Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My Husband is a Man's Man

I've wanted to write so many times lately, and its never a good time. I've been busy. My husband has been busy lately too--its hunting season. I've never blogged about Jason before. He holds things closer to the chest than I do, if you will. He's more private and I want to honor his privacy. But I also want to honor him today with thanksgiving for who he is and what he's like. My husband is a man's man. He has been hunting the past 3 weekends and I may have to hold him down for him not to go the next. He enjoys God's creation in the great outdoors, and I am happy for him to do so. He's a lover of all things hunting--and we have a full arsenal of guns, including the 8 pistols, rifles, and shotguns I've counted in our bedroom alone. Rue the day an invader enters our home. Please don't try it if you want to live. My husband is my protector and the protector of our children. He is strong. But not only physically. Though my husband enjoys hunting season and is gone on the weekends during that time, other than that and some brief work travels, my husband is at home with his family. He prefers to spend time with our children and with me. He plays with the kids, he reads books to them, he teaches them things, he eats dinner with us every night, tucks the kids in bed every night, and he prays with them. He is loving and unafraid to show affection. He is available to his children and to me. He cares about what his family thinks and feels. Needless to say, he is smart:) He can fix things. Today he changed my flat tire and put the spare on with ease. He corrected my iphone and got all my information back I'd somehow lost--all my contacts, music, hundreds of pictures... Jason is a hard worker. He grew up on his own you might say, and he has pretty much taught himself everything he knows, which is a whole lot.

My husband and I have our differences, like any good marriage does. I don't always appreciate him, nor him me. But God knew that a man's man is what I needed. He knew I needed a man who wouldn't buckle under pressure, who would stand his ground (though I sometimes wish he wouldn't:), who would think things through (even though it tries my patience at times since I tend to be a little bit on the impatient and impulsive side:); who knows how to change a tire, oil, or any other mechanical type thing on a car or machine; who can fix stuff; who has a lot of common sense; who appreciates the great outdoors; who is slow to anger; who deals lovingly with our children; and who will listen to me (even if he doesn't always get where I'm coming from.)

Thanks hon. I love you.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Smoothie Fast--Day 1

Well, the 40th birthday celebrating is over and now it is time to focus on something new. This time last year I was training for my first half-marathon. I thought I would be doing it again this year, but somehow I didn't live up to my own expectations. I've dropped off on my running, not getting up early enough to go; it was either too hot or too cold, etc; and now a short run is a challenge and occurs only about twice a week. With the lack of exercise I've also not been eating well. Well, lets just call it what it is, I love food and I think I could even say I'm addicted to it. I used to pride myself in being able to eat what I wanted while keeping my weight down. But with less exercise and increased age, those days are over. In addition to my lack of exercise and poor eating habits, I have not been reading the Bible. All this combined with my tendency to reflect on my past which leads to guilt and dissastifaction; has contributed to my lack of energy and motivation, irritability, negativity, bouts of depression, inconsistencies, and general feeling of unhappiness with myself. In other words, yuck! boo! and I'm a mess! My inspiring friend and author, Kristen Feola, encouraged me to watch the documentary, "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead." My husband and I did and we were truly moved. Since then I have been on a search for the best juicer for the best price, and have ordered the Breville Fountain Plus Juicer from Bed, Bath, and Beyond. I believe it is the same type of juicer used in the documentary. I am excited for my juicer to arrive. My plan has been to start a juice fast after my birthday celebrating was over and when my juicer arrived. Kristen and her husband and some other friends are starting their juice fast today, so I started a smoothie fast. My husband and I had smoothies for breakfast. We used a frozen package of mixed berries, a banana, some orange juice, (I cheated and added a 4 oz. Greek yogurt), and some flaxseed meal. It was delicious. For lunch I made another kind of smoothie:) This one is made of frozen spinach, a carrot, an apple, some oj, and a cup of water. Its actually not too bad. My goal with this fast is to draw near to the Lord. Fasting always brings me closer to God because I read my Bible more and I pray more, for others as well as for myself. I have some specific things I'm praying about and some people I am praying for, trusting God has already answered. But I'm also doing it to lose the weight I've gained (about 8 pounds), to eat healthier, to have more energy, to eat natural foods that God created for us to eat; and to see if getting off sugar and processed foods will help level out my hormones and make them my friend instead of my enemy:) I'm reading in Zechariah right now. The verse that sticks with me is from chapter 4, verse 6: " 'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the Lord Almighty." Fasting is a time that the Holy Spirit is at work. In Zechariah, the Governor of Judah, Zerubbabel, is given the task of rebuilding the temple. Though he does not have the royal might and power that David and Solomon had posessed, here in these verses, an angel is encouraging him to complete the rebuilding of the temple and assures him that the Holy Spirit will enable him to do it. This is the same assurance we are given today. This fast will not be by my power, but only by the Spirit's. Jesus tells us as He did Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:8, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (so verses 8-19: "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.")

Monday, August 22, 2011

She is Bella

I'm reading Lisa Bevere's book titled, Nurture. In the book, she describes daughters like this: "A daughter is her father's joy and her mother's treasure because she quickens the heart. An heiress, she was hoped for and is their hope for the future. As the potential carrier and bearer of life, she is human wealth. Her creation was God's altogether lovely crown of creation, the one who completes. Daughters are the feminine form, which embodies love, beauty, hope, and tenderness. A daughter is smiles, hugs, and laughter. She is a seeker of truth who asks many questions, longing to know who she is. She is a friend and comfort in your latter years. A daughter is like a priceless pearl."

