Archive | July, 2012

A letter to my sister

30 Jul

Dear Sis,

I am SO proud of you. I am proud of the woman you have become and what you are doing with your life. I am proud and humble to call you my sister and my friend.

For 3 1/2 years now, I have watched you grow in your Faith. I watched you surrender all you are to the Lord and walk in obedience despite the cost. I watched you become so strong and I have also watched all of this rub off on so many.

With grace, love and humility, you have changed lives. Not just mine, but if mine was the only life you ever changed, I know that would be enough for you. Your true love for Jesus is evident in all you do. It is evident in how you treat others. It is evident in how you lead your children and respect your husband. It is evident in the way you serve without ever needing or wanting anything in return. I know your hearts desire is to be a light in a world full of darkness.

Witnessing your baptism last night… Your public declaration to follow and serve Jesus, no matter what… was such a proud moment for me. I stood there in awe of how far you have come. When the world was offering you so much, you chose the path less traveled. You chose the road that is narrow and so very hard at times. You knew the cost, but you walked it anyway, and that has led you to a life of redemption.

I love you with all that I am and I am so thankful that God chose YOU to be my little sister. He chose us to have a bond that the strong-holds of this world cannot break. Thank you for loving me in my darkest of hours and never giving up on me. Thank you for believing in me when everyone had given up on me. Thank you for seeing something in me and knowing what I was capable of becoming. But most of all, thank you for passionately pursing Jesus and living a life that changes others.

Lessons of the day… thus far!

27 Jul

Here are a few things I learned today (and the day is still very young)

1. It is not good when Mom and Haley are both sick at the same time. She likes to cry a lot when she is not sick, but more so when she is and a few times this morning, I almost joined her.

2. The movie “The Help” is a just sad and kinda made me depressed. I can’t believe that our world was once like that. I hate the term “colored” in the way it was used in the movie… and will be happy if I never hear it referenced like that again!

3. Trying to start a blog for my ministry is harder than I thought, and I am not very patient.

4. I have an amazing husband. He came home early so that I could lay down and rest and now he is laying down with me. I think he just wanted to come home early, but using my “being sick” was a great excuse. Yep, he is a keeper.

5. It is amazing how much kids can grow, or appear to grow, when they are gone for 10 days. My big twins just got home from a vacation to Florida and I swear Ashlyn is as tall as I am now. It is very scary.

6. And so far the best thing I have learned today is that it does a mom’s heart good when teenagers come home from vacation and give you a huge hug, followed by them saying how much I was missed and that they can’t wait for their baby sisters to wake up from their afternoon nap. God is good!

I am sure that by the time the day is finished I will have learned plenty more, but so far… this has been my day!

~Summer

The Struggle

12 Jul

“It’s not the triumph but the struggle that defines true character.” 

I really wish I could take the credit for this saying, unfortunately I can’t. It is a line from a commercial I just heard for the summer Olympics. However, how powerful and true it is.

For most of my life I have struggled at sports. I always tried really hard but at the end of the day, I was always the girl chosen last to be on anyone’s team. This was especially hard because I grew up with a sister who could play any sport and without much effort, was always the best. One summer, I was determined to join the swim team with her and show my parents that I could be good at a sport too. If you saw me as a teenager, you would know that the thought of me in a blue speedo, goggles and in the water, was a sight for COMICAL eyes. Of all sports for me to try, swimming should NOT have been one, but for an entire summer I did it. Every time I got into the water, I knew it was going to be a huge struggle for me, mainly to stay alive, but as tough as it was, I still tried. Unlike my sister, I was never chosen to swim in any meets or be on anyones team but at the end of that summer, I got a trophy for participating and you had better believe that I had that trophy in my bedroom until the day I moved out.

For me, there is great value in that little “life lesson” because life is full of struggles. Some struggles are bigger and harder than others but it is during those times that we tend to grow the most. We learn the importance of not giving up and pressing through the pain. The reason that trophy meant so much to me was because I really had to earn it. I had to do something that was not easy for me but I kept pressing forward no matter how many times I wanted to stop.

Struggles can be an amazing blessing in our lives if we allow them to be. No one said it was going to be easy, but they did say it was worth it.

Your Past… A gift or a curse?

9 Jul

My past! For many years it is has been a place of shame, secrets and regret. I place I never wanted to go back to and many times wish had never happened. It is a place where I was so afraid that if people ever knew about it, they would look at me so differently. It was definitely a curse; until just recently when I found myself in a situation where my past, once a place of darkness, was used to bring light.

This situation made me really sit back and “reevaluate” my past. Times in my life that I never thought could have any good in them, or areas that were so full of pain, are now being used to help others and heal me. These areas that I never wanted ANYONE to find out about, are now what God has me leading with rather than sitting in silence.

My past is a gift.  I sit here and I can say that I am actually thankful for it. It has not only been the tool God has used for me to reach out to others who are hurting and feel alone, but it is a reminder of how BIG my God is and without Him, how small I am. A past that once defined how I felt about myself is now a means to relate to others without judgement and with humility.

I love the Bible for one simple reason… It is full of pasts, and like mine, not very good ones. It is a book full of stories about people who made poor choices, who were selfish, who disobeyed God and put themselves first. It is written about idolators, prostitutes and murders and God said, PRINT IT. He did that because he knew my sins even before I ever made them and knew that I needed to see that he does so much with a past like mine.

The problem is that so many of us, are so afraid of what others might think of us if they knew the truth about who we really are or were. I would pick and choose what “sins” or mistakes to share with others. We remain silent and hope it never comes out, when all the time, God wants it to come out. He wants us to share the filth and pain so others can see how great He is and how He changed us from what we were to who we are.

I now wonder how many opportunities I have passed up to help someone is a dark time because I was worried about what they might think of me. God does give our past and pain,  purpose. It is a gift but we have to be willing to open it. That is the hardest first step to make. Remaining silent, or keeping that gift in the box is never going to do any good. It just sits there and can’t be put to use the way it was intended. It is like buying a computer but never taking it out of the box, turning it on and using all it offers. The same goes for those things in our past that we hate most.

Your past can be the enemy’s greatest weapon OR God’s greatest tool. You are the one who makes the decision whose hands it falls into!

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