What is holding you back?

We all could think of answers to this question, so what is yours?  I have many answers, probably the most honest one is me, myself and I.  

I hold myself back, I am the one who gets in the way, I get in GOD’S way.  He has so many wonderful things for me, how many times do I get in His way? 

Heard a speaker a few years ago who was disabled and in a wheelchair.  He spoke to us about how God was using him.  I came away from listening to him thinking that he is not the one disabled, I am the one disabled.  He is able, God “abled” him.    I am the one who is not using to the fullest what God is blessing me with, I am “dis-abling” my gifts.  

Fear keeps me held back.  Fear of many things.  Failure, fear of being judged, especially by other women.  Not being good enough.  Not.  Being.  Enough.  Period.  Not measuring up, being alone, not being able to confide, truly confide in someone else.  To be heard, truly heard from my heart.  

So sometimes I judge, maybe it is a defense mechanism.  I think I judge before someone can judge me.  There have been times I  judged someone and been very wrong, I am SO glad I was wrong.  But I am WRONG to judge. 

Months ago Ann Voskamp wrote an awesome piece titled the Ultimate Girlfriend Gift ( http://www.aholyexperience.com/2013/05/the-ultimate-girlfriend-gift/).  It really touched me, deeply.  I heard myself in every line and began feeling very strongly that it was something that women I knew needed to hear.  God even told me as much.   In the piece women wrote on stones one word that was keeping them from friendships with other women.  Words such as fear, trust, vulnerability, time and not enough were some of the words written on the stones.  And then they threw the rocks into the pond.  One day I needed to drop my son off at the pastor’s home for a party, guess what I saw when I drove up to the house?  A pond.  To me this was God confirming His placing this specific need in my heart.  He put it there.  I still feel it.  But I am holding myself back.  Why?

Because I am not enough, but God is.  

My very first blog post was about Elim, what or where was Elim and what did it have to do with my blog.  I told you that I thought God was calling me to write & speak.  But even if this is the only forum for me to write & speak about what God has done and will do in me, then that is fine.  If that is what He has called me to do, then so be it.  If only a few read this, that is okay too.  If the Ultimate Girlfriend Gift is only for my benefit and I never get to share it with anyone else.  I am still going to share it, even make the gift for a few of my friends.  And maybe one day…I will quit getting in my Father’s way.

What keeps you back?   I know I can’t be the only one who feels this way & am telling you that YOU are not the only one either.  Please leave me a comment and let me know.  And then, let’s commit to pray for each other.  Make the Girlfriend Gift for one or more of your Girlfriend’s.  They need it just as much as you.


 

Sons

Listening to the news the past few days it is all about the Royal Birth.  The new baby boy of Prince William and Kate.  It is an exciting time for a new mother, but there is a lot of fear that comes along with it as well.  I know we are not to fear, and that fear is a tactic of our enemy, but if a new mom is not a little scared then they are probably not being honest.

Raising sons is not clean.  Yes, my boys have peed off the front porch.  And the back porch too.

They pour a large glass of milk.  Drink half of it, then leave the rest sitting on the table.

You tell them for the Nth time to _______________ (fill in the blank with millions of options: Take out the trash, brush their teeth or hair, unload the  dishwasher, etc.)

You give them advice like “Stay away from girls, they are bad” and “Minimum age for marriage is 25”, hoping they do not get their hearts broken and have the best possible advantage on life when they make a lifelong commitment.

When you talk to them about respecting girls and themselves, you get the “I Know Mom”.  But you tell them again anyway for good measure.

You pray for them to be respectful and a leader, a good husband and father.

But there is a lot of heartache in being a Mom of sons too.  Things that I did not realize would hurt my heart so much.

When you have to leave your son in a hospital in the care of someone else.

Sitting up with a toddler all night with croup.

Seeing them off to Kindergarten on the first day of school.

Driving.

Dating. UGH.

Graduating.

Getting married.  No one ever told me how much that hurt.  Letting a son go, even though you know in your heart that he is with someone who loves him and will take care of him, it is hard letting go.  You have spent your life taking care of him until now, and now you have to let go.

But most of all there is so much JOY in being the Mom of sons.

His precious first smiles.

The home runs.

The milestones in school.

When they insist on opening the door for me.

When they tell me they love the daily texts of Bible verses.

Seeing how great they are with kids.

Watching them serve others.

Praising their achievement of an A, when they did not think they could do it.

Being thankful that they have a job and pay their cell phone bill, car insurance, car payment and their own gas.

Sharing their excitement when they get the job they wanted.

And so much more that I have yet to experience.  I thank God for them, I pray for them, I LOVE them.

