Monday, April 27, 2009

Thank You For Your Friendship! and Awards to give away....

There are two lovely ladies I want to high light in this post for the kindness and friendship they've shown me over the passed year and a half I've been blogging. Maria @ Winging it at the Bird House, left me one of my very first comments, and has continued to come back with encouraging words. We have developed a true friendship grounded in a love for our savior. She is a beautiful person inside and out, and I am honored to be her friend. She has graciously passed me the following award.

The Lovely Award says the following: "These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers.

I am to deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.” So I am happy to pass this along to Janna @ Mustard Seeds, Ashley @ The Ingram Gang, Ashley @ The Happily Ever After of the Lancasters, Susan @ Penless Writer, Jenny @ The Winstead Family, Pearl @ Pearls Sentimental Journey,Rachel @ The Crazy Carellis Chronicle, and Demetria @ The Only Girl Here.

I have also been blessed by getting to know and becoming friends with Ms. Ashley this year. She is a doll. I just adore her. When we found one another, via bloggyland, we were both like, "Oh my goodness, I can't believe it's you, I've heard all about you. I feel like I know you." And we actually got the opportunity to meet over the Christmas holidays. Hugh and I met she and Kurt for dinner at P.F. Chang's. We had a wonderful time. Our husbands are very good friends and I look forward to having them visit, when they come down for Ole Miss games. She has kindly awarded me the following

The qualifications are:
A. Display a cheerful attitude
B. Love one another
C. Make mistakes
D. Learn from others
E. Be a positive contributor to the blog world
G. Love kids

And the rules:
1. Must link it back to the creator
2. Post the rules
3. Choose 5 people to give it to
4. Recipients must fit the characteristics above
5. Create a post to share this
6. You must thank the winner
My five are Tiffany @ Tea with Tiffany, Denise @ Shorty Bears, Jess @ Itty, Bitty Bits of Me, Leslie @ Do You Weary Like I Do?, and Maria at Winging It.
Ashley has also started a little business. She is doing paintings for nurseries. Some have the baby's initials and scripture, others are to hang on the door at the hospital and home announcing the baby's birth, weight and length. Please visit her business blog and grab the following button if you'd like to display on your blog.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Love Story

Still thinking about the cross. Easter may be over, but, the Lord keeps bringing me back to the cross.

This week 3 things keep running through my mind. LOVE, OBEDIENCE, and REDEMPTION.

I said in my post below that the sacrifice at the cross was the ultimate tragic love story. But, as I thought about it more this week, the whole Bible itself is a love story. God created man and woman for a personal, intimate relationship. He met them every evening to walk in the garden. He poured Himself into them, spent time with them. But, sin separated them. And it wasn't just a wedge between them. It was a deep expanse, a great chasm that they could never even hope to cross. -In any relationship, isn't that the way we feel when someone we love has been unfaithful? Or there has been a betrayal of some sort? Here, the betrayal was within. We loved ourselves more than we loved Him. We put ourselves and what we wanted above Him. I say "we" as in the way Adam and Eve represented all of us, as mankind. And He has been spending every moment since that moment at the beginning of time, trying to bridge that chasm between us. He, the one who was betrayed, has been actively trying to draw us back to Himself. Not force us, although He could have. After all, He is God. But, He knew that wasn't the kind of love He wanted from us. He did not want a love that reflected just respect, reverence, or our obedience. He wanted all of us. Forever. He wanted to win back our hearts. He desperately wants us to fall in love with Him all over again. And He will go to any lengths to accomplish that. He didn't just say, "I will give up all that I am, all that I have to be with you." He did it. He took off his crown, laid His glory aside, and became a man just to be with us. He didn't just say, It doesn't matter who you are, or what you have done, I still love you. And I'll give up all that I have, all that I hold dear and spend eternity to proving that to you." Because He did that too, by giving up His son to die in our place. And even after all that He still spends all of our life time chasing after us, trying to prove over and over again that we can take Him at His word. That my friends is true Love.

He loves fully and completely and he wants the same from us. All or nothing. There is no half way with Him. He sacrificed everything, he stormed the gates of hell and took away the power death had over us. So, many times we think of God has so far away, and distant. We feel alone and believe the lies that He could never understand how we feel or what it is we are going through. But, all we have to do is look at Gethsemane. Matthew 26:38-44 tells us.....

Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me." Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?" he asked Peter. "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak." He went away a second time and prayed, "My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done."
When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy.
So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.

Luke 22: 41-44 also tells us.....

He withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

He cried out to His Abba Father, just as we have so many times our selves, afraid, and with heavy hearts. He prayed, "Father, is there any other way? Is there any other way?" And yet despite His fear, He was still obedient to His father. Our hero proved that true love does conquer all.

In John 16: 33 Jesus tells us, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

What a sacrifice! What a price to pay for love. One, I know none of us would be willing to make. To give up our innocent child to be beaten, tortured and murdered in someone else's place. No one is worth the life of my child, much less thieves, murderers, and adulterers. I can honestly say I wouldn't give up my child or lay my child's life down for anyone. It is simply incomprehensible to me. But, that is exactly what God did. He paid a very high price to redeem us.

