Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
This is so exciting and interesting because just yesterday, one of the ladies who works very closely with me, and I were discussing our desire to attend some type of leadership training conference this year. She had sent me a link or two over the past couple of months and just yesterday she mentioned this conference. I told her that of all the things I had looked at this seemed to be the most relevant for where we were at and what we desire God to do in us and through us and the best part was that I had already been reading Lysa's blog and several others on the team.
Proverbs 31 Ministries has put together a wonderful weekend which includes something for every woman who desires to be more effective for the body of Christ.
Whether you speak regularly already and are looking to increase your opportunity to be used in this area or sense the Lord leading you to begin teaching a Bible Study for a group of ladies in your church, learning how to effectively put together a message and deliver it so that your audience not only hears your heart but can walk away changed through the power of God's Word is something that is developed and trained. I know that every time I speak in front of the ladies in our church or just pray in front of a group, I first and foremost want to do it all for Glory of God, but I also want to be effective in what I am doing. She Speaks will provide the tools to strengthen or just develop those skills as well as show you how to increase your sphere of influence through speaking.
If you are an aspiring writer, She Speaks offers an amazing opportunity to sit and listen to Christian publishers share how to get started with the publication process. There is also a place for bloggers to hear from three very popular and widely read bloggers to share how to "more effectively connect with your readers and increase the impact of your blog." Recently, I was contacted for permission by an organization to publish a blog post I had written. I was completely humbled, but more importantly I recognized that the post they had selected was one that was written from the depths of my heart. I would love to continue to sharpen my ability to reach within and write with honesty and vulnerability. I have a long ways to go.
If you lead a women's ministry in your church you give out and serve the ladies continually. But often times we forget that we too need to be encouraged (especially if you are a Pastor's wife) and be on the receiving end. They have provided for this as well as a time to learn and grow in your effectiveness as a leader.
And finally they have something for The Next Generation which is for girls in middle school and high school who have a desire to speak or write and be a leader for Christ to their generation. I have both and would love for my (almost) 13 year old and 16 year old daughters to attend. WOW!
Just writing this post and reading through the She Speaks site today has not only confirmed my desire to attend but now it is my prayer.
Throughout the past six months I have sought the Lord and asked "What's next?" with regards to ministering to the women in our church and community. We currently have regular weekly bible studies, but I have been praying, seeking, and asking the Lord what He would have us to do. I know how to put together programs which would be well attended, look really pretty and even be fun and effective, but I have sensed that I can no longer do just that. (nothing wrong with programs) And not only that, but I see a new generation of young women who are hungry themselves for someone to be willing to stand up and teach the truths of God's Word as it relates to their roles as wives, mothers, and women and to do it with honest passion. They desire someone to be real!! They desire someone they can relate to!! They need to know I love Jesus and have sticky dirty floors and smudges on my walls and the unending laundry pile. As a Pastor's wife I have sensed the image that we either have created for ourselves or have let others create for us will no longer carry us in reaching the women God has placed before us.
I have a strong desire to effectively communicate biblical truths through speaking and writing. But more than that, I desire to serve the ladies of our church and community with greater purpose and clear direction from the Lord. It has been several years since I have attended a leadership conference for women. I am hungry for greater tools, a fresh perspective for leadership, an opportunity to hear what God would speak to my own heart with regards to writing and speaking.
Thank you Lysa for this opportunity to share my heart. I would love to attend She Speaks and hopefully bring a few friends too!!
And a weekend away from kids, cooking, and laundry and spent with sisters all seeking and desiring to be used of God may cause me to just drool...just a little!
Sunday, January 27, 2008
On January 11, 2008 my dad died. I received a phone call on Wednesday January 16th from the Los Angeles County Coroner's office. He lived alone and was not married. His neighbor found him in his apartment. He had only been married to my mother for a very short time when they were very young. I was his only child. My mom re-married when I was still a baby and my step-dad became my father and I thank the Lord for him.
There is so much about his life that I could say, so many things that are difficult, so many things that are very sad. When the young woman from the coroner's office asked me the question, "do you know a insert here the first, middle and last name of my father?" I knew before she said her next sentence and even though everything in me knew that this moment was long over due, that he was gone. I wanted to scream "no!" "not yet" "I have questions I need to ask and things I would like to know." The kind young woman was patient and understanding of my place. I took deep breaths and tried hard to keep my composure but it was impossible. She gently walked me through the steps and carefully answered my questions between my own moments of weeping and wishing I had one more moment with him. I remember when my mom lost her mother. The crying coming from the other room that seemed to resonate from somewhere deep within her soul. I understood. But the sorrow was different. I cried for what I never had and what I always longed to know. I cried at the very thought of him being all alone in death. I cried as I thought that no one should die, leaving it in the hands of a county employee to search for your next of kin. I cried because through the choices he made throughout his life left him with no one and nothing. I cried because I did not know where he will spend eternity.
Over the next few days I prepared to make a trip to California. I wanted to go. I knew I needed to. I wanted to go to his apartment. I wanted to go to the coroner's and pick up his things.
