Monday, January 26, 2015

Mrs. Mahalia

On December 28, 2014, our church threw a BIG BIRTHDAY PARTY for Mrs. Mahalia Cooper, who was 100 years old.  She outlived her husband and all four of her children.  She buried one son last December and the last son in March.  The only thing that kept her going was.....for a year, she could not wait until her birthday party.  She was so excited that day.

After her party, she was ready to go home.  Less than a week later, she was in the hospital and from there went to the nursing home.  This past Thursday night, she met Jesus face to face.  I am sure she is running the streets of gold in her new body as I type this.

I know we all have "Mrs. Mahalias" that really make a mark in our lives, but I wanted to share mine today.  I feel very blessed to have known Mrs. Mahalia and called her a dear friend for eighteen years. 

I have blogged about Mrs. Mahalia at least twice;  once last December when I mentioned about the 99 year old who cooked a DELICIOUS lunch for us.  Then in July, I mentioned her when I posted pictures of Squash Relish that I had made from her recipe.  I even posted the recipe.

One day you will get to meet her face to face, but in the meantime, I would like for you to meet this dear lady.......

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Resolution to Be "That Mom"

I didn’t know I had done it.

I had prepared, fed and washed the last bottle for my youngest and, Lord-willing, last baby.

Actually, I didn’t have a clue that it was really truly over until I began to move the bottles from my kitchen cabinet to the Goodwill box.

After reading a blogged linked from Facebook, this past fall, I knew it was going to happen. The “have to” of prepping and washing bottles along with a laundry list of other parental responsibilities would be quickly passing. I would no longer “get to” do these things for my babies.

With my oldest child, I encouraged and welcomed these milestones. I couldn’t wait for her to dress, bathe and feed herself. Now, with feeling as though God has said our family of five is complete, I am not so anxious for these days to pass. They are fleeting quickly enough on their own.

So, over the holiday break, when any one of my three girls asked me to put them to bed, read them a story or play a game with them, I did it. When I felt tired, I reminded myself that THIS day is a gift from God and a limited opportunity to be with my child.  The day will come when I am no longer wanted at bedtime, or needed to prepare a PB&J.

As I've written earlier this week, I'm not really making resolutions this year. But, I am striving to see things differently. This part of my life is no exception.

The things I have thought of as endless chores, I will now see as a fleeting opportunity to be the mom I really want to be, the mother I am called and equipped by God to be.  Honestly, I guess I am committing myself to a change of attitude.

I am giving thought to how I do want my girls to remember me and I am committing myself to be  “that mom.” I don’t want my girls to remember me as busy or tired or hurried or hassled.

Like with any resolution, I know I will fail sometimes, and I am thankful that God’s grace will cover that.

Yet, unlike just any resolution, I have the equipping power of the Holy Spirit inside of me that will finish the work in me that He has begun. The same power that raised Christ from the dead will help me accomplish this goal as long as I keep Him –not my resolution, as  my focus. And I know He will be glorified with this attitude change. He will be pleased  to make me “that mom.”

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A "New" Thing NOT A Resolution

In my last post I mentioned procrastinating something I knew God was calling me to do. I am all too often more guilty of sins of omission than sins of commission. I know God is wanting me to do something and I put Him off.

One of those things I knew He was wanting me to do was to take up scripture memory again. I had lots of excuses, including the fact I can barely keep my three girls' names straight. (I am always calling each them by one of their sisters' names!) How was I going to be able to memorize scripture?

God was persistent though . . .

I had seen where several Facebook friends were participating in Beth Moore's scripture memory program and had intended to check it out . . . when I had the time . . .

Then a good girlfriend from the last church we served texted me. She said God kept bringing me to her mind and felt compelled to invite me to join her in that same challenge.

So, I did indeed check it out. As I read through the requirements, I knew God was asking me if I was finally going to be obedient. I knew I had to do it. However, I would NOT call this a resolution! For me this is all about faithfully doing what God had laid on my heart.

So, I was on board, but what scripture would I memorize? God had that covered too.

