Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Muddy Mamas

I am so very humbled to get to contribute to another blog that takes other ladies who, like myself, are just lumps of clay outside of the Potter's Hands, but are beautiful creations within them! Check out how God is moving and growing each of us and we pray that you may be encouraged as you read and share with us on this muddy journey called life!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

20 pounds, glass jars and 3 year olds

I'm not feeling well today. I have a 20 pound head (or so it seems) full of snot. I feel like I'm talking, and hearing, in a glass jar. My ears ache and my body almost requires the same level of adjective as my ears! I'm not in bed, I don't have a fever, but I just am not "Lela" today! But, life continues. There were lunches to be made, breakfast to enjoy with my family before everyone rushed out the door for school and work, newsletters to be folded and conversation to be enjoyed at First Baptist. You get the idea! Life continues and carries on. I do my best to push on, as if nothing is different, but anyone who knows me would recognize that there's a lot less pep in my step, a few less giggles and maybe, a few more dark circles under my eyes! I'm hopped up on Sudafed, Advil, Neti-pot solution and tons of vitamin C, water and prayers for a quick recovery from this "ick" of winter!

But, the best medicine so far today out of that long list of "doctor-yourself" solutions? Laney, as we lay together on the couch, just says in the silence, "Mommy, I wanna pway foh you! 'Dea-ah God, please help mommy feel bettah. Amen!" Nothing is as sweet as the sincere, straightforward, unhindered, unprompted prayer of your 3 year old who sees that mommy isn't quite herself and that God, the Great Physician, is the only true and effective help in Mommy's time of need. And nothing is as amazing as watching God move in the heart and mind of your 3 year old, knowing that she's responding to His promptings, even when she doesn't realize it quite yet!

I am feeling much better already!

Time to Get Real

This post is written by my favorite person on the face of this earth. He has a way with words, a way of challenging me with God's Word, and he's awfully cute! This is a subject that we have both been battling lately since we both experienced a major move and along with it, major life change. May you be encouraged, as I was, as you read my husband's words and remember to look upward and out!

It’s time to get real.

As I write these words I am sitting in my office sulking. Pouting like a 4 year old boy who didn’t get to buy the GI Joe he really wanted at Toys R Us. (I want to throw a fit but am refraining) The morning started with a wonderful argument with my wife followed by a series of text messages to try to explain my stupidity and ask for forgiveness (yes I know texting isn’t the best way to go about those things, but it will start the ball rolling so I can continue the convo in person). So, why am I so on edge and taking it out on those closest to me?

I’m a selfish, self-centered, insecure guy. Oh, and at times I’m lonely.

I am surrounded by a wonderful support system starting with my family. I could not have designed a better woman to fill the role of best friend, wife, and ministry partner and our girls are amazing. As I write and try to keep a frown on my face, I find myself being encouraged via two phone calls from close friends and a visit in the office. I serve a God who has overcome all odds and provided me freedom from sin and the promise of life eternal through Jesus and yet, here I sit at my desk starring at the wall.


Oh yeah, I’m a selfish, self-centered, insecure guy. Oh, and at times I’m lonely.

I keep reciting Romans 8:9 in my head waiting for the power of the message to sink in, “You are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit, if you have the Spirit of God living in you,” but nothing happens. Where is that abundant life and overflowing Joy that Jesus speaks of in the book of John (John 10:10& John 15:11)? Where is that contentment that Paul talks about with Timothy or the peace that transcends all understanding that is supposed to guard my heart and mind (1 Timothy 6:6 & Philippians 4:7)? Why are there days that I just can’t seem to snap out of a funk?

Oh yeah, I’m a selfish, self-centered, insecure guy. Oh, and at times I’m lonely.

I know it. God knows it. Lela knows it. And now, you know it. But, you know who else knows it? The Devil. Satan knows it. Big deal, who cares if Satan knows my weaknesses, he’s not the boss of me! He can’t control me. He can’t make me do nothin’! Yet here I sit, pouting, sulking, & feeling sorry for myself. What’s the deal?

I’m a selfish, self-centered, insecure guy..and at times I’m lonely....oh, and Satan knows it.

He is taking my weaknesses and using them against me. From time to time I find myself letting him win control of my thoughts, my actions and my feelings. Satan has found a crack in my wall and he is using that weakness to try and break me apart; and in some small ways, its working.
I’m tired. I’m tired of using my weaknesses as an excuse and a cop-out.

I’m tired of being a selfish, self-centered, insecure guy. Oh, and I’m tired of being lonely.

Too many times in life we allow our weaknesses to control us. We allow the imperfect parts of who we are to dictate our thoughts and our actions. To often we allow Satan to gain a foothold in our lives because it is easier than fighting. Why is it easier? Because fighting is hard, it’s ugly and it hurts. The problem with not fighting is that you are left with only one choice: surrender. I don’t have a problem with surrender, its just I much rather choose when, where and to whom I’m going to surrender. When you surrender you hope to get something in return. If I surrender to my weaknesses, to those things Satan wants me to experience, all I get in return is to be a selfish, self-centered, insecure guy...and I get to be lonely.

In contrast, if I surrender to God and let him fight with me and on my behalf, I get something much more appealing.
I get freedom.
Freedom from being a selfish, self-centered, insecure guy. Oh, and freedom from loneliness. I get the promise that in Christ, I am a new creation because the old has gone away and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17). I get to rest in Him because all this fighting has been a heavy burden and made me weary (Matthew 11:28). I begin to realize that as I move closer to God, he in turn moves closer to me (James 4:8). I get to experience hope and the promise that nothing can separate me from the love of God because Jesus conquered death, sin and oppression (Romans 8:37-39).

I know you are tired too. I know that the battle you are fighting is hard and in some cases, you have just surrendered to it because its easier that way. The result however, has not been so good and in some cases it’s been catastrophic. It’s time to start fighting again. It’s time to pick up the pieces and move on.


Admit you are a failure. Admit you are worthless. Admit your weaknesses, out loud, and get over yourself. Don’t be a selfish, self-centered, insecure guy. Oh, and don’t be lonely.
God is on your side, but you need to be on your side too. You are worth fighting for! Why do you think Satan is trying so hard? Jesus didn’t just sacrifice his life because he didn’t have anything else better to do that day.

As God’s people, we need to make a shift. For too long we have covered our tracks, thinking that what the world needed was a bunch of people acting like everything was okay and that we had it all together. Somehow we thought it would be encouraging and others would want a piece of what we had. Well, it has backfired. Not only do they not want what we are selling, but we have also disillusioned ourselves into thinking that we can’t show weakness. What the world needs and what we need is to see real people. We need to see Real People, living Real Lives, facing Real Challenges, trusting in Real Hope, and experiencing Real Transformation all because of the Real Jesus.

Don’t hold it in any longer. Don’t tuck it away and don’t try to hide. Let it out. Get those weaknesses and insecurities out on the table and let God start working. I pray that my confession is helpful to you. I hope that my candidness and willingness to be open will stir something in side of you. The quicker we can own up to our weaknesses, the quicker we will be able to recognize when the enemy is trying to use them against us.

God loves you and knows you are special. He wants to rescue you and set you free (John 3:16-18).

It’s time to get Real.