Sunday, November 11, 2012

Holding Back???

My mind is swimming this morning. The thoughts are all over the place.
Its Veteran's Day and naturally, I am so thankful for the men and women who have served our country. Many of them gave their lives so that we could be free. A freedom that let us cast our votes -even this week, of who would lead our land. A freedom that we often take for granted. I am so grateful for the Armed Services- today, when I know they are over fighting a war that I believe we should never have entered. Young women and men who are passionate about serving. THANK YOU.

I have been reading in the book of Acts this weekend. I am thankful that God's Word is always new and fresh. That words of the Scripture can bring new insights even when I might mistakenly think that I know the Bible-that I've read it before. Over twenty years ago, I decided that I wanted to read the Bible thru every year. If you know me, you know that I am not always conventional. I tried reading plans, but couldn't wait till September before starting the New Testament.

Given this information, this is at least the 20th time that I have read the Book of Acts. I know the stories. I've read them. I have studied them in bible studies. I thoroughly LOVE how the LORD allows me to be surprised by new insights or convictions. Yesterday, as it was snowing outside and I was sitting by our wood burning stove, I read the fifth chapter of Acts. It is the story of Ananias and his wife Sapphira. The background of this story is that the community of believers in Jerusalem experienced an unusual type of fellowship and community. They shared everything with each other; when someone was in need, the church would provide for their needs. They pooled all their money and resources and really took care of each other. Side note: wouldn't it be absolutely incredible if we, the Body of Christ, would do this today?? The implications would be astounding-worldwide. If we, the church of Jesus had really done our job, the government wouldn't have had to develop programs to care for the poor and disenfrachised.

Ananias and Sapphira had a piece of property that they were going to sell. They conspired together to "keep" some of the money from the sale before they gave into the community treasurechest. What happened is that they didn't remember that GOD saw. GOD knew. And what they did was basically lied to the LORD and to the leaders of the early church. Somehow, God let Peter know this and when Ananias came to give the money, Peter confronted him. Told him that satan had deceived him and that he had lied to the Holy Spirit. The result: Ananias immediately fell dead. Hours later, Sapphira not knowing what happened to her husband, appeared before Peter and also lied. She too, immediately fell dead.

This story might seem extremely harsh. I think one of the main messages to us is: we cannot fool God. We cannot rationalize our actions that are impure to a Holy God. We cannot lie to Him and get away with it. HE KNOWS. Nothing escapes His gaze. But what also struck me and really has captivated my mind is:

 Where have I tried to rob God?
 What am I trying to keep for myself?
 What am I lying about?
 What am I trying to control and hold on to?

Gosh, I have tried to hold on to control in so so many areas of my life over the years: Trying to hold on to the family and how I wanted it to be. Trying to hold on to the control I had in my children's lives. Trying to hold on to my life in San Jose when God was calling us to Woodleaf.  How have I tried to rob God?? This question haunts me. I have robbed Him of really giving all of me to Him. Of completely surrendering myself to Him. Why? Because I want to remain in control. The selfish me wants what i want-when I want it, how I want it to look like, how I want to live my life.

Ashamedly, I admit that I have wanted to serve God on my terms, in my time frame, when it was convenient for me.
I have had "my plans" and often forgot to include God in them-or ask Him to bless them without even talking to Him about it in the first place. I ask myself "WHY?"
Why would I not confer with Him? Why would I not want His take on ANYTHING I was undertaking or wanted to pursue?? Who do I think I am??

It has been a hard day of wrestling thru these questions. All I do know is that I truly want to be one who pleases and brings Glory and Honor to my Father and His Son. I am again so thankful for His mercies that are new everyday.
I am grateful that once again, my Young Life College friends, are pursuing God and they are challenging me to Pursue His Holiness. You can't fool these gals-they can see thru hypocrisy, so I have to be honest and real with them.

Most importantly, how incredibly humbled and blessed I am that the LORD has not given up on me. That He hasn't shown me all of my ugly self at once, but gently prods-altho sometimes He has to POKE HARD to get my attention, to show me how if I just gave Him full control, life might not be so hard at times . It might be hard but if I hold on to Him, the trial or hardship will eventually pass.

I don't have to be in control. I don't have to keep things for myself.
GOD has always taken care of me. He has promised that He will provide for all my needs.
I don't have to hold back.
HE certainly never has.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Bucket List #3:GIANTS and the WORLD SERIES.

REMEMBER being a child and waiting with excitement and anticipation for Christmas?? We spent weeks pouring over catalogs and watching TV commercials, and then waiting for Christmas Day to see if Santa brought what we so desperately needed/wanted. And then squealing with absolute delight when we got what we asked for.

I can imagine the very first Christmas morning as the angels in heaven stood on their tip toes looking down for the birth of the baby. The baby that was God's son. They had been waiting thousands of years to see this!! The only other event that topped this was the first Easter morn, when that same baby, who grew up to be a man, gave His life for all of us so that we would escape the entrapment of sin we were born into. Easter morning, Jesus defeated death and rose from the Grave as the angels and saints in heaven cheered ecstatically that sin had been overcome .

WE all have had moments and memories of the excitement and anticipation of what we are hoping to happen.
THE monumental event in my life that I couldn't wait to happen was the day I married Scud. Like alot of little girls, I imagined and daydreamed about my wedding day. As the years progressed I wondered who this man would be? Would he be cute? Would he think I was cute? Would we like similar things? Would my family and friends like him? What would we do, where would we live?? Those kind of questions that one conjurs up in our minds wondering what it would be like.

My wedding day was absolutely wonderful.  The man showed up and there would be only two things I wish had been different: that my mom was still alive to be a part of this and that the weather would dip below the 106 degrees that it was. Other than that, I wouldn't change anything and I would marry Scud again and again all over again.

Did you see the movie "the Bucket List"?
I imagine that countless people saw that movie and began making their own bucket lists of what they would like to see happen before they leave this earth. I know I did.
Some of my list has happened already. I saw both Kristi and Katie get married (still waiting on Todd and Ryan). I became a grandmother.  I kind of maybe started writing. Some things still I would like to see or happen is:  going to Africa to work in an AIDS orphanage so that I could use my nursing skills, I would like to go on a family missions trip with kids, spouses and grandkids (got a taste of that going to Russia in the 1990's with our family), I really want to visit Ireland-because I'm an Irish girl. Those are a few of my bucket list, have you made yours?

Last night I got to cross off #3 on my bucket list.

I  became a GIANTS fan in 1958, thanks to my Dad who wanted one of his girls to become a baseball fan.
(IT worked Dad, it really did!). I was 5 1/2 yrs old when he took me to Seal Stadium and the two things I remember from that night was : it was cold and Ernie Banks (Mr Cub) hit a grandslam. My dad told me I would always remember that. I went to Candlestick in 1960 the year it was finished and then for the next 39 years, I went to so many games I can't remember how many there were.
I single handedly help make Scud a fan (ask him someday about our first baseball date!!) and dragged my kids to the games until they became fans in their own right. I actually went into labor with Todd at Opening Day in 1980. One of my favorite Giants memories involves Kristi learning what an intentional walk was. As our batter was being walked, she yelled out at the top of her lungs (which that too doesn't happen very much with her!) "They're balling him, they're balling him"!! The crowd around us roared in laughter.
We went as a Young Life family in San Jose every opening day for years-decreed a holiday by Scud.
Started a mother-son game with The Paine's and watched Todd meet his childhood hero, Chili Davis.
Scud, Todd and I also got to see the last game at the Stick thanks to Ron and Rick Conway.

I was tortured thru watching the Giants in three other world series. 1962 with all my childhood heroes playing. 1989 walking off the escalator as they earthquake hit, and when the series resumed 10 days later, I could not find any one to work my weekend shifts at the hosptial. In 2002, we had two kids in college and couldn't really rationalize spending the money.

Two years ago, we had tickets to Game 6. The Giants became the WORLD CHAMPIONS IN GAME 5!!!  But I didn't care-they WON.

So Monday night as I watched them become the National League Pennant winners once again, I began online looking for tickets but the prices were unreal. There was no way we could go.
On Tuesday while it was raining I decided to look again. I was looking for Game 2 tickets. After pages on Craigslist i found a listing for Game 1 that wasn't really out of our reach. I quickly called Scud to see if we could go and he said YES. So after texting and calling the guy I bought the tickets from, I got in my car to go to Chico and for most the entire ride I thanked God for this incredible gift and opportunity.
Many may say that this isn't what God cares about; going to a Giants World Series game is incidental. But for me, its been a lifelong dream and I couldn't quit thanking God.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 says: "Give thanks in all circumstances".
Not sure if this is what Paul had in mind, but to me, God gifted me with this bucket list wish. When both of us work for YL, its obvious we aren't rolling in the cash, but somehow we were able to afford this.

