Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christmas 2008

Christmas Slippers - The Christmas Eve Gift

Jeremy's Surprise gift from the Kaperaks - Kolaches !
Christmas Morning
JohnDavid, Caitlyn with Luke, Kylie, Haley, Lanning
Lanning discovered he DOES love Deigo!
Poppy loves his cat! Now everyone will know.

New Pots and Pans! The guys were more excited than the girls.

Haley and her Polly Pockets!

JohnDavid as Obi wan Kanobi. Mom and Dad got the costume, Poppy got the sword.

That's how you make a little boy's day!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Kathryn Claire Stonebraker Thomas

It is amazing to me how God puts people in our lives who come in a little on the irritating side and end up in the depths of our hearts. Kathryn Claire Thomas was one of those people to me. When I started dating her son, Stan, in 1977 she was not exactly thrilled. I viewed her as opinionated and bossy. I must say my opinion of her has changed greatly!

Many times Kathryn's head would bang into mine. We did not always see eye to eye but when I needed her she was always there. And not just physically. If she knew that you had a concern or a need you could count on her to be on her knees before the Lord's throne in petition for you. If she said she would pray, then by golly that is what she did. You may get her opinion with the prayer, but there was lots of prayer non the less. I have had a couple of days of panic since her death, wondering who will be praying for me and my family as diligently and fervently as she did.

Through the years we have weathered storms together. Specifically the death of her son. In 1981 Stan became sick very suddenly and died in a matter of days. Kathryn never once said a harsh word to me about his death. There was never an accusation of poor care or comments like "if you had been a better wife" or "how could you let this happen". In the midst of her pain she worried about me and the children. Andrew was just 6 days old and Angie was just 2 1/2 years old.

The day she buried her son of just 22, she lost her beloved husband, Tommy. Then 14 years later her daughter Beth, died of brain cancer. Kathryn also experience the lose of her mother, her father, her sister, and her brother-in-law, and several other loved ones. She endured much pain in her 87 years. If you looked only at the pain you would wonder why she had not turned her back on God. I don't think the thought ever crossed her mind. She was a faithful servant of God.

Kathryn served her Lord in nearly every way you can imagine from Sunday School Teacher to Short Term Missions. She loved the God who held her in His hand. Her life speaks loudly of her commitment to "walk worthy of the calling". She lay down her cross daily for Him. She loved Lord and His Word. What an inspiration! What an example! I pray that God would allow me to remember the lessons of faith, prayer, family and compassion that she tried so desperately to teach us all.

When Kathryn went home to her Lord on Decemeber 1st, I knew instantly that my life would not be the same.The space she occupied in my life could never be filled with anyone else. It is just one of the marks she left behind. He life was not wasted. She worked as a nurse for over 30 years. but her real work was as a faithful servant of God.

I pray that I never forget Kathryn Claire Stonebraker Thomas and the impact she had on my life.

Bringing You Up To Date

Just in case you have missed something let me give you the run down of the continued happenings with our family since my last post.

Dad was released from the hospital after a few days of monitoring. He did great! Mark's sister Sandy came to help out. She was able to stay with Dad so that Mark and I could return to work. What a tremendous help! Each day after work Mark and I would drive to Clarksville to visit Mom. for many days there was no change or little change. She would improve one day and regress the next. It as such a rollercoaster ride. Many tears were shed as we prayed for her recovery. After nearly 2 weeks in ICU, mom was off the ventilator and moved to a regular room. The prognosis was "there is nothing else we can do for her." We thought the end was near. But Mom had other ideas. As another week and a half ticked by she began to improve. In no time at all she was down to just an oxygen tube on her nose. She continued to have good days and bad but the good were beginning to out number the bad. Mom's memory began to return. Her speech was more audible. And on Wednesday, November 12 Mom was moved to a rehabilitation center in Smyrna! She continued to improve in strength each day. Then on December 3rd, she went home! Dad is caring for her with the assistance of home health care. It seemed unbelievable that just a few weeks earlier we were planning her funeral. God is so good!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Life is a short term mission trip....

Scripture tells us to always be ready. We cannot see the future as the Lord can. So we must know Him and be ready to share Him. Our "mission trip' could happen today. The past 4 days have brought unexpected opportunity to bear witness of Christ like love. 

With Mark's mom and his dad in the hospital we have once again had the opportunity to love on them. God has given us extra measures of patience and grace. It is only through His strength that we have been able to encourage our family. It is not by our strength but by His. We are nothing without the Lord. And why he would even use us is beyond me. Yes, they are our parents but I am sure that their pastor is better trained than we are to bring just right scripture or say the meaningful prayer they need to encourage them. And that is what is so awesome. He wanted to use us. Plain old everyday us. 

Tonight after we visited Mom in ICU and got her update we went down the hall to Dad's room. He was very discouraged with their situation. Worrying about Mom, sorry for inconveniencing us, questioning his care of Mom. And there right before our eyes was our mission trip. Dad needed encouragement, love and compassion. We talked as he cried. What a precious moment with him. God was faithful to still his worries and comfort his heart. After I had encouraged Dad to trust the Lord with Mom and to remember that God knows how much he loves her, I could not help but think of the man in the bed on the other side of the curtain. Since Dad did not have his hearing aids in there was no doubt this man heard everything we said. Does he know the Lord? Maybe we will have opportunity to find out. Maybe we won't. But this man we don't even know has now heard that we will love Mom and Dad and stick by them and that God is faithful and only He can heal Mom. Our worrying will do no good. Trusting in God will. And all because Mom and Dad are both in the hospital. Because God himself ordained this visit.

How awesome is our God! I am thankful for our 20 minute mission trip.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Pray for Mom

Just we think it is okay to start answering the cell phone again we get another call and once again we drop everythinga and run. Thursday afternoon Mark's Dad called to say the ambulance had just left with Mom. I will spare you the details. Mom in the hospital in ICU. She has severe pneumonia and is on a ventilator. She also has an infection in her blood. There is no change today in her condition. She is not out of the woods.

Mom nearly died on Thursday. The Lord gave us atleast a few more days with her here. We are entrusting her to His care and praying for a full recovery. Only God knows what that will mean. But we are trusting in Him and His sovereign will for each moment.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder...

I know. It has been about 6 weeks since I have written anything in this blog. I can assure you it is not because I have not had things to write about. Just most of the things that have been going on, I can't put on the blog. Too personal, to confidential.

