Sunday, December 27, 2009

You are Mine

 
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"But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine." Isaiah 43:1

My sweet, dear friend painted this for me for Christmas. Precious. Treasured. I grew up with Laura. Her mother set my mother and step father up on their first date. The Lord reunited our friendship about a year and a half ago when she and her family moved to Columbia from Birmingham. Crazy. We live less than one mile from each other. She has been such a blessing to me. She always points me to the Truth. I truly treasure our friendship.

This painting is beautiful. I wish you could see it in person. It is hanging on my den wall next to my big window. When I have my quiet time I look up at this picture numerous times and it just makes my heart smile. Then I watch the sun rise out of the window and thank Him for all of my blessings and the hard times where He has drawn me closer to Him. He is the anchor of my soul.....

"we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 6:18b-20

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Only God



Only God.

The first day I started graduate school, my husband lost his job. The day I drive to school to quit, my husband got a job. Only God. I have been wanting to write for a week or so and it just hasn't happened. I had a midterm due yesterday and well, life is keeping me pretty busy.

The day I drove to school to quit, I was listening to a song and just felt the Lord saying, "It isn't time yet, Allison." Ok, Lord. Whatever. That seriously had been my attitude for the past few days. I was seriously on my last leg, emotionally and physically. That very morning I had been reading Lamentations 3. I think I read it two or three times. And I am pretty sure I read the last time with my eyes rolled back in my head. I was tired. Exhausted.

So, I proceed into chapel at school. I sit down and open my Bible and read Lamentations 3 again. This time my eyes were focused. The first scripture that comes on the big screen is.....Lamentations 3. Yep, Lord...I am listening. Only God. We watched this awesome film by Tim Keller called, "The Prodigal God." I realized that I was acting as the older son. The past eight weeks had been rough. I felt an almost sense of entitlement. Like this should not be happening. I had already been through enough. Seriously, Lord couldn't you just pick someone else for a little while? A sense of self righteousness. Oh, sweet Jesus, how sorry I am. I quickly figured out that this whole time Leighton had been without a job, I was saying I was trusting in Him, but actually not really trusting Him. Yes, I got up every morning at 5 and read the Bible. I learned so much during that time with the Lord. But, what He taught me that day was so worth it.

I came home that day and told my husband that I had decided to stay in school. As he walked out the door for another interview, he told me that one job told him that they didn't want him. I kissed him goodbye and told him it was obviously not meant to be. I headed back to my room with my Bible and phone. I started texting all of my close friends to pray for him. Then I laid down on the bed and just submitted to God. There were no "what if's". No tears. No pleadings. No doubting. No questioning. Just trusting. Really trusting. I felt different. For the first time in a long time I felt a sense of peace. For an hour and a half I just prayed and read the Bible.

Then my husband called and told me that he got the job. Only God. Relief. But, actually if you want to know the sad truth my panic attacks proceeded to get worse.
I could not figure out why I would be having panic attacks. I was about to lose it. And I did. I went for a run with two of my close friends and just lost it. Came home and lost it. Tears. Tears. Tears and more tears. My head on my husbands lap. Scared.

But, you know what? That is where my healing started to take place. I had been trying to hold it together for months. Just trying to keep everything in order. I was trying to do everything and not letting God take control. I let it all out and it felt so good. I was exhausted physically and mentally. My sweet husband loved me so tenderly. He took care of the kids. He let me sleep. My friends loved me and took care of me too. They rallied around me with encouragement, love and support. They provided meals for us for a week. For a week! What a blessing my friends have been. Such a sweet and precious gift from the Lord.

I needed rest. And He provided it. He always provides. Always. Only God. I can't do anything without Him. Nothing. He is my life. I love Him more than ever. Not because Leighton now has a job, not because my panic attacks have ended, not because I feel rested. I love Him because He is here always and He knows. He knows. He loves. He provides. He is our shelter. He is the lifter of our heads. He holds us in the palm of His hand. He is there with us all the time. We are never without Him. We just have to choose to let Him in. To let Him be in charge and not want to control our lives. Submit and surrender to His will for our lives. It is hard, but oh so worth it.

"I will give you the treasure of darkness and the hoards in secret places, that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who call you by your name." Isaiah 45:3

"In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength."
Isaiah 30:15

"Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him."
Isaiah 30:18

"Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him."
Psalm 34:8

"For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light."
Psalm 36:9

"For I am ready to fall, and my pain is ever before me. I confess my iniquity; I am sorry for my sin."
Psalm 38:17

"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me."
Psalm 51:10

Sweet friends, the Enemy will do ANYTHING to get us to believe lies. He does not want us to believe that God is all sufficient and all powerful. But, He is and always has been. God's Word is the Truth and we can fight the Enemy with the Truth. This battle is the Lord's and He will win. He will. Only God. It is His Promise.

"And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth."

"So God said to Noah, "This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth."

Genesis 9:12-17



Leighton pointed out this rainbow one morning on my way to school. As I was driving to school I looked to see the rainbow again and I saw the beginning and the end of it. I couldn't see the in between:) Amazing God!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

unshaken

God of All Comfort
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and) God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.

For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Broken




Over our Spring Break, or Family Griswald vacation, we traveled to Birmingham, Columbus, Georgia and then to good ole Decatur. While we were home visiting my parent's, my mom gave me this china doll. I had actually forgotten about it. But, when she told me about it...we both just wept.

You see this china doll is not like all the other china doll's out there. My mom made this for me. She told me that when all my friends were getting china dolls, she wanted me to have one so bad and she could not afford one. So, she ordered one and when it came she sewed the doll together and found this precious dress for her to wear.

And on the bloomers she had attached a little post-it note that said, "Allison's china doll. I made it." This doll is precious to me. It is precious for so many reasons, but most of all because it represents what she has done her whole life....done whatever she could to provide the best for everyone......no matter what.

What you can't see is the the foot of this doll. (I didn't realize I had posted the picture of the foot:))Apparently it got broken somehow and was glued back on. Broken. This word came to me today and it just took my breath away.

We are all broken. We all have some sort of hurt, pain or suffering. Whether it be now or something in the past. My childhood was broken. It was broken because I had a father who was and is still sick. Mentally ill. Addict. Abuser. (Boy, that feels better to get that out there.) He was/is broken. His childhood was broken.

God was there with me in the pain of my childhood. I would guess that He was crying as He watched me grieve and long for the love of an earthly father. He knew. He knew then what He was going to do with my life. He could see it and I couldn't. He knew that He was going to redeem the brokenness of my life. He knew that one day I would love Him more than I can even put into words. He knew that He was going to give me Gregg, my stepfather. He knew that Leighton would be my husband. He knew.

Why is there so much pain and suffering? Have you ever asked yourself that question? Pretty deep stuff. My professor asked this question yesterday after we had been lectured to about Schizophrenia and other Psychotic Disorders. Why? Why would there be such pain and suffering? My answer to this question is, if there was no pain and no suffering there would be no need for God. No need for Jesus.

Jesus was not broken. He had no sin. He was perfect. Yet, He died for us. In Psalm 34:20 is say's, "He keeps all His bones; not one of them is broken." After Jesus died on the cross, the Jews asked Pilate to break the legs of the three that had been crucified. "So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with Him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But, one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. He who saw it has borne witness - His testimony is true, and He knows that He is telling the truth - that you may also believe. For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: 'Not one of His bones will be broken.' And again another Scripture says, 'They will look on him whom they have pierce.'" John 19:32-37

God knew. God knew that His Son's legs would not be broken. He knew that Jesus would be raised from the dead and walk. His Son would not be broken. Y'all, we are broken. But, we are deeply loved children of a living God. My genetic code might have a little bit of my earthly father, but God took the evil and replaced it with the unbroken Cross of Jesus. My identity is in Christ. The One Who died for me. The One Who died for you.

After Jacob dies and Joseph is about to bury his father, his brother's say to him: "When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, 'It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.' So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, 'Your father gave this command before he died, 'Say to Joseph, Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.' And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father." Joseph wept when they spoke to him. His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, 'Behold, we are your servants.' But Joseph said to them, 'Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.' Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them."