So yesterday we left Woodleaf around 11:30 for the trip down and met two of my favorite Chico girls in Marysville and headed to San Francisco. It was really fun getting to experience it with Sam and Katie-something none of us will forget.

Zito?? The Opening Day , Game 1 pitcher of the World Series???
Barry Zito??? The same guy left off the roster 2 years ago cause he wasn't producing.
Yes...that same guy.

Webster's dictionary defines redeem as: to make up for; make amends for; offset (some fault, shortcoming,)
                                                                to recover by payment or satisfaction
                                                                to buy back, or pay back

Barry Zito redeemed himself for the past 4-5 years. He totally made up and recovered his status as a premier pitcher!!!

And the PANDA?? Pablo Sandoval...well he hit 3 home runs, two of them off the best pitcher in baseball today (Welcome to San Francisco Mr Verlander!). That was absolutely incredible to actually see in person.
And watching Gregor Blanco make 2 outstanding catches, Buster throwing out a runner, Timmy pitching like he used to , and so many other moments.

Going to the game was EVERYTHING I could have hoped for and MORE than I could imagine.
Walking thru the stadium an hour before the game started, watching the stadium fill up, the electricity and energy of the crowd, the friendliness of everyone, yelling MARCO     SCUTARO-like yelling Marco Polo in the pool as a kid, waving our orange rally rags over and over again...Everything was Perfect.

And to come away with the WIN in Game 1....PRICELESS!!!
For 54 of my 60 years , I have bled orange and black. They are the ONLY team I am passionate about...this was so worthy of my bucket list and so worth every penny it cost us.
I'm so thankful my husband knew how much I wanted to go.
And I am so thankful that God allowed me this opportunity.

I am also eternally thankful that I know what redeemed means in my own life. Jesus bought me back for the Father. He paid the price for my sin and made satisfaction for all of us.
I think us knowing Jesus is Number 1 on His Bucket List!!

TODAY'S BLOG IS DEDICATED TO: my wonderful husband Scud and my GIANTS LADIES: Samantha Stone and Katie Lee. Thanks for the challenge.

Monday, October 15, 2012


This morning I started reading 2 Chronicles in my quiet time. For the past 20 or so years, I have read thru the Bible every year. I don't start in Genesis and end with Revelation. I usually start with the Psalms or maybe Genesis and then just go from there.

Its also the time of the year when I spend a LONG time (long because I am still doing it) looking for verses to pray for each family member for a year. There are years when I won't stop looking for the verses until I have all of us covered. Or there are years like this one, when I have so many books of the Bible left to read by December, that I keep reading and keep looking for the verses as the days wear on.

Then, I sometimes hurry thru the books of the Bible because either : 1) there are alot of names that mean nothing to me (altho I know they mean something to God or they wouldn't be there!) or 2) I still have alot of books to read.
Today was one of those days. And after reading 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 Kings and 2 Kings and 1 Chronicles, I feel like I know the story to some degree.

This morning I encountered a King of Judah named Asa.
In 2 Chronicles 14 it says: " Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God"
And in chapter 15 it adds: "Asa's heart was fully committed to the LORD all his life".

Isn't that what we would like to be said of us? That we were fully committed to the LORD all our lives? That we did what was right and good in the eyes of God?? That is my heart's desire, it really is. I know I blow it -probably alot, but my desire doesn't waiver-just my stubborn selfish self waivers.

Asa throughout most of his reign as king, continually sought the LORD and relied on God's direction and obeyed His leading. And then comes chapter 16 and Asa starts to falter. He becomes scared for some reason of the King of Aram. And Asa forms an alliance with him so that they will not war with each other. He has never done this before and its as if he has a brain freeze. Asa seems to have forgotten how the LORD has fought his battles (and his wars) and provided him with victory. Asa always went to the LORD first, up until now. And then as his life nears its end and he becomes sick with a severe disease, he first consults physicians, and never sought help from the LORD.

I know you may be questioning my logic here. Aren't we supposed to go to physicians when we are sick? Yes of course. But if you have spent your life going to the LORD first, why would you change it when you probably need Him most??

This caused me to really wonder and ponder this morning.
WHY do we not go to God first?
WHY does this happen? Especially to people who have followed Christ so closely throughout their lives? Why would we go to others before Jesus??
Yes they are "physically" there, but can they uphold us, strengthen us, encourage us like the ONE who created us? I think not.
HOW does this happen?

Albeit very slowly. Little by little we become "too busy".
Too busy to take the time to spend with the LORD.
Too busy because work is so busy.
Too busy to go to the bible study we have been going to.
Too busy to hang out with fellow followers of Christ because we have too much to do.
Too busy to go to church. Because we were out too late the night before or we don't feel well or we can't find a church that we like. We have alot of reasons.

HOW it happens is that we let "life" get in the way of us seeking OUR LORD.
Busyness is really a tool of God's enemy.
Satan would do anything to get us to slip gradually away from God.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don't let the lies and schemes and offers of better things from the enemy get you off track with Jesus.
MAKE THE TIME to be with Jesus.
GO to church-even if its not the "perfect" church-none of them are.
GO to your bible study or small group.
GO be with other believers.

And if you don't have friends that follow Jesus, ask HIM to bring you them.
Check out bible studies at your church or small groups.
If you don't have a church body to fellowship and worship at, ask God to help you find one and THEN GO.

NOTHING is more important than your relationship with Christ. NOTHING.

2 Chronicles 16:9 says:
"For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him".

Don't let life and whatever is going on with you keep you from being committed to the LORD. This verse above promises us that He will strengthen us for whatever we are going thru.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Those kind of days

Its a day like most every other. You get up and get on with whatever you know you are to do-whether it be going to school or work, watching the kids, doing housework and errands, looking for jobs, following up on your "to do" list.

And then without a moment's notice, your life is turned upside down.

The doctor called and told you to come in, and discovered its cancer.

You get a phone call and find out that someone you love has just died.

You get called into the boss' office and find out your job has been eliminated, you are laid off immediately.

One of you children has been bullied so much and the principal calls and tells you they have been hurt.

You show up to class and your prof passes out an unexpected exam and you haven't studied or been to class in 2 weeks.

Your spouse tells you that they are out...never really loved you.

Or perhaps its a breakup with someone you thought was "the One".

A suicide attempt turns your world upside down.

You can't bear another day without work, or in chronic pain, or children complaining and demanding of you.

You or your spouse is being immediately transferred and all of a sudden you have to leave friends and family.



There's a story in the Old Testament about a very good King named Hezekiah. He truly was one of the few kings over hundreds and hundreds of years that wanted to follow and obey God. The story comes from the book of 2 Kings chapters 18-19. Hezekiah has done exactly what God has commanded, everything . He seeks God continually and others begin to follow his example.
Then one day he gets word that the King of Assyria is going to come and destroy Jerusalem and offers Hezekiah a way out if he will pay him and basically bow down to him.

Hezekiah has done everything the LORD asked of him. Way more so than any other King in all of Israel's history.
And this is what he gets?? You are going to be routed, destroyed and possibly killed.

Have you ever felt like that?  I have.
I've tried to pursue God passionately. I really do try to obey Him in all things-altho I do slip up and have the occasional "I want what I want when i want it" attitude.
And yet, there have been multiple multiple times when life has come crashing down on me. Just doesn't seem FAIR.

What did Hezekiah do?? He tore off his robes, put on a sack cloth and ashes ( I know a bit drastic for us, but the custom of his day) and goes into the temple of the Lord and spreads out the papers with all of the Assyrian king's threats and promises and cries out to God for help.

This is a fundamental life lesson for me; and I have to admit it has taken me years to learn to do this.
When life throws you the ultimate curve ball: GO IMMEDIATELY TO THE LORD.
Don't go to your spouse, or your parents or your siblings or your best friends. Altho you will need them during this tumultuous time, our first inclination should be TO GO TO GOD.

After all, GOD is not surprised by ANY of WHAT HAPPENS to us. HE KNOWS. HE KNEW.
And HE wants to be there for us. He wants us to come to Him first.
He may not give us the answers of why or when this will stop or how can we possibly endure. BUT HE WILL BE THERE.

That may not seem like an immediate comfort. But really it is. Because He also promises to provide us with strength to endure and cope. That may come from our friends or family. It may come from just reading/ skimming thru the Bible-but IT DOES COME.