One thing I can share is that I miss my grandchildren terribly. In fact terribly does not even cut it. Just thinking of them makes me tear up. We will be seeing Haley and Lanning this weekend when we go to Mom and Dad McKay's. I won't see Caitlyn, Kylie, JohnDavid and Luke until Thanksgiving. That just seems so very far away. It will be hear soon enough but it can't get here quick enough for me.

How do these little people get under your skin? How do they steal your heart and capture your thoughts without even being around? I guess it is just one of those secrets of life that we are not meant to understand. If we did understand we would be able to plan a defense. And that would not be good. We would all lose on that deal. We need them to keep us in a state of anticipation of their next visit. To keep us laughing and loving. To keep our inner child alive. Playing with Polly Pockets, rolling a ball on the floor or growling like the hulk may not sound like a great weekend to you, but I would beg to differ.

Kisses and hugs to my precious little ones. Grandma is counting the days.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

May I Introduce......

Luke James Knutson
Born August 18, 2008
9 pounds, 15 ounces

There is no way to fully praise the Lord for the new little branch on our family tree. He is a blessing in every way. It was a really such a wonderful pleasure to be at Angie and Jeremy's home and help them get back on their feet after Luke's birth. I did my usual cleaning of the kitchen and each day Mark and I took the kids out for a little while to let Angie ease into the new role of "mommy of 4". The goodbyes are always difficult. John asked if Poppy and I could just come and live with them. Kylie did not want to come out of her room and see us off but when we pulled away there she was. A sad little face in her bedroom window waving goodbye.

I did not get much time with Luke. In 7 days I only changed one diaper for heaven's sake! But I did get my moment alone with him as I have with all my grandbabies. Just a moment by their cradle to pray for them and ask the Lord to draw them near. To bring them to an understanding of His sacrifice for their sin and to experience His grace in their lives. I can't wait to see the plan He has for their lives unfold.

Enjoy the pics!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Poppy and Grandma are on their way!

God is so good! Luke James Knutson arrived yesterday morning in just under 3 hours. He is a bundle! 9 pounds, 15 ounces and that is 2 weeks early. We are praising the Lord for Angie's improvement, Luke's safe arrival and Andrea's help with the children. We are heading out today for Virginia. Be assured, or warned, pictures will follow as soon as Grandma and Poppy can get our hands on this little guy!

Thank you all for your prayers on behalf of our family. God has been faithful!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Spiritual Bacterial Infection

As I finish up the summer mentorship of three young moms, I am realizing that God is teaching more than just the three moms. When we seek to teach others, we learn new things ourselves. The hours of study have become a series of questions to ponder about my life. Strange how the Holy Spirit opens our minds and hearts to what we are portraying by the life we live. This has really made me look at my life....again. To consider it from a different perspective.

We first learn to trust the Lord. To have faith in Him. To believe that He can and will forgive our sins as we confess them with a broken and contrite heart. We recognize our sin and repentance comes. A turning away from the things that are contrary to the Word.

Then we begin the sancifiction process. Fortunately for us, this is a life long process. A constant growing. Somewhere along the line as we are leaning more about the Christian life and as we study the Word and being applying it to our lives, we loose sight of how we project the Lord on those around us.

The captivity of thought and speech is one of those things we think will just happen. It is like a bad habit that we ignore as if there is no help, no cure. Or maybe because we don't want to work that hard. Have we forgotten the help of the Holy Spirit? Have we forgotten that we are not walking this narrow path alone?

We must ask for the help of the Holy Spirit every moment of every day. Our sinful heart cannot be trusted to guard the door. The Holy Spirit is the one with the power to keep sinful thoughts from embedding themselves in our lives. He keeps our thoughts from becoming actions. And boy is Satan sly! Like a bacteria growing unnoticed until is causes a problem, he slowing affects our minds and begins to destroy our witness. It is the thought patterns that have embedded themselves in our lives that continue to eat away the progress toward a godly life.

I have spent more time in prayer recently pleading with the Lord to show me where I am allowing Satan to affect my witness. Where is that tiny crack in my armor where the bacteria has begun to grow? I know that there are many, many cracks. Some large and some small and I want Him to show me all of them.

Looking at my life with the magnifying glass of the Word is frightening at times and yet comforting to know that the forgiveness of God is right there. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins as we repent and confess them to Him. What an incredible thing! Like a healing balm on the blisters of infection, so is his grace on our lives.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Another Opportunity to Praise

We were helping Rebecca move on Tuesday evening when we got a call from Mark's mother. I could tell from the sound of her voice as it resonated from Mark's phone, that something was wrong. Mark hung up the phone and said Dad had been taken to the hospital and apparently had internal bleeding. We quickly told Martha and Danny about the call and headed for Clarksville. My mind immediately went to thoughts of loosing another dad so quickly. Then remembering that we had been down this road before and nearly lost dad sent waves of fear pounding on the door of my heart. I then remembered a conversation Danny and I had just had in the the office. We talked about praising God for every trial in our lives. Not just saying 'thanks for the trial' but really praising Him for the difficulty. I immediately began to pray and thanked the Lord for this opportunity to draw near to Him. The privilege to be a witness in the midst of trouble and show Christ-like love to Mark's parents.

Peace began to flood over me and I felt so at ease. Nothing could happen that God could not handle and therefore, I only needed to trust Him. What we did not know was that our friends who were helping with the move were praying for us.

We arrived at Mom and Dad's and let Mom explain what had happened. Then scooting off to the ER to check on Dad, we wondered what we would find. But God had given Dad a little peace of his own. Dad's pain was still coming in waves but farther apart. We reassured him we would stay with Mom. We waited until they put Dad in a room and then went back to spend the night with Mom. At 1AM we fell into bed.

Long story short: Dad will be fine and we are thanking God for his protection and the gift of more days with Dad. We are still staying with Mom as she can't be left alone for very long.

God is so good! Just when we think we can relax and not trust Him as much as yesterday, He reminds us that trust is for every day. Every opportunity, both good and bad, every moment of every day. Letting go of our lives and learning to let Him have our days. His ways are not our ways. We wanted to be holding our grandson by now, but God had this opportunity in mind for us to love on Mark's parents. I don't know why and I really don't care why. I just feel blessed to be used by Him.

