Thursday, December 31, 2009

"Can I have A2 on my steak?"

There was much excitement at our house tonight. It was grocery store day so there were lots of yummy foods being unloaded today. Among those goodies was a pack of steaks. We don't eat steak very often at the Hawkins home. There are a few reasons why. One because it costs so much to buy a good ribeye and it "has" to be a ribeye (medium rare). Two, because my boys love steak, thus the first reason all over again, it takes a lot to feed those 4 little mouths. Also, and this might be a little TMI, but we can never find dental floss when we need it and you have to have dental floss after having a good ribeye. Our dental floss seems to always be used to make traps rather than to remove trapped food from your teeth. Anyway, we did have steak tonight. The Meat Store had a special 5 ribeye steaks for $20. We couldn't resist. I was doctoring up the potatoes while Matt was cutting up the steak for the boys. I must confess to you that I have a real problem with ketchup or ranch on a steak (yuck). To quote a dear friend..."That poor cow ain't never done nothing to deserve that." But my children insist on dipping their steak in something so I asked the usual steak dinner question..."Joshua, would you like A1 with your steak?" "No Mommy, but can I have A2?" I laughed that really deep, raspy, belly laugh. (A2?) What made him ask that? Why not A1? What's wrong with A1? Nothing, he just liked his idea better. After all A2 is original. No one else has A2. Then it dawned on me. I do this to God all the time. I want what He is not offering. I want something else. I want something that doesn't exist in my life. I want something new. I can never be satisfied with what sits on the plate in front of me. For goodness sake, I have steak with A1, but nooo I want A2. Now, I really don't think Joshua was being discontent or ungrateful. I think he was innocently asking, but my asking is not always so innocent. I have my dream husband, I have 4 incredible children, I drive my favorite van, I have my Macbook...I could go on and on with the blessings He has poured out on me, but guess what? I still want A2. Well, maybe not A2, but a digital cannon rebel, a new flatscreen TV for my bedroom, a hot tub (hey, a girl can dream)... Don't judge me, you know you have your list too. The truth is, I don't want to have a list. I am very content with my life. I LOVE my life. I have so much more than I could ever imagine, but I confess there are days I get caught in the trap. The trap of not being content to eat the steak, but wanting the A2 to go with it. Wanting something that is out of my reach, something that is not in God's plan for me. Why is this? Because I allow myself to take my focus off the one who died for me and blesses me beyond my imagination and I turn my focus to the electronics isle at Target. I focus on what the Jones's have and wonder why I don't have it. I am content. My heart is content and blessed beyond measure. I face a choice each day. I can receive my steak dinner with a heart of thankfulness, contentment and overwhelming gratitude or I can make my A2 list. I choose to savor and enjoy each bite. I need nothing else. All I need is Him. Thank you Joshua for encouraging me to adjust my focus and have a content heart.

Philippians 4:12 NIV
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

Hebrews 13:5 NIV
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

1 Timothy 6:8 NIV
But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

"Oh Be Careful BIG Mouth What You Say."

I feel the need to start by telling you that if you had asked me years ago if I would be raising 4 little boys I would have thought you were crazy. Me and little boys just didn't seem to make a good fit. I have been known to be prude like. I despise gross noises and there was a time when I was very proper in everything I talked about. Conversations that included nakedness, fighting, bodily functions and the like would not have been discussed in my presence. Now I am blessed to be raising 4 little men and I don't look quite so prudish anymore. Don't get me wrong...I still believe in manners but I have lightened up a lot. Last Monday night we were sitting around cuddled up as a family talking about Christmas. Joshua said, "Mommy, what do you want for Christmas?" "Well, Joshua I could use some lavendar vanilla candles and a new food processor. I would love a macbook, but I know that won't happen." Matthew says, "Mom what would you do if you got a macbook?" Leaving my prudish ways behind and hoping to get a laugh from my boys I said in what is now apparent little faith, "If I get a Macbook for Christmas I will run down the street naked." Bahahha! The thought of this is pretty funny to little boys and seemed pretty safe to me because I know Matt Hawkins and I also know how much those computers cost and Matt has been very clear that when we save enough we can get one, but delayed gratification. Sunday morning was our children's play and then we had a creative team meeting at our house right after church. I lit a fire and everyone was making homemade hot chocolate when my husband hands me a card. (This seemed a very odd time to be getting a card, but let's just see. "To My Darling Wife" this is what the front of the card said. Now I was curious. What timing? Why in the middle of a creative team meeting? I opened the note and it read... Please excuse yourself to the back, The time has come for you to pack, One bag is all you and I will need, One more for the other one plus three, Christmas pajamas is all they need, to spend the night with papa and mimi, as for you and me, we shall need what folks normally wear to dinner and a movie, this time where you and I shall go, is for you to guess and me to know, so please bid our guests a fond adieu, for pop pop and grandma arrive at two. I sat on the couch in shock and began to cry. I am married to an incredible man every day, but then he goes and does something like this and blesses me beyond what I could ever deserve. We got in the car and started driving. I soon realized we were on our way to Birmingham. I knew because we were on 280 and because I saw a Popeyes Fried Chicken. have to know your landmarks. We pulled up at our hotel and checked in and Matt said we needed to hurry up and drop the stuff off because we were going to a movie at 5:15. There was a show coming, but it was not at the theatre. We arrived at The Summit a little early and we were waiting on our "movie" to start when Matt said, "Hey let's walk in the Apple store." Groaning I followed, but I knew the drill. We would go in, we would look, I would dream, I would covet, I would become discontent and we would leave with me needing to go before the Lord with some confessing and in need of an attitude adjustment. All things considered I followed my husband and convinced myself to be strong and keep my hands in my pockets so I would not be tempted to come in closer contact with my dream than I needed to. We looked and then Matt did something he never does. He asked the apple man for some help. I stood confused, but still keeping that guard up. They chatted and talked about gigabytes and megabytes and then I heard something I understood. It was not computer jargon. I heard the words "We'll take it!" I heard the words, but were they actually coming out of Matt's mouth. My jaw fell open but no words would come out. I saw that out of the corner of his eye he saw my astonishment and he had this adorable grin on his face, but he did not make eye contact with me. When Mr. Apple walked away I fell into the arms of this incredible man and I was overwhelmed. We left there about 45 minutes later and I was a Macbook owner. Can you say cloud nine? As we walked to the car Matt said well guess who has to walk down the street naked. OH MY WORD! I had forgotten about that. What had seemed so impossible on Monday and had driven me to take a self inflicted dare, was now a reality. OH be careful little (BIG) mouth what you say. I called the boys to tell them about my wonderful surprise and they all said, "Oh no you have to walk down the street naked." Would they really hold me to that? Could they actually think I was serious? We encourage them to let their yes be yes and their no be no and to always be true to your word, but does nakedness and a possible arrest count. Of course we talked about it when we got home. Matthew was a definite "No mommy we don't expect you to do that. It was just a joke. It would totally not be appropriate." And then there's Joshua and Caleb..."Mommy you promised, you have to do it, You can't go back on your word." OK are we really even debating this. I mean it is 30 degrees, I have bronchitis and I will not, do you hear me I will not, now or ever run around outside naked. SO I say "Guys you know mommy could go to jail for going outside without her clothes on." Caleb thought for a moment and said, "Well I guess we could bring your gifts to the jail. Would they let us?" Merry Christmas Momma!! Joshua said, "I'll be satisfied with the bet if you will just run outside naked and touch just one foot on the grass. They won't throw you in jail for that." After being surprised that the conversation went on that long in steps Daddy. "Hear me now, no one will be leaving this house naked. It was a bet. Mommy is not breaking a promise, she was being funny. We will not hold her to that." And Mommy will be more careful what she jokes about from now on. Children take us at our word. They are very literal. I am revisiting going back to my prudish ways. Oh so the word naked has been used a lot and that is really not what I want you to walk away remembering. "You know that lady that wrote that naked blog."  First I just want you to know how blessed I am to have such an incredible, thoughtful husband. Second, it made me realize that the things we view as impossible are the very things God desires to make possible so He can show himself to us through them. In my mind a macbook was impossible, thus my offer to walk naked. (Please know that I never intended to do that nor would I ever do that. It was to get a laugh out of my boys who took it a little too literal.) God made the Macbook possible through my husband's hard work and his creativity. I do love the macbook, but I received something even greater this weekend than a macbook. I received an opportunity to grow in my marriage and to build my admiration and heart of thanksgiving for my husband. Not because he bought me the computer, but because he loves me so much that he wants to spend time with me. He secretly planned this whole thing. He loves me that much. Not that I ever doubted it, but oh how wonderful to be shown that love in a very special way. I lay here tonight basking in the blessings of my life. Happy that I am loved, that I have humorous children, that I am fully clothed and warm and that I am typing from my new macbook as my wonderful husband snores beside me. This holiday season bask in your blessings, remember that the thought and the heart that goes into the gift is greater than what's in the package. Remember to be careful of thinking NEVER and taking absurd dares because of a lack of faith. God can do immeasurably, abundantly more than all we could ask or imagine.

