Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Fun Day

I just experienced one of my best mornings in ministry to women. I had the privilege of speaking to a MOPS group in Woodbridge. MOPS is a great organization for moms of young children. My topic was the Maze of Marriage -- marriage is like a maze in that you don't always know where you're going, there are twists and turns, you run into dead ends --- but there's lots of adventure.

We talked about how much work marriage can be. We laughed together at how alike we can be as women and how different we are from men. It's good to laugh. It's healthy to laugh. It's refreshing to laugh. We need to laugh more.

The morning just got better when I was able to encourage a couple young women whose marriages were struggling. I couldn't offer all the answers, but I could point them in the right direction. I could offer HOPE -- hope that a marriage in crisis could become a marriage in bloom because God is the ultimate healer.

I love to encourage women. It's just how God wired me, and it's fun when we do what He's wired us to do.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Beanie Weenies

God can speak in the most surprising ways. Today He spoke through Beanie Weenies. Well, maybe He didn't exactly speak through Beanie Weenies, but I heard Him through Beanie Weenies.

I was at my church visiting some of the staff during their lunch hour. It's always good to "happen" to be at church around lunch time on Thursdays, because Wednesday night is the weekly church dinner, and sometimes there are leftovers. Well, today there were -- and the leftovers were Beanie Weenies.

I must confess I didn't really eat any leftover Beanie Weenies, but others did. I chatted with a few friends while they ate. Then on my way out the door I spotted a HomeLife magazine, so I scanned the cover to see if there were any articles I might want to read. A phrase caught my eye -- Why God loves long-shot prayers, so I took a quick look. Here's how the article by Steven Furtick began (I am NOT making this up.)

"If you're not daring to believe God for the impossible, you're sleeping through some of the best parts of your Christian life. A lot of Christians I know stagger through life in a daze. Suffering from post-traumatic faith disorder, they hunker down in the basement, open a can of Beanie Weenies, and wait for the end of the world. It was never meant to be this way. . ."

There they were -- those Beanie Weenies -- right in the midst of an article on daring to ask God for the impossible. Don't you love it when God gets your attention through repetition -- especially when He uses Beanie Weenies? How could THAT be a coincidence? Beanie Weenies just don't come up in conversation, on my menu, or in magazine articles I read. But today they did, and I think it's because my God was trying to get my attention. I think He wants me to eat more Beanie Weenies. No, that's not it. I think God wants me to DARE TO PRAY BIG IMPOSSIBLE PRAYERS.

So, that's what I did. Right in the church parking lot. I knew just what to pray. I've been seeing some things that are wrong in my world, but feeling hopeless anything would change. So I prayed BIG!

Do you know what happened? You don't? Well, neither do I. Nothing's changed yet. In fact, things kind of got worse. That's really not how I wanted this blog post to end. But, maybe the situation wasn't impossible enough for God yet. Just like Jesus waited until Lazarus was long dead and probably smelly in the grave before He raised him to life, maybe God is waiting until there is no human hope left and the situation smells lousy so He can show up and everyone will know it's God at work.

I don't know. All I know is that God can speak through Beanie Weenies to remind this child of His that I can dare to believe and dare to pray because He is the God of the impossible.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My brother and sister-in-law

It's been a long time since I've blogged. I've missed it, and I haven't. Life has been full of ups and downs. The ups have been experienced with gladness of heart, but the downs can lead me to withdraw into myself. I tend to isolate when I'm down, and too much of that is not healthy. That's why I'm thankful the downs have been so few this year.

One new down has been the move of my brother and his family away from Virginia. They actually lived in our neighborhood for the past 12 years. We spent most holidays together and mixed our 2 mixed-up families at one large table to share mass quantities of food. Somehow we always made the same amounts whether there were 9 or 19 of us. I will miss them.

I've been doubly blessed because I like and love my brother and sister-in-law. (I actually have another brother and sister-in-law in North Carolina I feel the same about.) As I've listened to others during the holiday time, I've been reminded that not everyone is so blessed with healthy, happy relationships.

So while I'm down that they've moved, I'm glad that our ties go deeper than blood. We are friends -- not because we have to be, but because we choose to be. And that's good.