Wow. Powerful words. If you are a woman, you are a daughter. I thought of how true it is for my own sweet 5-year old daughter. The following are my additions to describe her:

She rides a pink unicorn and wears spiderman sunglasses and a Little Mermaid gown. She talks loudly and excitedly. She throws her head back and laughs heartily, from the belly. Sometimes she sings like a little songbird, like when she sings the song from Tangled, which she quickly memorized. Sometimes she sings forcefully and as loud as possible, like when she sings Jesus Loves Me in the grocery store. She sings Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer in July. She keeps frogs for pets, and she rescues turtles on the highway. She picks and eats chives right from the garden. Her favorite thing about kindergarton so far is singing the chicken song and the silly billy song. She runs in the face of the wind with her hair streaming behind her and says, "I don't care." She gives the strongest hugs and the sweetest kisses. She cries only when she is frustrated about something or with someone, or sometimes when I brush her hair. She reminds me of the Proverbs 31 woman; she laughs at the days to come. She is engrossed with TV and movies; and sometimes she has to be told to do something more than once. Her world is one of exploration, discovery, and play. She stops to look at insects and to pick flowers. She loves her big brother. She takes her time. She is flexible. She is unafraid. I laugh at her and learn from her daily. I treasure her as she does indeed quicken my heart. I see such hope and promise in her. She fulfills the essence of her namesake--Bella, which means beautiful. Her middle name, Cloe, is shared with my grandmother and mother, taken from a story about a strong and determined woman with the same name. Today I celebrate my daughter in all her beauty and strength. She is Bella.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Life Lessons from Kung Fu Panda 2

written yesterday:

I just left the movie theater with my kids. We went to see Kung Fu Panda 2. It was awesome. I am a Kung Fu Panda fan:) I shed tears of laughter every time I watch the first one. I was pleased to find that the sequel was funny, touching, inspiring, and it relays a great message. Po, the great Dragon Warrior, must face his past to find peace in the present. His search reveals that he was abandoned by his parents (for good reason, but I won't reveal all the details in case you haven't seen it yet.) In his quest for "inner peace" he acknowledges that though the beginning of his life was sad and hard, it is what he is to do with his life now that matters. Po recognizes that he has a destiny to fulfill; and that his past doesn't define him. Wow. This is exactly what God has been trying to teach me lately (see my previous post, Life Lessons From My Garden.)

Lately I was encouraged by someone who is dear to me to read my Psalm, which is my age plus 1, (40). Psalm 40 begins with this: "I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord..." Isn't that the message of Kung Fu Panda 2? One of deliverance and redemption.

Thank you Lord for confirming your love and faithfulness to me. Thank you for hearing me and for caring --for lifting me out of the pit of my past to a high and firm place to stand. Thank you for a song of joy. Thank you that "many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.." meaning that you will use my life for Your glory. Thanks for your life lessons. Thanks for Kung Fu Panda:)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Life Lessons From My Garden

written a few days ago:

I woke up this morning after a few brief hours of sleep. I was up until 3:00 am writing my life story. Writing and remembering made me feel depressed, dissatisfied, and disappointed; especially in myself and the choices I've made. My friend Kristen sent me a message expressing concern for me--somehow she always knows when I need a lift. I went outside to pick basil from my garden. My husband had just watered it. It was wet and the basil smelled wonderful. Bees were buzzing around and a beautiful butterfly flitted by. I realized how happy my garden makes me. How I love the fresh smells and tastes, especially of the basil. I started talking to God and thanking Him for my garden. I reflected on the previous night and my dissatisfaction with my life, wishing I had made different choices. In my spirit I felt God saying that this is the life He chose for me. I argued, "Chose for me? Isn't this what I chose for myself?" He responded by saying "Yes, you have sinned and made poor choices at times, but this is the life I have chosen for you now. You would do well to embrace it." I walked back inside with my basil.

A couple of nights ago I went to hear my friend Christy speak at a women's ministry event. She spoke about how God uses our circumstances to take us "infinitely beyond" with Him. She talked about how God wants to use our life experiences for good; and how we are to share our story. I asked God how He wants to use my story --all of it. Even the ugly part that's hidden. Maybe its time for me to write my story--all of it. Maybe its time for me to embrace it; even all the imperfections, sinful choices, and foolishness. There is so much of it I want to keep hidden.

I went back out to the garden to pick more basil. I thought about what I had just written, not wanting to post it, worrying about what people would think of me. God seemed to speak to me and say, "Everyone feels this way. No one has had a perfect life. Think of the people who would benefit from your story." Then these sweet words came to me: "I will make you like this basil--I will make you fragrant and useful." Even though I doubt at times, I am going to trust that as I embrace my life, all of it, God will indeed, bring good. As Philippians 1:6 says, he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." The Lord spoke to me one last time in the garden. He said, "I love you." It was a message spoken to me (not audibly), as clear as any message I've ever received. How good the Lord is to let us know He loves us. He will use all our life experiences for His glory and for our good.

Friday, July 8, 2011

"I Just Love to Run," written by 17-year-old Scott Sargrad

Running clears my mind. But that’s not why I run. Running helps me think. But that’s not why I run. Running gives me an escape. But that’s not why I run. I just love to run.

There is a mystical quality to running. From the ancient Greek messenger who carried news of victory 26 miles from Marathon to Athens only to expire on arrival, to Roger Bannister’s first sub-four-minute mile, to Ronaldo da Costa’s marathon world record, runners have confounded the rest of the world. No one is quite sure what to make of these slender warriors, competing against each other and their own self-doubt.

Many of the sedentary public simply ask Why? Why would any sane person subject themselves to the kind of torture which runners seek out? Why would anyone drive to a hill just to run up and down it until their legs give out?

Those of a more inquisitive nature ask How? How can someone train for six months for a 15-minute race? How can someone beat up on their body day after day, year after year, and become upset when forced to miss a day?

Any runner has their own answers to these questions, and imparting the knowledge to others is more difficult than mile repeats in August.

A large part of the population considers runners rather eccentric, passing them off as a minor disturbance to their orderly lives. However, there are a few unsympathetic people who feel somehow threatened by runners. I have experienced insults, laughter, mocking and screaming from these types – but, thankfully, nothing serious has occurred.

Perhaps it is the unusual sight of a grown man sprinting down a street that strikes fear into a “regular” person. Some people assume that anyone crazy enough to be a runner has to be fleeing from something, and so they associate runners with criminals. Even so, most non-runners have a good deal of respect for this strange breed of athletes.