Ephesians 3:20

Monday, December 21, 2009

Jesus said, "Warm her hands!"

I was in Kroger on Friday. I am sad to say that it was my third Kroger trip of the week. I can't seem to stay organized these days. I had less than 15 items and since I despise the self-checkout I decided to go for the 15 items or less line. It was long, but how long can it really take if everyone only has 15 items. As I unloaded my plunder on to the conveyor belt I noticed the lady in front of me rubbing her hands together. The hands were wrinkled and her knuckles were swollen showing in every crease the long life she has lived. Looking at her hands I wondered how many babies she had loved, how many biscuits she has patted out and how many times those hands had brought comfort to someone special in her life. I noticed that even though her skin was a natural brown or chocolate color, her knuckles were red and she couldn't bend her fingers. She turned my way and I ask, "Are you cold?" "Oh honey, I am freezing. My hands stay cold. They are cold in August, but in December when it is 30 degrees I can't even feel them. They hurt so bad." I offered to buy her some gloves, but she had gloves in the car and that wasn't helping at the moment. I continued to unload my groceries, patiently waiting my turn. As I unloaded the chicken, bread and sour cream I noticed that my hands were really warm Actually HOT! Then I heard Him! The voice of my Savior..."Warm her hands." "I tried to buy her some gloves God, what else do you want me to do?" Again I heard, "Warm her hands." There was no out loud laughter, but in my mind I thought...surely Jesus would not ask me to hold the hands of a total stranger. "I don't have any purell and Jesus what will all these people think?" Again I heard..."Take her hands, hold her hands, warm her hands." I would like to say that I grabbed them right away, but still I wrestled with the question.."Why God, what purpose could you possibly accomplish through me holding a strangers hands." And Jesus said, "She's not a stranger to me." I turned to face my new friend and ask, "Are your hands feeling any better?" "No honey, they so cold." I held my hand out and said, "May I feel how cold they are?" As I took both of those wrinkled, ice cold hands in mine I kept hearing Jesus say..."She's not a stranger to me." Her eyes got big as she smiled and said, "Oh my your hands feel so warm. They are like an oven." I continued to hold her hands and rub them between mine. She thanked me over and over and paid her bill with stiff fingers, but now able to bend them enough to count out her payment. She said, "thank you again dear." And she was gone. I don't know her name, I don't know where she lives and for all practical purposes she would still be considered a stranger to me, but Jesus said, "She is not a stranger to me." I will be honest, I have still struggled with Why God? I mean I like to have reasons behind everything, but was this just a matter of obedience. Yes, I know my Jesus wanted to know if I was listening and would I obey even when I didn't understand. I know now that God was getting my focus off of me. He was broadening my view. I walk in Kroger all the time, check out and rarely give a thought to those in line with me unless they are taking too long to pay or they have way too many items and then I notice "that" with a little aggravation. Jesus said, "She's not a stranger to me." She is not a stranger to the one I walk and talk with everyday. She is not a stranger to the one I long to be with, to spend eternity with. She is not a stranger to the one who knows my inmost thoughts, my coming and my going. If she is not a stranger to Him, then she is not a stranger to me. How many others have I passed by labeling "stranger" when in actuality they are family. (God's family) My Kroger friend may have left there with warmer hands, but I left there with a transformed heart. No longer do I need purell after touching a stranger for that stranger is a friend of God's. I can embrace, I can seek, I can search out and I can obey as my Jesus allows me to be His hands of love and warmth to His people.

Matthew 25:40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.

Friday, December 18, 2009

"Talent Turns To Testimony and The Things Memories Are Made Of."

