One of Our Own

This past weekend I had the immense pleasure and amazing opportunity to speak at the Virginia Girl’s Jamboree. Being asked to speak at such an esteemed event is quite an honor. I enjoyed the chance to speak into the lives of these beautiful young ladies. As a part of my introduction, I was honored with prestigious accolades and acknowledgments of past accomplishments, but the statement which made me feel the most loved and accepted and appreciated was when the comment was made, “She’s one of our own.” Now don’t get me wrong, I am an Eastern North Carolina (ENC) girl and that will always be my home state. You may take the girl out of ENC but you can’t take the ENC out of the girl. With that being clarified, there is something to be said about being accepted. I have been in Virginia for only a few years. I was not born or raised here. I am an outsider. I did not grow up at the campgrounds of Virginia, I don’t have Virginia Youth Camp stories or tales to be told. I can’t say, I have known and grown up with anyone who is here. I do not have connections which extend back to the first time we ever met at a Virginia state function. I have only attended 2 years of Youth Camp in Virginia. I have only worked 3 Girls’ Jamborees. I have only attended a few Campmeeting services and I have been to even fewer Ministers’ meetings. I have attempted to connect and become involved as I have been here, but I don’t have memories spanning my lifetime of growing up and experiencing Virginia Church of God state events. I am an outsider (I do not say this in a negative connotation, but as a simple statement of fact). So to be accepted in this amazing group of Virginia Church of God folks, to be called “One of our own.” Makes me feel loved. So thank you Virginia for accepting me and allowing me to be one of yours.

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Snowy Adventures

Recently many states received an unwelcomed visit from Winter Storm Jonas. People found themselves stuck in their homes, some without power, and I am sure snow shovels were in short supply for most southern dwellers. Each individual who witnessed and survived this “snowpocalypse” has a story to share, and here is mine in a nut shell.

Called into work on Friday- Stuck there until Sunday

Travel time to work doubled

Approximately 100 cookies baked

Standing in the freezing cold for over 30 minutes

One call to the police

No shower curtains or toilet paper in the room where I stayed overnight

Bombarded by snow

Double shift on Saturday

Celebration when I looked outside and the precipitation ceased

Dig out my car and 4 other cars on campus (because it is Sunday at this point and we all want to go home)

Subdivision still covered

Shoveled a driveway

Had someone report by car abandoned

Cops shows up sees my car was not abandoned and departs

Went through 3 pairs of socks and 3 pairs of gloves

34 hours without sleep

Wore the same clothes for about that long

16 hours without food

Return to subdivision (Monday by this point)

Shoveled part of the cul de sac where I live trying to get home

Shoveled a spot in the neighbors driveway to park my car (thank you neighbor)

Make it in the house by 2:30 pm Monday

Sleep for 2 hours

Back to work for the night

Return home Tuesday morning to a plowed subdivision and driveway

Me and my car both safely home

This concludes my snowy adventures, what’s yours?

 

Speaking of Jesus…

Sunday I was teaching our Bible story for the week. I telling the story of how Jesus called the Children to Him and prayed for them. As I am speaking about Jesus, He comes down the back steps of the church and walks across the back of the Children’s Church room.

Okay, okay, so it won’t literally Jesus, it was someone dressed in a Jesus costume, but it was still funny. The drama team was scheduled to do a drama and the individual who was playing Jesus was using the side door of the sanctuary (which leads to the downstairs room we use for Children’s Church). I lost it. I laughed so hard I actually had to back up a little in my story and retell it. Jesus (the real Jesus) knew I needed that moment though. I was having an issue with an individual who was being quite distracting during the lesson, this distraction, provided a distraction for that individual which allowed me to finish my story with no more distractions.

Thank you Jesus for creative ways to refocus us.

7 quirky things about me most people do not know:

7- I have a natural tendency to make check marks backwards- It is a lefty thing, but still not the norm. 

6- The stars make me smile and sometimes they even make me weep. I moved at how big and creative God is and how a God who holds and can count all the stars would chose to love me.

5- Spiders, snakes, worms, I can handle, they never bother me, Earwigs totally gross me out. They give me the heebie jeebies.

