Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Wiggle Room

Last night was our Ladies Christmas Dinner at church. We had such a wonderful time of talking, laughing, crying, and of course - eating!

We decided this year, since times are tight for so many of us, that instead of a gift exchange, we would take a minute for each woman to tell what she is going to give to God this year. It was so encouraging and inspiring to hear what is on the hearts of women.

It got me to thinking..... As women, we bear the weight of the world on our shoulders. Let's face it ladies.... we keep things going. Our homes are just like any other business. If it didn't have a competent business manager, things would fall apart. Our lives are so busy, there is no wiggle room some days.

So I decided, in 2009 I'm going to build in Wiggle Room! Just like anything else I put on my schedule and make sure gets done.... I'm going to schedule myself some wiggle room! Wouldn't that be nice? Time to sit down for a minute and listen to my son read to me, or time to see if I can beat my oldest son in Jeopardy. Time to not just dip the baby in the tub and call it a bath, but sit and watch him play in the bubbles.

My laid back, easy going husband has taught me so much. He drove me crazy in the beginning really - because it DIDN'T get worked up over the little things. I thought that meant he didn't care enough. But then I realized he figured something out that I needed to do more of.... "Not Sweating The Small Stuff". So, when I went to my ladies dinner last night and he fixed Deer Meat Summer Sausage, Fish Sticks, and Applesauce for dinner for the kids - I chose to see the blessing in it (he fixed them dinner) instead of freaking out at the horrible combination of food and lack of vegetables!

I'm going to build in the wiggle room I need to ENJOY the small stuff, instead of sweatin' the small stuff!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Little Fish in a Big Pond

Do you ever feel that way sometimes.... like you're just a little fish in a big pond? What I can possibly do or say that is really going to change the world? Well, the truth is, there is nothing you or I can do or say without God that really matters.

I was watching Seabiscuit last night. I'm not much of a movie watcher, I'm a little too restless to sit still that long. When I finally sit down to watch one it is generally several years old. So, I'm sure most of you have seen this movie. It was fantastic. My 8 year old kept asking me why Peter Parker was riding the horse. If you didn't see Spiderman, you won't get that one :) Anyway, there was a clear message to me in this movie... little people - all of us really - can do big things when we have the right instructor.

Our God is the Ultimate Instructor! He always sees something in us even when we're broken. He doesn't give up on us, even when others want to shoot us down. He sees a prize in us!

I noticed another thing too in this movie... Seabiscuit and his trainer never stopped working hard. It is so important that we work and serve. I truly the believe the day we stop serving in some way - sacrificially - is the day our relationship with Christ heads in a backward direction. Sure, we're going to get knocked down and burned. Sometimes people may even say it's time to hang up the saddle - but we know the truth! The truth is, we serve an almighty God. And serve is a verb! An action word!

God wants to do extraordinary things through you! Have you settled for ordinary because you're not giving God enough room to do extraordinary things through you?

As we're approaching a new year, and many of us make resolutions, I am encouraging all of my friends to take a look at how we can all serve a little more this new year. What can I do for the Kingdom? What can I give up to give more?

Have a blessed day! Smile at someone today.... you never know what they're going through.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Are You There God? It's Me, Rachel.

I remember a book from my "tween" years about a girl named Margaret who desperately wanted boobs. And she talked to God about it on a very regular basis! Boy to go back and have those "problems" again - piece of cake!

Do you ever look at another person's problems and wish your's could only be so small and trivial? But to that person, they seem monumental. And then God gently ~ or sometimes not so gently if you're stubborn like me ~ gives you a fresh perspective of someone with larger trials than yours. Well, the truth is, we all have trials, and we all have times that our picture of God gets a little fuzzy and we find ourselves asking "Are you there God? It's me!"

Of course, we know He's always there. Sometimes we just need to open our eyes ~ quite literally!

Right after my first husband and I split up I was scared. And I'll never forget my oldest son asking me "Who is going to be the man of our house now?" My answer to him was "God will be the man of this house". My son was around 9 years old at the time, and I could tell he wanted to step in and protect his mommy and take care of things, but I knew it would be an awesome opportunity for him to "See" God. We put a poster board up on the wall of our living room and each day the three of us would either write down how God took care of us that day, or we would put a picture up there or something as a reminder that God was with us. It was really awesome to see how my boys saw God.

One day, several weeks after the separation, my oldest son had gotten really sick and doubt was started to set in. He told me he wasn't seeing God as much. I prayed to God that morning, "Please reveal yourself to my child, God. I know you're there, but he's having a hard time seeing you and I need him to know everything is going to be o.k."