Last night around 6:30 Caleb informs me that he wants to be in the talent show at school in the morning at 7:30. Now this was the first I had heard about a talent show that would begin in approximately 13 hours. Caleb decided to play the guitar, which he does very well. Problem...his guitar had a broken string and needed to be tuned and he happens to be the only musically inclined person in our home. God has strategically placed us on a street, in a neighborhood that we love, with incredible friends and neighbors. Mr. Nate to the rescue! Mr. Nate went to Target and bought new strings and put them on Caleb's guitar and he tuned it for him. Caleb was ready to show off his talent. Matthew then decides at 8:00 that he wants to be part of this talent show. After all it was going to be held in the multi-purpose room for the whole school and a $50 dollar gift card was the grand prize. Sign me up...I got talent! Well after 30 minutes we finally decided on a good talent for Matthew. He would accompany Mercy Me's "Little Drummer Boy" by playing the snare drum. So by about 9:30 we were ready, instruments by the door and a plan in place. We were sure a Hawkins would take first prize in the "talent show." We marched in the front doors of the school noticing a few strange glances as we carried the cumbersome ticket to our gift card. The principal met us in the hall and was curious as to what the Hawkins boys were doing with instruments. "We are going to be in the talent show." "What talent show?" "You know the talent show that is in the multi-purpose room for the whole school with the gift card prize of $50 for the winner." "Guys, I haven't heard about that." "Well, our cousin is in the 3rd grade and she is in a talent show." The principal walked them down the third grade hall to investigate. There was in fact a talent show, but just for that one third grade class and the talents did not involve instruments, but poetry and songs "just for the class." My children had not checked out the facts. They were embarrassed as was their cousin, but then something beautiful happened. Something that took mere talent and turned it into a testimony and some fabulous memories for these precious cousins. This third grade teacher along with the principle asked if the boys would like to share their talents with this class and their parents. After getting the go ahead from their teachers, they stood before the third grade classroom and shared their talent. Keep in mind that we attended a program earlier this week for Joshua where the words to We Wish You A Merry Christmas were re-written to say We Wish You A Happy Holiday, We Wish You A Happy Hanukah, We Wish You A Happy Ramadan and A Happy New Year. So needless to say the presence of Christ is not openly advertised within our schools, but let me tell you that His presence was felt there today. Caleb played a song he had written that said "Jesus, we worship you. All day long we worship you. Only you do we worship. We worship you." Matthew played his drum as the children and teachers heard these words...Come they told me, Pa rum pum pum pum, A newborn King to see, Pa rum pum pum pum, Our finest gifts we bring, Pa rum pum pum pum, To lay before the King, Pa rum pum pum pum, Rum pum pum pum,So to honor Him, Pa rum pum pum pum, When we come, Little Baby, Pa rum pum pum pum, I am a poor boy too, Pa rum pum pum pum, I have no gift to bring, Pa rum pum pum pum, That's fit to give the King, Pa rum pum pum pum, Rum pum pum pum, Shall I play for You?, Pa rum pum pum pum,On my drum, Shall I play for You? Mary looked at me and nodded, The ox and lamb kept time, Oh I played my drum for Him, Oh I played my best for Christ, Then He smiled at me… As Matthew finished the class erupted in applause and Ashlyn, Matthew's cousin jumped from her seat and ran up front and hugged Matthew with such a look of appreciation and love. As I looked around the room, I noticed there were tear filled eyes. Even the teacher had her hand over her heart and said..."Oh my that was wonderful." Let me set the record straight and let you know that Matthew is no expert drum  player and Caleb is no professional guitar player, but what their peers, parents and teachers saw today were children who love the Lord and family (cousins) who love each other, cheer for each other and share a common love for Christ and for hearing His name proclaimed. You could not have left that room today and not have been touched by the love these kids had for one another and the love they share for the Lord Jesus. Who says Christianity is dead in the school systems? I assure you it was alive in the hearts of three precious children I know today. As long as it is alive in their hearts and lives, it is a testimony everywhere they go. We could have all been embarrassed today and rushed the instruments to the car and never mentioned another word about this day, but I believe in my heart of hearts that this was not mis-information, but a divine appointment destined in eternity past for these children, for these teachers and for these parents to hear the testimonies of these precious cousins. The truth of Christ may not be openly shared in our school systems, but as long as we are encouraging the hearts of our children and they love Jesus...He is ALIVE and His WORD is ALIVE in our schools. We made some precious memories as a family today, but my prayer is that lives were touched, even just one.

"Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart."  1 John 5:10

Thursday, December 17, 2009

"Where Is Your Center of Gravity?"

We went ice skating on Wednesday with some very dear friends. Well, the "we" may be stretching it a little bit. The boys and Matt ice skated with our friends and I cheered them on. The boys wanted to know why I didn't ice skate. There were many reasons. The one I liked the best was the make-believe reason, "That I use to be an olympic figure skater and I did not want anyone else to feel bad." The real reason was that I have 4 children and to take care of and I cannot afford to break anything, I tried years ago and wasn't that good and that was 80 pounds, 4 c-sections and 2 cancer surgeries ago. Not to mention that nobody wants to see this body hit the ice. I mean really! Matt skated close to the wall, never actually touching the wall, but close enough so that he never gave the appearance of falling. Matthew was the picture of diligence. He tried, he fell, he got up and tried again. He never complained and he never gave up and he came home with lots of bruises thanks to the encounters his knees had with the hard ice. Caleb's goal was to see how fast he could skate without falling. He could be a speed skater. And then there was Joshua. He is 5 years old and has never been ice skating before. I think he has only roller skated maybe once or twice. I watched him closely as he nervously put on his skates and cautiously approached the ice. He stayed close to the wall his first 3 times around and then he started skating. I mean really skating. He was skating in circles. He was skating backwards and was doing tricks. I was amazed. Thirty minutes on the ice and he was awesome. As Matt and I sat watching in awe we wondered why it came so much easier to Joshua than it did to the other 10 beginner skaters that were there. Matt noticed that his center of gravity was closer to the ice than anyone else's. He would occasionally fall, but he was so close to the source that it did not hurt as much to fall. His center of gravity was so close to the source that it was easy to accomplish the goal set before him. He was also watching other skaters who were taking lessons from coaches and who had been skating longer than he had and he was learning from watching them as they followed their coach. The more I thought about how well he did skating, how easy he made it look and how the longer he remained on the ice the more he could do and the better he got, I began to ask myself..."where is your center of gravity?" "Is it close to the source?" Joshua has begged each day to return to the ice. He longs to get those skates back on and see what else he can learn and do. I want my center of gravity to be so close to the source (Jesus) that when I fall, I don't fall far and that it doesn't hurt quite so much. I want to stay so close to the source that I can become one with my Jesus, my savior just as Joshua was becoming one with that ice. I want to learn new things and I want to walk so close to my Jesus that it looks easy and it is easy because I know Him so well. I want to be so close to Jesus my source that the goals and tasks He sets before me are easy because He is my center of gravity. I want to glide in His presence. I want to pirouette before my King. I want to twirl and spin and jump in the air for Him. I want my center of gravity so in line with my source that my entire life revolves around the source. Jesus Christ! I want others who haven't been skating with the Savior as long as I have to be able to look at me and learn more about Him. As I follow my coach and stay close to the source I want to help others do the same. Where is your center of gravity?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

"But the fruit of the Spirit is "responsibleness"?"

Before I begin I want to make a disclaimer and tell you that my Caleb is one of the funniest, most talented kids that I know. He keeps us laughing all the time. He has an extremely quick wit and is very laid back until it comes down to playstation football. Caleb likes to win! He has been known to repeatedly start a game over when loosing to ensure that it does not get recorded in the computer and if by chance someone else wins, then they must have cheated or the equipment was not working properly. Now I love that he has a heart to succeed, but this week it went a little too far. I am one of those moms who said I would NEVER have a television in my child's room and I am also one of those mom's who has learned to NEVER say NEVER. We have a rather large television in the boy's room that was given to us by their grandparents and it is an awesome screen on which to play video games. (Don't judge me!) On any given rainy day you can find at least 3 but usually 7-9 boys huddled around the screen trying to have their day of glory as they take their electronic hero down the field for a touchdown. On this particular day Matthew, Caleb and Joshua were playing football without the aid of their neighborhood teammates. Apparently Matthew was beating Caleb pretty bad and in a fit of anger, maybe rage or just a plain lack of self-control, Caleb ripped the glass doors from their hinges and the TV stand was left open to all the elements in the Hawkins' home, namely Jacob. It seems that no one felt the need to inform Mommy and Daddy of this. Maybe it is some "brother code of loyalty" that I do not know about, but nevertheless it remained a secret until I went in to vacuum and found the doors neatly hidden "behind" the television. I think my exact words were..."What in the world happened in here?" Caleb's response was "Looks like I've been working out. I'm stronger than I thought." These are the moments that you want to laugh, but you dare not for fear that the punishment to come will not be as effective. I called for backup (aka Daddy) and we quickly informed Caleb of the severity of the situation. Matt was able to repair the TV stand, but the bigger, more important repair was Caleb's heart. I want to raise children of Godly character, not consumed by the acts of their sinful nature, but walking victorious over sin as they seek God's word and listen to the Holy Spirit speaking to their hearts. This is my mission and I have chosen with gladness of heart to accept it. Matt told Caleb that he was not allowed to play Playstation until 2010. (Sounds like forever, but actually it is only 3 1/2 weeks away.) And he is to have Galatians 5:22-23 memorized by the end of the week. Matt asked Caleb if he knew the fruit of the Spirit and began to list, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and do you the know the last one. Caleb answered "Is it something like responsibleness?"  "Caleb Galatians 5:22-23 says "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." Caleb prayed to receive Christ as his Savior in August. Now it is time for Him to understand the truth of Psalm 119:129-130"Your statutes are wonderful; therefore I obey them.The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple." I want Caleb to understand how incredibly awesome it is to go to God's Word and to see it unfold and shine the light of truth on every part of our lives. God's Word is personal, it is true, and it provides the wisdom we need to overcome this world and the sins of this world. Caleb was faced with a choice- He could allow the Holy Spirit to fill him with self-control or he could, in a fit of rage, pull the doors from their hinges. He chose poorly. As his parents we are taking him to God's Word and helping him understand that as he unfolds the Word and obeys it, our furniture can stay in tact, but more importantly he can grow to become a man who honors God in his words, his actions and his attitudes. I pray that we too will unfold God's word and allow its light to shine in our hearts so that we can obtain wisdom and understand and obey His wonderful Word.

Friday, December 4, 2009

"Twelve Days Until Christmas Break"

The boys and I wanted to do something special for their teachers for Christmas. We thought about different gift ideas, but could not come up with anything that truly shared the hearts of my boys or really focused on the true meaning of the season. We wanted to share with them the love of Jesus and do something that the boys could help put some thought and love into. We decided to share and give to them for the 12 days before Christmas Break. Here is a poem that I wrote for their teachers. We are sending a little gift each day to show them that we love them. Try it. I pass it along to you!

Twas twelve days til CHRISTMAS BREAK
When all through the school
Not one little child
Followed one single rule

The students were antsy as
They sat in their seats
Dreaming of Sana Claus
Whom they hoped to soon meet

The teachers tried hard to
Follow their plans
As they encouraged little friends
To please raise their hands

Everyone was excited
Because Christmas was so near
It was hard to believe it was
That time of year

They tried to stay focused
They tried to stay kind
But the teachers and students
Had something else on their minds

Cocoa and cookies
Presents and lights
Singing Christmas carols
And sitting by the trees Christmas night

Just a few more days
And school will be out
And teachers and children
Will all give a shout

A gift each day
We thought we would try
To make the twelve days
Go quickly by

Little gifts they may be
Because not much could we pray
But what a wonderful way
To celebrate Jesus' birthday!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

"What can you do with a penny?"

"What can you do with a penny these days?" Well just ask Jacob! Jacob and I got cold at the soccer tournament last weekend so we went to sit in the car. Now usually when we are in the car he is buckled in his seat, but since we were just sitting I decided to let him just sit up front with me as we warmed our frozen fingers. Well apparently his thawed out sooner than mine did because those precious little pinchers were able to pick up 4 pennies and load then into the DVD player. It began to whine and drag and make noises that I was sure would require quite a few zeroes added to the dollar signs. I called Honda and sure enough using the DVD player as a jukebox is not covered under the warranty. Oh how I sighed and prayed. (That I would not hurt him.) What to do? I knew Matt WAS NOT going to spend 100 plus dollars to fix something that had nothing to do with the overall operation of the van. We are blessed to have friends with the fix-it knowledge as well as a love for us so they want to bless us. Mr. Fred came over and in less than 30 minutes he retrieved 4 pennies from the player and it works like a charm. Thank you Mr. Fred! I began to think about what you can actually do with a penny? As my children said, "You can't even buy gum for a penny anymore."  Not that they actually even remember those days, but I'm sure they've heard about them. Something of so little value ($0.04) to some (me) could be worth so much more ($100). It was only 4 little pennies and oh how much fun for Jacob to watch the player suck them right up. It was like magic... Poof Disappear. I was totally helpless and had no idea what to do to fix it, but Fred on the other hand possessed the knowledge and the know how to fix the problem free of charge. What free gift do you possess that would cost you very little yet would be worth so much to someone else? Maybe it is a gift or a talent or maybe it is giving of your time. Without a doubt the testimony of our salvation would be worth life to those who do not know, it costs us nothing to share, but it cost Jesus His very life. The message of salvation is worth far more than any amount of zeros added to a dollar sign, but cost us nothing to share, not even a penny. Share the gift of eternal life this Christmas and also look for ways to serve others just as we remind our children all the time. "Jesus came not to be served, but to serve!"

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"He Knows If You've Been Bad or Good"

Yesterday we began to play Christmas music in our car. Yes, I know it is a little early, but we are all very excited and a certain Jacob Hawkins put a penny in the DVD player so there will be no movies until that is fixed. We were riding down the road singing "He knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you're awake, he knows if you've been bad or good..." Joshua asked, "Mommy, does Santa Claus really know if you've been bad or good?" As I pondered the question, wondering if this was the appropriate time to destroy the dream of Santa Claus for my 5 year old, I did what any caring, honest, godly mother would do...I said, "Joshua, what do you think?" He thought for a minute and then he said, "Well, Santa may know, but if he does it is because Jesus told him, because Santa Claus is not all knowing, only Jesus is." Awesome answer!!! I agreed with him that Jesus is the only one who is all knowing and our obedience or lack there of should be driven by our desire to please Him, not so that we will or will not receive earthly rewards.  I have never told my children if they are not nice Santa won't bring them a gift, because that is a lie. Imagine if we were true to our word on that one. Not one child would be receiving a gift this year. Not to mention it is not biblical. Apart for the whole Santa thing, it is also not in accordance with what Christ did for us..."While we were still sinners Christ died for us." Joshua is right... He is all knowing and yet he hung on that cross and gave us the gift of grace and eternal life in spite of what we had done. It was a free gift. Even our "good" deeds are as filthy rags before a righteous and holy God. This Christmas I encourage you to use every opportunity to teach your children and to experience for yourself the loving grace of our Savior. Good or bad, it did not matter to was a free gift. A gift we needed because we were bad (sinful) creatures. He gave out of unconditional love, not because we were or were not on the naughty list. So as you approach this Christmas season just remember that "He knows if you've been bad or good" and He loves you in spite of it!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

"Gone Fishin"

Our family loves to go fishing. Sometimes we succeed in just feeding crickets to the fish as we throw out our pole and the crickets disappear. Pop pop and Grandma bought Jacob a spiderman fipping (fishing) pole. He was a natural. He learned immediately how to cast it out and reel it in. Over and over again he would throw it out and reel it in. If you have ever been fishing, you know that it takes patience. A lot of patience!

Matt has recently been preaching a series called "Go Fish." Afterall, we have been called to be fishers of men. As I have listened to the Word of God and what Matt has been teaching, I was taken back to that day that Jacob learned to fish. Oh the patience of that little guy to continue to throw out the bait and reel it in. How often do we as believers throw out the bait and actually fish for men? We lack patience. We throw out the bait and we don't get a bite so we quit. As I watched Jacob that day, the first bite he got, scared him so that he threw the pole down and ran. Have we ever done that in fishing for men? We got a bite, now what do we do? We do just what Jacob did, we pick the pole back up and we throw out that bait again, over and over and over again, with patience knowing that the outcome is not in our hands, but in the hands of God. We are just obedient to fish. The funniest part of that day was when Jacob threw out his pole with no bait because the crickets were gone. He threw the line out and caught a fish with no bait, just a hook. Why did he catch a fish? Because he was faithful to throw that line out, bait or no bait, his patience was rewarded. He was ready, he was watching and he was faithful. Oh, that we might have the patience and the faithfulness of a 2 year old as we fish for the souls of men.
Matthew 4:19 NIV

"Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men."

Matthew 28:19-20 "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Sunday, November 15, 2009

"We Don't Say Booty and We Don't Shake it in the Air."

Look deeply into the eyes of this precious little boy and you will see a young man who has a heart for obedience and a heart to please Jesus. I wish I could say it has always been that way, but at the age of 3 Joshua really changed and he decided the consequences of disobedience were not worth the temporal gratification. He began to obey and it has just gotten better and better. Yesterday Matt and I picked him up early from school. We had a full afternoon and I was going to be at a Ladies Retreat all weekend, so we checked him out and went to lunch with the 2 little boys. We were talking about his day at school and he began to sing a song for me. The lyrics said something about "shaking your booty in the air and turning around." "Mommy, I did sing the song, but I did not shake my booty because I did not think you would allow that and I did not think it would bring honor to God so I did not do it. I just stood very still." What a proud mommy moment that was. Joshua has been listening to the convictions of our home. We have never actually said, "Do not shake your booty in the air." But we have instructed our boys to honor God with their bodies and conduct themselves in such a way that it would represent their Jesus. Be above reproach. Step out and be different. We have talked about all of these things, but never the specifics of shaking your booty in the air. Joshua had a moment of personal conviction in his classroom. For some reason he did not have a peace about shaking his booty so he decided to be separate. He wanted to honor God and he wanted to honor and obey his parents and he thought this was something we would not approve of. "Mommy at our house we don't say booty and we don't shake it in the air." I love that my 5 year old is developing conviction in his own life. The standards and the convictions of belief that we as a family have recognized for our family through the counsel of scripture are becoming not merely Hawkins' home standards, but they are taking up root and growing within the hearts of our children. That is the goal. We teach our children the standards from God's word and then we pray that they will become deeply planted in their hearts so that as they grow up in Him they might bear fruits of righteousness and conviction. I know it was an innocent kindergarten song where the whole class shakes their booty in the air. Harmless right? Joshua felt a check in his spirit and he obeyed that check. No, I would not have been upset if he had participated, but oh how my heart leaps for joy that he is becoming a young man of personal conviction and he takes a stand when he does not feel it is right. I pray that the word of God would be so deeply grounded in our lives that we to would live as people of conviction moment by moment, day by day.
John 14:23-24 "Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"I Had A Beth Moore Hair Day" I Wish!

If you know Beth Moore, then you know she prides herself in her big southern hairdo. She believes in teasing and hairspray. I find her hairstyle very cute, but as I was fixing my hair today I knew it would be one of those days. I must back up and confess the real problem to you. I cut my boys hair, even Matt's. We do this to save money. After all it is not hard to cut boys hair. I had this bright idea that to save money I would start cutting my own hair. Yes, I know, but I did it anyway. The problem was the back. I could never seem to get it even. I tried getting in the shower and flipping my head over and cutting a straight line. It did not turn out to be such a straight line when I flipped back up. So I did what any intelligent, rational woman would do and I said, "Matt, can you come cut my hair!" Yes, I put scissors in the hands of my husband and I turned around. Anyone can cut a straight line right? He did cut a straight line, but what he did not realize was that when you pull down on wet hair and cut, it springs back shorter. He pulls down on the back of my hair, cuts and then I hear, "Whoops!" Not what you want to hear when your husband is holding scissors to the back of your head. "What happened?" I asked. "Nothing, I think it is just shorter than you had wanted, but it is straight." He did great, but I did have to cut a couple more inches off the sides to even it up. Is anyone horrified yet? The cut actually turned out o.k. if I would sit with my head tilted forward and to the side. This happened in August the week before I was to leave for a conference I had been planning on for over a year. A conference with 600 other women who I did not know. There was nothing left to do but tilt my head and smile. Well, let's get back to today. As my hair has been growing back it is not quite as forgiving as it once was and I am beginning to have what some might call "mullet like" symptoms. The sides seem to be a little shorter than the back. I have tried the flat-iron, I have tried flipping it up, curling it under and even scrunching. (Which I believe was popular in the 80's.) Today I decided that hot rollers would do the trick. You know add that body and shine and put that bounce back into my head. As I removed each roller I began to see an increasing problem. Medusa was staring back at me from the mirror. My hair was so big even Beth Moore would have called an intervention. My day was too busy to spend fussing over hair so I flipped my head over, sprayed a large hole in the ozone layer and went about my day. As the day went on my hair fell into place and now looks like a brown football helmet with short bangs. I need to visit what I think they call a "Hair Salon" and have a professional work their magic, but alas I shall wait until it makes its way into the budget. Each time I passed a mirror or saw my reflection in a window I thought about ALL the hairs on my head. It was definitely a bad hair day for me, but it brought me great comfort because I was reminded of the scripture that says,  "Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." Luke 12:7 I know that my Jesus cares enough about me that He has every hair of my head numbered. Let me just say that today that was a lot of hair. What a great comfort to know the truth of this verse... "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7  He loves me even when I have Medusa hair. He still cares and He sees my heart, not my hair. I have made a vow that I will never cry over a bad hair cut or a bad hair day. It is just hair. I confess I was frustrated this morning, but oh what joy and comfort my savior brought to me today through a silly thing like having a hairstyle like Medusa.  Does anyone know who does Beth Moore's hair. I need to make an appointment?