I scrolled through the verses other ladies all over the country had already selected. Then I saw it. It was the first entry with a picture so it caught my eye. Then I read the sweet lady's name. It was my maiden name. Ladies, my maiden name is Rambo, not a common name. I felt sure that this was God's way of pointing out what verse He wanted me to commit to memory.

The verse is:
"Behold, I am doing a new thing, now it springs forth; can you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert." Isaiah 43:19 ESV

Literally, within the following 24 hours, God confirmed that He is doing a "new" thing. He is a God of "new" and He knew that I would need the promise that He would make a way . . .

I did memorize it. My sweet friend has encouraged me and already held be accountable. We have begun our second verse too. This time I am working on Joshua 1:9. I have already been so blessed by this process. I am so thankful that He persistently pursued me into a closer, deeper walk with Him.

Dear Sisters, please don't neglect what "new" thing God is calling you to do today. Remember, each morning is a grace-given "new" opportunity for Him to do a "new" thing in you! You won't regret it!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Happy "New" Year

I just heard on the evening news that now is the time most of us give up on our New Year's resolutions.

What about you? Did you make any? Have you given up yet, or are you going pretty strong?

Me? I have seen a scant few pounds disappear from the scales. Overall, I am drinking more water. And, yes, I have made a trip to the dentist already this January. So, I guess I have seen some progress toward doing a few things I wanted to improve.

But, no, I wouldn't necessarily say, I've made resolutions. Those are supposed to be measurable and specific if they are to be kept. Right? Surely, if these things I'm doing are resolutions then I would have written them down somewhere or at least shared them with a close friend so she could hold me accountable. I've done neither of those things.

Instead, I've looked at January as a chance to take advantage of the "new" of the New Year. 2015 is His grace giving us a new year, yet He gives a lot of new.

Each dawn is a new day with new things that He has prepared in advance for us to do. Each day His mercies are new. Every morning God gives us breath, He gives us a new beginning.

God is a God of "new" things. He is making all things new. He is making me new.

Yes, there were a few things I knew He wanted me to do and I did sinfully procrastinate and wait until the New Year to begin them. But, I know that He's forgiven me and tomorrow is a new day no matter if it is the 1st of January or the 20th of January or even some random date in the middle of the year.

He is the God of new and He is mine. So, as I wish you a Happy "New" Year know that the happy "new" I'm praying for you is so much more than just a greeting used this time of year.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Fish Bowl Living

I walked into the church building last Sunday all bundled up…it is really cold in January in Indiana…ready to teach my Bible study class and worship Jesus!  I was greeted at the door by the ‘designated’ greeter and another couple.  The lady said:

“Where have you been?”

Where have I been??  Well, I have been to Africa—but that was several years ago.  I have been to work—but that was a couple of days ago.  I actually have been to lots of places.  What was she referring to?  I just came from home….or my car.  Oh no!!  Did she see me run into the store and get the biggest Butterfinger candy bar that exists to woman and scarf it down as I drove??  Where have I been???  It was a loaded question…but I knew what she meant.  She had not seen me at church.

So…..I did some quick thinking and mental calculating….have I missed church?  Nope!  Been there!  Shew!!  Ah-ha….then it hits me!  I filled in for someone who could not work in the nursery because they were out of town so I have been doing child care more than my usual once-a-month time.

I smiled and said, “Oh, I have been here….perhaps I was in the nursery.”  And, because she has said things like this before, I went on.  “If you don’t see me, it doesn’t mean that I am not here.  I am here unless I am sick (as I say this to her I have no voice and am coughing and blowing my nose because I am sick...but at church) or out of town or work or speaking...” 

Her response?  “Well….whenever you are working in the nursery you need to first come in the sanctuary and walk down one aisle and parade (yes!  She actually said “parade”) across the front and up the other aisle so we can all see you!”

Gasp!  What did you just say?  You want me to “parade” in front of you so you can “see” me??

And…truthfully, I can’t remember if I actually said this….or was just thinking it….but I might have gone on to say to say something like, “I don’t stay home just for the sake of staying home (OK, well…maybe there has been a time or two that I stayed home because I wanted to).  I really am here!