There is a certain romanticism surrounding running. The nature of running is solitary and the image of a lone harrier gliding effortlessly over rolling countryside still awakens strong emotion in all those who have experienced it. Even unlucky souls who have never enjoyed the pleasure of a run along a quiet lakeside trail at sunrise are stirred by the idea. How else to explain the throngs of non-runners lining Heartbreak Hill at Boston or flocking to the finish line in New York? Drawn to the pride of the finishers and the agony of the dropouts, even the most dispassionate observer cannot help being moved.

I am not a great runner. I will live a runner, and I will die a runner, but running is not my life. I will never go to the Olympics, and I will probably never win a race. But I do not run for the glory. I do not run for the recognition. I do not run for the money.


(Essay by Scott Sargrad, Fitness Runner Magazine, May/June 2000)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Today I Met Eva

Today I met Eva. (Think Eeee-va from the movie, Walle.) I had just finished a much needed run at Sequoita. God spoke to my heart about some things while running. I wondered if He is nudging me to share the things I don't want to share --the struggles. I'm still saving that for another day. He also reminded me of something that happened at my son's baseball practice this week. The coach's son wasn't paying attention and the coach made him sit on the bench for awhile. The boy was crying and whining. (He really is a hilarious kid and its amusing to see his parents get frustrated with him.) His dad told him if he wanted to bat he was going to have to play the outfield and pay attention. Its a reminder, if I want to be a true player for the Lord and be up to bat I've got to play the outfield, where the real work is; where you have to be patient and attentive.

Anyway, as soon as I finished my run it started raining. I thanked God that I got to finish my run before the rain. I was waiting at an intersection and saw a woman walking across the highway to the median in the rain. I pulled up to her and asked her if she wanted a ride. She asked where I was headed. I told her I would take her where she wanted to go. It wasn't until she got in my car that I noticed I was holding up traffic. Maybe they all thought I was nuts for stopping for this lady in the middle of traffic. I was sweaty, stinky, and my car was trashed; but she was just happy to be out of the rain. I took her to a trailer park where she said she was staying. We exchanged names. She said her name is Eva and that I share her daughter's name, Jenny. She was very thankful for the ride. Before she left my car I asked her if there was anything I could pray for her about. She said I could pray for healing for her entire family; and I could pray for a homeless man in the area.
I was happy to meet Eva today. Our time together may have lasted all of 5 to 10 minutes. I wished I could have done more for her. It seemed so inadequate. Maybe someday I will see her again and give her a ride. Or maybe I will take a chance and go look for her in the trailer park. For now I will pray for her.

After our brief meeting I was overcome with the sense of God encouraging me saying, "See Jenny, I'm going to use you." Even though I struggle, am inadequate, and fail sometimes; He will still use me. What a priviledge for a wretch like me. Thanks God for Eva.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Paying It Forward

Yesterday Bella and I made a trip to Walmart. While in the checkout line, I noticed a woman behind me with just a few items. She was quiet. She looked like she had seen some rough days. Maybe it was because I was buying mother's day cards for my mom and mother-n-law, and I was wondering if this woman was a mother or if anyone would care to send her a mother's day card..but there it was, The Voice saying, "pay for her groceries." So as discreetly as I could I told the cashier that I wanted to pay for the groceries of the lady behind me. As the cashier began running the woman's groceries through, the woman, said, "No, those are mine." The cashier said, "I know." The woman seemed confused but the cashier proceeded with her items. After I had paid for our groceries, I turned to the woman, touched her arm, and said, "God bless you." She responded, "You too." She didn't seem to understand what had just happened. As Bella and I turned to walk away, I heard the cashier explain to the woman that she "had been taken care of today."

I walked to the car with tears in my eyes. I noticed my receipt--the woman had bought a coke, a dog treat, some cat food, some gel pens, and a phone card. I wondered if her pets were all she has; and if the phone card would allow her to talk with someone in her life who cares for her. As I pulled out of the Walmart parking lot I saw her walking across the street holding her coke and new belongings. I said a prayer for her. I said a prayer for the cashier and others at Walmart. I explained to Bella what had happened and later explained it to my son so that they might know the blessing of obedience and how we can share Jesus with others by sharing God's love.

Today I had to return to Walmart. I ran right into the cashier from yesterday. We met each other with smiles. We discussed what had happened. I explained that I felt like it was something God wanted me to do. She said that it had affected not only the woman whose groceries I had paid for, but the 4 to 5 people who were in line behind her. She said the customer was "shocked" and "grateful." I told her what a blessing it was for me.

I hesitate to share my experience for fear that the reader will think I'm sharing it only to receive a pat on the back. I share the good things, the times when I am obedient only to encourage. What I don't always share here are my struggles, the times I disobey God and don't wait on Him; my repeated tendency to take things into my own hands and take action before I really pray a thing through or hear from God--the times I lack faith. Giving to someone in need or paying it forward is one of the easier parts of walking out my faith. The harder part for me is to be consistent in my daily time with the Lord--the part that no one sees and for which there are no pats on the back. The more difficult part for me is really trusting the Lord; and being patient, waiting, abiding, not taking things into my own hands like I do so much of the time. The hard part for me is my pride--and wanting people to think I'm something I'm not.

Something occurred lately that was really devastating for me, humiliating and humbling--of my own doing. My first tendency was to run--to move, to leave my church. It brought back all my failings. I've had a life time of screwing up, choosing foolishly, using poor judgement, and not thinking things through.

The events at Walmart don't change my screw-ups, my failures, or how some may view me; but they do remind me that God is a God of multiple chances; and His mercies are new EVERY morning. They are a reminder of the blessings of obedience; and that it truly is better to give that to receive.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My Dream about Jesus Christ's Return

I woke up at 4:00 a.m. this morning when my daughter crawled into bed with us. I realized I had been dreaming. It seemed like all night there had been this struggle going on in my dream. In my dream I was at Church. There was this feeling in the air that Jesus Christ was going to return tomorrow--the next day. I'm not sure how we knew, but there was an excitement and anticipation of His return. Perhaps we knew that all the prophecies that needed to be fulfilled prior to His return had occurred. Perhaps we saw some sign of the times--a culmination of events. But we just seemed to know or wonder. People were asking, "is He really going to return tomorrow?" I was anxious, curious, excited, questioning. I looked around the church and the people were doing what they do every Sunday--they were teaching, singing in the choir, listening to the preacher, running here and there, being active; and they like me, seemed to be caught between "doing church" as we always do, and questioning the urgency with which we needed to be sharing Jesus Christ with the lost, especially with His return upon us. I felt this great anxiety inside--I questioned, "if Jesus Christ is returning tomorrow don't we need to stop doing what we are doing and go out and share with those whose eternal death is imminent if we don't share the good news of His salvation?" Even though the Church knew (although without certainty of the exact day,) that Jesus was returning tomorrow, we still were unsure if we should take the steps of faith to leave what we were doing, what we knew and were comfortable with, to go out and share with those who are perishing.