My flight landed in Los Angeles early Sunday evening. I stayed with my in-laws in Orange County. Monday morning I drove to my brother's house and was welcomed by my two month old niece at the front door with a sign that read, "Welcome, Aunt Chris". It made me cry. She is beautiful and it was wonderful to see my brother and his wife with their first little bundle of joy.
My brother accompanied me to my father's apartment. There are so many details that I will not write here. There are so many things that I experienced that have changed me deeply within. All of my life I have longed to know this man. I walked through this tiny apartment with everything just as it was when he died, looking, searching for anything, something that would give a glimpse of what he thought or why he chose to live this way. I wish I could say that I found something. But I did not. Over the next two days I learned things that were hard to hear. I was thankful that most of what I did know was true. Some of it was still scene through some hopeful rosy colored lens of a young girl still dreaming that her daddy would call or come to see here. I walked down a street that others wouldn't dare, I went into a few places that others would have considered unsafe, I went to the post office just blocks from his apartment and stood in amazement at the two inch thick plexiglass that separated me from the U.S. postal worker. I sat in a small room behind more plexiglass at the coroner's building in downtown Los Angeles to receive his wallet, watch, keys and other personal items. I hugged the neighbor who found him. I took in everything I saw and experienced in some quiet hope of knowing just a little bit more about this man who I knew as "Daddy Jim." I returned to his apartment a second time in hopes of finding something before returning his keys to the apartment manager. I looked up at the three story apartment building in the bright California sun one last time before pulling away and driving off for the last time with tears streaming down my face.
He lived a life thankfully I have never known. He did things I will never fully know. Most would consider his life a waste. And in some ways it was, except that God chose him to be my father. And although I longed to know him, he made the choice to leave me alone. Alone to live what he never had. Alone to not see what he was or experience who he was. I do know it was intentional. I do know that he loved me.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
As I gaze at my husband’s face, I see the reflection of my mother in law in his life, her gentle touch, her warm embrace and her love for God and His word. But I also see the smile of another woman who laid her hands on her belly and thanked God for her unborn child.
Over forty one years ago, two sisters living not far from each other, both pregnant with their third child, but their lives and circumstances were miles apart. The older sister in her mid twenties was happily married and a new Christian. The younger sister was in her early twenties, separated from her estranged husband and expecting a baby from a man who was not her husband. Both were confronted with a very difficult and heart wrenching choice. A choice made by two women that only God could orchestrate. A choice made by each mother that no matter which way you looked at it, hearts would rejoice and hearts would feel pain.
The choice of a younger sister to give her baby to be adopted by her older sister was one in which she made knowing fully that her own future would not prove to be the best for this unborn child she carried in her womb. Her older sister by only a few years, also carrying new life in her womb, along with the love and support of her husband made the choice to adopt this child as their own. A decision, I am sure was done by the leading of the Holy Spirit for this young couple, but also filled with questions by curious on lookers.
Over forty years later this baby, whose life was forever changed by the loving choice of two women, is now sharing the gospel every week to hundreds of people, a husband to his wife for over twenty years and a loving father to five children. Both women sacrificed a great deal in order that he may experience life and the salvation of Jesus Christ.
My mother in law, the older sister, has reflected Christ to me through her love and willingness to give freely of herself and adopt a baby boy and bring new life not only to him but to his future all while expecting her own child. She was willing to put herself aside and become a living sacrifice unto the Lord. My mother and father in law proudly share that they were there at his birth and carefully swaddled this new bundle and took him home from the hospital. His younger sister was born just five weeks later.
Every year, as I celebrate the death and resurrection of my Lord and Savior and his willingness to go to the cross for me in order that I may have new life, I can't help but think of these two women. No they would never want to be compared to Christ in any way, for they both know from where their hope comes from, but I am so grateful that they were willing to put their fears aside and follow the plan that God had laid before them. Thank you Sara, my beautiful mother in law, for being a reflection of Him; And thank you Jessie, for trusting God with his life.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Melissa tagged me for this book meme. I thought this might be fun especially since I have been looking at this stack for the past two weeks. Most have to do with being a wife and mom. Many I have read before and I am drawn back to them for some reason this year.
So here it goes...
BOOKS THAT HAVE CHANGED MY LIFE:~
BOOKS I'VE READ MORE THAN ONCE:~
(starting with the most recent)
Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney
Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp
The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges
Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow
Just Enough Light for the Step I'm on by Stormie Omartian
Finding Peace in Life's Storms by C.H. Spurgeon
Pursuing the Will of God by Jack Hayford
Praying God's Word by Beth Moore
The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian
The Way of Agape by Nancy Missler
The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
BOOKS I'D WANT ON A DESERT ISLAND:~
My Bible and an empty notebook
BOOKS THAT MADE ME LAUGH:~
How do Dinosaurs say Goodnight by Jane Yolen (my three year old loves this)
BOOKS THAT MADE ME CRY:~
The Lost Boy by David Pelzer
(It made me weep!)
