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In My Life, Your Will Be Done

I’m listening to a wonderful worship song by Hillsong called “Oceans Will Part.” “In my life, your will be done” is part of the refrain. We say that, we even sing it, but do we really mean it? Deep in our heart, in our barest of souls, is this our cry – “in my life, your will be done?” I venture to say for most of us, myself first and foremost, it’s not our cry.

On the surface, of course, we admit we want His will in our lives because that is the Christian thing to do but in our secret places, we are not so sure. Why? Maybe for some, we are afraid. We’ve been burned so many times that we are no longer willing to be vulnerable, even with God. We are no longer willing to step out and expose the real person behind the façade that looks so pretty on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights.

For others, maybe we believe we don’t need any help. We have made it so far on our own and we’ll be fine for the rest of the journey.

Some people want the fire insurance. You know, “I’m saved and going to heaven. That’s all I need.” They have no idea how much they are missing.

I’m not sure any of us really understand how much we are missing.

Think about it. God says “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.” (Jeremiah 29:11) And in Isaiah 55:8-9:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.
As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

In other words, the God who knew you when you were still in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13) will always have plans that are so much more wonderful than anything your heart can desire. Why would we want to go slogging from day to day in our own little world when instead we could walk victoriously with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords every minute of every day?

Why will we not open ourselves to Him? We can be vulnerable with God. He knows our weaknesses, He knows our hurts, He knows everything about us. As we open up to Him, He ministers His love to our hurts. He shows Himself strong on our behalf and in our weaknesses, His power is evident.

In desiring God’s will for our lives, the longing for a more intimate relationship with Him becomes stronger. The more intimate our relationship grows, the more we desire His will. The more we desire His will, the more intimate our relationship grows. It is a beautiful circle between our heart and His.

I don’t know about anyone else – maybe I’m the only one that feels this way – but I’m tired of slogging through life every day. I desperately want that intimate relationship. I desperately want to be in His will. With everything in me, I am running after Him.

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A Tribute to My Friend

I attended a funeral today. Going to funerals is not something that anyone looks forward to or enjoys. It is a sad occasion, even when the deceased is a Christian. We can rejoice knowing that our friend or family member is now with Jesus, but we mourn for our loss.

Patty Warren McMullan was a friend of mine. I have known her for about twenty years, give or take a couple. I did not realize it until today at the service, but Patty was twenty years older than me. She was young at heart, and did not act her true age, so I never realized there was that much of an age difference between the two of us.

Patty had been an acquaintance for several years, when she opened her home to a special group of ladies from Trinity Fellowship in 1992-1993. At that time, there were eight women who were either already divorced, separated or going through a divorce. Patty was divorced and had been for a number of years. But she had such a great empathy for the rest of us she wanted to do something meaningful for us. So a couple of times a month, we would all gather in Patty’s family room and after the teaching, she would love on us and offer us encouragement. She would tell us “you will get through this – look at me,” and she would smile her beautiful smile. Patty was right – we all got through it and eventually the need for the group was no longer there.

By the time the group disbanded, Patty and I had become good friends. We would go to lunch after church on Sundays or meet for dinner during the week every couple of months. The conversation was always lively. Patty was an intelligent woman and she had an opinion on every subject imaginable. Not only that, she had raised three sons and one daughter and she offered invaluable advice to this (at that time) single parent.

I have a butterfly sun catcher hanging in my office. There is a heart attached and engraved on the heart is “Live, Love, Laugh.” This reminds me of Patty because she loved life and lived it to the fullest, she was full of love that she lavished on others and she loved to laugh. Bishop David Epps shared today during the service that Patty said “I have always lived my life out loud.”

Patty, you touched many lives and those you touched will miss you. But we rejoice, knowing that you now live, love and laugh in heaven!