I've never had a dream about this before. It is a bit overwhelming, perplexing, and anxiety-provoking. Why God has brought this to me at this time, I don't yet know. I am still trying to process it. Will keep you posted...

Monday, April 18, 2011

My Experiences at the Women of Joy Conference --Standing in the Gap

Wow. I haven't written in a long time. I've been going through a dry patch. Nothing like some major life decisions and a ladies conference to stir things up.

My mom, sister, and I attended the Women of Joy Conference in OKC this past weekend. There were about 9000 women in attendance. It was a wonderful trip and a great bonding time for us.

Friday night we heard from Sarah Palin. I was pleasantly pleased with her. She talked about how her faith in Jesus Christ has carried her through many trials over the past few years. She discussed knowing God's purpose for each of our lives and keeping faith in the midst of adversity on the way to our dreams and goals. Saturday morning we heard from the gifted comedian Anita Renfro. She was hilarious. Then we heard from Kay Arthur whose knowledge of the Bible is amazing, inpiring, and encouraging. She exhorted us to be women who will "stand in the gap" for the Lord, especially in the times we are in. I left feeling compelled to stand in the gap through prayer for my children and for our nation. Saturday night was the Michael W. Smith concert, which was beautiful, patriotic, and worshipful. And Saturday morning we heard from the prolific author Karen Kingsbury who encouraged us to love deeply and laugh often. She also made us ponder the "lasts" we experience with our children. There was not a dry eye in the place.

On a personal note, it was a time of deep sorrow, bonding, and healing for my mom, sister, and I. When my brother and dad died in my dad's private plane 22 years ago, I was 17 and a senior in high school. My sister was in college, and Jason, my brother, was 13 and in jr. high. Michael W. Smith's famous song, Friends, was very popular at the time. The day after they died, Luis Rey, my brother's friend, announced on the loudspeaker of the jr. high about my dad and brother's death. And then the song, Friends, was played over the loudspeaker. The song was also dedicated to Jason on the local radio station. So when Michael W. Smith finally sang the song Saturday night, it was an especially powerful moment for 3 of us in that auditorium. Too bad we couldn't have a moment of Mr. Smith's time to tell him what that song means for us. Then on Saturday morning, when Ms. Kingsbury read her children's book to us about the "lasts" we experience with our children, it was another emotionally wrenching time. After she read the book she asked all the mothers who have lost a child prematurely to stand. My mother rose to her feet, and my sister and I rose with her as those around us reached out to pray for her and others who have suffered the loss of a child.

The weekend was an opportunity for us to remember the sorrow and grief of our loss. It was a reminder of my mother's great peace in the midst of such loss because of a deep and profound faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, whose ways are perfect. As we heard other stories of faith in loss from Michael W. Smith, Karen Kingsbury, and the police officer's partner and mother, we were reminded of God's sovreignty and His enabling each of us to rise from the ashes with strength and dignity.

After the conference we visited the OKC National Memorial. Every American should visit this memorial. It is a moving tribute to those who died, survived, and helped rescue on April 19, 1995. The following information comes from the brochure there. The Memorial encompasses the now-sacred soil where The Alfred P. Murrah Building once stood, capturing and preserving forever the place and events that changed the world. The Gates of Time there frame the moment of destruction-9:02 a.m. The Reflecting Pool occupies what was once 5th Street. It is a shallow depth of gently flowing water to help soothe wounds, with calming sounds providing a peaceful setting for quiet thoughts. The Field of Empty Chairs has 168 empty chairs symbolizing the lives that were lost, with smaller chairs representing the 19 children that were killed. The Survivor Tree is a 90+ year old tree which bears witness to the violence of April 19 and now stands as a profound symbol of human resilience. The message to the visitor reads: The spirit of this city and this nation will not be defeated; our deep rooted faith sustains us. The Survivor's Wall is the only remaining wall from the Murrah Building with 600 names of survivors inscribed on salvaged pieces of granite from the Murrah Building. The Fence holds tokens of love, hope, and remembrance for those who were lost. The Children's Area allows children to share their feelings about the loss in chalk. And The Rescuers' Orchard honors those who helped in the days following the tragedy. Across the street from the Memorial is the Old St. Joseph Cathedral, which was one of many surrounding buildings that were damaged from the blast. There stands a statue of Jesus with his face buried in his hand inscribed with the words, "And Jesus Wept." His back is facing the destruction of the Murrah Building. His body is facing the church and divets in the church's wall with pieces of granite from the Murrah Building representing those who lost their lives.

In the light of this and the great tragedies of today's news--Japan's destruction, a precious 10-year old boy surviving the intentional drowning of his disturbed mother and 3 siblings, the horrific beating and resulting paralysis of a police officer who was just trying to help someone out while off-duty, the demise of our economy and a nation as we once knew it; we are called to love deeply--not just our own, but the people of our nation and our world. We are called to stand in the gap in prayer. We are reminded to be an agent of change in our world, which starts within us--in each of our hearts. And this comes from knowing God through His word. If I allow God's heart-change in me, it will affect my family, my church, my community, my nation, my world. These are the things I am going to pursue: I will stand in the gap through prayer. I will love deeply and laugh often. I will persevere in the midst of adversity toward my God-given purpose. By God's Sovreign power I will rise with others from the ashes of life with strength and dignity.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Greatness of Whom I am Communicating With

Wow. God is really using this speaking thing to challenge me. We just wrapped up the Fresh Fire Retreat where I spoke on "choosing joy." It was an awesome retreat and I walked away with some truths. I enjoyed the other 3 speakers and meeting the women that attended the event. It was in a beautiful atmostphere at the Elfindale Mansion/B & B. I was the last speaker. There was a break before my time to speak. During the break, feeling the full weight of my inadequacy as a new speaker, I cryed in my bathroom. I told the Lord I couldn't do it and that He would have to do it through me. After I composed myself I went downstairs and got up to speak, and all my fears were gone. I really enjoyed speaking because I love the truth of God's Word--it speaks for itself.

