Living IN the world, not OF it

Okay my friends, with 17, 12, and 8-year-old children, we seem to be in all stages of “development” these days! Lots of interesting discussions in our house lately. 

The subject of “the birds and the bees” is never an easy one to discuss with your children, but it is necessary that we do. I promise they are getting the information somewhere, so if you want to be the one to teach them, you’d better be aware of the information they are getting. As you well know, kids today are hearing all kinds of things at younger and younger ages. 

I have found myself recently in discussions with other moms on the B&B’s. I am so proud of the young woman that my 17 year old, Miranda, is turning out to be. By the grace of God, she has turned out well! I always call her our guinea pig since she was the first child subjected to our parenting skills! David and I have applied a few rules in our journey as parents I want to share.  
Answer questions as they come up, without giving more information than asked. Do not dismiss their questions as if they are silly.
Always answer questions about our bodies with emphasis on the fact that God created every little part of our bodies for a purpose and in His image. 

When the sex subject comes up, don’t freak out and assume that your child is doing something wrong, and don’t be so embarrassed you can’t talk about sex with them. 

Just as the case with many of God’s creations, the world has distorted and cheapened something that God created to be an intimate, one-of-a-kind bond between a husband and wife. Always keep this in mind when dealing with anything in this world that has been changed by the sinful world we live in. 

Instill self-confidence in your child. Help them realize and understand that God created them and they are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:13-16). With girls especially, love from and self-confidence instilled by their father will have a huge impact on their choices of boyfriends and a husband. If they don’t feel this fatherly love, they may seek love and acceptance in boyfriends. I know that Miranda is the teenager she is today because her daddy has put her on a pedestal her entire life, and she will accept no less from anyone she dates or marries. Her values are strongly in place, and there is no one who could persuade her to do anything she did not want to do.

When you talk to your child about sex, try not to make a big deal about it. In other words, don’t break out “The Encyclopedia of Sex” (all four volumes) and try to explain it all at once! (Can you guess how I learned about those birds and bees? =o/ It was one loooong night!) 

Last, we work very hard not to shelter our children from the ways of the world. You must understand, however, that there is a difference between the KNOWLEDGE of this world and being INVOLVED in the ways of this world. Every family is different, and as parents, we are often products of the environment in which we were raised. Ahusband and wife bring to the parenting table a mixture of the ways they were raised. In our family, we do not worry about our children seeing us undressed (like getting into the bath or shower). As a matterof fact, during the years that I was having seizures, Trevor would not let me take a bath without someone in the bathroom with me (fearing I would drown if I had a seizure), and he was often the one with that job. (Don’t use your imagination here…it would not be a pretty sight! =o/) They know the differences between the anatomy of men and women, so their curiosity does not land them in a search for answers in the wrong places. We do not want to create a “forbidden fruit.” And again, I want to emphasize that we answer questions as theycome up. Often children will not ask a question until they are ready tohear the answer.

Nowhere in the Bible does God condone pre-marital sex. He specifically forbids it. In the world of our teenagers, and adults too for that matter, it is difficult to recognize the difference between Christians and non-Christians. That’s not acceptable. God calls us to be a peculiar people, and that’s what we need to be. In the world, not of the world.  
Keep in mind that I am only a parent to my three children, and every child is different. I am certainly no expert on raising children; I just want to share what has worked (so far) with me. Sometimes, well most of the time, children do not believe parents really know anything. They may have to learn lessons the hard way, and the best you can do for them is pray. 

So dig in your heels and brace yourself. If it hasn’t already been, it will be a subject in your home eventually. Don’t be blindsided by it–be prepared! 

I will be praying for you and your children. After all, my children will be choosing their spouses someday, and I want great young men and women for them to choose from! 

From my heart, 


It’s time for…

A time to go back to school shopping, and a time to get my child enrolled into a school he was just accepted to Friday.

A time to wash and pack, and a time to go out of town for my 22nd anniversary. Yay!

A time to get up really early to help out a friend, and a time to come home and take a nap (I wish) so I have enough energy for the evening. 

A time to have another car accident (not my fault thank goodness…this time), and a time to deal with insurance and the body shop to get an estimate that everyone can agree on. 

A time to take tons of photos of gymnasts, take too much time editing, and a time to post them so hopefully someone will be interested in buying one or two. 

A time to celebrate my birthday with sweet friends, and a time to read “The Help” just to finish it 10 minutes before the movie started. 

