About Me

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Stockbridge, Ga, United States
I am married to the love of my life and blessed to be the mom of 6 amazing kids, 5 here on earth and one I long to see again in heaven. We are entering our third decade of parenting together, and love all the blessings along this journey. I am a homeschool mom,a writer, a trainer, and a speaker, but mostly I am a sinner saved by grace who desperately desires to encourage others on this path and to live a life that brings Glory to the One who saved me.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Failed idol auditions

It’s Idol season again.

    I’ve watched nearly every season since it showed up 12 years ago.
It’s not that I am a big pop music fan. Most of the songs they sing on the show I have never even heard of, except when they do Elvis week, or music from the 50’s and 60’s that I heard growing up with my parents oldies stations. It’s really not about the music for me.
Let’s be honest. The reason my family loves to sit around the TV during this show is not about the great talent, or the music or even the drama from the judges. The real draw of this show is the auditions. The REALLY BAD auditions.

   If you have somehow lived in a bubble for the last 12 years and haven’t actually caught an episode of American Idol, it goes something like this. Tens of thousands of people from all over the country fill huge auditoriums and wait in day long lines to get their chance to have one minute to sing in front of a panel of judges. Each one believes with all their heart that they are the next music star, and many cross through obstacle after obstacle to have their chance to show the world their talent and win the million dollar contract.
But only one person gets to win.

    That leads to weeks and weeks of auditions to narrow the field and bring the best to Hollywood to pursue their dreams. And weeks and weeks of terrible auditions to choose the few talented enough to actually make it through. And that is our favorite part.

   Some of these make us laugh so hard our sides hurt. Person after person walks to the stage in ridiculous outfits with some of the worst singing we have ever heard and dance moves to match. And most of them have no idea how truly bad they are. They are simply shocked at the judges’ responses.
And that brings me to a question. Don’t they have anyone in their lives who was willing to be honest enough to spare them from this embarrassment? Why didn’t anyone ever tell them that maybe a career in music was simply not their calling? It seems a lot of tears could have been spared and a lot of energy could have been put into better things. Or worse, maybe someone did tell them and they didn’t listen? Maybe they decided to pursue their dreams in spite of the naysayers; which, I suppose is good IF you actually have the talent needed to make the dream happen… which of course, they don’t.

I wonder how many of us are auditioning for the judge in very much the same way.

   Maybe we don’t wear flashy costumes or try to move our feet to some catchy rhythm, but I wonder how many of us think we are really great at something but are really only deceiving ourselves.

   Maybe we are living our lives to hear our Ultimate Judge say, “Well done good and faithful servant”, only to Hear Him say that He never really knew us and that our walk was more of a bad audition than a life lived honestly.
What if we have convinced ourselves that we are sharing the Gospel ENOUGH, giving to the poor ENOUGH, moving in the fruits of the Spirit ENOUGH? What if we should have been walking out our salvation more to do better at living a life with all that God has for us instead of adding a bit more flash and trying to make ourselves look better for the Judge?

   What if others have tried to tell us that what they hear from us is different from what they see acted out in our lives? What if instead of getting defensive about being called a hypocrite we actually took steps to change our hearts and actually line up our words to our actions?

   So it comes down to this. Each of us will have to face our Judge one day, and it won’t be Randy or Simon making jokes about whether or not we measured up. There will only be one time to show Him that we have been faithful to all that He has asked us to do.
But will He find us faithful or will our lives be shown to be a mirage of the real thing?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Justifying My Rebellion

Justifying My Rebellion
I have come to realize that I am a rebel, though not in the traditional sense of the word. 

Every generation has used and defined this word for its own purposes, but all have really implied the same meaning. 

The 1920’s had girls in flapper dresses pushing the modesty limits. 

The 1950’s spurred leather jackets and fast cars and pushed the authority limits. 

The 1970’s, with its long hair and beaded skirts publicly pushed all limits and offered a new high.

And the list goes on. 

Since Eve first chose defiance in the garden, Rebellion has been a theme for every generation. 

But I have never really seen myself as one of those who had a need to push the limits of authority and go against the status quo. 

That is, until recently.
See, I’m that girl who never needed a curfew because the gang I spent all my time with was my Christian friends from church. A hot night for us was usually centered on a rousing run of Disney movies and a shouting game of Bible trivia. I grew up asthmatic, so the idea of smoking was pretty far from my mind, and the amount of alcohol I have consumed in my entire life would fit in a tiny Dixie cup with some room to spare. And cutting class? I was simply terrified. I was certain that the first time I did it would be the one that put me in juvenile detention, and ruin my permanent record forever. And we all know about those permanent records. Truth be told, the first time I ever cut class was in college, and since I was taking classes with my mom at the time, and it was her idea to go to breakfast instead, I thought I was covered.

Because everyone knows that Moms can override permanent records.

