Wednesday, September 30, 2009

thoughts to ponder...must read...must comment!! =)

thoughts to ponder today:
  1. just because you're good at something doesn't mean it's going to make you happy doing it.
  2. GOD is looking for leaders with a limp...Genesis 32:22-32...those who have wrestled with GOD and man, who refuse to let go until they have won a blessing.
  3. whatever GOD's will is for my life, i can trust that he will give me the grace to do it. i don't have to do it out of my own strength.
  4. dream, but don't just dream...dream the impossible.
  5. with GOD all things are possible.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

my journey with emotional eating

i've said it before, and i'll say it again. my name is hope, and i'm an emotional eater. what i haven't said before is that i've lost 10 pounds now! i got on the scale this morning, and i smiled back at it rather than frown or curse it!

i'm learning to go to GOD with my emotions instead of running to food. i know it sounds odd to run to food for comfort, but i've done it for years. not surprisingly, it never brought me lasting satisfaction. it brought me depression over my weight and lack of control. i stopped walking for weight control and started walking for stress management. i also walk sometimes just so i can dream or spend time with GOD. it's not as hard to get motivated to walk these days.

emotional baggage is heavy, and every item i give up is another pound lost. i'm hoping to shed another 8 lbs by november 1st. it's a lot to let go of, but i think i'm up for the challenge. Romans 12:2 says, "...let GOD transform you into a new person by changing the way you think."

Monday, September 28, 2009

GOD's faithfulness

i have once again joined the ranks of the stay-at-home moms. it was a really difficult decision to leave my part-time job, but i felt it was the right thing to do. i ain't gonna lie...with my hubby giving up his part-time job next month, i am concerned for our financial situation. we'll soon be down to one full-time job. we figured i'd have to make a certain smaller amount each week to cover the loss of my job. as of yesterday, i had been offered a couple of side jobs. when we added it all up, it came out to the exact amount that we had decided i needed to make. we also found out that our hotel room is covered on an upcoming trip. all we have to pay for is gas and food. GOD always takes care of us.

three of our 4 kids have school trips coming up. i was asking my hubby if he thought we should forego one or more of the trips, but he said no. he feels like we'll be all right. i'm not sure how, but i will trust him.

david and i have never considered ourselves people of faith, yet when it comes right down to it, i think perhaps we have more faith than we gave ourselves credit. i think it's because of our experiences. GOD has come through for us more times and in more ways than i could begin to recount. he has always shown himself worthy of our faith and trust. i believe he will take care of us. it really surprises me how confident i am of that.

i'm trying to look at this as an opportunity. there's nothing to keep us tied down. we have options. of course, i'm a little unsure and a little anxious, but i think sometimes faith is when you decide to go forward in spite of your fears and doubts. i've seen the faithfulness of GOD this week. i look forward to seeing it again next week, and the next week, and the next.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

my love for thunderstorms

thunderstorms remind me of days gone by. when i was a little girl, my mom, my sister and i would go to my grandparent's house after church most sundays from what i remember. my sister and i would run around the house in our pretty white slips until dinner was ready. i loved butterbeans from the garden. that is, until i ate so many once that i threw up. after that, not so much. the food was delicious. most of it came from my grandparent's garden. sometimes we'd play again, but other times, we'd take a nap.

i remember one sunday afternoon, my sister and i ran upstairs to my grandmother's room to take a nap with her. instead of going to sleep, however, we listened to the thunderstorm that was heading our way. we made a game of guessing how loud the next rumble of thunder would be. i think we eventually fell asleep. i don't know what made that day so memorable, but it is sweet. not long after, my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer and died. the next year, my sister's brain tumor returned and took her life as well. i'm the only one left from that day, so i remember and cherish the memory.

i don't know what it is about thunderstorms, but they make me feel close to GOD. maybe it's because i remember a few that made me so deathly afraid, i thought i'd be joining him. no, seriously, i guess i've always associated an awe, a majesty with thunderstorms. they're loud and powerful. and sometimes they make you stop everything else and all you can do is listen. no electricity. no tv. those times are the best. nothing to distract us from the power of GOD. and for me, it's a time to reflect and remember my loved ones and our sweet memories together.

