Monday, February 25, 2013

The Best Means of Gun Control

Am I the only one who struggles with negativity?  I can be having a great day, but then one negative comment said to me or one less than wonderful thing can happen and I am in a rotten mood.  Too many times I allow circumstances to control my mood.  This is not a new idea, but it really is true that when I fill my mind with positive, Godly things, I am less likely to allow words said or rotten news to ruin my day.  I can tell   (and I'm sure those around me can tell) when I haven't been in the Word like I need to be.  When I saturate my life with God's love and His promises, I find myself dwelling on negative things less often.  Praise music and reading and thinking about scripture and just talking with the Lord are ways I keep my mind focused on Him.  I think this is what Paul means when he writes in 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18   Rejoice always,  pray continually,  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.When I fill my life with other things (not necessarily bad things, but things that take my focus away from the Lord), I find that I am more likely to allow negative comments and situations to overwhelm me.   I admit it, this is a struggle for me.  
The other day, Luke and I were having a nerf gun war, and every time I would shoot him, he would pick up the bullet and give it back to me. I thought it was hilarious because he didn't realize that he was just setting himself to be shot.  At that point, I realized that is what I do all the time.  When I am not filling my life with God's Word, I am leaving room for negative thoughts to take over.  It's as if I am just giving satan bullets to shoot me with negativity.  If I am FULL of Godly things, there is no room for the negative. When I take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ,  then I know my thoughts will be for my good and His glory.  We know that His will is what's best for us- He has a plan for us and He came that we might have life and have it more abundantly.  Well, Paul says that God's will for us is to rejoice always and pray continually, giving thanks in all circumstances.  I think Paul is one person who understands what is means to have joy even in the worst situations.  I think this explains how he did that.  If anyone had an excuse to allow negativity to take over his mind, it was Paul. 
I have to make an effort to keep my thoughts pure and healthy. Lord, fill me until I am overflowing and your love flows over to others.  Let satan waste those bullets if he wants to, there's no room for them to lodge in me- I'm already full!  

Friday, February 22, 2013

do blind people see nicki minaj?

Our church family is reading through the Bible together, and I am thoroughly enjoying it.  This week, we have been reading in Genesis and John, and I think it is so cool how we can read the same scripture in different seasons of our lives and God shows us something different each time.  I admit, I have read ahead this week, but I can't help it!  I  want to share something that I found interesting in chapter 9 of John.  It is the story of Jesus healing the man who was born blind.  There are a number of lessons we can learn from this account, but there are a few things I believe God has revealed to me.
First, in verse 3 we see that after the disciples asked Jesus if the man was born blind because of his own sins or those of his parents, He answered "he was born blind so the power of God could be carried out in him".  This just reminds me that we are here for Him, not us.  We are here to bring glory to Him.  We all experience trials, and many times we do not understand why things happen.  The difficulties we face and the hard times we go through do not exist to tear us down.  These are opportunities that not only bring us closer to God, but also for others to see how God's power is real in our lives.  We can look at them as obstacles or opportunities.  Please understand that I am not directing this to anyone but myself.  There are so many times that I want to throw in the towel and ask why and get mad.  But God is showing me that these are the times that He wants to show up and show out in my life.  I have to let go and let Him.
The next thing I want to mention comes from verse 39 of chapter 9.  Jesus says, "I have come to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind".  Wow!  Jesus has a way of saying so much with few words.  He did come to make the blind see, but I think what He means here is that we must realize we need Him before we can experience Him.  If the man didn't know he was blind, how would he know he needed to be healed?  Why would we need a Savior if we didn't have a need to be saved?  We must face the reality that we are blind until He gives us sight- spiritual sight.
Finally, the people noticed a change in the man after he was healed (v. 8-9) and that gave him an opportunity to tell his story.  I have to ask myself this question, "Do people notice something different in me?"  Maybe the reason we do not feel we have many opportunities to share our story is because no one sees the difference Christ has made in our lives.  I bet this man had a new look about him after he was healed.  He could see now, and I imagine the joy of seeing life and the world was evident in his countenance.  If we have been saved, we have been given sight.  Others should look at us and see a joy that comes from within because we have been healed and redeemed.
Yesterday, at the Boys and Girls Club, a little girl told me she wants to be like Nicki Minaj when she grows up.  Now, I admit, I had no idea who this person was until she became a judge on American Idol.  I asked myself, what is it about this woman that this little girl finds so intriguing?  Forgive me for being judgmental, but I think Nicki Minaj is a few fries short of a happy meal.   But, just seeing her on the show, she is larger than life.  Unfortunately, these are the people that young children are looking up to because they see something different about them, maybe success or imagined happiness, I'm not sure.  But what about this- What if these children looked at us as children of God and they saw God's love and REAL joy that comes from Him and His power being real in our lives?  What if they saw us as people who used to be blind but now can see?  Do they see those things when they look at us?  Or do they see unhappy people living defeated lives?  Why would they want that?  Obviously, Jesus is the standard and none of us are perfect, but when Jesus has changed us, others should be able to see it and be intrigued.  Children need role models who love Jesus.  Lost souls need to see God's power working in our lives.  They need to know that we used to be blind, but now, only because of Jesus, we can see and we will never be the same. They need to know that even though we have hard times too, our joy is not based on circumstances.   Then they need to realize that they too are blind and they need to see.  They need a Savior.  They need Jesus, not Nicki Minaj.  Jesus came to show those who think they see that they are blind.  He wants to heal them like He healed me.  Oh What A Savior!!!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

