I Couldn't Sleep At All Last Night

Gee, maybe it was the two cups of coffee I drank after six o'clock. Maybe it was the fact that I ran the Core Meeting last night and things like that always make me jumpy. Maybe it was the fact that we've had a crazy schedule all week and its hard to relax. Maybe its that I had a coughing child in my room all night. Overactive-mommy-of-six-kids bladder? Too many decisions to make? Tony leaving today to take his first ever international flight alone? Check on the last two...

Should I stay and work the same job for the same pay even though I feel like God is telling me to step out in faith? Should I send my girls back to the same school or to a more convenient location on this side of town? Public, private, or homeschool? Did I make the right decision in sending Rebecca back to publc school this fall? Is Tony gonna make it in college? Can I hack it staying at home with Emari and Zion or will I flee when caged in my home with two little guys like I always do? Is Tony going to make all his connecting flights? Will he arrive safely in Germany or be hijacked or kidnapped or lost to me forever?

Sheesh, that's a lot of stupid running through someone's mind at any time but especially at 3 in the morning, ya know. Boy am I glad that I can try it again tonight and do it right this time. Since my opportunity for rest has passed me by this time around, I was up early drinking coffee again, this time to keep me awake for sure, and reading my Bible. We follow a reading plan and it never ceases to amaze me how I can have a really crappy night and then wake up to God's Words just for me. This is from today...

Psalms 127:1-5

If God doesn't build the house, the builders only build shacks.
If God doesn't guard the city,
the night watchman might as well nap.
It's useless to rise early and go to bed late,
and work your worried fingers to the bone.
Don't you know he enjoys
giving rest to those he loves?

Don't you see that children are God's best gift?
the fruit of the womb his generous legacy?
Like a warrior's fistful of arrows
are the children of a vigorous youth.
Oh, how blessed are you parents,
with your quivers full of children!
Your enemies don't stand a chance against you;
you'll sweep them right off your doorstep.

Besides the allusions to sleep and rest, which are obviously, not for me, I'm really thinking the whole thing about kids being amazing is great and so on point. They are a real pain in the rear, and cause mommies to stay up late and get up early worrying about them, but in the end God is rewarding me. He is building my house, if I let him, not my night time rantings. Sleepless in Fayetteville signing off...



Josh and I are learning very quickly that being pastors of a church no matter the size can be very taxing. We love it so don't take us wrong but even with our vast experience as under shepherds for 15 years, missionary work, youth pastoring techniques and just plain raising our own kids into teenage-hood, doesn't quite equip us adequately. To put it plainly, we get tired fast. I now understand why Jesus withdrew (escaped) to a solitary place and prayed. Sometimes the weight of it all becomes overwhelming. We planned a quick getaway to Moravian Falls which just so happens to have a mountain top prayer house that is truly a solitary place. But I was still a little worried that the escape wouldn't be enough. I was praying and asking God why it is so hard and His response as always made it so simple, "My yoke is easy, my burden is light." He didn't say the yoke you take upon yourself, or the burden you allow others to put on you, He said His yoke. When I was allowed the chance to look up the passage He was referring to it made everything so clear.

Matthew 11:28-30
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

Boy is that what we all need, to learn how Jesus handles the pressure. Spend time with Him, learn how he does it. Its His invitation to us to come away with Him and allow Him to teach us how to discern the necessary things from the trivial. He knows exactly what we need. I love the sound of learning the unforced rhythms of grace. It almost sounds like a dance. That's how I would like Him to see me, as a graceful dancer carrying out even the most difficult of movements with unjerking accuracy and fluidity. Don't you?



The other day I was signing on to check my email when a news story flashed across my screen. This one particularly caught my attention because it had something to do with Ms. America and the fact that she apparently tripped on her dress while crossing the stage. I quickly clicked on the button to start up the video. I had to see this. Then, if He wasn't already hovering over me, the Holy Spirit burst into the room and said, "Just, WHAT are you doing?"

NO biggie right? I just wanted to watch the pretty lady who was officially being recognized as being the prettiest lady in our whole country fall in front of everybody in the whole world on television and make a complete fool of herself. What's the big deal? Apparently, the Lord was taking a stand in my life on this particular issue. Now let me say that if you watched the little video, this is not a blog to make you feel bad. I'm just saying that for me and what I've been going through lately this was a big no-no.

