Friday, December 14, 2012

Faith, Skeptics and Baptisms

I really need to start making notes of my thoughts when I get them. For two weeks now I've put off writing this post and as a result, I've forgotten almost everything I wanted to say. I don't even know why I've tried to avoid it. Afraid to be transparent maybe?

Ah, there it is again...vulnerability... When will there be a crack in this wall?

The last few weeks have been eventful. With the Thanksgiving holiday behind us and Christmas right around the corner, lots of groups are doing end of semester meetings and parties. I'm so behind on posting pictures and writing about our homeschooling because of it, but I suppose this is a part of schooling. Anyhoo...lets get on with some stuff...

For months now, my husband had been talking about being water baptized. When he got word that another baptismal Sunday was coming up, he made plans to finally take the plunge (couldn't resist the cliche, sorry). I couldn't be more proud of him for being bold enough to take this step in his walk with the Lord. It took some courage but he wanted to follow the Lord's command and be an example to our boys and his nephew. I, of course, was there with my camera and our oldest took video with my phone. His spirit seemed to be refreshed and he had a new fervor about his faith.

The baptism was part of our church's "Cultivate" series of classes. The first lesson is on salvation, the second on water baptism and deliverance, and the third on Holy Spirit baptism. I'm not sure what the other classes are or if there even are any. Neither of us made the first class and to get my husband's baptism certificate, he had to return for the following Sunday night class.

That next weekend the boys and I made a trip to my parents' house. I had booked a few clients for Saturday to do some Christmas Mini Sessions. (And let me take the time to thank EACH and every one of you who came out - if you ever happen to grace my pages with your presence! You are so very much appreciated - my readers too. Another post on that will follow). Since I wasn't there on Sunday night, I wasn't sure if my husband would return to church to pick up his certificate and continue with the Sunday night classes. In fact, Saturday night we had a pretty heated argument over the phone which I even recognized as Satan's scheme to try to kill, steal or destroy what God is doing in my husband and our family.

But he did!

He later told me that he picked up his nephew and went to church for a free meal. Knowing the lesson was on the baptism of the Holy Spirit, I thought to myself, "I bet he gets filled tonight" and even anticipated a phone call from him confirming that. Sure enough, I get a phone call later that night, my husband on the other line crying and repeating Jesus over and over. At first I felt akward, but then I felt jealous, almost angry.

For a moment, try to understand these seemingly ridiculous emotions as i play out my thought process that night. I didnt like how I felt about it. I asked myself embarrassingly "why was it that I have such a hard time with this?" But I was in fact jealous. I wanted what he had just experienced. I've sought God and asked for more of Him. Do I not seek hard enough? Why can't I just ask to be baptised in the Holy Spirit and it just HAPPEN? Isn't that what's supposed to happen in theory? Do I have the wrong motives? I don't want power or supernatural gifts of the Spirit. I don't want excited emotion. I just want more of Jesus and to be bold enough again to spread the gospel. A wreckless faith. Passion.

I wrestled with these thoughts and relived all the times I've asked for prayer for this baptism of fire. And all the times nothing "happened." I relived my own salvation experience, one that didn't take place in a church with a set time and method for redemption. Why do I always get hungup on the method? It's the same scenario over and over. And when it comes to "proof" by speaking in tongues, it's lost. I don't trust myself to open my mouth and "say" whatever I might be supposed to say. What if its just me making up nonsense? Counterfeit gifts of the Spirit is not something I want to operate in.

Then it dawns on me, it sounds like I am quite the skeptic. Skeptics don't operate in faith. Skeptics want hard evidence. I want things to make sense. But faith doesn't need proof.

Where is my faith?! Do I really have ANY?!

I spend so much time doubtful, worried, negative, afraid of disappointment because when I'm disappointed, I'm devastated. Ironically enough, when I got back home my husband and I watched Sunday morning's church service which was on "Faith Killers," and our pastor mentioned some of those exact things.

Maybe it was so easy for my husband because he wasn't needing things to make sense. Maybe he didn't need all the pieces to fit together the way I need things to before I put my faith in it. God I know the scripture, "without faith it is impossible to please God" and that "all things are possible to him that believes." Lord please...I do believe but help my unbelief!!

Would you guys pray for me to receive this baptism?

Below is the video of last Sundays message. I pray God grows our faith.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Still Here! And a Prayer Request.

Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. (James 1:27 NKJV)

I know I don't have an extensive amount of followers/readers, but for those of you that do stop by here, I apologize for the lack of posts. Since we started officially homeschooling this year my time has filled up pretty quickly. Especially now that Thanksgiving has come and gone and Christmas is steadily approaching. We've been busy almost every day and although I've meant to post on a million different things (okay, maybe I'm exaggerating) and share a bunch of photos, I have not found the time.

Until now...

I hate to sound so somber and I feel like I have been lately, maybe just introspective, but I just got some news about my dear neighbor who lives across the street from us. My next door neighbor sent me a Facebook message tonight (let me refrain from going off about how smartphones and social media have nearly killed off all trace of carrying on a face to face conversation these days) telling me that our neighbor across from us has to have her leg amputated. She's been having some difficulty with a foot wound that wouldn't heal and for the past 6-9 months she has been going back and forth to numerous doctors. When she went in for a regular checkup, she found out that she has some kind of bone disease that could be deadly if they don't amputate.

Now I can't imagine the horror you might feel from hearing this kind of news. But imagine having to go through this kind of surgery in your late 80's!! Now imagine that a few weeks ago, the Lord laid it on your heart to pray specifically for this ladies foot but because of your own insecurities and fear or maybe even lack of faith, you didn't.

This, is what has me laid awake tonight.

What if I prayed? What if? Would she be in this situation?

Not in any way do I think that God would throw away this woman's healing because of my lack of obedience; but what if I was His means of giving that gift to her? Whether or not that's true, all I can say is "Father forgive me. I'm so sorry."

My pastor spoke last Sunday on our faith being stretched. I swore I would never go to the church I attend now because of its enormous size, but I am so thankful to be there. Being vulnerable, praying for others, singing in front of a church (have I ever mentioned that story), and tonight, after learning of our neighbors predicament, we see on the 10 o'clock news that one of my husbands jobs could possibly close it's doors; God is definitely stretching my faith. After 6 years of feeling dry and aimless in my walk with the Lord it's both terrifying and refreshing.

I sometimes feel like I'm watching the world around me speed along a countdown to self destruction. It's frightening. And at 32 years old I feel like I've wasted so many years hiding behind a lot of walls. Some of them have been there for so long that I don't even recognize them as a barrier.

It's time to move forward.

I don't want to miss another opportunity to offer someone what Jesus can give them because I might feel uncomfortable. I should be willing to sacrifice my comfort for His Kingdom.

Please pray for my neighbor, Ms. Dean. Pray for her healing and for her to come out of this surgery 110% better than when she went in. Pray that God gives her more years to spend with her family and that she can make the transition from having two legs to only having one.

And that I can learn to be selfless and willing and available to those around me from now on.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Antidote for Self-Centeredness

After longing for a small break, a mini vacation, a friend unknowingly hits the nail on the head when she sends me this video in an email. I hope it blesses you. Thanks Nina!!

 The Invisible Woman

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

10 Seconds to Meltdown...

This is going to be a busy week, and today was probably our only "school" day. My sleep schedule is off which kills any of my intentions of waking up early and having some quiet time for myself to pray and read the word. Maybe the fact that it is Monday has something to do with it, but I've had a terrible meltdown. I blamed it on the fact that my kids can't focus, don't listen, and can't meet my expectations. And then, on the fact that I have too many expectations and probably need a break (and some earplugs).

When it came time for the boys' piano lessons, my youngest's lack of attention and his brother's "know-it-all" attitude had me in tears.

And I'm sitting here still trying to figure out WHY? Why am I having this meltdown?! Why do I need a break and it's only Monday?

I tried to text my husband about my frustration, but his attempt at comforting me with the thought of a week long break for Thanksgiving did little to soothe me.

I needed a break from being Mommy!

And then I felt the pangs of guilt for even having the thought. To make matters worse, voicing that thought had ended up in a war of words with my husband over the cellular wireless network. Now, 5 hours later, I'm sitting here, all cried out, listening to the sounds of my husband and our sons laughing while wrestling in the bedroom; wishing it was that simple.

Is it that simple?

Really, this whole thing isn't about my kids. Yes, our school day was frustrating, but when I don't make time to seek the Lord, pray and read His word, I'm sure I am much more easily frustrated. I think for me this is a lesson in vulnerability.

(Wait, did I say a lesson? What lesson did I learn from this? I just asked myself that question. Possibly that a wall leaves nothing more than something hard to run into for both sides of a relationship? Hmm...)

Let me explain.

