Monthly Archives: November 2012

Give Me Words to Speak: Part 2

Five years ago, we moved our family almost 400 miles away from the place we called home. We left our friends, our family, life as we knew it, behind. It was a completely fresh start. We knew no one, and no one knew us.

It was like having a completely clean slate. No one defined us by our past mistakes. I thought it was great! No judgement! But as time passed and continues to pass, I realize that if people don’t know your past, they don’t truly know you. Can you have a meaningful relationship with someone, without revealing those life circumstances that have defined you and made you who you are?

I’m not sure you can. I have shared bits and pieces with a select few people, but even then I find my temperature rising, my heart racing and those feelings of “what are they going to think of me” creep in.

I learned some time ago, that I am much better at putting my thoughts down on paper than speaking them. That’s why I started blogging. It’s my outlet to release all of those thoughts that I can’t get out verbally.

So, I have decided that sometime in the near future, I will share my testimony here. The holidays are coming, so it might take some time, but it’s coming.

Give Me Words to Speak : Part 1

Was there ever a time in your life when you had a strong sense that one day God would call you to a do a certain thing for Him? You didn’t know how He would work it all out, but you were confident that in His time you would do this great thing for Him?

I did. I was 18 years old, and I was sure that God would use my life to touch other young girls who found themselves in my situation or to help prevent them from finding themselves there. I knew, or so I thought, that God would use me to further His kingdom in this way.

I find myself, at nearly 32 years of age, wondering if I missed it. Did I miss my chance to do great things for Him. Was He calling me, but I wasn’t listening? A flood of thoughts and reasons run through my mind as to why I never heard this calling.

And then I think I was never called to do this because I am not capable. It’s not my area of strength. My thoughts are turned toward Moses. Moses thought himself incapable of the task that God had for him, but he did it, not by his own will, but by the will of God working through him.

I was so sure that one day I would stand before a crowd of teenage girls and give my testimony and share my trials and struggles, and the triumph that I found when I placed my life fully in God’s hands, withholding nothing.

In reality, I have a hard time having a one-on-one conversation and getting my words out. I have been made more aware of this recently. I have known, pretty much forever, that I get nervous speaking in front of people. But it’s become more clear to me that I even have a difficult time
speaking with a close friend or family member, and clearly expressing my thoughts verbally. It’s in my head, it sounds good up there, but when I open my mouth, it comes out wrong. I don’t say at all what I’m trying to say and I end up feeling like a fool. When there is confrontation about an issue, it gets really bad. I know what I believe and why, but for me to get that out seems nearly impossible.

In October, I started leading a Moms in Prayer group. I had no idea how stretching this would be for me. I have been very humbled by this experience thus far. Even in a small group of 6-8 women, I cannot verbalize my prayers. The words just don’t come out the way they should. I find myself stumbling through the prayer time. I’m so thankful for this non-judgmental group of ladies.

If I can’t pray in a small group setting, how on earth did I think that God would call me to minister to large groups of girls? What was I thinking? Have I been fooling myself all this time?

I have recently been reminded of one event when I did share my story and talk with a group of girls. I never thought of that as being the “calling” I had been waiting for. I was probably about 22 or 23 years old and I shared with a small group of girls at a summer youth camp our church had started. I suppose I never thought of that as counting, because I didn’t feel like it reached anyone. I thought I said all the wrong things and left out the most important points that I had really wanted to get across. But honestly, I have no idea. That talk, with that small group of 10-12 girls, may have touched someones life that night. Maybe I did fulfill the calling that God had for me…one of the callings.

At this point in my life, I believe that my calling is to be a wife and mother. Some people are judgmental of stay-at-home moms, especially “in this economy”. But I believe there is no greater calling. Hearing your child sing along with a song like “ God’s not dead He’s surely alive, living on the inside roaring like a lion” is an awesome thing. Hearing your child pray for a child in their class that can’t speak or that has an anger issue is such a blessing! To know that I have raised my children to serve the Almighty God, gives me such a sense of “Yeah, I can do this. I’m right where I need to be.”