So let our "fields be destroyed and our cattle be gone". We will still have Jesus and He will still have us.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Grace and Praise

When life goes wrong from our perspective, we don't always remember that God has a plan and that in all things we are to give thanks. From my perspective, the way I want things to go, life has not gone well over the last couple of months. When you look at all that has taken place in our lives over the past 11 weeks it is amazing that we are all still sane! Amazing that is from a human perspective. If we look at it from the view point of Heaven's Eyes, it is a picture of grace.

Just to give you the quick run down: May brought Mark's diagnosis of borderline diabetes and hypertension, my gall bladder surgery, adjustment to new Thyroid medication. June - Andrew in the hospital with blood clots in his lung, Angie in the hospital for premature labor, sick with a cold, Dad's death, Angie's bout with gall bladder issues. July - Wedding cake on the 5th, quick trip to Indiana to be with family, fell at the hotel and hurt my arm, Andrea goes to Virginia to help Angie out, Chancellors death, trip to Ohio for his funeral, Mark had kidney stones removed by outpatient surgery, JohnDavid (grandson) spent the night in the hospital, Dad's memorial service - back to Indiana, Angie back for a night in the hospital. Still waiting for Baby Luke to arrive, and we still have a couple days left in July.

How did we get through it all? The grace of God. There is no way we could have gotten through this summer on our own. Many faithful saints have been on their knees on our behalf. God has heard their prayers and answered them. There were several times that I depended on the strength of the Lord and He was faithful to hold me up. When we are weak He is strong. I know I say that often but it is so true. Our strength is limited, His is not. When our strength is gone, He is there to sustain us. Always. We do our best to endure the trials on our own and when we finally realize we have nothing left with which to persevere, we humble ourselves and ask for His help. Just three words, Help me, Lord.

2 Corinthians 12:9,10 - And He has said unto me. "My grace is sufficient for you for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

I am sure it sounds strange to say but I am thankful for this time of trial and distress. It draws me closer to Him. Is there any thing better than to be drawn to the God who loves you? Makes me remember that it is His power and grace that sustains me. Praising the Lord and truly being thankful for the trials keeps things in perspective. Our eyes focus on God and His strength, Christ and His suffering on our behalf instead of our own pain. It reminds us how blessed we really are. In an effort to bring a smile to my face a friend said to me, "Look on the bright side, you are not covered in boils that you have to scrape with a rock." And oh, how true that is. Even if everything was gone. All our loved ones were gone and we had absolutely nothing, we still have Christ! How wonderful!

Psalm 13:5,6 - But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the Lord because He has dealt bountifully with me.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

God is the strength of my heart....forever

If I wrote the script for a soap opera and described all the things that have taken place in our family over the last couple of months, the network executives would think it was too unbelievable to put on television. It might actually make a good reality show. But it is true life for us right now. God knows all that has taken place and He will sustain us. His mighty arms of comfort and power have held us up for many weeks now and it is wonderful to know that His arms do not tire. He is as strong today as He will be 25 years from now.

Mark and I had a wonderful time of rest and relaxation during our trip to Indiana. I got a great deal of physical and emotional rest. As we drove home it felt quite odd. I almost felt guilty for having such peace about my father's death. The Lord's comfort was amazing. Mark did a fabulous job of allowing me time to recoup and his tenderness toward me was such a blessing. I felt so loved. He even bought me new clothes, something he enjoys doing. I am thankful for my husband. He is far more tender hearted than he wants anyone to know.

Angie was in the hospital twice this past weekend with premature labor. Making a long story short, she is doing well. Still contracting but pretty mild now. Andrea flew out the Virginia to stay with Angie and Jeremy until the baby comes. They are both exhausted and in need of help with the kids and the house. Mark and I have tried to get Andrea to get a full time job, but this is one of those times where working part time has made her available to serve our family and our church family. God knew people would need her. The doctors think the baby will arrive in the next couple of weeks. Angie is only 34 weeks along. The baby looks good and we are praying for a safe delivery.

Just a few days after returning home, a lady from our church brought me a planter from our Home Fellowship Group. We had a great chat as she expressed love and concern for my family. As we stood by the door saying our goodbyes the phone began to ring. Mark answered and I told Pam thank you and closed the door. Mark came around the corner and said "You need to call your Mom". I know something was up.

My oldest sister had been in Guatemala and upon her return on Monday was told that her grandson had drowned in the flood water of Ohio. Chancelor we just 12 years old. He fell into a drain and was swept away. He body was recovered later in a field down the road. My heart just sank. Many things ran through my mind. But foremost, was the question what is God trying to teach us through this time of many trials? What is it Lord, that we are not learning?

As I made phone calls to my other sisters to find out the details God once again brought that peace that passes all understanding. We may never know why all these things are happening to our family but I do know that God is faithful. He loves us and cares for us and He knows exactly what is happening. Our job is to trust in Him. To rest in the reassurance that nothing happens to us without first going through His hands. To bring glory to His name.

I am flying to Ohio on Thursday (thanks to some very generous friends)for the funeral and to see my sisters and my nephew. I don't know what I will say but I am praying that God will use me to convey His love for my extented family. I pray that they will see only Christ through me. I pray God will be glorified with my behavior.

Please pray for Avis (my sister) Jamie (Chancelor's father)and for the rest of their family. They need to experience the Lord's comfort and His sustaining power.

Psalm 73:21-26,28
Thus my heart was grieved, and I was vexed in my mind. I was so foolish and ignorant; like a beast before You. Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand. You will guide me with your counsel and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but You? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever. but is is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord God, That I may declare all your works.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Walking in His Sufficiency

Yesterday was a difficult day as emotions were running high in my family. The staff has graciously given me some time off for which I am so very thankful. It is really hard for me to stay out of the office. Serving the Lord by serving His people is my hearts passion. My church family is my family. We rejoice together and cry together. We care for one another in a way that is indiscribable. To be away from them is a struggle for me.

I told someone on Monday that I know how to help someone through greif but I don't know how to do it when it is me. It has been a long time since I greived the loss of a loved one. It feels frustrating and lonely at times. My friend Doug said it best in his blog (I will paraphrase) "The people in our lives fill a specific space. When they are gone we suddenly feel the vacancy of the space they occupied." Dad had a specific space in my life and the lives of my children. Now the space is empty and barren. A space that can only be filled by the love and comfort of God.