4- I once hit a black cat with my car. I was driving to the first tennis match of my career and I never won a singles match, coincidence? Totally. I did not start playing until my junior year in college, my opponents had years of experience and I had only months. I was actually complimented by many of my opponents on how advanced my skill level was considering my lack of experience.  

3- I only like to drink milk out of a coffee cup but I do not like to drink other drinks out of coffee cups. Tea, water, etc., I want in a regular glass (but not really glass, because I don’t like how glass feels when it touches my teeth, I prefer plastic) and milk I want in a coffee cup.

2- I cannot stand the smell of wet peanut butter. It is absolutely disgusting and the texture of wet peanut butter on a dishrag is even worse. I would almost be tempted to marry the person who would say to me, “As long as I am in your life, you will never have to wash a dirty peanut butter utensil again.”

1-I can put my foot behind my head while standing (I just tested this to make sure it was still possible, I still got it)

You know you’re a Children’s Pastor if…

You know you’re a Children’s Pastor if…

25. You can think of 10 ways to entertain using a roll of toilet paper.

24. You buy those little fish crackers in bulk.

23. Cutting, coloring, gluing, etc. are skills you utilize on a weekly basis. 

22. You have a love/hate relationship with glitter. ( Who doesn’t)

21. You think Phineas and Ferb are the coolest and you like Veggie Tales more than your kids do.

20. You look forward to sitting at the kids’ table.

19. You have a snap that demands attention.

18. You have just as many pictures of other people’s kids as you do your own. 

17. You are kind of like Santa Claus in that, no matter where you go, kids are drawn to you.

16. When you are in the main sanctuary no one recognizes you because you are wearing your “grown-up” attire. 

15. You are automatically compelled to break down and explain any words that have more than five letters.

14. You have some ridiculous or silly talent and you think you are so cool because of it. 

13. You have multiple personalities, you just channel them into puppets and live characters.

12. You get more hugs around the waist/legs then you do around the neck.

11. You list your ADHD in your resume as one of your more positive traits.

10. Everyone in the office/church comes to you when they need some random item and 9/10 times you have it. 

9. You can top anyone in a conversation about kids saying the darnedest things.

8. You secretly think of yourself as a MacGyver because in a pinch you can figure out how to use a ballpoint pen, a paper clip, and a piece of string to keep kids entertained.

7. You have a missional heart because you know over 50% of individuals who get saved do so before they are 12yrs old.

6. You understand the importance of making kids the church of today.

5. You know God wants to do big things in and through kids while they are still kids. 

4. You believe the Holy Spirit and genuine worship is not just for adults. 

3. You recognize anyone can understand deep theological concepts as long as they are explained to them through simple truths.

2. You have a passion to raise up a generation who is so in love with God, that the world doesn’t stand a chance in trying to steal them away. 

1. You truly believe beyond a shadow of a doubt kids can change the world!

 

This is by no means an exhaustive list, just what came to the top of my head. Feel free to add to it.

 

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS

LifeWay Christian Resources conducted a study which revealed 91% of Americans celebrate Christmas. 86% of agnostics and those who claim no religious preference celebrate Christmas, 62% who claim other regions celebrate Christmas, and over half (55%) of atheists celebrate Christmas.

91% of Americans celebrate Christmas, whether they celebrate it all for the same reason is not the point, the point is 91% of Americans celebrate Christmas.

So to the 91% of you out there who celebrate Christmas- Merry Christmas

To the 9% who don’t- I hope you have a wonderful day. 

