Monthly Archives: September 2015

09/21/15

Through the Fire

We lost a dear lady last week. A precious family friend, the wife to our amazing Music Minister, one of our sweet book club ladies, and one of my ‘spiritual giants’ in the Christian faith.

In February 2013, Shannon was diagnosed with a very advanced, very aggressive form of breast cancer. She immediately began treatments, surgery, and eventually reconstruction. It was a terribly long & painful road, but through it all she was faithful.

Shannon was always the first to share with you that her favorite Bible story since childhood was in the book of Daniel and was the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego & the Fiery Furnace. King Nebuchadnezzar decreed that all of his subjects be forced to fall upon the idols and worship, and if they refused, they would be thrown into the fiery furnace. The 3 faithful men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, told the King they would not worship the idol saying,

“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (Daniel 3:17-18)

She was so struck by their statement of faith that it became her own personal testimony of cancer- her version of the fiery furnace. She knew that her God could rescue her, that He could heal her, but if He did not, she would still praise Him. She would continue to worship Him in the midst of her fire. We were created for worship.

She had faith in His ability, but trusted in His sovereignty over all.

She said that in the midst of the fire, you have to decide- does God get to be God? Or does He not?

Is he only God when things are going well? Or is He God through every situation in life, in every single circumstance?

Shannon made that choice boldly saying, “He gets to be God!” 

The first time I heard that aspect of her testimony, I was blown away. What other reaction is there, really?!? Her faith in Her God, His capabilities, His love and faithfulness to her, was and still is awe-inspiring. I pray for that kind of faith when I am in life’s fires.

But, her testimony is true for all of us.

We all have fires, don’t we?

So, maybe they are not cancer, but we all have fires in this life. It’s almost a guarantee.

So, I ask… what is your fire? 

What is the storm that you find yourself in?

What is the situation that you must decide if God gets to be God, or does He not?

Can He be God in your fire? In your life? In your storms and in your successes? In your happy and in your sad?

He gets to be God in all.

Shannon was a living, breathing testimony to this truth and this promise.

Thank you dear one, for sharing your faith amidst the fire with us. Your life absolutely radiated Jesus and anyone who looked upon you saw Him first. Thank you for sharing that with me. I will not soon forget it.

 :

xoxo…

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09/16/15

28

In honor of my 28th birthday that will come next week, and not a moment sooner I might add, I am reposting a blog post I published last year around my 27th. It was 27 lessons for 27 years that was inspired by a blog post I read on Beth Moore’s Living Proof website as well as a creative and sentimental gift from my mom.

You can see the post in its entirety below plus a 28th lesson added on for good measure! I hope this becomes a wonderful annual tradition, a long list of lessons, should God grant me that gift.

……………………………………………

I was reading one of my favorites, Beth Moore’s Living Proof Ministries blog and came across this post in which one of her staff shares 29 years worth of lessons on her 29th birthday.

I was inspired!

This past Christmas, Mom gave me a notebook.

book 1

To anyone else this appears to be just a notebook, but to me it is treasure.

book 2

It is filled with wisdom that she herself has learned, scriptures that mean something to her and her walk with Jesus, wise sayings that were passed down from great Southern women like my grandmothers, great grandmothers, aunts, cousins, and even some of her life-long friends and role models too.

book 3

Half of the book is complete with her writings, silly sayings, and items of note and the remainder of the book is blank.

Ready for me to fill in and then pass along to my daughter when the time is right.

It is a beautiful gift and depiction of the bond we share with one another and with words.

So, in honor of that tradition, I recorded 27 lessons I have learned in (almost) 27 years.

These are in no particular order. So here we go…

1) There are very few people in this life that you can truly be yourself with. These people can see your beautiful, your ugly, your weaknesses, and still love & accept you unconditionally. These people are a rare gift from your Savior; glimpses of His love here on earth. Cherish those relationships and nurture them.

2) Laughter is the best medicine; truly a cure-all… Well, that and chocolate.

3) A life not filled with love is meaningless. Lavish your love upon others; let them be awash in it.

4) The best way to spend your money is travel. Travel much, travel often. Learn new cultures, experience new cuisine. Line your walls with pictures and your heart with memories.

5) It’s okay to admit that you are/were wrong. Take the blame, make the apologies, and learn from this experience. It will make you a better person moving forward. It doesn’t mean you are a failure, but rather that you are not a coward.

6) Relinquish control. You have no control over life’s circumstances, life’s unexpected happenings, or life’s trials. Give up control, and learn TRUST. It’s the hardest and most important lesson you can learn.

7) Comparison is the thief of joy.

8) It’s okay to admit that you don’t have all the right answers. As hard as that is to say, you don’t.

9) Scripture memory is not a habit you lose after childhood. Continue to memorize His truths, write them down, and add them to your heart so you may recall them when they are needed.

10) When you get up in the morning, Pray. Wrap your whole day in prayer. It is the single best thing you can do to begin your day.

11) “You is kind, you is smart, you is important.” – quote from The Help and oh so true! Never forget your value! You are one-of-a-kind; a true original.

12) Baking is good for the soul. Especially cleaning the batter off your spatula. That’s a baker’s prerogative.

13) Wear sunscreen every day. Every day.

14) Take the time & effort to send a note through the mail. It is both highly-personal and highly-thoughtful.

15) Journal. Write it down- your thoughts, prayers, wishes, hopes, dreams, fears. Record it for you and posterity. May it be a living, breathing testimony to your great God!

16) Don’t be afraid to be put outside your comfort zone. It is there where He meets you and sustains you. It is also there where you find purpose.

17) Invest in higher quality clothing items & accessories. It’s better to have less of what you absolutely love than lots of things you like. And just because it’s on sale, does not mean you “have to have it.”

18) You are never too old to use the words “Mommy” or “Daddy.” Those labels are universal and unchanging.

19) Find one restful activity that centers you, gives you peace, and recharges your batteries, Once you find that thing, whatever it may be, do it regularly. Protect that time, keep it sacred. Even us extroverts need that time to rest & recharge; especially us.

20) Reading is never a waste of time. Actually, often, it may be one of the very best uses of your time. Escape from reality for just a while and live in the land of fiction.

21) Share a smile. Even with strangers. It’s sometimes the best, little, encouraging thing you can do for someone.

22) Ask for forgiveness, daily.

23) Love yourself for who you are at that moment. Not for who you used to be or for who you are becoming. Love yourself today.

24) Be trustworthy. Never take other people’s trust lightly. Safe-guard it and follow through on what you have been entrusted with. Once lost, trust is hard to win back.

25) The precious gift of food can never be underestimated. It is Southern hospitality at its very core.

26) Never give up in the pursuit of excellence. It will never be achieved, but it is a worthy pursuit to become the very best version of yourself.

27) Be still. Take deep breaths. Become small. And it’s okay to be small because you are known. You are known by the most high God, and if He knows you, you don’t need to be known, recognized, or praised by anyone else. His knowing is your heart’s desire.

28) Never doubt yourself! Your gut intuition is usually right & no one can make you feel inferior except for yourself. 

So, happy birthday to me! 28 is going to be a great year… I can feel it!

xoxo…

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