Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Eternal Perspective

BK sent me a text on Friday asking me if 3 little boys could spend the night that night... As usual it was a test of my spirit... and I pretty much failed.
I said yes, but really struggled with a bad attitude - just not wanting the extra work. The boys came and they were wonderful - so cute (they loved all of Ethan's costumes), and very well behaved.
I asked for prayer from Antoinette, and she was so great at speaking truth to me that has come up again and again all week in my heart. She reminded me that the Lord had ordained for those boys to come over and I could not know the eternal benefits that He could have planned just because of their time here. I had a quiet time on Saturday morning (the boys were all up at 6:15 am!), and the Lord really strengthened me and renewed my eternal perspective. Over the 7 bowls of cereal later that morning, I was truly thankful.
Later that week, as I was praying, I realized that really believing that God is weaving a beautiful story at ALL times gives ME purpose as well. I began praying that God would raise up my sons, my godson, and the children in our lives to be the next-generation leaders in His kingdom. I pray that I would be a faithful parent, wife and minister so that His story will be filled with people who stand for Christ because I truly loved the Lord and made Him known to them.

Finally - a picture of Demetrius Jamal Reynolds!

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

How this lifestyle is saving me #3

"Let it GO!"

My family didn't have tons of money while I was growing up, but we always had everything we needed. One of my favorite memories is the day I was able to buy my grandmother's convertable from her for $900 - money I had saved from working at American Eagle in high school. I was a senior and it was a GREAT first car! I loved driving up and down Troy Highway on my way back and forth from Troy to Montgomery with the top down and music up. God provided scholarship money for college and my parents were able to cover my housing and meal plan costs. Life was SO good..... Except that my car broke down. a lot. And every time, I would PANIC. How was I going to pay for it? Even if I had the money, I didn't want to spend it on CAR PARTS! One of my sweet friends always suggested that I take it to her dad, a mechanic, and he would always fix it -s ometimes for free, but often I ended up paying something, and the Lord always provided. The main point is : even though God always provided and showed Himself faithful, I would still have that sick feeling in my stomach (fear, worry, anxiety, greed) every time the check engine light came on.

That pattern continued into my early years of marriage, ministry and child-raising. LOTS of anxiety of having to spend money I thought we just didn't have.

That feeling was still very much a part of my life even in the first year of living here in the hood... If I give away all my snacks, what will my kids eat? If I spend all my money on food for my family and countless neighbors, is that good stewardship? If I pay someone else's power bill, will I have enough money at the end of the month to make it?

Sometime as that first year came to a close, I began to hear the Holy Spirit, loud and clear : "Let it GO!"
He wanted me to STOP worrying and to give. He wanted me to stop being greedy and be generous. He wanted to prove to me that He would meet all of my needs, and that I needed to let go of some of my wants. It was an AMAZING freedom to really start to let go... even if it meant going BACK to the grocery store for the 3rd time that week. I was literally telling myself out loud to just let go.

And that was just the beginning of what God was wanting to do in my heart.

Over the last 2 years, He has been telling me other things I need to let go of...

*clean floors - sounds funny, but the more I held on to the idea that my floors had to be clean, the more unhappy I was!
* peace and quiet - now there is a time for that for sure, but PEOPLE (esp kids) make noise, and PEOPLE are the very heart of God!
*the things of this world - sound familiar ? - I think there are a few verses in the Bible about that :) - but I tell you, the more I pray to Love the Heart and purposes of God, the less room there is for selfish comforts and pleasures. Now THAT is cause for a whole seperate post!

I know He is not even close to finished working on the super-selfish heart of mine. I am so thankful for the growth I have seen in this area and hope to see even more as the years go by.

PS - did I tell you I am an official god-parent?! My godson was born on my birthday - Oct 12. I am so blessed! I would attach a pic, but my computer freezes every time I try :(

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Monday, October 25, 2010

How this lifestyle is saving me #2

This was the first song that came on my Pandora Radio this morning as I was doing some cardio, and I was loving it!

It paired perfectly with a quote from a sermon by Platt: "We don't come to God to get stuff - prosperity, blessings, etc - We come to God to get GOD!"

I have to check my heart almost every day on this issue and I fail often. But I do see a change in me and I know He is giving me more and more desire for HIM and not stuff. Living here has helped reshape my needs vs wants. I want to see my life as in the midst of a WAR for the kingdom, and this war requires the things God has entrusted me with - my time, possessions, gifts, and money.

I do want God - do you?!

