Saturday, June 29, 2013

Could It be, that God says of Me, "That's My Girl! I'm So Proud of Her!"


I sat back in my chair, on a warm summer night, and watched her play soccer.

I could easily pick out who she was, on the field, even from a distance. She is my daughter. I know her. Pigtails popping back and forth, long legged and graceful like a gazelle, she floated down the field.

Watching her brought me joy.

She maneuvered fancy footwork.  She fell down and bounced right back, still going strong.  She kicked for a goal and scored! She kicked for another goal, and missed. She "high-fived" a team mate, with a word of encouragement. She kept on going.

I smiled to myself, "That's my girl! I'm so proud of her!" 

I love watching her run and play and try her best, even when she falls, and even when she has a hard game.  I am proud of her, not just in soccer, but because of who she is.

As I sat there, I found myself wondering -- when the Lord watches me live and persevere and try my best, even when I fall, could it be, that He thinks of Me, "That's my girl!  I'm so proud of her!"

The problem is, I don't always look at the Lord as being happy with me.

I see Him frustrated or critical or disappointed or angry.

What about all the times I fall down and don't just pop back up?  What about when I am no longer strong, but overwhelmed and weak?  What about the goals I've missed and the times I've failed?  Or the ways I've let others down or Him down or myself down?  What about all the broken places in me that are not beautiful? 

I see Him displeased with me.

But the Lord is trying to help me see differently.

He's been showing me and telling me, in a myriad of ways, "Dear daughter, no matter what, when I look at you, I say 'That's My girl!' I know you, I made you, I love you, I chose you and I rejoice over you. Believe it! Even when you fall, even when you fail, even when you are tired and don't know what to do, even in your brokenness, I still love you. I love you, not for what you do or don't do, but because you are Mine.  You're my girl!"

I've needed these words in the past few weeks. I've needed the reminder that He's watching me, watching over me, and cheering me on. He unfailingly adores me. 

From time to time, I doubt His love for me. When I mess up or want to give up or when my faults and failures in the present and past cloud my vision, I flounder.  But I'm asking Him to help me to see what He sees and believe what He says, "That's My girl! I'm so proud of her!" 

Maybe you need these words today, too.

Let me pray for us.

Dear Lord, help us to see who we are from Your perspective.  Help us to believe that You love us and look on us with great care, not critically.  Help us to believe that You are fond of us, not frustrated with us. Help us to believe that you are devoted to us, not disappointed in us. Help us to see ourselves as You see us, not perfect, but saved by Your Son, and chosen and dearly loved.  Forever. Amen




Thursday, June 27, 2013

And the Winner of the Woman's Study Bible is ...



For those of you who entered the Woman's Study Bible Give Away, I wrote your names on little yellow slips of paper, folded them up, tossed them around on my work space for today (which is my ottoman), prayed that the Lord would have me choose the person He's already chosen (does that even make sense?)  and picked the winner ... 

BETTY Z!   

Betty, I'll be in touch and get you this great source of encouragement and refreshment!

For those of you who are still interested in getting a copy for yourself, you can find it on Amazon (click here)  I'm thinking of getting one for myself! 

When I posted the Give Away (click here) I asked you all to share one of your favorite attributes about the Lord.  Oooooh, I received some very encouraging truths that have blessed me over the past days, and I've sure needed them. Here are a few, to encourage you, too:

*Michelle:  My favorite attribute of God is His faithfulness.  He never gives up on me.  I honestly would expect Him to at times.  There have been so many times that I behave in unpleasing ways to Him. I choose to doubt, to throw pity parties, to get angry, to be impatient, to be disobedient and want to run the other way from what He is asking me to do and yet, in spite of my ungodliness, He still is there for me, taking care of me, blessing me, showing Himself to me. Only God could do this.

*  Carol:  God is the definition of love.  Knowing this has helped me to understand His mercy, grace, forgiveness, sacrifice, discipline, etc ... 

*  Crystal:  God is our Provider.  He continues to amaze me with all the ways He cares for my family. His provision has been far better than anything I could have asked or imagined.

*  Megan: God is my Hope.  "we have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure" (Hebrews 6:19).

*  Joanna:  God is sovereign! He is totally aware of all things at all times, therefore, I don't have to try and control my own life, nor anyone else's life! 

*  Jenny:  Mercy! 

*  Alisa:  He is our Abba Father and I can rest in Him!

* Betty:  God is El Roi! The God who sees all!  

Isn't it a great encouragement to know that we are not alone?  Not only does the Lord give us Himself, He gives us each other.  I don't know about you, but I need Him and I need the women in my life that He gives me -- women who are willing to live out their faith, give grace, share wisdom and push me more and more towards the Lord.

Let's link arms and walk together, holding on to Him, holding on to each other, and holding on tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep His promise (Hebrews 10:23 NLT). 