I'm On a Boat!

If you’ve never had a rough week, you may want to avoid reading this post because it will probably make no sense to you.  For those of you who can relate to having some less than perfect days, you may continue.  This past week was a difficult week for me.  Let me admit in advance that I know it could be worse. Yes I have had worse weeks and I really do have a lot to be thankful for.  But, look, it still wasn’t my favorite week of all time, okay?  As a minister’s wife, I am probably supposed to say that everything is always great and days are always sunny and there are never any tough times.  Well, in previous posts I have already explained that I am not the ”Picture Perfect Pastor’s Wife”.  That’s another blog by someone else.  This is the “Flipflop Pastor’s Wife”.  So, moving along. 
A few months ago, God called us to a new ministry.  We knew there would be obstacles.  We prayed and had precious people praying for us.  We knew we were following God’s call on our lives.  There have been great times, and there have been not so great times.  But, God continues to be there through all of them.  He is faithful, even when my faith is weak. 
This past week, as I was having a “flipflop pastor’s wife’s pity party”, God, once again, spoke to me through His word.  While studying in Genesis the last couple of weeks, specifically the story of Noah, God has revealed some pretty cool lessons to me.  In a way I have never realized before, I am kinda like Noah’s wife.  You see, when Noah first began building the boat as God commanded, I’m sure his wife was a little nervous.  She probably even questioned what was going on.  But, she got on the boat.  Therefore, I assume she supported him and was his helper.  And I have a feeling when that first drop fell from the sky, she was pretty proud of her man.  “Oh yeah, that’s my man!  My hero!  I am so blessed to have Noah- thank you God for allowing me to have a REAL man who obeys you and trusts you. That’s MY man!”  Then, the rains came down and the floods came up, the rains came down, and the floods came up, and… okay, you know the song.  But then, when the rain stopped, it was time to wait. And wait. And wait.  I am pretty sure it was stinking pretty bad in that boat by now.  She was probably getting tired of being stuck in a situation that seemed like it may never get any better.  She probably thought, “Alright Noah, what’s up with this? We are on the boat, the rain came and has stopped.  When is this water gonna dry up already?”  I can imagine her frustration with all the animals and the work that had to be done, but seemed futile.  And you know how women get when we haven’t had enough vitamin D!  But then, that day came.  The dove came back with the dry leaf!  Just as God had promised!  He has blessed Noah’s faithfulness.  Then, the dove left one day, and didn’t come back!  Blessed be the name of the Lord!! 
Genesis 8:1 says that ‘God remembered Noah’.  He did not forget him or forsake him.  And He won’t forget you or me!  Isn’t that great to know?  He doesn’t forget us!! I know that God is faithful.  I am excited for the day that the dove doesn’t come back!  I know it’s coming!  As a pastor’s wife, I want to be the one who is cheering her husband on even when the waters seem to be taking a long time to recede.  I’m still learning, but I want to be the one who trusts God even when everything around is stinking and a lot of work needs to be done.  I need to be reminded every now and then to get out of my pity party and get in the boat!  There’s nothing more beautiful than a rainbow!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

What is that smell? Is it Notre Dame?

I have a scentsy in my classroom, and my students love it.  For those of you who may not know what a scentsy is, it is a candle warmer that allows you to scent a room without a flame.  These are delightful!  (If you need one, let me know and I can hook you up with my friend Jessica who sells them)  Without fail, my students walk in and say, "It smells so good in here.  What is that?"  Yes, they know it is my scentsy, but they want to know what fragrance I am warming.  My answer is always the same.  I simply say, "It's me".    
Yesterday, as I answered with my usual "it's me", I couldn't help but think about 2 Corinthians 2, where Paul is telling the Corinthians that God uses us to tell others about Him and spread the Good News like a sweet perfume.   I can't help but wonder what my life smells like to those around me?  Is my life a pleasant fragrance that others enjoy and are drawn to?  Or does my life make others want to make the face I make when I open Rhett's bedroom door?  
In this portion of scripture, Paul says "to those who are perishing we are a fearful smell of death and doom.  But to those who are being saved we are a life-giving perfume."  He is actually referring to something the people understood. In this day, after a victory a Roman general would display his battle treasures within a cloud of incense in a presentation for the gods.  Those who were victorious in the battle loved the scent and the fragrance was a smell of victory for them.  For those who had been defeated, it was a stinch of death and destruction.  
I'm not sure if you heard, but there was a football game last night.  The Crimson Tide once again brought home a national championship, defeating number one ranked Notre Dame.  In my first block class today, the Bama fans were smiling and talked about how they enjoyed the game.  Those (okay, I think there was one) who were rooting for Notre Dame, however, had a slightly different look on their faces.  Nevertheless, we all understand the very different attitudes associated with victory and defeat. 
I do not think Paul is saying here that we need to smell bad to those who are lost.  So, therefore, continue to wear deodorant, please.  I think he means we need to be representing Christ in such a way that when others are around us, they understand their need for Christ and feel the need to make reconciliation with Him.  We need to represent Him in a manner that reveals truth. 
May we remember that we cannot do this on our own, but when we deny ourselves and allow Him to fill us, we overflow with His love and power and others will notice.  No, not everyone will appreciate what and Who we represent, but their response is not our responsibility- our responsibility is to be obedient to Christ. 
The question for today is really not whether or not Notre Dame stinks, but what aroma are we giving off?  May we be the aroma of the One who is really #1. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Hi, my name is Heather and I am insane.

As we embark on a new year, many of us have made New Year's resolutions that we hope we can keep.  Some of us have probably made some of the same ones we have made in previous years and have yet to figure out how to extend the motivation past the middle of January. Thinking about some of my past resolutions, I think several of mine have involved purchasing something with which to make my plans a reality, only to find those items collecting dust in a cabinet a few months later.  Whether is was an exercise machine that quickly turned into a nice clothing organizer or a blender that became a tool to make milkshakes rather than protein shakes, the good intentions turned into little more than unwise purchases and more items to add to my yard sale table.
So, what happens?  I mean, we have great reasons for creating our resolutions, and for a little while we have a passionate drive to reach our goals.  But what happens between January 1 and March 1 (okay, I admit, I rarely make it 2 months!) that causes our upward reach to become a nosedive?  I think it is because of insanity.  Yes, I think I am insane.  I seem to believe that I can achieve different results by doing the same things over and over again.  That is the definition of insanity, right?  What's up with that?  I want to get up early and exercise, I really do.  But, after about a week and a half of overcoming the pressure of the snooze button, I give in.  I press it.  And I like it.  And somehow in my feeble mind I think that maybe if I sleep faster maybe I can burn more fat cells and the exercise bike can have a break.
This year, I have decided I am not making any resolutions, but I do have a burning desire in my heart. My deepest desire this year is to be closer to the Lord at the end of 2013 than I am right now.  I want to know Him better and be more like Him.  We learn in His Word that when we delight ourselves in Him, He gives us the desires of our hearts.  I truly believe that if I delight myself in Him, He will not only change the desires of my heart, but He will change the heart of my desires.  My desires will be His desires, and His desires will be my desires.  And guess what?  I don't believe I have to drown myself in legalistic plans or programs to make this happen.  I don't even have to buy anything!  But, I do have to do my part.  I have to stay in His Word and get to know Him.  To know Him is to love Him, because He is love.  I just have to seek Him.  He takes great delight in us and He wants to be closer to us. I really believe that if we will just delight in Him, He will bless us by allowing us to be closer to Him and be more like Him. When we are more like Him, others will see His love and want to know Him.  He is contagious!
This is the beginning of a new year.  In the beginning, God created everything out of nothing. Let's allow Him to make something new with us. Will you join me this year as I delight in Him?   Let's allow Him to work out His resolution in us.  He doesn't need our help.  He made everything, and it was good.  He made you- and He makes everything beautiful. I pray that 2013 will be the year that we are blessed with the desires of our new hearts.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Luke's and the Lions' Den

