Sunday, January 31, 2016

God's Provisions

If we just look to God's provisions as part of our journey, this is how He allowed it to unfold.

January 2010 - the realization that I was creating moments in other people's lives, not my own. And that I considered those moments to be huge when really, they were very small. "What am I doing?"
March 23, 2011 - I began making the snowball.
April 2014 - Steve resigned from Faith United Methodist Church in Spring, TX
May 2014 - We began attending Champion Forest Baptist Church North Campus.
June 2014 - God began to convict me each Sunday through the sermon - "When will you stop and give this to me?" over and over and over until I began hearing myself say, "I can't live like this anymore." Every week. He would not let it rest.
July 2014 - I began to tithe 5% of my income - the first time, I ever tithed on a regular basis. From this point, our bank accounts were never $0. 
March 2015 - a cry for help because the snowball was too large to handle.
September 22, 2015 - a phone call. Another cry for help. Friends who helped without hesitation.
September 23 - Do the Right Thing. Stop the snowball. Repent. Confess. 
September 24 - Give the snowball away because "I cannot live like this anymore."
September 25 - Resigned from a 20 year teaching career. Told our families. Told our friends and prayed with them.
September 26 - received grace from friends
September 27 - survived church without a breakdown
September 28 - received a State Farm refund check for $74. Steve received a $3/hour pay increase. I began counseling.
September 29 - Stranger gave us 2 tickets to the zoo.
September 30 - We met with our pastor.
October 1 - bank resolved a 1 year old issue from June 2014 and we received a $150 credit. Steve & I discussed a variety of incomes - one of them being voice lessons. Within 5 minutes, I received a text requesting voice lessons.
October 2 - began teaching voice lessons. God showed me 2 Kings 4:1-7 and 2 Timothy 2:21 - God will provide and I must allow Him to use me for His good work.
October 4 - Our Life Group class began praying for us. I ordered a book for Meg from Amazon - the cost was $.56 because of a credit that Amazon could not explain or find origin. God began working on my heart through 2 Timothy.
October 5 - I began relying on God's Word to guide my anxious heart. 2 Peter 3:14 "Even if you should suffer for doing what is right, you will receive a blessing. Don't let them frighten you. Don't be intimidated." (The Voice). At Cheryl's urging, I began to pray for those in authority - Hebrews 13:17, 1 Timothy 2:1-6, Romans 13:1-2
October 16 - I shared our story with a friend. He reacted with God's grace. God revealed this to Steve "Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous. So we remain alone in our sin, living in lies and hypocrisy." The Ragamuffin Gospel, Brennan Manning.
October 19 - Steve begins a promoted position as IT Floorwalker. Meg's Halloween costume that Gram made - cost maybe $6 because she used fabric that she already had. I contacted the Class Administrator of Bible Study Fellowship near me. She responded that day - yes, there were waiting lists, but it was possible that there was a spot open.
October 20 - BSF Children's Program Coordinator contacted me to say that yes, there was an opening for Meg in the Children's Program, therefore, an opening for me. 
October 21 - Meg & I began attending BSF at Champion Forest Baptist Church. Cheryl shared Psalm 32 with me and I began studying Revelation. I picked up the BSF study in Revelation 2 - John is addressing the 3 church pertaining to the importance of repentance.
October 22 - God's love for His people and His redeeming grace shown through 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Hebrews 4:12-13, Jeremiah 23:29, Ephesians 5:25-27, 1 Peter 1:22-25, Psalm 34
October 23 - John 7:4 "For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly."
October 25 - "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot
October 30 - Riser Vocal Studio is up and running with 6 students.
January 2016 - Riser Vocal Studio has 11 students.

And on and on and on it goes......God continues to provide for us. 

To think that we never fully trusted God to take care of us until September 23........

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Up the Hill & Down the Hill

My daughter and I love to tell the story of Mr. Wiggle and Mr. Waggle - a fingerplay/vocal exploration story. The story explores highs and lows in the speaking voice to describe travel to and from each other's houses. 

This week has been a bit of low with a new wrinkle in our journey. Today, I just wanted to lay in bed all day and hide under the covers. With a 4 yr old who has not learned how to work the remote controls of the tv - that is next to impossible. I did get some sleep, but how do you explain these feelings to a child? "Momma has a headache because my eyes hurt."  Yes, I speak in 3rd person and don't know why.

Here's what we are dealing with - ME. I messed up. No good excuse for the whole ordeal, but it got too big for me. So big, I had to stop it. I brought it to a screeching halt. I just could not live with myself any longer.  I was dying inside and had been for a long time, but God had been hammering me with conviction for over a year. The thing had to stop. I had to repent. I had to sacrifice parts of my life that were so important to me that I lost sight of the rest. My husband and I laid ourselves at the foot of cross, broken by our transgressions, exhausted from the weight, and asked God to forgive our sins. Immediately, the burden was lifted and the healing began. 

But today, I wanted to bury my head in the sand. Tomorrow will be different.

Now, four months later, I just want the whole thing to be over. It is not. I sense that the worst is yet to come. Hopefully, that anticipation is wrong. There are hurdles that remain in the path. 

God, in His infinite glory, will see us through. God has not promised to protect us FROM suffering, He has promised to protect us IN our suffering. 

Protect us now, Almighty God. Keep our hearts looking to you, our minds focused on things above, and our eyes......let us see you clearly when there are hurdles to clear.   