The above statistical information was retrieved from a study conducted by LifeWay Christian Resources.  http://www.prweb.com/releases/2010/12/prweb8031687.htm

Thankful

It is November and where as we are to be thankful every day, often times during this season we take the time to publicly reflect on the things for which we are thankful. Here is my list. They are in no particular order, in fact, I scrambled them around so they were not even in the order which they came to my head. I would love to hear everyone’s reasons for being thankful so feel free to share. 🙂

I AM THANKFUL…

  1. God loves me, loves me so much He was willing to allow His own Son to be sacrificed just so I could spend eternity with Him
  2. Jesus was willing to come to the earth to set an example of how to live and how to walk in faith, who died in order to save me, and who rose again, so I could live with Him forever
  3. The Holy Spirit dwells with me that I am not comfortless. He leads me, guides me, and is an ever present help in time of trouble
  4. I have family who is loving and supportive and always there for me, and the fact that there is minimal drama and insanity in my family is a huge blessing
  5. To be a part of a church that knows how to worship God
  6. For a supportive and loving church family
  7. I have the BEST Job in the WORLD!
  8. To have friends who are awesome and even those who live far away still make time for me when I need them
  9. For the changing of the seasons. I love to see God paint His masterpieces
  10. For every opportunity to invest into people’s live, whether in big or small ways, every way makes a difference
  11. God always provides, He always ensures I have enough and more than enough
  12. LITE BRIGHT is on the WAY! My sister has been waiting for God’s miracle for 5 years and now little Lite Bright is on the way! This means I am going to be an Aunt!
  13. For Peace of mind knowing I am where God wants me to be doing what God has called me to do
  14. To have the opportunity to learn. I don’t claim to know it all and have a long way to go, but I know I am going to get there by the grace of God and a lot of hard work
  15. For Kingdom connections
  16. I have been able to travel to so many different places to share God’s love and to invest into lives
  17. God has brought me a long way, but is still not finished with me yet
  18. For Faith to move mountains, claim healing, and scare away demons in the NAME OF JESUS
  19. For color (what a dull world it would be with no color)
  20. To have the ability to do God’s work with a healthy body and mind
  21. My little Saturn is still going strong. She has almost 150,000 miles but is still a good car (please last 8 more years, please last 8 more years)
  22. For majestic mountains and sandy shores
  23. To live in America
  24. For alone time with God, just to sit at His feet and bask in His love
  25. When God reveals Himself through His Word, His handiwork, and through dreams He gives me
  26. For cool breezes and warm rains
  27. God is my first LOVE. He satisfies and fills my heart in a way no one else can
  28. God has the perfect plan for my life and He has it all worked out
  29. People (could you imagine the world without people)
  30. Sports, specifically, basketball, tennis, and football and a little bit of baseball. I do love sports
  31. Creativity
  32. For my green thumb, it’s not a big one, but it’s enough to keep my plants alive and thriving
  33. For those little moments when people in my life say something or do something that reminds me of how blessed I am to have them in my life
  34. To have the opportunity to serve God and serve others
  35. For those periods of stretching. I know they may be difficult, but I also know they will make me more into the person God desires me to be
  36. To have a strong Christian heritage in my family
  37. For crazy socks and brightly colored scarves
  38. For peanut butter, on waffles, cake, doughnuts, pancakes, sandwiches, straight out of the jar
  39. For sweet Tea
  40. I have way more than 40 things for which to be thankful

Fake it until you Become it

http://www.ted.com/playlists/77/new_to_ted.html

In this video, Amy Cuddy discusses the idea of how our body language can affect our mindset. The idea is one can fake their body language enough that it actually changes the way one thinks and acts.

In the Father’s Lap

      I had a dream I was walking by a house and I became aware this was the house where God lived. I was so excited I ran to the door to enter when I was stopped by a frail thin man who called himself “The keeper of the house.” He discouraged me from entering expressing his fear of the One who lived there. This man claimed he had kept the house for years but had never entered. I was persistent in my desire to enter then the man inquired if I thought God’s forgiveness was real. Very confused, I looked at the man not understanding how he could have been so close to God and yet never known His forgiveness.

     I entered the house, with the man right on my heels. He would periodically glance over my shoulder to steal a quick glimpse, then retreat to his crouched position behind my back. Once we entered, we made our way into an industrial kitchen where there were several peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches. I was hungry so I grabbed one and began to eat it. The man panicked and instructed me to put it back stating, “God might know we’ve been here.” I responded, “He’s God, He already knows we’re here.”