The last two weekends the boys' and I have gone to visit my mom. I love being able to go home to spend time with her. While there the past two Sundays, we've visited a small church close to home that is pastored by a long time family friend. Growing up Catholic and watching my mom struggle to break free from certain Catholic traditions, to be able to attend a different church with her and see her engaged is a tremendous blessing. However, I, for some reason, lose that same freedom!

There are very little memories I have of being open and vulnerable with anyone in my family. It is a sad reality and one that has been giving me tons of grief lately. It affects every aspect of my life and my relationship with my heavenly Father.

Over the past few weeks I've wrestled with emotion and desire and watched as wall after wall came down in protection over the past years of a broken soul. I long for intimate relationships with my husband and children and a total abandonment of myself for God's glory. I miss the richness of close friendship with church family. I desperately want to demolish these walls in my heart but am too afraid to step out and allow the deep parts of me to show themselves.

I feel like time is slipping away from me. Midlife crisis maybe? Maybe its just the sway of this world and the times we're living in. Either way, I've wasted so many years hiding behind so many masks. Lately I've stared at the faces of who I've wanted to be. She's sometimes so different than the person that God created, the one who's never had the ability to surface. I've had to take responsibility for letting opportunities pass me by. And in God's mercy, I've been given opportunities to step up and walk in certain areas, despite how messy its looked because of my insecurities.

The biggest challenge is my marriage. It suffers so much because of these walls. Some of these bricks I'm put there purposely, others seemed to have placed themselves there against my wishes. But I'm praying that God crushes these walls and I'll have a deeper richness in my family relationships.

What does all of that have to do with my meltdown?'s been all bottled up and shaken like a dropped soda can. I guess today I finally exploded.

God help me!!


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thursday, November 1, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness-Day 1

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you. (Titus 2:11-15 NKJV)
I am so thankful for God's mercy and love; that He showed before I was even born through the death and RESURRECTION of His Son Jesus Christ, but then also very personally to me.

What are you thankful for this November 1?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wordless Wednesday-Piano Lesson

I have much to say about this but it's wordless Wednesday! Here's one of my sons from his piano lesson yesterday with my sister via Skype.

Happy Wordless Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

What If I Prayed

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Their heart cried out to the Lord, “O wall of the daughter of Zion, Let tears run down like a river day and night; Give yourself no relief; Give your eyes no rest. “Arise, cry out in the night, At the beginning of the watches; Pour out your heart like water before the face of the Lord. Lift your hands toward Him For the life of your young children, Who faint from hunger at the head of every street.” (Lamentations 2:18, 19 NKJV)

Imagine with me for a moment.  You're at a playdate with your kids and a few other families at a very large and busy park.  The next thing you know, one of your children are missing.  Frantically you ask if anyone has seen him.  You run around yelling her name to no avail, until finally you collapse from the horror of never seeing your precious baby again.

I had this dream a few nights ago.  In fact, I've been dreaming pretty vividly lately.  You know, the kind of dreams that jolt you from a deep sleep and you're left trying to place your brain back into reality?  Those kinds of dreams.  Actually, the above scenario has already happened to me, save the "never seeing your precious baby again" part, thank GOD.  My mother, my two boys and I were at the Ladybug Ball, an event for kids in Houma, when my oldest son decided he wanted to run off and take a look around.  My mom was waiting in line for juice with my two boys in the stroller while I was waiting in another line for food.  When we met up again, Phillip was gone, having snuck out of his stroller, unafraid to roam the grounds alone.

The boys enjoying the ladybugs

 It only takes a second.

There were tons of kids and adults on the grounds.  I called for him, seeming to spin around in circles, but he never answered.  My heart was racing a million miles an hour as I was trying not to panic.  What do you do?  What did I do?  I did the only thing I could do.  I cried out to the Lord.  Even if it was under my breath, I prayed.

Southdown Plantation-Site of the Ladybug Ball 2009

"God please bring my son back to me.  Devil you cannot have him."

My mom and I found some of the workers there and described what he looked like and what he was wearing.  Even writing this has my heart racing.  A few minutes later, I see someone carrying Phillip in their arms, as happy as can be.  God had brought him back to me.  Oh the gratitude and relief I felt as I held him in my arms!  And then I scolded him like crazy.

I've laid awake a few nights recently overwhelmed with a sense of urgency that I need to be praying for my children.  Praying for their salvation, their day to day struggles, their obedience, their focus, their emotions, wisdom, their friendships...I could go on.  I get so wrapped up in the day to day routine that at the end of the day, I feel like I've missed something, or worse, not placed any importance on prayer.