Other than the speaking experience the biggest thing I took away from the retreat were the things God spoke to me through one of the other speakers as we laid awake and talked until 2:00 a.m. We talked about ministry, family, finances, prayer, sacrifice--and in the middle of the night I wrote out the things God is teaching me and the requests He is going to answer.

Now I'm getting ready for another speaking engagement--"prayer and pasta" where I will be teaching the study "Igniting a Passion to Pray." The study is one I taught in August. It has revolutionized my personal prayer life and my prayer time with my prayer partner. And now it is taking me further as I am learning about kingdom-focused prayer and praying for the world.

In preparation for my speaking engagement, I yearn for time to be alone with the Lord. I drop the kids of at school hurrying home to have my time with Him. In my time of prayer I wonder if I would devote this time with Him and hunger for it if there wasn't the sense of desperation in preparing to speak. Would I still want to spend the time with Him even if I wasn't looking to get anything out of Him? I confess to God that many times my prayers are about getting something out of Him instead of just being with Him. My prayers are just me talking and not listening. So I'm learning to listen. I know I hear from God through His Word, through His answering my prayers, through other people, and through whether or not I have a peace about something. Being a person who goes with my feelings a lot, I want to make sure that my emotions are submitted to God and that I am operating out of His truth and not how I feel. I am working on being still before the Lord and hearing His voice. I am also learning how to pray always with Him exalted --as I praise, as I confess, as I thank, as I intercede and request--that it all comes out of humility and acknowledgement of the Greatness of Whom I am communicating with.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Get Ignited

Definition of IGNITE

transitive verb
1: to subject to fire or intense heat; especially to render luminous by heat

2: to set afire; kindle; to cause (a fuel) to burn

3: to heat up; excite ; to set in motion; spark

intransitive verb
1: to catch fire

2: to begin to glow

Are you luminous from God glowing in you? Are you burning with passion for the Lord and His Word?

Many of us Christians are fat with the Word through small groups, sermons, and Bible studies--but there is no heat in us for putting it into practice--feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, and actually telling them about Jesus Christ. If we believe the whole gospel, this is what we are called to do as Christ-followers. So how do we stir up this passion? Can we? How can we begin to glow for Christ and His purposes?

Our focus must move from us and how comfortable we feel sitting in our favorite pew at church; to Christ --who will move us out of our comfort zone. He will require sacrifice --remember the story about how he told the rich man he had to give up all his posessions to follow Christ? And how he told the man to leave his dead father without a proper burial to follow Him? What are you holding on to--your wealth, your pride, your comfort, your food, your anxiety, your unforgiveness--God will challenge you in those areas. When we surrender all of ourselves to Him--which is an on-going process --as we daily surrender ourselves to focus on who He is--His character, His attributes--we will know more of Him. He will ignite our passion for Him. And we will desire Him above all else and it will catapult us into action for Him. The only way that we are going to be ignited for Christ and His purposes is if we know Him and He transforms us. He will work in us through His Holy Spirit. He is our Counselor, our Convicter, our Guide. The Holy Spirit is what burns in us--who makes us alive, who compels us to act to go beyond our comfort zone on His behalf. May our hearts be ignited in Christ --may people want the Christ in us who sets us aglow.

Monday, February 14, 2011

my prayer to God

written December 15

I am challenged during this heaviness to put on a garment of praise. To exalt the one who we celebrate during this season. I am challenged with some new thoughts and priorities. To put family first. To finally surrender my eating habits and my comforts to the Lord--to be purified from the inside out to come forth as gold. God has confirmed more than once that I need to change my diet--it came again today from the nurse at the Dr’s office-who said that she had PMDD and was told by her Dr. to journal about her eating, her moods, her stress level-and to get off of any kind of caffeine, coffee, chocolate, and to not do anything extra around at that "time of the month" to maintain stability in herself and her home. I had heard the same thing from a friend--that God showed her she needed to get off of tea, coffee, etc. --and sugar. Lord I know its time to surrender this to you. To offer these things up as a sacrifice of praise to you and a new commitment to living a life of obedience and holiness. To journal and write about my journey with PMDD.

At the same time God is challenging me to be more disciplined --to go to sleep early enough to wake up and have a quiet time with Him. To be in His Word --to start my day off right. With this will come less rushing and craziness with the kids in the morning. I am challenged with thoughts of home schooling the children. To get to the basic roots of living a life of simplicity --of calm, of life on life training. Even challenged with the thought of returning to the land that Jason loves and living, farming, schooling there--living the real life of simplicity and seeing what God does. Lord I give all these thoughts to you. I submit my whole self--body (physical--eating, exercise), mind (mental, my thoughts and desires), my soul (my emotions, my will), my heart (spiritually--to set my mind on what is eternal rather than what is temporal.)

I praise You Lord. I exalt you. You are Almighty God. King of Kings and Lord of Lords. All sufficient, all-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful. An ever-present help in times of trouble. You are Faithful and True. You are Jehovah Jireh, my Provider. You are Jehovah Rapha, my Healer. You are the great I Am. The One who was, and is, and who is to come. You are Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. You are the Author and the Finisher of my faith. You are my deliverer, my redeemer, my counselor, my friend, my revelator. You are my love, my husband, my knight in shining armor. You love me with an everlasting love. You are my comfort, my protector, and you wrap your loving arms around me with a holy embrace. You are holy, pure, steadfast; you make a way out of no way. You are El Shaddai, El Elyon, Adonai, Jehovah Sabbaoth. You are the victor, the mighty warrior, you are mighty to save, nothing is impossible with you. You are worthy, holy, beautiful, glorious, magnificent, radiant, and in you there is no darkness. You hold the world and each heart in your hand. You lift me up and carry me in your righteous right hand. Nothing can separate me from your love. You are Lord of all. You are the prince of peace. You make me lie down in green pastures, your banner over me is love. You make me lie down and sleep in peace for you alone Lord keep me safe. You are my safe haven, my strong tower, the lifter of my head. You are worthy of all praise. You are Christ in me the hope of glory. Holy holy holy are you Lord God Almighty. You sing over me with love. Hallelujah. Praise you Lord Jesus.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Daniel Fast Friendly Banana Bread--Delicious!