Oh that we would be like Hezekiah. So that when life tends to blindside us, we run to the LORD and let Him know we need Him...need Him desperately.

That outcome to Hezekiah''s plea? The Assyrians heard that they were being attacked elsewhere and fled from Jerusalem. I don't think that was a coincidence. I truly believe it was a GOD INCIDENT.
I pray that we see and become more aware of those God incidences in our lives.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Gifts come in so many different ways.

We returned home yesterday after being gone for two weeks.
It was one of those vacations that I will always remember.
Our entire family went to Kauai for celebrating my 60th birthday.

60 was the age I never wanted to be. You know when you are little and someone asks you what old is...I always said 60. So I dreaded this birthday more than any other. I didn't want to be old. I thought I would become old right away.
Fortunately for me, I have been blessed by four children who love me and know me.
They got together and decided that going to Kauai as a family would be one present and surprise they could give me.

It was truly truly wonderful.
Scud and I got to spend 10 days on my favorite place on earth.
Its the place that everytime I go, I see so much of the beauty and diversity of God's creation.
The ocean seems endless-which I am pretty sure it is, and the colors that come out in the sun: from aquamarine to crystal blue make my heart swell.
I am a beach girl. I have loved being at the beach since I was a little girl. I was so blessed to spend every summer at the beach at my grandmother's beach house in Ventura. I learned how to dive thru waves, being taught by my mom. I learned how to body surf, I learned how to surf. I even learned how to become friends with a seal.

The beach is where I always would choose to vacation. Its the place I want to go whenever I want to mull things over, contemplate life or just be with God. Getting to spend 10 days in Kauai is  my idea of a vacation.
And to be able to experience this with the ten members of our family and a girlfriend was just what I needed to ease into the 60's.

I really did learn that age is a state of mind. Walking the beach with my grandsons, looking for shells, laughing at the huge sandcrabs, picking up sticks that turned into alligators, and playing in the water -well nothing beats that.
I got to play with these little love bugs on the exact same beach that i played with their mom when she was three.
It made me realize how extremely privileged I am to be able to see the ocean because there are millions of people who never had. To gaze continually on the magnificence of God's creation brought shivers to me morning after morning as I watched the sun rise thru the clouds. I am so thankful for the thoughtfulness of my children to give me such an extraordinary gift.

We came home a day early to attend the memorial service of a friend of ours. This special man knew for 34 months that his time was limited and he was real and honest with his thoughts and emotions. But he faced his mortality fully trusting in the goodness of God, that God knew the perfect timing of his life on earth. I loved how Kevin did everything he possibly could to take care of his family while he was living and for after he was gone. I loved how he encouraged me in my faith and provided me with more opportunities to believe in a loving , grace giving God.

Then when we finally arrived home, there was a call telling me that one of my dear college friends, who also was one of my bridesmaids, had 3-4 months to live. My friend Sharon and I have lost touch over the years, but she's one of those friends,  the type who will always have a special place in your heart. So my heart hurts once again.
I'm staring my own mortality in the face having friends my age end life on this earth.

So right now I am making plans to go to southern California to visit my friend, who will always be known to me as "Garb". I want to tell her i love her, that I appreciated how she made me laugh like no one else. I want to remind her of what a phenomenal friend she is to her friends and what a fantastic daughter and sister she is.
Garb always cared deeply for the people in her life and now I have the chance to tell her how graterful I am that she impacted my life.

We don't always get the opportunity to say good bye to people who we know are not going to be with us much longer.  So for me, this is another gift that I have been given. A chance to tell someone how much they have meant to me. Which got me to thinking how many opportunities do I miss in telling those I love how much they mean to me. Of encouraging and cheering on people who I care about. Its a gift we can give to someone everyday-if we choose to.
And everyone loves gifts!
They don't have to be a fantastic trip to Kauai. They can be saying goodbye to a dear friend. They can be thanking someone for their thoughtfulness, Going to someone's game. Encouraging someone in their work, their crafts, their sports abilities, their gardening skills, their musical ability. We all have needs to be encouraged, to be thanked.
Why don't you think of who you could give a gift to today?? That's what I'm doing and really going to try and do this daily.
How about you?? Gift giving is so rewarding.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Beautiful setting.

This is the place I sit for 1-2 hours everyday from sometime in mid May to hopefully sometime in October.
It truly is my most favorite spot in our yard. I am offered this spectacular view every single day. What you can't see is beyond, which has countless pine trees that scatter the horizon and the sky everyday is so so blue.

I come out in the morning, with my coffee , bible and journal, followed by both my labs, who everyday try and get me to throw their toys, and I tell them "NO, not now".
So off they go exploring our yard-which is about 1 1/2 acres that is fenced in. Then they chase each other for awhile and eventually come and lay by me ( I swear their biggest job in life is to find the best place in that moment to lay down...are all labs this lazy?).

Each day depending on my schedule for the day, I am allowed to enjoy this beauty for quite some time.
It is where God meets with me . Its where I spend time reading His Word, praying, meditating and interceding for dear loved ones and friends.

One day in the summer of 2009, absent-mindly, I left my bible on the table and went down to camp.
Hours later I returned, and I knew something was up. Our son Todd was visiting and he had a sheepish grin on his face.
"I don't know how to tell you this Mom, but Cody (the yellow very mischevious lab) got hold of your bible."

This dog did not just get ahold of my Bible, she ate it. She literally ate the entire leather cover and then managed to strew about700 pages all across our front lawn. Todd had picked up the pieces and put them all in a paper bag.
There was no way this bible could be repaired.

Needless to say, I was upset. LIVID is more like it. I went to our front gate , opened it and told Cody to run away.
I really think this was the most mad I can ever recall being. It wasn't just a bible. It was MY BIBLE- the one I had used for 23 years. The Bible with all my underlining, all my highlighting, all my notes. Oh yeah, I was upset.

The following May, Kristi, Adam and Kellen (Jax wasn't born yet) gave me a new bible for Mother's Day.
This morning I was reminded of this while I sat outside again having time with Jesus. September is the month every year that I spend listening to the LORD as I try and pick verses to pray for each of my family.
Seventeen years ago, the pastor at the church we were then attending, said that he did this for his family and I decided to give it a try. He must have told us about it in September because ever since , this is the month I take to find these verses.

I absolutely love doing this. And yes, it actually does take me about a month to find a verse for each ten family members. And I love that my new bible-about 2 1/2 yrs old now, is marked up ...that it helps me look for verses.
I absolutely treasure the time I have to look over -skim thru, the entire word of God , looking for that specific verse for that specific person in my family. How fun it is to see verses that I have picked in the past for them.
In my old bible, I would write their name or their initials and the year by the verse. It seemed like an arduous task to do that once again; so I now just started from the year 2010.

Fortunately, I had written down each years verses at the back of the bible in my Cody eaten bible and because of Todd's foresight to see I might want whatever could be salvaged, I still have that paper and its now in the back of my bible!!

Another phenomenal thing about picking verses fro my family is that I pray them a couple of times a week for them and eventually I now have 10 memorized Scriptures that I probably wouldn't otherwise have done. Unfortunately, with age, I don't remember all of them word for word, but I do remember the gist of each verse.

So my advise to you is mark up your bible...highlight away, scribble notes....It makes it alot easier to find things later on, and you will be glad you did.

Monday, July 16, 2012


Both yesterday and today, my first thoughts in the morning were of her.
And how much she impacted my life and really countless others.
She was taken way too soon-as far as I'm concerned; but in His perfect timing.

One year ago today, God decided to bring His sweet angel, Katie Noel Parsons May home. (
I made a vow that day to pray for her sweet man, Johnny, and her precious family, Gary, Jeanne , Hannah and Tots , everyday for a year.
Today the year ends, but I won't stop praying for them.

Tonight I get the immense privilege of guiding our 17 interns thru Romans 8.
I told them last week this is my favorite chapter in all of Scripture-and truly it is.
As I have studied this week, and read great teaching by Ray Stedman and Chuck Swindoll, I have been again so grateful for this chapter.
I mean , aside from Matt 28:5-7 where we are told that Jesus had risen from the dead (and in other gospel accounts as well) and know now that He conquered sin and death, Romans 8:1 is the BEST news ever:

"Therefore, there is now NO CONDEMNATION for those who are in Christ Jesus."

NEVER NEVER NEVER any condemnation for my sins. They have been taken and nailed to the Cross.
This doesn't mean that I will never make mistakes, never fail or never sin again. It means that I won't be condemned for them.
There is NEVER anything God's enemy can do , or make me think, to change the fact that I am no longer condemned.
That's the answer to all my perplexities and wonderings if I can fall from God's grace. NO I can't and either can you if you know Jesus Christ as your Savior.

