I am Celebrating…

The Women of Faith team has a blog hop on Friday’s and I thought I would join. So..last weeks question was what are you celebrating?

I am celebrating today! I am thankful that I have 3 beautiful children, I can have my windows open, I can walk and breath and my husband has been healed! You see just not too long ago in life there was a time when I looked around and it seemed as though I could not see the things in life to celebrate. I was living in a parsonage with windows that were painted shut or had not screens. Thus I am soooooo amazingly thankful for today a house with windows that OPEN and I can hear the laughter of children outside and the breeze blowing through my windows. I choose to celebrate my 3 beautiful children even the one who is tired and cranky at the moment. A little over 5 years ago one of my children was very fragile and had just spent a time on life support facing a heart surgery. Today he is a healthy and very funny 5 year old. He is so loving and kind but 110% all boy too! I am blessed with a beautiful daughter and another beautiful son. I am thankful that I have come through a major 10 hour surgery and have been given a new life to breathe in the fresh air. Last spring it was a struggle to run let alone keep on with such compressed lungs. Today I rejoice in the ability to walk, laugh and rejoice with my family and friends. I am thankful that my husband has had the healing hand of God touch his body fully and completly. Just a few weeks ago we were dealing with day to day living for him as he had a large mass on his right lung and was taken some very toxic medication to disolve of the tumor. He was a meeting and was HEALED in the name of Jesus!!! The doctor even confirmed this for us this past week! I am choosing to celebrate and rejoice what the Lord has done today. Not what could have, should have would have been but what HAS been and IS being!!! Find something to REJOICE in today!

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The Honor Academy

God has a way of working things out for HIS GOOD! A few many years ago….in 1999-2001 I felt that God was leading me to go the Teen Mania Honor Academy. I applied and got accepted. I was very excited about this opportunity and was working on getting support for my year. I ended up meeting Josh and we ended up in Iowa. For the past 11 years I have been haunted by not going. I have felt shame and guilt. I have found out some things about Teen Mania and yes I know it’s one sided but I am so grateful that I did not end up going. As I have read through a blog by a former Alumni she states that they basically run you ragged so you have to depend upon the Lord for strength. I believe the TM has some amazing opportunities but the method that is used may not be the best. I remember very clearly one of the interns who was my advisor telling how AMAZING ESOAL was and I was so excited to go that I could hardley wait! I knew it was a weekend retreat and it was optional and that you were pushed to the point of physical exhaustion and forced to reley on God. I understand this and to some extent think that is a good thing for some people. But at the same time what is that teaching? What if you physically can not make it through? Does that make you a bad person? Have you sined? No, we are all weak and through Jesus Christ HE makes us STRONG! So, would I recommend the HA to my kids……well…..I would have them check out this website and make their own desicion. And yes, I fully understand and know that thousands of teenagers go through the HA and come out a better person. I also fully understand that many go into full time ministry. Again I am not questioning their knowledge of the bible and the way they teach it. I am questioning their method.
www.recoveringalumni.com

Do you offer God your Leftovers?

I am reading with a few others on Wednesday night Frances Chans book “Crazy Love”. This past chapter gave us interesting and good discussion. As I have grown and matured I will never forget being a jr. high youth leader and the kids wanting to learn about Revelations. Judy do you remember that? It was cool because I got to learn too! And the even more amazing thing is I remember it!! In our series we talked about the 3 churches in Revelation and the one I clearly remember is the church of ladosia. Now I know I didn’t spell the church correctly. But……..the cool thing is I was able to use my knowledge about the church to help and challenge two guys in the class. You see many times as Christians we give God what we have “left”. We don’t give him everything we have! I am guilty of this especially if I am tired or don’t want to do something. i.e. my husband signed me up for it! 😉 But we as Christians need to giving God everything that we have weather it is in relationships, worship, ministry or in our own spiritual life. There are many more areas that we can give God 100% too. But how many times do we go into a situation and say “God I have this much time for…..” or I am really tired so here is a quick prayer or the Purdue game is on. Can’t that wait? We need to STOP doing this and saying God here I am. Use all of me. God does not want what we have “leftover”. He wants ALLLLLL of us!!!!! How cool and AMAZING is it to know that the creator of the universe wants to know and have a personal relationship with you! I am in awe of that! I encourage you to check out Frances Chans book “Crazy Love”. Good stuff!

The Enemy of Debit

Wowzers! I am such at a loss for words. For the past 4 weeks Josh and I have been attending the Dave Ramsey course and tonight I am totally broken. Let me share with you some key pieces to my past. Growing up I worked from the time I was 16 but did not have access to the funds easily. My mom did and I had to ask permission to use the funds that I had worked for. She was wanting me to be responsible but this kind of back fired. At the age of 18 I had a used car paid for, lived at home and had a great job. I fell into the trap of lies. Lies that you have to have credit to get a car, house, go on a trip amongst many other things. Around the age of 18, I had gotten a gas card to “build my credit” but boy oh boy did I fall and I fell hard into the mouth of debit. Credit card companies liked me because they made LOTS and LOTS of money on me! You see after the gas card, came a cell phone, after the cell phone came shopping at AE. You want an AE card so you can get xx% off. Sure why not I’ll just pay it off at the end of the month. No problem. The mall and the bookstore became my Best Friend. I would received a Master Card, Visa, American Express along with the gas card and the AE card. I was loaded! I bought stuff to fill a void in my life that only could and can come from Jesus Christ. I would buy stuff before I went to work and would hide it in the car. I took friends out to eat. I bought clothes and shoes. I bought CD’s. I have NOTHING to show for it now! My dad helped me out by giving me some money to pay the debits down. I no longer have the credit cards and all the credit cards are paid off but two. I tried debit “counseling” but did not make progress due to fees. It is by the amazing grace, mercy and love of my wonderful husband Josh and dad that I was able to get rid of those cards. My point I am getting at here is I learned a very easy lesson a very hard way! DO NOT GET A CREDIT CARD!!!!!!!! No matter how GOOOODDDD the offer looks. You can pay CASH or use the DEBIT card!! I think of how I have nothing to show for it. I think of how much money I spent. I was living at home, car paid for, no other real expenses and I BLEW $15,000/yr plus some because I had Credit Cards and I was wanting to be accepted. My credit card/shopping addiction goes further into being like an alcoholic at a bar. I could not get enough of the adrenaline high that came from shopping. I have come a long way but still have a long way to go. With Dave Ramsey I CAN do this and God’s help! I am making a choice to be more responsible in what I do with what God has given me. Cash HURTS…immediate! Credit FEELS GOOD! Use cash until it STINGS!!!! I am glad that I am saved by grace. Nothing more. Nothing less.