Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Clinging to the Lord

I have been reading through 1 and 2 Kings and it has been very encouraging and often convicting. It is also really neat for me when the Lord shows me a real life example of what He is talking about in His word...

I was reading about Hezekiah in 2 Kings 18 and it says about him "He trusted in the Lord God of Israel, so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor who were before him. For he held fast to the Lord; he did not depart from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the Lord had commanded Moses (18:5-6)."

Sometimes I can wonder what it really looks like to "hold fast to the Lord" or "cling to Him" as some translations read. This week- God showed me through Asher what this kind of looks like. About a month ago, Sonny and I left Asher with my parents for a week to take our students to camp. While he did great with them, I do think that it made him a little more nervous about us leaving again- it was a little difficult to get everything back to the way things were before we left.

Last Thursday Sonny went to visit his dad in New Jersey and I went with Asher to stay with my parents for a few days in Richmond. During this visit I saw a very, very clinging baby. Some might say he is going through "separation anxiety" but I also think the Lord wanted to show me about Hezekiah. Asher never wanted to leave my side. He would be content playing in a room- as long as I was there where he could see me. Is this how we are supposed to be with the Lord? Shouldn't we always be in His presence, doing even mundane tasks while recognizing that He is with us? I think we should. I think the Lord was trying to show me that this is what He wants from me and this is what Hezekiah had. Hezekiah did everything while always making sure that the Lord was with Him. He "held fast" to the Lord, as a baby going through "separation anxiety" clings to their parent.

I love how the Lord gives us those pictures of what our faith should look like. I pray that I would learn from little Asher what it means to "hold fast" to Jesus and do everything in His presence.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Asher laughing in bathtub

So, I know I have recently been writing more about what the Lord has been teaching me but something very funny happened tonight and I had to share. After dinner, Sonny usually gives Asher a bath while I clean the kitchen. I usually hear a lot of splashing and giggling but tonight there was such sweet laughter coming from the bathroom that I had to get the flip (video camera). Here is what I saw.... Enjoy!

ps.... sorry the video is sideways part of the time.... I am still getting used to the flip....

Friday, July 16, 2010

The gift and responsibility of being a wife...

I have felt for a few days like I was supposed to write about what the Lord has been reminding me regarding wifehood, but I just kept putting it off. I think it is time for me to write about it before I forget! I really love when the Lord speaks loud and clear through His Word- even if it is just to remind me of something He has taught me often in the past.

I was reading through 1 Kings and came to the story about Jezebel in chapter 21. I had read this before but one verse really stuck out to me this time and caused me to really think about my job as a wife.

1 Kings 21:25, "But there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do wickedness in the sight of the Lord, because Jezebel his wife stirred him up."

In that one little phrase there is so much depth. Wives have such a wonderful yet enormous responsibility. To think that Ahab's wife was partly responsible for the wickedness that he partook in is humbling. I see this in so many wives in our country. Wives are often prone to nag their husbands and often we can be a hindrance to them when we are discouraging to an idea that they propose. How many times have we wives given in to fear when our husband tells us about a big idea that he has (whether it is a business endeavor or ministry idea). Not that we should never voice our concerns but how many times have we WAITED to hear from God and in the meantime encouraged our husbands to do the same? For the most part it seems that we are quick to voice our fears and tell our husbands EVERY possible thing that can go wrong instead of really submitting the idea to the Lord in prayer. I feel like I can often be quick to worry or squash an idea of Sonny's when I know that it will not be comfortable or easy. I am learning that this is not God's call for me as a wife. I want to be Sonny's number one fan- his biggest supporter and that means that I am willing to take risks in life with him, trusting that he loves the Lord and is listening to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Even if he does want to do something and it "fails," those times can be from the Lord too! "Failures" are always opportunities for growth. I have always felt from the Lord that my call as Sonny's wife is to constantly be encouraging him in life but I guess this passage made me think of how much we wives really do influence our husbands- either for good or bad. I want to be a wife that constantly encourages my husband to follow hard after God and seek His gory above all else, regardless of the difficulties that might come from being a family that is willing to take risks for the Kingdom. It is my hope that when God looks at Sonny and I after this life is through, that He can say that Sonny was like David who had a heart after the Lord and that his wife was a continual encouragement to Sonny's obedience to the Lord.