So I think you get the idea. This small season of my life has been very busy with lots of matters  under heaven. Good stuff, busy stuff, bad stuff…but all God stuff. I can honestly look at every one of the “matters” of my last week and see God’s hand in them all. Yes, even the car accident! Feel free to leave a comment and ask me if your curious…

I’ll just say this overall. When you make God an every day, all day part of your life…when you have conversations with him throughout your day and you get him involved, he will be there for all of those little crazy moments. REALLY! He wants to be there, you just have to invite him. Once you bring him in to all of those little moments throughout your day, you’ll wonder what you ever did without him, and you’ll never want him to leave. 

Now you know where my time has been the last week, and will continue to be for the next week (as I will be out of town). So to the masses who will be biting their nails anxiously awaiting my next post (LOL), it will be about another week. For those who do follow, THANK YOU, and I’ll see you in a week as well! 

Blessings to you as you get all of those kiddos of to school this week! 

From my heart,

How is Your Heart Condition?

What if everyone could read your mind?

Your boss is giving you specific instructions on how to handle a delicate matter at work, and all you can think about is that piece of spinach caught in his teeth.
Your friend is pouring out her heart to you…again…and all you can think about is “what stupid mess has she gotten herself into this time?”

It would be quite difficult to keep a job or maintain a friendship, wouldn’t it?

We’ve all seen some television show or movie that added this twist to make things interesting. God, in his infinite wisdom, created us in such a way that we can’t read minds, but as a relationship develops, we can begin to understand certain things about the people we know well. No one, however, can know exactly what we are thinking all the time except God. He has a closed circuit television hooked up to each and every one of us. He always knows our thoughts, and always knows the condition of our hearts.When God looks into your heart, what does he see? I’m sure glad that when he sent his son to die on the cross for our sins, because when we are forgiven of our sins, we are also forgiven for the condition of our heart. But when I stand before God someday, despite all my imperfections, I want to know that I did my best to improve my heart condition.A few days ago, I blogged about Sunday’s sermon, “Following Jesus a Day at a Time,” and the ongoing questions concerning the baptist belief of “once saved, always saved.” So let’s take it one step further. We realize that salvation is a gift that we cannot work for and do not deserve, but can only accept. Once we accept Christ as our savior, we must then pursue him…always.

I know you’ve all heard “what goes in, must come out.” What we put into our minds…and our hearts…is what comes out. We want to protect ourselves from bad television, movies, music, etc…and not put ourselves in tempting situations, but no matter how hard we try, we cannot protect ourselves completely, because we live in a fallen world. What we CAN do is fill our minds with the good stuff…the God stuff. Uplifting music, good friends, worshipping with fellow believers, sharing Christ, reading the Bible, praying and listening…all of these empower us and give us the defenses we need against the bad stuff.

Let me give you a challenge that I gave myself…when you make your “to do” list for each day, write over to the side just three things you will do to improve your heart condition. Whether it’s music, bible study, specific prayer for someone…whatever…commit to yourself and God that you will do those few things on your list each day. Continue this for one month, and see where you are. If you can give God these little invitations into your heart, he will begin to work there, and I promise with a genuine effort, you can’t help but be changed. In one month from today, you may have greatly improved your heart condition!

From my heart, 

Do you get it?

Have I told you lately how incredible it is to be made brand new in Christ? Well, until September 25th, 2010, I really had no idea. I was saved when I was seven years old, and I did all the things that a good lil’ southern baptist girl should do (or shouldn’t do), but I just didn’t get it. The weird thing is, though, that because I didn’t get it, I didn’t know I didn’t get it. Get it?

I went to church. I prayed every day. I read my bible. I went to bible studies. I would see people like Beth Moore or Joyce Meyer speak, and I would always be amazed at the passion they had for Christ. I truly just thought my personality was different and I didn’t express myself they way they do. What it boiled down to is I didn’t truly down deep, to the core, feel like I needed Christ. My brain knew I did, because I’d been taught all my life that Jesus is the only way. My heart, on the other hand, could not simply “learn,” it had to “feel.”

I don’t know whether it’s because I’m stubborn, my sinful human nature was too strong, or it was simply God’s plan, but I had to endure some pretty tough stuff to realize how much I needed God and how much he wants me. I believe wholeheartedly that accepting Christ as your personal savior will get you a ticket into heaven, but to have a full life on earth, you must not only accept him, but pursue him…constantly.

When I was seven, God wrote my name down in the lamb’s book of life, and secured my reservation in heaven. But on September 25th of last year, he made me brand spanking new! Now I know some of you who are reading this are thinking…”here’s another one…thinking God is the answer for everything.” I promise you I had those thoughts about people all my life…until now. I’m not saying God is the only answer for everything, but I promise you that if you invite him into every situation in your life, he will meet you there. Good or bad, happy or sad, you will never be alone. I just want to share a few areas in my life that have changed since I let God be God, and welcomed him into every part of it.