In case you weren't aware of this yet, I'm a pastor's wife and, well, people treat us pretty weird. I don't consider myself anything special, but the church often puts the pastor and his family on this pedestal. We don't climb up there ourselves, there is no ladder to the platform. You must place an item there. What we also like to do is say, "Look at them, they're up there and they're not doing things right!" We are just normal people like you, the only thing that is different for us is that we bear the weight of the congregation we lead. As representatives of something bigger than us, we often times become a target for those who want to bring down that larger entity through our frailties and mistakes or just make themselves feel better by putting us down

Just for the record, if you see me trip, don't post the video on youtube. Be Christ-like enough to come over and help a sister get up and move on.

Psalms 13

How long, O LORD ? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?

How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and every day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, O LORD my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;

my enemy will say, "I have overcome him,"
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.

I will sing to the LORD,
for he has been good to me.


Seven-October 3, 2008

Driving away from my house yesterday God met me on the backroads to Pembroke. I was feeling lousy about leaving my girls at home again and realizing once I stepped away from the bustle of my house how very busy and demanding I can be. The thought crossed my mind that I seem to always be instructing someone or bossing somebody around. Hi, baby can you do this for me, or good morning sweet pea, go get ready for school. I hate that, I so want to just stop and enjoy my children. Taylor my little elf baby is turning seven tomorrow and I can't believe how the time flies. So much of God was wrapped up in her arrival that I can't even begin to explain in words what her life has meant to me so far. She is sweetness incarnate. Tony told me just last night how he doesn't want her to grow up and get mean, I explained that I don't think she ever will get mean but she has to grow up. Just a little side note.

So, I've been thinking how often I get wrapped up in the busyness of life and don't enjoy the moment. I do that alot. I get that way with God too and He says just stop a minute and let me hold you. Seven is meant for rest, for renewal. Just as Tay's seven reminds me of what my life was like even seven years ago and how much God has restored to us as a family the renewal He has given us. Today, take a moment and enjoy your coffee, smell its aroma, give someone you love a lingering embrace just to hang on a little longer and thank God for the experience of life and breath and rest.

Been A Long Time Hasn't It?-October 1, 2008

Wow, so I realized that's its been a really long time since I posted a new blog. But the real reason behind my title this time is retrospect. Just today I reconnected with a friend from High School. She mentioned that it had been a long time since high school days and requested that we catch up. Now I don't know about you but its really hard for me to sum up the past 15 years, yes its been 15 years since I graduated, Class of '93 rocks! How do I squeeze all that has happened into a condensed paragraph that wouldn't bore the socks off my grandma, but yet still conveys the full meaning of my life's pursuits? Maybe I'm being a little dramatic about it, but hey its my life and my prerogative right?

Yesterday I was listening to the radio and Paul Alan's song, To Bring You Back, was playing. That song always gets me, I can hear the instrumental and it would still bring me to tears. There is a verse in there that says, "you've been trying to find your place in a world that wasn't made for you." It hit a nerve and I was pinging the rest of the afternoon. Today writing to my friend only compounded it. What have I been doing all these years? Was it worth it? How much have I done that was truly in service to my King and Master? Am I guilty of trying to find my way and carve a niche out for myself in a world I wasn't made to remain in? I guess I just mean to say that a whole lot of inward dealings began.

For those of you that know my husband and I well, you know that we have been really wrestling with God the past year. You never really win when you wrestle with Him you know, at least you don't walk away unchanged. I finally came to the conclusion that while my life has been my own, it has been at least a mild attempt to please Him while still remaining in this crazy world. My mistakes and frailties He understands and when I walk away and start to forget He pursues me. When I finally return He has no condemnation, only a welcoming embrace and a quiet word, "Been a long time hasn't it?"

Hearts on Fire-June 11, 2008

On Mt. Sinai the Lord told Moses to tell the people to prepare themselves for the Lord's appearance. When He came down onto the mountain, He warned them not to touch the mountain or come near it or else they would die. Even with their preparations, He would come amongst them but they could not draw near. They witnessed His appearance in fire, smoke, thunder and the blaring of horns. He only spoke to Moses.

At pentecost in Acts, they were told to wait but God appeared without any warning and invaded each person there individually. Once more He showed up with wind, and fire. But this time it was not a mountain but a person. He filled them with His presence and they became His temples.

The Lord is saying that now He does not want us to sit back as spectators any longer taking the words of man as His words, but He desires to come upon those who wait for Him with no warning, changing their lives forever. He wants to envelope them and flow through them setting there hearts on fire with His words spoken to them specifically. No more is it to be what the pastor says about God, but what God has said and done in my life. The work of the Lord in my life is what sets me on fire to proclaim His goodness and mercy. That makes me a true witness, not a second hand source.

Resilience-May 28, 2008

This Memorial Day Joshua and I headed up to Washington DC. An old friend of mine from high school was there on vacation, so I grabbed the opportunity. While not being the subject of this blog I really must mention that God is amazing in His gifts to us. I hadn't seen my friend since I was a sophomore in high school. Its been 16 years or more and out of the blue I get an email letting me know that she's coming. We went out to dinner and recalled old times. Nothing spectacular happened we just hung out and I loved it. God is so cool like that.

Anyway, so on that note we left the next morning and on a whim decided to check out the Justice House of Prayer before we left town. It just so happened that they do not meet there all the time and as we walked up to the door another girl came up and unlocked it. Josh asked her if she knew anything assuming that she was a tenant of another part of the building. She was actually on staff and had headed up to the apartment to get a bottle of water for a friend. Wow! We talked for a while and she showed us around and let us know that she had come from the Boston JHOP to help out with a 24/7 Bound for life vigil that had been going on since April. We let her know a little bit about what God was beginning to stir in our hearts and she shared a dream she had recently had. In her dream there was a ball of fire underneath America and the fire was sending shoots of flame out. As it did pillars began to drive up from the ground in various places all over the country. The ball of fire was named intimacy. We were more than amazed at this.

We left JHOP and decided to take a walk past the Supreme Court building and check out the vigil. There was one girl there with red tape on her mouth. All around her people were taking pictures, like right beside her and she didn't budge. Some people even took pictures with her. We just stood there mezmerized. What an awesome demonstration! One girl standing there against all that represents our national justice system. Life! Even recalling the picture I am brought to tears. She made me think of little David standing in defiance against Goliath.

If you have ever been to DC you can understand how enormous everything seems. Now you must believe that I am a strong patriot. I love being an American, I love my country. I get goose bumps when I hear the National Anthem and I grew up on an Air Force base where we had to stand for the Star Spangled Banner even at the movie theater. It still affects me, and when I even drive through DC I feel the same way. God Bless America! Standing there amidst all that represents our country I am reminded how small I really am in the grand scheme of things. All of history seems to rush past me in those moments.

After finally pulling ourselves away from the scene on the Supreme Court steps, we walked around the front of the capital building. I stood there once again carried away looking down the mall to the Washington monument, it was surreal. I had the overwhelming feeling of being on the deck of an enormous ship. The wind whipped around me and I looked out upon the vast sea beyond.

I remember reading recently in my devotional time that Jesus set his face to Jerusalem and was not distracted from His purpose. Just like the girl who stood alone in the face of American justice undaunted. Life goes on around us, but are we resilient in the pursuit of our purpose? Do we even know what our purpose is? Are we only passengers on this great ship or do we have a jog to do in bringing it to the destination it set out to?

Memorial Stones Old Myspace Blog Post (4-8-08)

Today I woke up thinking about where I’ve been and where I’m going. Lately in my devotion time I’ve been reading about the people setting up a memorial and taking the time to remember what God had done for them. They also were to teach their children these things. The other day, my kids were all converging on me in my room. We were all sitting there on my bed and the idea came out of my oldest child’s mouth that dad’s cool, but mom just isn’t. No big revelation, I know that I’m not cool. I’ve known that my whole life, but something just stung with that coming from my offspring. What is wrong with this picture? You don’t know me, you don’t know what I been through! Immediately he expressed remorse over the words, but the idea was there hovering in the room. What would I do with this? Ponder it I suppose.