I could probably spend weeks studying this chapter because there's so much TRUTH and encouragement here for me.
But today as I was preparing my thoughts and how I want to lead the discussion tonight, I kept thinking of Katie and all that she endured in her struggle against pulmonary hypertension.

Romans 8:28 is probably one of the most often quoted verses in the Bible:

"and we know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."

Was Katie's death good?? Not according to me. But for Katie? Well she is now in eternity with the LORD she loved and served so well. It is hard to imagine she would want to leave heaven.
The section in Romans that verse 28 falls in is from verses 16-30. In this section it talks about our suffering and how it doesn't compare to the glory that will be revealed in us.
My sweet friend Katie went thru alot of physical suffering waiting for her lung transplant. But she also went thru alot of emotional suffering a few years prior to her death.
Our family prayed alot for Katie and her family thru the years. The Parsons are a family that make you feel that you are their best friends whenever you are with them. We love them and count them so very dear to us.
As parents, Scud and I could only begin to fathom the pain Gary and Jeanne went through as they watched Katie struggle. So it was not only easy, but an extreme privilege to pray for them.
Katie suffered alot but wasn't a complainer at all. In fact, she gave us all hope to cling to. Katie wanted all of us to enjoy life to the fullest , just as she had. She pointed us to JESUS by the way she lived and by the way she died.
YES, God did use Katie's death for good, because there are so many of us who considered her our friend, who want to live our lives as she did. Giving hope, extending grace and forgiveness, loving completely.

There are 2 verses in Romans that bring me comfort:
v27 says: And He who searches our hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit , because the Spirit interecedes for the saints in accordance with God's will"
So as we prayed for a miracle for Katie, the Holy Spirit prayed according to the Father's will.
I don't understand that. We all wanted her to live. But the Father wanted her with Him and now her suffering is nothing; she is reveling in the Father's glory.

When we don't know how to pray, there is the Beloved Holy Spirit praying for us according to God's perfect will.
I love that.  So often I find myself praying for someone or something and I really don't know how to pray. Isn't it wonderful that the Holy Spirit never is at a loss how to pray??

And then there's Romans 8:34 that says : Christ Jesus who died, who more than that was raised to life-is at the right hand of God, and is also interceding for us"
Jesus is at the Father's right hand- He has His Dad's ear and He is whispering to Him, prayer requests for us!! How GREAT is that?? Both the Son of God and the Spirit of God are praying for us!!
No wonder there is no condemnation for those of us who are in Christ Jesus!!

And then there's the end of Romans 8. Verses 31-19 that tell us NOTHING will ever come between God and His love for us. Nothing can separate from His love. Not the death of a loved one. Not a spouse betraying us. Not a child who goes the wrong way. Not a boss who mistreats us. Not a friend who gossips about us .
We aren't ever condemend and we will always be LOVED and cherished by the Father.
I hope you will be like me and thank and praise Him today for this.

Monday, June 18, 2012


It has been WAY TOO LONG since I have written anything. I went from ending the year in Young Life College at Chico to sprinting and trying to catch up with our Woodleaf summer. Our 17 amazing interns-that I have the immense privilege and blessing of being involved with-arrived before the school year ended in Chico. No time to catch my breath. No time to relax and take it easy. TIME to GET GOING. Time to get Woodleaf ready for the thousands of campers who will be here. Hundreds of kids each week visiting and hearing the powerful words of how Jesus Christ loves them and desires to be in a relationship with each one of them.

 I made countless trips to the airport to pick up people. My latest trip was Saturday and I got to pick up our daughter Katie, who will be with us for 12 days while her Nate is in Israel for business. Its my habit to pray while I drive; whether its to Chico or the airport. It gives me time to really think and pray for what is on my heart. This last trip I was praying and began to realize that I have been so busy that I have forgotten to stop and thank God for the prayers and blessings and people that He has brought into my life. So as i drove , I began to compose this list of what I had forgotten to give thanks for:

. The wonderful girls I had the privilege to meet with weekly this year and the tremendous blessings I was allowed to have watching them pursue after their Savior and Lord.
. The wonderful celebrations I was able to attend as three of my college friends graduated and I have had the privilege of walking with them all 4 or 5 years of their college career!! CONGRATS TO ROBBY, ROBIN AND CARLIE!!
. YLC in Chico is growing and its all because of GOD.
. I love my job.
. I love watching who my adult kids have become. Scud and I treasure any time we get with them.
. I love Kellen and Jax and the joy of being their Grammy. . The sweet lifelong friends I have been given. I can't imagine my life without them.
 . Woodleaf...that this property belongs to God, and we are just His tools.
. The Gresham family and how much we will miss them and their faithfulness in serving Christ.
. Our bosses; Scud and I are blessed by these men who love and long to serve and lead as Christ did.
 . For our interns this summer!! What a lively group of exuberant, fun-loving, thoughtful , Christ serving kids!!
. For Scud...always thankful for how this man loves Christ, me and others and for his life of integrity.
. For God's continual GRACE, MERCY and FORGIVENESS to me. Everyday I am reminded of what an amazing, awesome GOD HE is.
These were just a few of my WOW moments that I was reminded of. I need to stop and be mindful everyday of how much GOD has done. For how much He has blessed my life. Challenging and encouraging all of us to take the time. To STOP AND GIVE THANKS!!
 Give THANKS to THE LORD, His LOVE endures forever!!

Sunday, May 13, 2012


Undoubtably, the most terrifying job one can imagine is being a mother.
Mind you, it is also the one job that brings indescribable joys. It also can bring tears and fears.
But being a mom is hands down the most challenging, yet rewarding job any woman can have.

For almost 34 years now, I have had the etremely immense privilege of being the mom to Kristi, Todd, Katie and Ryan.
They have brought me to a place of humility like no other.
They have brought me laughter upon laughter.
They are the memories that will never leave my heart.
Those four lives are the ones I would do absolutely anything for, and often have.
I have sacrificed so they could have.
I have been blessed abundantly beyond measure because of them.
I have laughted until I cried, and wept till I couldn't cry anymore.

I have watched them grow up.
I have watched them succeed and have watched them fail.
I have nursed them in sickness and held them in their dark times.
I have watched them fall in love and watched their hearts break over losing love,
I have watched both of my daughters fall in love and then marry the most wonderful delightful men.
I anticipate watching both of my sons marry the girl of their dreams.

I had absolutely no idea what I was getting into when I became a mother. There are no manuals. Often it is a trial by error method of learning how to parent.
I am confident that Kristi, Todd, Katie and Ryan would confirm that I have failed a few too many times.
I am also sure that they know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I love them fiercely and loyally.
I have made countless mistakes being a mom and have asked forgiveness of my kids more times than I would like to admit.
But I have tried to be the best mom that could be for them. I have given it my all. I have tried to become the mother I envisioned myself to be. And yet as I said, I know I have failed.

AS I look at my grown children, I know I have succeeded too.
I see them as adults who long to contribute to making the world better.
I am so incredibly proud of each of them. As adults they bring me incredible joy as I see how they pursue life and they pursue Christ.

I think the best thing I have done for my kids is to pray continually for them-since the moment I knew I was carrying them inside me. It has been the most awesome adventure watching my prayers answered; wasn't always what I prayed but what happened was the Best for them.
More than anything what Scud and I wanted was for them to know the LORD of the universe. To spend their lives seeking Him and obeying Him. And each one of them is doing that. We all know that we are on a journey with Jesus and I have been blessed beyond my wildest imagination seeing Kristi, Todd, Katie and Ryan seeking after the GOD who loves them more that I can begin to comprehend.

God blessed me even more by bringing Adam and Nate into my life as well. These two men, who love my daughters like no other, are now too, my sons. I love them deeply and am so grateful they are part of our family.

Four years ago I learned that the best thing about parenting is GRANDPARENTING.
Now I just get to love and love and love on my little favorite guys. I might make mistakes with them too; but what a privilege it is to get to see life again thru the eyes of a child.

So THANKYOU Kristi, Todd, Katie and Ryan.
I wouldn't trade being your mom for ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD.
NOTHING has brought me greater joy. I will keep on loving you, supporting you in any way I can, until the day I leave this earth.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Sweet sweet times with lifelong friends.