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Time Flies

My husband and I were talking just the other day about how fast time flies. We realize, of course, that time moves at the same steady pace every day. Sixty seconds to a minute, sixty minutes to an hour, 24 hours to a day…you get my drift. When we were younger, it seemed that time stood still as we waited eagerly for certain events to occur—we turn sixteen and get our driver’s license; graduate from high school and become independent; at eighteen, we can vote, and so on and so forth. As we get older, however, time flies and we want it to slow down. There is too much happening in our lives, the lives of our children and grandchildren and we want to keep up with all of it.

My precious grandson, who I swear was a toddler yesterday, celebrated his 14th birthday this past Monday. My daughter and I sat at his birthday dinner Monday night and reminisced some about his birth and the time after.

Kim went through a lot the day before and the day of Mack’s birth. Her birthing coach and her obstetrician got into a shouting match in her room and I had to kick them out. The baby went into distress and Kim had to have medication to speed up the labor. She was in labor almost 24 hours, the latter hours being excruciatingly painful. And no wonder – Mackenzie Kyle Bond-McGee was born on October 19 weighing a healthy 10 lbs., 12 oz. Shortly after Mack was delivered, Kim began to lose blood rapidly and there were quite a few scary minutes until that situation was brought under control.

Mackenzie was born hungry and practically starved until we figured out he was not getting enough nourishment. Once on formula, he grew rapidly. Not that he needed to grow. His appetite has never abated; he still eats all the time! He’s taller than me and almost as tall as him mom. His mama’s raising him right – he’s a Georgia Bulldog fan through and through!

Mack, you have brought me so much joy and I love you dearly! Could you just slow the next 14 years down?!

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The Handwriting on the Wall

In Saturday’s blog, I wrote about the call I believe God has on my life and what I thought He was now telling me to do. It was like God had said “Do this,” and then changed his mind and said, “No, do this instead.” I wrote that a friend lovingly told me that this sounds like confusion on my part and she felt I needed to just rest and wait, listening for God’s clear direction without any preconceived ideas as to what He might say. After praying about this and thinking on it for several days, I agreed with her 100%. I laid my desires and wants at Jesus’ feet and I set my mind towards waiting and resting.

Sunday morning, I awoke very early, as I tend to do most days. I went downstairs, made myself a glass of tea, grabbed my Bible, journal and the devotional book I’m currently using and settled in for a quiet time with God.

Imagine my surprise when I opened the devotional book to Sunday’s reading and read the chapter title —“Finish What You Start.” Oh, my. Was this chapter written for me or what?!

Did you know that there is actually a Bible verse that says to finish what you start? It’s true – II Corinthians 8:10-11. I didn’t know this until I read today’s devotional and the author used these two verses as the foundation for her chapter. Here are the verses, first in the Amplified Version and second, in The Message:

2 Corinthians 8:10-11 (Amplified Bible)
10[It is then] my counsel and my opinion in this matter that I give [you when I say]: It is profitable and fitting for you [now to complete the enterprise] which more than a year ago you not only began, but were the first to wish to do anything [about contributions for the relief of the saints at Jerusalem].
11So now finish doing it, that your [enthusiastic] readiness in desiring it may be equaled by your completion of it according to your ability and means.

2 Corinthians 8:10-11 (The Message)
So here’s what I think: The best thing you can do right now is to finish what you started last year and not let those good intentions grow stale. Your heart’s been in the right place all along. You’ve got what it takes to finish it up, so go to it.

About the only way God could have spoken any plainer would be if His hand had appeared and wrote those verses on the wall!

Here it is in plain English – finish what I started. I am still praying and waiting. But I think the handwriting is on the wall. What do you think?

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I AM WAITING

A dear friend and I exchanged emails earlier this week about plans that I had made and begun to implement based on what I thought I had heard from God. My friend, whom I’ve known for over twenty years, and whose spiritual advice I trust implicitly, had great reservations about what I was starting. As another friend always says, “there were red flags flying everywhere.” My friend went on to say that she believed “the most important thing for me to do is rest, listen without any preconceived ideas to the Lord..” As soon as I read that, I knew she was right. That is why I took a sabbatical from what I do at my church. I wanted – make that needed – to spend more time sitting in Jesus’ presence, resting, listening to Him and trusting. Not too long after my sabbatical began, I got this “great” idea and because I have a burning desire to work in this area, I began making plans. But I’ve set those aside now. I am resting and I am waiting.

