Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wipe Your Feet!

At a bridal shower recently, we asked all the guests to bring a gift that has helped them grow in their journey of becoming a godly wife and/or mom.

I spent countless hours thinking, pondering, praying and agonizing over what I might present to my friend to symbolize what God had been using in my own life to make me more like Him. Finally, it hit me! I knew the perfect gift! But then reality hit, and I knew that I couldn't possibly give away N! ;)

In all seriousness, I truly believe that God has placed N in my life to stretch me, grow me, and make me more dependant upon Him. If we never encounter some rough patches, or walk through valleys-those hard and sometimes frightening places-we will never truly appreciate the mountain top experiences in life. We can grow so accustomed to life being easy, we lose our appreciation of it and take it for granted.

God says in Romans 8:28: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."

It makes me think of a welcome mat lying outside your front door. Every time you step in or out of your house, you walk across the mat, yet never really stop to notice it, or make much use of it. You simply "take it for granted" and probably even forget it's presence. But that's on a sunny day!

All of a sudden, when a thunderstorm comes and your shoes get muddy, you now actually stop on the mat, carefully wiping and scraping all of the dirt and mud off-taking full advantage of the mat and what it has to offer.

Isn't that kind of the way we tend to treat our relationship with God? We run over Him every day with short, quick prayers here and there..."Thanks for this" or "Help me with that." But only when we run into the rough, nasty circumstances of life and have mud up to our ankles, where God forces us to our knees in humble dependence upon Him, do we truly stop, take notice of Him, and interact with Him the way we were created to.

We may not always understand what He's doing in our lives, or why He chooses the paths that He places us on...but He doesn't ask us for our opinion! We're simply called to trust Him.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. Isaiah 55:8

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths." Proverbs 3:5-6

"The word of our Lord holds true, and everything He does is worthy of our trust." Psalm 33:4

You're sure to experience many good, fun, happy times in life, but like it or not, you'll also experience your share of hard, uneasy times as well. This is where I want to encourage you to "wipe your feet" on God if you will.

"Cast all your cares on him because He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

Regardless of what ups and downs you face, I pray that God will bless you on your journey. May your door mat continually serve as a reminder of God's constant, active presence in your life. Don't wait for the hard times to seek His face, but daily go to the Lord in prayer...that's the only way you'll ever thrive and grow.

"Remain in me and I in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:4-5

May you never take His presence for granted!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

It's a Small World After All...

Small world stories have always fascinated me, and since I have a couple of my own, I thought I would share...

1. A couple of years ago, I was at the church working (not during my regular hours), and the phone rang (which it had been doing a lot that day, so I didn't think anything of it). The voice on the other end of the line said, "Hello. May I speak with Bethany?" I identified myself as such, and then she told me that our husband's worked together, and that's how she got my number. My first reaction was, "Uh-oh!" Because just one month before I had received a call from one of Paul's co-worker's spouses crying and all upset, wanting some help and advice on their crumbling marriage. I thought, "Surely this isn't another one of those situations!?"

Thankfully, that wasn't the case at all! The lady on the phone (Meghan)and another lady (I forget her name) were planning on going to the park and wanted to invite me & the kid's along. I had other plans that afternoon, but was trying to think of how I could work around them so I could join in on the know me-ready and willing to meet new people at any given point in time! Anyhow...I said, "Sure. Which park are you going to?" When she told me the name of it, it didn't sound familiar. So I asked her where it was located and then she told me another name that didn't sound familiar. I then concluded that she lived near the plant and didn't realize I was an hour away. She then asked me where I was. But when I told her, she responded with, "Where?" I told her again, and she then asked in a reserved tone of voice, "Where does your husband work?" I said, "In Old Ocean." She said, "In the ocean???" By now I was beginning to figure out that I wasn't who she thought I was! I explained that he worked in a gasoline refinery in the town of Old Ocean, and she asked very hesitantly, "You mean...your husband isn't in the Coast Guard??" I said, "No.?" We start laughing, and she says, "Let me read the phone number to she reads, "___-___-0598" and I said, "That's the number, and my name is Bethany, but I'm not the person you're looking for." I asked her where she was and she said, "Oregon!" She asked me where Edna was and of course you all reading this know the answer to that question! So anyhow...she starts talking and visiting...I told her it wasn't my home number, that it's the church where I worked. She asked what type of church it was and I told her Baptist. She said, "Everyone in Texas is Baptist, aren't they? Just kidding!" She was a Christian though...we established that much. We went on to discuss several things & found out we had lots in common...just a few examples: She had three kids, I had three kids. Her oldest was nine, my oldest was nine. Her middle son was going to be 7 in August, my youngest son was going to be 7 in August...It was crazy! Needless to say, we had a really good, encouraging conversation! She ended with, "Is this a divine appointment or what? Well, ________(insert the lady with the forgotten name here) is here waiting to go to the park, so I better let you go." I told her I hoped she and the other lady had a GREAT time at the park, and was sorry I couldn't go with them that day, but there was always next time, right? We still keep up with one another through e-mail and Myspace, too.