Things Like You by Sanctus Real

Loving things like you has wrecked my life, made me cry
Loving things like you has made me lose my mind
And I can't figure out why I've been hanging on
To all these things I've tried to leave behind me for so long

And I think it's time to find a better way to live my life
Than loving all those things that keep me wrapped so tight

Everyone wants everyone else's eveything
Some time's the more we have the less we really gain
I'm tired of life and all that money has to buy
Get out of my heart, out of my mind, leaving you behind

Loving things like you has left me bruised, black and blue
Loving things like you has made me so confused
And I can't figure out what I've been waiting on
God I can't be living for things I know are wrong

Now I think it's time to write a better chapter in my life
Leaving all those things that keep me wrapped so tight

Why are we obsessed with possessions here on earth?
Go and take a look at the flowers and the birds
God is always taking care of nature's every need
And how much more important in The Father's eyes are we?
I said, how much more important in The Father's eyes are we?
He sees everything

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I told you he says this all the time!

I want to announce that our ministry website is fresh off the press! Newly renovated and wonderful!

Part of the new design is a "back-site" that includes lots of video, photos and blogs from each staff member. I have been so encouraged and blessed reading what our staff are learning. So, take a little time today to check it out. Also, I am putting a link to a specific blog entry my husband wrote, apparently at the same time I was writing the previous post here. Great minds think alike!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

How this lifestyle is saving me #1

One of my husbands favorite things to say is, "We didn't come to save this neighborhood; in fact, this neighborhood is saving us." I've always felt like I understood what he meant by that, it's also been a tough pill to swallow. Because it means that we are weak. It means that we don't have all the "answers" and in fact, we have brought 6 more sinners to this neighborhood!! There are MANY ways that this way of life is "saving" us, and realizing this has been a little difficult. I honestly have felt so EXPOSED for who I really am.

Now at this point, some of you are thinking things like, "Yeah, but, I could NEVER do what you do! It's amazing!" "You and your family are Christian super-heros!" It sounds ridiculous, but I have actually heard people say it. several times. The problem is, it's just not true. We are Christians, saved by Jesus, who still need A LOT of sanctification! Choosing this path has been very revealing of the true condition of my heart, and I feel as though the Lord want me to share some of the ways He has broken me.

So the biggest issue of my heart has been an exposed lack of love for people. I've always been called tender-hearted and compassionate. So I think I really believed that I loved people. Honestly it was easy to believe that I loved people, because I hadn't been faced with loving people as a PRIORITY second only to my love for God. He really wants us to be "neighbors" to people that aren't very lovable, or simply seem to be too many to love. And to make it even harder, He doesn't want us to just be "casserole" neighbors (not knocking a good casserole!), but he want us to be "i'll walk through all your crap with you" kind of neighbors. NOW THAT IS HARD! It also means that we can't just see people on Sundays (like I like to believe) and have the same kind of impact that doing life with them though out the week can bring. SO what's my problem? People are MESSY and they break things! I will have to work harder because I've had them in my home. People are complicated, and it takes TIME to figure out relationships - time I just don't want to give. CAN YOU SEE THE IDOLS IN MY HEART?!?!

But God has been amazing to me. He has revealed all this in my heart and is slowly changing me. I am under MUCH conviction of the Holy Spirit, in ways I never had before. I have been encouraged by some amazing preaching that has shed even more light on these precious idols of my heart. But I am most amazed at GOD'S love for people and I want to obey and follow Jesus in how he wants us to do this. Most importantly, He is showing me the big picture of His kingdom - made up of the soul's of men and women - and it is going to take everything I've got to play my role as His ambassador. His grace is sufficient and His power is made perfect in my weakness! Praise HIM!

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

An Apology

I dropped the ball.. Actually I threw it FAR FAR away from me!

I got a little overwhelmed by life and just quit blogging.

I am sorry.

I really want this to be a vehicle for people to stay connected to our ministry and our family.

So if there are any readers left out there... I will certainly try to do a better job. And thankfully, the Christmas banner at the top of the page is now gone, although I may as well have left it up for a few more months!

I leave you today with a quote from the book Radical by David Platt that has changed my life!

"...we are starting to redefine Christianity. We are giving in to the temptation to take the Jesus of the Bible and twist him into a version of Jesus we are more comfortable with.

A nice, middle-class, American Jesus. A Jesus who doesn't mind materialism and who would never call us to give away everything we have. A Jesus who would not expect us to forsake our closest relationships so that he receives all our affection. A Jesus who is fine with nominal devotion that does not infringe on out comforts, because, after all, he loves us just the way we are. A Jesus who wants us to be balanced, who wants us to avoid extremes, and who, for that matter, wants us to avoid danger all together. A Jesus who brings us comfort and prosperity as we live out our Christian spin on the American dream.

But do you and I realize what we are doing at this point? We are molding Jesus into our image. He is beginning to look a lot like us, because, after all, that is whom we are most comfortable with. And the danger now is that when we gather in our church buildings to sing and lift up our hands in worship, we may not actually be worshipping the Jesus of the Bible. Instead we may be worshipping ourselves."

WHAT?!?!?! Yeah, he said it. And yeah, this blog may just have taken a turn for the RADICAL~~!

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