner went with us and cleaned it up in less than 3 hours!  
Claude made the comment that he was surprised at how they just jumped out of the van and started plan, no strategy...just started raking and picking up debris!  So proud of them for their servant's hearts!!!  
Raking, picking up branches, hauling leaves and limbs, etc! They did it all!!!  

JMike & Kyle working the tractor!

Leo, Mack, & Megan totalling ROCKED the raking of the yard!

Sarah is such a trooper!  she helped me pick up gumballs!

Leo, hauling off the leaves to the backyard to be burned.

These guys were workin' so hard!  It was amazing!
I guess that's one of the things I love so much about kids!  They don't look at work the same way we adults do.  They just jump right in! 
Great job guys and girls!!!

It's been awhile...!

 It's been such a long time since I've blogged about anything!  It's not because I didn't want to...I was having "technical difficulties" with my domain name.  Apparently, it is attached to the church's email address and that is considered "organizational" so I couldn't use it anymore... :('s been such a tremendous year so far!  We've had so much going on with the teenagers over the summer!  We've had hurricane Irene bless us with her presence!  Actually, it was a blessing in disguise because it allowed Discovery church to go out into the community and do "clean up" for people!  it was such an awesome way to share Jesus with the folks around us!  Check out some of the pics!

Melissa working hard!
Liz was a BEAST out here!  she was showing us how it should be done!!!
MIA!!!!  Small girl (yes, she's a teenager!) but BIG heart and BIG desire to help!
Claude & the owner of the house, Jody.  
This was a tree that fell on Jody's house.  Our team jumped on it and took it down in less than an hour!!
Paul is an ex-marine...well, once a marine, ALWAYS a marine!  He's was CRAZY!
Diane & Stacy tackling a larger limb!
Even the children...!!! Colin & Asa worked SO HARD!!!  
Amy & Emily working hard with smiles on their faces!!!
I just LOVE that man!!!  chainsaw and all!!!
What an awesome bunch of people!  THIS is what being the church is all about!