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!