Monday, December 19, 2011

The Sameness of our Savior

One of the most popular movie lines of all time (it ranks on AFI’s list as #40 out of the top #100 movie quotes) is known by young and old alike, regardless of their knowledge of the movie itself:
"Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." Forrest Gump, 1994
We say the line to be clever.  Or factual.  To be funny, or even to encourage someone.  Because, quite frankly, we just don’t know what life holds.  And what better way to sum up life’s complexities than with a comparison to chocolate?
While the quote is great, another comparison can be made that is very sad indeed--we treat God as if He is a box of chocolates.  We act like God sent a different Savior for each individual.  “She has the God who showers her with blessings!”  “I have a God who is distant.”  “Lord, your plan looked great-but why did you reveal a surprise?”
As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ, it is critical we realize the biggest truth God has given: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrew 13:8).  Our all-knowing God sent us a Savior who could connect with each of us on a personal level.  Not because Christ could change, but because He is enough to meet the needs of every--very different!--individual.
God truly loves us so much that He sent His Son--not so we would have a top #100 verse to quote (John 3:16), but so we could know how much He loves and values each of us.  We don’t know what life holds, but please cling to the truth that God is with you and for you all the time.  May your relationship with Christ be the sweetest, most special treat you ever accept and enjoy.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Just Trust

Ever had a season in life where you know God has a plan and a purpose, but you just don’t know what it is? Then–in His own timing–God reveals it bit by bit. You may be overjoyed. Or overwhelmed. Encouraged. Perhaps still confused. Content. Impatient.

Boy, wouldn’t help along the way to know what it is that God desires of us? I’ve thought, “Reveal yourself, Lord, and I can follow you more completely”.

And then I listen to my 8 year old daughter read from her devotion book:

God made a promise. But do I believe it? I say, “Do, something, God, and I will trust you.” God says, “Trust me and then I will do something!” *

God has such amazing plans for me–and for you–and He simply asks us to trust Him. It’s so easy in my sinful humanity to ask for a sign. But keep in mind:

  • We celebrate Christmas–Christ’s Birth! God did that “something” for us.
  • We believe in the Resurrection–again, my celebration at Easter means I need to show my belief and trust God completely year-round.

In John 6:30 the crowds say to Jesus, “Then what sign will you do, that we may see and believe you?

Do you know what day the crowd asked Jesus this? One day after He fed over 5,000 people with five barley loaves and two fish! The day after He walked on water & the crowd couldn’t figure out how Jesus got to Capernaum because they knew He had not gone by boat. Signs were all around, yet the people wanted more before they would give Jesus anything. I can’t pretend my response would have been any different.

As 2011 comes to a close, God has laid this upon my heart:  JUST TRUST. May He lay the same upon your heart as well.

*Book excerpt taken from Jesus Wants all of Me-Bedtime Prayer Edition. Barbour Publishing, Urischsville, OH. Copyright 2007

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Grace {and Power!} of Prayer

Have you ever stopped to think about your relationship with Christ--not in its current state, but how it originated?  Maybe you aren’t a Christian, but someone has spoken words of life that are stirring your heart & mind to look into “this Christianity thing” a little deeper.  Regardless, the question is the same:
Who prayed for you?
A few years ago at my uncle’s funeral visitation, my dad shared one of the neatest things I have ever heard:
     “When I was little, my dad told me his grandpa had 
       prayed for the next four generations, that they would know the Lord.  YOU,            LeAnne, are that 4th generation.”
Here I was, mingling in a room that contained my parents, my dad’s parents, my aunt & uncle and cousins.  A room that contained my sister, my brothers, and my husband.  A group gathered together to celebrate and remember my uncle, who, despite his limitations, had loved the Lord with all of his heart.
A room filled with people that my great-great grandpa had prayed for so many years ago.  Did his prayers impact who we decided to marry?  Did they play a role in the Christian heritage passed down from generation to generation?
How could his prayers have not had an impact?
The room contained something else--three very young children.  My children.  The 5th generation.
Who is praying for them?  And, who is praying for the generations to follow?
Sometimes, life is not about where we are--it’s about where we’ve been and where we are headed.  So much of Thanksgiving is about the now.  This year, I want to be thankful for how I got to this point in my life.  And, I want to be the next piece of the prayer chain in lifting up the next 4 generations of my family.
For whom will you pray?
We will not hide these truths from our children, but will tell the next generation of the glorious deeds of the Lord...that they in turn might teach their children.  So each generation can set its hope anew on God, remembering his glorious miracles and obeying his commands.” Psalm 78:4a,5&6

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Savor the Season

Fall is my favorite time of year--and nothing brings peace to my soul quite like an Indian Summer.  Technically (and according to Wikipedia), "The modern use of the term is when the weather is sunny and clear, and above 21 °C (70 °F), after there has been a sharp frost; a period normally associated with late-October to mid-November."  Indian Summer is a time of surprise--something pleasantly unexpected reveals itself just when all seemed lost.

