Fear – Throwing a Book At It

As a women’s community group, we have been going through What Women Fear by Angie Smith.

Fear

How very broad. It is everywhere and seems to come from everything. What we experience, what we don’t, what we have, what we lack, what we see, what we don’t see, the past, present, future…it seems to have a hand in a lot of our thought processes.

This has made me rather reflective. I was a big chicken as a child. I don’t fear the same things I did then but it was a big enough part of my life for it to bring up a lot of bold memories.

One thing in particular has been a constant my whole life regarding fear.

How my momma handled it.

The first verse I ever remember being required to memorize was 2 Timothy 1:7. Nothing about obeying your parents or about women being silent. Mom was cool like that. My Mom refused to coddle my fear and knew that she couldn’t do it for me. After all, I would freak when she prayed “for the Lord to send angels to encamp around about us”. My Mom is a praying one…and she knew she couldn’t do this for me. Instead, she equipped me. She handed me to the tools and left the light on. Baby steps folks.

I looked up on my bookshelf to see an old friend circa 1992.

I chuckle a little bit. Walk with me through my childhood.

This was a gift. Merry Christmas 1992.

 

The name…mine. The tattered pages…due to excessive use.

The highlighting was my handy work. An issue with fear much?

 

I stayed up at night with the light on praying these scriptures. I fell asleep holding these pages and their promises.

 

Momma knew where to direct me and I’m glad she did.

Christmas Time is Here…

Let’s take a little stroll down memory lane, shall we.

Around this time a year ago, we decided to do a Christmas morning backpack outreach. We were going to go downtown with backpacks full of necessities and give them out to the homeless in our community. We also had quite a few breakfast tacos to go along with them.

December a year ago (Christmas Day), they lasted a whole five minutes. Read about that here.

Welcome to November/December 2012.

This year, we have a little bit more of a clue. We know first hand how huge the need is. We want to do more. We also want to last out there a whole lot longer than 5 minutes. We want to spend time.

This is where you come in!

Help us serve the homeless in Austin this Christmas.

We know that the need is huge. We will not be overwhelmed and back off. We will not cower in the face of great need (and a lot of people in a downtown parking lot). We will respond with action. We will respond to lives, faces of people who matter to God and matter to us. We will show love. We will love the Lord our God…and follow the next thing He said; we will love our neighbor as ourselves.

The average prepared backpack costs $20. Will you sponsor a backpack? One, two…maybe 10. When the need is a face, a life, a brother, sister, child…no contribution is too small. We get the opportunity to impact the lives of those we come into contact with.

We will be heading out with trucks, people, backpacks, an arsenal of breakfast tacos (cause there is no such thing as too many) and more prepared. We are prepared to do what Jesus commanded….to love our neighbor.

Join us. Partner with us.

We are better together.

To donate specifically for the backpack outreach. Go HERE

Click on quick give and on the drop down, choose Christmas Outreach 2012

We are better together! Thank you! 

Thanksgiving 2012 Recap

Thanksgiving Day has come and gone.

I ran the Turkey Trot with my sick friend who still managed to not only complete it but run a good 95% of that hilly 5 miles. I’ll smile completing that one with Miss Katie at a 10:32 mile average. We’ve ran faster…but also way healthier. I call it success. I’m also glad she didn’t hold back that last mile and hauled it with me. Races on Thanksgiving Day are fun! Running them in Austin, TX with 23,000 other people is really fun. Laughing at those dressed in full costume (at least they had on clothes) and the one guy who was running (ahead of us) in flip-flops was ridiculous. Katie spotted some women playing wind instruments as racers past (Revive Women – shout out…you know) and a guy in costume throwing up in the bushes while his friend stood and laughed. I live in a fit city. We acknowledged the lady in her 70’s in front of us and accepted that she would cross the finish line before we did.

Running is fun…races are more fun. Austin, TX is my favorite!

We are still full and still have a small plate of leftover dessert. That seems to happen every year. We eat our fill, mention how we are full but don’t feel like a total glutton; then it happens. The kitchen is clean, the coffee is brewed and the kids are content. It’s dessert time. How in the world that many people manage to have that many dessert options and quantity at one table tends to amaze. That day is over. The thanksgiving part of it all is part of daily life, but the glutton feast of gratitude is over…for now.

I didn’t get a single picture from our family Thanksgiving. It’s a shame. I like these people. I know that not every man great man has the family to match. Y’all, I hit the motherload and know just how blessed I am.

I didn’t post a thousand “what I’m thankful for” on Thanksgiving Day and my daily “thankful” posts haven’t been as consistent as I planned…but that doesn’t mean they are far in heart. We learn what gratitude is in unexpected seasons and unexpected places.

I’m blessed with one truly incredible, faith walking, risk taking, obedient to the call of God, handsome and loving husband, kids, family, friends and church. I’m grateful for those near and far.

The Christmas season is upon us. I LOVE IT! Let the music, lights and joy of it all begin. Remember the Reason, show some love and

Revive Church – tis the season…let’s do this!

Here’s Your Shoes

The last two weeks have been a bit crazy. The head-spinning-need-a-nap kind.
My husband’s grandmother passed away two weeks ago. My in-laws are some of the best people I know. In the thick of that week, my mother in-law tells me this story about a pastor friend of theirs. To keep what I could turn into a lengthy story, I’ll summarize.

Their friend is a pastor. This is his story. Thank God for other people’s stories. He was worn out, broke and ready to give up. His shoes had holes. Thats no fun…but then the heel on his wife’s shoe broke.  The man was done. Who doesn’t know the straw that breaks the camel’s back? As he sat in his hotel room, not wanting to preach that night, someone knocked on the door. A woman stood there and said, “man who preaches the word of God, the Lord sees you, he hasn’t forgotten you”. She gives the man two pairs of shoes in the right sizes.