So this idea of being a rebel is pretty new to me.
As an adult, the closest I have come to rebellion is going into Walmart through the exit door instead of the entrance.
So when God began showing me that I had a rebellious spirit, I well….uh… rebelled.
Me? Rebellious?
No one would believe it.
But it wouldn’t leave my spirit. I have walked this journey long enough to know that if God wants me to deal with something, it is not going to leave my spirit until I deal with it. It wasn’t long before I knew exactly what He was trying to show me.
It took me 31 years to be baptized by immersion, 17 years to be baptized in the Holy Spirit, and more than 20 to enroll in and complete Bible School. All things at the beginning of this three decade walk that I knew I needed to do.
I have had great excuses. A lot comes into a life in that amount of years, and there is so much I could pull from as really great material for the finest excuses I could need. Let’s face it, with 22 years of marriage, 6 kids and lots of jobs and other commitments, excuses are pretty plentiful.
But it seems that excuses have been a foundational thread for far too long.
All of my life, I have wanted to pursue full-time ministry. All of my life I knew that this was something that God had for me, and up until this point I have wondered why He has delayed so long in bringing it to fruition.
But there comes a point where God wants us to take some steps with the heart and wisdom He has given us. There comes a place where God, as the ultimate Gentleman, chooses not to push where He is not invited.
And the truth is, we either want all He has for us, or we would rather settle in the complacency that comes from rebellion and excuses.
Those things that we justify the most are most likely
the very things that God is trying to change in our hearts.
And I have reached that place where I want no other option than God. No excuses. No justifications. Just simply a life found obedient to His word and His callings. I want to be used to bring Glory to Him and to bring life and hope and encouragement to His children.
So I am checking off those things on my list, the things that met resistance before and praying that God would show me those things still needing to be addressed. I still have no desire to be rebellious. I have chosen to spend my life honoring my Creator and King, and I want all that He has for my life.
I am tired of being a rebel. How about you?

Taking the Plunge

It took me 31 years, but I finally took the plunge.
It’s funny that it took so long. I believed in it, taught about it, and even helped someone else do it. For a long time I didn’t know that I needed it. I thought what I had would suffice. After all, it was meaningful, and memorable and a significant time in my walk.
But God has been dealing with me about going deeper.
You see, when I was baptized as a 12 year old girl, it was in a church that baptized by the pastor dipping his hand in water and then putting his hand on my hand. It was confirmation Sunday, the day I would be confirmed as a member of our church and publicly announce my faith in Jesus Christ. Without a doubt it was a pivotal point in my faith.
But the more I think about it, the more I realize that it wasn’t baptism.
You see, this practice of dipping your hand in water and somehow laying your hand on someone’s head is found nowhere in scripture, at least nowhere that I can find. People were baptized throughout the New Testament, but every time it happened they found a pool of water somewhere to honor the ceremony. John baptized Jesus in the Jordan; even Philip baptized the new Christian in a nearby pool. In every case, there was something significant about the person being immersed in the water.
I never really gave it much thought until recently. I always thought like many people do, that baptism is baptism, no matter how you do it. I never really wanted to jump into the whole denominational debate over whether or not one is better than the other. I simply accepted both practices as fine.
Last Spring, I began the application paperwork of applying for my ministerial credentials. I graduated from GA School of Ministry in April, and this was the next step to finally pursuing what God has laid on my heart for most of my life. I filled out the mound of paperwork with little difficulty, but one question kept coming back to me. “Have you been baptized by immersion in water?” hmmm…
Had I been baptized? I thought I had. But how would I now teach those who would be under my leadership? Would I lead others in wishy-washy thinking, or would I be determined to only hold true to those things that are Biblical truths? So I needed to know for certain.
As I said, the examples in scripture all point to baptism by immersion. But still I justified in my spirit that the experience I had was really the only step I needed to be covered by the commandment of Jesus to be baptized. As I began to really pray about this issue, God began to deal with my spirit. Was this really an issue of right and wrong or was this simply about me being disobedient to the things God has called me to?
What kind of leader could I ever be if I am not first willing to associate myself with the things that Jesus Himself was willing to do? Jesus was willing to face the Jordan River under the care and control of someone else to visually show us what it means to die to our old life and life a new life. Our sinless Savior did this, not because He needed forgiveness but to role model what a life in Him would look like if we chose to follow Him. So in my justification to try to take the easy route, I missed the greatest lesson of all.
Jesus was teaching us about an EXPERIENCE. He wanted for us to forever be able to associate our time in the water with the renewing of our lives through Him. He wanted us to feel the coolness of the water, and the moment of feeling completely in the control of another person as we plunged beneath it. It is a common place we share with Christians around the world and Christians who have all gone before us. Jesus gave us a connecting experience that would forever unite us on this amazing journey. Why on earth would I resist being a part of something so incredible?
Do I know for certain whether or not a person can only be submerged in order for his baptism to “Count”? No. Absolutely not.
But I do know this.
Because I looked past the justifications and excuses and actually did what God was calling me to do, I will forever be a part of the single experience that connects an entire Body of Believers.
Because Saturday morning, after 31 years of excuses, I finally took the plunge.