my prayer

GOD, here's the thing. i feel the bitterness already trying to take hold of my heart. please guard my heart so that it can't creep in. all it does is hurt me. it does nothing to help. it only ties me to the pain. i know you're already watching over me and my family. thanks for the little things you have been doing that let me know i'm being cared for. every time i start to get down, one of these little blessings shows up. i'm asking you to honor my faithfulness. i'm asking you to open doors for us. i'm asking you to protect my children. i don't want them turning from you b/c of the ugliness that exists in traditional church. that scares me, but i trust you'll show me and david how to guide our kids through it. bless my children. bless my marriage. bless our relationships. bless our friends and family. bless our enemies. bless those who unknowingly cause us pain. bless those who stick by us and those who don't. and help me to be understanding, not bitter about any loss. give me courage to do the right thing. help me treat others with respect whether they deserve it or not. open our eyes to your will. give us peace and make our paths obvious. i have to admit that i'm a little anxious and hesitant about moving forward, so strengthen my faith. expose the darkness and the lies and the compromises. let the truth bring freedom and healing. strengthen my spirit, and give it rest. thank you, GOD, for showing us a little today how you have had the situation in your hands all along. i didn't understand, but i'm beginning to now. how cool is that? i love you. those words don't begin to express the feelings i have for you. so read my heart, and take what little i have to offer. i'll try not to grasp too tightly anything i have. my hands are open. i offer it willingly. wow. i really love you. thank you...for everything.

your little girl,

Thursday, September 24, 2009

it is well

i love that song, "it is well with my soul." it's a beautiful old hymn with a beautiful story behind it. today, i find myself comforted by the thought that whatever comes my way, i can say that it is well with my soul.

i made a decision yesterday. a really difficult one. but i know that GOD will honor my attempts to do the right thing. it hurts my heart, but i will be ok.

i have so much to be grateful for. i have a husband who loves and supports me. i have a great family. and my friends? the absolute best in the world. and they pray for me. i pray for them 2. life isn't always easy, but when you have the friends and family that i have, it'll all be ok. finances may be tight, but i am rich because of the relationships in my life.

well, i must go for now, but i'll leave the words that have flooded my heart is well.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Refrain:It is well, with my soul,It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,Let this blest assurance control,That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!My sin, not in part but the whole,Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:If Jordan above me shall roll,No pang shall be mine, for in death as in lifeThou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,The sky, not the grave, is our goal;Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,Even so, it is well with my soul.

my heart hurts

my heart hurts. don't know what else to say. my heart usually guides my thinking, and right now, it's broken. so i don't know what to think. don't know how to feel. i feel like my compass is messed up. just wondering. thoughts don't make sense. worse than my heart hurting is that i think my spirit is breaking. no place feels safe. no place at all.

don't twist my words or read anything into this. it's not about you. it's about me. allow me the freedom to just

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

better with a smile?

i am finding myself cleaning today. i wish i were better at it. i feel like i can clean, clean, clean, and everything still look the same. what gives? lol! perhaps if i actually liked to clean! and yes, i do know people in this world who actually enjoy it! crazy, i know! but it's true.

i told my hubby a little while ago (he called me from work cuz he luvs me so much) that i love him, but he was supposed to be rich so he could hire a housekeeper for me. he just doesn't get it, bless his heart. =)

i must say that i have accomplished quite a bit today, but it's only b/c we're having the house appraised today. we're refinancing our mortgage, and someone is coming to inspect the house. i sincerely hope they see that it's a work in progress. we've done a lot of work, but alas, there's stil so much more that needs to be done.

guess i should get back to housecleaning. i've been told that if you smile while you perform a hated task that it makes it more enjoyable. the jury's still out on that one, but it's worth a try. no magic wand. no twitch of the nose. only elbow grease and a smile. here goes nothing... =)

Monday, September 21, 2009

GOD doesn't call the qualified?

A few years ago, a pastor rejected me as a worship leader b/c i was actually...wait for it...qualified. he chose a younger, less spiritually mature, less competent person. why? b/c she was...wait for it...unqualified.

i remember sitting at a table when these words hit my ears: "GOD doesn't call the qualified; he qualifies the called." that was his justification for letting me go. i literally had to pick up my jaw from the floor. i had shared my heart for worship. this pastor had seen me lead and loved what i did. he appreciated my talent, my vision, and my spirit. i was everything he said he was wanting in a worship leader. however, he chose the other person. i sat there with all the grace and mercy i could muster as i tried to accept the rejection. those words hurt my heart. though i couldn't form the words, all i thought was that GOD gave me a gift that i developed so that i could serve him. i thought that was called being a good steward of the gifts GOD had given me. it turned out that the other worship leader didn't last long, and eventually the pastor admitted he'd made a mistake.

what brought this on is that i heard that phrase once again a couple of weeks ago. this time it came from the lips of a well-known leader that i respect. my heart sank as i finished saying the phrase with him.

