Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Does Your Life Have a Theme?

“He said to them, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command.’ ”
Matthew 22:37

            I had a strange encounter with a man at my local gas station the other day. Now, for those of you who know me, this statement alone qualifies as strange. Having an encounter with anyone at a gas station, much less a man, is definitely not on the list for this small town girl’s survival guide in the big city. He appeared as a nice, fit, stable looking young man in his late 20’s. I noticed he looked a little lost, and after having no success finding someone inside to talk to, he politely drove over to me. Leaning through the window, he confidently said, “Excuse me. Do you know where I could find an LA Fitness around here… or a McDonald’s…or something?” He waved his hand matter-of-factly, as if to signify, “You know what I’m talking about, right? Either one of those will do.” Since I always believe you are supposed to hold it together when and if you do find yourself talking to someone at a gas station, I’m sure my calm demeanor did not match the utter confusion inside of me. I knew where there was a local gym, and I also knew about a nearby McDonald’s. The McDonald’s was the closest, so I pointed him that way. He repeated the directions, thanked me, and drove off to the golden arches. So. Weird.
            Pure hilarity came over me. What just happened? Did someone really just ask me for directions to a workout facility OR a fast food restaurant? What was this guy thinking? I really wanted to know, but either way, I got a good laugh out of this.      
            Lately God has been teaching me the big picture lesson of trusting His guidance versus getting caught up and virtually distracted by the details. Here’s what I mean. In my flesh, I tend to worry and wrestle beyond a godly point with trying to get things just perfect. I acknowledge this is a flaw, for only my Savior is perfect. But I find myself trying to balance my time perfectly and make the “perfect” decisions in motherhood and other relationships. As I write this, I realize just how ridiculous this “aspiration” is!  
            In this tangled mental web that totally takes my mind off of being in the wonder of Him, He speaks to me. He reminds me there is a marked difference in a heart striving and a heart stirring. A few years ago, Peter Swann gave a sermon at HFBC, and I still have a comment from him scribbled down in my journal: “You can’t help but fulfill God’s plan for your life if you love Him with all your heart.” This statement of truth has given me so much peace on this dead-end path to perfection. Our love for Him is to be the most consistent theme of our lives. If you and I can strive for the simplicity of this theme, the rest falls into place by truly perfect design.
            Not only will there be peace within, but focusing on this single theme will incredibly impact our ministry to others. Think about this with me. What do people see when we roll down the car windows of our soul? Do they see we have a smorgasbord of desires—our “loves” in life all over the place? Or do people see that we have one pursuit exceeding all others? Of course, life is a kaleidoscope blend of events, taking on many different forms. But does your friend, your family member, your neighbor know what central thread drives your heart behind all of these experiences?
            I don’t want my life to sing, “I’d be just as happy with a McDonald’s,” if I claim to be looking for a gym – and vice versa. I don’t want to be equally sold out in my preferences. Now hear me clearly—I’ll always shamelessly love a little buttercream icing, a good make-up bronzer and time with family. I’m not saying we won’t enjoy things of life, but there will be an identifiable anchor at the bottom of all we do. The “all we do” becomes rewarding over rigid, and our decision-making takes a lovely twist as we solely strive to follow Matthew 22:37. I am learning that as I love Him, my guidance is fixed (Proverbs 3:5-6).   
            The best way to start is to honestly ask Him for this. “Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name” (Psalm 86:11, NIV).

I was blessed to have this article published for the Women's Ministry E-Newsletter of 
Houston's First Baptist Church~ Summer 2012 Edition

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


The first things that come to my mind...

1. Our upcoming vacation to Sea World! Little Hunt is going to have a BLAST. Fun in the Sun shirt- check. Sunscreen-check. Ready to get wet- check ('cause this kid is going to splash anything and everything...and anybody, including Mom and Dad!)

2. The "Save Button" party J and I had last night. I finally finished a huge portion of the Bubbling Within writing project, and hit a final "save" on the Mac. Whew. Yes, homemade chocolate chip cookies followed. Not quite the Paul Dufilho version, but Nestle makes a close second. Thanks, Josh, for having faith in me and preheating the oven before I actually finished proofing. :) One. More Time. 

3. Thrilled about the Bubbling Within curriculum getting out and touching the lives of women. Here's what one of my dear friends, Amanda, wrote after taking the study:

"One of the phrases that stuck out the most to me in the book was "If my mind can be preoccupied with problems, my mind can be preoccupied with promise.". So good.  Promise...at the time I first read that sentence, my mind was very preoccupied, and not with promise.  That didn't even seem a possibility and yet, Courtney's words of admonition were powerful.  I was reminded the power of my choices, particularly in attitude.  His word is overflowing with promises that are as alive for me today as they were thousands of years ago when first spoken, yet I live consumed with the problems of today.  Where' s the hope and victory in that?  I imagine the woman at the well was quite preoccupied on her daily walks, and the reality of her broken life consumed her, until she met a man of Promise.  Thank you Lord for Jesus!  So the phrase is now taped on my computer as a daily reminder of the choice I gave before me and the promise that awaits me."

Love you, Amanda! 

4. Excited I was asked to write an article in E-Newsletter for the Women's Ministry of Houston's First Baptist Church. Coming soon! 

5. A little overwhelmed but happy to decorate two little rooms for my kiddos this summer! I'll give you a preview of what Paisley's decor will be....inspired by Flora and Muse/Coffee and Flowers in City Centre. I'm calling it "Paisley's Petals and Parisian Tea Room." Ok, maybe just "Paisley's Petals." That sure is a mouth full! But, you get the idea. Here's a preview of some of the decor I've got going so far...

6. Looking forward to catching up with friends this summer. Hoping to finally meet my new cousin, Oliver:), spend time with friends, and have more backyard picnics with Hunt 
7. Excited to quiet my heart enough to listen to the birds outside for the moment. Taking in peace. Love it.