Now here I am today, relishing my vacation and time away from home, yet sitting right here on the verge of my oldest son’s birthday. I can’t help but return in my mind to my personal Jordan River and say look son, these are the stones of our memorial. Every year return here yourself and maybe see them in a different light, but don’t deny them. They have made you who you are, even when you don’t realize it. Over the years add another stone to the pile and look back at what has gone before you. Our first year together the Lord brought us out of our personal Egypt and created a new life for us in North Carolina. The next year he brought us a new family, the Goodman’s, one that would forever change our lives. Next a family of our own with Daddy, the man who would usher us into our destiny together. Then a new sister and new horizons. Over the years we have served as missionaries together, suffered through the loss of a grandma and numerous family members, the birth of more sisters, broken bones, crushed but renewed dreams, and so many things it is hard to mention through the written word. Of all the things I would stand to mention is the reality of your own adoption and the family that God has blessed us with. Never forget that the life you have now is based on choices of those who have gone before you. The sacrifices made for you and your sisters, though not expressed, are very real. God saw fit to reach down from heaven and lead us to the perfect man for our little broken family. You and I could not have made the same impact on our generation had it not been for dad. Your sisters would not be here and so many things would have been different. I love it that you think he’s cool, that you have a man to look up to and admire. Thank God for him! Set up your own memorial stones and revisit them as you grow older. Don’t ever forget where God has brought you out from and the promise that He is leading you to. Happy Birthday and I love you!

The Ooze

I'm faced with a dilemma. I'm noticing a trend. Waves of trouble and distraction rush over me and at times I feel like I might not reach the surface for air this time. I know you've never felt this way. There is a wound and it needs to heal but you just can't or won't let it. You want to wallow in your bed and complain about the pain or silently suffer with the windows drawn. But God rushes into your room and throws the curtains wide open. The sunlight streams in and there He is at your bedside dressing the festering sore. It hurts more as He cleans out the infection and applies the medicine only He can prescribe. No its not going to go back to normal, things will never be as they once were. There will always be a scar. But it will heal.



Everybody around here knows I have six kids, some think I'm weird, some think I'm not and some have no opinion whatsoever. As for me, its just part of who I am, you know. I don't often think about it even when I'm calling upstairs to them, one by one and I realize how many names I have to say. Basically, its my life rolled up in a great big ball of diapers and mismatched socks and endless chores, and its wonderful and my worst nightmare, and its lovely and it sucks, and its everything I always wanted and nothing like what I signed up for. Ya know, if I don't do it, it don't get done.

I'm handling everything just fine, I'm a great juggler. I can steer away from being overwhelmed until you throw all the other things in there. That's when it gets complicated. Somebody needs counseling, homework needs to get graded, a mail out must go out, a paper needs to get written, and suddenly other people are throwing stuff into my juggling act and I get off kilter. Something has got to go and its not gonna be my babies or my man. Maybe its the laundry, or the phone call I had to return. All I know is that this show must go on and I am only one person. My primary job is to take care of my husband, my kids and my house.

Titus 2:1-6 Your job is to speak out on the things that make for solid
doctrine. Guide older men into lives of temperance, dignity, and wisdom, into
healthy faith, love, and endurance. Guide older women into lives of reverence so
they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. By looking at
them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be
virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. We don't want anyone
looking down on God's Message because of their behavior. Also, guide the young
men to live disciplined lives.

Nuff said.


The Road

I've been doing a whole lot of thinking on the subject of what I am doing with my life. Some of you might think this odd since you know me in the capacity of church planter, or mother of six, or Latin teacher. However, this girl's got dreams ya know. Sometimes I really worry that I'm not doing it right, whatever it is.

Thoughts like, "Did I waste my time and money on that stupid B.S. in Psychology?" run through my head all the time. Then I look at all my beautiful babies and I wonder why I couldn't have discovered this place of almost contentment before now. Homemaking seems so sublime. Being a wife is good, raising little people is totally awesome, trying to lead people through the wilderness in pursuit of our Promised land is super scary.

A couple of weeks ago during my trip back home, my sister and I went back to our old house at Travis AFB. It was so weird when we turned off the main road and discovered that the whole housing area was gone. Yep, all that was left were the trees and grass. They even removed the streets. Wow, the memories both good and bad that raced through my mind. I told my sister that that road is where God first spoke to me about what He wanted me to do with my life. I was walking down the road and praying and telling Him about how hard stuff was. He responded by telling me that the stuff I was going through He was going to turn around and use to help others. I interpreted that to mean that I was going to go to college, get a PhD and make lots of money solving other peoples problems. Funny how we do that with God's words. We try to make them work for us. A calling is different than a paid position. Yeah, its really nice to get paid for doing what you love, but not everybody has that luxury.