GOD calls the qualified, too. i understand what they're trying to say. we don't have to have it all together to be called by GOD. at times, i have not been qualified to accomplish a task, but i knew that GOD would give me the grace to accomplish it. i mean, he does shine through our weaknesses.

sometimes in our attempt to be clever, we say something careless. i whole-heartedly believe that GOD qualifies those whom he calls, but i also whole-heartedly believe that GOD calls those who are qualified. we have biblical examples of both. being competent at something doesn't mean that GOD won't use us. at the same time, being incompetent doesn't mean that GOD won't use us. GOD will call whomever he chooses for whatever reasons he chooses. he calls us all.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

why can't my butt just twitch?

i guess i can safely say that i have been pretty stressed out lately. i have my facial tic back. it's my eye actually, and it twitches..a lot! i heard someone else talk about his facial tic years ago. i laughed as he voiced his question, "why can't i have a butt twitch? no one sees a butt twitch, but everyone sees a facial twitch!" i can identify.

i try to avoid those times of intense stress. i walk. i pray. i give myself a time-out. i try to deal with the situation. unfortunately, no matter how hard i try to elude it, that tic finds me. i think it's obvious, so i try to avoid eye contact with those around me during those times.

why am i stressed? because i'm a mom and i'm in ministry. don't get me wrong. i love being a mom, and i love being in ministry. but let's face it. sometimes, both are downright hard! i'm sure i worry more than i should. i think i don't worry so much as i prepare myself for every possible outcome. i've been caught off-guard before. not particularly a fan of the blind-side, i play out the outcomes like a movie in my head. "if this happens, then i'll do this. if that happens, i'll respond that way." it's probably insanity. but before i get diagnosed with a neurological disorder, let me interject that i've taken the facebook quiz which said i was perfectly normal, fyi.

i've wondered if perhaps i lack faith. maybe i lack self-confidence. maybe i just think too much. i don't know. but one thing i do know is that particularly at times like those, i need to practice having an attitude of gratitude. i know it sounds trite. however, it helps keep me positive, and it helps me look at life through the right kind of filter. i'm not "there" yet, but i'm headed in the right direction.

how we survive things like home improvements

there's nothing like shopping and home repair to bring out the worst in us. david hates shopping. i hate going with him. david doesn't know much about home repair. i hate details. instructions upset me. not sure how the phrase "devil's in the details" originated, but i must voice my agreement nonetheless. the devil is certainly in them. i'm a big picture person. details tend to frustrate me. i like to leave them for others to do.

i have to admit though that today we did well. there was no fussing or eye rolling at lowe's. i did have to walk off once or twice due to my own aggravation. david wasn't impatient as usual. i think we did well. he did the first repairs by himself while i took a nap.

i think our marriage has survived this long because we know ourselves well. we both know that david hates shopping. therefore, when i am undecided about what i plan to purchase or i'm using coupons, i leave david at home. and david has learned that i process out loud. when i'm frustrated, he lets me process my way through it. he used to "get on to me," as we say in the south, to which i'd snap at him. yeah, that didn't work too well. =)

we've learned to respect each other, to celebrate with each other, and to show our appreciation for each other. tonight, i'm taking him out on a date because he spent the morning on home improvements. i think he deserves it. and he knows i've had a rough couple of weeks, so he's gonna let me take him out. how sweet of him. =)

home improvements are a necessary evil. though we don't always see eye to eye, there's no one else i'd rather do them with.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

keep it "G"

i'm a mom, and i have a kid on facebook. i also have many fb friends who are minors.

ok, adults! i'm sure most of you have fb friends that are minors as well.

we need to be careful what we post, comment, link, etc. online. we should think before we post something that contains questionable content.

we need to set a good, positive example for those young eyes and ears to see and hear. let's keep it clean and keep it "G."

we can share our thoughts, our feelings, our lives in positive, tasteful ways.

when in doubt, leave it out.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

where did the love go?

i've noticed a startling trend in recent times. it's called unkindness. it can be found most anywhere these days. an awards ceremony, on the street, a football field, a government meetingplace, a tennis court, in our own home. no place seems to be a safe haven, so it seems.

