Saturday, July 11, 2015

Be careful what you pray for.....

For over 8 years I’ve had the pleasure, honor, privileged and challenge to serve in the Children’s Ministry. I’ve been faithful and obedient to God’s nudges – okay sometimes they were more like pushes during that time. I started out as greeter and somehow ended up as the KidStuf Director. I’ve served with so many great people and learned so much. KidStuf and the Children’s Ministry was such a huge part of my life and my identity – that was who I was. Sometimes I think that at times it overshadow my other titles as mom and wife. This was my identity; who I was!

Many months ago, it became apparent to me that I was losing steam. I was getting tired and I began to get frustrated with those around me because I wasn’t getting the help I needed and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to do all that needed to be done. But me being who I am, continued to try and get it done. The harder I worked, the more tired I became. So I did what we all do in those situations. I started to pray.

Now since giving my life to Christ I’ve seen many of my prayers answered so for me to start praying for help wasn’t strange or new. I prayed for months for God to help me. I prayed that he would give me the strength to go on. I prayed that he would bring the right people into my life to help me with the mission, but mostly I prayed for rest because I was just so tired.

Well in late May God finally answered my prayer. Unfortunately in his fashion he didn’t answer it the way I wanted nor the way I thought he was going to. In late May I was asked to step down from my position in Family Ministries for an indefinite time so that I could rest and I could recharge. As you can imagine I didn’t take this news well. I was hurt beyond anything I could write here and I saw nothing in my future but pain. I was angry at those around me, how in the world could they do that to me? What was going to become of KidStuf? What was to become of the kids? I was KidStuf, this was the wrong thing to do. These were just some of the thoughts that were swirling in my head, I’m sure you get the idea, I wasn’t a happy camper.

Now during all of this I could feel God around me. I could feel him holding me. I knew that he had a plan for me, but I was just so hurt and confused that it didn’t register that in fact this was God’s answer to my prayer. You see I always felt I was stepping out in faith and that I was being obedient to his call. He had created be to be a story teller. I knew that I was created to share the bible, his word, with children. I know that he wants me to break the chains of generational sin one child at a time. What I didn’t realize is that during this time I became so caught up in KidStuf and that identity that I had lost focus on who I was in him. I was defined by what I did and not by who I was.

After several months of wallowing in the pain, anger and confusion like a child in a mud puddle I was able to wipe the mud from my eyes and see God’s hand in all of this. Now I’m working on cleaning off all the “mud’ and I’m still a little dirty, but slowly with his help I’m wiping away the pain and the anger. I’m like that kid who is bouncing up and down on the balls of their feet yelling 
“Can I go now, I’m ready” I can almost hear God chuckling “No, my child not yet. You’ve still got a little mud on you and you need to clean up a little more”

God does answer prayer! God is faithful! There is never a doubt about that. The problem comes when He does answer them, but not the way we want or envisioned. He does have the plan and now I have to trust him to lead me as he was done in the past. Now I have to remember that I am defined by who I am and not what I do. I have no idea what the future holds, hence the confusion, but I do know that there is no way on earth I’m going to be able to move forward from this place until I stop looking at who I was and starting looking forward to who I’m  going to become.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Back to School

Today is the first day of a new school year and it’s causing me to think about where I’ve come since I was in school. I graduated from high school in 1985. I was full of energy, life and rebellion. I was going to do anything, but get married and have children. Okay I did want to get married, but the children were not going to happen. I wasn’t going to have children, who needed that kind of responsibility. Life was full of opportunities and the best thing was that school was over.
Many years later I found myself finishing up from real estate school and I was ready to set the Akron real estate market on fire. I was going to make a ton of money, work from home and take care of my baby daughter. The best thing was that I wouldn’t have to go back to school, I was done with that.
Now here I sit over 25 years after graduating high school, but this time I’m thinking of not the end of school, but the beginning. My how my life has changed. I’ve got two children, I’m a homeschooling, stay-at-home mom and I’m loving it. Today isn’t just the first day of kindergarten for my son or the first day of 7th grade for my daughter, today is the first day of school for me too and I’m excited.
Since graduating high school I’ve discovered I like to learn. So I really love school. I love the opportunity to watch my kids learn. I love to see the light bulb come on when they grasp a new concept. I love sharing little bits of knowledge that they don’t get from text books. I love all things about learning. I’ve learnt that we learn more outside of school then in and if we stop learning, stop growing we slowly die.
God made us to learn. We learn from our mistakes. We learn from taking chances. We learn from experience, ours and those around us. We learn when we take the time to question. We learn when we stop, look and listen to the world around us. I’m so excited to see what I’m going to learn this year in school. What are you going get out of the new school year? Are you excited to learn something new today or are you content to sit back and slowly dry up and evaporate like a sponge in the hot sun.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Beautiful Things - A Daily Devotional - July 5


