Tis' The Season

 Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas is just around the corner. Let the chaos begin! Tempers will flare, kids will convince their parents to get the one toy, plastic or electronic, they so desperately need. All the while the parents are aware they will risk sanity and possibly life and limb during the annual fighting of the aisle just to get it. In the end Santa Clause will get all the credit and that toy they screamed and hollered for will be chucked to the side in a matter of a week or 2.

Then its on to Christmas dinner at Grandma's and Grandpa's house. Well much more like a cottage where 40 people cram into the house the size of the old lady who lived in a shoe and had so many kids she didn't know what to do. Aunt Geraldine will gripe how the kids are running through the house, Grandpa will complain how cool it is while consistently turning up the heat, and everyone else is running outside just to cool off. And then there is that one family member who will say something stupid....you know the family member that apparently should've gone to see the wizard for a brain or asked Santa for one, And this of course will have your wife or husband raise an eyebrow and give you the look that says " Get the kids and head for the car now!"

Everyone returns home tired, exhausted and ready for the much deserved nap as a reward. But then you look around to the wrapping paper, toy boxes, and other trash trailed throughout the house from that morning and then it hits you. Next year we'll just stay home and I'll tell the kids there is no such thing as Santa Clause!


Happy Thanksgiving

 Sunday, November 18, 2007

I can hardly believe that its that time of year already. This week families will be traveling, and scrambling to get home for thanksgiving. Tables will be adorned with food fit for kings and queens. We will eat too much, complain how full and miserable we are and 3hours later we'll do it all over again! And no doubt it will be that one relative that makes you speak in tongues and quote scripture in your mind for the entire time that you are there. Who doesn't love the holiday season?

As we all prepare for Thursday, let's start the week with entering God's gates with praises and thanksgiving.


Paralyzed By Fear

 Monday, November 5, 2007

I've been sitting on the post for a while. (1) thinking it over in my head. (2) Have been sick and just now able to post it. But the thing that I wanted to really concentrate on in this post is a serious thing for me. It's what drives me sometimes to do nothing. This thing causes me to doubt. This thing causes me undo distress in my life. This thing snaps at my heels like my little lap dog. This thing is FEAR!

Fear paralyzes me at the most needed times in my life when God is trying to tell me to do something. I can't because I'm immediately paralyzed with fear. It controls my life to the point that I am absolutely terrified the majority of the time. Ask my husband Rich, and he will tell you that when we go somewhere he's not the only driver in the car. And believe me it drives him crazy. To quote him "Stop side seat driving!" I'm always afraid that something is going to happen. And when it comes down to it I'm afraid of failing God! There I finally said....Lord I am so afraid of failing you! There have been many times that I have failed.

I'm always afraid of saying the wrong thing....afraid of messing it all up. Our pastor has been teaching out of the book of Galatians on liberty. What true liberty is in Christ. As he taught one Sunday it dawned on me that I've never been free. I've never really experienced that liberty. Because since I was a child I have been fearful. I've carried fear around with me as long as I can remember and it has eaten away at me for years. Though I'm saved by the blood of Jesus Christ I've never allowed him to give me liberty.

Everyone has grown up with some issues that hamper our ability to truly be free in Christ. The question is what are we going to do about it? I memorized Isaiah 61:1-4 verses months ago. "The spirit of the Lord God is upon me. Because he has annointed me to preach good tidings to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound." However, I must admit that it never hit me in my heart until recently. Because it was just recently that I realized how jailed I've been by fear.

Lord you came for me. You came to open the prison that I've willingly walled myself in. Day by day help me to walk in freedom and liberty.


Love Thy Neighbor

 Friday, October 26, 2007

Recently, this past Sunday, our pastor issued the congregation a challenge. Show the love of God by Baking something for your neighbor. Our family decided on chocolate chip cookies. After leaving church I was excited about the prospect of baking something for a couple of my neighbors. What better gesture than baking something for someone else. It shows them that you were thinking of them and action is always better than words.
I've already baked my first batch of cookies for the neighbors on the left of us. It has always given me great pleasure to do things for others. I went over with a plate of hot chocolate chip cookies in hand. They loved them. I have one more batch of cookies to bake for another neighbor. But this one is a bit tricky. Let me explain.

Everyone has that one neighbor that will drive you crazy and test the limits of your niceness. This is the neighbor were you ask God to hold your tongue so that nothing mean or harsh comes out of your mouth, even if they would do good with a good thrashing of the tongue. I was standing in the kitchen the other night talking to Richard and said, "I don't want to do this, its way too hard." He replied "that's the entire reason for all of this, pursuing and showing the love of God to those we'd rather run from."

This particular neighbor has the tendency to say exactly what's on her mind, no matter how out of place it is, thinks that his/her child can do no wrong and mine are somehow the blame for whatever may happen with his/her child. Has used some inappropriate language in the past regarding my race, after been repeatedly told that the N word is not to be used in my presence. Let me just say it was never used in a malicious way. The list is endless. Since living in this house and getting to know this particular neighbor I'd rather not know this neighbor. In my mind I can see giving her the cookies and then her invading my life at the most inopportune moments.

In that instance I knew that this is something that I have to do. Anyone can do the easy thing, but the hard thing...that takes something else.......that takes humility, and the love of God. So with fresh baked chocolate chip cookies in hand I will love my neighbor and let God take care of the rest.


Having a form of Godliness.......

 Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I can't tell you how many times I've seen things like this on television. Pastors like these are dangerous to the body of Christ. They do not care about people just themselves. The love of money is what drives them. I could say so much more, but I will post more about false pastors.


Beauty in the Desert

 Sunday, October 14, 2007

I often think of the children of Israel when they found themselves walking in the wilderness for 40 years. What should have only taken maybe a few days or a week took them 40 years to get through. What was it that caused them to close their eyes to God? What was it that drove them to do the things they done? Why did they not trust?

As I ask these questions I am brought to my own realization that I've done exactly the same thing. Through my own blindness, veiled eyes, and just being plain hard-headed I some how lost my sight.

Do we chalk it all up to human nature? Or do we see the sinful condition of our own heart in the process of going through the deserts and valleys in life. Traveling through the desert is different for all of us. But while traveling do we ever stop and see the beauty in the desert? Yes, there is beauty in the wilderness. And I fail to see it at times and stages in my life. The Israelites missed out on so much. Through their trials and errors we see ourselves, our own condition of our hearts.

Isaiah 44:20 states "He feeds on ashes, a deluded heart misleads him; he cannot save himself, or say, "Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?" WOW! No wonder we are continually finding ourselves in the wilderness being purged of a deluded heart that leads us straight into ______ (name your vice.) There is beauty in the desert, its not hidden, we've just blinded ourselves but thank God that He chastises those who are His.

Psalm 19:13 :Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression." May I add.....BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY


Peace Like A River

 Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Isaiah 26:3 "You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you."

Peace evades me. My mind is constantly turning. I can't concentrate. I'm agitated. Easily irritated. Not feeling much like doing anything. Chaos swirls around me like a tornado. Help me keep my focus on you. Not distracted by other things.


Talking To Strangers

 Thursday, October 4, 2007

This past Sunday evening at church our pastor was talking about our mission as a body of Christ and a new missional church planting in the tri-cities. Our mission is to free people to embrace Jesus...to go to the people instead of waiting for them to come to us. In this area this is huge. There is not one place in this town that you can go without the presence of at least 20 churches in a 1 mile radius. We live in the Bible Belt. Every Sunday churches are full but there is something missing. It has been more about going to church than having a relationship with Jesus. It is more religion than relationship. If you ask someone if they're saved you'll get (1) I go to church and 2 (I am a Methodist, Baptist, etc...) . The one answer I'm looking for I usually never hear. After leaving church that Sunday evening my mind kept coming back to how I can be a light to others. I'm no longer in the work force, and I'm not in school right now. I'm a wife and mother of 4 children and caregiver to 2 others. Time is spent with my family all day. But God gave me my answer Tuesday, October 2.

Just about everyday I take my son Riley, and the 2 young brothers that I babysit during the week to the playground that is pictured above. This Playground is the cream of the crop! People come from all over to visit the state park just for its playground. This playground was specifically built for the handicapped and goes all the way back past the shelter in the picture. I will take some pictures and post later the entire playground so you can see for yourself.

