Monday, August 31, 2009

Diets and my Christian Walk

Okay, maybe that seems like a stretch, but bear with me.

I was sitting in church listening to my sweet hubby preach and he was stomping all over my toes again. He has a knack for doing that. I guess when you know everything about a person, it is easier to drive a sermon home for them. I think it's great that God uses Calvin to talk to me. Can't think of many things cooler than that actually....although a burning bush every now and again would be hard to beat.

Any way...

Calvin says something about being willing to give God some of ourselves...maybe even most of ourselves, but until we give Him EVERYthing we are not as intune to His voice as we could be.

So I'm thinking to myself as I sit on the front pew, "That's a lot like dieting" and a new post was born.

A diet is a lot like the Christian walk.

With dieting, you have to give up ALL the bad food and follow the diet exactly. I have from time to time given up most everything. Given up all the "bad" foods except maybe one or two that I "deserve" as a reward for forsaking all others. I mean, giving up MOST of the foods that make me fat counts for something, right? Surely if I give up MOST every "forbidden" food then I can keep my nightly bowl of vanilla Ice Cream covered in Chocolate syrup and candy coated sprinkles while watching the news just before going to bed? I have even lost a little weight giving up all the bad foods other than my cherished bowl of chocolate covered dreaminess, but I have never gotten the FULL benefit of the diet when I follow it with even a few modifications (like ice cream). A diet just doesn’t work properly if you don’t follow it. The same is true with the Christian life. Just like with a diet, I can give up almost all of my vices, give God "most" of myself, and still get some of (maybe even most of) the benefits of being a Christian, but I don’t get the FULL benefit unless I am “all in”.

I can halfheartedly commit to a diet. I can eat the right foods as long as it is convenient and as long as my friends don’t ask me to go to lunch, but unless I am “all in” I am not going to reap the FULL benefit of the diet. I am not going to get the full benefit of a diet until I am fully committed and ALL my meals are adapted to my diet, rather than adapting my diet to my meals. Just like with a diet, I can halfheartedly commit to my Spiritual Growth as long as it is convenient... and I may grow some, but I won’t get the FULL benefit unless I am “all in”.

I can I can join the gym and carry my gym pass on my key ring for everyone to see. I can pack my gym bag and carry it around in the back seat of my car...and never go to the gym. I can buy new sneakers and sweat absorbing socks....and never break a sweat. I can eat only diet approved foods when I eat with friends, family, or in public... and then go home, close the door, and eat a bag of cookies dipped in ice cream. I can study all about nutrition and exercise so that I can rattle off everything you could possibly need to know to maintain a healthy body on cue. BUT, if I am not applying what I know, eventually the fact that I have all the right stuff and all the right answers is going to be overshadowed by the obvious fact that I am not losing any weight, gaining any muscle, or getting any healthier. Just having the gear and looking the part and being a member of the gym is not enough to help me reap the full benefit of a healthy lifestyle. Likewise, carrying a thick leather bound Bible around in the backseat of my car, being a member of a marvelous Church, and knowing all the facts about Christianity and a relationship with Jesus Christ are not enough to reap the full benefit of being a Christian if I do not read that Bible, attend that church, and apply that knowledge....and just like people eventually see the truth about whether or not I really am going to the gym and eating right....people will eventually see the truth about whether I KNOW Christ...or just know about Him.

Eventually people can tell more about me by the fruit I bear than by what I try to make them believe about me.

Scripture says:
No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thorn bushes, or grapes from briers. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6:43-45

Sunday, August 30, 2009


I am so excited! I promise, I am going to shut up about this as soon as I post it here.

Okay, I love to write. Always have. I have kept a journal most of my life and have kept a prayer journal all of my adult life. I love the emotion that can be evoked through the written word. I love the way that words can transport a person to another time, another place..can even make them feel as thought they are living someone else's life. I LOVE e-mail and blogging. I love the fact that I can write what is on my heart today and someone may stumble upon it 6 months from now and say "that was exactly what I needed to hear today".

I am consumed with Christ. I want every one I know to share my passion for my Savior.

