Wednesday, February 29, 2012

New beginnings again.....

Just saying God...YOU are the BEST.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neigher are your ways my ways," declares the Lord.  "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts" 
Isaiah 55.8-9

When I knew we were going to sell our home and I was mad, the only house I wanted to live in was Al and Denise's house.  However, it just didn't work out.

I am very blessed to say that God did sell our home and we moved into a another nice home and our family begin to heal, really heal and have a bit of fun again.  Poker nights started, Taylor brought friends over, and we even had a few visitors for company. 

Then our thoughts....well, God's thoughts ARE better and higher than ours.  HE really arranged it.  IN a series of events and situations, HE and Al and Denise worked things out, and we are renting now, praying hard and hoping that this could be our own home. 

Last night, Brendan walked around and said, 'chell...this is everything we ever dreamed of'...and he is right. 

And a few other cool things: 

1.  Listening to HP and TP discuss where the cereal bowls should be stored.
2.  Watching TP buy groceries and make dinner/lunch for 5 of the office ladies, make it, cook it, serve it, and clean up after it....
3.  Seeing the excitment in the eyes of our kids as they 'show off' their  new room and the rest of the house.
4.  Watching Cuyler and Rylann take a dip in the pool.
5.  Seeing Bella prance around and play hide and seek in a new place.
6.  Hearing people say, "oh, I love that house...can I see the inside?"
7.  Putting all the clothes in the closet and  not having a pile here or there. Cause we have SPACE!
8.  Having a place for everything and then hearing HP fuss at me...cause something was 'sitting out' and it just did not look right. Imagine him, discussing 'design and decor'.  But then again, his bed has been made 3 days in a row -- a MIRACLE!
9.  Sitting on the porch swing  with BP and listening to TP tell about her day at volleyball practice and we just swung away listening to crickets.  And talking together about how blessed we really are.
and 10....
...hearing my husband say...someday we can have a bible study here...when we are ready....

Lord, YOU gave us this...YOU have been healing and restoring...Lord, I do not wish to brag - but YOU ARE the BEST....I want everyone to KNOW it. 
I want YOU glorified Lord.
Lord, I pray I did with the bike...USE this to YOUR glory Lord. 

Lord, when all is said and done,  our mansion in heaven will be even better, but for now - thank you for the little bit of heaven on 5th Drive. 

I love you Lord.  And I love to see my family  seek you -- THAT is the BEST thing of all. 
Satan -- I declared war on you - many many many months ago -- God wins.  I hate you Satan -- YOU are NOT going to steal, kill and destroy on MY watch, with Jesus by myside with out a FIGHT!  

Monday, February 20, 2012

do something HARD...., like....I did it .....I did it.....
What did I do - something VERY hard.  And I am still flying HIGH off the tremendous feeling of awe and excitement..that I DID IT!    I really did not think I was HARD. 

What did I do?  Something hard.....When Brendan got his bike and began this Harley journey, and I noticed all the fun and coolness of it, I casually said, 'sure, I want to ride too'.  And then I saw the excitement in his face and the surprise in others, that I felt...'hey, this would be cool'.  Brendan and I began to talk and plan trips with two bikes and like I have already said before, GOD is using a Harley do do some rebuilding in our relationship.  Then of course, the Enemy butts in and  begins the pressure...'you can't do will fail'..and so began a month of anxiety.  I mean, I was not loosing sleep or anything, but the weekend of class got pushed off twice.  Finally, Brendan signed me up.  So now...I was going.

I have NOT been THAT scared about something in a long time.  I mean...I can do HARD.  I kept going back and forth with God.  I mean, HE has allowed a lot of HARD in my life, but he was/is always right there being the comfort and encourager.  But this time....I 'picked' this...did I pick it to prove to Brendan I could do it or did I pick it to prove to myself. ......Before I started on Friday, it was FOR MYSELF. 

I believe each and everyone of us should choose to do something totally HARD....I do.  I mean, the brainpower, the stress, and then the euphoria when I passed...and I literally passed by the Grace of God and I believe me  singing 'Jesus take the wheel/handlebars' me through.  Too funny - no, seriously, God and I had a constant conversation most of Saturday when we did most of the riding. 

And then Sunday, Jesus and I cried together...I am NOT kidding. 