And the reality is that I haven't.

I've noticed a lot about myself lately, and I'm so thankful that God hasn't left me alone to stay the way I am.  I don't pray nearly as much as I ought.  There was a time when I did. Why have things changed?  What happened to the compassion I once had for people that would move me to pray for complete strangers; that caused me to see them as Jesus might, if even in the slightest bit?

God please change my heart.

Since the time I originally started this post, I've been challenged and given opportunities to be obedient in prayer.  I've obeyed and I've rebelled.  Obedience is far better than walking away.  And, in His mercy, it's  as if God has confirmed this to me; first a friend shares a dream and a challenge on Facebook, and even though I was out of town attending another church service, I found out my home church's message was on this very topic.

God is so good.  I am encouraged and challenged and I am not forgotten.  He knows just where I am and just what I need.  I can trust Him.  I can cry out to Him in prayer.  Imagine what would happen if we prayed like never before. Imagine if we believed that He heard and answered our prayers.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What If I Had More Passion

The house is quiet (except for the sounds of my husbands snoring :D). Everyone is asleep but me; even the cat. This seems to be the only time I can hear my own thoughts, so I've been doing some late night writing.

My husband and I watched a movie last night. Although I won't go into specifics about what the movie was, know that it was a harsh one for my soul, for both of us really. It's ending left us with some pretty strong unsettling emotions. Graciously, God gave us peace and we slept soundly. The movie however, seemed to have piqued my husbands interest in revisiting some of the major world disasters that have happened over the more recent years; the tsunami in Sri Lanka being one of them.

No doubt a major disaster causes a shift in priorities, if even short lived. And tonight, after watching part of a documentary of the sudden tragedy that took place on that island, I am left lying here wondering about my own passivity.

I've become really passive about life. More importantly, about the gospel.  About Jesus.

I remember the very early morning that God's glorious presence and life-saving power were made real to me. I remember it as if a video recorder had captured each and every second of that moment and replayed it right in front of me. There was no Sunday morning church service, or youth group altar call. No street preacher or special outreach. No repeated words of prayer. It was just me and God, in a very real moment, alone in the dark night of my bedroom, when I had just about given up all hope for my life. All the strength I had left in my heart said, "God please, do something."

And He did.

A photo of me before I was born again, thinner than I would be because of an eating disorder

Before a marching band festival taking my role as a hippie a little too seriously

The moments that followed, the very seconds, were incredibly and forever changed. I had just encountered the Living God! The days and months after that early morning were filled with such a love and passion for the God of the Universe that had pulled me out of the pit I was in.


I had to tell someone what happened. I was sure, considering the record of my life before that day, that it would be believable. Even if it wasn't, it didn't matter. I knew what had happened to me. I knew the change that had taken place in the deepest parts of me, and so instantaneously. Even in the midst of fearing what people might think about what I had to say, I still had to tell them. It was too real, too incredible, to exciting to me to contain myself.

I remember that passion. Why, after all these years, have I become so...


Trying to understand my role as a wife and mother has, in a sense, blurred my view of my own responsibility to Christ. I spent so many years living with the shame and regret of past mistakes; the constant struggle to understand love, respect, and submission; and the pain of countless disappointments. In reality, even though we often had disagreements, I had given that responsibility completely over to my husband. In my heart, it was now his job to carry the weight of our family's passion for The Lord. When he failed to appear holy and passionate enough, he reaped condemnation from me. If he actively sought The Lord, I was never vulnerable enough to encourage him, only chalking it up to the fact that it was his "duty" as the spiritual head of the family. (That is a whole other can of worms I won't get into right now.)

Family Vacation 2011

But what about my responsibility?

God gave me my own personal testimony.  A radical one at that.  He didn't give my testimony to my husband.  God chose to make Himself known to him in a different way.  He has his own source of passion and although it will ultimately point to Jesus, it may not look exactly like mine.  I spent so many years waiting for my husband to be what I thought a spiritual leader should be so I could confidently walk in line behind him.  What resulted was my own lack of passion.

“Judge not, that you be not judged.  For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.  And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye?  Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye." Matthew 7:1-5

And there it is...its just another form of judgement...

What if I just quit waiting for him to catch fire first? What if I opened my mouth to pray instead of leaving him to bear the burden?  What if I am the first one to strike up a conversation about what the Lord is doing in my life?  What if I made a choice to stop being so passive and reclaim the passion I had for my first Love?

I'm linking up with Lessons From Ivy and these other bloggers this week: