Tuesday, August 31, 2010

valuable mentor lessons

I was talking with my friend, Cindy, about mentors and women who have mentored us through the years. I have never had an official mentor and I don't think she has either. It was interesting to me that she began to tell me about some friendships she had valued and specific things she had learned from different people through the years.

Sometimes I feel a void in our society when it comes to mentoring--learning from others who are going through life with you, or are a couple steps ahead of you in life. Perhaps we are supposed to all pretend we have it altogether, as though we do not need to learn from others. In truth, we all need other people in our lives. I know I do. I have never been THIS route before.

As I listened to Cindy, I was re-affirming myself that I too had been given valuable lessons from meaningful people in my life, men and women who had taught me life lessons through their actions, whether they ever knew it or not.

Dr. Ken Beal taught me that I can just RELAX and let God live His life through me.

Peg Estes taught me to PRAY and WAIT, not to get ahead of God, but watch Him work out the details.
Peg also taught me that you can have WILD, CRAZY BOYS that do wild and crazy things and love God at the same time, and you as a mom can be cool with that :)

Jane Randlett taught me that the best thing I can do as a pastor's wife is to just BE MYSELF.

Macel Falwell taught me that in the face of criticism or popularity, joy or grief, FAMILY IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING, and family is where you should invest the best part of you, no matter what other people think.

I am learning from Emily Morgan that, knowing I can't be all things to all people, NATURALLY OCCURRING and guilt free friendships or ministry relationships are most impacting and real.

I am learning from watching Brian that PEOPLE NEED LEADERSHIP. You can be a strong leader and remain humble, kind and authentic, something I was not sure was possible. To not lead would be to miss out on who you were created to be.

Janet Hunt taught me that people love to receive gifts.

These are a few. What about you? Do you have mentors in your life?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

fly envy

Brian went skydiving! As a part of our series at West Ridge called "One Month To Live," Brian wanted to cross something off of his bucket list. It was so amazing to watch; now the boys and I want to do it!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

maybe with powdered milk, and maybe not

I remember my parents bringing us all into the living room. They told us we were out of money and that we needed to pray that God would come through for us. We prayed fervently with faith that if Mom and Dad said God would help us, then He would. When I was very little, I spilled the gallon of milk from the top shelf of the refrigerator and Mom cried. It was the only real milk we could afford for a long time. Because I spilled it, we had to drink powdered milk. We had discount lunches and government cheese in high school and shopped yard sales for 98% of our clothing. My parents drove the family car from the time I was in 3rd grade until I was a junior in college. Through these years, I loved life; I developed meaningful relationship skills and a faith in God that would shape my future and strengthen me at the core of my being.

How did this happen? My parents were determined to raise up leaders who would do right and love God. We had to experience for ourselves that God would take care of us, and keep His promises. We had to learn that prayer moves the heart of God and that, at all cost, pleasing Him would bring about blessings.

I remember the $100 bill wrapped around Dad's car door handle, mysteriously specific answered prayers, free "damaged" cans of food with no labels. It's sortof fun to open up cans, not knowing what you are about to eat for dinner! I remember going to McDonalds with our last $10. I remember my sister saying that she was not sure God cared about us, and the next day, all 4 of us kids were given a $500 savings bond. Twice a year the $17.50 interest checks reminded us that God would provide for our needs.

Seeing the faithfulness of God first hand in those formative years and knowing for certain that He would not fail us, proved to be instrumental in our faith as adults. When we started West Ridge Church, I had no doubt that God would provide each of our needs in His perfect timing. This journey of God's provision has shed light on past questions, however, as a parent, I have new questions. I want my boys to have an unshakable faith in God, yet we are not drinking powdered milk. My boys do not have to depend on God for daily needs like we did. So then, how will they develop a first hand faith? The answer, I am learning, is that God will allow different things in the lives of people to bring them to total dependence on Himself. Sometimes, those things are painful and out of our control. It is a challenge for us as parents to allow God to work in the lives of our kids. Sometimes I want to throw character building out the window and forget about that far away bigger picture! I would rather slap a few people on my way to rescue my boys from the difficulties that they must experience. BUT I must allow God to make Himself known to them as healer, rescuer, provider and promise keeper. While we encourage, train, love and support, God has to become THEIR GOD. He is the One who authored the manual of their lives and plans to give them a hope and a future--a future I cannot dictate--and would not want to. For He will do His best work in their lives, maybe with powdered milk, and maybe not.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

can i have your attention please?

When I was growing up, we had to learn to take turns talking at the dinner table. Because there were 6 people in our family, it seemed like forever before I got to "tell" my big story for the day. When my turn finally came (drum roll), what I had to say did not seem very important. Sometimes I just wanted to say, "Forget it. It's not that funny, and it's not a big deal."

As great as my parents were, they couldn't give us each all of their attention all of the time. It's really cool to realize that we actually have all of God's attention all of the time. I catch myself thinking that He must be busy spinning the universe or something, as though He cannot multi-task! He is listening to me and thinking about me all the time. What I have to say to Him is never unimportant, even if it is no big deal. After all, talking about those silly little things is what makes us close to people. That must be one of the things that makes us closer to God--talking about life and the (drum roll) little things in our day. Glad we have His attention all the time!