There is one huge example that I think the Lord wants me to share and be so thankful for. The woman that has represented this godly, encouraging wife to me had a huge opportunity to discourage her husband and oh- how things would have been different for me and so many others. Let me explain... Krystal and Paul met and started walking with God in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Their courtship included daily walks on the beach and continual fellowship with a tight knit body of believers. Then, after they were married, Paul mentioned that he wanted to come to Houston to go to bible college at CBS (College of Biblical Studies). I am not sure exactly how this conversation went but can you imagine how hard it would have been to leave the beaches of Florida when you have s great Christian support system? And then to come to hot, humid Houston? If Krystal had been a hindrance to her husband as Jezebel was to hers, maybe Paul would not have come here with her and been our pastor in the small town of Richmond (I do realize in stating this that God is sovereign and was in control the whole time, but I do think this is a valid thing to think about)? Those of you that know Paul and Krystal know that they have given their lives to so many people in Houston- speaking truth and strengthening the body of Christ here. I know that Krystal trusts fully in the Lord and supports Paul in what God was leads them to, even though in the beginning that meant them leaving everything that was beautiful and familiar to them as a young married couple. I cannot say enough how thankful I am for them both being obedient to God's call and especially for Krystal- in being such a great example for me and so many other wives.

Proverbs 18:22 "He who finds a wife finds a good thing And obtains favor from the LORD."

It is sure an incredible blessing and responsibility to be given the call of being a wife! =)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Camp 2010

"Camp" can sometimes be a very dangerous word in the Christian environment. For some, "camp" represents a "spiritual high" where people professed their undying love to Jesus and come back to the real world with little changed about their lives. I hope that it is not this way with our students. We have always prayed and hoped that for any students that come with us, camp would be a time where they grow in honesty with God and fellow believers and where they learn that walking with God at camp is something that can be done on a daily basis at home.

For Sonny and I, "camp" is often a time of mixed worry and excitement; worry because of all the things that can potentially go wrong and excitement at the thought that the Lord could do something wonderful in the lives of students. This year the Lord again showed us how faithful He is to our prayers.

Usually we start praying diligently for camp a couple months before it happens (it is something that we pray for all year but we start praying daily for it the last few months). For the most part it seems like the Lord has me pray a specific scripture or theme from a book over the camp. This year there were two things that came to my mind almost every time I prayed for camp. I had been reading through Acts and was seeing how clearly the Spirit was leading the disciples. So many times, Peter and Paul would say that they were "led by the Spirit" or "prevented by the Spirit" from going to such-and-such a place. (Acts 11:12, 13:2, 13:4, 16:6-7, 16:10) , I started to pray for that with our camp. I prayed that every detail of camp would be led by the Spirit and that if we were doing something that the Lord did not want, that He would prevent us from moving forward. I prayed so much about how the small groups should be split up. Who should be in who's group? What counselor would really be best for each student? What should we talk about in the small groups. I cannot even begin to share all of the stories that encouraged me with God's faithfulness. I would hear story after story about how girls/guys felt so connected with their counselor. I would hear about connections between the students and their counselors that I was totally unaware of before camp- like how a certain counselor confessed struggling with something and found out that almost all of their students struggled with the same thing! The groups could not have been more perfect. Every night when we would have our counselor meeting, I would leave so refreshed in the Lord and thankful for His answer to our prayers. I truly feel that He led EVERY aspect of camp. Even the things that seemed to go wrong were just opportunities for Him to show His faithfulness.

Another thing that I had been praying was from 1 Kings 8:11. In this chapter, Solomon was praying that the Lord would fill the temple with His glory. Solomon recorded that at one point the temple was so full of God's glory that the priests could not even enter! This was my prayer for camp. I prayed that God's glory would be so overwhelming that no student could leave without having recognized His presence. I really do feel that this prayer was answered. The teaching that the Lord gave to Sonny and all of the counselors was such a demonstration of His glory. I was so encouraged by the worship, fellowship, and teaching of God's Word. I know that the Lord was with us, speaking to us in different ways through His Spirit and Word. It was not a "camp high" but a time where I felt that we all met with the Lord and were given the strength and wisdom to continue walking in His presence once we left and were back in the "real world."

I want to thank everyone for all of the prayers for us. We truly felt covered in prayer. Yes, it was hard for me to leave Asher for a week but we all survived and I am pretty confident that he does remember who we are =). Thank you again. I hope my recount of this trip blesses you and encourages you that the Lord desires so much to be near to His children. He wants us to constantly be praying to Him and watch as He answers those prayers! What a great God we serve!