"What Troubles Your Heart?"

Is there anything troubling your heart today? Maybe it's financial stress, a physical ailment, a crumbling marriage, loneliness or a rebellious child. From time to time I will ask my children, "Is something troubling your heart?" If your Father were to stand before you and say, "My child, what troubles your heart?" What would you say to Him? As I talk with women all over I am sensing an overall feeling of hopelessness. Hopeless marriages, hopeless finances, hopeless lives seem to be a resounding theme among many women today. So many have just given up and think "It will always be like this!" Psalms 62:5-8 "Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge." I love how David pleads with us by saying "O People; pour out your hearts to him." David got it. He had struggles, he had trials, his heart was troubled, but He knew where to go. Wouldn't you love to say with David, "No matter what happens, I will not be shaken." We run late for a soccer game, burn supper, find cereal spilled on the floor and we are shaken. Come on! He is our fortress and our refuge. David hid out in caves in fear of losing his very life and yet he says he will trust Him at ALL times. When Jesus met with His disciples in the Upper Room he said to them..."Let not your hearts be troubled." He knew when He left they would be troubled, but listen to what else He said, "In this world you WILL have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world." WOW, if that does not give us peace, then nothing can. HE has overcome the crumbling marriages, the finances, the ailments, the loneliness. If HE has overcome all of that then why do we fill those voids with books, movies, alcohol, drugs, relationships and other things of this worlds which HE has overcome? We need to RUN to Him and find peace in Him. I heard a quote from a Kay Arthur book that says, "Peace does not come from a denial of reality or an absence of trial, but from a right relationship with Him." Our circumstances may not change any time soon or never, but we can have peace in the midst of the storm if we have a right relationship with Him. My friend, what troubles your heart today? Pour out your heart to your savior, find refuge in Him and let Him be your fortress. Cling to His word! He is our peace!  I leave you with this Psalm and pray that it becomes the prayer of your heart...Psalm 6:1-8"Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings. For you have heard my vows, O God; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name. Increase the days of the king's life, his years for many generations. May he be enthroned in God's presence forever; appoint your love and faithfulness to protect him. Then will I ever sing praise to your name and fulfill my vows day after day."

Monday, November 9, 2009

"A Precious Friendship!"

"Mom, I am usually so busy running and playing that I tend to pass people by, but I really believe God was drawing me to Momyrt 2 years ago. I really loved her and I know she loved me." Matthew shared this with me the other night after our precious friend Momyrt went home to be with the Lord. Matthew met Momyrt at church a few years ago and they had a bond from the very beginning. Every Sunday after church as I would search for Matthew, I could always find him sitting with Momyrt. They would talk and laugh and just spend time together. Matthew was able to be her escort for 2 different parties she had at her retirement home. He prayed for her and would always inquire about her when she was not at church. Last year he had the privilege of dancing with her at her 85th birthday. Momyrt began to have increasing heart problems a few weeks back and was in the hospital. Matthew was very sad that he could not go and see her in hospital, but with recent age restrictions it was not an option. He prayed and prayed. One night he came to me crying and said, "Mom, I just don't know how to pray anymore. I want to keep her here, but I feel so selfish. I know she would be happier with Jesus and she would not have heart problems anymore, but it is so hard to pray that way." I assured him that God knew his heart. I encouraged him to pray for God's will to be done. Momyrt went home to be with the Lord last Monday night and though Matthew was happy for her I have never seen his little heart break like that before. He lost a friend. He knows he will see her again one day, but he has had some sad, tear filled nights. What a precious friendship they had because "God was drawing him to Momyrt." Oh, how this convicts me. I too am guilty of just passing people by because I am caught up in me and I am busy! Do you ever wonder if we miss out on precious life changing friendships because we don't stop, but we just pass people by? I don't every want to miss a blessing because I am so caught up in myself that I can't stop and be a friend. I know Matthew loved Momyrt, but I also know Momyrt loved Matthew and she was blessed by this precious young man who prayed for her, hugged her and spent time caring about her. Who is God drawing you to build a relationship with? After the testimony of the precious friendship and Matthew and Momyrt, I will be looking and praying for those precious relationships that only He can build. I want to leave you with a letter that Matthew received from Momyrt's daughter the night he danced with her and helped her celebrate her 85th birthday. As you read this I invite you to celebrate her life with us.
Momyrt’s Hands

I have noticed, when I touch her hands, that I can feel her slightly enlarged knuckles, swollen by arthritis.
I have noticed that her skin feels a little bit loose, and that her hands are really a bit skinny.
And I can also feel in her hands that she is fragile in many ways.
But let me tell you about the strengths that I remember in her hands as well.
Momyrt used her hands, when she was a young girl, to pick cotton in the fields.
She used her hands to iron her daddy's shirts when she had to heat the iron in the fireplace because they had no electricity.
She used her hands as a young mother to wash our clothes in a wringer-type washing machine, and then to hang the clothes on the line outside to dry in the sun.
She used those hands to lovingly care for her newborns and young children, and to prepare meals (delicious meals, I must say) for her husband and her loved ones.
And those hands patted out many a biscuit and many yeast rolls.
Her hands have applauded her children and her friends in their many accomplishments, have cleaned many dishes (without a dishwasher), and have tenderly delivered medicines or soothing caresses to us when we were sick.
Her hands have picked out tunes on the piano keyboard, and her hands have written many sweet poems.
And tonight, you held those precious hands, and you helped to make her night!!
You helped her enjoy her 85th birthday, while she was enjoying some of her favorite music, and some of her favorite people.