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Dear Momma,

Dear Momma,

Happy Birthday! You know that I am awful about sending birthday cards. You have to remind me to send one to dad. That is bad. But this is good. I LOVE you. I love you more than I can even put into words, but here goes.

This is what I love about you:

I love that you have more energy than you know what to do with. (Ok, mainly the times that you make me finish things that I don't want to finish;))
I love that you are so strong.
I love that even though you have been hurt, you have let the Lord heal your heart and soul.
I love that you love the Lord with all your heart and soul.
I love the way you love me. I use to not love the way you loved me...but I am different now;)
I love the way you love your grandkids.
I love that you love to spend time with them. Quality time.
I love that you love to take pictures, since I don't.
I love that you love to teach.
I love that gray streak in your hair. I love it even more when people ask you how you do that to your hair....hehe:)
I love that you were Homecoming Queen.
You are beautiful. Inside and Out.
You give and give and then give some more.
I love that God picked YOU to be my momma. He is so wise:)
I admire you, Momma. I do.
Oh, and I am still amazed that you put on 4 amazing weddings for your girls.
I love that God put dad in your life. He has given me a true glimpse at what an earthly father is. What a gift.
I love that when I walk into your house now, it smells like Jack and Tay's house. Such sweet and precious memories. They would be so proud of you, Momma. I know they can see you from Heaven, but you are such a different person than you were even 19 years ago. I can't imagine what it has been like for you to not have your parents. You lost them way to soon. Way too soon. But, they see you. And I know they are grinning from ear to ear:)

You grew up and married someone who was not so kind to you. He did things that aren't right. But, what he did give you was two children that love you more than words can say. Then He gave you Gregg. Praise the Lord. God is redeeming our past. He is taking those past hurts and pains and restoring us. How amazing is that? How amazing is He? WHOA. You have endured, Momma. You have persevered. You have taught your girls so much. I love that you love unconditionally. The past three years have been amazing to see how our relationship has changed. I believe it has changed because our relationship with the Lord has deepened. We see each other through God's eyes. Unconditional love.

My prayer for you today is that you experience God's love in a real tangible way. Even though I won't be there(and I know this is hard, since I am the favorite;)) that you be surrounded with love. Rest is God's love for you and ENJOY:) Don't worry about growing old. Be young at heart.

"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us." 1 John 4:7-11

I love you, Lile, Lile the crocodile:)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Four R's

What do you get when you take a girl away for a weekend in the mountains with amazing friends, beautiful place and Jesus? One happy camper:) I had the most amazing weekend at Windy Gap (Young Life Camp). I have been trying to digest all that was taken in over the weekend. It almost took my breath away(and those who know me, know that is hard to do because I can barely keep my mouth shut from talking so much;))

I have to admit I was a little nervous about going. I haven't been to camp in a long time. I haven't been to a Christian camp since high school, yes...seventeen years to be exact. WHOA.....feeling old, but 35 is the new 25, right? Anywho. As you know, my darling, precious husband lost his job 2 weeks ago. His last day of work is tomorrow. I started graduate school. I am away from my children more than I ever have in their life. We would love to sell our home. That is just to name a few. But, I think it is enough...don't you?;) But, I was anything but nervous as soon as I stepped foot onto the grounds of Windy Gap.

We arrived when it was dark. I couldn't see what it looked like and could not wait until the morning to see how beautiful it was. We unpacked and went to our first "club". We sang. We laughed at some of the funniest skits I have ever seen. There were four ladies who call themselves "The Couch Potato Girls." The first lady gave her talk Friday night. It was about "Radical Rest." Are you resting in who God created you to be? Whoa, Lord....I don't really know how to rest. What is rest? Radical rest is falling at Jesus' feet and resting. Or laying your head in His lap. Whatever you do to feel close to the Lord.

The second lady talked about "Radical Relationships." Are you satisfied with your relationship with God? With Jesus? With others? It is our job to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Am I doing that? How can I glorify and enjoy Him? I haven't been feeling too much joy lately. Mostly fear. Fear isn't from the Lord. After her talk we were given the opportunity for quiet time with the Lord. I found one of the most beautiful spots I have ever laid my eyes upon. Imagine with me please....beautiful green grassy hill with creek down below. Bright beautiful blue sky with white fluffy clouds. Birds chirping. Wind blowing. Shoes off. Toes between the grass. Bible. Notebook. Scriptures that they gave us:

Psalm 139:13-15 (New International Version)

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

Isaiah 43:1

1 But now, this is what the LORD says—
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

Psalm 46:10 (New International Version)

10 "Be still, and know that I am God."

Matthew 11:28 (New International Version)

28"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."


I spent the most glorious hour with the Lord. Glorious. Filled to the rim. Never in my life have I ever felt closer to Him. Sweet and precious time that I will NEVER forget. NEVER.

The third lady spoke on "Radical Release." Oh, sweet Lord. Just what I needed to do. He knew that I had too many burdens and just needed to release them. Release them for good. One of the scriptures that she talked about was:

Hebrews 6:17-20

17Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. 18God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. 19We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf.


She talked about deep water. Shallow water. Shallow water feels comfortable. That is where we want to stay. But, deep water is a reality of this life. What anchor am I holding on to? Jesus, pain, resentment, anger, bitterness, past? Are there people in your life that point you back to the anchor? Deep water is hard. It is painful. It hurts. We are all scared of deep water. What I discovered is that I have been clinging to the past. Clinging to the pain of the past. Angry at Leighton's job. Angry at the injustice. Bitter. Clinging to fear. The time had come for me to release it all. There was time after the program to stay and pray. I just prayed. I didn't want to leave. I was scared to release it. It is part of what has defined me for so long. But, not anymore. I had sweet precious friends pray over me. I walked out different than when I walked in.

Sunday morning the fourth lady talked about "Radical Receiving." Forgiveness. Cling to Truth and not LIES. Really just overwhelming. After the talk we were going to take communion and we were asked to clear up any unforgiveness in our hearts before. I just prayed for a long time actually. I had more than I thought that I had. I took communion. Cleansed by the precious body and blood of our Savior. Relief. Change.

Rest, Relationships, Release, Receiving. The four R's = RELIEF. The truth of the matter is this is a daily walk with Christ. I am one step closer to the Lord than I was last Friday. I love Him more today than I did yesterday. I want to glorify Him more than ever. I want to enjoy Him. I want to "really live." To "really live" I am going to have to not fear the deep water or the shallow. I am going to have to put all my hope, trust and faith in the Lord....moment by moment. Swim. One breath at a time. Always looking up to Heaven in thanksgiving for all He has done for me. Amazing. He Redeems. He Restores. Glory be to God in the Highest.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Battles

"This is what the LORD says to you: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.' " 2 Chronicles 20:15,17


Well, I really don't know where to begin...but here goes. This past Tuesday I started graduate school to get my Masters in Clinical Counseling. I am attending a Christian College to receive this degree and SOOOOO excited about this opportunity that the Lord led me to. On my way home from my first day of class I found out my husband lost his job. Yes. No. Really? Are you serious, God. No, wait....this is a joke. Pinch me please. Wake up. Dream. No. Reality.

Our treasure is NOT here. I know this. I believe this to the core of my being. At first I was very positive. This is in God's plan. He will protect us. He has better plans for us. Our faith will only get stronger. I can't wait to see what He is going to do! Then I got mad. Then I got anxious. Then I got fearful. All the "what ifs?"

So, Friday I go in to see my therapist. I truly believe that in order to be a good therapist, you need to see one also;) Let me tell you I have seen my share of them! I got out a lot of stuff. I cried. I smiled. Relief. For a little while. I go to sleep last night and wake up 3 hours after I fall asleep with a tightness in my chest. "Please, Lord....not now. Please just let me sleep. My children are out of town. All I want is sleep. NOPE. Didn't happen. So, I get up and go read in my journal. Read scripture. Go back to bed. Wake up. Tightness in my chest again. This time I go into the den shut the doors(like I always do) and start writing in my journal.

Submitting my requests to the Lord. Repenting. Requests. Repenting. Then I open my Bible. It is no secret that I suffer from PTSD. Well, every time something scary or fearful happens in my life. I basically get anxious and can't think straight. Fear takes over. But, something I learned on Friday is when you suffer something traumatic, something goes wrong in your brain. You see, I did not use to be this way. I was never anxious before. I mean maybe a little, but never the "I can't breath kind of anxious." Now I do. My brain is different, all because of one event. One event changed my brain and how I react to fearful, stressful and scary situations. This is not an everyday thing. I can handle everyday things, but life changing events. Not so great, folks.

I start reading in John 11. I read about Mary and Martha and their brother Lazarus. Lazarus is sick. Mary and Martha knew that Jesus loved Lazarus. So they go to Jesus and tell Him that he is ill. "But when Jesus heard it he said, 'This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it." John 11:4 The story goes on and Lazarus does die. But, Jesus raises him from the dead. He had actually been in the tomb for 4 days before Jesus raised him from the dead.

Everything that happens in my life is for God's glory. He is teaching me to let go and let Him carry my burdens.

"Cast your burden on the LORD,
and he will sustain you;
he will never permit
the righteous to be moved." Psalm 55:22


So, tonight while I was putting Lawson to bed I decide to cast them on the Lord. While the sound machine in the background was the ocean, I just submitted them to the Lord. One. By. One. Be assured there were plenty. But, such a beautiful way to just release the pressure I feel on my chest. As I was casting them to Him, I envisioned me with a fishing pole and throwing them to Him. He was catching and I kept on submitting the burdens. Burdens I can't handle, but He can. He doesn't expect me to. It is His job and not mine.

We are trusting. We are hoping. We are having faith that He has walked the road before us and is with us always. We are claiming His Promises and believing them. We are rebuking the devil....because he is prowling around, I assure you of that! But, the Lord is stronger. His plan for us is better than anything we could ever imagine or dream of. I can't wait to tell you all about it:)

"'Ah, Lord GOD! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you..... Behold, I will gather them from all the countries to which I drove them in my anger and my wrath and in great indignation. I will bring them back to this place, and I will make them dwell in safety. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul. For thus says the LORD: Just as I have brought all this great disaster upon this people, so I will bring upon them all the good that I promise them."

Jeremiah 32:17, 37-42 English Standard Version




God's faithfulness never fails. NEVER. We will continue to, "Look to the Lord and His strength;seek His face always." Psalm 105:4

P.S. Kind of funny that my last post was entitled, "Casting out Fear.":)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

"Casting Out Fear"

"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not a been perfected in love." 1 John 4:18

Fear. We all know it. As someone who suffers from an anxiety disorder/PTSD this is something I have struggled with over the past two and a half years. Usually my fear manifests in some sort of fear of something. But, over the past few months God has been teaching me about His love. His love is different than anything I have ever received. There are no strings attached. It is what It Is. God is Love.

So, as He has been teaching me about His love, my fears kind of subsided. I was trusting and obeying. Joyful. Hopeful. Really. I was solely concentrating on who He created me to be and starting to embrace the good and the bad. Well, during this time the Lord put it on my heart to apply for graduate school for my Masters in Counseling. What? Seriously, I am 35 and have been out of school for 13 years. I never did "love" school. It was always a struggle for me.

I obeyed. I applied. It took me 2 weeks to complete the application process. The majority of that time was spent on writing an essay. Then last week I had the interview and test to get in school. All along I was saying, "If this is God's will, it will happen. If it is not God's will it will not happen." Period. I was trusting in Him.

The test and interview were hard on me. Emotionally and physically zapped. You see I have been in Christian Counseling for the past three years. It is amazing what the Lord has done to my heart over the past three years. I am NOT the same person I was before. Before I left the interview I was told that they wanted me in the program. What? Seriously......

Fear. Again. No. Lord, please. Well thank the Lord I didn't have full blown panic attacks. I prayed. I got in His word. But, fear continued to take over. It was covering up His love. That is why I posted this verse.

If you pray, would you please pray for me? I am kind of scared. Kind of excited. Kind of nervous. Kind of anxious. But, I am trying to concentrate on Him. This is about Him and NOT me...but oh sweet Lord, how I make it all about me. Forgive me....

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Confessions

Ok, here I go.....

I, Allison, love vanilla ice cream with creamy peanut butter swirled all up in it.
I, Allison, love to laugh.
I, Allison, love for people to laugh at me. Crazy. I know.
I, Allison, am full of drama. Always have. Always will. That is the way God made me.
I, Allison, pick at my fingers until they bleed. Nervous, sick habit.
I, Allison, love Diet Mountain Dew. Crack. Seriously.
I, Allison, love my Zoloft.
I, Allison, love my therapist.
I, Allison, love BBQ potato chips.
I, Allison, just really love food.
I, Allison, am an emotional eater.
I, Allison, talk too much and sometimes don't know when to stop.
I, Allison, need to learn to not talk so much.
I, Allison, love being with my husband and kids when they are not getting on my nerves.
I, Allison, do not get on anyone's nerves......ever;)
I, Allison, have a unibrow. Yes, just like the Golden Arches at McDonald's.
I, Allison, shaved that unibrow when my mother would not let me wax it in the 6th grade.
I, Allison, love to play jokes on people.
I, Allison, love to stir up trouble.
I, Allison, love Anthropologie. I could get lost in that store for hours and spend way more money than I have.
I, Allison, did not go to Anthropologie the last time I was in Birmingham. This was a proud moment.
I, Allison, am a overthinker and try to figure it all out kind of girl.
I, Allison, have a hard time making decisions. Very frustrating.
I, Allison, have the worst problem with writing thank you notes. My mother would be so disappointed in me if she only knew......
I, Allison, have a love/hate relationship with running.
I, Allison, broke my big toe one day after talking about my best friend.
I, Allison, love the Lord with all my heart and soul.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Come join me:)

Ok, seriously.....I have had that join my blog for a few weeks now and NOT one person has joined. What is up with that? I know all my posts are serious. But, I am a funny and not so serious in my life outside my blog:)

So, my next post might be confessions of Allison McLendon. Maybe that will get some blog followers;)

Faithfulness


"God's faithfulness never fails us." This is on a little card that sits in my window right next to the kitchen sink. I received this little card during the time in our life when we were trying to get pregnant with Mac. I look at this card quite a bit, especially since it is in a place where I tend to spend A LOT of time. Kitchen sink...dishwasher:) Ok, and obviously I need to get the Windex out and clean my window before I load another dish in that broken dishwasher...hehe

Lamentations 3:22-24 (English Standard Version)

"The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
"The LORD is my portion," says my soul,
"therefore I will hope in him."


WOW. Let me tell you....the Lord never ceases to amaze me. NEVER.

2 Samuel 7:18 (English Standard Version)

David’s Prayer of Gratitude

"Then King David went in and sat before the LORD and said, "Who am I, O Lord GOD, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?"


I would have never imagined all that the Lord has done in my life over the past two and a half years, but He has. He has brought me "thus far." This past Friday morning, Mac came running in to tell me about a hummingbird that he saw. He said it was so close to him. I then told him that was my grandmother's favorite bird. He immediately wanted to call her. So, we did. Bea then told me that my real father was in the hospital. He had gone in for a hip replacement surgery and something was wrong with his heart. My heart sank. He didn't want anyone to know he was in the hospital. You see, this is how he works. He tells one person and then tells that person not to tell anyone. Well, that person he told, told my grandmother. She said she just felt it was wrong for him not to tell his own mother.

I called him. We talked. It was an emotional talk. We had not talked since Father's Day. I called him because I could never find the "right" card to send him. He has been absent for the better part of my life. After talking to him that night. The Lord put it on my heart to send him scripture or something every week. No matter what. So, I started the very next day. I continued sending him something every week. Well, Friday morning before I talked to my grandmother, I had just written him and addressed and sealed the envelope. Put the stamps on and was ready to mail it. But, I got to hand deliver it instead. We ended our conversation with me telling him that I would come the next day. My sweet husband got me a plane ticket out the next morning.

I woke up at 5 a.m. to drive to Charlotte to catch the direct flight into Huntsville. Let me tell you, I was cutting it so close. I got to the airport at 7:15 (mind you my flight was scheduled to leave at 7:45). I was running down the escalator thing like Forrest Gump. I got to my seat and had to wipe the sweat off of my face. I was so thankful to have made the flight...but was laughing at myself for running like that in the airport....high healed wedges and jeans on too;)

I make it to the hospital. I am nervous. Not frightened. Nervous. I have not been around him in so long. But, oh how I have missed him. If you have read my blog before, then you know all that has gone on with him in the past. It is just so nice to see him and catch up. He looks pretty good except that his heart has some sort of electrical problem. And they can't seem to control it with medication. So, we are waiting to hear if he will have to have an ablation.

He is a good manipulator. He always has been. After being there for about an hour, he starts telling me to basically quit shoving religion on him. He is trying to intimidate me. I back off. Mind you, I wasn't shoving it down his throat or anything, but was calling him out in some of his destructive ways. I was being open and honest with him about how the Lord has changed me. He got pretty defensive(which is not uncommon) and says that the Lord works on people in different ways. I totally agreed with him and left it at that. I did back down.

I called my friend Mary Beth for some encouragement. She gave me just what I needed to hear. And I went back in there. We had a nice afternoon. Just talking and watching a movie. Then we got into some deep stuff. I kept asking him if he was going to call Bea(his mom). He kept saying he didn't want to worry her. Then he starts on a tangent bad mouthing her. Bad mouthing my brother. I could just see his pain, hurt, disappointment and anger. Resentment to the fullest.

So, I was honest with him. I told him that he pushes people away. He doesn't allow anyone to love him. He doesn't know how to love. He doesn't. It is so sad, y'all. To see someone who doesn't know what love is, just breaks your heart. It all makes sense to me now. I told him that I know that he doesn't have the desire to live. I can just tell. He cried. But, I wasn't backing down. The Lord was calling me to love him. To show him love through Him.

1 John 4:18 (English Standard Version)

"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love."


I had to truly "trust and not be afraid" Isaiah 12:2. I showed Joe love. Christ's love. It is different than any other kind of love. His love is the kind of love that transforms. His love is the kind of love that redeems and restores brokenness. His love covers a multitude of sins. "Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins." (1 Peter 4:8)

Please pray for Joe. Pray that his heart would be healed. Physically. Pray that he would open his heart to receiving the Lord's love for him. Pray that this generational sin would end. Joe knows no other kind of love. He doesn't know how to receive or give love without expecting anything in return. He is broken. Please pray that he stays clean. Please pray for me. Pray that the Lord would protect my heart. That I would not be consumed with his problems. Pray that I won't have any expectations about our relationship. Pray that I would just listen to Him. To not want "my" way but His.

Lord, thank you for the time that I was allowed to spend with Joe. Thank you for revealing Yourself in such a real way to me. Thank you for teaching me to let You do the work and not me. Thank you for protecting me while I was there. Thank you for Your faithfulness to me. Thank you. I was once lost and blind, but now I see. And what I see now is You. Oh and how sweet it is....

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Teaching moment today

Well, my sweet little boy Mac, is always teaching me something. I do believe the Lord uses him in ways that sometimes I can't even wrap my head around. Today, Mac lied to Leighton. Flat out lied. And he got caught. He would have gotten away with it if I had not walked in and heard him.

I left to go to the post office and when I returned, Leighton said he was going to make Mac another sandwich. I had already made Mac a sandwich before I left. Ok, I confess...today I only made it with jelly. He always complains about not wanting peanut butter and today I caved and let him have just jelly. Well, Mac proceeded to tell Leighton that he was still starving and needed another sandwich. He even told Leighton that he had licked all the peanut butter off of the edges of the sandwich he had just finished. "Oh NO you didn't..."

I looked at Mac and he knew he was caught. I said, "Mac you just lied to your father." Mac bowed his head. He knew he was going to be in trouble. Leighton sent him to his room. Leighton headed upstairs and a little while later I heard Mac crying. My heart just sank for him. This is my child that has a tender heart. He gets so upset with himself when he messes up.

Leighton came down the stairs and I just could tell it tore him up to have to spank him. Now, Lawson on the other hand could be spanked and she would start to laugh(wonder who she is like?) Anyway, it just made me sad. This is the first time he has been caught in an outright lie. My heart was just so sad. Mac told Leighton, "I wish there was no sin in the world." Oh, baby. My sweet child.

Mac stayed upstairs for a little bit longer crying and I tried to get him to come and feed the dog. We want him to be able to move on after messing up. He can tend to dwell on things when he gets in trouble. I ended up having to go upstairs and talk with him. But before I did, I went into my room and got the picture off the wall that he drew me of a pirate ship. It is not just any ordinary pirate ship. This is a picture he colored for me and was so proud of how well he had colored in the lines. He was four years old. And it actually was the best he had ever colored.

The very day he gave me this picture, I read this in my Gospel Transformation Bible study.

The benefits of the gospel are yours in full!

The gospel is truly good news. The gospel starts you out at the very top! In Christ, you are a new creation (2 Cor 5:17). You no longer live, but Christ lives in you (Gal 2:20). The Father accepts you as a son or daughter because you are in Jesus. You now live under total acceptance with no condemnation (Rom 8:1). Nothing can separate you from the love of God (Rom 8:38-39). You are a son or daughter who is dearly loved, rejoiced over, and delighted in. That is who you really are! You are defined by who you are in Christ, not by your sin.

Thus, Paul does not begin his letters: "To all those at Rome with whom God is angry....," "To the church at Corinth, who continually test God's patience....," "To all the rebels at Philippi..."

Rather, he says, "Grace and peace, dearly loved, dear children, saints," etc. You may not feel holy and pleasing, but so what? You are holy and pleasing because you are in Christ, and your works from faith are accepted. When a young child draws a picture for her father, even if it is very imperfect the father loves it, and sticks it on his refrigerator and proudly shows it off to everyone. Likewise, what you do in faithful relationship to your heavenly Father is accepted and delightful to him."

So, after I read this, I headed upstairs to talk to him. I sat on the bed and wiped the tears off of his face. I told him that Jesus does not define him by his sin. The Lord delights in him and he is dearly loved. I want to teach him to not be scared of sin. To call it out and repent of it and move on. It is so hard. It is hard for me to do. It is hard for me to comprehend what Jesus did on the cross for me and for you. But, we aren't suppose to fully understand it.

Mac came downstairs and started to feed Jasper. He looked up at me and said, "I want to be perfect like Jesus." Oh sweet, Lord. I then proceeded to tell him that we will never be perfect in this life. Only when we get to heaven. But, I also told him that Jesus doesn't want us to live a life of wanting to be perfect. He just wants to have a relationship with us and fill us with His love and His joy. I told Mac that if we were perfect, then we would have no need for Jesus. This answer seemed to help and he moved on.

Next thing you know we are laughing and having a good time again. And off he went to basketball camp. Then I am left reflecting on how the Lord uses Mac to teach me. I spent the majority of my life trying to be perfect. Beating myself up for not being able to do it all and do it right. Do it the best. Well, the good news is that I don't have to be perfect. Jesus does not look at me and define me by my sin. He does call me to repent and walk in faith with Him. To have a relationship with Him that is open and honest. I need to look to Him. Look up and see Him smiling at me when I realize I have fallen. He also lifts my head to Him when I am too embarrassed to look up. "But you are a shield around me, O LORD; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head." Psalm 3:3.

Lord, please help me to look up and seek Your face when I fall. I seem to fall so often, but please keep reminding me that You do not define me by my sin. I don't have to be perfect. Jesus is and was that for us. Our sins were nailed to the cross. Please help me parent my precious children that you have so graciously given me. Help me guide them in Your Word and Your Truth. Teach me, Lord. Your servant is listening.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Love Never Fails

Love Never Fails
by: Brandon Heath

Love is not proud
Love does not boast
Love after all
Matters the most

Love does not run
Love does not hide
Love does not keep
Locked inside

Love is the river that flows through
Love never fails you

Love will sustain
Love will provide
Love will not cease
At the end of time

Love will protect
Love always hopes
Love still believes
When you don't

Love is the arms that are holding you
Love never fails you

When my heart won't make a sound
When I can't turn back around
When the sky is falling down
Nothing is greater than this
Greater than this

Love is right here
Love is alive
Love is the way
The truth the life

Love is the river than flows through
Love is the arms that are holding you
Love is the place you will fly to
Love never fails you

Love. Love. Love. That is what God is, Love. Through all the suffering I have endured over the past 2 and a half years, this is what matters the most. His Love. His Love never fails you. Never. I could listen to this song over and over again and never get sick of it. It is such a sweet reminder of His Love for us. Christ. What He did for us........His Love matters the most.