 God is faithful. He sees.

Behold, the power of shoes. Clearly, this is more than about the shoes.

Ray just finished a series entitled ‘UNcomfortable’. It was a great series. I’m glad it’s over. Ha! This series brought out the stretch. This is a good thing…it’s still “uncomfortable”. Get it? Keep talking about Abraham and see where your faith is stretched.
Ray said on Sunday, “we don’t strive to hear the words “well done my good and safe servant”. We don’t walk naive or blind…we calculate the risk and we go where God leads and do what He calls.

In a moment of discouragement (and discomfort) I found myself asking God for shoes. Not actual shoes…but a reminder. Within the hour, my phone goes off. A sweet tweet from a sweet girl in a small town that will forever hold a piece of my heart…

“talking about Terra Nova’s humble beginnings tonight. Thank you. Love and miss you.”

I could practically hear God say “shoes”.

I immediately burst into tears.

While it may not seem like much to some, to me it was the world and God speaking. It was the reminder of how God uses beginnings. It was a reminder that others are watching your beginnings. It was God saying “I AM WITH YOU”.

That tweet, my shoes.

 

 

 

 

Snarky Political Tweets…and things of that nature

There is nothing like a huge election year to bring out the best in people’s opinion expression.

I realized that Ray and I didn’t post anything political this year. It’s not because we don’t care. We do. Facebook wins elections as much as our complaining about the outcome will insure Jesus’ return by the end of 2012.

Please note my sarcasm. I’m done now.

Some were ridiculous, some civil, some mad, some glad…some predicted the end of the world and proclaimed that we as a people were screwed. I get that we CAN boldly post our opinions and outcome reaction. It is by far the most interesting thing about social media. It’s people watching without the mall, airport or local farmers market (fact – I love to watch social media during awards shows…music ones are the best).

We are a passionate melting pot of culture, opinions and convictions…and we have to work together. We are better together.

One thing struck me on November 6th (ok, a lot did…). Regardless of what our government does or does not do, keep in mind we are a free people. We are a very blessed people. We have a lot of work to do. The hope of our nation…and the rest of the world is not a political party or agenda. Our hope is Christ and in Christ alone. Salvation comes through Him…and Him alone. His plan A is His church. The world is hurting, hungry and broken. Lets get to work.

Work continues. Maybe the church needs to step up and let the government take notice. We aren’t waiting on them. Lets be the solution…because we have the solution.

November – Thanksgiving (fuzzy feelings not required)

Being grateful and being honest about it is challenging…at least it can be. Some things are a given. Some things you have to look for. Some…you don’t quite feel like being thankful.
I didn’t post my day two. It’s for my job. To be quite honest, I had had a hard night at work, therefore a hard time being grateful. I had to shake off the dust, remember there is a greater purpose and move on. So Day 2 – a job. Hooray!

This got me thinking about the state of my heart. This got me thinking about my mental state. This got me thinking, once again, about what gratitude was all about (for the love, read One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp…NOW).
I know that my bad night was nothing in comparison to…well, anything. It did get me thinking though. The thinking part is reason enough for the moment of gratitude.

Recognizing that it doesn’t start with a feeling but with grace.

My mind immediately turned to communion and Jesus…because it does that now when I think about gratitude. Thanks Ann Voskamp.

Christ took the bread, broke it and gave thanks. In the presence of those he loved and with an awareness of their immediate future…he gave thanks. Sometimes its the grace to see beyond and recognize the purpose in it.
A group of men sitting around a table; one would betray, one would deny, one would openly doubt, they would sleep instead of tarry, they would scatter, fear and grieve.
Not long after, something else remarkable happens.

Death, burial…and resurrection (this is the kicker).

They would lay down their lives, speak with boldness, authority, walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. They would go to places of great danger, speak to government officials and demons. They would break out of prisons and sing in chains. Thousands at a time would know their Savior and “go and do likewise”. They obeyed. They led. They would start this thing called the early church.

Jesus stared at their future failures. He called it. He knew he was about to pay the price for them…for us, for all who call on His name. He broke the bread. He lifted the cup. He gave thanks.

He knows what lies beyond the fall…

With joy, He lifted his cup.

I pray that this month is one of Thanksgiving. Not out of a fuzzy feeling…but because of the grace to see beyond.

November 1st

It’s November 1st.

Everyone, go ahead have a moment. If it’s panic…that’s ok. You are not alone.

Since the beginning of this month can easily instill panic…

Thanksgiving is coming
Christmas is coming
The year is almost over
No Shave November officially gives men the excuse to look like bums

Let’s take a moment.

I’ve decided to be that person who posts what I am thankful for everyday. I’d like to have a little bit more fun with it via the blog.

Sometimes the best thing you can do in the midst of Christmas decor making it’s official appearance (we see you hiding behind the Halloween masks but pretend not to notice), is to take your eyes off the stresses that are as real as the moon…and shift focus.

Take a moment, shift focus, pause, reflect, Selah if you will…and be in awe. There is so much right in front of us. Let it sink in…swim in it. It’s beautiful. We are blessed. In our pain, our stress and holiday family drama…there is so much more. Gratitude. Grace.

So, this November 1st, I’m saying it loud and clear.

I am grateful for my family

Those near and far…family is NEVER far in heart. Even when we are scattered from sea to shining sea…and other countries (and even though you haven’t seen them in a year, you weep when they leave).

Distance is forever my enemy. Family.

Family brings out something fierce in me. It is something to be fought for and protected. It reveals my over-protective side. It is imperfect. It is dramatic. It is a hodge podge of joy, sarcasm, emotional instability, ridiculous laughter and honest opinion.

We are better together than we are a part. Much better 🙂

Start your own Gratitude List for the month of November? It’s a good idea.