Monday, July 26, 2010

Under Construction Continued


We're making progress on the bathroom renovation. In one week we went from old to torn apart to brand new. Of course there's still lots of dust around here.

My spiritual transformation is taking quite a bit longer! I'm so glad God is patient with me. He doesn't give up when I make the same mistakes over and over. He doesn't abandon me as a hopeless case because He is the God of all hope.

We're making progress. I'm not the girl I used to be, and I'm not the girl I will become. Transformation is exciting to watch -- whether it's a bathroom remodel or a changed heart.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Under Construction



We've been dreaming of remodeling our bathrooms for several years now. Today is the official beginning of that dream. I woke up excited. But, now ..................... well, now it's just LOUD. Today is the tearing down day. I hear jackhammers, crumbling tile, and collapsing metal. It's a mess. But, before you build, you must tear down.

Mmmmm. Makes me think the same can be said of us spiritually. Before God builds something new in our lives, He must tear down -- tear down the old habits, the misconceptions, the unforgiveness. He might even need to jackhammer through our hardened hearts. And that can be painful.

But, our master builder has a great plan in mind. When He tears down, it's to build something much better. Yes, it might be messy. But the end results are worth it -- in home construction and in life!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Women and Bible Study

I'm in the middle of the "Ruth" Bible study by Kelly Minter. You know one of the best things about it? I'm studying it with girlfriends. We meet each Tuesday night and share our insights and discoveries and joys and struggles. We laugh -- the loud kind of laughter! And sometimes we're quiet -- but, to be truthful, that doesn't happen very often.

God has already knit my heart together with these women. Some I've known for years. Others are new friends. Our ages range from the 20's to the 80's. Don't you just love that! We have a new baby, more than one rebellious child, broken hearts, and even some loneliness. But the thing that knits us together the most is our love for Jesus. That's it. We all love Jesus and want to learn to love Him more.

That's what motivates us to leave our homes to come together each Tuesday -- even when it's pouring rain. Our love for each other is blossoming as our love for Jesus grows.

Are you part of a group of women who love God's Word? I'd love to hear about it.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Keep Praying

Do you ever grow weary of praying for the same request over and over -- perhaps even for years? That's how I was feeling this morning. I had some discouraging news. Seems that instead of progress being made, the opposite happened. I felt . . . tired.

Then God reminded me that He is at work even when I see the opposite of what I've been praying for. Hmmmmm. I guess the question is: Will I walk by sight or will I walk by faith?

Sometimes I let my emotions take over and I walk by sight. Thankfully God doesn't leave me there for long. He gently reminds me to put my eyes back on Him -- the invisible. But, our invisible God is much more real and solid than anything our eyes can see.

So, this morning I choose to walk by faith -- trusting God to be working in and through this problem. I will keep my eyes on the invisible so I can see the impossible come to pass.

Thanks God.
Mk 10:27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Keep Learning

I just got back yesterday from a 3-day seminar on speaking skills with CLASSeminars. I was privileged to learn from Florence Littauer, who has trained over 30,000 speakers! Ongoing training is so essential to staying current in any field.

It was hard! The first 2 days we were asked to give a 3-minute talk -- with ONLY 5 minutes to prepare! I've never had to think SO fast. But, we all did it.

I learned great tips for finding speaking topics, making quick outlines, and sharing stories. I'm sure I'll use this newly acquired knowledge soon.

I also met a special friend named Sonya, who was on an incredible journey of faith -- trusting God to provide for her every need as she pursues her dream of speaking. I love how God can knit our hearts together so quickly. God is love, and He puts love in our hearts.

So, the past few days I've learned much about speaking and even more about faith. I wonder what God will teach me next.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Women Are So Great

Women are so nurturing and caring. I posted my latest health concern on Facebook and promptly received several responses offering advice and concern. I'm thankful to have friends who care and take the time to say so. Why do we sometimes suffer in silence when help is only a phone call (or a Facebook posting) away?

So, I'm resolving to eat better, exercise more, and take better care of my body -- the temple of the Holy Spirit of the Living God. Sure hope my friends hold me accountable to that!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Young Women

Even though I'm in my 50's, I like hanging out with younger women. I love their energy, excitement, and their honest questions. They want to know how to do life and don't mind admitting that they don't know everything. I find that refreshing. (I don't know everything either, so why pretend I do?)

I've met 2 new young women recently -- I'll just call them M and R since I haven't asked permission to share about them yet. They are both adorable young things and so eager to serve God in the area of women's ministry. Ahhhh, common ground. I love serving God while serving women.

I feel as if I'm watching the beginning of something wonderful -- 2 women launching into ministry. M and R feel God tugging on their hearts, but have yet to discover all He has planned for them. Excitement awaits.

What will their ministries look like?
Who will serve with them?
Who will mentor them along the way?

I hope I can have some bit of impact on them. I want to help. But, I also know they have much to learn directly from the hand of God -- and He is a masterful teacher.

I want to say to M and R and all the other young women serving God who might be reading this --
  • I'm proud of you and
  • follow your dream and
  • stay the course and
  • run the race and
  • have fun along the way and
  • be true to your God and
  • always love Him more than you love what you do for Him!

There are lots of us "older" women cheering you on, watching you and loving you. Thanks for catching hold of the dream that we share.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Friends

Had a visit from a dear friend last week -- the kind of friend you haven't seen in awhile -- but you catch right up with the first hug. Linda has been my friend for at least 15 years now. We share common passions - quilting and the Bible (not necessarily in that order.) And we just love each other. I'd even go so far as to say we delight in each other.