John Waller sings a song called “While I’m Waiting.” The first time I heard it was in the movie “Fireproof” (which if you have not seen, you really need to see it)! It is a wonderful song and I have been hearing it in my head all week…most appropriate:

While I’m Waiting
I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I’m waiting
I will serve You
While I’m waiting
I will worship
While I’m waiting
I will not faint
I’ll be running the race
Even while I wait

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it’s not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait
I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting
I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting
I will serve you while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting on You, Lord

I sat down with my Bible this afternoon and immediately the Lord led me to these verses on resting and waiting:

Isaiah 30:15
This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength…

Isaiah 30:18-19
Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!
O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you.


Isaiah 40:31
31 But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.

And so, I wait.


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Plans, Protection and Gratitude

There’s only two things guaranteed in life: death and taxes. Or so the saying goes. I tend to disagree. Yes, it is guaranteed we will pay taxes. And yes, there is a time appointed to each individual to die (Ecclesiastes 3:2). I believe there is another guarantee and that is we never know what each day, each hour or even each second will bring. Certainly, we can make plans but even those are apt to change in the blink of an eye. The Bible says “In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” (Pro. 16:9) and “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” (Prov. 19:21)

Before I continue writing on this particular topic today, let me explain something. I do not believe that God causes bad things to happen to us. Scriptures tell us that Jesus came to give us “life more abundantly, but the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy.” An entire dissertation could be written on whether or not we believe that God causes or allows bad things to happen to us and that is not the point of today’s blog. I do believe, however, that God will use every experience we have, good and bad, to remind us and/or teach us the things He wants us to know.

I recently had surgery and had planned to be out of work for two days. I actually missed two weeks of work. Obviously, my plans changed. Monday was my first day back at work. By noon, I was tired and beginning to be uncomfortable. By two o’clock, I was exhausted and hurting. So I planned to leave the office by three o’clock, go home, take a pain pill and rest for the remainder of the afternoon and evening.

I did leave the office around three, as I had planned. It had been raining earlier in the day but had stopped by then so I decided to drive home via the interstate. I turned onto the entrance ramp to I-85 and as I accelerated, I hit a puddle of water and immediately my Jeep hydroplaned. In less than five seconds, my plans changed. The Jeep fishtailed back and forth in the muddy grass before coming to a stop (after I finally had sense enough to pump the brakes!). By the time it stopped, I was trembling like a leaf in a hurricane, amazed that I had not hit anything and no one had hit me.

Thankfully, a husband and wife stopped and soon, two other kind gentlemen and a police woman stopped. After many attempts, the four managed to get the Jeep out of the mud while the police woman stopped the traffic.

I thanked everyone profusely and shakily drove home. Later, I sat down and thought back over what happened. This incident reminded me that I can make all the plans I want to – even small ones like going home to rest – and those plans can disintegrate in a heartbeat.

I realized that God was truly watching over me; angels of protection surrounded me that entire time. I knew that God had sent those specific people to help me. Why them? I don’t know, but God does and I pray that He blesses them abundantly for their help.

I was also reminded to be grateful for every second I have to live. It is so much easier to be grateful than to be angry, unforgiving, bitter or hateful. Life is too short and too precious.
So make your plans, understanding that God directs your steps. And be grateful for all that God has given you.

Oh yes. God does have a sense of humor. After thinking over what had happened, I saw this picture in my mind’s eye of my car sliding down that grassy slope and my ministering angels of protection hanging on for dear life!

beauty pageants, beliefs, brides

Beauty Pageants, Brides and Beliefs

I have been incarcerated at home for the last two weeks recovering from “minor” surgery. What was supposed to be “minor, you’ll only miss two days from work” became “major, I’ve missed two weeks of work.” Don’t ever believe your doctor when he says “minor and incision” in the same sentence. Those two words are an oxymoron.