One of the things I miss while on the Daniel fast is baking. So I thought I would try to create something I could bake that was Daniel fast friendly. I love banana bread so here is my Daniel Fast Friendly Banana Bread recipe (this is modified from Jessica Seinfeld's Banana Bread recipe in her book, Deceptively Delicious. She uses eggs, sugar, regular flour, and cauliflower puree, all of which I have substituted here):

1 & 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup date honey (see below)
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
2 cups banana puree (about 4 ripe bananas--see below)
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 2-quart pyrex dish with oil.

2. In a bowl mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon and set aside.

3. In a mixing bowl, mix the date honey, apple sauce, banana puree, vanilla extract, and oil. Add the flour mixture and combine.

4. Pour the batter into the pyrex dish and cook until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool. Enjoy!

FYI: I can't remember if I used 1/2 cup or 1 cup of applesauce, but I think it was 1/2 cup. I'm also not sure how long I cooked it, but made sure the toothpick came out clean. This is a darker color banana bread because its whole wheat. It's very moist. For date honey, boil 8-10 Medjool dates in a saucepan covered in water until the skins loosen. Let the dates cool and remove the pits from inside the dates. Remove the skins from the dates. Puree dates in a blender with a little of the remaining boiled water until smooth (date honey comes from Kristen Feola's book, The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast.) For banana puree, blend 4 ripe bananas in blender until smooth. You can blend them with some of the date honey. This recipe could also use pecans, walnuts, and flax seed. It would be good with date honey or almond or peanut butter spread on top. Its also great by itself!

My God Word--JOY

My friend Kristen encouraged me to pursue God's word for me for this year. This word is one that God reveals through His Word and not through human counsel--a word to focus on and to allow God to work out in me. I prayed that God would show me His word for me this year and that He would confirm it in scripture.

As I was praying about my God word, I read an article in the magazine ParentLife (www.lifeway.com/parentlife) about teaching your 6-8 year old child how to have a joyful attitude. The author, Brian Dembowczyk, explained that we are to teach more than obedience and respect, or a mere behavioral change; but that the goal is for a child to have joyful obedience out of a right heart. He explains what joy is: (1.) that joy is commanded in 1 Thessalonians 5:16. (2.) that joy is a gift from God. It is listed in Galatians 5:22-23 as one of the fruits of the spirit. (3.) that joy is rooted in Christ as mentioned in Philippians 4:4. Pastor Dembowczyk says to "help your child understand that joy is not an emotion but that it is a perspective that God gives and that she needs to ask God for it." He says one of the main ways we can please God is by having a joyful attitude. This article may have been written about teaching our children to have a joyful attitude, but it might as well have been written for me.

I have been praying about what to speak about at the upcoming Fresh Fire Retreat--how to encourage the women. It was suggested that I read Psalm 98 which is a call to celebrate with joy the righteous reign of the Lord. This led me to other scriptures about joy including Psalm 42:5 and 43:5 which both ask, "Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." Choosing joy in spite of our circumstances.

For some time I've been reading in the Old Testament. I read in Nehemiah 8:10 "Do not grieve, FOR THE JOY OF THE LORD IS YOUR STRENGTH." This is the verse I want to explore further. This is the verse that has stuck with me. This is my verse for the year. And this is what I plan to speak on at the retreat--choosing joy and having our strength in the joy of the Lord. He turns our sorrow into joy. He is our joy!

Psalm 23:6 says "surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." The word "follow" literally means "pursue." I am reminded that God pursues us. He pursues us with goodness and love, and with JOY!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

After the Daniel Fast

My 21 day Daniel fast ended last Saturday. We had a great time of corporate prayer at our church Friday night--at the culmination of my fast. I saw God do some wonderful things during the fast. Looking back on it now, I appreciate it so much more. There was a sense of being let down when it was over--wondering what to do now. I thought I could do it forever. But I was wrong. Soon I was back to my old way of eating. Only 5 days later, I've already gained all the weight back I lost. My focus isn't what it was. I have found myself praying much less.

I miss the fast. I miss the discipline. I miss the constant communication with the Lord. I miss the Bible study and devotions. I miss meeting with my sisters who were fasting with me. I don't miss the food and how all-consuming the fast is--the part of focusing on the food. But I miss the determination I had just a week ago. I know it was God who enabled me to do it--especially when I got tired of it at the end.

In the past few days I've gotten back to letting myself eat whatever. And it has made me realize that no matter how much or what I consume, it doesn't satisfy. It always leaves me wanting more. I've struggled with this in the past with other areas of sin. God is showing me again that nothing will satisfy but Him. It is hard to be disciplined. I cannot do it in my own power. When it goes in one area of my life, other areas follow.

I'm reading in Daniel right now. He was an amazing man of God. He was brought to a foreign land and made to serve a foreign king; yet he refused to compromise. And God was always faithful to him. Daniel never let his position go to his head--he remained humble and God was glorified.

This is my prayer--that like Daniel, I wouldn't compromise. That like Daniel, I would stay faithful to God's high standards, that I would remain humble, and that God would be glorified. Its going to take discipline, in all areas of my life. What this will look like in the way I eat, I'm not sure yet. But God is still dealing with me in this area. I am wanting to do the fast again to prepare for the Fresh Fire Women's Retreat at the end of this month. I'm questioning if I can do it. I know where that's coming from. I wondered that about a month ago before I did the fast. But God...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Woman's Security

What are the things that all women have in common, whether they live in the Ozarks or in the deserts of Africa? I believe every woman has been hurt by someone at some time and that they are all leaders. They may not feel like leaders, but they are--as mothers, wives, friends, relatives, employers, employees--leading by example. Leading in the work and purpose that God has given each of us to fulfill.