How weird was that??

2. I moved to West Virginia for the summer (3 months & 8 days to be exact) when I was 19 and worked at Rock Lake Putt-Putt in South Charleston. To this very day, it is still the absolute most favorite job I've ever had...well, besides being a wife & mom! ;) It really helps the environment when your boss is a Christian (& runs his business like it) too! The day before I was flying back home, I was standing at the ice cream counter and was tracing my name in the ice. Someone standing nearby asked what I was doing that for, and I said, "I'm leaving to go home tomorrow, and I'm leaving them something to remember me by." :) She said, "Where are you from?" I told her, and then she said, "My best friend lives in Victoria!" I asked for her name, and when she said, "Christy Spradlin" it shocked me! She and her entire family were members at our church, and I had known them practically all my life!!


3. This is my most recent encounter...if you keep up with my blog, then you're aware that Paul and I just got back from a "Weekend to Remember" marriage conference (that had 4,200 people there, remember?). A couple of days ago, I get an e-mail from a lady (Hi Lezlee!!) saying that she has also been reading my blog, and she and her husband were also at the same conference!!! Although we didn't meet while there, I thought that was pretty neat. And I was equally excited to see that I actually had a "real" blog reader...not that you don't count Mom, but... :) Just kidding!!!

From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth- he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do. Psalm 33:13-15

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

We're Back!

Well, the conference has come and gone, and we're back home in one piece. The conference was really good; I truly enjoyed the speakers! Dennis Rainey was there (which was really cool since this is the only conference he's speaking at ALL year), as well as Dan Jarrell & Kyle & Sharon Dodd. I had never heard of these speakers before, but they did a great job! We didn't learn anything new, but I suppose it helped reiterate some things we need to keep in mind over the course of our married life together.

The resort was fabulous, but oh my!! It is the largest thing I've ever seen!!! We weren't the only conference there mind you, and our conference alone had over 4,200 people in attendance!! The day's were filled with sessions, with 15 minute breaks spread throughout the day (as well as one for lunch)...try getting 4,200 people fed (in the snack line) or to the bathroom, or through the book store in that amount of time! Impossible. Saturday morning, Paul and I decided to run to Cracker Barrel and get breakfast (thinking we were being smart) instead of going to one of the way over-priced (story on that shortly), too crowded restaurants (that you had to make reservations for if you wanted a seat, but didn't accept same-day reservations) in the resort. Well, we did make it back (right on time), but by the time we parked in the parking garage and high tailed it over to the convention center (down stairs, across parking lots, through the resort, down the hall, up the escalators, etc.) you've put in a good 20-30 minute semi-jog!! So, at least we got our exercise! :) It wasn't nearly as relaxing as I had hoped, but it was still good!

Okay, here's our over-priced story...after breakfast at Cracker Barrel, we really weren't very hungry for lunch. So, Paul had the bright idea of just picking up some snacks, taking them back to our room, and hanging out for an hour until the next session. I got a Coca-Cola Zero, and he a Vitamin Water. We grabbed a small package of Peanut M&M's (in case my bloodsugar went low during the conference), an individual sized bag of Dorito's, a box of Ritz crackers with a small block of Smoked Swiss cheese. $35!!!!! Isn't that insane??? Brunch on Sunday after the conference was over? $32 dollars a plate!!! Although I must admit, that was some GOOD food!!! And the atmosphere was really neat too. And needless to say, that by the time we even made it back to our room, we literally had like 15 minutes to eat before heading back out the door! HA!

I'm truly not complaining! I would do it all over again...just to spend time alone with Paul and get away from our day-in, day-out routine. It really was well worth it. But next time, I think we'll go to a smaller resort...a girl needs to relax! :)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I'm OUTTA here!!!

No, no! Not gone from the blogging world...sorry for the little scare! :)

Paul and I are leaving first thing in the morning for time away!!! I am so excited! I honestly don't remember the last time just the two of us got away for a couple of days without children in tow?

We're going to Grapevine to attend Family Life's "Weekend to Remember" marriage conference! I've never personally been to one, but heard they're awesome!

We'll be gone through Sunday, so expect no updates until Monday...or later. :)

Have a very Happy Valentine's Day and a GREAT weekend!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Honor Him.

Yesterday was a pretty stressful day for me...outwardly, full of struggles with my youngest son. Internally, full of struggles with my weight issues.