It feels awkward to be walking in this place of greif. Awkward for me to be the 'comfortee' instead of the 'comforter'. But as I read yesterday during my devotion time, the refreshing river of God's grace flows full and free. Both in summer and winter. Good times and bad. His grace is sufficient in all things at all times. I pray I walk in His grace. Not in my strength but in His. I pray my witness of His sufficiency in my life is clear and evident to my lost family. I pray they see not only my greif but the comfort of my Lord.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Trusting Still More....

There are times in everyone's lives when you just feel like you have had about enough and wish that the Lord would provide the rest that you so desperately need. This week has been one of those times. The trials continue to come in waves and the Lord's amazing grace continues to sustain.

Since the last post, Angie has had a bout with her gall bladder and for a day or two we thought she would be having surgery. The scare has passed and she is actually doing well for now. God has kept his hand of protection on her and Luke. We are so thankful! I have been struggling with a bad cold that has come on very quickly and decided to stay around.

But Monday brought one of those phone calls you don't want to get. You know as soon as you hear your mom say, "Cindy, It's Mom." you know something is up. And then the words came through the phone, "It's your Dad. He had a heart attack this morning." "Is he gone?" "yes." We have known for years that Dad was living on borrowed time. His heart was in really bad shape. The Lord has given us about 8 years more than we thought we would have. He is so good!

Death is always surprising. Always painful to those left behind. Once the shock is gone and the pain begins to subside we see the love of the Lord in it all. There is never a time in our lives that we need to fell loved and cared for more than when we are grieving. Our hearts are raw and bleeding. God's soothing balm of comfort is applied with His gentle hand. His peace envelopes us like a warm blanket of comfort and brings sweet rest. The love of God is sufficient for every outburst of tears, for every pain of the heart, for every moment of loneliness. He is truly all we need.

God's sovereignty still reigns. His love is still complete. His grace is still sufficient. His salvation is still available. Though my life has changed, He has not. This time of trial is yet more opportunity to strengthen my faith, walk closer to Him and experience his love and care.

Please pray for my family, especially for my stepmother, Penny. Pray that the Lord would reveal His comfort and love to her. May she see that Christ is all she needs.

Friday, June 6, 2008

A Time for Trust

It seems that the Lord has given us about 17 months of smooth sailing in the area of health issues. Now we are in the midst of trusting Him once again. Mark was diagnosed as being borderline diabetic just a couple of weeks before my gall bladder surgery. At the same time, his father had a mass on his prostate.

Since my surgery Andrew was in ICU with a pulmonary ambilus. (blood clots in his left lung). A potentially deadly condition. We were on pins and needles for a few days. Praying fervently for our son's life. Though now at home he is still not completely out of the woods. Not all the test results are in and the doctors still don't know why he has this problem at his age (26). Andrew is still not back to work full time and it may be a little while yet before he is. Each little task wears him out. It is going to take time to get him back to normal and he may be on blood thinners the rest of his life.

Today Angie called to say her doctors are quite concerned about her pregnancy. She has gestational diabetes and hypertension during her pregnancies and with each one it has gotten worse. Luke is not due to arrive until August 26. But then Angie never goes full term. She has been experiencing contractions, swelling and all the uncomfortable things that go with having a baby. She has very good doctors for which I am thankful. Her OB has walked with road with her before and is concerned about her condition. He is fearful that she will have preterm labor. Her blood pressure is high, blood sugars low and swelling by the minute it seems. Her endocrinologist has decreased her insulin trying to help her feel better. Now Angie will be seeing a third doctor, a perionatalogist to determine if her placenta is deteriorating like it did with Kylie.

We have learned that only God knows the condition of precious babies inside the womb. After all, the doctors told us Kylie would need open heart surgery to save her life, may not be able to walk because it appeared her thigh bones were too short and that she looked as though she had Downs Syndrome. If you know Kylie you know none of these things are true. God gave us a precious little girl. Just 5lbs of fight and energy. She fought her way to health and is now a little girl with spunk!

This has all made we remember that years ago we gave our children to the Lord. We dedicated them to Him. Promising to teach them the ways of the Lord and to lead them to a relationship with Him. Do we think for a moment that He has abandoned them in their adulthood? NEVER! Our God has seen us through much tougher times that these. Trials only prove to strengthen our faith and dependence on His sovereignty. Our babies are not our own whether tiny or grown. His grace is not dependant on the size of the recipient. And we are thankful!

So we trust on. We pray and we wait to experience once again the graciousness of our loving God. Our family will stand firm in His faithfulness to us. We may waiver, He will not.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Our New Addition

Mark's Birthday was last week and I really wanted to surprise him. In 23 years of marriage there have only been about 3 or 4 gifts that were actual surprises to him. He ALWAYS figures it out. But this year was one of the rare exception. Our family had a cat for nearly 20 years. We had to put her to sleep a few years ago. So when the Kaperaks had lots of baby kittens I thought "This is it!" This little guy is remarkably like our old cat.

So meet our new little member of the family. Mark is toying with the name Bruno however, that is not the official name just yet.

P.S. If any of you desire a kitten...Contact Martha. They have lots to choose from.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Unexpected

When we plan our days, we don't even thing about what God has planned for the day. So often we just do what we do and don't give it a thought. God interupted my plans this past week. Monday I woke up with a stomach cramp. Sort of like I had done too many situps the night before. But of course, that was not the problem. I completely chaulked it up to the fact that I had a really good laugh on Sunday and apparently it was "a really good laugh". Enough to leave a lasting affect. Tuesday it was a little better but Wednesday was worse. Thursday with in minutes after getting up, I realized the discomfort was significantly worse. I called Mark and of course he suggested I call the doctor. Something I tend to put off when it is about me. But I did and within two hours I was at the doctor's office. They did my usual blood work and scheduled me for a abdominal scan on Friday morning, suspecting my gall bladder. I went back to work and did not think much more about is. The guys at work thought I should go home, but as Mark says, I am a tough old bird and can tolerate a lot of pain.

As the day went on, the discomfort increased and my appitite was gone. I made preparations to out of the office the following week "just in case". Cristy was on call, Cea stopped by for her list of errands and projects and things were ready to go. About 6pm I grabbed my purse, locked the office door and headed to the main church building to tell Mike I thought I better go home. As I walked across the drive the pain increased with each step and suddenly I realized I had gone too far and it was too late to go back to the office. I would make it to the gym. Just as I got in the door I was gripped with pain like I had never felt before. I leaned on the stacked chairs by the door and did some deep breathing trying hard to relax, hoping the pain would subside. It did not. I knew I was in trouble. I dug through my purse called home and through the tears I told Andrea to get Mark and come get me. I stood there another minute or so and realized I could not stand much longer. I called Mike who was upstairs having Worship practice. He and Steve came running to the rescue of this old damsel in distress. They were so sweet and gentle. Once I was seated there was no getting up.

