Monday, November 30, 2009

Affirmation Circle

Once a month I get together with a group of fabulous girls in my youth group. These girls have been hand picked and personally chosen by me for various reasons. It is my way of connecting with them and raising them up as future leaders in whatever God has called them to do.
Yesterday we did an affirmation circle. For those of you who don't know what that means, I'll explain. You sit in a circle and one person at a time is in the spot light. Everyone in the circle affirms that person and then you move on to the person sitting next to them. By the end, everyone is affirmed by everyone. I have a love/hate feeling about affirmation circles. I love it for the bond it brings to the group, but I hate having to think of what to say and saying it out loud with everyone watching and listening. I always feel like I can't get the words out right and I want to say something really awesome. I know...I'm selfish. These circles aren't supposed to be about you. They are about loving others.
And of course by the end of the night we were all laughing, crying, and hugging. There was even restoration and forgiveness! It was a big win for all of us.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

ONE Thing

Matthew 6:34 says, "Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of it's own." Normally you hear this scripture in the context of "worrying," but I just realized it can be applied to "change."
We all have something we want to change about ourselves in our lives. Some of us have little things we need to work on and some of us have BIG things we desperately need to change. In the area of motherhood, I desire to be the best I can be. Sometimes it can get a little discouraging after hearing a speaker or reading a book and discovering 20 things you need to change about yourself. This cannot be done overnight. Think about it: It took 20+ years for you to get the way you are, so it's going to take a little time to undo the damage. Change is hard.
One wise woman said it like this, "Don't take what you hear from a speaker or a book and go home to try and change everything about yourself in a day. Take ONE thing and work on it for a few weeks. If you do the first, you will be overwhelmed because you are trying to change yourself in your own strength and will feel like a failure. If you do the second, you can depend on Christ day by day and will succeed. Even a little change will make you feel confident."
This way of viewing life can be applied to any season you are in. I think about it like this: What is the ONE thing I can work on right now? I need to work on my response. It is so easy for me to get in the habit of yelling out of frustration rather than being quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger.
So in regards to Matt 6:34, I can't change anything in the past or worry about the future. Positive change can only be made in the present. Focus on TODAY. With God's help, we can steadily make the changes we desperately desire.
Lord help me TODAY to be "quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires" James 1:19

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

For Free!!

Sometimes in life we question if God knows us or what's going on in our lives. It's so funny to me that I act so surprised every time God does something to convince me that he does know me and sees everything going on in my life. A few years ago, God told Aaron to quit his job at Houston's, which was our primary source of income. At the time we needed a babysitter on certain nights of the week to be at church, but honestly couldn't afford to pay one. Faced with this dilemma, I jokingly (but secretly meaning it) asked God to give us a dependable babysitter that I would feel very comfortable with for free! I guess it really does only take "faith as small as a mustard seed" because a few days later, our regular babysitter called us and said God told her to bless us by babysitting every Tuesday night FOR FREE!! I couldn't believe it. She has faithfully babysat, along with Aaron's parents on Wednesday nights (also for free) for a few years now. It is important to us that our kids are with us as many nights out of the week as possible and that when they do have a sitter, it is one that they know well.
It happened again with Aaron's new job. I halfway jokingly (but secretly serious) asked God to give him a job that would be light on his knees and arms because of his past accident and old basketball injuries, and one that payed well and he did! It's exactly what I asked for!
I didn't even ask God for this next one. He knows right where I am. Aaron and I have been toying around with the idea of hiring a nanny who could come over 1-2 times a week so I can get away to do things without the boys. After talking with a woman at our church, we discovered that we are the answer to each other's prayer. She is almost in the "empty nest" stage of life, wanting to be around small children, and I am in the "crazy toddler years" where I want to get away from children! She will be coming over once a week FOR FREE and we are both so excited.
Now it's not always this easy for me. Many times I wonder if God hears me at all. I mean I begged God to heal my dad and he died, but there are those times when I am, yet again, amazed. I'm hoping the next time I'm questioning God's power and ability I'll remember today.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Pastor Appreciation

October is Pastor Appreciation Month. For us in the Youth Ministry however, it comes a little later - usually November. Our team always blesses us tremendously with beautiful words of love and affirmation and great gifts. This past Wednesday they honored Aaron and I at our weekly youth meeting. A few of them shared what we mean to them and they gave us $400! Aaron is going to buy himself a laptop for work. I'll be glad when that happens so he won't have to take mine anymore. Sorry to sound selfish, but I love my laptop!
A couple of weeks ago, our church had a guest speaker who talked about honoring others with our words. One of the things I'll remember most is how he asked a few people to stand up in front of the congregation and praise someone. At first I was thinking, "No way! He can't be serious! He wants us to say what we think about someone in front of all of these people??" Of course I didn't have the guts to do it, but I watched in amazement how one person after another stood up and affirmed someone. People were saying things to others that they thought about but never said out loud. Almost everyone was crying, applauding, and smiling ear to ear. It seemed to get easier with each person. In fact, more people began to stand up to say something. I bet if the speaker hadn't stopped it, almost everyone would have stood up even if it took all night!
Shouldn't we all be like that all of the time? It made both people feel great, even if it was a little awkward at first. It may have even made some people feel like they can keep going on in their struggles because someone noticed how much they've sacrificed and how hard they are trying. I hope to be more like that. I don't want to just think about how great someone is, I want to tell them.