My depression is gone…completely and totally gone.
My migraine headaches are minimal, and when I do still have one, I can handle it.
My seizures are completely gone.
I am free from the prisons I kept myself in…fear, dependence, worry, guilt, failure…and the list goes on.
I have a much more eternal perspective…a new “destination” in life that I actually think, read, and wonder about.
The act of forgiveness is no longer such a struggle. There is such a freedom in letting go of a grudge and letting God handle it. (I hesitated to list this one…God may test me on it!)

Now those are some pretty big areas right there…but what I did not expect were the changes in the seemingly insignificant areas in my life.

Meal planning and cooking are easy. No longer the daunting tasks they were.
The heat of the summer has not bothered me at all compared to summers past.
The housework gets done when it gets done. Not a single soul that walks into this house cares if I have a sink full of dishes or a basket of clothes to fold.
Exercising and losing weight is not the overwhelming goal it used to be (although definitely a long term goal).
If something on my “to do” list doesn’t get done, it’s okay. I just move it to tomorrow’s list!

Do you see where this is going? EVERYTHING in my life is easier. Now I see why Beth Moore teaches with such passion. When you can finally “get it,” you will know it, and you will be compelled to share your joy with anyone and everyone who will listen.

From my heart, 

Sunday Summary…Following Jesus One Day at a Time

Hmmm. What does it take to truly feel clean…to be clean?
I’m so glad God made a way to cleanse us from our sins so we don’t have to go through this! If he hadn’t, and wickedness was in the form of hair chemicals, it might look something like this video:
                                                             I’M CLEAN, I’M CLEAN!
This morning at Brookwood, Fenton Moorhead preached a sermon he entitled, “Following Jesus a Day at a Time.” I went into it thinking I would hear a sermon beginning with “Begin every day with Jesus…” but to my surprise, I saw Jesus in a new light. No matter how old the Bible is, there is always more to be learned. Even when I have read a verse a hundred times, God can still teach me something new.
When saved, we often pray a sinner’s prayer repenting of our sins, asking Jesus to forgive our sins, and to come into our hearts as our savior. Our sins are as far away as the east is from the west. Gone. Forgiven. But what happens the next time we sin? Even though we are saved, we still possess a sinful nature. We are led by the Holy Spirit, but we’re in a battle of good and evil. No matter how “good” we try to be, we still sin. Daily.
I remember a conversation between my Church of God raised husband and his grandfather…
“Grandpa, if the Church of God believes you must ask forgiveness of every sin, will you go to hell if you die before you get a chance to ask?”
“So if we were riding in this car, and you saw a woman and lusted after her, and then we crashed and died, you’d go to hell?”
Now, being raised a good ‘lil Southern Baptist girl (sinless as long as I didn’t cuss, drink, or dance, lol), this is not what I was taught. Thank goodness for the “once saved, always saved” southern baptist theology, right?
Well, after today’s sermon, one of those little lightbulbs came on…I don’t think it’s about being “once saved, always saved,” or damned to hell for any sin we forget to ask forgiveness for. It’s about knowing what salvation really means…For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9) NLT
When we can realize and admit that salvation is not something we can work for, buy, or even deserve, but only accept…a gift from God that we must only accept. We must be honest in admitting that without the grace of God we would be nothing. But by his grace and our faithin him, we accept the gift he gave us when he sent his only son to die an excruciating death as the penalty for our sins…all of them.But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. (1 John 1:7-8) NLT

So…God knows our heart. We cannot hide anything from him. As long as we remain honest to ourselves, remembering that we are sinners, and at the same time we are living in the light of Jesus Christ, he will constantly and consistently cleanse and make us new, and we can continue following Jesus a day at a time.

One God, One Hope, One Choice…It’s that simple.

One God, One Hope, One Choice…It’s that simple.

Now when you read this statement, you might think, “what does she mean it is that simple?” Believe me, when I was in my state of depression, I would not have thought so either. When I felt like I would rather chop my head off that have my migraine continue, nothing was simple. My well-meaning, glass-always-overflowing teenager would say, “think about it this way, it’s better than if you were in a wheelchair or lost your arm or something.”

As frustrating as it was, she (or any of the rest of my family) could not understand my pain because they had never experienced depression, and I pray they never do!

The word “choice” is a key word here. I am not speaking of the “choice” to be happy and not depressed, or the “choice” to be cancer free, or the “choice” to be financially successful. There are, of course, steps you can take to help yourself in any of these situations, but there are some conditions beyond our immediate control, not situations we got ourselves into by “choice”.