it's sad, really, that we so quickly lose our civility, our respect, our generosity. when the 9/11 tragedy hit america, we pulled together. we united. we respected each other and gave selflessly. when katrina hit, we gave. we cried. we united once again. does it take a tragedy to make us kind to each other?

i know we all have bad days, and sometimes we're a little rude or rough with others. but this trend of unkindness goes far beyond a curt word. it reveals the darkness and selfishness of our souls.

i've always been a big believer that change begins in and with me. so as not to be hyprocritical on the subject, i will be the first to admit that i, too, have been unkind. catch me at a bad time, and i may snap. mistreat me or my family, and i may respond hatefully. i know this about myself, so i'm trying to change.

so what will i do the next time i see an elderly, unattractive woman of color drop her groceries? will i stop what i'm doing to help her or let her fend for herself? what will i do when i see a child being hit and jerked around by his father in the parking lot? will i turn my head or intervene? what will i do when i see a disabled person fall out of her wheelchair? will i find her help or pretend i didn't see? what will i do when i see a young girl hiding and crying in the corner at the mall? will i stare or go pray for her?

what will i do? i pray that GOD causes my head to look towards and not away. i pray that GOD gives me the courage to stand up for those who cannot defend themselves. i pray my heart will break for those who are hurting. GOD, help me slow down and show kindness to those i meet not only today but everyday. help me see through your eyes. use my hands, my feet, my voice so that i can show kindness and love and peace.

Monday, September 14, 2009

living a life of integrity

i try to live my life with integrity. in order to do that i have to be a whole person. remember in school when we learned about integers? they're whole numbers. integrity is about being a whole person.

we tend to think integrity is all about character, but that's only part of the picture. integrity includes character, but it also includes competence in our field/ministry and chemistry with those around us.

i spent a few years living life as an incomplete person. i had the competence, but my character and chemistry were lacking. because of some situations in my life, i had let bitterness sink deeply in my heart, which in turn affected my chemistry with those around me. i couldn't connect with others. i didn't trust others.that's when i decided to start my journey towards wholeness. when the bitterness got too uncomfortable and my fear of people robbed me of my joy, i knew i had to change. it's not easy being an outgoing person who's afraid of people.

i know i have issues left to deal with, and they will be confronted over time. i have a list. it includes people and issues that i need to forgive. the first time i made this list, it was 3 pages long...front and back. that's a lot of junk. it's now down to half a page. i began praying for those people and journaling about my situations, my issues, my hatred. i also have trusted friends that help me process and pray through the junk in my life. though my approach won't work for everyone, it has worked wonders for me. my confidence, my laughter, my peace are returning. i thank GOD that he loves me too much to let me stay like i am.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

my family

i started my family at a very young age by today's standards. i was 19 when i had my first. the 3 that followed came pretty quickly afterward. four kids under the age of 5. it was crazy! i swear i didn't sleep for almost a decade!

i talked to someone today at church. as we shook our hoods, we both talked about how quickly time flies. our kids are growing up. they were babies. i blinked. they're all middleschoolers or highschoolers. where did that time go?

i have to admit that my hubby and i are enjoying this new season of life. our kids are learning to be self-sufficient and independent. the hubby and i resumed our dating, and i have to admit that i LOVE it. and it's so much easier now that we don't have to line up sitters. our kids act like they think it's silly that we go out on dates. after all, we've been married for 18 years now. i think they like it though, and i hope they are learning from our example. we don't take each other for granted. we respect each other. and we value our friendship.

i love my family, and i thank GOD for them. i have a husband who loves and treasures me. he flirts with me and makes me feel like i'm the most special person in the world. and i have 4 kids that amaze me, who love and amuse me. sure we have our not-so-wonderful moments where we may temporarily not like each other, but at the end of the day as our heads hit the pillows, we know we are loved. and that brings a smile to my face.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

my journey

i like to think of myself as an open book. transparency and honesty are things i value. i've been on a journey for the last few months to become whole spiritually, emotionally and physically. and i'll gladly share this journey with anyone who wishes to walk alongside me.

i'm a stay-at-home mom and the staff worship leader at my church, life springs church in zebulon, georgia. i love GOD with all my ability, and my desire is to know really know him. i have 4 amazing kids and a loving, devoted husband of 18 years. they have my heart.

i look forward to sharing my thoughts, my dreams, my struggles and whatever else i encounter on my journey. and if anyone wishes to walk with me for a while, all the better.