  Luke and I love to gok-gok (rock in the rocking chair) and read stories from his Bible. After we read each story,  I ask him to "read" the story to me so I can see what he understands.  He loves doing that.  The other night we had been reading about Daniel and then I asked him to read it to me (Keeping in mind the previous story was about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego).   So he begins to "read" the story, and he says: "the mean king told Daniel to worship the statue every time he heard the music.  Daniel said he would not worship anyone but his God, because his God was the real One.  The king said 'I'll give you one more chance'.  But Daniel still didn't worship the statue.  So he threw Daniel into the fiery furnace with the lions.  And when the king looked in there, he saw 4 men in the lions' den.  And you know who the other one was?  It was God."  Then I looked back into Luke's bright, excited eyes, and said, "Really, it was God?"  And he said without any hesitation whatsoever, "Yes, God saved the day- AGAIN!" 
  Okay, so I admit, his recount of the story was a little confused- okay, alot confused- but he gets the big picture- God saves the day- AGAIN!  I know that at four years old he can't possible understand all the dynamics of every story in the Bible.  I am 36 years old and I still have questions.  But, if there is one thing I want him to know, it is that God loves him and that God is the one who can save the day!!!  It is not superman or spiderman, Santa Claus, or the president of the United States.  God is the only One who saves!  Scripture is full of instances where God was faithful and powerful, and His word is amazing!
  One thing I love about the stories of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and Daniel is that God could have kept them from the fire and the lions. He could have picked them up out of their situations and delivered them.  Instead, He allowed them to go into the furnace and the den, but He went with them!  This reminds me that God does let us go through difficult things sometimes.  He doesn't always keep us from those situations that seem so tragic.  But, He doesn't let us go through them alone.  He is right there with us.  And when we come out on the other side, we are usually better because we went through the difficult season.  Many times our faith is stronger because of it.  Other times He uses our tough situation to bring others to Him, just like He did through Daniel and his cousins.  God is faithful and His ways are higher than ours.  We may not understand why things happen, but we can know without a doubt that He is in control and His plans are for our good and His glory.  I would rather go through a difficult time with Him than through an easy time without Him.  You know why?  Because He is the One who saves the day- AGAIN!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