During these two weeks of enforced inactivity, I watched a lot of television. I enjoy “whodunit” stories and seeing how those mysteries are solved. In my opinion, there are several great shows that fall into this category. There are also some excellent programs on the Discovery channels – Health and Science – that can teach us and our children about the wonders of our world.(Even some of the programs on these channels should be screened before you allow your children to watch them.)

As we all know, there are far more harmful programs on TV than programs that teach us, edify us or that we simply enjoy. Some of those shows are obvious and we should not be watching them, let alone allowing our children to watch them. In this blog, however, I am writing about shows that are more subtle but could be as damaging to females – from our toddlers to our grandmothers.

I’ve seen ads for a show called “Toddlers and Tiaras.” Honestly, I was not impressed by the ad and had not watched the show. But, I came across it in the middle of the night earlier this week when I couldn’t sleep, and decided to watch it. Besides, there was nothing else on at that hour of the night I wanted to see. If you’ve never seen this show, the title almost gives it away. The show is about young girls, from approximately three years to nine or ten years of age who enter beauty pageants.

Now before all the mothers start yelling at me, let me say there is nothing wrong in your daughter participating in beauty pageants IF that is what she wants to do. Many pageants, including Miss America, give back to the community through the scholarship program for the contestants and in various community service projects. Most of the contestants also volunteer in their own community. I have an online friend who is Mrs. Montana International 2009. This position gives her the opportunity to promote a worthy cause she supports and believes in with all her heart.

We now return to our regularly scheduled blog…
On the program “Toddlers and Tiaras” even the three-year-olds wore makeup and their hair was crimped, curled and sprayed. The older girls had the makeup and hair styles, long wigs, acrylic nails, false eyelashes and airbrushed tans. They participated in a swimsuit competition, a talent show and the evening gown event. These girls had been trained – even the three-years-old – to strut, sashay, “shake their booty” and a few even had rather provocative dances in their talent routine.

My objection to these pageants stems from how these young girls are dolled up and made to perform. What messages are they receiving about themselves? What image and expectations of themselves do they have that they carry with them into adulthood? I would venture to say that many of these young girls grow up demanding absolute perfection of themselves and being totally devastated when they believe they don’t measure up – whether it’s in looks, grades or relationships. For the girls who did win the title in their division and the pageant title, the message they receive is they must continue to be “perfect;” they cannot fail. For those girls who don’t win – the message is obvious – they are losers and they always will be.

Perhaps I can prove my point by sharing with you the other show that disturbed me somewhat. Well, it really wasn’t the show as much as it was one of the brides. I watched “Say Yes to the Dress” last night – a program that follows two brides through Kleinfeld’s Bridal Salon in New York City as they look for the perfect wedding dress for their perfect wedding. I love weddings and everything to do with weddings. At one time, a friend and I considered owning a bridal salon. And, I have been a wedding coordinator for over a decade. So for me, this show is a lot of fun to watch. What was disturbing on last night’s show was one of the brides. She was a stunning woman who appeared to be confident of herself. She had lost 120 pounds over the last couple of years and was excited about getting married. As the show progressed, however, it came to light that not only was she not self-confident, she thought she still looked fat, that others still saw her as fat and based their opinion of her on how they saw her.

I realize that this bride did not grow up participating in beauty pageants. She had been overweight all of her life until she lost 120 pounds. But my point is the same. All of these girls – the pageant contestants and the bride – had messages drilled into them by society and by parents whom I’m sure believed they had their daughters best interests at heart and who meant well. Messages that told them they would never be pretty enough, smart enough, skinny enough…never perfect. Messages that never allowed them to see themselves as the beautiful woman God created them to be.

How sad.