This weekend was hard.  I mean, I passed the written part, 100%..that was easy, for me.  The sweet gentleman next to me, was sweating...bullets...and having a panic attack.  However, I am very proud of myself and I ignored the tattoos and piercings....
......................  which was not really hard to do.. I mean...
I just added that in for effect, he was a man that I would of never prayed for before
                      ...never would of spoken to before
                       ...never would of talked to about Jesus...unless God had not prepared me in the past 3 years...Understand?

Anyway, I pulled for him on Saturday and he pulled for me on Sunday at our riding evaluations.  He was constantly helping me, encouraging me and he gave me the personal encouragement to believe that maybe, just maybe I could do it.

Let me just take you there...

We had to 'duck' walk or power walk our bikes the first day.  That means you are in first gear, and you use the throttle and feather it and then walk with your feet on the ground to the other side.  When everyone was done with that...I still could not get my bike into neutral.  Yep...out of 12...I was at the END of the exercise.  So, one of the instructions, who were very sweet and patient, came over to help me but then when I got was time to move to Demo #2...of which, I could not do until the 4th or 5th try and then we went to Demo #3..and it continued that way from 7:30-2pm on Saturday.  At one point, Brendan had come over to pick me up for lunch and watched from across the parking lot....and I stalled it, almost laid it down, and one time he said he saw me LURCH ahead and stop too fast..believe me, I felt it too.  I was SO nervous.  I could blame it on being nervous but seriously, I was beginning to think -- I was just going  to be a 'bike' girl.

Then the written test and I have already stated -- it went well but I felt so sorry for the men in there who were having a hard time.  They...could maneuver the bike...but could not take the written part...I was the opposite...God showed me so much.

It was like my classroom...I got a whole new appreciation for my profession and the students in my classroom.  I heart broke for those men.  So...I quizzed and encouraged them and when I returned on Sunday, Drew ( who I love as a brother now ) looked at me and said, I passed - cause of YOU!  That made my day.

So, now it is Sunday, I went early to practice.  The instructor even asked me to try a new bike..see if that was better -- it was worse.  I could not even control it and this was a safety course...I mean, you can't have 300# of medal out of control in the hands of a woman..can you?

So, anyway...we began. I went back to the bike that I used on Saturday and so began the battle of my mind....You can do you can' can do you can't. I mean, I could not weave between cones, I could not turn right, and I could not get it started and into Neutral, often.  I walked myself to the bathroom after the 2nd break and looked at Jesus in me, in the mirror,  and told myself - 'who cares if you can't pass'...It is NOT the end of the world..........

Brendan had already told me 2 if not 3x..."no pressure. If you don't like it, no biggie.  WE will get that second bike to travel with and you will just be the problem. " God used my husband to show comfort.   Drew helped too -- after each practice, he would tell me what to try next and encourage me.  When it came to the evaluation, I was finally able to do the turns and such, in a safe manner...not perfect..but safe...However,  I still really did not think I passed it. 1pm on Sunday, I did.  I got my 'card'.

Once I had taken the pressure off of myself, I was able to weave and control the clutch..and I was able to swerve  - fast, go figure and I guess I smiled for the first time.  The instructors even commented on it and I guess I was all smiles after one particular stopping exercise and he got it on camera.  I tried to find the photo on line, I will post it eventually but because of President's Day  it will take a few day.  So, I decided to post Brendan's Ghost Rider photo.  This is when he took his class back in December.  After studying the photos, he was using the same bike as me...that just made me laugh!  Go figure!     He took his class in 3 days of rain and the instructor nick named him Ghost Rider because of his rain poncho.  Anyway...I passed. 

Like I said before, I can do HARD when hard is placed in front of me.  I don't like it...but when you PICK HARD...well, I am just pumped and very proud of myself. 

This past weekend I was stretched.  I had to use my brain and teach myself something that was very foreign to me.  However, I achieved and succeeded - but with HELP.  I know that I know, people prayed for me and I am not kidding you, once I told myself and Jesus that it was OK to fail, my mind got clear and I really felt at one time I had angels holding me up and moving the handlebars to make a turn and once I did it, then I knew I could and I tried it again.  I really only did what was needed to pass, at the time of evaluation. 

I guess that is like life...some of us pass right away...others have to practice and practice..until we finally get it..?  Maybe? 

I love how God uses everything...every single little thing...for HIS purposes. 

Now, to get a smaller bike and really practice so I CAN get that bigger bike and take a trip with my man...he has been talking out of state...sounds like FUN!   

In all reality, being able to accomplish this was cool, but in hindsight...being able to tell a total stanger about Jesus, was JUST as cool.  I am pumped -- can you tell? 