Friday, November 6, 2009

"Alarms in the night"

About a month ago we were all sound asleep, doors locked, alarm set and we were awakened from our precious slumber by this loud "WHWHWHWHWH" Alarm. Matt and I both jumped out of our deep sleep, jumped back into our skin and ran to check the alarm. Matt checked the alarm while I checked the children. Jacob was the only one to wake up saying "Mommy, what's that sound? That loud mommy. It ok?" I reassured him and he went back to sleep. Matt said that the alarm reported "line cut." Oh my word, they cut the line and they are on their way in the house. That was my first thought. I immediately picked up my cell phone and called Brinks and found out that line cut simply means the phone line has had an intermittent disturbance. No big deal I thought and we returned to our slumber. No big deal quickly turned into a BIG deal as over the next month these intermittent disturbances were happening every 30 minutes ALL DAY long. I could handle the day time beeping, but one of the alarm panels is in our bedroom and every time the phone line cuts out the panel beeps until the phone line returns. So every 30 minutes ALL NIGHT long we hear beeping. Can you feel my pain and understand how annoying this could be for A WHOLE MONTH! I communicated with our phone company during this month. They made 6 visits to our home replacing every wire and connector only to find it was a neighborhood problem. I must say I remained very patient and very nice during this whole process. Patience and a good attitude paid off because they resolved the problem and we received a 99 cent coupon for a pay per view movie. I confess to you that I was more aggravated than thankful when I received a whopping 99 cent movie for a month of sleepless nights. There were times when I wanted to request the number of the CEO of this phone company and call him every time the alarm sounded during the night. I knew he would get serious about resolving my problem if he were awakened as often as I was. Once I took those thoughts captive and made them obedient to Christ and realized that I did not want a restraining order brought against me, I decided to be patient and wait. I did have to question my motives for my patience when I received their generous coupon. I asked myself would I have done anything differently had I known the outcome. The conclusion, which I am ashamed to admit took longer to derive than I hoped, was NO I would not have done anything differently. God has called us to be patient. He has called us to control our speech. He has called us to be a testimony of His love and grace to this world. The individuals on the other end of my phone calls did not do anything wrong. The very helpful technicians that came to my home 6 times were doing all they knew to do. Who would have benefited from an attitude outburst from me? I would have still had sleepless nights from the guilt of knowing I was not honoring the Lord with my attitude. Not to mention, I was able to share the love of Christ with 2 different technicians and I pray that the testimony of my life and the love my family was able to share with them will encourage them to a relationship with Christ. I did get aggravated and I did get tired of hearing the alarms in the night, but I took it to my Savior and He used the last month to develop patience in our hearts and to make us sound sleepers as we learned to sleep through the beeps. I pray that my life would be characterized as one who is slow to become angry, one of patience and one whose speech honors God. The next time your alarm beeps in the night, your neighbor's dog barks at the moon, your neighbor decide that 3 am is the perfect time to have a dance party or you find yourself waiting 30 minutes in the check out line remember this verse... James 1: 19-20 "My dear brothers, take note of this; Everyone should 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."

Thursday, November 5, 2009

"Don't Just Sweep It Under The Rug"

Tonight we were eating Santa Fe Soup and tortilla chips. These cool nights just set themselves up for cozy food and soup is a cozy food. I asked Caleb to pass me the chips. He grabbed a handful and walked them around the table. (We need to work on table etiquette.) As he walked around he dropped one and instead of cleaning it up, he crushed it with his feet. (I don't know why. I'm still scratching my head.) Matt said, "Caleb, you don't crush it son, you pick it up." Matt walked in the laundry room to get a broom and when he came back he couldn't find not one sign of a crumb on the floor. "Caleb, where did the crumbs go?" I saw the grin on his face and I knew what he had done. He swept it all under the rug with his hand. Matt made him lift the rug up so they could sweep it up. He then had a talk with Caleb and this is what he asked him, "Caleb, is that how mommy cleans? Do you see mommy sweeping things under the rug?"
"No, Sir!"
"When you do that it is showing a lack of respect for your mommy and it is not honoring to her."
I am glad my children don't think I sweep things under the rug, but when Matt asked that question conviction fell upon my heart until I could feel it sweating from the inside out. I would never dare to sweep dirt under the rug. Heavens no!  But oh how often I sweep the dirt of my heart under the rug. Daily I let things go and instead of cleaning them up, I sweep them under the rug hoping no one will notice and I can maintain my appearance of clean. After all, if it is under the rug who else will know? Which then brings me to the question of why am I pursuing holiness? Do I do it so that I appear holy before others or am I pursuing holiness because He has called me is Holy? If I am pursuing holiness for Him and to bring Him glory then sweeping things under the rug will never work. It WILL be found! The negative thoughts, the impatient words, the lack of trust, the heart of discontentment will all be laid out for all to see one day. Just as Matt explained to Caleb, it is a lack of respect and it is not honoring to my Father to know what He has called me to do and yet still do it my way.  We are called to confess our sins before Him and we have the promise that as we do that He will forgive us, yet somehow it is easier and less painful to sweep them under the rug and never really acknowledge them as sin and follow that acknowledgement with repentance. When was the last time you truly went before the Lord asking Him to show you the sins in your heart and life and you spent time confessing them to Him? We need to be doing this daily...moment by moment, as we recognize those thoughts, attitudes and actions as sinful. Pray with me that we as children who seek to honor and respect our Father will not become accustomed to sweeping it under the rug, but instead we will seek to live holy and blameless before Him.
James 5:16 "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective."
I John 1:8-9 "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."

Monday, November 2, 2009

"Lowes T"

Have you seen the new Lowe's commercial? You know the one where you see the Lowe's logo sign and then you see a capital T at the end of the word. I have been wondering for weeks what that T stood for. I know, I know, stop laughing. My brunette is from a bottle, but I promise it is natural. (I love you all my little blonde friends, but you know the rumors.) Sometimes it takes me a little longer than it takes others. Today in the car Matthew says "Hey mom, what do you get if you add a T to the end of Lowe's." I confessed my air headedness aloud as I said, "Matthew, I have been wondering that for weeks." Matthew immediately yelled out, "lowest." Ding, ding, ding, I got it! All this time I had been trying to find a reason for the T. Maybe they were saying they were the Top. Maybe no one could beaT their prices. It was right in front of me and I honestly never saw it. I was trying to make it mean something that it did not. I consider myself pretty witty, quick and smart, but I could not get this. I would like to say it was bad advertisement on the part of Lowe's but apparently not, since my 10 year old son got it. I wish this was the only time I had done this, but way too often the answer is right in front of me, spelled out even, and I keep trying to make it mean something else. God says to me..."For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9
A precious friend and mentor shared something with me recently that has resonated in my mind over and over again. "Whatever your first thought or reaction is usually not the right one. We must change the way we think and react in order to make it come under the authority of the way God would want us to think and react." This verse confirms that. His thoughts are different from ours and so are His ways, but it is before us. We have seen it in His word and in His past actions. Yet, why is it so hard to get it  "this" time? I see it before me and I know what His word says, but I want to make it something else. He IS who He says He is and He CAN do what He says He can do. I want to see Him for who He is!! I don't want to watch, see and study and never "really" get it. The answer is here and it is in the person of Jesus Christ. Why do we make it about anything else???

Saturday, October 31, 2009

"Tacky Day"

Ok so I am kicking myself that I do not have pictures of my kids in their "tacky day" outfits, but I am sharing a costume picture instead.