….And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age – Matthew 28:20

Personal Thoughts:

This morning as I sat down to write today’s thoughts I struggled to find a verse that spoke to me or better yet would speak to you. I flipped through my bible hoping the Lord would show me a verse to write about, nothing. I read my devotionals and still nothing.
Most of the time when I sit to write I have a very strong sense on what the theme is going to be or the Lord has given me a verse to write about. During these days the words come easily and I have no trouble sharing, that is not the case today. Today I don’t hear God’s voice. Today I only feel His presence. It’s warm, it’s comfortable and it’s steady.
It’s like when I’m sitting on the couch with my husband just being together. We’re not talking, his arm is around me, we’re just being together – this is how I feel this morning. Sometimes God doesn’t need to speak to us, sometimes we just need to be together.


Dear Lord,
Thank you for always being with me. With my busy, noisy life thank you for being a warm and comfortable place to be, a place to escape, a place to recharge. Thank you for holding me when times get tough and thank you sharing my tears, fears, joys and everything in between. Thank you for seeking me out when life gets too busy for me and for the gentle reminders to look to You before looking to the world. In Your Son’s name Jesus I pray.


Can you feel God’s arm around you? Can you hear His voice? If not maybe you need to find a few quiet moments to just be in His presence. He is there, you just have to stop longer enough to notice Him.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Beautiful Things - A Daily Devotional - July 3

 You shall not covet your neighbor’s house or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey , or anything that belongs to your neighbor. – Exodus 20:17
 Recently my husband and I decided it was time for our youngest to begin participating in some sort of sport. My husband’s choice was martial arts. I had found an advertisement for a nearby school and wanted him to check it out with David just to get a feel for the school and to see if it would work for us. As they were leaving our daughter started crying because she wanted to go too – the answer was “no this is for your brother you don’t need to go” and then the tantrum began.
After quite a bit of screaming and crying she calmed down enough for me to talk with her. I explained that she had her gymnastics and this was going to be David’s thing. As the eldest she did more than him and we needed to give him something of his very own. None of my logic or reasoning seemed to be getting through to her so I left her lying on her bed, still sniffley.
A short time later Helen emerged from her room and said something that shocked me, “Mommy, I’m sorry for throwing a fit, but I was attacked by the Green Eyed Monster. I really want David to do karate, but I wanted it too – I was jealous of him. Please forgive me.”
Wow, talk about words of wisdom coming from an 11 year old. How many of us realize our bad attitudes and temper actually come from our own jealousy? How many of us can recognize an attack of the Green Eyed Monster? God wants us to be content with what we have, not what we don’t have. There is nothing wrong with wanting things, but when they become the focus of our lives we lose focus on God. When we begin to want what other people have we start looking for ways to get them and we very easily begin to slide down a very slippery slope.
Dear Lord,
Today I’m thankful for all that you provide for me. I’m thankful that with You I have the power to fight the Green Eyed Monster and that with You I can conquer my jealous nature. Please help me focus on You and on the gifts You have given me. In Your Son’s name I pray,
Take a moment today to ask God to show you where in your life you’ve been attacked by the Green Eyed Monster. Do you want something that belongs to someone else? Remember that the grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence, but if you water your own grass it could be even better. Who knows how many weeds, stickers and rocks lie buried beneath the surface?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Beautiful Things - A Daily Devotional - July 2