"This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." 1 John 4:10

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Control

The definition of control is: power to direct or determine; a relation of constraint of one entity (thing or person or group) by another; exercise authoritative control or power over; lessen the intensity of; temper; hold in restraint; hold or keep within limits; the activity of managing or exerting control over something; operate: handle and cause to function; dominance: the state that exists when one person or group has power over another; manipulate: control (others or oneself) or influence skillfully, usually to one's advantage; restraint: discipline in personal and social activities. These were just a few of the definitions I found.

The other morning in my quiet time with the Lord. I heard Him say, "Listen. Hear. Accept. Listen to Me. Hear Me. Accept Me." It has actually taken me a few days to reflect on what He revealed to me.

We spent the 4th with my family in Decatur. I started to notice that I was telling or asking Leighton to do certain things. Then after I would ask him, I would think to myself, "Why did I just ask him to do that when I could have done it, or he already knew how to do it." After about a day (or two) of doing this, he politely said, "Allison, you have been quite full of instruction." It stopped me in my tracks. I apologized and asked him to help me realize when I was instructing. I hate that I do this. I HATE it. Hate is a strong word. But, I do. The very thing I hate, I do. Why? Why Lord?

Control. This was His answer to me. Ok, Lord. I will listen. I will hear. I will accept. Control has had reign over me for a long time. It is almost innate. I do it, even when I don't realize it. But, my sin of control is being revealed to me a lot lately. The power to direct or determine another person's way somehow feels a void in me. Exercising this control over others takes my eye's off my own self. Why? Because I don't want to have to examine my heart and see what is wrong with it. I would rather exercise control over another and not look myself.

But, control doesn't stop there. I exercise control over pretty much "all" areas of my life. Husband, children, money, food and time. There are more, but these are the "big" ones. Which leads me to another "c" word. Comfort. I control to feel comfortable. Yep. That is me. I came to realize this on my trip to Alabama. I don't like to be out of my comfort zone. Where I feel safe. I feel safest sometimes at home with my little family. I feel comfortable there. I feel secure there. My anxiety creeps up on me when I feel like I am not in control. Not full blown panic attacks now. Close, but thankfully not the I can't breathe kind. When I start to feel anxious now, the Lord gently guides me back to Him. I am reminded of His Word. His Truth. His Promise. And I HAVE TO BELIEVE IT!

I have to listen and look for Him. I have to hear Him. I have to accept what He reveals to me. I have to be open to His instruction and guidance. I can not ever be "perfect". No matter how hard I try. It WILL never happen until I am in Heaven. Not here. There is NOTHING perfect on this earth and as hard as I try, it will never be. I have to accept this. I have to accept who the Lord created me to be. I have to not be scared of examining myself and finding the sin in my life. The Only One who can change me is Him.

1 Corinthians 10:13 says, "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."


Dear Lord,

Please forgive me for wanting to have control over all areas of my life. Help me to listen, hear and accept You. Help me to not be afraid of not being in control. Help me realize that You created me just the way You wanted too and that is enough. Please help me to accept the love You have for me. Please help me accept the love from other people in my life. Let Your love come through me. Fill me with Your love so that I can love others as You have loved me.

In Jesus' Name, Amen

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Swimming

 



Yep, that is my girl! Lawson is full blown swimming. She is full of determination and Monday as I watched her, the Lord revealed something to me. Lawson was screaming that she didn't want to do it. Then she would take a breath and swim. She would come up to the wall and pull up. Scream again, deep breath then swim, pull up...you get the picture:) This didn't happen once. This happen 30 times. She was relentless in trying to get out of swimming, even though she KNEW she could do it.

I see so much of myself in her. As I watched her, I thought, "that is exactly what I do all the time. Scream and fight because I don't want to do what I know I need to do." What I realize is this is going to be my life. My walk with Christ. Even when I scream and fight myself on right and wrong, to do or not to do....He still loves me no matter what. What a gift. I am humbled....truly. Keep teaching me, Lord. I am listening....not all the time. But, I am trying:)

Romans 7:15 KJV

"For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I."

P.S. If you have not read, "Stepping Heavenward" by Elizabeth Prentiss, go to Amazon and get it NOW! It is an amazing book. She wrote it in the 1800's and reading it, I feel as if I am there. I know how she feels. The questions she poses. Get the book.....it is transformational:)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wavering

Romans 4:20-21 (New International Version)

"Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised."

The past week was a week of anxiousness for me. I know that anxiousness is a symptom of me wanting to be control and self-sufficient. I know this, yet why do I feel this way. Why have I not learned my lesson to keep my eyes focused on Him. I do believe that the Lord uses my anxiousness to bring me closer to Him....each and every time it seems to creep in.

But, man this was NO fun. I have recited this scripture over and over this week. because it gives me hope. When I waver through unbelief regarding the promises of God, I can't see Him. It is like I don't want to see Him. But, this scripture says that if you DO NOT waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, your faith will be strengthened and you WILL give GLORY to GOD....being fully persuaded that God had the power to do what He had promised.

Back in February, when I saw my real dad for the first time in almost 3 years, God was faithful to me. He was a shield around me and a comfort in a very sad time. I was so confident in His promises. But, I got kind of slack. Not, that I have believed in His promises any less until last week. I started having issues again. The same kind of issues I had when I was pregnant with Lawson. Panic sunk in. I was scared. Was it happening again? Why? I don't want to have to go back and deal with all that happened. I already know it....I lived it. We almost died. But, you see we didn't.

I can't keep looking back in fear. This is what the Lord is teaching me. He redeemed my hurts from my real father and now He is doing the same with the wounds of my pregnancy with Lawson. But, I had to quit fighting Him. I wanted to control the situation and figure it all out. When in actuality after praying He revealed what He was doing and a peace came over me. That confidence in Him was restored. I learn so much every time something like this happens. But, these 2 things are what have been holding me back. I have been clinging to them. Letting them rule my feelings and that is wrong. I am not believing that He has healed me from my past. He has. I just have to accept it. And quit fighting Him. Oh, how I am a fighter......love to get it my way(you can read that post below.)

What I have found is His peace. His peace that passes all understanding. His ways are higher than my ways. I can't figure out God. I just have to believe, trust and have faith. Seems so easy, yet so hard sometimes. I do know this....He is strengthening me. I am confident that whatever the outcome of my test tomorrow is, He will be glorified. Just like everything else that has happened in my life. It has all been to His Glory.

Jeremiah 30:17 (New International Version)

17 But I will restore you to health
and heal your wounds,'
declares the LORD,

Psalm 71:8,14 (English Standard Version)

My mouth is filled with your praise,
and with your glory all the day.
But I will hope continually
and will praise you yet more and more.

The other big thing that I realized is that I have to submit to Him. It says in James 4:7, "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." If I submit to Him, He can fight satan for me. I truly believe why I have not been anxious is that I am rebuking satan. Quoting scripture. I love my Lord and he(satan) seeks to destroy loves that love the Lord.

I am going to kind of end on an odd note. I know my readers have increase a little and I just want you to know that I do write some heavy stuff on this blog. But, I am a girl that loves the Lord with all her heart....but loves to have a good time and laugh until I can't stop. This is just a place I find refuge in getting my thoughts about the Lord out.

Thanks for reading:)
alliemac

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Foundation

What is your foundation built upon? This past week has been difficult to say the least. Well, envision a rock (a pretty big one)and Allison is trying to hold on and not fall into the water. Allison is kicking and screaming...not wanting to fall in. Even though she knows how to swim. And swimming is tough, especially for long periods of time. She has fought for the past 2 1/2 years and knows what it is like to fall. She knows all too well what it feels like to swim really hard just trying to keep her nose about the water. She knows what it is like to fall/swim and it hurts and she DOES not want to go back.

