Thursday, March 26, 2009
Thanks so much for praying for my conference last weekend. It went great! If any of you ever get a chance to go to the North Carolina WMU Extravaganza...Go!
Before I share a few highlights, I wanted to explain a little about the kind of conferences I have been doing the last couple of weeks. I do two kinds of speaking. One is for Women's groups and you can read some of the topics here to the right. The other kind of speaking is through LifeWay. I speak/teach/train church teachers and leaders about how to either start, or enhance a Special Ed ministry in their churches. It is a much needed ministry and is affecting our churches more and more. I love helping churches start this ministry and I love encouraging and spurring on those who have been doing it all along.
This was the type of speaking I did the last two weeks. In Miami it was a an Associational Training. I led two breakout sessions, one on how to start a ministry and the other on creative ideas to enhance the ministry. The teachers I worked with there are dedicated servants and we shared and challenged each other with ideas and dreams.
The breakout session with the WMU of NC at Ridgecrest was on How To Teach learners With Special Needs About Missions. Here we shared the "why we should"...and practical and creative ideas to use in missions education.
I love this ministry. I have heard stories that have made me cry...like the man who came up to me at one conference and asked if I could help him. He told me of a family that had come to their church, with a boy in a wheelchair who hollered out a lot. He was the Chairmen of the deacons at the time and they had asked the family to leave...because it was disrupting the worship time. He told me this while tears are running down his face...saying, "That was wrong and we don't ever want to do that again...can you help me?"
But this story is my favorite so I will close with it:
A preschool teacher was just starting her Sunday School class, when a young boy came to the door. The teacher right away could see that this was going to take some special effort. The boy was missing his right arm. So she quickly looked at her activities and knew how to help him have a great time. The time flew and the boy, Johnny, had a wonderful time. As they sat in a circle, the teacher could see that that they had just enough time for one more song or activity. What had they not done? Oh! "Let's build the church!" she said. As soon as the words were out of her mouth she felt terrible. Johnny couldn't do this finger play. What had she been thinking? She could not even look in his direction. Slowly she lifted her head and what she saw was the true church at work...for you see little Susie had taken her right hand and grabbed Johnny's left hand and together they were building the church!
Lets build a church!
Thursday, March 19, 2009
First---Please pray for me again this weekend. I leave tomorrow afternoon to do another conference near Asheville. It is a NC--WMU conference held at Ridgecrest Conference Center. I am both excited and nervous. Also, Zoie has been sick this week with some sinus stuff. She is suppose to do a devotion in chapel tomorrow morning for the 4th-6th graders at her school. That is---if she can go to school tomorrow. It is so hard to leave with her not feeling so good. But I'm leaving her in good hands...God's first...Mike's second...and my Mom's third. Your's too as you pray for us.
Now to my story.
Have you ever had a situation arise where after it was over you came up with the perfect words. A Coulda said this...Shoulda said that...then this Woulda happened....kind of thing.
This happened to me this past weekend. I had a confrontation with a friend. It left everyone involved upset and on edge. I know the words I spoke were from the Lord. I know because it wasn't what my flesh wanted to say. As I spoke the words my flesh is fighting hard and at the end started to gain back the control it wanted. Just at that moment, another person directed by God stepped in and I was hushed before I stated what was on my fleshly mind. I know that the words spoken in the Spirit brought peace and truth to the situation. For that I am so grateful to the Holy Spirit!
Then came the hard part! Speaking the words of the Spirit is sometimes easy....living it is hard. For several days afterward I lived in the land of Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda. It made me doubt if the words I did say were of the Spirit. What if I shut up too soon? What if I had said this...? Even scripture poured into my mind that I shoulda said! Woulda said...if I had not been interrupted. These woulda been good things to say. Woulda also been the truth. Coulda made more people aware of the truth.
Thank God...He stepped in and taught me a new truth. He used the Garden of Eden. The tree that Eve swiped the forbidden fruit from was not called....are you listening?....This is important...it was not called the "Tree of the Knowledge of Evil." That's what we focus on. The Knowledge of Evil! It is called, "The Tree of The Knowledge of GOOD and Evil." Oh...how often I have bitten of that tree! I take a bite of the good fruit instead of God's fruit. I so know how to be good. I soooo want to be good. I often mistake being good for being in right relationship with God. But the good of that tree is good apart from God. Did you get that? The good fruit on that tree separated Adam and Eve from God. It separates my fellowship from God.
Folks, being good, doing what is good, saying the right things and even being right about things...all seem good. But if they are apart from God then my good...Yes...even my best is still just a clanging gong...filthy rags.
In my situation this past week, the coulda, shoulda woulda's that I would have said and done would have been good. They would have been the truth. They would have even been Biblical. But they also woulda have been wrong....because they were not from God. No matter how God-like they would have looked.
