Wednesday, December 29, 2010

You just never know what's going to happen....
A deer hit us yesterday afternoon,  just after we had spent six hundred dollars having major maintainance done on our Honda Odyssey.  Only 2 hours before, we drove away assuming the van was good to go for another 100,000 miles.  Then, as we neared Chipley, Florida a deer literally jumped onto the hood of our van.  Honestly, the deer flew over the car we were meeting head on and landed on our van.  It was surreal!

Thankfully, we were safe. Our sweet children said, "Mommy, we are going to praise God in all circumstances."   "Yes we are," I replied.  And we did!   Friends rescued us and a tow truck came for the van.  We ended up having dinner with our rescuers, Connie and Frankie Pittman, along with their children. It was a good night full of laughter.  We chose to praise God in our circumstances.  After all,  everything we have is His.

Yes, Lord!  It is all Yours.  
Monica

Sent from my AT&T Smartphone by HTC

Monday, December 27, 2010

How to Deal....

So often I find myself wondering, "How do I live to please you, God, in the midst of these circumstances?"  When people fall short of what I wished they would be.....when they don't love me the way I wish they would.  Then I am reminded, I have no rights to myself.  Really!  It's not about me.  

If I am looking for people to fill the hole in my heart, I am making people my god.  Only the one true God can fill my heart.  When I take my eyes off people and look to Jesus, I do find He is enough.  I find contentment and peace.   He sees me!  He loves and accepts me.   My every need is met in HIM alone.....

Turn your eyes upon Jesus.......and the things of Earth will grow strangely dim....... 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

So my Christmas looks different than the movies....

The Christmas season is not always easy.  This year we have so much to be thankful for, as Chuck is NOT on the big brown truck.  He's on staff at Ridgecrest Baptist Church, here in Dothan.  A desire of the heart fulfilled, overwhelming gratefulness for all that God has done.  Still there are longings in my heart and life, unfulfilled.  Okay, I'm looking at the hole and not the donut!  God gives me everything I need and more.  He is enough!  Still, I will face many trials......


I wrote a couple of months ago in my journal: "Negative feelings, difficult relationships are so cumbersome to my walk with Jesus--just a distraction for what matters most."


 Then reading through my journal I see where I wrote from My Utmost on Sept 25th the following, 


"God does not ask us to do the things that are naturally easy for us.  He only ask us to do the things that we are perfectly fit to do through His grace, and that is where the cross we must bear will always come."


Not easy, but possible in Jesus Christ.  I can choose to love.  I can lay down my life.  My life is  not my own.  Not a popular concept in the world we live in today.  But true, if you have chosen to follow Christ.  


I have prayed, "Change me until I am completely yours.  Until I can endure anything and not be angry and bitter- only focused on Your face!"  But the process of working that out...well, it's just plain hard.  It does not come easy, but I believe it will come!  

This past weekend we watched The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.   I was reminded that the battle is the darkest just before the victory comes.  Just when you feel like all is lost and you are ready to give in to defeat.....you don't.  You never give up.  It is always too soon to give up.  Sometimes, okay, many times I feel like this in my own life.  I want to give up!  But because of the hope I have in Christ, I haven't.   You never know what is around the next corner.  



My life is not perfect.  I am not perfect, and I won't be until I see Jesus.  So please don't expect me to be.  Just yesterday I was pondering the fact that here I am wife to Chuck, mother to Tolar, Trace and Turner, and the women's  ministry leader in our church.....and I don't have it together at all.  What am I even doing in ministry?  But I think people need to see us as REAL.  They need to see how we choose to live out the  mess our lives can be, at  times.  They need to see how we choose to love the difficult people in our lives that cause us hurt and pain.  They need to see us when we are weak and needy.....it's what we do then that matters and speaks.   
We all need God's Grace!  I need God's grace to help me now.  I need His truth to speak to my heart and remind me of how He see's me.  


So here we are at Christmas.  The celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.  This has been a week of the Stomach virus at our  house.  I have missed several Christmas parties with girlfriends I really wanted to see and enjoy their company.    However, I have gotten several pajama days and lots of cuddling.  Now what matters most?  I believe my circumstances are ordained by God, therefore, His will has been for us to be right where we are.....at home....TOGETHER.  In sickness and in health....we will rejoice:)  I have been given TIME to Be Still and Know that He is God.  Now that is the best gift of all.  