We received a flyer on Monday saying that the kids were dressing up each day. You know... pajama day, career day, red day and tacky day. You remember those days right? Well, I ask Matthew what he was going to where for "tacky day" and he said he had a lot of kakhi clothes and he could just where his kakhi pants. I laughed so hard and he said, "Well, I can feel a blog coming on," which made me laugh even harder. I explained to Matthew what "tacky day" was and his reply was, "Well, just let me pick my clothes out for the day because I can't match and whatever I pick is sure to look "tacky." I love that he knows that he needs help with fashion. We got everyone ready this morning with mix matched plaids, black socks, different shoes and colors that should never be worn together. They thought this was wonderful. I watched them leaving in these repulsive outfits understanding that this was an exception, not a rule for their dress code in life. They knew they looked "tacky" and that it was for one day only. What gripped my heart as they walked away was a prayer of petition that my children would not grow up to be "tacky" individuals in speech or attitude, not even for one day. You know the kind of people I am talking about. They just can't seem to speak unless they have something tacky or crass to say. They complain. They are negative and nothing is ever right or good enough and they let everyone around know it.  I pray that my children will grow up with words of grace on their tongues. I pray that they are quick to listen and slow to speak. I pray that their patience runs deep and they speak words of blessing and encouragement whenever their mouths are opened. I know some of you are thinking..."Good luck, you have 4 boys and boys can be gross and tacky." I know that is the attitude our world has adopted towards boys, but I do not buy into it. Boys, girls, men, women, all of us can learn to be gracious, patient and encouarging in our words if we are controlled by the Holy Spirit and we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ. Our "tacky" words begin as "tacky" thoughts. "Tacky day" is funny because we know it only lasts for one day. If people dressed like that everyday we would create a website about it or start a movement to see it changed, yet we tolerate "tacky behavior" (which is more offensive) in ourselves and others every day. Pray with me that we as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ will begin to discipline our tongues to be fashionable according to scripture and never "tacky," not even for a day.
 Colossians 4:6 NIV
"Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone."

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"Are You Hungry?"

Do you ever get hungry? No I mean really HUNGRY? You know those times that a nice juicy steak sounds good or maybe a plate of hot wings and then there are those times that you are so hungry "everything" sounds good. Those are the times that we eat and eat and eat and just can't stop. My daddy use to say "You have to learn to eat right on past that full feeling." (We are not sure why our family struggles with our weight,) but...Anyway, I get hungry everyday. Well, maybe we don't truly know what real hunger is. I think I am hungry and there is not much that will stop me from filling that hunger. I have been known to sneak food from the happy meal of a small child if I was hungry and they were not looking. I will stay up late and miss out on sleep in order to eat. Our lives seem to revolve around not being hungry. We plan to have lunch with a friend. We have people over for dinner. We plan our holiday meals months in advance. (Well, we do.) We think long and hard about what restaurant we will dine at tonight. We get excited and love to make plans around food. Eating is absolutely a priority. When was the last time you were truly "hungry?" Hungry for the Word of God? My prayer lately has been that God would create in me a ravenous hunger for His word. I pray that nothing will satisfy me the way His word will. I pray that just as I put off housework and sleep in order to feed my physical body I would do so even more to feed my spiritual body. I want my life to revolve around His word. I want to have recipe books filled with my favorite scriptures and grocery lists of things that I need to fill my spiritual pantry with. It just doesn't make sense to fill our days feeding that which is temporal and that which will pass away while our souls are starving and suffering from malnutrition. I am preparing my body for the grave while my soul is screaming for attention. Ok, so maybe a little morbid, but this is really something I have been convicted of lately. I truly want to HUNGER for Him. I want to eat "right on past that full feeling." I want my life to revolve around His word. No, I am not giving up eating. (It would not hurt me for a few weeks. I have plenty of reserve.) I will continue to feed this face, but with every bite and every thought of food remembering to HUNGER for Him even more. This theme has so resounded in my soul the past few months that our Ladies Retreat is actually themed around this topic..."Hungry!" Join us November 13-14 if you are interested in hearing more about how we can "Hunger" after Him.
Matthew 5:6 "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled."

Luke 6:21.Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

"Treasure In Heaven" (Part 2)

I have learned over the years that God blesses us because He loves us and He is a loving Father, but He also showers us with blessings in order to mold us and shape us and use the blessings to conform us into His image. I thankfully received the blessing of the van and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was a gift from God, but over the last year I have had to learn some really hard lessons that should not have been hard. We got the van the first week of July and the first event we drove the van to was our family 4th of July celebration. I made a strawberry pie that apparently was not set well and my husband placed it in the floorboard of the back of the van. When we arrived it had sloshed into a big puddle in the floor of this 1 week old van and I lost it. I was not a blessing to my husband, to my children and needless to say there was no godliness or patriotism expressed through my attitude that day. Oxi-clean came to the rescue and all was well, but this was the beginning of understanding this is a temporal blessing that will pass away one day. Now don't get me wrong, we need to be good stewards of our blessings, but if being a good steward means crying and snapping your husband's head off, then it becomes a choice to value possessions over people. About 3 months ago I came out of Walmart and had a big ding in the driver's side door. Needless to say, I was upset and vowed to never shop a Walmart again, or until I needed more laundry detergent. 1 month ago we were in Maplesville at a Homecoming service and we were visiting with some friends when I hear Jacob say look mommy and I hear scraping. He had picked up 2 small rocks and was creating his masterpiece on the side of the van. Thankfully, he does not know the meaning of elbow grease and the light scratches buffed out easily. The one that sent me over the final edge was 2 weeks ago when I walked out of Target and from the giant red ball I could see a long white scratch down the side of my van. I stopped in my tracks and said, "What in the world?" I called Matt saying that the van had been keyed and I was going to summons the surveillance cameras at Target, call the police and find who did this and they were going to pay for the damage. My loving husband calmed me down and said, "It is just a car. It is not worth loosing your peace over. You won't accomplish anything by doing all of that. We will take care of it." After returning home, Matt inspected the damage and said he did not think it had been keyed, but instead it looked like someone had been squeezing through and a purse, a belt or a stroller had scraped the side. That day God finally got my attention and showed me that He had given this blessing to me and yes I was to be a good steward of it, but not to hold it too closely or my blessing would rob me of my joy and contentment and become a source of stress and worry. The Lord has continued to encourage me to store up treasures in heaven and as Matt would say, "Send it on ahead." As we store up treasure in heaven where moth and rust and strawberry pie and rocks and keys cannot destroy, we have the assurance of knowing that we are placing our treasures in the hand of one who is a much better steward than we are and who will multiply and flourish those treasures. Matthew 6:19-21 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."  Where is your treasure today? See where your treasure is and there you will find your heart. I am thankful for the blessing of my van, but it is no longer where my heart is. I will continue to wash, vacuum and Armor All and care for this blessing, but by the grace of God I will never again loose my peace over that which is a treasure of earth.