What do all these women need to help them in their hurt and in their roles as leaders? They need to know they are loved and with that they need security. Where does that unconditional love and sense of security come from?

For those who are in Christ Jesus, we know that He is love and that He has told us that He will never leave us or forsake us. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for us. His love is not based on our merit or good "behavior," but on His love and mercy that He so freely gave when He died on our cross--crucified for our sins. His love is eternal and ever-lasting. It is daily. It is our source of life. It is our freedom from pain and past hurts and it is our security.

I was reading in God's Word this morning about God's greatest gift to us--the Holy Spirit. Upon receiving Christ's salvation, we receive the Holy Spirit--as a seal and deposit upon our hearts. He is always with us and it is He who shines the light of God's truth into our hearts through God's Word, prayer, someone's testimony, praise and worship, or whatever avenue He chooses. He shows us God's great love by His presence in our lives.

I want to encourage women that God has a great purpose for each of us. My life verse comes from Jeremiah 29:11-13, "for I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." I am reminded too of a verse that gives us hope as sisters in Christ: (In the last days,) "I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy..Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days" (Joel 2:28-29). Don't be discouraged in these days we are in. God is here. He is an ever-present help in times of trouble. He has a purpose for you. He will pour out His Holy Spirit on you to accomplish His will. His Word will not return void. He loves you and He is your security!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

My Daniel Fast #5--Soaring on Wings Like Eagles

Day 15 of the fast. Yesterday my family and I went to see bald eagles. At the Nature Center we watched an inspirational movie about eagles. Then we got to see the majestic bird, a female bald named Phoenix, and a male golden, Aquila. They were indeed impressive to see--this huge bird with a wing span of 7 and 1/2 feet. With those piercing eyes, and claws and beak that could do some severe damage. Predators that soar high above, swooping down in what looks like an effortless display of power to catch their prey.

Later we went to Springfield Lake and saw a bald eagle sitting in a grassy island. He had just finished a meal. Behind him was swimming another of God's beautiful creations, the swan. We waited and watched the eagle while the swan glided back and forth behind him, dipping his long neck into the water. Then the regal bald took off in flight to settle in a tree.

I was reminded of the encouragement of Isaiah 40:28: "Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. THEY WILL SOAR ON WINGS LIKE EAGLES; THEY WILL RUN AND NOT GROW WEARY, THEY WILL WALK and NOT BE FAINT."

Interestingly, both Phoenix and Aquila had been in need of help to survive. They were both found near death and brought back to life by people willing to care for them 24-7. This is a picture of what God does for us--he takes us from a certain death and brings us to life by salvation in Jesus Christ. He cares for us 24-7. He makes us soar on wings like eagles. He enables us to run and not grow weary, to walk and not be faint!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Daniel Fast #4--Out of Exile

Its Day 13. I'm reading in Ezekiel 38-39. God had sent Israel into exile for their sins and unfaithfuness to Him. He had handed them over to their enemies. In doing so He dealt with them severely, even to the point of hiding His face from them. What a terrifying thought. No man's land.

But then as always, God who is Faithful and True brought His people back from captivity. He had compassion on them--out of zeal for His name. The Israelites forgot their shame and unfaithfulness toward God. He provided for them, showed Himself holy through them, and gathered them to their own land, "not leaving any behind." He no longer hid His face from them and poured out His spirit on them.

I look back over my seasons of exile where God put me because of my unfaithfulness and sin. There were many years that I struggled with strongholds of sin in my life, all while I was a believer. Though I believed in Christ Jesus, I wasn't following Him. I understand how a Christian can fall into sin and stay there for awhile. I've been there. I've been in exile. I think of all the time and opportunities I wasted that could have been spent for God's kingdom. I am sickened by my past and my sins. It would be easy for me to get caught there and live in that shame, knowing how I wasted so much of my life, crucified the Lord, and grieved the Holy Spirit.

The entire Bible is a book of God's redemption of man. Over and over again, throughout the Old and New Testaments, man sins and God forgives. The verses that stand out to me about this redemption are Ezekiel 39:21-22. Through Ezekiel, God says to the Israelites that when it is all said and done, "I will display my glory among the nations..from that day forward the house of Israel will know that I am the Lord their God." When its all said and done, God --because of His zeal for His name, will display Himself visibly to the world by whoever and whatever means necessary. And it will be through His people who sin, fail and are redeemed. He will be glorified. He will be glorified in me. "..he who began a good work in (us) will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 1:6).

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My Daniel Fast #3--Perspective

This morning I was frustrated. Tired of the fast, tired of praying for everyone. Tired from lack of sleep. Tired from lack of time alone without kids. Tired from lack of direction and apparent change in people and circumstances. In short, I had a bad attitude.

I'm still tired, and I could be easily overwhelmed by my lack of accomplishing the tasks before me, but a phone call helped me gain perspective. My mom called at the right time and imparted her wisdom. I told her I was tired of praying for everyone while on the fast. And a mere 11 days into it my impatience with God's timing was rearing its ugly head. She encouraged me to take a step back and visualize me giving all those people and prayers to the Lord. She reminded me that the power is not in my prayers, the power is in Jesus Christ. And His will and His timing are perfect. If every prayer was answered with an immediate "yes" we wouldn't experience the process of trusting in the Lord and growing in faith that His will really is best.

Today I will focus on resting in the Lord and trusting Him. The answers will come in God's perfect timing and way. But I will not just be after the answers --but after the heart of God, my King, Jesus Christ. I will abide.

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5).

Thursday, January 13, 2011

My Daniel Fast #2--The fellowship of sharing in His sufferings

God spoke to my heart today. I've been going through out my day interceding for others. So far that's been the focus of this fast--praying for others that God brings to mind. I haven't felt overly hungry. I've really been enjoying the foods that are allowed on the fast. Today I felt that God was telling me that I need to eat less. Matthew 5:6 came to mind, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled." I think He wants me to really hunger for Him, knowing that He alone can fulfill me. I need to feed on His Word. Then I heard Him say, "I want you to fellowship with Me in My sufferings." Whoa! "But God this fast is nothing compared to Your suffering on the cross for my sins. What do you mean?"