In her book, Jesus the One and Only, Beth Moore says that few teachings are more important and consistent in God's word than the doctrine of redemption. The Hebrew word padhad, means "to redeem by paying a price."
Ephesians 1 :7 says, "in him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace."
Beth Moore also says in her book that as was Jewish custom Mary and Joseph presented their first born son to the Lord, symbolizing the act of giving him up by saying, "He is yours and we give him back to you."Then they immediately redeemed him or, in effect, bought him back. And Christ came here to buy us from our natural parentage, which is sinful flesh, to give us to His Father.

The cross and redemption stir a mix of emotions within me. One the one hand, I am ashamed and disgusted at the thought that my life costs Jesus his own, and God His son. It hurts to think someone had to die for me because the "wages of sin (my sin) are death." (Romans 6:23) It takes my breath away. And yet I am thankful and grateful beyond belief. But, grateful can not adequately describe what I feel either. There is even a part of me that feels honored. I feel treasured, like one of His most prized possessions. His love overwhelms me. I have never known love and devotion so great, so far reaching, so unlimited, so all encompassing, so unconditional. It makes me want to live a life worthy of that love.

I know I could never be worthy, but because I love Him I want to live a life that bears fruit. A life that says I am His and He is mine. And on that great day of judgement, when the book of my life is opened, I want it to be a love story. I hope it will be a life that reflects the greatest love story ever told.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Happy Easter

He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Hallelujah!
Praise be to God our Father For evermore!
We had a wonderful Resurrection Sunday! And a wonderful Holy week. On Palm Sunday, the children in our church opened our Sunday service waving palm branches as they came down the aisle. I gave each of them a plastic palm branch tied with gold and purple ribbons. And we played the song Hosanna by Joni Eareckson Tada. The song is from her Spirit Wings album. That particular album has a sentimental place in my heart. It reminds me of my best friend, Peige, back home. We used to sing into our hairbrushes to that album, (good memories.)

The children sang a couple of songs both Sundays and the youth joined the choir for our special Easter music. Hugh noticed one of the medical students, from the hospital he works for, was visiting, so we invited her to sit with us. I also invited her to come home with us for dinner. She gladly accepted, and we had a wonderful time getting to know her better. The kids took to her so well. They brought out all their favorite toys to share with her. It was sweet. Her name is Deesa, and she is from the island of Tabago. I think she's in her third year of medical school, and is considering E.R. as her residency. We had a lovely dinner of pot roast, with carrots, celery, onions, and potatoes. It was actually one of Hugh's recipes. I made it in the crock pot overnight, and served it with a side salad and crescent rolls.

The babies took a nice nap and got to enjoy the candy, stickers, and books from their baskets when they woke up. Then Hugh and I took them to fly kites. We had given them each a kite, but I think next time we'll just take one with us. It was a little hard helping them keep both of them up in the air. It was a first good try though. We spent the rest of the afternoon playing there at the park. I couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day to celebrate the holiday with my little family. I thought I'd share a few highlights and pictures from our day. I hope all of you had a wonderful time worshiping and celebrating with your families and friends, as well. ~Blessings!

Friday, April 10, 2009

It is Finished

(Isaiah 53:5) He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities......

He was despised, rejected, abandoned, imprisoned, beaten, tortured, ridiculed and mocked. He was falsely accused, slandered against, humiliated, and abused.

He was innocent, obedient, compassionate, forgiving, even kind.

For me, for you, for us -everyone of us. He took on our sin and our shame, our hate and rebellion, our pride and self serving ways and He walked the road to Calvary, with the weight of the world on His shoulders. He bore our filth. He paid our price. He did it for Love. There has never been a more tragic love story than the one of Jesus. There never has been, nor ever will be anyone who will love you as much as Jesus. I don't know if we will ever truly comprehend what it is He went through for us, how far He went to redeemed us. But, I thank God He did. I thank God it is finished. I thank God that He took away the power of death, hell and the grave.

Thank you Lord that you love me so much that you would honor me with your most precious gift, your precious son. I will treasure Him always. I will hold Him in my heart as a sign of our love, and of our covenant together. And I will spend everyday, forever more, living out that love. I will learn how to live for you and die to my self. With all my heart and with all my soul, I will follow you to the ends of the earth and the ends the the age. I will never stop looking for you, searching for you, until we can finally be together, for all eternity.
Your Loving Daughter -Tiffany

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Protecting My Marriage

OK, so a few days ago I told you that the Lord and I were working on some new things in my life, mainly submission. He wants me to take what He has been teaching me over this last year and apply it, even in the smallest of areas. I have felt a stirring in my spirit, and I know I'm in a time of testing and growth.