I sat there looking at where that old road used to be and it was so funny because the grass had grown up in the bare spot and just along the old path that used to be asphalt and sidewalk, yellow flowers had begun to grow. They curved along the same place that had been hard places. I thought I was walking along one road, God had a different view point and destination in mind. Looking at it the scenery has definitely changed from what I had expected. Its a lot prettier than it used to be and only eyes that had once seen it as a carved out road could distinguish its path. The calling has never changed and His Words still ring true. So no, I may never be Dr. Goodman, but my life can still be an encouragement for others. If I can make it through so can you. My regret is that I have fought so long to pursue one dream while never realizing that the road wasn't really as ugly and difficult as I was making it out to be. When I finally stop fighting and relax in His Presence, I can see the beauty in where I'm at right now.


Soooo Last Weekend

I know this is late, but with my crazy busy life and the fact that I like to type my blog without snotting all over the keyboard, I saved this post just for you guys. Here goes...

Mother's Day was celebrated throughout the United States on Sunday, and being a mother of six kiddos, I was treated to breakfast in bed, the usual at our house. My Tony and Emari woke me up early with waffles and sausage by the former kissing me sweetly and the latter jumping on the bed saying "Happy Mover's Day" over and over. The other girls had all spent the night at Grandma's house so they were missed but it was nice nonetheless. As I sat there in bed enjoying my lovely breakfast I was swept back in time to my first real Mother's Day. You see I had two official days before this special one, but because this momma had done everything out of order, I was forced to wait my turn in time. Tony was already three when daddy grabbed him and had him scribble a little picture and added a translation to it that was my first Mother's Day card ever. I'll never forget it, it was epic.

My little heart didn't want to expect anything in fear of being disappointed and here they were overwhelming me with a scribble and a heart and I love you mommy. I don't even remember a gift, that doesn't matter, the boy still goes out every year and buys his mommy a card and stealthily takes it around for each sister and brother to make their mark on it. I melt as a response to their love poured out to me. They are my love embodied.


Who's Your Daddy?

Alright, so I've been pretty much walking around like a zombie for the past week. You know the walking dead, alive but not, a picture of contradictions. Last Friday I got the long dreaded news that something really bad had happened to my dad and he was in the hospital. It was a stroke, to be precise. No one called me because somehow my dad always loses my number and my sister's. We only talk like maybe once a year, so go figure. Anyways, I got the message through Facebook. I was about to walk into my Latin class and I had a beach trip planned that I could not cancel, so I got the news and marched steadfastly on. You know every time crisis hits my life, I never just get to take time and let it soak in. I lead the kind of life that I HAVE to keep moving forward. Sometimes its really frustrating because I just want everything to stop so I can just catch my breath. Now I'm not talking about "my dog just got ran over and I'm really bummed" tragedy, I'm talking about "life as I knew it is over" stuff.

It doesn't happen that often so don't think I'm being dramatic. So I taught class and went to the beach and drove home just in time to head to the airport to catch my flight home. My little sister went with me and we hadn't visited our dad together since I was about 15. There we were, two little girls heading out to face the inevitable. Nobody could be there for us, it was just us two, like it used to be when our parents divorced and I had to make sure nothing bad happened to us. Man, the responsibility was tangible. It descended on me like a cloud.

We headed to the ICU and found him there. Things weren't as bad as we thought they would be. He was paralyzed on his right side so we had to stay to his left so he could see us and touch us. It was pretty hard not to cry, not because he looked so bad and even what had happened. It was bittersweet to stare at him for three days and see myself in him, to see his mark in my own children's faces. We left him on Wednesday and he is progressing as expected according to the doctors. Coming home was more difficult than the trip to see him. I guess I had pent up stuff that had to escape, I don't know.

I didn't cry until I came home. It still sneaks up on me and overwhelms me. Bitterness threatens to overtake my heart but I fight it with all the strength I can muster. The cloud is beginning to disperse and I keep getting this impression that this is another one of those times when God is revealing the nastiness that I hide. Feelings and disappointments that I push under the carpet or hide under the bed. Reveal and release, heal and move forward. God sees every tear, knows every heart ache, and with that knowledge I can be confident that Somebody cares. Now its up to me to catch my breath and push higher. Let's go.
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