     All of the sudden, I felt drawn to enter a particular room and I knew in my spirit it was where God was. I entered the room and directly in front of me was an extremely over-sized well worn blue reading chair. Even though it appeared the chair was empty, I knew that was where God was sitting, so without hesitation, I crawled up into the chair and sat. The man did not follow me to the blue chair. Instead, he chose to sit on the corner of a couch which was located the farthest away from the blue chair. I looked at the man and said, “Don’t you want to sit in the Father’s lap?” I then sensed God smiling at me and looking down He responded, “The Father’s lap, huh? That’s the perfect place for you to be.”  

     In my dream I took full advantage of being God’s child. I entered the house without feeling the need to announce my arrival. I took advantage of His provisions laid out in the kitchen and I entered His presence with confidence. I knew God wanted to spend time with me as much as I wanted to spend time with Him.

The man however, had not embraced the blessings of God. He remained on the outskirts of God’s presence, never accepting His gift of forgiveness or partaking in the provisions provided. When he did enter the room with God, he chose to keep his distance. Rather than seeing God as a loving Father, he viewed God as a tyrant, fearful He might make God angry

Too often this is how people view God. They deny themselves the privileges which come with being a child of God. God wants to bless you, He desires to provide for you, and He longs for you to be in His presence. After all, the Father’s lap is the perfect place for you to be. 

Warrior or a Child

I am seriously about to show my age, so hang on. 

In the 80’s Twila Paris sang a song entitled “Warrior is a Child”. It was in my early adolescent through my teenage years that I absolutely loved this song. It ministered to me and became an anthem for my life. At the time I was unable to completely evaluate my life circumstances at a level which allowed me to truly comprehend the reason this song was so important to me. I just remember feelings as if I could relate to the words being proclaimed through the lyrics. Glancing back on those years, it has become more evident to me as to why this song meant so much.

I have included a link to the song “Warrior is a Child” I would encourage you to take the time to listen to words, it might help in making sense of what follows. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRNFf3ykQvM

I consider myself fortunate to have been raised a pastor’s kid (pk). I do not begrudge the experiences or the lessons learned while in that role. As blessed as I was to be a pk, it was not without its difficulties. There were certain expectations placed on the pk that were not requirements for other children in the church. As the pk I was expected to set an example for the other church kids. I was told by church members how to act and behave. Restrictions were placed on me because certain church members did not believe it was appropriate behavior for a pk, even though the behavior was not a sin or a bad choice. I was told on more than one occasion and by more than one member I was expected to be the example.

I accepted the role and did my best to meet the expectations set before me; all of them; by every person. I adopted a warrior’s mentality and I fought to be everything everyone wanted me to be. I spoke what I was told to speak and when other children were out playing, I sat on the pew because that was what was expected of me. I was told far too frequently I was the perfect child, a perfect example; perfect. This only created additional pressure to maintain the warrior mindset so I could live up to the expectations people had of me. I felt I always had to be strong and brave, and I could never appear vulnerable, show weakness, or be anything less than perfect.

It is difficult, no it is impossible to be perfect, and at times I grew weary from the upkeep. However, I could not reveal my weariness for that would shatter the image of perfection. The pressure created the impression people would not love me if I failed to meet their expectations. In my mind the world saw me as a perfect little warrior, but I only saw myself as a worn, weary, and imperfect child. Yet, it was as a child, in my bedroom, with the music cranked up so my parents could not hear me cry that I called out to God through the tears and He heard me. It was in those moments I felt I could be who I really was, an exhausted little girl reaching to her Father for strength, love, and acceptance. It was in those moments I was comforted my God’s love and received the strength to face another day. It was in those moments I learned of God’s unconditional love and acceptance.

As I have matured in age and my relationship and understanding of God, I have learned to focus more on who God desires me to be and less on the expectations of others. I am no longer a warrior or a child, but rather, a warrior and a child. I am the King’s kid, I can march against the gates of hell and be victorious, I can speak things that are not as though they were, I can say to the mountain move and it must move, but I can only access the power that makes these things possible by embracing my identity as a child, a child of God. Only as a child of God can I truly be a warrior. When I tap into God’s power, authority, and peace, I can be who He has designed me to be, a warrior and a child. 

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