On this particular day, as I watched the children play in the sand area (can't see in this picture) I shared a bench with a wonderful lady. It started with a simple "hello, how are you". We had a wonderful conversation and I learned a lot about this precious woman. She grew up in Connecticut, former Air Force, has lived in this area about 10 years, husband traded her in for a younger woman (her words not mine) grew up Roman Catholic and is now attending a Methodist Church, First marriage ended in divorce because husband was an alcoholic, was raised in a home where the mother was an alcoholic.

This is a lot of information, considering that I just met her. However, strangers will divulge information freely to people they don't know because its just easier. Of the many things that we discussed there was one issue that struck a chord with me. While in the Air Force she was invited to a black church by one of her friends. And if you don't know, it doesn't matter what black church you go to we are not a reserved people when it comes to church. She went on to tell me how scared she was in the midst of people who freely shouted praises, sang with soul, clapped and swayed as they worshipped, amened and waved their handkerchiefs throughout the service. But in the midst of feeling out of place she marveled at these people in this church freely worshiping God. She envied that because all her life had been, as she put it, living the typical Catholic life of hail Mary's and chanting. For the first time she had witnessed freedom in Christ!

As we continued to talk I was able to share some things. As my good friend Kristina said today as we talked on the phone, "all of our lives we have been told to never talk to strangers, which was for our own safety and is a good thing, however, that has spilled over in our adult lives and has become a hindrance in our ability to witnessing to others." Even if the subject of Christ, God never comes up, we are still witnessing to Christ. That old adage "build it and they will come" just isn't effective and isn't what Christ done. Christ went out and we are to do the same. You can be a witness to anyone, anywhere.

People are so imprisoned with religion that they've totally missed Christ, and some have never been properly introduced to Him. Have you talked to any strangers lately?


It's Not Fair?

 Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Jonah is a man that hardly anyone can forget. Mainly known for being swallowed by a fish, Jonah is not a fish tale story. No, this story is about God's unfailing love and compassion for all mankind. Jonahs a man who threw one heck of a temper tantrum. I often wonder how he fared out in the end after all was said and done. Did he ever grasp the unfailing and infinite love of God? Did he ever come to learn that God's ways are not our ways? Did he ever learn that God owes no one any explanation?

Jonah, like so many, had more concern over a plant that was eaten away by a worm than he had for the people that God himself had called him to minister to. Not to mention that God, himself, grew the plant to shade Jonah from the heat of the sun. Even though Jonah threw a tantrum worthy of a 4 year-old, God's compassion and love for Jonah is evident. He posed a question to Jonah, "Why are you so angry?"

We all have a little of Jonah. At times its hard to see through our anger and our judgment, but it's there. Stamping our feet, flinging our hands in the air saying, "Do you not know what they did to me? They don't deserve any mercy!" And like the Father that God is, he simply replies "Why are you so angry?"

God's love is limitless. It is our ways that are not fair. I would have liked to known if Jonah ever came to this realization and saw just how skewed his view was? He saw the city repent and just never got it. I'm the first one to raise my hand and tell you I didn't get it either. In all honesty, its a little harder to have compassion, or love for anyone that's hurt you or done things to you that you'd never speak to another soul. In my minds eye I'd say impossible, without God. They've sown the wind and they will reap the whirlwind. Yet, mercy and compassion, and forgiveness is not limited, God freely gives to all who ask and repent.

God's mercy, unfailing love, and compassion is for all , even the one's we've written off!


Hello Fall

 Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Fall is one of my favorite seasons. Deep golden yellow, red, and brown leaves litter the earth. They hang from trees like ornaments at Christmas time. Have you ever just drove through the mountains around this time of the year? The sun is brighter, the air crisper. I marvel at the beauty that God created. Endless flowing mountains, that etch the skyline with color and such beauty that it literally takes your breath away. I'm looking forward to the days where you have to wear a sweater because its just a bit nippy outside, days where you can sit by a bonfire and toast marsh mellows while having good conversation with friends, and hot chocolate on cool nights. I can see God's hands on everything in this world, I just see it a little more clearly in fall.


Extending Grace

 Monday, September 24, 2007

After a weekend of being on my last rope, and the kids being on my last nerve, God in all his glory, gave me one word to mediate on. That word is GRACE! Last night I pulled out my Bible and concordance and dived right in making note of all the scriptures that grace references to. Now, what really got me was a still small voice that stated "Evette you know what grace means, and what it is, but you are not extending grace."

Ouch!!!! All I could do was sink back in the bed and agree. Another eye opening experience for me. Another lesson learned by the gentleness of the Holy Spirit. It is easy to extend grace to others. Yet, my downfall comes when extending grace to my own family. Just when I think that I've gotten over the hump something happens and the hump I thought that I'd gotten over chases me down like a rabid dog chasing the mail man. Now I was asking myself why? Why did I have no problem at all with "others" and had a problem with my own children, and my husband?

Family can easily get on your nerves and push your buttons like no other. Strangers you don't know, have no tie with. Compassion is something that we all have but don't act upon at times. Depending on who it is plays a huge roll. My children know how to push the buttons and send me head first into a storm of fury. However, whatever they do doesn't warrant me from extending grace in any given situation. There were so many things that I could have done differently this past weekend. My emotions don't have to rule over me no matter how frustrated, upset, and stressed that I am. Grace isn't limited to "others". Grace begins in my own home with my family.


He's 6 Today

 Friday, September 21, 2007

Today my little boy is 6 years old. I can remember driving to the hospital in pain on the night of September 21, 2001 listening to Briannah say, "look at the moon mommy it's so pretty." I'm sitting in the back seat saying, "please don't talk to mommy right now, she's in too much pain." So much time has passed, and he is growing into a little man....my little man. He's changed from that blond haired, blue eyed, little boy that I gave birth to 6 years ago. He looks different, but yet the same. I'm looking forward to seeing him grow into a man with his own dreams and a family one day. Happy birthday baby, mama loves you!


My Grandmother's Story

 Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Death. This is a word that most of us cringe at when we here it escape the mouth of someone. We don't want to ear it much less think about it. I can remember as a child thinking that my grandparents would live forever. In my mind they were immortal. They would always be there no matter what. However, I lost my father (grandfather) April 2000 of cancer. And I tell you that it wasn't a funeral but a home going celebration. If there ever was a man that walked the walked it was my beloved grandfather. I look back on the past with fond memories, inspiration, and life lessons.

Last week I spent some time with my grandmother. My grandparent’s home was a home for all the homeless grandchildren. Me and my first daughter lived there for a while. It was home, and it still is. As we sat talking my grandmother shared a story with me. A story of death. Her death. The entire conversation began with recalling memories about her beloved husband, my dad, and how she still talks to him today, even though he is not on this earth. She is in her perfect mind and knows full well that she will see him someday.

On this day my grandmother did not just share a brush with death, but a glimpse of heaven. Yes, I said it...she saw heaven. Here is her story that I would like to share with you.

I had just given birth to Lawrence Jr. (her first) It was a hard labor, and an even harder delivery but he was a healthy child. But something happened. I started to bleed and the doctor's couldn't get it under control. Life began to drain from my body and I felt lighter and lighter, and before I knew it I was floating in the air. Then the most beautiful white light I had ever seen seem to envelop me. Not a blinding white light but soft, bright, and beautiful. There was an indescribable peace. My feet touched the most beautiful mountain that I had ever laid my eyes on. Lush green grass surrounded me, flowers everywhere. It was beauty all around me. I started up the mountain to the top. As I walked I stumbled and I felt a hand gently grab me by the elbow to keep me from falling. I never saw the hand but I knew wit was Jesus. Just when I reached the top of the mountain I started floating...floating....back into my body. The doctor's had brought me back. Yes, I know God is real, I know heaven is real and I'll be going home one day to be with Jesus!

I'm welling up right now as I type this. My grandmother had just shared one of her most intimate moments with me. There are skeptics who say she was hallucinating, just imagined it, but those of us in Christ know different. We may mourn, but not as the world does. Though I know her day will come and I will mourn, I will be singing and praising Jesus as he welcomes her into his arms.

To Live is Christ, To die is gain!


A Woman's Dream

 Friday, September 14, 2007

Okay, this is wishful thinking. Oh what I could do with something like this. Too bad it really hasn't been invented yet. One would think, since we've come so far in the technological age, this would have long been created. We can dream, can't we.


It's Not About Me

Everything is all about self. We are self-seeking, self-driven, materialistic individuals who are driven by our own passions. One thing that we all have in common is that we are searching for true happiness. We think that if we got that pay raise, bigger house, better car that we'd be alright. We can't escape it. You can't turn on your television these days without being saturated with "self".