So Sons, we Moms (and Dads) will make many, many mistakes.  We want you to grow to be better men and parents than we were.  We have good hearts, we want you to keep Him first, pray that you will never have hard times (although you will), and only want the absolute best for you.  So when we tell you for the Nth time, or tell you again for good measure, or many other things…just give us a hug and tell us you love us.  

All my boys.

All my boys.

 

SuperPowers

The movie Superman was just released a few weeks ago and it started me thinking.  If you could have a SuperPower, what would it be?  Laser vision, to fly, leap tall buildings is a single bound?  I actually found a Superpower Database with a list of all the superpowers: http://www.superherodb.com/powers.php.  Really?  Really?  In a society where we are Super Moms, working a full-time job outside the home AND a full-time job at home.  Or full-time moms AND full-time home school moms (More power to you, I could not do it.  Even with ALL the SuperPowers in the world!).  We are all so busy these days and it feels like we are always running on full steam ahead.  A few Super Hero powers would be nice wouldn’t they?  

So what about invisibility?  That might be a good one, huh?

I read recently that the one thing women fear most is being invisible.  To not be seen, to not be heard, to not be listened to.  Do you ever feel that way?  I do.  Even found an article that it happens at age 46.  Great, just great.  Yesterday was my birthday and guess how old I was?  You guessed it, 46.  So poof!  Guess I am now officially invisible.  So what is it that makes us feel invisible?  And how can we combat it?

Not sure if there is one thing that we can put our finger on and say “Yes, that’s it, that is what makes me feel invisible.”, but a process of a lot of events and happenings.  But I do know how to combat it…with God’s Promises straight from His heart.

We are NEVER invisible to Him.  Because He made us exactly this way.  And for a specific purpose.  I remember a teenage boyfriend once told me I was “too emotional”, how’s that for a SuperPower?  Yes, I probably am at times.  But God made women emotional beings.  And we are created in their image right? Their being the Father, Son & Holy Spirit according to Genesis 1:26a  “Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness…”  The “our” is the Trinity, and the image of them and their likeness created emotion.  So our emotions are attributes of God Himself, and the Son, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  That is comforting to me.  

So remember His promises to YOU on those days, in those moments where you feel invisible.  And, tell someone how you feel.  Confide in a friend and tell her you are feeling invisible.  Chances are she feels or has felt the same.

So I don’t think that having SuperPowers is such a great idea after all, but thankful that my God is the best SUPER HERO that I could ever wish for.  

 

Can I get a big AMEN?  

 

Not so Sunday Feeling

What about those days where you don’t feel so Sunday?  Some days I just feel a bit blue or having a “Me” day.  Where I cannot get past my self.  Do you ever have days like that?

I admit I do, more often than I would like.  

Those days I need to take a closer look at myself, at my heart and see what is going on.  Why am I feeling this way?  Do I need to spend more time alone with Jesus.  Probably.  Definitely.

Most of the time that is exactly what the root of my issues are.  I am allowing myself to crowd out Jesus.  

I am a selfish person.  It is a daily struggle to not want what I want.  It is a daily struggle to not want to be first.  It is a struggle to be anything but last.  

I DO NOT like this about myself.  It is not very becoming of a “Southern Lady”.  It is not becoming.

Will I continue to struggle, yes I will.  But I know that He is there with me every step of the difficult struggle and He loves me.  

I ask you to please pray for me.  God is filling me with wonderful ideas.  Don’t know how He is going to work all of them out, but that is His job.  Please pray that I will not get in the way.  I get very excited and sometimes it seems that my agenda gets mixed in with God’s work.  In my excitement to share the ideas with others, it has been said that it comes across as pushy.  So sometimes I don’t tell anyone what is up in my head or heart.  Last month during Church one Sunday morning, I clearly heard God tell me that I am called.  Thus began an argument with Him.  He did not tell me what it is yet He has called me.  But in my insistence that He cannot possibly use me because I am too selfish or not equipped.  He continued to impress upon me that He WILL use me and He WILL equip me for whatever He needs done.  I am scared and excited at the same time.  There is still major work He has to do in me, but we will see what He brings.

 

A Weighty Issue

As a teen my weight bothered me.  In my eyes I was overweight.  Looking back it was a distorted perception, I was no bigger than other teenage girls.  I was pretty normal being 5’6″ and about 125.  After my first son the weight came off fairly easy with a good diet plan, but over the years my weight crept up slowly.  Exercise and Weight Watchers became a part of my life, but I would lose 20 or so pounds and then get bored.  Eventually gaining it back.  My “normal” weight became anywhere from 140-160, which I was NOT comfortable.  After the birth of my fourth son, and reconciliation of my marriage my weight hit an all time high at 255.   Women especially do not like to talk about weight, or even speak of the number on the scale but I am going to speak out.