Thank You God for stopping me. Thank you that I did not get the chance to say or do the coulda, shoulda, woulda's! I don't know the outcome of this situation. But this I know....God was there...God was in control...I was about to mess it up...by doing good.
No more coulda, shoulda, woulda's....no more good apart from God! This means I need to even test the good against God's wants and desires. For only HIS GOOD is truly good!
Love you guys!
Monday, March 16, 2009
Thanks so much for praying for my conference in Miami. You wont believe what God did!
OK...so I woke up Friday morning over-come with anxiousness and dread...I did not want to get on that plane....I did not want to rent a car (I don't think I told you but I had never rented a car before)...I did not want to drive around in a city like Miami by myself! It was bad!
I prayed with my family before taking Zoie to school. I prayed with Mike before we left for the airport. I had been talking to God all morning...not listening mind you...yammering and complaining about how scared I was to do those things.
When we I checked in for my flight at the airport, I noticed that I did not have a seat assigned to me. This made my anxiety and blood pressure go way up. It is one thing to want God to let me change my mind about going, but it another to tell me I can't go! Mike and I had about an hour and a half before my plane was to leave so we sat down. I was so upset and anxious that Mike again prayed with or rather for me. He prayed that God would send someone to help calm my fears and that I would be able to enjoy the flight. I couldn't sit there any longer, so I told him I needed to head on to the gate and see about getting a seat on the plane. He walked me over to the security line, then walked over to a spot where he could watch me go all the way through.
As I neared the head of the line I looked up to look at him again for reassurance, there was a woman standing beside me in my line of view.
Y'ALL IT WAS LYSA TERKEURST! I couldn't believe it! I called her name and she looked up and said, "Hey There! We exchanged "How are you's?" and "Where are you headed?" questions before we had to separate to go through the security rituals. As I am putting back on my shoes, she walks up to me and asks about the conference I would be doing in Miami. She then asked if I was excited. I told her I was excited about the conference but that I really hated flying.
I also couldn't believe she remembered me, but she did...the pink shoe Lady!
Lysa asked if she could pray for me and she did right there. I was so touched by her prayer...her giving heart...and the encouragement and kindness she showed to me. Needless to say I knew that this was a God moment. His love coming through someone whom I admire so much.
I went on to the gate and sure enough they had booked 153 people for a plane that seats only 129. To make matters worse, there were no flights within 2 hours of Miami for the rest of the day! So if I did not make this plane, I would have no way of making my 8:30 conference the next morning. I called Mike and told him to pray. I prayed...but this time no longer anxious. I kept thinking about the prayer Lysa had spoken on my behalf to God. Why would the Holy Spirit waste any one's prayer. Why would He send the one person I admire so much, as a speaker, to pray for me if I were not destined to be on that plane?
Y'all, I was the last person allowed on the plane. We serve a mighty God. A God who sends whoever or whatever we need at the exact time we need it. He sometimes makes us wait till the last second...but He never fails to come through.
The rest of the trip was fantastic...even when I got in a car and I had to ask the parking lot attendant to show me how to drive it...It was a hybrid...This 1999 mini-van mom was clueless. Did you know those cars don't make a sound when they start up?
God blessed the conference and His presence was felt. He spoke to all of us there.
I just love him so! As long as he is with me ...I'm ready to fly!
Thursday, March 12, 2009
I have a prayer request: I am flying out tomorrow morning to Miami FL to do a conference on Saturday.
Here's the deal:
I do not like to fly, I have to rent a car and drive in a city that I have never been to before, and worst of all I will miss seeing Zoie preform in a talent show at her school.
Here is what God says:
Through an old friend I connected with on facebook: God did not give men airplanes for terriost and hijackers to use...He gave it so that man could do His will...which is what you are going to do.
God Himself: I will be with you...through me you can do anything I ask you to do.
Through Zoie: Dad will tape it for you...you go do what God wants you to do. Besides you've heard me sing lots of times.
After all that, you'd think I was ready to fly....not so...I still need your prayers.
I have a head full of faith but a heart full of the...I don't want to's!
Once I get on the plane tomorrow my heart will catch up to my head...but tonight I need you to pray with me that I will listen to my head and tell my heart to just chill and rest in the hand of God!
I'll let you know what happens!
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
The other day Zoie got off the little school bus at my campus and ran straight into my arms crying. I'm not talking little tears I mean sobs...the big slobbery sobs only a broken heart can produce.
I held her tight and tried hard to understand what could have made her heart hurt so bad. After several attempts the story came out. Her teacher had read some stories that the class had written out loud. She had some spelling errors that made her story a little hard to read. Since no one knew who the authors were of each story, everything was OK. That is until one of Zoie's little friends realized it was Zoie's story and began pointing to her and laughing. It was a mean thing to do and broke Zoie's heart. She held in her tears until she saw me from the bus.