-Not sure who will read this...but go ahead, tell me of something HARD you did once...I do want to hear...

- Michelle

Monday, February 13, 2012

valentines day..... is God enough?

Ok, to say that I have been looking forward to Valentine's Day is sort of a just is.  This particular day just brings forth expectations that rarely happen.  Why ....cause we live and watch this world around us and totally forget about WHO really HAS to be our Valentine. 

I mean, I watched as a kid so many things happen within my own family,  to the neighbors,  and then the TV...I mean, I was raised on DAYS of our could I not expect the MOST very romantic, blow your socks off surprise......And then, I grow up and watch more TV...see what they do on TV for their girlfriends, and husbands, and lovers...etc. etc. etc.   I watched 4 uncles 'find' and woo their wives and then participated in their weddings -- I believe I saw Love. 

As a kid, Valentine's meant candy and cutesy cards from friends and family.  Then as a teen - it brought forth great anxiety......would a boy ask me out?  Would someone buy me chocolate? 

Praise God...someone did.  That need was met. 

However, as each year passed, I would watch and watch, and my expectations increased which always caused guilt, friction, and frustration.  Well, maybe not always - but still.  I expected. 

A human can't meet all our needs.  WE were not created to be the need meeters for our spouces......WE were created to be helpmeets....helpmates....a partner......

I guess I now realize that God has to be that NEED meeter, HIS expectations are what I WANT to be...
HIS love for me...IS enough. 

A counselor asked that of me, back in November of 2009, "michelle, is God enough?"  ....little did I know and realize of what was going to come my way and in my path at that time, GOD was not enough....

I am so sorry Lord, I NOW get it --

The history behind this 'holiday'...if you read a bit, Christian martyrs were called 'valentines' as they were killed for their profession of Christian faith....funny....a true Valentine loves Jesus...and lives like Jesus and people would be able to see his or her faith....and be persecuted for it? 

So, God really has to be enough -- period. 

And when God really is enough ....  you can sit and let HIM love on you and FILL every hole and every need and then, be filled and loved.  Be filled and loved so much, that you 'spill over' that Jesus water...that extra Jesus and then show kindness and mercy to YOUR loved ones...

your husband..your child...your daughter..your son...your family...your mom...etc.  etc.  and your enemy...
...yes, your enemy....

That is how I want to make sure, I think and celebrate Valentines from this point on....sharing that love of God, letting others know that HE is the BEST so that others will notice - there is something about her and letting that Jesus overspill out...out...

Happy Valentine's Day God...thank you for being the BEST Valentine a girl could ever have.  Thank you for YOUR gift, it is eternal! 

PS flesh would still LOVE some chocolate and a card...just saying...but rest assured, I won't expect it, nor will I pout if it is not YOU truely have given me much and my cup is overflowing! 

And Lord, there are many women out there, that are expecting LOTS tomorrow and they won't get it - comfort.  Lord, there are children out there, that will be bombarded by gifts, candy, and toys and yet all they really want is their mom or their dad to be WITH them - comfort them.  Lord, there are hurting families that area dealing with the loss of a loved one - comfort them.  Lord, may each and every person that is within my circle of influence draw closer to you and let YOU love them and be their true Valentine. Thank you Lord, Amen.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

passing through the waters......

Isaiah 43.2
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, nor will the flame kindle upon you.

A year ago, our lives were very different.  My life was very different.  I was on a roller coaster and just trying to get off, or back on...or even get to a new 'ride' but that was then.  A year ago, I was preparing my 4th graders for Florida Writes, trying my best to tweek any quick lessons and trying to make a child WANT to write. I had decided to apply for a new job and make some changes.    A year ago,  Hunter had just returned from Costa Rica and he spoke about the orphanage and how it affected him.  A year ago, Taylor had just turned 20 and I was taking my classes at church to go to my Encounter Retreat Weekend.  A year ago, things were very different.  And they were good.

My life now, is still on a roller coaster, but I am moving forward and not going backwards or upside down anymore.  I am no longer teaching 4th grade...but sweating it out with 5th graders and trying to teach how to regroup and rename fractions /mixed numbers and then solve equations...I am learning.   And I got that new job.  Hunter did not go out of the country this year, but is preparing to head to Dallas in April with Brendan and compete in the Dr. Pepper Dallas Cup and play soccer.  And Taylor just turned 21.....she is legal...Things are very different.  And they are good, but a 'better' good.

