Monday, July 18, 2011

the Holy Spirit at work...

You know that saying "God works in mysterious ways."  Well, sometimes He doesn't.  At least sometimes he doesn't speak in mysterious ways.  Good grief.  I've mentioned that I'm reading Francis Chan's Forgotten God. (Yes, I'm still reading it... it's taking me a while.)  The chapter + that I read today has totally kicked my butt!  I lost my place, so I re-read some stuff that I totally needed to read/learn/be reminded of today.  If you're like me and the "little things" can sometimes dictate how your day goes - a fussy baby, a dog with allergies, a messy house, a question about the future, a disagreement with your husby, a doubt that you're making the right decision for your child- then some of this is for you too:
from Chapter 5 "A Real Relationship"
"This is the Spirit of God choosing you and me to be His dwelling place.  That means... the Spirit of the living God is inside me.  I might wake up on a particular day feeling physically tired or stressed or impatient, and humanly speaking, those things would probably define my day.  But the reality is that I am indwelt by the Holy Spirit.  And because of this reality, stress and tiredness and impatience don't have to define my day.

"If you have received by faith the promise of the Holy Spirit, you are also His temple.  As you drive your children to school.  As you go to work every day.  As you embark on a new, unknown season.  As you face tragedy and pain.  As you buy groceries.  As you give of yourself in relationships.  As you walk the dog.  As you make decisions.  As you live your life, the Holy Spirit is dwelling in you."

So, I guess that means I should be folding laundry and mopping the floors with vigor, instead of begrudgingly?
from Chapter 6, "Forget About His Will for Your Life"
"There are very few people in the Scriptures who receive their life plan from God in advance (or even their 5-year plan, for that matter). Consider Abraham who was told to pack up his family and all his possessions and start walking... A lot of us need to forget about 'God's will for my life.' God cares more about our response to His Spirit's leading today, in this moment, than what we intend to do next year.  In fact, the decisions we make next year will be profoundly affected by the degree to which we submit to the Spirit right now, in all of today's decisions."

Does that make you think "wow"?  It does me.  In fact, it stops me in my tracks.  I get caught up daily in the stuff around the house, whether or not Addison needs more sleep or more to eat, whether I have a God-honoring marriage, whether I should go to the gym or take Addie to the park.  I'm not sure I've ever considered those in the scope of God's immediate, here-and-now will for my life.  When I pray, I pray for future stuff; Addison's salvation, my marriage, our future kids, our future ministry, etc.  I pray for immediate needs I know about, but not like Chan's talking about.  
I definitely needed to read this today.  I hope it means something to you, too.

I have a one year old.  Addison is amazing.  She tries to repeat everything: words, animal noises, Rosco's barks.  She's walking all over the place, trying to tell us what she wants, and being specific with how she plays with her toys.  I can't believe that only a few months ago she could barely sit up.  Now she's a healthy, happy, smart toddler.  Time flies when you're having fun.  

Saturday, July 2, 2011

I can't believe it's July!

I can't believe it's been a whole month since I last took the time to sit still and write something down!  So many "little" things take up my days and it's like I blink and a week has gone by!  Seriously; I have good intentions to do a lot of things every day, but it doesn't work out.  I might put on my work out clothes, and find myself work-out free 6 hours later; or get the exercise ball out for crunches, and wind up using it as a toy with Addie instead; or I start separating the clothes to do laundry, but when the gal comes in to play with the dirty clothes I sit down and play with her... yes, it's gross.  Oh well.

June was such a busy month.  It started with a week at the beach with my sweet in-laws and 4 nephews.  I would argue with almost anyone that I have the best in-laws, hands down.  They have always gone out of their way to treat me like I was their daughter/sister, and they go out of their way to include me in lots of things that Brad can't attend.  This summer was a great example: Brad was in Arizona for a class, but the Gowings insisted that Addison and I take up precious space in the condo they were in for the whole week!  (With 4 boys, space was in high-demand, haha.)  In fact, my sweet father in law took the "big boys" (ages 6, 5, and 3) camping in his RV every night so there would be plenty of sleeping room. 

Addison enjoyed the beach - she LOVED the sound - and the pool every day.  It turns out our gal is part fish!  She crawled right into the water when I let her, put her face in at every opportunity, and drank what I'm sure is entirely too much chlorine and salt water... her diapers testified to that.  I had a great time too; I got to catch up with my good friend and sis-in-law, Britton, got a little sun, spent time with my 4th nephew, Jake (who is 4 months younger than Addison but bigger!) and I was proposed to.  My 3rd nephew, Ben, asked if he could kiss me on the lips and marry me!  That little guy certainly has my heart!  I told him that I couldn't marry him because I already had a husband, Uncle Brad.  Ben thought about that for a few minutes, and told me that "he been gone a long time" so it was okay to marry him instead.  Is that the best, or what?

Vacation Bible School was next... "B-b-b, b-b-b, big apple adventure..."  is still ringing through my head!  My sweet boss for the past 6 months, our children's minister, is retiring.  This is her 24th year at First Baptist Church, and she has led the ministry to grow and change with the times.  She has such a heart to bring children to the Lord.  That probably sounds like an obvious statement (shouldn't all childrens ministers?), but she goes above and beyond to make the Gospel understandable and accessible to children and their families.  She's great at reading people - of all ages - and meeting their needs.  I have learned so, so much from her, about ministry and ministers, about children and how to show them love, about God and different ways to share Him with those around us, even those who already know Him.  She is so quick to give the Holy Spirit credit for all that He does.  I have been so blessed to have the opportunity to get to know her and learn from her. 

My sweet sister is a mommy.  Her father's day present to her crazy husby was a new baby boy - William Holmes Morel Jr. - Holmes.  Isn't he so sweet looking???  I just can't wait to get my hands on him!  Addison and I are making the drive up to meet him this week... please pray for long naps and an easy traveler for me on Sunday!

July will be an even busier month!  We start off with our trip to meet Holmes, and the 4th.  Addison's birthday party will be on the 9th, and we'll be visiting with my mom.  And Brad will be busy, busy, busy with youth stuff this month!  I hope to make a trip up to Birmingham before the summer is over to see some friends, but we'll see.

Addison turns 1 in just a few days.  I am simply in awe of how fast time has flown by.  She's walking a little more, and is so expressive!  Every time we repeat something she watches our lips and mimicks the movement with her own, whispering her version of whatever the word is.  She says all sorts of important things in her "language" that I can't understand, and makes sure we know she's talking to us too!  She dances whenever she hears music; you should see her little hips shake.

God is busy with me, too.  I've been reading Francis Chan's Forgotten God, on the Holy Spirit and how modern Christians don't fully enjoy or experience all that He is for us.  If you have never read or listened to Chan, DO SO NOW!  God has blessed him with this incredible way of calling out his readers in very personal ways.  He uses scripture, respected theologians, and his own experiences to teach truths.  Here are some examples:

If it's true that the Spirit of God dwells in us... shouldn't there be a huge difference between the person who has the Spirit of God and the person who does not? (Chan)

The Christian's life in all it's aspects – intellectual and ethical, devotional and relational, upsurging in worship and outgoing in witness – is supernatural; only the Spirit can initiate and sustain it. So apart from him, not only will there be no lively believers and no lively congregations, there will be no believers and no congregations at all.  (J.I. Packer) 

What would your church (and the worldwide body of Christ) look like if everyone was as committed as you are? If everyone gave and served and prayed exactly like you, would the church be healthy and empowered? Or weak and listless? (Chan)

Re-read that last one.  Slowly.  I am praying that the Holy Spirit shows me what I should be doing.
Happy Fourth of July!  Check out my little Patriot...