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


We can’t tell our full story yet. It is not time. But I can testify to the everything God has done for us since September 26 - things that would have never been possible before. Why? Because I wasn't really listening to God. I had taken control into my own hands for the last 4 years and when I released it, He stepped in and took over. What a powerful journey this has been and continues to be. I will list the provisions another day, but here are some ‘ripples’ of our story.

Monday October 19 - Looking for a weekly “something”, I contacted the Class Administrator of Bible Study Fellowship at Champion Forest Baptist Church to express interest. She responded that day.
Tuesday October 20 - The Children’s Program Supervisor contacted me to say there was a spot open for my daughter. I told my friend Cheryl about this situation.
Wednesday October 21 - I attended Bible Study Fellowship for the first time and haven’t looked back.
Why is this a ripple?
Unbeknownst to us, our friend Kelly had been in that BSF class, small group and her youngest son in the Children’s Program. Kelly & her husband, Derek, were praying about stepping back from BSF because she didn’t feel like she could fully commit and wanted to open a spot for someone who could. Our mutual friend, Cheryl, now knew the situation from both sides and kept the matter private. This BSF class has 800 women in it - with waiting lists - yet I was able to slide right in without a sound.
Wednesday, November 18 - We sit down to share our entire story with Kelly & Derek. We relay the BSF situation, and the look on their faces was the realization of answered prayer. What they had prayed for had affected someone close to them - ME - and they had no idea!
Cheryl & Andy and Kelly & Derek - they are our Life Group leaders at church.
God be praised for this ripple!

One weeknight in December, I went to Kroger. As I left, a downpour of rain began. I saw the manager of the UPS Store standing by the bicycle rack looking at his bike and the rain. I asked, “How far away do you live?” He said not too far. I told him to throw the bike in the van so I could take him home. “Really?” he said. Yep.

Let me stop - it is completely out of the ordinary for me to do this type of thing. If Meg was with me, I probably would not have done it. We have had our mailing address at the UPS store for nearly 10 years - another story for another day - so this man, Ray, was familiar to me. He was relatively new to the staff, but I had seen him enough to be acquainted with him.

It was a 10 minute drive, the rain poured down & we talked the entire way. He was a really great young man - very humble and grateful.

A few weeks later, I was in the UPS store to pick up mail. Ray was not working, but the owner was there. Chet saw me, we said hello, he got my mail, the store was busy, and I stopped for a moment. I told him about taking Ray home and what a great young man he had hired. Chet was very concerned that one of his employees was riding a bike to work, I told him it was a free ride so why did it matter? The guy was being smart with his money in my mind. I really just wanted Chet to know how much I thought of Ray.

The week after Christmas, I walked in the UPS store to pick up my mail. Ray was there. We said hello in passing. Then he looked at me with this ELECTRIC look of happiness on his face, “Hey, I wanted to let you know that I got a car! AND a promotion!” I thought my heart was going to fly out of my chest. He began to talk about the blessings of God in the past few weeks, and all I wanted to do was scream with joy. The greatness of God’s love and kindness radiated from this man!

Why is this significant? Because where I am right now in life and my walk with Christ, I made a very fast decision to be kind. This is unusual for me - kindness is something I have to THINK about & act on purpose. I gave a man a ride home - I didn’t think about safety, time, or anything else - it was instinctive. The normal part of this story is me talking to Chet about how great I thought his employee was - no agenda just a genuine compliment - I believe this part of life is good people skills.

Little did I know how God was going to use me in that man’s life. God be praised for this ripple of blessings!

Last week, Cheryl texted me - “There is a young lady at church going through a difficult time who needs childcare for her infant. What is the name of Meg’s daycare?” I gave her the information - phone number, director’s name, pricing, etc.. I left it with a “Hope it works out!”

Last night, Cheryl told me that the young woman was able to enroll her child at this childcare facility I recommended. The gift of peace she received when she placed her little baby in a very caring teacher’s arms was a blessing.

God be praised for continuous ripples of blessings!

Precious Heavenly Father, I lay myself before your throne every day seeking to be used for your glory. Thank you for allowing me to be blessed by other’s decisions and be a blessing to others. Continue to use me in this and many other ways.


God’s provision. He doesn’t stop providing if we step and let Him work in and through us. It sounds so simple but it is NOT simple. Especially for this control freak. Right now, I am trying to communicate this to my husband. He just called me and began the conversation with “Ok. God’s provision.” He has had car battery trouble in the last 12 hrs - fortunately all within a quarter mile of our home. He went to Auto Zone or Advanced Auto or whatever - it was a battery bought in 2015 with a 2yr warranty, so they just swapped it out! God provides even when we worry. He does. Sometimes we worry out loud, but we are whispering “God I can’t do this right now. I need Your help.” Adonai, help me be consumed by Your provision in such a way that I have nothing left but dependence on You.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Be a vessel

2 Timothy 2:20-21
Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.

I read this scripture over and over, praying to God to make me a vessel. Each day, I lay myself before the foot of the cross and ask the Lord to use me for His good and perfect plan. I want to be set apart as holy. The Message version of The Bible describes the vessels as crystal goblets and compost buckets. Every day, I feel like a heap of compost. Every day, I seek to be a crystal goblet. A pastor once said to set God’s standard as my destination. Yesterday, our pastor spoke about man’s failure and God’s faithfulness. I am a failure and yet God has proven faithful time and time again. He has redeemed my sins. Comprehending love on this level blows my mind! I want to be a vessel of honorable use to the master of the house, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is sovereign. He is faithful. He is just. He is my Redeemer. I want to be a vessel that pours out love onto people everyday. Oh, Precious Heavenly Father, open me and use me to glorify Your Kingdom.