There is just something so special in being with people who have known you all of your adult life.
Scud and I have had the extremely, what i consider rare privilege of being involved in some couples lives for 30-35 years.
This past weekend we went to San Jose to celebrate the Legacy of Young Life in San Jose for the past 57 years. Yes, I wondered too why 57 years, but the faithful committee in San Jose just decided it was time to celebrate. And celebrate we did!! It was such a marvelous 2 evenings of being with the wonderful staff that had ministered over the years and the committee who has worked tirelessly over the years, the tremendous leaders who have loved teens so well, and of course the kids.
I mean to be able to reconnect with kids lives that you haven't seen in 25-30 years who wanted to come remember what YL meant to them, it was truly a special time.
I can't thank the LORD enough for how He has blessed my life abundantly thru the ministry of YL in San Jose. To hug girls who I loved so dearly while they were in high school and college and briefly catch up with, to seeing leaders who gave so much of themselves trying to share Christ with kids, and then being with some people who worked behind the scenes so diligently and prayed so hard-the amazing committee, was incredible!!

And then there was the time spent with our dear friends who we have had the privilege of "doing life" with from the time we were newlyweds and on staff together in the 1970's. The people who know us the best. The ones who love me in spite of knowing me. These dear sweet friends, none of who lives closer than 3 hours away now but have lived thousands of miles apart at different stages have stayed close thru the years. We've changed and grown and been thru so much together. How could you not love those people. These are the ones who we have walked thru the joys and tragedies of life with: the births of our children, the death of one of those dear babies, watching our kids grow up, praying for our kids as some chose to walk away from the Lord for a time, we have supported each other thru our parents deaths, thru vocational challenges and changes, we have attended the weddings of our children, celebrated the births of our precious grandbabies, and sadly watched one of our couples divorce.
But we LOVE each other and I believe we love each other well. WE never get together without praying and that is so sweet.
These friendships are holy and sacred to me. And I realize the older I get, how rare this type of friendship is. WE know each other well, don't judge each other and will always be here for each other-even if distance keeps us physically apart. My life would be missing so so much if I had not known the Walters, the Sievers and the Tuttles. (and I can't believe again that we didn't take a group pic!)

How graciously God has blessed me!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Choice is OURS

This week I started reading in Deuteronomy during my quiet time. I thought I was going to read Joshua, but I beleive that God's Holy Spirit led me to Dueteronomy instead.
Basically, Deuteronomy is a history lesson for the Israelites of their journey out of Egypt, and into the 40 year period of wandering in the desert until they reached the land promised to them by God. The book highlights what they have experienced.

I have only read the first eleven chapters as of today and have been stuck again and again by the words God spoke (thru Moses) to His chosen people.

Here a quite a few of them:

Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God.

Observe them carefully for this will show your wisdom and understanding.

Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live.

So, be careful to do what the LORD your God has commanded you.

BE careful that you do not forget the LORD.

Fear the LORD your God and serve Him only; do not follow other gods.

Remember, how the LORD your God led you all the humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commands.

And now..what does the LORD your God ask of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and to observe the LORD"S commands and decrees.

Fear the LORD your God and serve Him. HOLD fast to Him.

BE careful or you will be enticed to turn away and worship the other gods.

Fix these words of mine on your hearts and minds.

If I counted them all, I'm sure there would be over 100 of these like phrases.



So often we find ourselves in troubling times. A crisis hits our life or someone that we care about. We make fast track to the LORD with our requests , we need HIM to show us that He is there, that He cares. And we are grateful that we can turn to Him.

Repeatedly in Deuteronomy, we are told not to forget God's words. That we are to obey His commands. That we are to hold fast to Him.

Do you ever wonder why?

I am convinced it is because God knows us; He truly knows us.
He knows that we come to Him with our concerns and hold tight for awhile.
Things get better and ease up; and we tend then to forget about Him.
Until the next time.

Why do we do this?
Do I really think I can navigate the maze of my life without Him ?
Do I believe I could possibly have a better plan than the ONE who created and sustains life?

He knows how fickle I can be, how fickle you can be.
HE gave us laws which are the 10 commandments( also found in Deuteronomy 5) and commands, because HE knows the BEST ways, He has the BEST plans and His ways and Plans are so much more grander than ours.

So sometimes I obey and seek Him with all my heart and soul, and then other times I think I can do this thing called life by myself. And usually when I go off on my own, I tend to get off track. Do you?

WE believe we can do it. We think we know the way. We think to ourselves "Oh i don't need to bother God with this", which in actuality is saying we know better than He. Which is when its easy to be tricked into believing the enemy's lies. And to seek after things that quite possibly, we never would have dreamed we could be attracted to while we walked in dependence of God.

God also reminds us to remember what HE has done in our lives, where HE has taken us, how He has been with us every step of our lives, whether we were aware of Him or not. Why does He ask us to do this? Because we NEED to remember His faithfulness to us; to remember how much He loves us and cares for us, and to be reminded that He is with us now.

We are given the commands to seek Him, to obey Him , to not forget His words, to hold fast to Him and to Love Him with all that we are.
Then He tells us we have a choice:

"See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing if you obey the commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today, the curse if you disobey the commands of the LORD your God and turn from the way I command you today."

We have the choice of being blessed by God or cursed by God?
What will you choose for your life?

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Every year, during "HOLY WEEK", I read the accounts of Jesus' road to the Cross and His Resurrection. I ususually start on Tuesday with the Gospel of Matthew, then on Wednesday, Mark, Thursday Luke and on Good Friday, I read the Gospel of John.
The first four days I read up to the Crucifixion.(these accounts are found in Matt 26-27, Mark 14-15, Luke 22-23 and John 18-19.

Then on Saturday, I read all the passages about the Resurrection (Matt 28, Mark 16, Luke 24 and John 20-21).
I abhor reading the stories of how Christ, my God, was beaten, spit upon, scourged with the cat of nine tails and then nailed to the Cross. Everyone of them makes me cringe, ache and often become teary over the love Jesus Christ has for each person ever born.

This morning I wrote in my journal:

Oh LORD Jesus, again we crucified you. It is horrific. But it needed to happen and in this way. YOU knew all along.
Were you scared or anxious or fearful? And what about the tremendous pain YOU endured? And yet you said nothing, never uttered a word of complaint. You took it all. The scourging with the cat of nine tails that ripped open and tore your skin apart, the spitting, the hitting of your face, and then the agony of the Cross; trying to catch your breath, knowing the end was soon.
And the worst part? The FATHER turning away.
What anguish.
YOU became the sin of the ENITRE world-from ages past, to the present,to ages future.
And GOD, Your Father and mine, could not stand it. The HOLY GOD turned away because He could no longer look at His precious Son. YOU had become the filth of the world. You were the ONCE AND FOR ALL sacrificial Lamb. You, THE LAMB OF GOD, who took upon Himself, the sin of all mankind, and paid the rpice for us.
It had to be death. It had to be the absolute worst. Because sin had to be defeated for always. YOU did it, LORD Jesus. YOU did it for all of us. YOU did it for me.

AMAZING LOVE, how can it be, that YOU, my God should die for me?

Your love for us, Your desire for all mankind to be in a relationship with Our Father, was your only motivation.
Oh, THANK YOU. These words can never express my gratitude; my vocabulary is litmited.

Oh Praise the ONE who paid my debt"

My prayer is that anyone who might read this, will seriously take the time to contemplate what JESUS CHRIST did for us this week a very long time ago.
HE suffered and died for our sin.
But then on Sunday, RESURRECTION SUNDAY,


HE rose from the dead and sin and death were dismantled and conquered forever.
Tomorrow might be Friday, BUT SUNDAY'S A COMING!!


Thursday, March 29, 2012


MAN OH MAN. God is always at work in our lives, but do we see it? Are we looking for it? And what do we do with it when we see it?

This week has been one of those weeks for me. The work God has been doing in my life has been showing me how off base I am.
Conviction is NOT FUN.
Its what we do with what He shows us, which is of utmost concern.
In just four short days, in my bible reading, in my bible studies with my Chico girls, I have learned : I don't love the way He wants me to. My judgmental thoughts are so very wrong. My tongue can cause a world of harm.

There you have it. I am a sinner. My sins have been rampant. They are what nailed Jesus Christ to the Cross. I have gotten such a glimpse into the ugliness that resides in me. It has not been pretty, it has not been fun.

LORD GOD, change me.
Help me look more like Your Son and less like the selfish person I am.