The choice I am referring to here is Christ. He is my choice. Choosing Christ over everything else is really the only choice that matters.

Think about the choices you make in any given day:
“What do I wear today?”
“What do I want to eat for breakfast?”
“Should I start housework first or get my errands done first?”
“What should I cook for supper tonight?”
“How should I spend my time today?”
“Should I go the back way to avoid traffic or stay on the highway?”
“Should I buy this dress or is it too expensive?”

The list is truly endless. Everyone’s choices are different from everyone else’s, and they are different from day to day. When we were building our house, someone told me that throughout that process, you will make 360,000 decisions. My guess is that it was even more than that!

Make a list of choices you made this week. Looking back over these choices, how many of them were choices that will still be important tomorrow? What about next week? Next month? Ten years from now?

There is only ONE choice that you will make that will be important forever. FOREVER!!!
That is the choice to accept Christ as your savior and let Him have control of all of your life. Doesn’t that make all of the other choices seem silly?

There is a forever out there for each and every one of us. The choice you make today, right now, may be the choice that determines your forever.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.”

What else is there?



Housework. Laundry. Dishes. “UUUGGGGHHHH” (as Charlie Brown would say). I go from one task to the next, room to room to room, putting up, washing, repairing, scrubbing, etc. When I have all of these tasks on my mind that I need to accomplish, I think by brain goes into “shutdown” mode. I will be in the kitchen doing dishes, when I suddenly remember my favorite jeans need to be washed for tomorrow. I go to my closet to get my jeans, but instead I remember that I need to take clothes to the consignment shop on Friday. So I begin to gather those items, but I have nothing to put them in. So I go to the laundry room to get a bag, and I see the empty cat food bag on the counter and must make a note to pick it up when I go to the store. When I go to get a piece of paper to write it on, I see the stack of bills that must be paid today or they will be late…I think you get the picture! I run around like a mouse in a maze, and never get anywhere! Distractions are one of the devil’s greatest tools.

I have always said that I wish I could write messages to myself on the back of my eyelids so I get a reminder every time I blink! Maybe I could stay focused. Maybe? 

How often do we say that we are going to spend more time praying? We have the best intentions, but as soon as we let our mind go elsewhere, Satan is armed and ready with distractions to keep our mind so busy we forget to pray.  I need to write “God” on the back of my eyelids. Our busy lives take away our time and attention from God, who deserves and desires it most of all. Since the beginning of this year, I have made a special effort to remind myself constantly that God deserves my attention. God loves my attention. God demands my attention. We should not be in the habit of only talking to Him before each meal and at bedtime. How would you feel in this were the only times you spoke to your children every day? Do you think that you would be very close to them? Would they know the unconditional love that you have for them? Probably not.

Well, I have worked long and hard to find a solution to this problem. Now I am quite sure I should patent this idea, but I suppose I could go ahead and share it…

Neon colored post it notes. 

I really wanted to be able to stay in an attitude of prayer throughout the day, so I simply wrote “God” on a bunch of hot pink post it notes, and scattered them throughout the house where I will see them on a regular basis. 

On my alarm clock.
Above my kitchen sink.
On my washer and dryer.
On the dashboard of my car.
On the bathroom mirror. 

It worked! Every time I saw my hot pink reminder, I prayed. Before long, I didn’t need the notes anymore. When my alarm clock goes off, I pray (although it may be after the first couple of times I hit the snooze button). I pray when I get in my car. I pray when I am getting dressed in the mornings. You get the picture. These daily tasks are “linked” in my mind to those post it notes, and therefore to my prayer time. Habits are formed after repeating them for around 2 weeks, so before long, my direct line to my heavenly father was connected all the time.

What do I pray for? Sometimes I have a specific need or praise, but I often just talk to him about whatever I am thinking. I will tell him all of the tasks I am trying to get accomplished. I ask him to help me remember all the tasks that must be done! Your brain is never still, it’s always running. No matter what is going on in there, God wants to hear it. When you don’t know what to say, just listen. He has plenty to tell to a willing ear.

Your prescription for today says, “You must love him with all your heart, soul, and might. And you must think constantly about these commandments I am giving you today. You must teach them to your children and talk about them when you are at home or out for a walk; at bedtime and first thing in the morning. Tie them on your finger, wear them on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house!”

I knew that God wants us to always be in an attitude of prayer, but I didn’t know the post-it notes and eye-lid writing were biblical! God does not want us to be “lukewarm”. God does not want our leftovers. He wants ALL of us!

I challenge you to try the same thing. Begin to make God a priority in your life, bringing him into your every day tasks. I promise he will reveal himself to you more and more, and your relationship with him will grow. So go ahead, go get those post-its!