Tuesday, December 14, 2010

John 3:16

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only son....."

God withheld NOTHING from us.  He gave it all.  Yet, we offer lip service and refuse to give Him everything.  I was pondering this as I prayed this morning.  Yes, I struggle with dying to SELF.  I do!  Dying to my selfish desires and plans does NOT come naturally to me.  Yet, my heart's desire it to live for HIM completely.  I know that my life is not my own, I have been bought with a price.  Ministry is my passion and I want to be completely His.   Yet......I struggle with letting go of my agenda and surrendering to HIS.  It's gonna cost me something if I do surrender.  Do I really mean what I say or am I just giving lip service only planning to do what fits into my plans for the day, week, or year?  God is going to interrupt my life and test me to see if I really do want to follow HIM.
There are lots of things I can choose to do this day, but how many have eternal value?  Choosing the eternal over the worldly......oh Father, give me discernment to choose Your Best today!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Merry Christmas

How I started my day today.  (Along with prayer)

Monica

Sent from my AT&T Smartphone by HTC

Advent Nightly Reading

Reading Tabitha's Travels this year. Wonderful Advent series for children.  Check out the other two books, Jotham's Journey and Bartholomew's Passage.  Exciting stories that lead you to the birth of the Savior.
Monica

Sent from my AT&T Smartphone by HTC

Oh looking back over this blog and seeing how my children have grown. They just make me laugh.  I'm in awe of how God works and that He chooses such simple people to work through. To God be the glory. Great things He has done.
Monica

Sent from my AT&T Smartphone by HTC

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Mr. Jones' tombstone

A 40 pound tombstone for our 8 pound dog.  We miss you little buddy.

Monica

Sent from my AT&T Smartphone by HTC

Dec 7 Pearl Harbor Day

This is Beanz our new puppy (a relative of our sweet Mr Jones who died recently).  Enjoying our history lesson on the couch.  We are reading about pearl habor today.



Monica

Sent from my AT&T Smartphone by HTC

Women On Mission

This past August I was named the new Women's Ministry Director at our church.  WOW....that God  uses the imperfect to accomplish His will.  Yes, I am a willing vessel and excited about all that God is doing!  Just look at some of the things our women are up to.....
Just say YYYYEEEEESSSS to VVVV BBBB SSSS

CBA Lunch with the Fairworkers




Mama Tina's serving dinner





RBC Girlfriends packing Thanksgiving baskets 


Angie Terry sharing Jesus with children picking up Thanksgiving baskets at the IGA

Mama Tina's crew Nov. 2010
Tonight we celebrated Chuck's dad's 74th birthday at Cracker Barrel.  Mr. Billy went on to the car...so I snapped a picture of Mrs. Sue and the boys.  Yep, she let them all buy something so they are really happy!

Monica

Sent from my AT&T Smartphone by HTC
I am so thankful for friends who love me...even though I am a little "cracked."

Monica

Sent from my AT&T Smartphone by HTC

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Back to Crazy Normal

We call normal around here "Crazy Normal".....Thankfully, Chuck is doing wonderful. Dr. Nichols did reopen him a couple of weeks ago so we are no longer having to do wound care. That is great! Everything appears to be healing as desired. Still no lifting for another month. His trip to Istanbul this Friday has been postponed as the Doctors felt it was better for him to not travel at this time. We trust that is God's plan.

Tolar continues to enjoy 6th grade at Emmanuel. Still, yesterday as I picked him up from school, he mentioned coming back home next year. He said, "Mommy, I don't know 10 kids at school who respect God." He hears kids cussing and talking ugly about teachers. It's been a good opportunity to talk about how even though he is at a "Christian" school, there are kids there who are lost and need to know the love of Jesus. He is learning to be a friend and reach out to those kids who seem lonely and hurting. I am proud of him.



We had a GLORIOUS 8 days camping at White Oak Creek with 3 other families. So relaxing and perfect weather! How wonderful it was....enjoying coffee with my friend, Jana, each morning. Seems it had been so long since I had been able to catch up with Jana, Theresa and Penny. Loved the time we had for each other. Our 9 little boys had a blast, too. God used that down town to speak to me and show me how self centered and selfish I had become about some things in my life. I have been way off base....wanting other people to change....when I know I must be the first to change. It was a good time! Of course, Mr. Jones and Chestnut (the squirrel) went with us.