Mark and Andrea soon arrived and after a difficult walk to the car we headed to Williamson Medical Center. I am not one for meds but I was very happy to get the IV started and get the pain meds going! Releif came quickly. Following an ultra sound it was conclusive. The gall bladder had to go. Doctor appointment the next morning, Surgery scheduled for Tuesday.

Surgery is over now and the Lord has been faithful. I usually have great difficulty coming out of anesthesia and spend much time in bed. But I am on my feet with minimal meds. He is so good to me. Mark has been wonderful! He gets everything I need and is very patient. The kitchen is cleaner than it has been in a couple of weeks! Not a dirty dish in sight! Andrea is staying with me during the day. She is great company and is at my call with no complaints.

Martha, Cea and many others have sent meals, prayers and calls. Such blessings to me. Such great friends. I feel so loved. So blessed. God is good and is providing for all my needs. I am looking forward to getting back to normal and back at church. But for now, I am enjoying the time of rest God has given me.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Another High Dive Experience

I have been asked recently to do a Bible Study with some young moms. To teach them the practical side of being a godly wife and mother. The day to day application of it all. Frankly this terrifies me. Who am I to teach others how to do my job? I mess it up daily. But after all, I have been praying that the Lord would stretch me and use me for his glory. Recently at our Women's Retreat we studied the Titus 2 passage on this subject. I had not really grasped the concept that I am now a member of the "older women" group. The Lord showed me ready or not, I am in the group. Are we not all older than someone else in our church? Although it is said that the Bible refers to women approximately 60 years of age, are we to wait until we are 60 to teach others the things the Lord has taught us? Are we to sit back and watch them struggle until we turn 60? I hardly think so.

In a few weeks I will be jumping off another "high dive" in my life and meet with these dear mothers/wives and begin to pour my limited knowledge out to them. Mistakes and all. I had been praying about meeting with these very women and as God would plan, they came to me and asked that I teach them. God does have a plan!

I pray the Lord will use me to accomplish what He wills. It is not that I am "older and wiser" as sometimes "older" creeps up all by itself. But I am learning to trust Him. To put myself out there and be willing to do whatever He asks and leave the rest to Him.

I encourage you to take faith by the hand and jump off the "high dive" of your life. See what the Lord can accomplish with a willing heart.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Kitchen the Tub and the Fireplace

There are three things that I have come to love about our new home. The kitchen, the garden tub and the fireplace. All our children and grandchildren were at our house all weekend and it was great! I cherish that time together.

Saturday afternoon it was raining so what better thing to do than make cupcakes. It cracks me up that the parents get concerned about the mess. Somehow being a grandmother, it just does not seem to be that big of a deal.

Saturday night has become big bubble bath time for the grandkids. The bubble bath did not make enough bubbles so I got creative and used my wand blender to increase the quantity of bubble. It worked great! We added Lanning to the tub (with my assistance of course) and they had a great time.

Sunday night we roasted hotdogs and, as Haley says, Smarshmallows in the fireplace. What fun! I try very hard to build memories of their days at Grandma and Poppy's.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Team Beirut

This is a picture of our team and several of the leaders from the children's camp. Thought you might enjoy it.

Back row: left to right

Rosette (works with Nabil), Gladys (camp directors assistant), Tom and Bethany DeKorne (our team) Mark, Byron (our Pastor) Sally (counselor)
Middle Row: Lana (Nabil's wife), Christopher (her son), Tania (counselor), Nabil Costa (missionary in Beirut), me, Elaine and Chuck Moore (team members, Chuck was born and raised in Beirut)

Third Row: Nicholas (Nabil's son), Marvin, (counselor), Clovid (counselor), Joseph (Camp Director) Andy (team member), Amie Harlow (team member)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Putting It In Perspective

It has taken some time to get my mind back in Nashville and I am not sure that all of it has arrived. Conversations about our trip to Beirut continue to help with putting all the pieces into perspective. I really thought I would return and be thrilled to be home but it just was not so. The transition time took me by surprise. I just could not get passed the heartache of feeling that I had not accomplished enough while there. Like there was something I left undone. The odd thing is, I can't figure out what it was.

When we began planning the trip it was very easy to get caught up in the preparations. I love to work hard for the benefit of others and when the trip seemed so easy it was hard for me to think I had accomplished anything for the Lord. The hosts in Beirut had everything planned out and our accomodations where wonderful. It was so easy to be comfortable. I know, I have already been told that I am weird, but I was disappointed that the work was not harder. I had myself geared up to work from sun up to sun down. When it did not happen I was out of my comfort zone and felt awkward. I had focused on myself and all the things I "could" be doing. Completely forgot about the things God wanted me to do. Once again my agenda became important. Once again I made this way too hard.

The godly counsel from this office is such a blessing in my life. Doug and Byron talked me through this struggle. Helped me to see that I was obedient to the Lord in my willingness to serve but I must leave the increase to Him. His ways are higher than my ways, His thoughts higher than my thoughts. After all, it is not my agenda we should be concerned about, it is His.

I can honestly say it is good to be back in the groove. To worship with the fellow saints at church this past Sunday seemed sweeter. We had staff meeting today and that really helped to make things normal. I love this body of Christ. They are my family. But I will still be looking forward to returning to Beirut, Lord willing, and continuing the relationships that were started. My heart is still in Beirut.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Thoughts of Beirut

It has been more difficult than I anticipated returning to “normal” life here in the states. Being back in the office and serving here at the church has always been a pleasure. But somehow it just does not seem to be enough.

We (I) am so very spoiled. The creature comforts just fell into place. The first thing I did was to take a long hot shower and washed my hair. It seemed a great pleasure to use my hairdryer. It did not work in Beirut and each morning I air dried my hair by fanning it with a book or standing with my head out the window in the sun and breeze. I am still thinking of coloring my hair this weekend because the sulfur water in Beirut took out some of the color and my roots are showing. There was laundry to do and so I flopped in front of the TV while the washer and dryer where running.

None of these things are wrong, really. But it reminds me how much we have and we don’t even see it. We have so many blessings from the Lord and yet we pass by them daily without a thought of thanking our God for his graciousness to us. This is what has me so troubled. I don’t want to forget what I experiences in Beirut. I don’t want to forget the faces and lives that we came in contact with. I don’t want this trip to be wasted by forgetting the lessons learned.

While in Beirut I observed the dedication and skill with which the fellow believers worked long hard days without a single complaint. They walked worthy of their calling. They have the same struggles as many of us in the states. They have single mom’s raising children alone, wives with husbands off to war, seminary students struggling to maintain their walk with Lord, family issues, and work concerns.

The last night in Beirut, Byron gathered us together and asked what stuck with us most. I was amazed at the dedication to serving the Lord of the young camp leaders. They were 16-25 years old. There was no cool factor to keep up. No cliques, No fashion statements. Just pure love for the children and a heart of service. If there was anything that took me by surprise it was the language barrier. My heart was ready to share the love of Christ and the message of salvation but I could not speak a word. As soon as I realized many did not understand English I clammed up. I was paralyzed. Byron tried to comfort me by saying the children knew that I loved them. But I am not sure. I hugged them and loved on them in action as much as I could. Smiles, laughing, giving them candy, waving to them, saying hi. It just does not seem enough. I left so much opportunity behind.

I was disobedient to the Lord for so many years and now that I have stepped out in faith and gone on a mission trip, I feel that I have failed somehow. I am trying hard to just trust the Lord with what we did accomplish in Beirut. To let Him give the increase, but it is hard. Even here in the office I feel completely useless. Like a boat on a stagnant sea. No wind in the sails, no waves in the sea, no current to pull you along. Just sitting here, doing nothing, in the water. I feel dead inside. I question my usefulness realizing I am nothing without God.

It is heartbreaking. Now that I am home, I am struggling to return to the Cindy I was when I left, not sure that I even want to. My confidence in my gifts is gone. I am barren in the midst of a dark dessert. God is giving me a time of loneliness. Reflecting. Meditating. I will let Him do what He will, only to bring Glory to Him through my suffering. My burden for the people of Beirut is very heavy, but His grace is sufficient. And I will trust Him.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Mixed Emotions

Home is where your heart is, so they say. But my heart is still in Beirut. I can't get the faces out of my mind. The faithful saints who are plodding along each day. Taking it one day at a time. Sharing the love of Christ with whomever they meet. So Kind, So Faithful!

Above is picture of the view from our room at the seminary. You can see the Mediterranean Sea in the background. What a beautiful view! The camp overall was successful and the children had a wonderful time. The language barrier was very difficult for me. There were so many things I wanted to say to the children but only about half could understand English. Those who knew some English could not always understand what you were saying. It was paralyzing at times for me. I tried to just hug on them and say what I could. When I go back I want to learn a little Arabic so that I can express my love and concern for them in a language they can understand. Several children were begging us to return for the next camp in the summer. The disappointment on their face was painful. As we drove to the airport I felt a bit like I do when leaving Angie's after the birth of a grand baby. So little time, so much love and I don't know what to do with the feelings. I was not ready to return. There is so much there to accomplish. So many to reach. I wanted to build relationships. The tears were ready to flow and it took great effort to hold them back.

It was amazing to find that the Lebanese believers asked us to pray for the same things many in America request prayer for. The Seminary wives asked us to pray that the Lord would show them how to balance ministry and family. How to live in a fish bowl. I immediately thought of Robin, our pastors wife. She does an amazing job of this. We had a chance to pray with 5 of these women. It was awesome to bind our hearts in prayer with fellow believers we had never met. Just 20 minutes together caused a bond that will last.

While I am glad to be home and close to those I love, God has given me a love for these fellow believers. I pray I never forget them.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Heading Home From Beirut

We just arrived back from camp. It was a great time. We are very tired and hot. It is unsually warm for this season here. In the 80's today. We are spending the evening relaxing.
There is so much to tell I am sure we will have to be home and process it all to get it on paper. When we think of children at camp you think of happy cheerful kids playing without much of a care in the world. But we had a little girl with Scistic Fibrocis, a boy with lukemia, a little boy, Tony who witnessed a relative commit suicide, another boy who had a blood disease. He had to be on a machine to cleanse his blood for 12 hours every three days. One girl 12 years old just lost her mother to cancer. Dad remarried quickly and she is not handling it well. On little guy is beaten frequently by his parents and clung to his counselor the first 2 days for security. It was heart wrenching.
When we left today several children asked for our email addresses. Some said, Will you please come back in the summer for our next camp? They were so disappointment when we said we can't. It was hard to say good bye. We were all fighting back the tears.
God has softened our hearts for the believers here in Lebanon. They are faithful servants doing their best to reach others in their community for Christ. They are not ashamed of the gospel. The children heard the message of salvation clearly this weekend. Some prayed the prayer of salvations. We continue to pray that they will take that message home and share it with their family. That they will not forget the message of the camp. You are loved just as you are.
We will be siteseeing tomorrow and then head for the airport about 11pm. Arrive in Nashville around 4:30 pm your time

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Hello From Beirut

We are here!

We arrived safely and very tired. I could not sleep on the flight from Atlanta to Paris . So Byron shared his meds with me and I was able to sleep from Paris to Beirut . We are doing pretty with the jet lag so far. They say another day or so and it will set in. Hopefully the Lord will spare us.

This morning we awoke to a beautiful day! The weather here is like a wonderful spring morning. Following a breakfast of pita, olives, apricot preserves and cream cheese we headed out by taxi to the Gateway Bookstore. The store is associated with the seminary here. It was amazing how many books you could recognize from the cover. This small store was your typical small Christian bookstore in the US . We did not have much time to shop but Mark did buy me a beautiful tray with wood inlay for only $16.00! See why I wanted to look around a little more.

We headed out to the Baptist school and go there in time for recess. There were lots of children running and playing within this total concrete play yard. No playground equipment very few balls. Just children running, laughing and playing. It was very difficult to hold back the tears. My heart strings were pulled! I found myself praying silently that the Lord would not only protect their hearts and minds but that they would experience the love of Christ. So many precious little faces to capture and so little time to try and talk. Our time for that will come at camp I guess.

We did get to see part of the children’s Mother’s Day Program at the school. It was so sweet! The first class up was one of the First Grade classes. The girls had little green tootoo on and the boys little green vests. They came up the isle with grins on their little faces. Just beaming with pride! They dance a ballet to music I recognized. It was precious. The Second Grade did a skit about us all having an angel to help us where we are hurt or lonely or need comfort. This angel’s name is mother. I would have paid good money to see the rest of this program.

The Lord is continuing to tender my heart for the people here. It is almost as if you can tell by the look on their faces who is a believer and who is not. Many look angry, but those here at the seminary and at the school are some of the most happy faces I have ever seen. Their hospitality is tremendous. We feel so at home.

Please continue to pray that our work here will bring glory to the Lord. That we will remain humble servants of His. Pray also for the camp this weekend.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Don't Waste God's Calling

Tracy, my friend Martha’s sister in law, has left a deep impression on my life, though I never met her. She died in her own bed after returning from her first mission trip. She went to the Congo in Africa. At the age of 50 she finally took the plunge and let go of her fear and trusted God. ( Go to the website "Tracy's Heart" for this great story of one woman's step of faith and the lasting impact on the women of the Congo). It made me stop and realize that I had been letting fear keep me from doing something God has asked me to do many times. My heart broke to realize that I had wasted nearly 30 years of my life in fear of what others would think. I was afraid of really selling out to Christ because my family might think I am weird. I knew God was not pleased with this but I pushed it to the back of mind and ignored the impulses of the Holy Spirit to step out in faith and do what God had called me to do.

But this Sunday morning we will leave for Beirut. This trip contains any "firsts" for me. First time to jump off the high dive and completely trust God with the out come. First time to travel out of the country. First Mission trip. It all reminds me a bit of my dependence on the Lord after Stan's death. Just me and God. Life goes on but my mind is on Him. Leaning on Him for everything. Knowing I can't do it by myself and no other human can fulfill the desire of my heart. What a precious time with Him! How overwhelming to realize that He has chosen me and given me this opportunity to serve Him. There are many others more fitting, more equipped. But He wants me to go. And so I will.

Read “Don’t Waste Your Life” by John Piper. Then take a hard look at your commitment to the Lord and what you do for His glory. Take His hand and become the person God has called you to me. Walk worthy. Make a difference for the sake of the Lord.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Getting Ready

Well, the bags are coming our of storage today and we will begin packing for our mission trip to Beirut Lebanon. Our group will get together tomorrow night to pack the supplies for camp. Then Mark and I will begin packing our personal things. It has been nearly 15 years since we have been away from home for this long. What to pack, what to leave, will I need it, can we get it in Beirut? So many decisions.

The nerves are starting to take hold and between my fears and the pure excitement I don't know what to think. I feel really bad about leaving Andrea especially for Easter Sunday. The kids and Mark's parents will not have an Easter Dinner. Family traditions are very near to my heart and it will seem very odd to miss this opportunity to gather as a family.

I know that Andrea is 20 years old and she is very capable of caring for herself. She is after all, an adult. Andrew and Crystal are near by as well as all of our church family. But it is just that Mother thing. Lanning will have his first birthday, Angie is expecting....I guess I need to spend time praying and leaving them in God's hands.

This experience is a bit like jumping off the high dive for me. Something I have wanted to do for 20+ years. Desired it from afar. I have climbed the ladder and backed back down several times. But this time I am going to jump. This time I know that the Holy Spirit is encouraging me. This time I am going to be obedient.

Please pray for Mark and I as well as Tom, Bethany, Andy, Amie, Chuck, Elaine and Byron. God's sovereignty is still in control. He has orchestrated this trip and already knows the outcome. Pray also for the children at the camp. If just for four days they get a glimpse of God's love it will be worth it all.

Friday, February 29, 2008

The Truth Endures Forever

After my trip to the Biblical Counseling Seminar, there have been lots of things swirling through my head. Too many to even get down on paper (so to speak). I think by far the one that has stuck in my head is the way that one single Biblical truth can carry through to every aspect of our lives.

It was truly a "duh" moment but sitting there listening to speaker after speaker telling about various situations bringing glory to God was amazing. For instance, if we truly believe that our lives are to glorify the Lord then is it not true that we are to glorify Him in everything? Our relationships, marriages, daily life,child rearing,caring for elderly parents, personal relationship with God? At work, play, ball fields, grocery stores, church? In the midst of illness, broken cars, family tragedy, unemployment, cancer, death? Think about it.....

Another of my favorite "duh" moments was realizing that if God's grace is sufficient then it is sufficient in all things. His grace will sustain us in anything and everything that happens. Scripture does not say "His grace is suffienct except when enduring trials. Or except in illness. Or except in death. His grace is sufficient in ALL things. Sometimes it is just good to be reminded of this truth.

It is not the circumstances that glorify the Lord it is our reaction to them. If we choose to react negatively then we have lost that opportunity to bring glory to God. However, if we believe that His grace is sufficient and we trust His Word then our actions and reactions will be a witness to those around us of the grace of God.

The next time difficult circumstances come your way, don't be in a big hurry to pray that they go away. Embrace them and see them as an opportunity to bring glory to Him. Trials bring us to our knees. When we are weak, then He is strong.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Leaving Corey in God’s Hands

Saying good bye is never easy. Distance makes it harder. When we saw our foster grandchild at Christmas time we did not expect that it would be our last time to have him in our home. But it was. Corey and his sister, Dawn will be returned to his father and grandmother tomorrow. Social Services thinks this is best for him. I must say that I do not agree. It is one thing to return a child to a parent who has repented and changed but another to send the child back into the same situation. Unfortunately, we don’t get to make the decision. Therefore, we must trust God.

I can’t help but know that Romans 8:28-29 is true. And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren;.

We know that God causes all things to work together for our good and His glory for those who love God. Angie and Jeremy love God and trust Him with their lives. This last year has brought many frustrations and heartaches for them. It has also served to stretch their faith and trust in the Almighty. They have nothing to be ashamed of. They have opened their home and their heart to a child that is not their own. This is far more than the average family would do. Angie and Jeremy and the kids have done their best to instill in Corey the things of the Lord. Things a 3 year old can grasp and comprehend.

Now the real test comes. They (we) must leave him in the hands of their God and Father. We do not know what the future holds for Corey, but we do know who holds his future. And that is comforting. Angie and Jeremy can only do so much and then the rest is up to God. He has a plan for Corey that we don’t understand. Nonetheless it is His plan. If we are going to trust God, then we must trust Him with everything. And so we trust Him with Corey.