Know that I am here for you. Feel free to email me (click here) and share your story with me.  I'd count it a privilege to pray for you! 








Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Woman's Study Bible Giveaway!


I was recently contacted to review The Woman's Study Bible published by Thomas Nelson, and sent a copy to post about and share with one of you!

Wow! What a treasure! 

This study Bible (NIV) is a beautiful addition to any woman's collection of God's Word.

This Bible uniquely speaks to issues that women are faced with day after day. Special notes addressing subjects such as distress, competition, problem solving, the challenge of a career, God's providence, the attributes of God and more, provide points to ponder and wisdom to apply from God's Word.

In addition, character portraits of over one hundred women (women like you and me!) are shared.  From Eve in Genesis to the Widow of Zarephath in 1 Kings to Gomer in Hosea, The Persistent Widow in Luke and Chloe in 1 Corinthians, women of the Old Testament  and New Testament are brought to life and made more real through a deeper investigation in to who they were, how they struggled and/or how they walked with the Lord.

As an added bonus, wise words from women who love the Lord and His Word, are scattered throughout the pages, giving us an added perspective on life and the power of God's Word. 

This Bible has blessed me, even in the short time that I glanced through the pages.  I would highly recommend it to any woman, regardless of whether you've just started to think about the Lord or you've walked with Him for many years.   

Therefore, I would like to give away the copy of this treasure to one of you! 

Either leave a comment, sharing with me your favorite attribute about God, in the comment section, or email me (here). In one week, Thursday, June 27, I will randomly pick one of you and send you a copy of this Bible.  Check back, and I will post the winner, whom I believe God has already picked out ahead of time, right here on that day! 

If you'd like to discover more about the Woman's Study Bible (click here) to view it on Amazon, where you can consider purchasing it for yourself! 

Let me leave you with this quote from Dorothy Kelley Patterson (page 1571) "Living by faith is not easy, but it is essential.  It is the only weapon for adversity that cannot fail."  Take heart, my friends, and persevere in the faith and in seeking God in His Word! 


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

My Strong Willed Son is Growing Up -- Celebrating Him


(sigh)

Memories fill my morning.

Today is my youngest son’s birthday and today he graduates from eighth grade. 

I’m smiling as I remember him, and I am crying tears of joy and tears of transition. Birthdays and graduations -- to me, there is something very reflectively Holy about them.

I ran across this photo of him a couple of days ago. 

On his fifth birthday, he received a plastic replica of the Armor of God.  He’d gear up and march around the house, fending off evil and bringing justice. His name, William, means ‘strong protector,’ and that was his quest.  He liked that his name meant that, and would often say, “I am your strong protector, Mom!”  I loved that!

Truth is, he was a little guy, strong-willed and filled with life, often more of a ‘won’t’ than a Will. 

One day, when he was three years old, I pulled up early to pick him up from preschool.  I watched him as he ran and played on the playground.  The preschool teacher called all of the children to line up outside of the door, to go back in to the classroom.

The children ran to the door and began to line up.  William lagged slightly (probably wanting to get in any extra moment of play) and then made his way to the front of the line, a line that was already formed.  The teacher gently took his little shoulders in her hands and led him to the back of the line.

“William, you need to get in line behind the last person. That’s how we line up. We don’t just go to the front of the line.”

He looked up at her and nodded.  She turned her back and walked away, and he, in a very deliberate act of independence, took one step outside of the line and stood still. He would stay in the back, but he would do it his way.

Today, he graduates from that same school where he started out, in preschool.  Strong-willed then, strong in the Lord, now.

Yes, he was a strong-willed child, but I’ve learned over the years, that it’s okay. (Take heart, my younger friends with strong-willed children)! 

Now I see how God is using it for good and is shaping his character.  My son is strong and gentle.  He knows when to be goofy and when to get serious (most of the time).  He loves his brother who has special needs and loves his three sisters, who try to rule the roost. He plays hard, works hard, and loves deeply.  He understands rules much better than he did when he was little, but also does things his own way, but in a good way. He is compassionate, kind, and thoughtful of others. He is sometimes loud and forgets to use the volume switch, but he is fun.

Although he is not perfect, God knew that he is the perfect son for me.

My prayer for him this year, as he continues in to manhood is that he will continue to gear up, not in a plastic replica, but in the true Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18). I pray that he will not depend on himself to be strong, but will look to the Lord for his strength.  He’s going to need it. And I pray that he will both know the Lord as his protector and that he will, in turn, have a heart that is called to protect others, to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with his Lord (Micah 6:8). And I pray that he will maintain his joyful outlook on life, continue to laugh, and walk boldly in to the future, not fearful but confident in who he is. Because he is a great guy.  

Happy Birthday, young man and Happy Graduation.  I am so proud of you and so thankful to be your mom. I celebrate you!
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