Every September I do this and it just gets worse every year...I thought I had it licked this year but then one of my kids pushed me off the wagon today.
I'm addicted to autumn.
I could kinda tell I was weakening last week when I bought $58 worth of plastic pumpkins at the dollar store, but when I talked myself out of buying a new pair of matching 6 foot Mr. & Mrs. Scarecrows I was sure all was good...
but then this happened today...
Kaitlin called home this afternoon to let me know that she had to wear a jacket this morning on her way to class.
That one phone call threw me off the wagon and into the ditch.
Now granted, Kaitlin spends the majority of the year in western Virginia, with its glorious four seasons and I spend the majority of the year living here on the surface of the sun. And as an added plus, where I live we have a humidity level that almost equals the Amazon rainforest. So I am well aware of the differences in our climates. Nevertheless, my brain functions in the following manner:
We both live in the United States, therefore if Kaitlin is having autumn-like weather, so am I.
Makes perfect sense right?
So out came the cinnamon/pumpkin/cider/whatever scented candle I've been storing for the last 10 months. Out came the yellow/orange/red leaf wreath from underneath the cabinet. Out came the old Mr. & Mrs. Scarecrow couple from the rafters in the garage. I think this year is their 12th anniversary, they're a sweet couple.
I need help.
Our pastor just finished up a series on the 10 Commandments, or the 10 sayings of God as they are also known, and the commandment that has really hit home for me is the first, from Exodus 20:3...'You shall have no other gods before me.'
And since Brother Johnny preached on that commandment, and with these books I'm reading, I've been thinking about all the people, things, places, events, emotions, ministries, holidays I've made into other gods or idols...and the scary part is that most of the things on this list are good things, happy times, joyful experiences.
And to anyone looking at my life, you can't really see my idol-making...
there's been no backyard altar built,
or lit candles and incense around a shrine,
I haven't been chanting 4 times a day...
But I've made some of these people, places and things idols none the less...I've made them idols in my mind. And in my heart.
So now as I begin to break down the altars and blow out the candles of my internal idols, I'm thankful for His grace and mercy, and for pastors that preach the truth boldly, and that the scales are once again slowly falling away.
This is how Hayden likes to spend a sunny, summer afternoon at the beach...buried so deep in sand that only the Hubble telescope can make out his head...I had to put up that yellow crime scene tape around him so people would stop stepping on him. And just for the record, when he finally got out of his self-inflicted sand pit, he had sand in places I didn't know existed.
And the bacon? Well, this morning was the first day of school and Hayden's request for breakfast included but was not limited to the following:
fast forward a year...
Tonight as I write this post we are staying at the same hotel as last year, same trip to Target for all those "essentials" (like poptarts) that we forgot to bring with us, same lines at the bookstore, same girls on the dorm floor, same little red Saturn car stuffed to the gills with clothes and books...
but we brought with us a different girl.
No longer a weeping, scared, high school graduate. Now a young woman, a little sad to be leaving home, but excited about the new semester. Someone who instead of clinging to us, lets go and runs to embrace a old friend in "the hall". Someone who couldn't see past her tears, but now sees clearly the opportunities that await her.
The changes in Kaitlin's life are another example of His Grace. The evidence of santification. How He used something in her life that was painful and scary to bring her a step or two closer to Him. That's how He works. It was a really hard lesson, one she's not completely done learning, but one we all needed to learn.
Brother Sam meant alot to our family, he and his wife, Miss Jackie. During a time of struggle in our marriage, both he and Miss Jackie mentored Mark and I for about 6 months. They helped us through that painful period by partnering with us in prayer, sharing advice and wisdom, and patiently listening to our concerns and fears.
Brother Sam started the mentoring program at our church a few years ago, and thru that program, many men and women, mature in their faith, have been equipped to disciple younger Christians. Coming along side each other, supporting, teaching, and guiding one another.
Brother Sam left his family, friends, and church a legacy. He loved his Jesus more than anyone or anything. And he shared that love for his Jesus with every one he met.
My sister/friend Sue was asked to speak at this year's conference and I was so proud to be there to hear her. Now I'm gonna brag a little bit...she did a great job! Her message was entitled "Stepping out for God" and Psalm 119:132 was the focal verse...'Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me.'
Sue spoke about the many steps we each take in our lives, and she also included 5 suggestions before stepping out for God...
1. know where your going
2. know why your going
3. know the dress code Eph 6:13-18 armor of God
4. know what's holding you back
5. know your potential through Jesus Christ
and Sue also asked us this question...
"What would you do for Jesus if you knew you could not fail?"
what would I do?
what is holding me back?
what am I afraid of?
It's alot to think and pray about. I like to think that I don't let my fears and 'what ifs' hold me back from being all for Jesus, but truly I think I do. I let fears and strongholds keep me from stepping out and being all that He desires me to be. That's a hard one to admit...
So I have to ask myself, what steps am I taking right now? Which direction am I headed in?
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