Maybe we think that if we conform to society that all our dreams will come true. But when we get all those things, does happiness ever truly come? Does keeping up with the Jones' make up for what we are lacking. Now I'm not talking about the world. No, I'm talking about followers of Christ. I'm talking about me and others like me. Those of us who have accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior.

For a long time I was not happy. I thought if I had this or that, then everything would eventually fall into place. Even after I had accepted Christ in my life nothing had changed and this is why. All this was set in place by one instance in middle school. That day changed me.

I was in the seventh grade and in that awkward pre-teen stage. I was standing at my locker and this girl came up to me and said "Don't you have anything else to wear. You wear that same outfit seems like everyday." I gave no rebuttal. I was so hurt that all I wanted to do was run home as fast as I could, climb into bed and never face the world again. Of course throughout the rest of middle school and high school things did not come any easier for me. We've all been through the cruelty of school. I made a promise to myself that I would have everything that my heart desired. At all costs!

That one incident in middle school had marked me with a vengeance, and I never knew it. Even after accepting Christ I felt that something was missing. I wasn't living the life of liberty that I had heard preached for so long. I was spiritually dying, heck I was almost dead. Even then everything was all about me! It was about my desires, passions, and about what I wanted.

All of it is vanity. Here today, gone tomorrow. More of Jesus and less of me is the only thing that brings true happiness. Happiness can't be found in a bottle, can't be found in any materialistic thing. Being a follower of Christ is not simply showing up to church, singing the songs, listening to the preacher and going home still empty. It's only when we give up our selfish mentality and stop trying to fill the void with stuff and let Christ fill those empty places that true happiness comes. Everyone of us has an emptiness that nothing can fill but Christ. Try as we may to fill those empty places, they will never be filled unless we make the decision to decrease and Christ increase. For far too long I've made it all about me. Now all I truly desire is to be who Christ wants me to be. His passion is my passion.


Wonder Woman Syndrome

 Sunday, September 9, 2007

Wonder Woman was one of the first shows that captivated me as a child. I especially loved the part where she twirled around and adorned an outfit complete with a golden lasso on her side. Heck, this woman even had the invisible plane. Let's not forget super human strength. Yep, she was the epitome for women. She had the ability to save the world in one day and never even break a sweat.

Women have abilities to multi-task, something my husband can't do. I can, with a single twirl, turn into Wonder Woman. I can lasso my kids, when needed, in one rope all while cleaning, cooking, and taking care of what needs to be taken care of. At one time I was going to school full time, working full-time, wife to my husband, and taking care of 4 children. It seemed that I had the strength to take on the world. I was a woman on a mission. Thank God school ended and I quite my job, to again stay-at-home with my children.

Even then I reveled in my ability to do it all. It became a prideful thing. And we all know what happens to the prideful, God is always able to humble and bring insight. And I have found out that the longer you walk life's Journey with Christ, lessons are taught. Just like the lesson I learned this past week, and one that I am still meditating on.

When you think that you've got it all together and you can ultimately handle anything, something comes along and it shatters everything. The other day my life was filled will little irritating things. I ended up full of anger, frustration, and the feeling that I am unappreciated. That's when I felt the pressure of Wonder Woman! While frustrated and feeling the weight of being Wonder Woman, God brought a verse to mind to mediate on.

Psalm 68:19 (NKJV) "Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loads us with benefits, The God of our Salvation!"

Now I am asking, why am I not feeling those benefits to make it through the day? What are those benefits? After discussing this with my beloved sister-in-law, Rebekah, I know what part of my problem is. I have the Wonder Woman Syndrome. I can do it all, the world says that I can do it all; however, God says you can't do it without me! I'm sure that I am not alone and this syndrome is wide spread. It is God that gives me what I need on a daily basis. Problem is I wasn't letting Him. While I'm confident that there are those who will disagree with me and maybe suggest that I've set the women's movement back about 100 years, I know different. I know that doing it all with human strength leads to pride, frustration, anger, and possibly a nervous breakdown. I'm still meditating on the word of God and allowing Him to speak to my heart, show me what those daily benefits are, and show me what's preventing. I've traded in Wonder Woman, and her golden lasso!