BOOKS I WISH HAD BEEN WRITTEN:~How to potty train your 5th child with ease....
BOOKS I WISH HAD NEVER BEEN WRITTEN:
BOOKS I'M CURRENTLY READING:~
Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp
Emotionally Healthy Spiritually by Peter Scazzero
(I've been muddling my way through this one for months)
Lies Women Believe by Nancy DeMoss (for the 2nd time)
BOOKS I'VE BEEN MEANING TO READ:~
Having a Mary's Heart in a Martha's World by Joanna Weaver
Sacred Influence by Gary Thomas
Holding on to Hope by Nancy Guthrie
Amazing Grace in the life of William Wilberforce by John Piper
Renewal on the Run by Jill Briscoe
Be Still My Soul by Elizabeth Elliot
The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment by Tim Challies and John MacArthur
Age of Opportunity by Paul Tripp
(I have high hopes and a huge wish list at Amazon.com)
This was a lot of fun. The only thing missing is a list of books I've read recently and would highly recommend. If you want to participate go ahead and let me know so that I can come and read yours too! I read mostly for greater understanding and knowledge of the Word of God and Christian living at this season of my life and anything fun is usually read to me by one of my kids.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Of course, I still didn't get much written down on paper but again had another opportunity to think about what I want my home to reflect. My home is in motion, continually changing with constant activity. Like so many other women, I feel some days like I have reduced myself to nothing more than a maid, chef, administrator of the family calendar, bookkeeper to the family budget, organizer of all things big and small, and the official chauffeur. The world would have me believe my work at home is monotonous and something anyone could manage. After all, it doesn't take brains to wash dishes, vacuum floors, and fold laundry. But this view of homemaking presents us with the physical structure alone and leaves out the heart of what takes place within its walls.
Too often I have reduced the meaning of my home to a chore list. I fail to see the incredible role and the influence I have been given and the value of my own work.
Much of the noise and craziness of daily life in our house does come from the banging of dishes in the sink or the hum of the washing machine. But there is more going on than meets the eye. Why are the dishes dirty to begin with? Because our family has just finished a meal together, discussing and laughing over the day's happenings. Jennie Chancey in an article from 2004 titled, The Labor of the Home says this:
"The day to day cleaning, scrubbing, washing and putting away come because there is life in our house. People live here, learning, growing, and praying together. More to the point, sinners live here, all of them in need of daily grace, instruction, exhortation, and encouragement. Sinners make messes, and I don't just mean the Cheerios on the floor or the muddy prints on the wall. I mean the messes of hurt feelings, broken promises, "forgotten" tasks, words spoken in anger. Here is where the real labor of the home is found - the labor we cannot afford to neglect. Unwashed dishes aren't going to rise up in revolt by nightfall, but a fool left in his folly can do damage for generations."
I am often distracted by so many of the things that are needed to be done in order to keep my home in motion, that I don't always take adequate time to look at the "real" messes around me. So, I ask myself where are the biggest messes? What child needs instruction in what areas? Who needs encouragement? How can I more effectively point them to Christ? It is not a monumental task that takes deep theology and articulate speech. It comes through the simple daily things we encounter as we go about our day.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Unfortunately, the block of time hasn't come. Instead I have been given snippets of time here and there while trying to get everything put away and caught up, help with homework, go to two doctor's appointments, and we still have two dentist appointments and one ortho appointment this week. This is life!
I have a brand new prayer journal which I so desperately want to crack open and begin writing in. I have blank pieces of paper in my notebook which are waiting for my thoughts and plans. I even have a verse written down at the top of the paper which reflects my heart and where I want to begin:
Saturday, January 05, 2008
Our deepest passion for significance is finally satisfied when we realize He is all we need and we are "somebody" to Him.
I have struggled with feeling significant most of my life......to read the rest of this post come visit me at The Cafe. (click on the button below)
Thursday, January 03, 2008
Once upon a time my youngest son had a head full of cute blonde curls.
But then he discovered the scissors in his sister's new sewing basket she received for Christmas....
and yep you guessed it, he did this. It was hard to be upset, because after all it was only hair and he isn't the first child in my household to do this. I was mostly thankful that he did not hurt himself or cut anything that doesn't grow back. :)
So without further delay I would like to introduce you to the new Coleman. He had to call his dad in California and fill him in on his new look.
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
My father-in-law turned 75 today! He is a wonderful Godly man who has loved his wife, cared for his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren with grace and compassion and served the Lord with humility throughout the twenty five plus years that I have been priviledged to know him.
My husband took a flight to Southern California Sunday afternoon to surprise his dad for his birthday. He wanted to honor his father and express his love by being there on this very special day. We wished the whole crew could have gone, but he was extremely grateful and overcome with gratitiude when my husband walked through the door.
We love you Grandpa Ted and miss you very much! May God grant you many more years of life! Thank you for always being there for us and living your life as a man of great faith!
Happy Birthday Ted!