A really good friend of ours decided a little over a week ago that we should text one another every time we ate something, since he's attempting to lose weight as well. I thought it sounded good for accountability's sake, and thought it would be worth a try. So I sent out my first text on Sunday, February 1st as I sat down for breakfast. To my surprise, we've followed through remarkably well! Being a Type-1 Diabetic, I should keep track of what I eat anyway, and you would think with me being a list maker (aka list LOVER!) I would follow through with that on my own...however, every time I try, I fail. Those little books the doctor's give you to keep track of your bloodsugar reading's are WAY too small to be of any use! And carrying a binder around with me every where I go, isn't very do-able either.? This texting thing though, I'm loving it! I sat down yesterday, reading back over the texts I sent this past week, and wrote down my food diary all at once. Love! Love, love!

On the other side of the same coin, however, it just kind of discouraged me because I've been working out faithfully, walking, drinking lots of water, not eating sugar (all of this for over 6 weeks now), and I haven't seen ANY results in regards to my weight! None. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Zip. Absolutely NOTHING! Not even 1 pound! While our friend on the other hand has lost 6 (in the past week alone)! Yes, I know, he's a man. He's naturally going to lose it faster...but he also loves to tell me how I'm not getting enough fiber in my diet, & if I would just do what he says, eat what he eats, etc, I would see results. Trust me, I get plenty of fiber, but nothing gives...? UGH!

Then this morning, I sat down with my Bible before my kid's got up, and I was reading through Psalms 41-45 (I have Psalms marked off so I read a certain section each day of the month). I came to chapter 45, verses 10 & 11. And this is what it says,

"Listen, O daughter, consider and give ear: Forget your people and your father's house. The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord."

This is my translation..."Forget your friend and his advice. Don't worry about what other people think about you. And probably the hardest thing of all to do, is to stop being so critical of yourself! Even if you don't see yourself as thin & beautiful, I am enthralled by your beauty!!!! I love you just the way you are, and that's all that matters!!! I'm just asking you to honor me. Stop worring about your results. You honor me. You're not responsible for the outcome...that's in my hands. You simply honor me. The scale is not your lord. I am your Lord."

I forget sometimes (okay, a lot of the time) that God isn't as concerned with my physical appearance, but rather my heart. In my mind, if I'm absorbed in it, He must be too! :) I'm not saying we shouldn't strive to care for our bodies, because they are the temple of the Holy Spirit, and we need to be good stewards of everything He's given us! But the words that jumped off the page and stuck with me were the words, "Honor him."

Honor him.

Do we truly honor him? It's a question I need to ponder upon...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

What Was She Thinkin'??

This morning right after J woke up, she grabbed a carton of yogurt out of the fridge, and instead of getting a spoon (like normal people), she chose to pour it in her mouth...I guess she wasn't expecting it to come out quite so fast!? It filled her mouth, one nostril, got all over her face, her hands, and promptly fell to the floor. Thank you Lord, for hardwood floors!!! :) She kept her head tilted back, in a vain attempt to make less of a mess, but she couldn't really ask for help either since her mouth was full of vanilla yogurt! I must admit, I thought it was pretty funny!

Her hair may have darkened up quite a bit from when she were little, but she is still a true blonde!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Poor Mom!

(Forgive me Mom for posting this, but I thought it was too funny not to share! And being the kind, thoughtful person that you are, I know you would not want to prohibit these faithful blog readers (all 1 or 2) from having a good laugh! It's even Biblical, you know?)

"A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." Proverbs 17:22

So, with that said, here is my mom's story that she shared with me via e-mail. Enjoy!!!

I like to keep everyone up to date on the family happenings....since most of you live a distance away now. Yesterday morning, I got out of bed and immediately let the dogs out to pee. I decided to put in a load of wash while waiting for them to come in and eat breakfast. Dad stepped to the kitchen/utility room door and said he was going to Clay's to check the mail, get the electric meter reading, and just check things out.
"Okey-dokey....see you later!" And off he went. In about two minutes the dogs are ready to go in the house. I reached for the doorknob of the kitchen/utility room door and IT IS LOCKED! Your dad had LOCKED THE DOOR, then left. That leaves me in the utility room, in a flannel nightgown and TENNIS SHOES (since that was the first pair of shoes I found when I got out of bed). Oh, and let's not forget it is 29 freaking degrees outside! I tried everything I could find to pick the lock, but nothing worked. I wound up sitting in my car, in the garage, for 45 min. until he gets back from Clay's house and lets me in the back door. End of story. And yes, he IS still alive and breathing and doesn't even have knots on his head. So you all may rest easy. Love, Mom