Now what do I do? How can I change?
First of all, I must realize that this change is not possible WITHOUT RELYING COMPLETELY ON THE HOLY SPIRT.
A few of my girls and I have been doing Beth Moore's study on Spiritual gifts entitled "Living Beyond Yourself". With different groups, we are in different chapters, so I am blessed to do each chapter twice. This week blessed in the fact, that again, I saw how far short I come in loving as Christ does. Loving with AGAPE love cannot happen apart from the GOD who showed us what it is, what it looks like. I have been challenged to what seems like an unattainable task.
I want to love like JESUS does. I really really want to. But, oh how I need His help. I can't do it on my own. I am asking Him to change me.

Judging others is something I have done way too frequently and I am convicted each and every time I do this. My thoughts mostly don't ever come out of my mouth, so people don't know that I am being critical of them. But I know, and more importantly, God knows. What bothers me most about this awful sim in my life is that I keep doing it. And I keep having to ask God to forgive me and cleanse me from this and then realizing that I will be judged on how I judge. UH OH.
My judgements aren't fair and I don't know what is going on in the other person's life and that's what makes it so wrong. Obviously, I want to change and believe with all that is within me, that God wants to change me. Now its up to me to ask for God's help and to start practicing the concept of asking God to re-direct my thoughts and take every thought captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ.

Then there's the tongue. Thankfully I can admit that God has been at work on this area of my life for years and I truly have seen an improvement. My oldest daughter reminded me last week of an awful remark I made to her in her junior high years in front of her friends, one i still cringe at today. I remember this moment well. I remember asking her to forgive me, which I totally believe that she did, but she and i both remember it 20 years later.
The tongue is powerful. In James 3 it says that we both bless God and curse men with it.
I am learning and I can see progress in my life in the area of my tongue. I am so very thankful that God put Scud in my life (for many reasons!!) but two in particular as it relates to the tongue: one is that he always thinks before he speaks and two that he will gently remind me when I don't.

So there you have it. The ugly ugly side of Missy. The side she doesn't want people to know about. The side that today God told me to write about. I so desperately want to be the woman that God envisions me to be. To be an example to the young women I have been blessed to do life with. To be like June Hoch Clodius and Recie Raley, my spiritual mentors. To be real and vulnerable and let them see how I long to do what Christ wants me to do and who He wants me to be.
Today I am letting you in the dark places in my life because I want to be transformed into someone who looks like Jesus, who loves like Jesus, who accepts people exactly where they are like Jesus does and who uses my tongue to affirm and encourage people, precisely what the Holy Spirit has done for me.

What will you do with what God shows you?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Sheer Gift?

James 1:2-4 The Message
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

Sheer joy when you experience trials, struggles and hard challenges??
That's not my first thought when something rocks my world upside down.
I usually would want to scream, kick and holler "UNFAIR".

Other versions say consider it pure joy.
Am I missing something here??
You bet I am.

We face challenges throughout all our lives. Some are HUGE and some are quite miniscule.
The smaller ones are things like: I hope I can pass this test, I studied (or not).
I hope I can get this deadline done. I need to be in 3 places at once, how did this happen? I promised a friend I would meet them, and my child gets sick.
My appointment is running late and I have to pick the kids up at school.
These are things that we face daily. Often for me a challenge is what shall I make for dinner tonight.
To be honest, these type of daily happenings don't cause me sheer joy. More like aggravation.
But I'm told to consider it a sheer gift. OK, so now what do I do??
I learn to thank God for the inconveniences in life. WHAT? did you expect everyday to be perfect and run smoothly??

But what about the life alternating challenges:
Like finding out you have a life threatening illness like cancer?
When your child is arrested?
When you are told your job is being terminated?
When your spouse leaves you?
When you have lost a dear loved one way too soon?
When you don't have near enough money to pay the bills?
When your unemployment checks stop coming?

These are things that hit us like a ton of bricks and practically knock the wind out of us. When life is crashing down on you and you can't see or think clearly but are completely thrown off kilter.
Yet James tells us to consider these trials as sheer gifts.
Why? Because GOD HIMSELF is up to something in our lives.
And if you are like me, you want the easy way out.

"OK, so I will endure this, but LORD, just let it be over quickly."

Most often, it doesn't end quickly.
I remember (oh so vividly) the trial we had with our sons. I was shaken to the core and thought nothing could be worse. In actuality, God was beginning to prepare me for much worse. But I remember asking someone, "how long do you think this will last?"
He began his answer with "Probably about two...."
I was sure he was going to say months, instead he said "Probably about two years".
Are you kidding me? I can't do this for two years.
But I did. And it did take two years. Two very long years.
Two very long years I would not trade for the world. Because in those two years, I learned more of God's faithfulness, mercy, forgiveness to me than I had ever experienced. It was worth every agonizing minute.
Would I want to experience it again? Well no.
But I have experienced worse since then.
And I know that God has a perfect timetable for all we go thru.
We want the end result quickly; and in God's eyes, two years is probably very quick.
Its in those long days and nights, when we cry out to God and wonder if He even hears us, that He is working out His good and perfect will for us. He is making us mature and well-developed in all the ways that matter to Him.

So when life throws you the ultimate curve ball and your life is is completely side swiped, begin to think of it, as a sheer gift. One where if you start thanking God for, He will sustain you until this challenge passes.
Thank God for what He is doing right now. Thank Him for what He will be doing thru this, for what you can't see yet, but hindsight will show you later.
And whatever you do, don't be like me and try and get out of it prematurely. Let this trial, pain and struggle help transform you into the person Our LORD envisions you to be.

PS A tremendous book to me during some of my hardest times has been ,
"the Blessings of Brokenness" by Charles Stanley. I highly recommend it.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


Wampy jomp. Its not a word or phrase you will find anywhere.
Except coming out of my mouth.
I used it the other night describing March Madness basketball, and my son and daughter, son-in-law, and Todd's best childhood friend, all began laughing at me.

"Such a mom word"
"I've never heard that before"
"what is wampy jomp?"

I think I might be hard pressed to describe what wampy jomp is.
Basically, its when things are really messed up.
Like when something is all tangled in knots, and for the life of me, I can't figure out how to get them undone, and I bring it to Scud (who is WAY MORE patient than me) and tell him, "this is all wampy jomp, can you fix it?" And most often, he does!!

Wampy jomp is when life looks all messy. And you can't figure it out.
Oh, you try. And you try some more, and yet still, its all tangled in a mess.
It may be with tangible things:like the knot, or when your laundry gets completely conjoined together in the washer.

Or it can be with the un-tangible.

Like with relationships. When you say something and it is taken the wrong way and feelings are hurt, and you wonder if there has been irrepairable harm.
Or when you really screw up:
If you have cheated or swindled from your job.
If you have cheated or broken vows with your spouse.
If you have gossiped and ruined another person's reputation.
If you have lied and been caught.

Wampy jomp is my term for when it looks totally out of whack and you can't see a way out. You think you see a solution and it doesn't work out. You ask friends for advice and they haven't a clue how to help.
You begin to wonder if things will ever work out.
When it gets like that, try going to the Master of Wampy Jomp. GOD.
He can take all the tangled, ugly missteps, mistakes, messiness of our lives and make them new again.

The famously quoted verse in Romans 8:28 NIV says:
"And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them."

All those messes, all those things we can't figure out, HE CAN.
HE has our best interests in mind always. HE knows what is the BEST.
So we can make our mistakes and HE can turn them into His masterpiece.
Making beauty out of our ashes.
Healing our jumbled lives.

So Wampy Jomp might be a term you are unfamiliar with, but remember it when you have lost your way. And return to the ONE who can straighten all things out and USE them for HIS purposes.

Friday, March 16, 2012

And another year passes

Today is the day that every year, as soon as I realize the date, my heart skips a beat, my mind freezes for a moment and then I write the day in my journal and begin to realize how faithful God has been.
March 16th. I never thought one day would be etched in my mind permanently.

March 16,2000 was the day I held my dad's hand, leaned in and laid my head on his chest, listened to the faint sounds of his breathing, and told him I would be OK and to go home to Jesus. It was a bittersweet moment. Sweet in the fact that I knew he was going to spend eternity with God, thankful that I knew with certainty that he was going to heaven. Bitter in that I was losing the dad i had loved so much. Thankful that I had the privilege of being with him as he left this life and entered into life eternal.
I still miss my dad. So much happens that I wish I could talk to him about. His grandchildren have grown into adults I am proud of, my daughter had given him 2 great grandsons, and my nieces have given him four more. So much I could share with him. I miss you Dad and think of you often.

March 16, 2005 is another day etched in my memory. It is the day that no parent wants to experience. My youngest daughter, battling depression and multiple health issues, couldn't see any way out, and tried to end her life. Words can never convey the horrific feelings, thoughts and fears I had that day. i will forever be grateful to my Father in heaven, for saving her that day by sending two angels to find her and rush her to the nearest hospital.