The reason I am sooo stinkin excited about getting one of my devotions (it is actually a post from this blog written months ago) published on Internet Cafe is because I can "speak" to women who would never "hear" what I have to "say" otherwise!

Also, it leaves me breathless that someone thought something I wrote was worth sharing!

So, I am super, super, unbearably annoyingly excited!

Here's the site address


Saturday, August 29, 2009

He is....especially when I am not

As a woman I am often at the mercy of fluctuating hormones, mood swings, and "gut feelings".
One thing that I have been trying to remind myself of every day is that God is constant, consistent, and exactly the matter what mood I am in.

When I feel completely insignificant and unappreciated, I still serve El Shaddai:“God Almighty.”

When I feel like I am worthless, I am still a daughter of El Elyon: “The Most High God.”

When I am in need and cannot help myself, God is still Yahweh Jireh (Yireh): “The Lord will provide.”

When I need to make a decision and my choices are confusing, God is still Yahweh Ro’i: “The Lord my Shepherd.”

When I am anxious and frustrated and irritated and basically hard to get along with, God is still Yahweh Shalom:“The Lord is Peace.”

When I am afraid, God is still Yahweh Shammah: “The Lord is there.”

When I am at my worst, God is still at His best.

When I am in the pits of despair, Christ is still the Bright and Morning Star (Revelation 22:16).

When I am lost and tossed about, Christ is still the Cornerstone (Matthew 21:42; Ephesians 2:20).

When I do not behave in a manner that reflects the love of God, Christ is still the Faithful and True (Revelation 19:11).

When I am weary, worn out, out and tired, Christ still promises "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." - Matthew 11:28-30

When my world seems to be falling apart and I am confused and scared to death, God still promises “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand."John 10:27-30

The bottom line is simple. God is. Christ is. Scripture is true. These are not dependant on my feelings or my mood or even my belief. It is when I can see past myself and beyond my current mood or circumstances that I can take hold of the promises that are mine to claim.

I am God's child.

I am a warrior in God's army.

I have nothing to fear because the one thing that is eternal is already mine and no one can take that from me. “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”Romans 8:37-39

I have said several times recently that my favorite people in all the world are under attack daily right now. We have declared war on the enemy and he is not going down without a fight. We must must must remember that "in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." and lean HEAVILY on HIM that loves us.

Most of all, in every single situation, no matter what Satan throws at me, no matter what I FEEL.....

God still is.

He is still good.

He is still all powerful.

He is still ruler of everything.

He is still victorious.

And I am His precious daughter whom He loves....LOVES!

I am wise to bask daily in the fact that I belong to the LORD Most High, Creator of the Universe, the Alpha and Omega....

And He still is....even when I am not.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Farther down the road

Funny how things affect a person.
We did Heaven's Gates and Hell's Flames at Pearson, oh, I guess it has been 6 years ago now. We did it 2 years in a row and I was sent to hell both times. Go Figure! One year my sweet hubby played Satan. We still tease each other about him being bad for bad in fact that he landed me in the pit.

But that's not what I wanted to write about. I hope I can put my thoughts into words.

When we did HG/HF at Pearson, we were told that the revival HG/HF started would not be in the people in the audience...that the ones who would be MOST effected by the drama would be the cast. We found that there is life before and after marriage, before and after High school, Before and after College, Before and after Kids, and there is life before and after Heaven's Gates/Hell's Flames.

Today I was reminded of that the experience and how much it impacted me.

My character was the secretary that goes to hell. In my role, after my friend and I die, we stand at the Pearly Gates and she goes up the steps into the arms of Jesus and on into Heaven while I am left at the bottom of the steps. In my desperation, I beg Jesus not to leave me alone. Because I did not accept Him as savior prior to my death, He leaves me...and the demons come and drag me into hell.

Flash forward 6 or so years to this morning. I was in church singing "Amazing Love" When we got to the part where we sang "You are my king...Jesus, You are my King". My mind traveled back to that first night of Heaven's Gates/Hells Flames.... specifically the moment when I fell to my knees and begged, "JESUS! Come back! PLEASE DON'T LEAVE ME!!!!!! JESUS! PLEASE! I BELIEVE IN YOU NOW!"...just before my character was taken over by demons. My heart was pricked by the reality that there are people in my life everyday who will meet Jesus for the first time after their death and they too will scream "Jesus! Please! I believe in you now!"