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  Ephesians 3:16-21
 I needed these verses this morning and I felt compelled to pray this for all of you. This is something we all struggle with; the knowledge of how much God loves us.
There is absolutely nothing we need to do or can do for God to love us more than He does. Even before we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior He loves us. When we mess up and sin, He loves us. When we are obedient and following direction He loves us. I for one sometimes have trouble grasping this.
Since becoming a Christ follower I have had one main goal and that is to hear those words “Well done good and faithful friend”. When I mess up and I sin I feel so guilty because I feel He’ll be disappointed in me. Sometimes I can’t help but feel that because of this He may not love me as much as He did. This is just not possible. No matter what I do, God my Father will always love me unconditionally. His love for me doesn’t revolve around my actions. He won’t love me more if I’m doing the right thing and He won’t love me less if I’m not doing it right.
Friends if you only remember one thing, then remember that no matter where you are in your life, no matter where you are in your walk with Jesus, no matter what you have done or haven’t done, God loves you more than you could ever realize and He is just waiting for you to turn to Him, embrace Him and share your life with Him.
Dear Lord,
Please help me understand just how much You love me. Help me understand that You can’t love me any more than You do. Please forgive me when I doubt Your love and forgive me when I turn away from you. Help me see that because of your love for me you want to bless me and proper me. Thank You for loving me beyond my wildest dreams and for loving me so much that You would send Your Son Jesus to die for me. In His name I pray,
Take some time today to look at your life and see where God has blessed you. Ask Him to show you examples of His love for you. Write down a list of blessing you have received, give thanks for the examples of His love for you.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Beautiful Things - A Daily Devotional - June 26

Scripture:  Proverbs 21:5

 Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty
 Whilst I was reading this verse the word poverty stuck out at me because generally we associate poverty with being extremely poor financially and I know that wasn’t what King Solomon was talking about when he wrote this verse. Here he is talking about poverty being something that is inferior, lacking, not its very best.
This verse is really telling us we need to stop rushing, stop looking for the easy way, the quick way, the shortcut. What we need to do is look at the goal we want to reach and to take care getting there. We need to take ALL the steps needed to reach the goal and not look for shortcuts.
As a homeschooling mom I’m faced with this lesson almost on a daily basis, especially when teaching a new math concept. You see I’m always telling my daughter to write all the steps down, don’t miss any because then it is easy to see where she went wrong, but as soon as she thinks she gets the concept she starts skipping steps and of course she starts to get the answers wrong.
It’s the same in life. God wants us to have the very best and wants to have a relationship with us. He doesn’t want just some of us. He doesn’t just want us on Sunday’s at church. He wants it ALL. He wants us to plan our lives around Him and His word. He wants us to take the time to get to know Him. In return He promises to bless us beyond measure. There are no shortcuts when it comes time to grow and change. There are no shortcuts when it comes time to have a real relationship with God. If you want something badly enough you’ll put in the planning and you’ll do all the steps necessary to get to the desired outcome – doesn’t God deserve that kind of focus?
Dear Lord,
Thank you for your loving guidance. As I go through today in our fast paced lifestyle, show me where I’m taking shortcuts that are harmful to me. Show me the correct planning I need to do so that my entire life will prosper as you have promised. In your son’s precious name, Jesus I pray.
Are you taking shortcuts in your spiritual, emotional, physical life? Maybe you’re taking diet pills, for quick results instead of changing to a healthier lifestyle? Maybe you’re buying things on credit instead of saving and placing a budget into place? Maybe you’re only going to church on Sunday’s and hoping that will get you through the week? Re-evaluate your goals and lay out a plan and then take all the steps to get to the end result – the outcome will be worth the work I promise.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Beautiful Things - A Daily Devotional - June 21

Scripture: Hosea 6:6 (NIV)

 For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.
 In Old Testament times when you wanted to atone for something you would go to the temple with the required offerings which were burnt on the altar – hence the term burnt offerings. When I was growing up I would go to confession, where I would enter a small, closet type room and I would tell the priest all the things I did wrong, he would then give me penance to say. None of this seemed to make sense to me.
As I read this verse I think yes this is exactly how I feel. I don’t want to worry about the ceremony, what I want is God’s mercy. I want to acknowledge Him for who He is, accept His gift and strive to be the person He wants me to be.
How do I do this? I do this by creating a relationship with Him. I don’t do it by expecting a sacrifice, a ceremony to make things right. I realize that no ceremony is necessary to receive the mercy God has for us. What is needed to receive God’s mercy is acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Savior and repentance from our sin. When we accept and acknowledge God for who He is, we open ourselves up to a relationship with Him and this is God’s desire for us.
Dear Lord,
Please forgive me for trying to place You in a box. Help me see You for who You are and to openly accept Your daily offering of mercy and grace. Please forgive me when I look to ceremony, rules and religion before I look to You. Today I stand before You, with open hands and open heart. Today I accept Your offer of mercy and Your offer for an amazing relationship. May my eyes be on You and not on the man-made rules. In Your Son’s precious name I pray.
Are you caught up in the business of religion and ceremony? Have you accepted God’s gift of mercy? Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior? Spend some time quietly talking to God and ask Him to show you where you need to focus more on your relationship with Him and less on the ceremonies of religion.