Linda is a friend who points out my better qualities and graciously forgives me when I'm less than my best. She expresses her love and pride in me often. We laugh together and cry together as we remember past experiences and places and faces.

Friends like Linda are a rare treasure. May you be blessed by that kind of friendship. Better yet, may we all be blessed to BE that kind of friend.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Encouragement

Where do you find encouragement? We all need it. We all want it. Where do we find it?

Sometimes I find it right on the pages of scripture. Other times God uses people to speak a word of hope, challenge or encouragement to my heart at just the right time.

I needed encouragement this weekend. Nothing was really wrong. It's just so easy to grow a little . . . complacent. Maybe I was taking God's amazing presence a bit for granted. I wasn't even aware of it until . . . God spoke.

He used Tina Hutchison at the women's breakfast Saturday. Visit her at http://tina4hope.blogspot.com/ Wow that girl can speak and sing. She has a God-given passion that is contagious. I'm so glad some of it rubbed off on me! Tina challenged us to STEP OUT with God -- even when we're afraid -- even when it's hard. It's worth the risk to STEP OUT in faith to follow a trustworthy God who desires the best for His children.

I want my faith to be contagious. I want my passion for God to rub off on people I meet. I want to be different and to make a difference. I truly want all that -- but to be honest, I just don't want it to be hard or scary or risky.

But it is.

So sometimes I find myself playing it safe. And I'm tired of safe.

Tina's message on Saturday intrigued me so much that I followed her to our college and 20's Sunday School class to hear more from her. I tried to blend in -- think anyone noticed I was a tad older than the rest of the class?

Tina encouraged me again with God's Word from Ephesians 5:16 -- to redeem the time -- to make the most of the time -- of every opportunity. And I realized I don't want to waste time, or bide my time, or pass the time.

So now I know what I don't want: to play it safe and waste time. I don't want to fall back into complacency. I wonder how my life will change if I do more than just listen to what God spoke into my life this weekend. I wonder.

Friday, January 29, 2010

International Justice Mission

I had the privilege of speaking to some young people on the admin staff at International Justice Mission (IJM). These incredible people in their 20's and 30's moved to Washington DC from all over the US and several other countries as well. I sensed such a love for God and a desire to serve Him through serving others.

I shared the opening devotion before they began a full day of training. Our topic was What Happens When You Put "Both Feet In" To Follow God? Using the story of Peter walking on water, we looked at 6 points from scripture -- 6 things we need to know about being fully committed to God.

These young men and women were so responsive in sharing bits of their lives in the short time we had together. They were ready to hear a message from God and attentive to His Word. I was so touched that I plan to continue to pray for them each week. And I came away encouraged. Funny how ministry is --I am often the one most blessed when I serve.

I also came away impressed by IJM as an organization of excellence that cares for its people. Ongoing training, daily personal quiet time and group prayer time are provided. No wonder they are doing such incredible work around the world. Here's some information from their website:

International Justice Mission is a human rights agency that secures justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. IJM lawyers, investigators and aftercare professionals work with local governments to ensure victim rescue, to prosecute perpetrators and to strengthen the community and civic factors that promote functioning public justice systems.

IJM's justice professionals work in their communities in 12 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America to secure tangible and sustainable protection of national laws through local court systems.

I'm so proud of the young men and women I met. I know God has great plans for their lives.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

CPC Women's Retreat

Just returned from speaking at a women's retreat in picturesque Middleburg. God is our ROCK, our foundation, our petra. He is huge and immovable and safe and secure, but He is so much more. We studied building stones and living stones and capstones in a lodge-like room with stone walls. Only God could arrange such a setting -- of course, He is the Master Builder.

Had the privilege of meeting some giving, caring, growing, joyful, hurting, living, active women who love God. They invited me into their community and their lives, and I will not forget them. I gain so much from a retreat weekend, including a new memory and new friends.

Still singing "Jesus You're Beautiful" in my mind. Thanks women of Centreville Presbyterian Church! Thank you God.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Family Christmas?

Well, it's been a month since I last blogged. Life just caught up with me -- winding down a semester-long Bible study, speaking at a Christmas brunch, researching for a retreat message to be presented in January, preparing for our sons coming home for Christmas. Life became busy and sweet at the same time. I'm thankful for seasons like that. Not every Christmas has been quite so tranquil.

You might be asking how it could be busy and tranquil at the same time. Inner peace and no major Life Tremors explains it best. I didn't send Christmas cards, didn't decorate the house as much as I used to, didn't bake countless cookies. But, I did enjoy sharing family moments.

Now before you picture a Norman Rockwell family (I hope you're old enough to know who Norman Rockwell is), let me set you straight. Most of our sweet family moments revolved around ice hockey practice and games. Our family has a history and a shared passion of ice hockey. It started long ago when our oldest son took up the sport; it continues today. We have memories of cold ice rinks, early morning practices, and long road trips in the middle of winter. We remember amateur games as well as our beloved Washington Capitals professional games. If it involves a puck, we probably love it.

Funny how shared history can bond you together despite the years and miles. Hmmm. Not a traditional family Christmas, but a really good one. We even ate at a vegan restaurant Christmas eve. Why? Because we love our son who's found a different diet and we adapt, because that's what families do.

Hope your Christmas was filled with family memories.