In the ensuing years, I have watched my daughter, blossom into a woman who has realized her limitations, and begun to pursue her amazing creativity, married a wonderful guy who absolutely adores her and she him.

So I am grateful for today. For how I have known God's faithfulnes to me, in the hardness of this day and for realizing that pain does diminish and that it doesn't stay with you always.

And I need to remember it today...for today. Because I am watching someone I love be in pain today and pray they too, will know God's faithfulness. I guess I am wanting for God to be present to them as much as He has been to me.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Great New Day

Winter has finally hit Woodleaf. It has been the most unusually warm winter here; and like the rest of our country, we have wondered "what the heck is going on?".
Well 2 nights ago, we began our first real storm of the season.
I actually left our Nor Cal regional meeting early to go home so that I would beat the brunt of the storm.
That night I was taken back into the winter of Narnia. As I drove up the road, known as the Challenge grade, I was blown away by the breath taking beauty of the freshly fallen snow covering the road and trees. I wish I could have captured it in a picture.
It was truly magical. The road had not been plowed yet and I heard the crunch of my tires on the pristine snow. I was mesmerized by the absolute stunning beauty of the night and repeatedly thanked God for this unexpected pleasure and being able to fully appreciate the minutes I was given to relish this spectacular sight. These are the moments that I love being able to live in the mountains.

And what did I wake up to again this morning?

This means another glorious day of sitting by the woodburning stove with both my pups next to me sipping on my hot coffee and being able to spend time with the Creator in an extended period of time.
I did the same thing yesterday-ALL DAY. I read and read...from a terrific $1 find from the dollar store entitled, Sin Boldy, A field Guide for Grace, by Cathleen Falsani. What a book and what a deal!!! I spent most of the day reading, reflecting and praying over what I had read.
I don't think I could ever adequately express the Grace of God. I don't know if any of us can, but this little book and Phillip Yancey's "Whats so Amazing about Grace" have both challenged me and made me so grateful for God's too numerous to count, unmerited favor to me.
Today I am again in awe of My God. I am grateful beyond words. I have fallen more in love with the One and Only God who loves me in spite of who I am. Who truly LOVES me, and even likes me. (when there are so many many times when I can't even like myself).
Earlier this morning, I began reading in the Gospel of John. I barely got thru the 1st chapter.
" In Him was life and that life was the light of all men".

My regional director, Randy Jackson, continually points us to the fact that "CHRIST IS LIFE". Yeah, I know that. You probably know that too. But do we live like we know that??
Do we get that "In Him was life"?
Why, oh why, do we wonder what is going on in our individual lives, and try to figure out what to do, when Jesus Christ is the answer to our life.
How do we even begin to ponder life's great struggles, problems, pain, without going to the Source of Life?
Often, repeatedly way too often, have I tried to figure out life on my own. And then, after confusion, doubt and just plain stupidity, I finally go to the ONE who created life, who has ALL the answers I need. Who longs to guide me to the BEST way.

Towards the end of John 1, Jesus says to Philip, " FOLLOW ME".
I believe this is what He is saying to me.
Follow Me. Because I have the answers to life. I am the Sustainer of your life. I am the One who created you and has unbelievable plans for you. I have My Best for you.
And just like the beauty of the snow, so white, pure, untouched and undefiled, that is what Christ will do for our lives. He takes the garbage, sin and. pollution that has taken us captive, and waves His mercy and forgiveness over and thru us, and gives us a fresh start.
What a beautiful way to start this day and EVERYDAY!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Stand Still

Exodus 14:14 says:
"The LORD will fight for you; you need only to stand still."

Hmmm. What does this mean? When does this apply to me?
Well, I am not for sure certain, but perhaps we are to stand still when:
. You have been wronged. You want to retaliate. You want to clear your name and
. Your child goes off in the wrong direction. You have tried your best to raise you
your kids to know and follow Jesus, but they are asserting their independence
and they want nothing to do with you or your God.
, Your spouse has betrayed you. Had an affair. You are divorced. And you want
others to know you really tried and gave it your all.
. You have been misunderstood by your friend or your group of friends-and now they
are keeping their distance from you.
. Your reputation has been tarnished or even ruined. You beg to tell your side of
the story.
. You have been passed over for a promotion and someone very less deserving gets it.
You don't understand.
. Your prayers go unanswered, or so it seems. And you are trying to go ahead.

There could be tons of reasons for why we might be called to stand still.
Why does God ask this of us at times?
Because He wants us to know that HE is more capable of fighting our battles then we could ever be.
He wants us to trust Him in the midst of uncertainty, confusion, fear, loneliness and isolation.

Standing still requires absolutely no effort on our part. And that is where the difficulty lies. We don't want to stand by and do nothing. We want to fight for our rights, for our reputation. We live in a society that shouts to us that we can do it. We can decide our own fate. We don't need others to tell us what to do or not to do. We are fully capable of living our lives, our way.
Oh what a lie that is.
We need others. We need God desperately.
But we want to be our own boss. We don't want to have to wait on God.

Do you ever wonder why God tells us to do certain things? Commands us to follow His way? Its because HE alone is the ONE who has all the answers. To ALL of life's questions, dilemmas. To all the injustices we face.
I hate to stand still. I want things NOW.
Fortunately, God has shown me repeatedly thru the years, that there are some situations where I can do nothing. Where I am not in control at all. That I just have to stand still and let the LORD fight for me.
Do I like it? Absolutely not. Is it hard? You bet it is.
But do I trust Him? A resounding YES.
Does HE see everything you and I go thru? YES.
When we are maligned, He will vindicate us in His timing. He will do the fighting.
WE just have to stand still. And go nowhere. And that is hard to do. Really hard.

Is there something right now, that God might be causing you to stand still and Let Him do the fighting??
It really can be a burden lifted, that was never meant for us to carry.

But do you TRUST GOD? For me, He has NEVER proved to be anything but Trustworthy.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

But I think i am more like his grandson.

Yesterday I wrote about Abraham ( and his obedience to God, even at the possible cost of his dear son's life. IF only- I could and would obey God at all times- my life would undoubtedly be much more peaceful. Abraham's life challenges me to be the person God envisions me to be. One who looks more Christ like.

Today in Genesis 27, I read the story of Jacob, the younger of Isaac's twin sons, receiving the blessing that is intended for the first born.
There are just so many things wrong with this story.
Earlier in Genesis 25 we are told that Isaac favors Esau the first born, while his wife Rebekah favors Jacob, the younger twin.
OK this is the first thing wrong. You just can't play favorites among your children. It causes too many hard feelings. Yes, there are times when one child usurps the favored child in a family, but hopefully this doesn't last.
For years I have endured the remarks of my daughters that one brother is the favorite child of mine and never gets in trouble. So I know this is NOT TRUE, but what did I do that made them feel that way?? I know for awhile that this particular son received more of my prayers than the other children (but trust me, he needed them!). But I truly have no favorite. I love each of my kids with abandon.

But back to Genesis 27.
So Isaac is old and we are told he can't see anymore. He has a conversation with Esau and tells him to go hunt some wild game, make a tasty meal and bring it back to his father and then Isaac promises to give Esau the blessing due him. Off goes Esau to do what his father asked.
Meanwhile, Rebekah overhears the conversation (this too could be very wrong). Maybe she was just passing by and heard but maybe too, she was eavesdropping.
Regardless, she then begins to take things in her own hands.
She tells Jacob to hurry and fetch some goats so that she can prepare a meal for Isaac just the way he likes it. Then she proceeds to dress Jacob in Esau's clothing so that he can fool his father into thinking that he is the first born, and then he will receive the blessing.
Way too many wrong things here:
The deception is rampant. Dressing Jacob in Esau's clothes to pursuade the blind man from seeing the reality of the situation.
The lies Jacob tells his father . Twice he tells his father that he is Esau.
The manipulation of Rebekah of the situation scares me.

So the ending of the story is that Isaac is indeed deceived. Jacob receives the blessing intended for Esau. Esau is devestated and wants another blessing but from then on is intent on paying his brother back by planning to kill him after his father dies. Again Rebekah gets wind of this and tells Isaac they need to send Jacob back to her family to find a wife for him so that he won't marry Canaanite women as his brother did. Another deception.

