Monday, March 31, 2008

First Flower!!!

I love Spring. I love watching the process of everything around me slowly coming to life. The sight of tulips, daffodils, crocus and flowering trees is enough to make me downright giddy! This is especially true of the “first flower” each year. I anxiously begin watching around mid-February for the earliest hint of those first stems as they begin to appear. This year, Winter was relentless and continued bringing snow (and lots of it) well into March! You can perhaps imagine my excitement a couple of days ago when my sweet hubby announced the arrival of our first flower, a beautiful white crocus, in the front yard, under our birch tree. After doing a happy little dance (no kidding!) I grabbed my camera and rushed out to capture a photo of this little beauty. Did I mention I LOVE SPRING!?!

Look, the winter is past, and the rains are over and gone.The flowers are springing up, the season of singing birds has come… ~Song of Solomon 2: 11& 12 (NLT)

Friday, March 28, 2008

A New Revelation

I've been pondering. (This can sometimes be a dangerous thing.) I've been itching to write all week, but this has been my first opportunity to get it all down! I read a phrase on Beth Moore's Good Friday blog that I can’t seem to get out of my mind. She wrote “Every single ounce of power expended on the Cross is yours in Jesus’ Name.…” Just let that settle in for a moment. This thought has been swirling around my head like crazy. It’s as if I’ve never fully grasped the kind of power that is available to me through Christ. I’ve known since becoming a Christian (way back when) that I have the power of Christ living in me through the Holy Spirit, but that much power?! The more I considered this new revelation, it struck me that when I think about many of my favorite scriptures, they also speak of God’s power…

Romans: 1:16 – I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.

2 Corinthians 12:9: Each time he said, “my grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

Colossians 1:10-12: We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light.

2 Timothy 1:7: For God has not give us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.

Ironically, or maybe not…; )…the chapter I’m now working on in my Bible study (He Speaks to Me by Priscilla Shirer) is giving substantial attention to the incomparable, overcoming and superhuman nature of God’s power. (As if God’s trying to drive home a point with me!) So knowing all such things, how can there be any room in my heart for doubt? Why have I often settled for mediocre dreams? Why do I allow my own fears to overshadow the mighty power of God in my life? Why am I so easily discouraged at times? How is it that I can actually doubt God’s ability to change certain situations? Why have I never fully grasped just how much power is available to me through Christ? Beth Moore's blog entry went on to suggest we possibly live in defeat because we’ve never allowed ourselves to feel the full and free forgiveness of the Cross. Is that you? Is that me? While I’ve always thought of myself as a blessed, humbled and contented believer, a part of me had to answer yes to this question. So often in my walk I’ve allowed fears and feelings of unworthiness to hinder me in what I can do for Christ. I want to surrender that to him TODAY. Lord, I so desire to embrace the full and free forgiveness of Your cross. I want, like never before, to claim every ounce of that power in my life. To believe like never before in its sufficiency, and in your willingness to provide it to those who ask...may it be so, Lord Jesus.

Ephesians 3:16-21: I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church in and Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Resurrection Sunday!

I pray you've had a wonderful Easter celebrating our Lord's ressurection! This video was shared this morning at the close of our Youth group Sunday school's beautiful and very moving. May we all be amazed by His incredible sacrifice...

...For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. ~Romans 5:6-8

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Birthday to my Baby Sister

I can still remember the day in 1971 when I met my “baby sister” for the first time. At 5 years old, I was already a big sister to my 3 year old brother, but I knew this was different. This was another girl – my sister. I fell in love with her instantly and even had the privilege of helping to name her “Marcia Lynn” (pronounced “Mar-see-uh,” not “Marsha”).

I have many memories of her as a baby, and then (as if she aged overnight), my next and most vivid memories are when she was 4 and I was 9, when we began sharing a room. One of our favorite things was to get up in the middle of the night when everyone else was asleep. Some nights, we would very quietly tip-toe into the kitchen for a snack. Other nights, we’d just stay in our room and color or play with our dolls. Eventually, we'd get tired, climb into bed and go back to sleep. We giggled and called it "our secret!" That went on for several years and we never once got caught! = )

As time went on, she grew into quite a fun girl. An interesting mix of tom-boy, gymnast, drama queen and “mother hen” to many of the kids in our neighborhood, she was also often my shadow. This wasn’t a problem until middle school, when I became the drama queen and begged my Mom, “Could you please make her stop following me!?” I had my own room by now and desperately wanted my own space away from her! For the next few years, we seemed to drive each other crazy.