My prayer as of lately has been “Give me words to speak”; to my children, my husband, family members, friends, acquaintances. I find myself searching for the right words to say, but my words alone will never amount to anything. My words mean nothing without Christ in me.

Thankful Hearts

I can’t believe it’s already the beginning of November!  My mind is spinning toward Thanksgiving and thoughts of  how to make this holiday season particularly special. This year has been so crazy, that I really want to slow down and take it all in.

Here are some things I have chosen to create a memorable Thanksgiving season for our family this year.

Countdown to Thanksgiving 

To get the kids excited about Thanksgiving and to help them focus on others instead of themselves, I have decided to do a countdown to Thanksgiving.  I had the kids give me a list of things they are thankful for. I took the list and compiled activities to go along with each “thankful”.  Then, I made paper baskets and put some string on them so they can be hung. I made little pumpkins to go inside of each basket. On the pumpkins, I wrote the “thankful” and the activity to go along with it. I put them in order and strung them up in a large doorway.  We will begin on November 7 and have a 15 day countdown to Thanksgiving.

Here is what are “thankfuls” and activities look like.

We are thankful for….

Nov. 7     Freedom to worship God

–Pray together as a family and take turns thanking God  for His blessings.

Nov. 8     Jesus‘ Birth

–Come up with a new Christmas tradition. Make a decoration.

Nov. 9   Our family

–Family Game Night

Nov. 10   The things God has given us

–Donate to those who aren’t as blessed.  (OCC)

Nov. 11 Our church leaders and teachers

–Make a special treat or gift for Sunday school teachers.

Nov. 12   Our mom and dad

–DATE NIGHT!!!

Nov. 13   Our friends

–Make a special treat for friends. Acorns and pilgrim hats

Nov.14 Our clothes

–Donate extra clothing to those in need.

Nov. 15  Our food

–Donate to the church food pantry.

Nov.16 Our school and teachers

–Make a special card or treat for our teachers.

Nov. 17 Our home

–Decorate for the season.

Nov. 18 God’s creation

–Take a walk or drive and admire God’s creation.

Nov. 19 Our grandparents

–Call or send a special note.

Nov. 20 Our extended family

–Call or send a special note.

Nov. 21   Family memories

–Make a Thankful Journal. Family Game Night.

Nov. 22 THANKSGIVING

–Read  “Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving”

Our Thankful Journawill be a simple journal where each member of the family will record what they are thankful for this year. It will be kept and brought out each Thanksgiving to record what we are thankful for that year.  It will become a family tradition and a great keepsake for years to come.

We will also be doing a Thankful Wall.

For the Thankful Wall, we will use post-it notes and every day, each of us will write one thing we are thankful for. We will stick the post-it to the wall. Viola! Thankful Wall.

Make Great-Full Jars for each member of the family

For the Great-Full Jars, we will get a jar or cute decorated box for each member of the family. Grab some cute paper and cut it into slips. Write down things we are grateful for about the recipient. We will write each memory, reason, gift, on individual slips of paper. Fill the jar with the great notes of memories and joys and love, noting why we are so grateful for that person. They can go to the jar anytime and pull out a note of encouragement.

For our Family Devotions, we will intentionally focus our prayer time on praise and thanksgiving.

Another thing we are going to do is throw in some “fun” days.

No Complaining Day: Dare to go all day with no complaining. Slip a rubber band on your wrist and every time you complain, move it to the other wrist. Dare everyone in the whole family to go the whole day without moving their wrist reminder. We will celebrate with a special treat when the whole family can go the whole day with no complaining!

Random Acts of Kindness Day: This is a character trait I have already tried to instill in the kids, but how fun to have a day when we intentionally do random acts of kindness. At devotion time, we will share what we have done!

I am excited to really take time this year to intentionally Thank God for all his blessings to us. Sometimes in the busyness of life, and the trials and struggles  that we face, we forget about all the amazing gifts we have.  I encourage you to spend some time today to look beyond the pile of laundry, the fussing kids, the stack of bills, the long hours at work, or whatever those things are in your life that wear you down, and open your eyes to the many gifts that God has given you.