When I was younger, fall meant football games, bonfires, and wearing my favorite outfit of all-time: a giant t-shirt, jeans, and Birkenstocks (yes, I am a 90's girl).  My main goals were to keep my friendships intact, get fairly good grades, and stay true to my Christianity without becoming a "Bible Thumper".  Holidays meant either getting in the car or having extended family come over;  my mom & dad told us the plan and the 4 of us kids were along for the ride.  In all honesty, holidays were a fairly stress-free aspect of my life.

Flash forward to adulthood--oftentimes, Indian Summer seems to be the calm before the storm--"What our the plans for Thanksgiving?"  "Did we spend last year with your parents or mine?" "How many people do I have to buy Christmas presents for?"  "Uggh...Christmas is on a Sunday this year??"  I have to check my motives--am I truly appreciating fall, or am I dreading what is to come?

God has given us the seasons not to be a time of worry, but rather as opportunities to remember His awesome, amazing power.  My goal today is to savor these beautiful days from God and be thankful He created fall with me in mind.  My goal tomorrow?  To rest fully in the Lord so I can see Him revealed in pleasant, unexpected ways.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

It's Time to Acknowledge the Holy Spirit

In August, I stumbled right into a job I never expected---assistant to Christian author & speaker Brenda Garrison.  God has not only let me quickly build a wonderful friendship with Brenda, but has given me the opportunity to write a monthly piece for her newsletter!  I wrote the following article for her September newsletter.  I have to admit--it's hard for the "witty & always-trying-to-be-clever" side of me to post my 'Christian article' onto my blog.  But you know what?  That's the only way to display who I truly am.  And, I'd love for family & friends to read words of encouragement from Brenda each month.  You can sign up for the monthly newsletter via her website,
"I just had to write and tell you thank you for listening to the Spirit. Hayley showed me the note you wrote her.  It was so encouraging to her...and to me.  Our God is so faithful. Today, His Spirit quickened you to write such a thoughtful, life-giving note to her."

Eight months ago, my sister-in-law sent me an email that included the above paragraph.  I will be honest--I didn't deserve the glowing accolades.  I had written my niece because I wanted to write.  Because I couldn't quit thinking about her.  Because my heart and mind were full of tenderness for the "stuck-in-the-middle" child.  Here she was, watching a sister get ready to head off to college, a brother participating in a national singing competition, and nothing in her life was changing.  Why wouldn't I have written?  I had done what I desired--how could my simple note have such a spiritual impact?

I wrestle with the concept--the Biblical truth--that God can and will use ME for His glory.  It is so easy to look around and see women that "deserve" to be used by God.  I think I'm the only one oblivious of the Holy Spirit's promptings.  The friend I need to call.  The daughter I should take out to breakfast.  Could my 'to do' list actually be God's list?
  • What if I tackled each tug at my heart with a weighing of whether or not the Holy Spirit might be trying to get my attention?
  • How much more could God use me for His glory if I worked with the Holy Spirit rather than remain a clueless vessel?
God does everything for good.  Even when I'm not paying attention.

John 14:26 "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you."

Saturday, September 17, 2011

What am I doing??

First of all, my husband assures me I can change the name of my blog anytime.  So, if I come up with something I believe can encompass who I am and where I'm at in life, I'll change the title.  At the same time, I have to realize a few things--I'm 36, have 3 children, and I'm still not sure what I want to be when I grow up.  Which means--whether I like it or not--"Mom jeans" are a predominant way to describe my life.  I do look forward to being "40 and Fit."  However, since I'm no where near 40, I have time to put off running and keep eating Skittles.  I have (on occasion) considered looking 'fabulous' for my 20th high school class reunion.  That's 2 years away, so I still have a year to decide if 38 or 40 will be the benchmark for adding 'self discipline' to my daily routine.

What do I know?  Whether I'm 36, 38, or 40, coffee will always be the best meal of the day.