Somewhere around my senior year of high school, that started to change. By this time, she was in middle school, which meant we were both part of the same youth group. Suddenly our interests didn’t seem quite so far apart anymore. We started sharing clothes; doing each other’s hair and makeup, listening to music together and before too long, we were inseparable. I remained at home for one more year after my graduation and watched as she began to transform into a lovely, talented, spirited, funny and very popular young lady. I distinctly remember the hardest part of leaving home was being away from her.

All these years and many life experiences later, we’re still very close. I can’t imagine my life without her. She’s a wonderful wife, a terrific mom to 5 great and Godly kids, a ton of fun, and undoubtedly the best sister I could ever ask for. I celebrate and honor her today!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Time with a cherished friend...

Last night is a memory I won't soon forget. Despite the cold, rainy weather, I was so looking forward to getting together with Sarah. We've spent time together before (usually scrapbooking and always with hot tea), but this time was particularly sweet. That's because Sarah is moving to Ireland. She and her family are joining our former youth pastor and his family as missionaries there. It has been an incredible journey, three years in the making. My family and I have been humbled by their obedience, prayed for them since the beginning, and watched with great joy the Lord’s provision of their financial support. It has been especially exciting to hear the reports from our former youth pastor (who arrived in Ireland last June) about the ways the Lord is already blessing their ministry there.

Sarah and her family have always been special…deeply committed servants who radiate the love of Jesus, and who serve with such compassion and humility. (Sarah’s oldest brother and his wife are also missionaries.) I met them when Sarah was in 4th grade with my son. Later, in middle school, I was privileged to have her in my small group -- that's when our friendship really began to grow. Sarah has always had such a gentle, loving, compassionate way about her. I wish I could tell you how many times God has used her example to humble and challenge me. We both feel God has knit our hearts together in a unique way and I couldn't be more pleased. I positively adore her.

Sarah is not sure (as of now), how long the Lord will have her remain in Ireland with her parents, but her heart is open and willing to do as He leads. In the meantime, she'll attend college there and become a part of the ministry already underway with our former youth pastor and his wife.

As I really tried to savor our time together last night, I couldn't help but be incredibly excited for her. It wasn't until we hugged for the 3rd or 4th time and she climbed into her little beetle bug that I felt the lump swell in my throat. I walked to my car with a heart that was full, whispering a prayer of thanks for my precious friend, and all that God has shown me through her. I love you, Sarah. (Can't wait to see how God uses you in Ireland!)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Welcome to my Life...

Maybe that’s a good place to start…If I may, I’d like to tell you a little of my story. I’m married to a wonderful man, my very best friend, Tom. We met way back in 1983 when he was working as a disc jockey at a Cincinnati radio station and I called to request a song. There was immediate chemistry and a short time later, we planned to meet. On the day we actually met (face-to-face), my little sister had gone up and down our street inviting all the kids in the neighborhood to come and see the “radio man” who was coming to meet her sister. It’s a sight I will never forget….10-15 little kids sitting side-by-side, all along our front yard, cheering for him as he pulled down the street. That very likely could have been what “sealed the deal,” because Tom and I immediately began dating and a little over a year later, we were married.

We were happily enjoying life for a number of years, 3 ½ to be exact, when we learned we were expecting. What an amazing, exciting time! In January of 1989, we welcomed a beautiful baby boy, Brennan into our hearts and lives. Life was (and continues to be) blessed. Through a series of people and circumstances that could have only been orchestrated by God, my husband gave his heart to the Lord, and I recommitted my life to the Lord as well just before Brennan started first grade. We enrolled him in a Christian school (where he remained for all 12 years). By God’s grace, Brennan immediately adapted to an active church life and attending a Christian school. (He not only adapted to it, he loved it!) He has truly been the greatest blessing of our lives. A leader with exceptional character, tremendously talented, humble, sensitive, tons of fun and who will (to this day) hug and kiss his Mom or Dad right in front of his buddies! Our little family has always been close and God has blessed Brennan with some incredible mentors over the years that have really helped sharpen him into a passionate young man of faith. He is now a college student in South Carolina pursuing Christian media and Theatre arts. We believe God has big things in store for him.

Meanwhile, Tom and I are living life, loving each other and loving the Lord. We both work for the same law firm, which means we get to ride to work together each day and even have lunch together most days. We are so blessed. Tom and I are both what you could call (in the words of Kevin Leman), “Joy Spreaders.” We love to encourage others and show the love of Christ in unexpected ways. It is my hope that this blog will be a place of encouragement, being real and yes spreading joy and love to others! Looking forward to new friends and (in the words of Beth Moore) blog “siestas!” May you be blessed this day…


…I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

~Romans 15:13