I am SO thankful that Jesus IS my King. I am so thankful that my sin is forgiven, my past forgotten, that my name is in the book of life and that One day I will meet Him face to face and will be able to fall at His feet and worship Him.

Our sweet little church has embarked on a road that has put our leaders in Satan's cross hairs. My dearest friends, my husband, our kids....have all been brutally attacked spiritually over the past few weeks. I believe that God Himself brought the memory to my mind from HG/HF.... staring into heaven, begging Jesus to please give me one more chance, to please not leave me alone. That's what we are doing this for. We are in the battle. We are fighting for those that will come to know Christ. We are fighting so that fewer will stand at the gates of Heaven and beg for a second chance. The people I love most in this world are on the front line, and here lately, we have been getting hammered.

For the briefest moment this morning I felt like I was in the presence of His Glory. This was different than the times I have felt Him near me personally. For the briefest moment I felt His Glory...and it was overwhelming. It was as if He wanted me to know that He is with us and, more importantly, He's in control. He's got this. All we have to do is follow and not lose heart when we get wounded...In the battle.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Will there ever be a day when everything is "caught up"?
My best and dearest friends have it all together. Their lives are not out of control. Their houses are not a wreck. They are not overwhelmed with the day to day business of life. They are the women who stock pile Birthday gifts and greeting cards...just in case. They are the women who start buying for Christmas in January so that they have it all done before the mad rush. They are the women who never mind if someone just drops by the house because their houses are always nice and neat. They have balanced budgets and live within their means......and i feel like I am coming apart at the seams! If they can do it, I should be able to as well.
There are so many things looming over my head....I don't even know where to start! I would much rather sit here on the PC and pretend like I truly have nothing better to do.
The house needs cleaning
There are about 3 loads of laundry waiting on my in the laundry room
We have more bills than money
i need to spend quality time with my kids
i need to spend quality time with my hubby
I need to go to the gym
I need to clean out the kids clothes and give the ones that are too small to some friends
I need to clean out and wash and vacuum my car.
I need to study my Sunday School lesson one more time before tomorrow
I need to get our clothes out and ready for tomorrow.
I need to prepare the first week of FLO's Bible study
I need to weed my flower beds.
Actually, as is so often the case, things do not seem so bad once I get them on "paper".
I am going to make a list, implement a plan to get my life in order. The unorganized chaos is making me an unbearable grouch!
Right now the kids want me to play the Wii with them. I'll start a load of laundry and play with them while it runs.
That's a step in the right direction at least.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Travelin Light

A while back I wrote a post in which I wondered "What now?" At that point I was afraid that it would be difficult to write about my faith and my relationship with Christ now that my battle with cancer seems to be over. I was right. It HAS been difficult to write.

Everyday life seems so boring compared to the constant drama that surrounded having cancer. Everyday life seems so insignificant compared to battling cancer.

My everyday struggles do not seem worthy of writing about....


My everyday struggles are what steal my joy.

The everyday, run-of-the-mill, day in and day out normal struggles like:

Dealing with difficult people at work
Getting the kids out of bed, dressed, fed, and to school on time
Marriage (and I have a husband that makes marriage easy compared to some people i know)
Juggling work, home, family, friends, church
Losing my temper
Being judgemental
Sins like over-eating, pride, and greed

Being diagnosed with cancer knocked me off my feet with a powerful force, but these are the sorts of things that wear me down little by by day.

So, even though these aren't the sorts of things that draw people's attention....nothing like having cancer or having a sick child or...well day to day life is just nothing exciting. BUT it is life and I'll do my best to be as open and honest about my daily struggles as I was about having cancer. After all, Scripture says it is the little foxes that ruin the vine (Song of Solomon). I guess the big ones are easy to spot. It's the little things that slip in and go unnoticed until they have caused significant damage.