So I looked to His Word. I found the verse that He spoke to me about--from Philippians 3:10-11, "I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead." Paul here is talking about truly knowing Christ, being filled by the Holy Spirit --having all the power of the risen Christ in me, as well as participating with Him in His sufferings. Becoming like Him in His death--dying to the self-life and living the Christ-life. Dying to self and living in and for Christ alone. In Phil. 3:3 Paul says that true believers "glory in Christ Jesus, and.. put no confidence in the flesh.." We boast only in Him for He alone can save.

Like Paul, Christ is moving me from self-centeredness to being Christ-centered.

I don't know exactly how Christ wants me to fellowship with Him in His sufferings, but I hope I will be willing no matter the cost. No matter how dark our night, how deep our despair, how horrific our tragedy, how terrible our circumstances--our suffering is only for a moment compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus our Lord and knowing the power of his resurrection--and spending eternity with Him.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My Daniel Fast

Tomorrow will be a week since I started my fast, although I officially started my Daniel Fast 3 days ago. I had already stopped drinking my morning coffee. After the first two days of withdrawals, I felt better immediately without the coffee. I had been having headaches when I drank coffee or when I ate chocolate. A nurse suggested that I stop using any type of stimulant. It was really hard at first--especially when its cold outside and I want to treat myself to Starbucks. But I have felt so much better without it. I don't feel jittery and I don't crash later. (And I don't sweat.)

As for the food, the first couple days of fasting I had a lot of doubts about doing it. I wondered if it really counted as a "fast" since I was eating food. The previous fasts I had done involved not eating at all. My first day I started with a "green smoothie" to cleanse my system. I drank something I never thought I would drink--a smoothie with vegetable in it. The vegetable was kale. I didn't even know what kale was. But the smoothie was pretty refreshing--and cleanse it did. That first day I ate only fruits and vegetables. I figured if I could survive that I could do this fast. Once I conquered that first day of cleansing, I started eating grains, beans, nuts, and nut butters along with fruits and vegetables. After a couple of days without bread I was on a hunt to find yeast-free and sugar-free bread. I discovered some awesome Daniel Fast bread at Mama Jean's called Manna Bread. Delicious!! I also discovered Larabars--the ones that only have fruits and nuts in them. They are delicious and my whole family likes them.

I started making Kristen Feola's recipes from her book, The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast. Date honey--delicious! My daughter loves it. Oatmeal Raisin Cookies--Wonderful! Black bean chili bake--ate it for days! Classic Tomato Sauce with Whole Wheat pasta. Delisioso! My husband said its the best spaghetti sauce I've ever made. Italian salad dressing. Very good! Kale potato chips. I made them too salty, but they were great. In fact my daughter asked me if I would make some more today. And tonight I made the Spinach Artichoke Pasta with Vegetables. Awesome! Can't wait for leftovers tomorrow. Not to mention I have found a new love of eating fresh vegetables and fruits. And smoothies--all fruit and delicious!

So I have really been enjoying the food. And this is while I'm making my family their favorites--pancakes with bacon, fried chicken, rolls, etc. and not taking any bites. In fact now that I can't, it makes me realize how often I take bites of stuff or eat the rest of my kids food. Occasionally I wish I could have some cheese or some yogurt or some other food I would normally eat, but God. Everytime I have been hungry or had a craving or doubted I've prayed and God has literally taken away my hunger and my doubts.

If I get nothing out of this fast except changing my eating habits, getting off of sugar and processed foods, and feeling better physically, I will be so glad. I will feel I've accomplished a goal I've had for some time to make these changes in my diet. Its also accomplishing a renewed commitment to spending time in the Word and prayer every morning before the kids wake up. I am praying throughout the day. I am praying more for others, interceding on their behalf. I'm seeing and confessing my sin. Even my praise and worship at church on Sunday morning was different. More than the lifestyle change in my eating and other habits and the benefits that come with those changes, I am overjoyed at what God is doing in my heart. Though I don't know all that He has for me spiritually through this fast, I am enjoying my time with Him daily--drawing near to Him and He drawing near to me. I praise Him for His faithfulness. More to come--!!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Bella's Prayer

Tonight at bedtime Bella wanted to read her Bible story books and books about Jesus. After reading she began to sing "this little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine. Don't let Satan blow it out, I'm gonna let it shine. Don't let Satan blow it out, I'm gonna let it shine. Don't let Satan blow it out, I'm gonna let it shine. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine." She had sung the song at church this morning.

After Bella finished singing she said she was going to pray for Jesus now. She put her hands over her face and began praying in earnest for Jesus. She prayed for Him to go to God and for Him to not let Satan blow it out. She prayed that Satan wouldn't come here. I couldn't hear all she prayed with her hands over her face, but I know Jesus was listening and beaming with joy, as I was. When Bella finished I told her that Jesus heard her prayer and that He loves to hear her pray. She announced that now she could get "baptitized." We discussed salvation and baptism and we had a sweet time of prayer. Once again she said that now she could be "baptitized." She asked if she would put her hand over her heart when she was baptitized:)

Bella is only 4 years old. We will continue to pray and when the Holy Spirit prompts her heart, she will be ready to make a public profession of faith in Jesus and follow with believer's baptism. I know the decision she made tonight will continue to grow and her spiritual understanding will grow. Our prayer time was precious, and her faith is beautiful. She stepped out in obedience based on what she now knows at the precious age of 4 to respond to Jesus and to pray. Our teaching pastor just spoke this morning about how it was the children rather than the pharisees/religious leaders of Jesus' time that "got it (him)." Jesus said "let the little children come unto me." The children understood Him and they believed in Him with their childlike, but real faith.

May I continue to respond to Christ with childlike faith based on what I now know. May I step out in obedience in response to Jesus and be the prayer warrior that my precious 4 year old daughter was tonight. As 1 Corinthians 13:12 (and I paraphrase) says, now we see in part, but one day in full..when we see Him face to face; not I know in part, but one day will fully know (Him) just as I am fully known."