Was she serious?  Was she kidding?  What was I to do with it?  Let it bother me?  NO!  Get all upset and frustrated and tell myself that I wish my husband did anything but pastor?  NO!  I let it roll off of my mind and heart like Rain-X allows water to roll off of my windshield.  I went on to my class as if nothing happened. 

And yet I ponder….is there some truth to what she said?  Do I need to make myself more “seen”?  My preference is to be more behind the scenes.  Is that wrong?

I remember something Diana said in her book, “Six Simple Steps:  Find Contentment and Joy as a Ministry Wife” about fish bowl living (have you gotten the book yet?  Have you read it?  This should be the last time I bug you about it!).  Yes, we sort of live fish bowl-type lives as people look for us to “parade” in front of them so they can “watch” us…but the truth of the matter is this:  the fish in the fish bowl pay no attention to those who stand around watching them!!!  They just keep doing their thing with their eyes on the food!!

So, ladies….let’s just keep doing our thing with our eyes on Jesus and not those who are peering into the fish bowl.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Twitter-Size Advice

When Diana Davis was working on her new book for ministry wives, “Six Simple Steps:  Find Contentment and Joy as a Ministry Wife”, she sent a note to her contact list of pastor wives with a request for our “wisdom”!

“Would you please email me a twitter-size piece of advice that you'd offer to a new minister's wife?” was her request.  Her desire was to use them throughout her book…and, sure enough, little twitter-size drops of wisdom from those who have lived the life as a ministry wife splash across the pages of her book.
Hummmm….I pondered her request!  What smidgen piece of advice would I give a new minister’s wife??  (Well, honestly, my first thought was, “about what size is a ‘twitter-size’ piece of advice???”).  My mind and heart was put into motion and a boo-koo (that’s slang for a bunch) of tweet-size thoughts began to spill out onto the computer screen.

I thought I would pass on to you what my “twitter-size” thoughts were….and, surprisingly; she actually used some of them in her book!!  After you check these out below….I’d LOVE for you all to share what your “twitter-size” piece of advice would be!!
  • There are mean people in church.  You have a choice to hold on to grudges or give grace.  Give much grace!!
  • Never underestimate the significance of the seemingly insignificant things you say or do or think!
  • Leave at least one thing left unsaid every day!
  • Never tell your children ‘we have to go to church’….instead say ‘we get to go to church’!  They will pick up on the positive instead of the negative.
  • Never tell your children that they can/can’t do such and such because they are the preacher’s kid.  Could they do it if they weren’t the PK?
  • Someone once asked me what was the best thing about being a preacher’s wife and the worst thing about it.  I thought for just a minute…and said, ‘my answer is the same for both!  People!’
  • In one church we served I discovered I was allergic to business meetings!  So…I would pray or visit the nursing home or help with kids during that time instead.
  • My first ministry is to my husband and children….and it is freeing to know that pleases God.
  • Do not allow what church members say about your husband (or you or your family) take your eyes off of what Jesus says about your husband, you and your family.  Pray for a holy ‘Rain-X’—for the words to simply run off and not penetrate.

Now….what are yours??? the book to see what others said!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Six Simple Steps

My friend, Diana Davis, has just published an incredible book that every ministry family should have in their library!  It is full of encouraging, practical, and inspiring ideas, tips, advice and love.  Diana is the real deal (in my mind the ‘perfect’ ministry wife) and she cares a lot about those of us who live and serve in the trenches of ministry.

Many of us love the part we play in the Kingdom of God and many of us struggle with contentment as ministry wives.  Diana uses her years as a ministry wife to encourage us to continually find joy in the role God has called us to….and the best part is that she does it in such a way that it doesn’t make us feel guilty!!

Six Simple Steps: Find Contentment and Joy as a Ministry Wife can also be used as a group study…if you meet with other ministry wives it would be a great tool to use together!!

I would encourage you to get the book, read it, and purchase one for every other ministry family you know!  (I promise she is not paying me to say this!!)  The link below will take you to the book on Amazon.

Happy reading and be encouraged!!