 This morning, God reminded me of something special that happened to me a year ago at my Encounter weekend.....heading to the Encounter was hard, as there were so many unanswered questions, thoughts, and hurt, but coming home from it -- there was a true Encounter with My Lord.

The verse in Isaiah...passing through the waters...That has been happening for the past several years and God NEVER once....left me.  HE was there with me all the time.    I think back and can get overwhelmed by thoughts, problems, and hurts...and HE says, I will NOT let them overwhelm you... and HE kept HIS promise.  I did not get burned...scorched...and the flame did not kindle upon me.

A year ago, I HATED God's timing.  Today....HIS timing is something I don't understand but I don't HATE it anymore.  It is needed.

God reminded me today -- that I needed to share:

Whatever YOU may be facing or experiencing right now in your life,  DO not give up.....Hang on.

At the beginning of my Encounter Weekend, I spoke to my Cell Pastor and made my list of hurts and what I wanted to hear from God and 'learn'....HE had HIS own plan.  HIS plan was MUCH better than mine or what I expected.

At the end of my Encounter Weekend, at a prayer time I was slain in the Spirit...that had NEVER happened to me before.  I have seen it happen, I have heard people talk about it - but if it was going to happen to me or be real...I had told God -- HE would have to do it.  HE did.  I went for prayer, I lifted my palms up to show I was submitting to whatever God had for me and my Cell Pastor began to pray.  All I heard was, "Father God..."  and I felt the bottoms of my feet lift up and I was down.  And out.  And I saw the most beautiful light...yellow light.  At first I asked God - 'what is this?'  But I felt peace and calm and tranquility.....I believe I got to see the light of God -- for a brief moment, just a brief moment, but HE reminded me of that Encounter today.  HE reminded me...HE is with us.. always...

There is more to this story - but, that is all I am suppose to share ...I am to encourage someone...somewhere.... HE will NOT let you pass through the waters alone, call to HIM today ...

Don't give up.

God wins.

My Family!  
Submitted in Christ -- michelle

Sunday, February 5, 2012

a filthy rag.....and a few thoughts...

Hey, has been a while since I have posted something ....just about me....or what God has been showing me.  I was pretty focused there for a bit, a glorious 40 days of prayer for a secret sister in Christ and God continues to keep me focused.    I believe God used those prayers  for me, for her, but for others too....and HE did not say it was 'time' to stop praying either.  I have continued to pray for my secret sister, but just not POST....

I have also been really seeking and asking God many questions...many.  I have had a few things confirmed and new 'wrinkles' to pray and think about.

Today in church my Pastor spoke about our sin, and how it is like a filthy rag...but God does not see me that way.  Because I have Jesus, Jesus wraps me in HIS covering and God sees me through Jesus.    That was a cool thing to rethink.

And, another thought he reminded me of...that people think they can ADD God into their lives and keep the same sin.

I could relate to that. ....I can see where I added God into my life but only where I thought HE could fit in.  I added God into my life and DID the things that looked right - but I really did not understand what it meant to really LOVE HIM first.  I am so glad that HE waited on me.

How different my life is now, than 3 years ago...than 2 years ago...than just a year ago -- I am so humbled.  And blessed.

Pastor Dave went on to speak about how when God is added...other stuff must be subtracted.  How true....and we can prove to others how much God has added by our lives.  Wow.

Obedience brings joy to God.

I got to thinking and humbly...tears welled in my eyes.  As some personal stuff was revealed to me again this past weekend and yet, so much MORE was added of God.  Someone told me this weekend, 'how strong I was'...'am' is ONLY because of God.

Pastor Dave also showed us scripture in Luke and in Acts...that shows..God does discipline.

One of the things that was finally added to my hunger for HIS word.  It hurts my heart to see others have pain, get pain, or have to deal with a trial of some that they FINALLY want HIM, but HE knows best.

I pray, that I continue to ADD God and subtract the other life will prove there is good fruit.

Lord, I am so glad you don't view me as a filthy rag.
Lord, I love you.
Lord, thank you for having the patience to wait on me.
Lord, I praise YOUR name.
Lord, I want you to say to me - 'well done my good and faithful daughter'...
Lord, thank you for helping me stay obedient.
Lord, thank you for YOUR timing.
Lord, thank you for being the RIGHT daddy and protector.
Lord, thank you for slowly changing...adding and subtracting....
Lord, it was stated 'we are doing well'....Lord, be in EACH moment, be in EACH minute, be in EACH thought...of each of us and them.  Amen.