A gentleman was speaking yesterday about what forms and determines our "worldview".  Now, that's a pretty loaded topic, but it really made me think about my worldview and how God has used so many things to radically change my worldview and prepare for me for the ministry to which He has recently called my family. 
I was raised in the large metro city of Black, Alabama.  For those of you who have never been to or heard of Black, let me assure you that I am completely joking- there is one caution light and it doesn't work.  But it's a great place!  I went to school in Hartford, Alabama (because Black was too small for a school!), where there were about 49 in my graduating class.  My parents raised me in church and I was loved by my family.  I knew there were sad stories in the world, but for the most part I had never experienced real hardship so these issues were foreign to me.  I went to college on a leadership scholarship and married my high school sweetheart.  My husband was a youth minister and we worked with students in the church.  I am not pretending that my life was perfect, but compared to most of the world, I had it pretty good.
Then, eight years ago, God called me to teach in a 6A public high school.  Not only had I never taught in a school before (my degree is in nursing), I was working with students who did not fit my usual mold.  I was hearing stories that made my stomach hurt.  I soon realized that my worldview was, to say the least, inaccurate.  I learned that real people deal with real problems every day.  I learned that not all children are loved by their parents and that not everyone who has hardships is dealing with them because of his or her own mistakes.  I saw people who were really hurting and felt hopeless.  Wow!  As challenging as it has been, this call that God has placed on my life has been the most rewarding career I can imagine and I love it!  I truly believe it is a ministry.  I learn much more than I teach. 
In June, I had the privilege of joining in a prison ministry with the Neighborhood Christian Center.  I will be honest- I was very nervous before going.  I was worried that it would be dangerous and I wouldn't know what to say or how to act.  I was afraid they would all be huge women with deep voices and mean eyes. It only took a few minutes for me to fall in love with these ladies and this ministry.  They aren't big and scary at all! God has truly opened my eyes through this ministry and softened my heart. And just so you know, if you ask Luke on a Sunday night where I am, he will say "she's in jail"!
Following the first class I was helping with at the prison, I began going to a women's Bible study at the NCC.  There were women there from every walk of life- some with addictions, some who had recently been released from jail, some who were just dealing with day to day life struggles.  It was an interesting mix.  I actually started going with the intention of helping someone else, but God spoke to me in so many ways through this experience.  He even revealed my many issues! I will never forget one evening of the study- a young lady who had struggled with a variety of tough life situations, including a recent incarceration, made a comment that God used to change me forever.  She said, "I was at a point in my life where I knew about God and I knew that if I died I would go to hell, but I figured hell could not possibly be worse than what I was living in."  Wow!  It was as if someone put a knife in my heart!  I thought, "Dear Lord, there are people around me every day who are hurting this deep, and I am more worried about what I am going to wear tomorrow than I am about them."  He totally changed my mind about life, people, and church.  You see, she had heard all the words about God.  But what she needed was to SEE and get to KNOW Him- His love, His hope, His peace, His joy. 
A few days ago in my class at school, we were talking about roadblocks in life.  One of my students said that as a child she had vision problems and didn't know it, and therefore had problems with academics.  She said when she got her glasses, she couldn't believe how amazing and clear everything looked.  She said before then everything was blurry.  As I think about my worldview, I truly believe that my worldview was fuzzy until God changed my lens.  He has allowed me to see real people more clearly.  
I am by no means saying that now I can save the world because I see everyone the way God sees them.  I wish I saw everyone the way He sees them.  I am asking God everyday to show me more and change my heart.  I have so far to go.  But, I do think it is amazing to look back and see how He has prepared my heart for the ministry at 16th.  I had no idea this is what He was doing!  He has called us to a place where people are hurting and need a Savior.  I think if He had called us here 9 years ago, I would have freaked out!  I would have been scared to death of the people and their issues because they didn't exist in my world.  But, now, I can't think of anywhere else I would rather be.  I love going to the Boys and Girls Club in the afternoons and playing, painting, talking, and whatever else is going on with them.  I love when they run up and give me hugs and I get to hug them back. I love when they do my hair, even though they pull it so hard I have tears in my eyes.  I love walking in the community and just talking to people. I am so thankful He has called us here.  I ask you to pray for these children.  Please pray that God will use us to show them His love.  Pray for the neighborhood- adults and children.  There are so many sad situations, but we know God is greater.  We are so excited about what He is doing and is going to do. 
This is truly an example of how God doesn't call the equipped- He equips the called!  Let me encourage you to step out on faith and do whatever He calls you to do. If He calls you do something, He will provide what you need to do it.  It may be scary, but let me promise you that there is no greater place to be than right where He wants you to be!!  I pray that our worldview will be clear, but that our Godview will be even clearer. He is worthy!