This past week for some reason I just kept looking back. Looking back at what the Lord has carried me through. Even though I know that good came out of bad, it is hard. I don't want to go back. If I start to feel like I am slipping, I think, "It is happening again....I am losing it. I can't do this. Yeah, you thought things were going well, but look....it is falling apart." Fear. Fear of the past. Fear that the lies are true, even when I know they are not. I know His word. I have studied and clung to it. I know who my God is. I love Him. I am safe with Him.

Then why can't I look forward. My precious friend, Emily (click on "Really Living" on the side and read I was Always the Strong Willed Child.") wrote this entry and it struck me...HARD. I can't keep looking back in fear. I have to be confident in what the Lord has done in my life. It just hurts. I wish that some of the things had never happened, because they hurt. It was hard trying to find the right medication. It was hard going through intensive therapy for almost 2 years. It was hard going back. It hurt.

I prayed yesterday just to let me rest in the Lord and enjoy. I begged Him to just not let the fear creep in. Please, Lord. Well, last night I decided to up my medication just a little. I really felt like I needed to do this so I could see a little clearer. I awoke this morning and it hit me like a ton of bricks...right in between the eyes. It was as if the Lord was saying, "Allison, you have not truly let Me heal your wounds from the past 2 years. Let Me, ask Me to heal those painful memories. You know that I have healed so much in your life. Why do you continue to fight Me. Why? Do you enjoy wallowing in the "what was"? You saw what I did with the painful memories from your childhood. Let Me. Look forward."

Today's sermon was Luke 6:46-49 (English Standard Version)

Build Your House on the Rock
"Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great."

My foundation is built upon the Rock. But, it doesn't mean that I will lead a life of no pain, no suffering and no sin. When the floods come, my foundation in the Lord is strong, deep and powerful. This foundation is built upon His Word. His Truth. Dr. Ferguson's children's sermon this morning was awesome! The kids sang this song:


The Wise Man Built His House

The wise man built his house upon the rock
The wise man built his house upon the rock
The wise man built his house upon the rock
And the rain came tumbling down

Oh, the rain came down
And the floods came up
The rain came down
And the floods came up
The rain came down
And the floods came up
And the wise man's house stood firm.

The foolish man built his house upon the sand
The foolish man built his house upon the sand
The foolish man built his house upon the sand
And the rain came tumbling down

Oh, the rain came down
And the floods came up
The rain came down
And the floods came up
The rain came down
And the floods came up
And the foolish man's house went "splat!" [clap hands once]

So, build your house on the Lord Jesus Christ
Build your house on the Lord Jesus Christ
Build your house on the Lord Jesus Christ
And the blessings will come down


Oh, the blessings come down
As your prayers go up
The blessings come down
As your prayers go up
The blessings come down
As your prayer go up
So build your house on the Lord Jesus Christ.


Jesus Christ. Foundation. Rock. Hope. Healing. Restoration. Redemption. Refuge. Joy. Love. Blessings. I can't do anything by myself. I am nothing without Him. Why not "let go and let God?" I am Yours.

Psalm 18:1-6,30

I love you, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.

The cords of death encompassed me;
the torrents of destruction assailed me;
the cords of Sheol entangled me;
the snares of death confronted me.

In my distress I called upon the LORD;
to my God I cried for help.
From his temple he heard my voice,
and my cry to him reached his ears.

This God—his way is perfect;
the word of the LORD proves true;
he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.

Dear Lord,

Please forgive me. Forgive me for my unbelief. Forgive me for wanting to wallow in the "what was". Forgive me for holding on too tightly to the pain because I am fearful of the joy. Cleanse my heart. Make me new. Help me accept your forgiveness and love. Help me move forward and not look back in fear. Let me look back in full confidence and security in who You created me to be in You. These things and situations happened in my life so I can be a living testimony to Your Glory. Lord, instill in me an excitement about the future. Help me look forward to Your plans for me and not be fearful of what is to come. Please don't let the devil rob me of joy ANY longer. Help my foundation in You stand FIRM. I want to live a JOYFUL life in You. I want to be Your light. I want to shine for You:)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

"My Way"

"He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble His way." Psalm 25:9

Something I have spent the majority of my life dealing with is this constant feeling of wanting it "my way". My way is better. My way is right. No one else can do anything like I can. Try if you would like, but no way is your way better. Especially is you are someone who constantly tries to do and say things better than I. GAME ON....

Well, my way is NOT His way. Never has and never will be. I bring this up because it seems the Lord keeps bringing this up to me. I am really being convicted of my "obsession with self". Dr. Ferguson's sermon today really hit me hard...right in the heart actually. Envision a knife and it being turned in my heart. Oh yeah, baby! He preached on Luke 6:27-36, "Who Loves His Enemies?". What Lord? Are you talking to me? Today out of all days....when yesterday I had my feelings hurt and my heart trampled on again?

Dr. Ferguson said, "Loving your enemy is evidence that the Lord has delivered the believer from his obsession with self." I would say that I spend about 85% of my day consumed with "me" and the other 15% about others. This life is not about me. I live because Christ died for me. I need to humble myself to the Lord. If you look up the word humble in the dictionary you will find this: to make meek and submissive to the divine will often used reflexively; having or showing a consciousness of one's defects or shortcomings; not proud; not self assertive, modest. In Psalm 25:9 David says, "He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way." His way is the right way. And only when I humble myself and submit to His will in my life will I receive His reward. Luke 6:35 says, "But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil." Wow. "Love your enemies, do good, lend, expecting NOTHING in RETURN, and your reward will be great..." Expect nothing in return.

So today the Lord has revealed to me my "obsession with self" and how I expect something in return for something I have done. Wow. I am in need of The Savior something FIERCE. Jesus died. He died so I could live. I am His enemy and look what He did for me. This is how I am repaying Him....by being consumed with myself and always expecting something in return.

Oh sweet Jesus, please forgive me. Forgive me for being so consumed with myself that I am missing out on experiencing complete joy in You. Forgive me for not forgiving someone who continues to hurt me. Forgive me for not loving my enemies. Forgive me for being so self righteous. Forgive me for my prideful heart. Forgive me for being religious righteous. Forgive me for forgetting who I am in You. Forgive me for not loving You with my whole heart. Forgive me for not being humble. Forgive me for taking my frustrations out on my husband because of what someone else has done to hurt me. Forgive me for expecting so much out of my husband. Forgive me for feeling like I "deserve" this or that. Because I don't deserve anything without You. Thank you for loving me like You do. Thank you for revealing to me faults that need correction. Thank you for Your Word that says, You will lead the humble in the right way and teach Your way. Thank you for brokenness. Because in that brokenness is where You do Your best work. You redeem and You restore, Lord. Thank you........

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Laughing....

I just watched a precious video of a dear friend. Barkley and her husband were coming home from Jamaica and she wanted to get Claire's reaction. Well, Claire went straight for her daddy....I couldn't help but die out laughing:) Thanks Barkley for sharing your precious girl!

Seeing that video reminded me of potty training Lawson. Mrs. Dawn (her teacher) told me for weeks that Lawson was going potty at school. Let me just say that I was not all for pushing her until she was ready. Well, finally I decided to send Lawson to school for the first time with panties on. She didn't have an accident all day. I was so proud of her.

Well, we were going to Chick-fil-a that night for dinner. I said, "Lawson, you have to go potty before we can go to eat." She replies, "I NOT GO POTTY!" As she proceeds to fall on the floor....you know what I am talking about;) Leighton comes home from work and I literally was about to pull my hair out. I told him how she would not go potty for me. He immediately said, "Lawson McLendon, go potty right now or you are not going to Chick-fil-a." She replies, "Alright daddy!" You can only imagine how she said it to. Kind of with a flirty almost...ok anything you say kind of attitude. We died out laughing:) Little did she know that I was prepared to go to war with her now. We spent the next 3 or 4 days literally me sticking to my guns and not giving in:)

I will never forget how she said that to her daddy that day! We had our teacher conference today and I am just so proud of her. It just makes my heart smile to think about my precious girl! I can't believe she is about to be 3! Her party is Saturday and I am getting so excited! I will post pictures of the big event:) Sarah Dippity is coming to our house!

Monday, April 27, 2009

3 years ago...