At 35 years old I hit a low, or a high as in weight.  I knew that if I did not do something to lose the weight, that in 10 years I would be another 100 pounds overweight.  Thankfully I did not have any health issues…yet.  But it would not be long before they developed if I continued on this path.  In 2002 I decided to look into Gastric Bypass surgery.  Yes, it was drastic.  But I felt it was my only hope at finally losing the weight and keeping it off and being there for my kids and husband.  I prayed about it and asked God that if it was His will, all the necessary doors would be opened.  My doctor’s appointment was in June 2002 and approval came in record time for surgery mid-August of that year.

Here it is 11 years later and I have kept it off.  I still tell people I cheated when they ask how I did it.  My usual weight now is 125-130.  People do not believe me when I tell them, and then I show them my photos.  I keep them as a reminder.  My mother-in-law recently sent me a photo she found of me in 2001, it is horrible. But I am also very thankful.  I am healthy, and very blessed.  Me Fat 1

I tell you this as an encouragement if you are facing difficult battles whether it is weight or another issue.  Many have said that they know someone who has had the same surgery and they have gained their weight back (countless times I have heard this) and how do I keep it off?  I tell them that you have to make changes, and keep the changes.  Yes, I still eat chocolate and I still usually put too much food on my plate.  It is a daily battle and I am thankful for it.

Now, if I can just have the plastic surgery to put things back where God originally had them. Until then I am very thankful for great padded bras and Spanx! 🙂

 

 

 

Memories

This past weekend we said a last good-bye to my father-in-law.  He had always wanted a burial at sea so family young and old came together and went out on the choppy seas in the Gulf of Mexico to scatter his ashes and remember.  It was not a smooth trip, several of the young ones became quite green.  Memories were shared and tears shed for a father, son, brother and grandfather who was very much-loved.  It was difficult for a 94-year-old father to have his son die before him.  It was hard for two brothers (the third was in the hospital and did not make it) to remember their other brother.  It was hard for two brothers and a sister to remember their father.  It was hard for grandsons and granddaughters to remember their Grandpa, several whom are very young and may not have memories of him later.  It was difficult for all of us to say good-bye.  But because of the Grace that God our Father bestowed upon him, we know where he is.  That is comforting and I thank my Father.

 

Please enjoy this Memorial Slideshow.

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Planes, Trains & Automobiles

I heard someone say that airplanes, boats, and other modes of transportation (among other things) were just a few of God’s great inventions.  Airplanes and boats have been vital in the spread of the Gospel.  I had never thought about it that way, so I guess it is a valid statement.  So I began thinking about the internet, Facebook, Twitter and other forms of social media, they all are wonderful tools for spreading God’s Word.  But these tools are used in negative ways too.  Instant access to pornography and other media has proved harmful to many businesses, families, marriages and even pastors.  So what God intended for good, is twisted and misused by His enemy.  

One form of social media in particular has been my “Soapbox” lately, Facebook.  If there is urgent prayer needed, it is wonderful in getting the word out quickly and you can certainly never have too much prayer.  My issue is that it is keeping people from close, intimate, personal relationships.  Many times I see people post where they are sick or there has been a death in the family, many people comment “Get Well”, “Feel Better” or “I am so sorry for your loss”.  I too am guilty of this.  But recently it struck me, how impersonal is that?  We are telling people over social media that we are sorry their loved one has died, really?  Have we really become so busy and insensitive that we cannot send a card, or pick up the phone and call, take them a meal, or go visit them and hug their neck?  What has happened?  I experienced this first-hand last Fall when my father-in-law died.  Everyone was quick to send condolences on Facebook, but we received very few cards.  I could count them on one hand.  And only my Mother brought us food.

Now did we need food?  No, we did not.  But what we did need was for people to care.  And that is what we felt, that no one really cared about us or that my husband’s Dad had died.  Someone said to me that they did not bring us a meal because there was no funeral.  Why did it matter that there was no funeral?  It is about caring for others, not about whether there was a funeral or not.  

I used to buy boxes of sympathy and get wet well cards to send to people on the prayer bulletin.  Even if I did not know them, I did it.  Sadly working full-time stopped that habit.  No excuse, I know.  I still occasionally send one, but not like in the past.  So I am renewing efforts to start again.  There have been several recently that I have seen on Facebook, and I have sent a card.  This week I have taken a sick friend soup, called a few people I have lost touch with, gone to lunch with friends and attended the funeral of another friends mother.   I am making an effort, so these people have someone show they care about their hurt and grief.

So today, please show someone you care.  Next time you see a death posted, send a card.  Do you have someone you have lost touch with?  Pick up the phone and call them.  Jesus addressed this very thing in Matthew 22: 36-39 when asked what is the greatest commandment:

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”  37  Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38  This is the first and greatest commandment.  39  And the second is like it:  Love your neighbor as yourself.’                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Today, LOVE ONE ANOTHER!

Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” 1 John 3:18 (NLT)