I held her and talked to her. I agreed that it was mean. I also tried to get her to see that although it felt like the end of the 4th-grade-world, it really wasn't and that tomorrow no one would even remember it. She did not believe me. That's when God stepped in...don't you just love it when He does that!
She was looking at me from the front seat of the car. Suddenly a shocked expression came over her face..."Why are you wearing two different earrings?"
"Yes! Yes you Are!"
I reached up and touched both ears...sure enough two different earrings...one a blue cross...one a blue tear drop. I laughed and said "Well, How about that? I've had these on all day and no one even noticed."
"No one told you that you had on two different earrings? No one noticed?"
"Nope! And I even went to lunch with some friends...no one said a thing."
"Mom! God did that! God did that for me! He is telling me that it doesn't matter! I mean if you can go around looking dumb with two different earrings on all day and nobody cared...then no one will care about my spelling mistakes!"
Honestly, I don't know if anyone noticed my earrings or not...don't too much care really cause they were both blue. Now...two different colors...well that might cause me concern. ;)
The important thing is that God used my mixed up earrings to teach Zoie a life truth. Nothing about ourselves is as important to anybody...but ourselves and God.
Our mistakes as long as we turn to Him are no more than mixed up earrings. In fact, we are already righteous in His eyes from the moment we give Jesus our heart...we are not waiting to be saints...we are. We are ONE with Jesus...We are ONE with GOD.
Check out John 17 if you want proof.
A God who loves us that much....Like Zoie I too am in AWE!!!!!
Thank You Father God! Thank you!
Friday, March 6, 2009
As you know 2009 has been a tough year so far. God has been so good to us even though our world has crumbled, changed and shook to the ground.
He is the God of rebuilding! But know this...at least I believe this...when God rebuilds it will never again crumble! So often, He has to break us completely down in order for our true selves He created to break forth.
God has changed both Mike and I.... and is still changing us. Mike is completing the paper work to enter the Army as an army chaplain. We are hoping he can get into the officer's/chaplain's school either in June or September. This change in our lives may be our biggest, our most challenging and most exciting move ever.
A dear friend of ours keeps reminding me that the safest place to be is right where God wants you. ,
All this change has caused us to seek healing and counseling. Through it, I have discovered a lot of wrong thinking about myself and how God sees me. What about you?
Having been born with a birth defect and other physical limitations, somewhere I have concluded that I was broken. I believe that God knit me together broken, yet on purpose. Like the blind man that the disciples asked Jesus about in John 9.
This may be true... and it may not...I am trying to re-evaluate this idea. Whatever the truth is...this truth I have recently discovered.
I'm not broken! I became whole the moment I asked Jesus to be my Savior! He has made me whole! I don't have to wait till heaven...I am whole now. While it is true that I may have to wait till heaven to receive some of the benefits of being whole...I am whole now!
Last week Mike and I were given an assignment by our counselor...We were to ask God what He thought of us personally. We were to sit for 30 minutes and listen to what God said to us.
I'd like to share what I heard. It changed my thinking, it changed my heart, and I pray it will impact you too.
What is your opinion of me?
You are mine!
I love you. Do you hear that bird outside? I love you more. I made you...every bit of you. There is so much you think I don't like about you...but you are wrong. These things you do are not you. No more than being a teacher is you....daughter, you are more than that...you are beautiful to Me. Your heart is so tender. That My daughter is why you get so emotional at people and for people. I made you that way!
It hurts me when you don't meet the potential I gave you...but not like you think. I do not see you as failing, wasted, or broken. My daughter you are just bent.
You bend too often to the wrong things and thoughts, instead of toward me.
I WILL NEVER MAKE ANOTHER YOU! I LOVE YOU LIKE NO OTHER.
I made you smart...now bend toward Me.
I made you kind...now bend toward Me.
I made you strong...now bend toward Me
I made you helpless..now bend toward Me
I made you funny...now bend toward Me
I made ALL OF YOU Pamela...now bend toward Me!
I love you...YOU ARE NOT BROKEN.....YOU ARE MINE!!!
I don't know if God talks to you like this...the words you hear may be more refined or grammatically correct than I have written here. But this is what I heard. It spoke to the very broken part of my heart and I heard that I am not broken!
I am bent!
I want to bend toward HIM!
What about you? What is God's opinion of you?
Mine is that....I love you.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
This was right outside the window. God is so good! We wont be living this close come next winter. And just like His love and care for us, it took my breath away....because it was more than I could have expected or dreamed. My mind can not comprehend the beauty and love He has for all of us.
Whiter than snow yes Whiter than snow!