Around this time of year, I am constantly reminded of how God saved me. On May 17th my sweet Lawson will be 3 years old. A few weeks before she was born, I almost died. God had other plans for me and for that I am so thankful. I was about 32 weeks pregnant and I had to start insulin. I went into my OB/GYN and she was out that day so a different Dr. prescribed the insulin for me. Mac was with me and I remember him saying, "Mommy, I have to go poo poo!" The dr. wrote the prescription and the nurse came in to show me what to do. I was so distracted and the nurse said that someone would be calling me from the Diabetes Center to set up an appointment. Needless to say, I had given myself shots to get pregnant twice....so I was just like, Ok....I can do this.

Pregnancy with Lawson was filled with issues. Starting at 20 weeks I started to have blood in my stool. I had just finished a Z pack for a sinus infection. It only got worse from there. I ended up having to have a colonoscopy. I can't even tell you how horrible that was. The Dr. called to tell me I had Chrohn's Disease and I needed to start taking prednisone. I was very resistant because my sister had taken it before and she swelled up and it was just hard to think of having to go on this drug. So, one day later Leighton had to drive me to the Emergency Room because I was in so much pain. It was a pain that I can't even explain. I thought I was dying. The whole ride to the hospital I had my eyes shut and was moaning. Mac was with us, unfortunately. They finally got me over the the Ob floor. A Dr. came in to see me and I threw up all over him. Then it all happened so fast. Ultrasounds and they couldn't find anything. They gave me heavy doses of pain meds and it didn't even help. So, that is when they started pumping me full of prednisone. It is a miracle drug in some ways. It is the only thing that made me start to feel better. Prednisone raises your insulin levels, so that is why I had to start taking insulin.

So, night 2 on the insulin, I woke up and stammered to the bathroom and almost couldn't make it back to the bed. I almost fainted. Leighton got me crackers and juice and I finally came out of it. I called my OB that morning. She called me back to up my insulin from 4 units to 8 units. She also said that the Diabetes Counselor would be calling me that day. Around 4:30 the Diabetes Counselor called me. We talked for a little bit and then she told me to go and get my syringes. I looked at the syringes and fell to my knees. The pharmacy had give me 100 unit syringes. I was suppose to be taking 4 units of insulin and I had been taking 40 units of insulin for 2 nights in a row. Then that night I would have taken 80 units of insulin. We would have died. No question about it. Then the lady tells me that she usually leaves every day at 4 pm. This was 5 pm by now.

I knew it was God that had saved us. Confident it was Him. But, I still wasn't fully ready to submit to Him. He still had other plans for me. I ended up meeting with the diabetes counselor and regulated my sugars until Lawson was born. She was born at 36 weeks and 5 days. I had to have 2 amnios to see if her lungs were developed. A pregnant lady had lost her baby a year earlier at this same hospital and she had been on insulin. So, they were very precautious with me. Especially after the syringe incident. She was healthy and didn't have to spend time in the NICU at all.

Things were still not alright with me. I still felt kind of "off". I was so thankful and grateful. But, I was not connecting with her. I was starting to feel even more disconnected to Leighton and Mac too.

I will finish this later.....

I left off last entry about feeling disconnected. I am pretty sure I had postpartum depression from the beginning after Lawson was born, but I didn't break until she was 4 1/2 months old. I was participating in Bible Study Fellowship's study of Romans. Woah.....It really threw me for a loop. I guess it was my first dose of how really awful and sinful I was. After studying about 3 chapters, I lost it. Literally. Leighton had to drive me to an OB that I had never met before after having a full blown I can't breathe panic attack in the church parking lot. I thought I was going crazy. Truth is, I kind of was. There is blessing in suffering. I know that now. I did not know that then. I didn't know it then because I didn't know Christ. I believed in Him. I believed in God. I just didn't understand my need for Him.

Well, I was on my knees praying that He would save me from the pit of despair. I hate to even write about this because it takes me back to a place sometimes I would rather forget. But, I can't. He used my brokenness to heal me. After getting on some much needed medication and starting weekly counseling, things started to improve a little. I felt a little more connected. Truth be told is I wanted to leave. I wanted to leave my life and go somewhere, although I have no idea where I thought I was going to go. I didn't want to be with Leighton. I didn't want to be with Mac. I didn't want to be with Lawson. I was scared to say the least.

I had to get to the root of the problem. Leighton and I had grown apart. We grew apart because of built up resentment. Resentment on both parts. Not that one did more than the other. We were both at fault. We went through counseling and it helped so much. We had to work hard to forgive one another and move on from our past. The Lord really has redeemed and restored our marriage. For that I am so thankful for. I love him more now than I ever have. I feel close to him than I ever have. God used our resentment to draw us to Him.

Sin is the root of all evil. We all sin. We all far short. I am not scared to read Romans anymore. Now I try to look for my sin and call it out. Then repent of it. There are so many times I will be struggling and almost fighting to NOT to have to look at the sin. But, the sweet Lord always provides a way for me to dig kind of deep and not be scared. To confront my sin. Look at it, see where it came from and try to turn from it. Do I fail? You bet your bottom dollar(Oh, that is one of my favorite Annie songs...)But, this is part of sanctification. I will never be perfect this side of Heaven. No matter how hard I try. Never will I be perfect. Jesus is the Only One who was without sin. The One and Only One. He is the One and Only that I am trying so hard everyday to fix my eyes on. To see Him in everything. He nailed all of our sins to the cross. He looks at us as if we have never sinned. That is nothing short of amazing. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you for the brokenness in my life. Thank you for the heartache and struggles. It is in brokenness that I feel closest to You. And it makes the times in my life where there isn't much hurt or pain more enjoyable:)

Proverbs 28:13 (New International Version)

13 He who conceals his sins does not prosper,
but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

Isaiah 30:15 (New International Version)

15 This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says:
"In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it.

1 John 1:9 (New International Version)

9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Paradoxes of the Kingdom
A Puritan prayer

Lord, you have brought me to the valley of vision
Where I live in the depths but see you in the heights;
hemmed in by the mountains of sin I behold your glory
Let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up
that to be low is to be high
that the broken heart is the healed heart
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive,
that the valley is the place of vision.


Dear Lord,

Teach me, mold me and hold me. I know that Your ways are not my ways. Your thoughts are not my thoughts. Teach me more about Your word and draw me nearer....

In Jesus name, Amen

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

"Look momma"

"Look momma, Jesus is holding a green popsicle stick!" This is what I said to my mother when we drove by The Vulcan in Birmingham, Alabama. I was probably around 3 or 4 years old. I am sure she could tell me for sure. The Vulcan use to have a green light if there were no accidents and red if there had been. I don't know why this thought struck me this morning on my run. I guess it must be all the red birds that I see while I am running, that get me thinking about Jesus:) You can read here about my post on red birds

He is teaching me right now to seek Him. To look for Him in everything. It is hard, you know. Because the flesh part of me usually wins. But, sometimes He wins. When He wins is when He does His best work. He is changing me. He is molding me. He is shaping me into the person He wants me to be. I was put here on this earth to Glorify Him, not myself. And it is hard. We were made to instinctively be about ourselves. All because of the Fall. I am learning more and more about His Grace. Justification. Sanctification. But, I won't be whole until I meet Him face to face. And can I just tell you, how I long for that? I mean not right now. But, when He calls me Home.

I just now am experiencing joy for the first time in my life. I mean "real Joy". Joy that can only come from Him. It is satisfying my thirst. But, I still struggle. Everyday. Let's get real....life is hard. It is not perfect and won't be until we leave this earth. I sin. I fall short. I say hurtful things. I might not spend "enough" time with my kids. I might give enough attention to my husband. I might say something that wasn't appropriate, or think it;). My list could go on and on. Some stuff I wouldn't even want you to know about me. But guess what....He loves me. And that is just so sweet to know. It reminds me of a sign that my aunt gave me when I was pregnant with Mac. It said, "You make my heart smile....."

Jesus makes my heart smile:) When I see Jesus holding up a red light(imagination here)is when I need to look to Him. When it is green, I still need to look to Him. It is Him and Only Him that can do more than we can think or imagine.....

"Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always." Psalm 105:4.

"Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders You have done. The things you have planned for us no one can recount to You; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many too declare." Psalm 40:5

Dear Lord,

I will try to seek Your face always, but when I don't please gently(or not) use whatever You need to to get my attention. My joy comes from You and all that You have done for me. Thank you for loving me the way you do. Lord, thank you for all of the wonderful people You have put in my life. Please be with baby Stellan. Thank you for his mother's words this morning. To You be the Glory.....To You be the Glory.

In Christ Alone

Please pray for Stellan

Monday, March 16, 2009

Hope Floats

I first saw the movie, "Hope Floats" with Leighton in a movie theater. We had only been dating for a couple of weeks. He was really kind to go and see such a "girly" movie. If you have seen the movie then you are probably familiar with the scene where the little girl cries hysterically while her father drives off. When I first saw this scene I couldn't cry like I wanted too in the movie theater. Instead it happened in the driveway at Leighton's house. Sobbing. Heart wrenching pain. Leighton just held me as I cried. You see, I hadn't seen or spoken to my real father in months.

I knew that little girls pain. I knew it more than I wanted to know. I just wanted him to love me. To want to be with me. To hug me. To tell me he was proud of me. To tell me he loved me. I asked my mom a few months ago what it was like when I was a child. A lot of my childhood memories are lost. So, I asked her straight up...."What happened? Did I go and stay with him when I was little? What did you do when I was gone?" She then proceeded to tell me there were times when he would say he would be there and he just wouldn't show up. She said I would just cry and cry. After she told me this it was actually quite healing for me. In God's way, He wrapped His arms around me and filled me with His Truth and comforted me.

So, about 2 weeks ago I was flipping through the channels and "Hope Floats" was on Lifetime. I actually changed the channel and then I went back. I watched. But, this time it was different. This time I watched it with my Lord:) While I was watching , I was also looking through a book I had read called, "The Wounded Woman". I have so many lines in that book underlined it is almost funny;) But, when the scene was approaching I was watching and to my surprise my heart didn't hurt. I was watching and what I saw was me. But it was me looking at that little girl and seeing what God has done in my life and I actually smiled. I smiled. I smiled with tears in my eyes.....

Then I read this in my book on the last page, "God doesn''t want to hurt us, but He is willing to use our pain to accomplish great things in us and around us. Zane Grey once wrote that his recipe for greatness was "tp bear up under loss, to fight the bitterness of defeat and the weakness of grief, to be a victor over anger, to smile when tears are close....to look up with unquenchable faith in something ever more about to be." Then it goes on to say, "This is what I want: an unquenchable faith. Yet without wounds, my faith remains untested. And without moving forward, my faith will be unrewarded. In the end, we must never forget that God loves us. He yearns to heal our wounds when the time is right. He is waiting to comfort us as soon as we ask Him. He is eager to strengthen us as we lean more and more on Him. So as we walk this trouble-filled world, let us hold firmly to His joy, His peace, His purpose, and especially His hope. For it is through hope that we move forward, and it is in moving forward that we discover that God can meet our every need."

My words fail me, but His NEVER will. His Truth is my hope.

Romans 5
Peace and Joy
1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a]have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b] rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3Not only so, but we[c] also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

6You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

9Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! 10For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.


Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for taking my wounds and healing them by the blood of Your Son, Jesus. Thank you for increasing my faith. I now come to You when I am thirsty. Even when I don't You still love me and gently guide me. Lord, please let me be a witness to Joe. If it is Your will, give me the strength to minister to him. I do feel like his addiction and mental illness blind him. But, Lord Your ways are not mine. If You can save me, a horrible sinner I know that You can do anything. Please lead me in Your will. I will follow. I will listen.

In Jesus name, Amen




Friday, February 27, 2009

Songs of Praise

Isaiah 12

Songs of Praise
1 In that day you will say:
"I will praise you, O LORD.
Although you were angry with me,
your anger has turned away
and you have comforted me.

2 Surely God is my salvation;
I will trust and not be afraid.
The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation."

3 With joy you will draw water
from the wells of salvation.

4 In that day you will say:
"Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name;
make known among the nations what he has done,
and proclaim that his name is exalted.

5 Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things;
let this be known to all the world.

6 Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion,
for great is the Holy One of Israel among you."

My heart rejoices in the Lord for the mighty things He has done in my life. I am saddened today by the loss of my grandfather. He passed away early this morning. He was Joe's father. I am so sad for my grandmother, Bea. She has been with him since she was 18.

You see, I haven't seen my real father in almost 3 years. I have only spoken with him once and that was when I called him. He has not been someone safe for me to be around or my children. I pray for him everyday that he would come to know the Lord and His love for him.

It is kind of strange because in some ways I am not scared to see him and I am in others. I am not scared because I believe in God's promises to me. I believe them with all my heart and soul. But, on the other hand....I have grieved over the lost relationship with my earthly father, Joe. You see, I love him. I love him so much. I love how much fun it was to be around him and the way he would make me laugh. I loved just being with him up at the farm. I loved sitting out on the front porch gazing out at the stars and hear nothing but the quietness of the night.....I loved riding in the car with him in the country. I just loved spending time with him, when he was well and not sick......But, the majority of his life he has been sick.

I am just praying that God was use me in a mighty way with Joe. That He would allow me to be calm and rest in Him and His promises. God knew before I was even formed in my mother's womb, that this would be my life and everything in it. He knew that out of my brokenness, He would draw me to Him. I have suffered from PTSD from and incident with Joe and had to fight panic attacks....the kind where you can't breathe and you think you are going crazy. I clung to this verse in Isaiah 12:2, "I will trust and not be afraid." But, not until today did I read the whole verse and truly comprehend how He used my suffering and that I would now be singing Songs of Praise and not Songs of Fears........

"The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation."

I want to shout from a mountaintop what the Lord has done in my life. I truly can't contain it anymore:) The Glory is all Yours, Lord......Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Confidence

I have struggled all of my life with feelings of insecurity. I never felt like I was good enough. When I looked in the mirror all I saw was bad. All of my insecurities led to misery. The only way I know how to describe this first 32 years of my life was insecurity. Searching for something to fill me and make me feel whole. Something to complete me. Satisfy me. Fill me to the brim so to say. I was baptized as an infant. I attended church. I was confirmed. I took communion. I believed in Jesus. I believed in God. But, still lacked confidence. I went all over to try to find myself. I went to enough counselors, but no one could fill the void I was missing. I went everywhere, except to Jesus.

I lacked the confidence in Jesus. I was looking to the world for my "identity". It took me 32 years to find Jesus. Or should I say, surrender to Jesus. Not only was I insecure, but quite stubborn. I associated Jesus and God with how my earthly father treated me. So, I wanted no part in that....thanks but no thanks. Oh, but my sweet Jesus had plans for me. Super duper plans that entailed a wild and crazy roller coaster ride, leading me to Him. (You can read other entries if you want the full story;))

So, today I did part of my Gospel Transformation chapter called, "Repentance and Transformation." And it was like the Holy Spirit lit a fire under me and revealed something to me. I know and knew how terrible I was for those 32 years. What I didn't know or feel was God's love for me in Jesus. I was looking for security in the world and not in God. If I am confident in who God created me to be, I am more likely to humbly repent of my sins. By repenting of my sins, cleanses me and brings me into relationship with Jesus. Being confident in who God created me to be, takes the focus off of me and more outwardly focused.

"He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy." Proverbs 28:13 You will not find rest when you cover your sin. If you claim it and confess it, you are forgiven and He provides relief of suffering in a kind and compassionate way. I never found rest without Jesus. I still struggle to find rest in Jesus because I still chose my will over His will. But, this is the reality of living in a fallen world. Our need for Jesus is always, moment by moment....second by second. But, repentance leads to life. Repentance helps build my confidence in God and who He created me to be.

Now more than ever I see it so clearly. His sovereignty over my life. My confidence in Him has led me to truly love Him and seek Him. I need to humble myself before the Lord. Realize that repentance leads to life in and with Him. Repentance transforms you into the person God created you to be. We were created to Glorify Him, not ourselves. So, when we look to the world for our security, we won't find it. Our Security is in God and His Son, whom He nailed on the cross so that I could live. My sins were nailed to the cross that day when Jesus died. All God wants us to do is "Repent and Live." Ezekiel 18:32b And life in Christ is so much more than I ever dreamed or imagined was possible:)