In church Wednesday night, we were challenged to "lay it down" at the foot of the cross. Everyone's "it" is different. The things that ran through my mind as I prayed were:
  • FLO (the Ladies ministry)
  • My marriage
  • My finances
  • Overeating
  • Parenting
  • My Sunday School class

My heart was so heavy with the realization that I did not hesitate to rush to the cross when i had cancer, but I tarry with these things. Why is it so hard to give the little things and the GOOD things over to God? Why do I feel as though I can take care of these things without His intervention?

So, I'm layin down the little stuff and the good stuff before I go any farther down this road. I can travel farther if I'm travelin light.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I just love autumn!!!! I know, I know, I know….technically it is still summer time, but school starts in a few days and that is the first in a series of reminders that summer is on its way out and autumn is on the way. Mississippi’s blistering summer heat will soon give way to cooler temps and my family in Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, South Carolina and Arkansas will start making plans to get together for Thanksgiving and Christmas….and the “little”cousins will start planning their strategies for winning the annual Christmas silly string war. Before we know it we’ll be trading in our tall glasses of sweet tea for mugs of flavored coffee and hot Chocolate. (OOOH! Or warm spiced tea…note to self: get that recipe from Great Nan) I am starting a new Christmas tree this year (haven’t told the sweet hubby about this yet) for ornaments from my girlfriends and cannot wait to see how that will turn out! (They’re a bunch of nuts…I can be sure that it won’t be traditional red and gold!) I have to admit, I’m already getting a little excited.
My fondest memories from childhood all seem to take place in the fall of the year. I loved going back to school and seeing all my friends (those were the days before cell phones, Facebook, and every kind of camp you can imagine, so unless you lived next door to someone, your didn’t see them all summer), going to football games, and school dances. I liked cool weather clothes…jackets, sweaters, jeans…lots of layers made me feel all snuggly and well, less exposed than I did in summer attire. (that’s still true!) I enjoyed new teachers, new classes, and making new friends.
For me, autumn seems to hold as much of a promise of a new beginning as New Year’s and Spring do for most people….maybe I just need more “fresh starts” than the average gal. This has been a difficult year. The threat of cancer has cast a shadow on every part of my life for almost a year now and to be honest, I am a little tired of it. I’ve been cancer free since April and am quite honestly tired of living with the fear that it could come back any day. I am ready to give the fear of the possibility that the cancer may come back over to my Creator and let Him carry that burden for a while. It is just too heavy for me to bear any longer. So, autumn 2009 holds a very sweet “beginning” for me…I am cancer free. I've come a long way in only a year. This year I am blessed beyond measure in a new and amazing way…I am a cancer survivor and despite 4 surgeries on my vocal cords...I still have a voice!
I have struggled over the past 11 months with the darkness of fear….fear like I have never known in my life. I have had to trust complete strangers with my voice and my very life. I have leaned harder on God than I ever thought possible. Many days, I did not even have the courage to lean on Him…He had to just pick me up and carry me. Through all of this I tried very hard to be very brave. Now that it’s over, I realize that I am absolutely drained. I am closer to my Lord than I have ever been. I understand more about Faith than I could have ever understood outside of this battle. I am more in love with Christ than I could have ever imagined possible…..but I am tired, and feeling a little empty, so I am casting my cares on Him....again-but I am not taking it back this time. I'm done. I am just too exhausted to carry it any more.
I have another blessing added to my already over abundance....I have a wonderful testimony of God's faithfulness for 2 precious precious friends that have recently been diagnosed with cancer.
I am grateful beyond words that I can reach out to my sweet friends during this time when things are so frightening and uncertain for them. I am grateful beyond words for the tenderness, compassion, and empathy in my heart when I pray for them and with them. I am grateful that my family can minister to theirs, that my husband understands how their husbands feel, and that my son knows how my one friend's son feels...and I am eternally grateful that Brian and my friend's son are friends. I would never have chosen the past year for me or my family, but I am eternally grateful that our Father, in His infinite wisdom, carried us through that valley and I am humbled that He would use that journey to minister to others.
What a grand time to start over and make up for the autumn I lost last year!
Happy (almost) autumn!