Two days after we returned from camping, Allyson and I took off for Monroe, La for Jessica's wedding. LONG DRIVE...but totally worth the effort it took to get there. The wedding was beautiful. Jessica was happy and so in love. The West family is so precious and have raised awesome children. Allyson and I were able to just talk and talk and talk.....such a treat. Love my friend, Allyson. She has stuck by me through the tough times and rejoiced with me in the good times. She is a true friend and a gift from God.



Well, I have two kids looking at me waiting for me to help them finish schoolwork.

Oh, I read the biographies of Gladys Alyward and Bill Wallace (both missionaries to China) while camping. Those two trusted God no matter what. They found joy in serving and giving their lives away for the sake of Jesus Christ. Even in suffering, they remained true and cared for others. They were WILLING....to follow Jesus! My favorite quote from Gladys was "What adventure God has given me all because I was willing!"

Right now I am leading a study called "Compelled by Love: A Journey to Missional Living." It's got me to thinking and rethinking about how I live my life and how serious I take God at His Word. Let's see how God leads me in the weeks to come to join Him on mission....

Pictures to come soon....

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Life is good....

Well, another year has passed. Turner is now 5 years old and we have somewhat started kindergarten. He is the funnest child. Truly, a joy to live with. He brings happiness (Tait should have been his name) wherever he goes. Trace just turned 9 a couple of weeks ago. He is still a kind and quiet child, dear to my heart. He is now in the fourth grade and loves to be the singer on LEGO Rockband. Time is passing quickly! Tolar is a sixth grader and now attending Emmanuel Christian School. I continue to homeschool his brothers. God has taught me so much in the weeks past as He lead us to put Tolar in school. It was a struggle to discern what God had for us. It was to let go and put him in school. He is so happy and enjoying his days. We have truly seen the goodness of God in this situation.
Chuck is now on staff at our church, Ridgecrest Baptist Church, as of January 2010. God has been so good to us. He loves doing what God has called us as a family to do! It took a few years, but God was preparing us for full time ministry and it has been worth the wait. We are thankful for what God is allowing us to do as a family. Plus, Chuck gets Fridays off:) Ok.....we will enjoy it while we have it. Praise God! As I write, I am at SAMC with Chuck, who had a colon re section on Monday (it is now Saturday). Again, all has gone as expected and Chuck is recovering wonderfully. Our boys have been with friends and family. They have been well looked after. Chuck will be here for another couple of days and then be home a week or so. It will be four months before he can pick up heavy things and play roughly with the boys. This surgery was necessary to remove the almost 20 inches of his sigmoid colon that was eaten up with diverticulitis. He should be healthier now and able to eat more of the foods he enjoys, without getting sick. We look forward to getting him home (hopefully by Tuesday) and things getting back to normal. I am so thankful for friends who have helped us out this week and prayed for us. We are so blessed by God. He provides for our every need!



We started keeping a friend's puppy, Mr Jones, last September while she worked. That way we had puppy with no commitment. I thought it was a perfect arrangement. Well, We all fell in love with that little dog. What matters most though, is that Chuck fell in love with that little dog. Short story....My friend decided to not keep the dog since she was never home. She asked if we would be interested in buying him from her....so Chuck went and got the dog. Mr Jones is like one of the kids. We adore him. Thankfully, Starla and Donnie Wells have been generous enough to let him hang out with their Bruner while we have been up here at the hospital.
Five nights sleeping on a hospital bed.....you get used to it! And I have loved the food here. Before we leave I am going to hunt down the cook and hug her. Seriously!



Quickly going back....God allowed me to go with our high school seniors and college students to Costa Rica in June. Amazing life changing trip. God amazed me how He worked everything out and provided for all our needs. I slept on a top bunk in a room with 11 girls.....taking cold showers (we shared 2) and it was wonderful!

So much God is doing in and around us.......I am always in awe that He, the creator of the universe, speaks to me and allows me to join in on what He is doing. In fact everyday I am learning more and more about His wonderful ways and learning to "let go...He is Big Enough". It is not about what we are or are not "doing" it is truly about our hearts and our willingness to follow Him.