I didn't have a vehicle at the time, so I was borrowing my dad's truck. We drove to the doctor in Brownsburg, and it was such a beautiful fall day, I decided to take the back roads home and enjoy the beauty. We were out in the middle of nowhere and the truck just stopped. Right there in the middle of the road. My first reaction was "Great! I asked for you to reveal yourself, and now this? My son is sure to think you're not with us now!" Boy did I underestimate things! I looked over and he had bowed his little head and was praying (yes, I'm crying now even today as I'm writing this). He grabbed my hand and we prayed together. It seemed like we prayed for several minutes, just for God to take care of us. I promise you, this next part is true: we opened our eyes and there was a flatbed truck backing up to our truck. We just kinda looked at each other like it must be a dream. The man walked back to us, I rolled down my window and he said "It looks like you need some help". My son said to him "Hey... did you know that you're an answer to my prayer?" The guy smiled at us and said he hadn't heard that in a while. He told me he was going to Danville and asked where we were going. Where do you think we were going? Of course.... Danville! How awesome is our God?

We got home and I called my dad. I was very worried about the truck and knew I didn't have the money to fix it, but I was sure I had broken it. My dad began apologizing all over himself. He had forgotten to tell me the gas gauge was broken and it looked like it always had 3/4 of a tank. I laughed and laughed, and told my dad not to apologize. It had all happened just like it was supposed to happen that day.

I asked God to reveal himself, and he did in an unforgettable way! My son will never forget that day as long as he lives.

Look for God today.... I promise ~ you'll find him!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Open mouth... insert foot

I am notorious for opening my mouth when it should just stay closed. It gets me in trouble a lot! Sometimes I say things that somehow in my brain seemed like the right thing to say, yet somehow when it came out, it was just downright hurtful. Other times, I think it was never really in my brain at all. Because a person who used their brain would never say that.

Then there are just good old fashioned blonde moments. Take last night for example. We went to see our niece's swim meet. I was amazed at the stamina of these girls. Lap after lap they continued to push themselves to a new limit with each stroke. Truly I was impressed with these girls. So you would think I could've just said "Wow, they're really good", and that would've made my point. But noooooo, I had to utter a phrase that I will not live down for the rest of my life, or at least as long as my brother-in-law lives to tell about it. I intended to say "I couldn't even doggie paddle that long" BUT here's what came out of my mouth "I couldn't even doggie-style that long". Needless to say, I wanted to crawl in a hole. No, I wanted to vanish into thin air, never to be seen by the people at that swim meet again. I don't know who's face was more red, mine or J.C.'s, but either way, it was a moment I will never forget and it ranks up there as one of my most embarassing.

So this got me to thinking about the mouth and the tongue. Did you know that James mentions it in every chapter of his book in the Bible? I think it must be something that God knows can get us into a lot of trouble. It can also be a mighty tool, if we choose to use it the right way. Nothing is more telling of the heart than the tongue. Whew... now there's some perspective!

Today, I am going to make a conscious effort to encourage someone with my words, to stop and find something nice to say about the people around me. I'm going to pray that God will help me use my tongue as a tool, not a weapon.

And I think I'll stay away from swim meets for a while.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

So I was Thinking...

So I was thinking...

Sometimes I get really lazy and don't pick up my bible and read it as often as I should. Truly, if I were to be perfectly honest with you, there are times when I put it down in between the front seats on my van on Sunday after church and it's right there where I put it the following Sunday right before I go in to church.

I consider myself to be an analytical person ~ always trying to think of what the "other person" is thinking, or what they will do. However, it occurred to me the other day that I have never really stopped to consider what Satan is thinking.

I was reading in Matthew when Satan is tempting Jesus. 3 times he tempts Jesus, and 3 times Jesus resists. At one point during this interaction between Satan and Jesus ~ Satan actually quotes scripture from Psalms to Jesus. Trying to twist it and make it something different from it's original meaning. So, there are a couple of things that jumped out at me. First and foremost - Satan knows scripture!! And he uses it against us. Have you ever interpreted scripture one way, and then some light was shed on it and you realized you were making it into something it wasn't to justify a choice you had made? This is what I'm talking about. Satan knows scripture!! If you pay attention to nothing else today - ponder that one for a while. So, if Satan knows scripture (and he does!) what do we need to do? Know it better! Wow - that's a perspective on leaving my bible in between the seats for 7 days untouched.

The second thing I learned from this scripture is that Jesus was prepared. He had fasted for 40 days and nights - Ready for the attack. And trust me, there will be attack. How prepared am I when my Bible is sitting in my van?

The last thing that really popped out at me is that Jesus stayed firm and consistent, telling Satan to get away. At the end, it said the Satan went away and Jesus was surrounded by angels. Within each believer is the Holy Spirit, which gives us the power to tell Satan to get away from us. Are we calling upon that power enough? Do we really trust that it is a resource we have? When is the last time you told Satan to get away and leave you ~ and your family ~ alone?

Something tells me that this Sunday I will be convicted to take my Bible into the house after church - and use it!