But, it only makes sense. If Jesus is indeed the Lord of my life then I need to give over every aspect of my life. My whole heart needs to be in it. My biggest fear in not doing things completely God's way has been that I might not like the out come. Wounded pride, loss of control, there have been so many excuses. But, God is slowly peeling away those layers. And instead of fears realized, I am finding a peace and freedom in letting go.

Over the last year, the Lord has had me take a closer look at my marriage, and how He wants things done. I had to re-learn a few things. I didn't realize how the world's view of love and marriage and our roles as men and women have affected my out look. Here is a little of what I've learned....

Men are called to LOVE their wives, as Christ loves His church (in a very self-less unconditional way.)

As women, we are called to respect our husbands (regardless of weather or not they deserve it, or we think they have earned it.)

The husband is the head of the family/household, and we are their help meet. We are to mirror image the relationship of Christ as head of His bride church. This really hit me one day, because it is one more way I can show that Christ is the Lord of my life and the Love of my life.

Love is about being a servant. I know this doesn't sit well with some people, but if you really think about it, when we lovingly serve our husbands/families, we are portraying a picture of how the church lovingly serves and reverences our Lord. Like wise, our husbands portray how Christ said He came to serve, not be served.

Notice I said Lovingly Serve. Remember when you fell in love and you wanted to be a part of, and support everything your love did. That is how we should be serving and supporting our Lord in our churches and our husbands at home. It's all one great big circle.

Well, recently that love and support for my husband was put to the test, on Facebook, none the less. My EX's sister contacted me with a friendship request. (Not EX as in marriage. I have not been married before. My EX as in the only other serious relationship I've had aside from my marriage.)I knew right away, this was not a good idea. And I knew right away what I had to do. But, part of me struggled with it. She is not a Christian, and I wasn't sure she would understand, if I would hurt her or even my testimony by rejecting her. But, the Lord gently reminded me that I planted seeds with her long ago, and someone else will come along to cultivate, nurture and hopefully harvest those seeds for His kingdom. My job is done. And beyond that it is more important what my husband and my Lord think of me than she or any of her family. And so, after much prayer, this is what I messaged her.

Out of respect for my husband and our marriage, I don't think it would be a good idea for us to be in continual contact, as friends here on Facebook. . -And really out of respect for XXXX and his wife as well. I know it may sound dumb to you, and to everyone else for that matter, but Hugh and I kind of made a pact that we would do everything possible to protect our relationship. We don't want to end up just another statistic of divorce. So, we don't put ourselves in compromising or tempting situations.

-We have agreed that we wouldn't continue on-going friendships with any of our Ex-s or their families. Not that anything would ever-ever happen, and not because we don't trust each other. -But, because there is no need to stir up feelings and memories in our pasts. We just know that that would in no way benefit or strengthen our relationship or marriage.

I hope you know that I am not trying to be cruel. I care about you and always will. Your family will always have a special place in my heart, and I will always pray God's blessings for-you-all.

I didn't want to just ignore your friendship request or just blow you off. After all we've been through together; I felt you deserved a little more respect than that. So, I wanted to explain. And, I just hope you can understand. Hugh and I really love each other, and respect each other. I would never want to do anything that would make him uncomfortable or hurt him, and I know he feels the same about me. We have a good marriage, and we're happy.-And we want to stay that way.

To my surprise, she understood perfectly and wished us well. So, there was a nice closure. And I feel like the Lord has in turn blessed my heart and my marriage through my faithfulness. And I'm learning little by little, how to be more of who He wants me to be. Oh Lord, You are my all in all! Thank you for lovingly leading me and teaching me. May you be glorified in my life.

Bed Time Story

Last night, as we were winding down for the day, Trey decided he wanted a story. The babies were already in their jammies, and all four of us were snuggling in our room on the bed together. Well, some what. There was alot of jumping, rolling around, hiding under the covers and snuggling going on.

When Trey said he wanted a story, I thought he meant he wanted me to read to them. Sometimes at night, instead of singing to them, I read them a story. I think Anna Grace and I were on the same page, because she immediately got down and ran to their room, and brought back two books. But, Trey wanted to tell us a story. So, here is how it went....

Once Upon A Time...Once Upon A Time there were frogies. Ribbit, ribbit, ribbit.
And chickens. Bock, bock, bock. And they went into the snake-eee woods. Scary. And there was a scary wind, oooooo. And they hid in the sticks. But, the wind is not scary, so they not be scared, anymore.

I thought this was a very sweet story. I know the snake-eee woods comes from watching Miss Spider and the Sunny Patch. And the other night we had a big storm with lots of wind and rain. It was scaring Trey, because the wind was so loud and it was wobbling the tin roof over the back patio. I had a talk with him about the wind is not really scary, it's just very loud. And, I raised the window and let him look outside to see the rain coming down and how hard the wind is blowing. It helped him, not to be afraid of the noise, and I think that's where the end of his story came from.

It's just so fun to see how they connect things and put ideas together. I was very proud of his story telling and thought I'd take the chance to capture it here, so, I can come back and read it later. I also, need to write it down in his baby book.

Hope everyone is having a good week. ~Blessings!