In Rebekah's manipulation of the event, she doesn't trust God from what He told her while she was pregnant with the twins in Genesis 24- that the older would serve the younger. She did what she thought needed to happen, instead of believing God.
Makes me wonder how many times I have done the same thing? Manipulated circumstances to get what I think God would want, without trusting Him to work out His will in His timing. How much do I manipulate to get what I want?
Then there is the deception and lying: Jacob pretending to be Esau, dressed in his brothers clothes to make him smell like his brother. And then lying, repeatedly to get the blessing.
Do I lie and deceive to get what I want? Unfortunately, I have to admit that I have. Probably too many times and that makes me cringe.
Have my lies caused or encouraged my children, both those physically born to me, and those that have become my "spiritual children", to be deceptive as well?
Do I really believe God's promises to me? Will I wait on them to prove true? Or will I manipulate the situation?

Oh the implications of just this one chapter of Genesis 27.
One thought that struck me today is: when i realize that I am being manipulative, deceptive and lying, will I confess those sins immediately and ask the LORD to cleanse me of ALL the unrighteousnss in my life?
My prayer is that I will do that immediately.
And that you too, will do likewise.

Monday, February 6, 2012

OH to be like Abraham

The story is just not fair. It is not right at all. How can God ask that of anyone?

Imagine the day-going about your everyday life, working , being with family, enjoying what God has given you...and THEN, God visits you and tells you to go offer Him what is Most dear and precious to you.
This is the story of Genesis 22.
Aside from the story of the Crucifixion, no other chapter in the bible affects me more.
It is in this story, that the LORD tells Abraham to go sacrifice his son, Isaac as a burnt offering. You know, the son that Abraham waited for 100 years for. The son that God had promised him would be his heir.
And the Bible tells us "that early the next morning" Abraham left on the mission God had commanded him.
Talk about a restless night. Abe , I am sure , did not sleep that night.
What is God asking me to do? Why is He telling me to offer Isaac? And what in the world do I tell Sarah?

But Abraham went and the story tells us that when he found the exact place God had told him on Moriah, that he built an altar, arranged the wood, bound Isaac and laid him on the altar, and just as his knife was about to slay his son,an angel of the LORD stopped him.
And people say the BIBLE is boring??
God, in the bushes, had provided a ram to be the sacrificial lamb.
And because of Abraham's obedience all the nations of the world would be blessed.
That means us. Thru Abraham's offspring, we all are blessed; because of one man's complete trust and obedience to God.
As a parent of four, nothing scares me more than losing one of my children.
I have some dear dear friends who have lost their precious daughter recently, and my heart still aches daily for them.
I love Kristi, Todd, Katie and Ryan with ALL that is within me. I would do anything for them. I would do anything to save their lives-even if it meant forgoing mine. A parents love for a child, cannot be adequately explained. Words can't express the deep deep love I have for my kids.
And i know Abraham felt the same about Isaac. And yet he was willing to sacrifice him in order to obey God.
To be honest, I don't know if I could.
That could be troubling.
And yet, this morning I am reminded again, that this is exactly what God the Father did for us.
He sacrificed His only begotten son for us. JESUS CHRIST became the sacrificial Lamb for my sins. God could have saved Him. He could have done it another way. Jesus could have called on legions of angels to stop His death. But neither did.
Because this was the ONLY way we could be saved.
I know that God the Father loves so much more than me. His capacity for love outweighs more than my mind could completely comprehend. He loved His Only Son with all that was within Him. And yet He sacrificed Him for us...for all mankind.

Genesis 22 is an amazing story of obedience.
One that challenges me and causes me to pray for that kind of obedience. One that challenges me to believe God and Trust Him, when everything in life tells me not to.
But Genesis 22 is a love story too.
A love of a man for his God. A love that trusted God enough to provide another lamb to offer. And a tremendous fortelling of the greatest love story of ALL time.
Yes, I want to be like Abraham.
I want to obey God even when it seems illogical, impractical.
When everyone around me might think I am crazy.
I want to obey God like Abraham. Because GOD loved me (and you) enough, to sacrifice His Most Precious Son, so that we might know and enjoy His love to us.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Beginning

Mornings are my favorite time of the day. Yes, I am a morning person.
Living at Woodleaf in the winter (even this winter when it doesn't feel or resemble any winter that I have spent here...way too warm) means waking up and starting a fire in the woodburning stove, turning the coffee on and getting ready to sit on our loveseat couch with my 2 favorite pups, Riley and Cody, and having time with JESUS. I love this time each and every day.

If you know me, or have read any of my blog posts, you will know that I LOVE the WORD OF GOD. As a newlywed 36 years ago, I was privileged to be mentored by two women who have greatly impacted my life: June Hoch Clodius and Recie Raley.
Recie challenged me to ask God to give me a love for His Word. After about 10 years, I realized how much I loved His Word. Today, even 25 plus years later, I love it more. For it allows me to know my God. Or rather to scratch the surface of knowing Him.
I'm not sure exactly how long its been, but somewhere between 15 and 20 yrs ago, I began reading thru the Bible each year. Its not a "religious or legalistic" thing. For me, I just know that I want to know more of God. So to do that, I have to be in His Word. Even in the dry periods, even in the most pain staking times of my life, I need to hear and remember God's promises to me. I don't follow a plan, I don't read thru from Genesis to Revelation. I just start where I believe the LORD has led me.
This year I started in Psalms, probably because I started the year grieving the loss of a dear man and wanted to hear from those who knew and had experienced the same type of feelligs I had. That asked God the "why" questions that i was asking.
This week I began Genesis. Oh how I love this book.
Genesis means beginning. And Genesis is the beginning of God's story with mankind.
Everyday I am reminded of God's truth and His promises to us. Somedays His Spirit reveals something new to me, othertimes I am reminded of truths that I need to always remember.
Notes in my journal from this week include:
Genesis 1-We were made in the image of God, in His likeness. WOW what God intended for us!
Genesis 2- After the creation, God rested from His work. If God needed to rest and HE is GOD, why do we not do the same?
Genesis 3-the Fall of mankind. Eve was deceived because she didn't remember exactly what God had said. That is why it is so important for us to know God's Word. To be in it daily, to let His Spirit speak to us;to take time to meditate on it and let it sink deep into our hearts and minds. Because when we do that, we won't be deceived by the enemy's lies and half truths or by others who mistakenly not speak His truth.
Genesis 4- God tells Cain that sin is crouching at the door, desiring to have you, but that he must master it. Do I let sin crouch at my door? Do you? Do we realize how letting sin into our life for even an inch, moves us a little bit farther from God? And that one sin often leads us easily into another? Oh Father, that we would not let sin take us, but that we would turn to You for help.
Genesis 5-10 tells the story of Noah and his descendants.
"The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclusion of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The LORD was grieved that He had made man on the earth and His heart was filled with pain."
That, for me, is one of the saddest verses in all of Scripture. That God was grieved that He had made man and His heart was filled with pain. And that he was going to put an end to all the people. I look at the wickedness and evil that permeates our world today, and my heart is in pain. I wonder how God's must feel.
Thankfully there was Noah. "But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD..Noah was a righteous man, blameless among all the people of his time, and he walked with God.
Because of Noah, we are still here. Mankind continues. Do you realize that if there had not been this one righteous man who followed God, none of us would be here. Even one righteous man can save the world. Amazing.
Can you imagine Noah obeying God and building this massive ark, all the while, people around him being so evil and wicked and most likely making fun of this man building this monstrosity of a thing? The years of humiliation he endured while obeying His God? And yet, because of His obedience, mankind endured. Kind of humbles me when I think of how some may make fun of me for following Christ.
But God did not destroy mankind and the earth, and everytime we see a rainbow, we should be reminded of His Promise that he will never destroy the earth again with a flood.
Then chapter 11 of Genesis tells us the story of the tower of Babel.
In Genesis 9:1 God tells Noah and his sons "to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth". Well Noah's descendants didn't do that. They settled in what was ancient Babylon and decided to build a tower " so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth."
Ummm guys, that is not what God said to do. So He came down and completely confused their speech so as they wouldn't understand each other and their plans were thwarted, and now they had to separate and go off in different directions (and fill the earth).
Why, oh why, do I (we) think we can go against God's commands or His will and believe that nothing will happen to us. How foolish we can be. Does His word not say that He will get the last laugh (Ps 59). God's will and His plans can never be thwarted by our disobedience. When we disobey, God can do crazy things to get our attention!!
And next comes Abraham!!
I could write blogs on this man, the friend of God (james 2:23).
So for now, I will pause and be thankful that God's word is fresh each day, that His mercies are new every morning and Great is His Faithfulness to us.
How about you beginning to ask God to give you a love for His Word, starting today?