I pray Grandma and Poppy will once again see you, Corey. Good bye for now little guy. We will miss you.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

God's Word - Amazing

I can't begin to count the times I have been told by preachers and friends that God's Word is all we need. It is one of those statements you hear and go "yes, I know" and move on. To attend the Nashville Conference on the Church and Theology and hear these great men of God stress the importance of sharing the Word and then coming to this Conference for Biblical Counseling and hearing how the Word alone impacts lives is almost overwhelming.

It's not that I have never read the Word or studied the Word before. It's that the Lord has given me a renewed excitement and appreciation for His Word. It does contain all we need for life and godliness. We just have it open it, read it and apply it. How often do we take the Word for granted. Something we carry to church, something we read before breakfast or in a time of trial. Do we really see it for what it is? The inspired Word Of God! Spoken by Him for us! does that not excite your soul?

I encourage you to crack it open. Take a new look at the scriptures we hear so often. The one that always pop into our minds and give them and examination. I promise you His Word speaks. Do we listen?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Just Me and God in Indiana

I am in Lafayette Indiana for the week......alone......freezing....tired......did I mention alone. It has been quite an exciting weekend! The conference at our church was amazing. The preparations drained nearly every ounce of strength from me but well worth it.

Now I am cramming more information in my small brain with a week of training for biblical counseling. while I have looked forward to this trip for several months, I did not anticipate the loniness. Mark has always gone everywhere with me. This is my first trip alone. Just me and God. It is pulling at my heart to be without both families. With out my own family and my church family.

I left on Andrea's birthday. Every year it seems that her birthday gets upstaged by something. This year it was the combination of the Nashville Conference on the Church and Theology and this trip for me. While I know she understands it still bothers me. Mark and I neither one sleep well without the other. I know. We are pitiful. But he is my companion and I am lost without him. So it is just me and God. Taking it one day, one session at a time.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

We are Going!

The past few days have been a bit of a whirlwind. Not so much in our lives, but in our hearts and minds. Last Friday our Pastor asked me if I wanted to go to Beirut Lebanon on a mission trip. We have a missionary at the Lebanese Seminary and Christian School who needs help with a children's camp. Every time a mission trip comes up my heart longs to go. Especially when it involves children. And every time I give into my fears and decline to go. I cry when they leave and cry when they return. My heart grieved knowing that once again I had been disobedient to the Lord.

But this time....I am going. It is just time to let the fear go and be obedient to the Lord's leading. I am stepping out of my comfort zone is a big way. Now that I am going it seems really silly to have put it off for so long. There is nothing like the peace of being in God's will. It is sweet!

On Sunday morning, Mark talked with Pastor guessed it. Mark is going too! There are so many details to take care of. We have already seen the Lord at work in preparing us. All the years of working with children of all ages has only served to prepare us for this opportunity. The joy of serving Him is so awesome I can't even begin to discribe it to you.

We leave on March 16th for a 10 day trip to Beirut, Lebanon. It is sure to be an adventure for us. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Cost of Walking with Christ

Sunday evening we had an incredible baptism service at our church. Every time I witness this outward expression of death to self and life in Christ, I weep like a baby. My heart is overflowing with praise for the grace of God that is poured out on our lives. It is truly awesome to stop the crazy world outside and spend time listening to the testimonies of the changed lives of fellow believers.

Being on staff, I get a sneak preview of the testimonies. This gives me a little different perspective on their stories. This inside scoop, if you will, can sometimes be heart wrenching. I call it "knowing too much". This time it was a story that is just hard to shake. One of persecution. We don't think about people paying a price to walk with Christ. We forget that persecution is alive and well among us.

To protect their identity, I will simple say this. Their life is a living example of Luke 6:27-28. "But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

Please pray for this dear believer. They are standing firm, holding God's hand, and walking with Him. Pray for their faith to remain strong, and their witness pure and affective.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Hitting the Books

Things are slowing down now that the holidays have passed. There is no real excuse for not writing since the 4th. Just life and all the stuff that goes with it.

I have hit the books again. I am reading like mad to finish another book before starting my NANC training in February. NANC is National Associate of Nouthetic Counselors. The short of it is trained Biblical Counselors. I go to Lafayette, Indiana the week of February 10 for 5 days of intense training. 8am to 8pm for 5 days. It will be like trying to get a drink from a fire hose. Lots of information to absorb. I am trying to figure out how I will remember it all.

The more I read the more I learn of God and his ways. The incredible way the Bible intertwines with itself is amazing to me. The ins and outs of the sin nature and the affects of sin are convicting. With each new thing I learn, my heart grows more and more thankful for Christ. There is so much information in the Word that I am amazed everyone is not flocking to read it! But we don't, we just take it for granted. It has always been on the coffee table and it always will be there. Make me beg forgiveness for all the times I walk right past it for something that "just can't wait". Boy! do we know how to waste time or what!

Lord, help me to increase my study of your Word and be able to apply the truth that is there.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Why Questions

I recently finished the book "Humility" by CJ Mahaney. If you haven't read this book GET IT! I t will help you see yourself for who you are: a sinner who deserves less than nothing. Once you get back in the Word and scrap yourself off the bottom of a shoe.... It is awesome! You just have to trust me.

This book along with the "happenings" of this week have caused me to ponder several "Why" questions. I have included several below. Read them as if they were yours and then the Lord at work on your heart.

Why don’t I get on my knees every morning and pray for my pastors, staff, elders, congregants?
Why don’t I serve them more, pray for them more, love them more?
Why don’t I realize there are broken hearts all around me?
Why don’t I see the destruction of families right under my nose?
Why don’t I see how quickly time is passing and make the most of every waking moment?
Why do I waste the precious resources that God has provided?
Why can’t I see that I have an opportunity to serve God if I just look?
Why won’t people turn to Him?

Why don’t I appreciate my husband?
Why do I forget that he is a gift from the Lord?
Why do I remember all the hurtful things?
Why do I forget the day to day little things that make me love him?
Why do I complain when he asks for a simple favor?
Why don’t I realize what a fabulous husband he is?

Why do I take for granted the incredible adults my children have become?
Why am I not making sure they know that I not only love them, but adore them?
Why don't I talk to them about God and His ways at every opportunity?
Why do I try to hang on to them and forget that they really belong to God?

Why am I so selfish?