Monday, May 30, 2011

I pledge

Wow, it's been a while! I have about 10 posts backed up in my brain that I'd like to write, but I simply can't blog all the time! Here's one that's been simmering for a while.

In light of Memorial Day, I have been thinking a lot about patriotism. I was born and raised in the South, love fireworks on the Fourth and know the Star Spangled Banner by heart. I get choked up when an American wins a gold medal at the Olympics or when a fallen soldier is honored with the playing of "taps."
I have a certain amount of pride in my country like most Americans do. However, I know very little about politics and I despise war of any kind really. The purpose of this post, however, is not to discuss politics or war. It's to discuss allegiance.

Every day of my school career, both before and after I attended college, started off by saying the pledge.

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

When I was a student at Milligan, a speaker came and shared at one of our chapel services a startling message about this practice. I couldn't even tell you his name (because I am terrible with details) but I remember the heart of his message. He shared that our allegiance should not be to our country but to God. He didn't believe in saying the pledge because his pledge and devotion was to God. Controversial, I know!

Then just recently, I was listening to a song by Derek Webb, the rebel of Christian music! Here are the words to his song, King and a Kingdom.

(vs. 1)
who's your brother, who's your sister
you just walked passed him
i think you missed her
as we're all migrating to the place where our father lives
'cause we married in to a family of immigrants

my first allegiance is not to a flag, a country, or a man
my first allegiance is not to democracy or blood
it's to a king & a kingdom

(vs. 2)
there are two great lies that i’ve heard:
“the day you eat of the fruit of that tree, you will not surely die”
and that Jesus Christ was a white, middle-class republican
and if you wanna be saved you have to learn to be like Him


but nothing unifies like a common enemy
and we’ve got one,
but he may be living in your house
he may be raising up your kids
he may be sleeping with your wife
oh no, he may not look like you think

Now, hear me when I say that I'm not against the pledge or our country. I am patriotic and I am thankful for the men that have given up so much for this country. But I do think there's a valid point in here. We are supposed to be Kingdom people. This country is great and I can't even begin to tell you how grateful I am to all the people that are much braver than I will ever be that have fought for my right to even write this blog. I am very aware of the sacrifice and the gravity of America's fight for freedom. But my first allegiance is to my King and to the Kingdom.

I will proudly say the pledge and wave the flag because I do pledge my allegiance to this country. I am blessed to be a part of it. However, it is my secondary pledge. My first devotion is to the Lord and I serve Him first.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Seeking God's Face

So I know I said I would post this two days ago, but I just haven't had the time between working and organizing and spending time with my husband on his day off.

The point of this blog is for me to share what God is doing in my heart and let me tell you, it's a lot! I feel like I have been on a journey now for a while of learning more about the Holy Spirit. For much of my life, I could tell you very little about the Holy Spirit. There were several things that led me to become more aware...

~A trip to Mexico where Chris Canote shared about the power of God we have inside of us that we don't give credit to. Did you know that if you are a Christian, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is inside you? What are you doing with it?
~Reading Francis Chan's book Forgotten God with my small group at Northwest Christian Church before I got married. This book is a GREAT resource for anyone. It kind of helped me see that I had been missing out on something for a while.

~Weekly prayer time with Edna at my school. She helped me learn how to communicate better with God.
~Becoming a member of Northstar Church. I feel like God truly moves in that place, differently than I've ever seen before. The power of Corporate prayer is a focus, the worship is on fire, and Scott Cagle is a leader who tries desperately to be obedient to the Holy Spirit in all that he does. It's a beautiful place to be. Northstar Church

~Becoming a part of the Vogel family and spending time with them this past weekend. The conference was great and many one of the speakers talked about listening for God's voice. I will be honest and say that it was a different environment than I have ever been in before, but to be surrounded by people seeking God's Face was inspiring.

So what have I learned from all of these great experinces? Desperation. I am desperate for the Holy Spirit and you should be too. The Holy Spirit is a person. He's part of the trinity. He's not scary or out of control. He's our counselor and God sent Him to us so we wouldn't be alone here on earth.

Mark Driscoll says that too many Christian's trinity is "Father, Son, and Holy Bible" instead of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Why do we ignore the Holy Spirit in our life?

Here's the truth, friends. There's a lot that I do not understand and maybe never will. But I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there's more to being a Christian than just reading the bible, going to church, and being a good person. I desire to be sensitive tot he Holy Spirit. I do not want to make a move without being led. I do not want to be a Christian who becomes stagnant. I want to always be growing closer to God and learning more about how to communicate with Him.  I want to seek His face NO MATTER what that means, and I am excited about this season in my life.

Hopefully you understand my heart in this post and are encouraged by it. Just seek God's face today whatever that means for you!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Well friends, it's been a little while because there's been so much going on, I didn't know where to start!

God has been teaching me about 1,000 things over the past week and I am just trying to process it all.

Here's a quick update with some lessons I've learned thrown in...

1. House- The update on the house is an interesting one. As many of you know, for the last 3 months we've been under contract to buy a HUD foreclosure in an amazing neighborhood. The plan was to get a renovation loan and fix up the place and make it our comfy little nest and make a really good investment with our money. Well, as always, God had other plans. Literally one thing after another kept turning up as problems on the house and our budget kept getting higher and higher. Then the tornadoes hit and brought baseball-size hail with them. Even more damage was done to the house and then no one took care of it so all the rain that followed has leaked into the house through the destroyed roof and siding. HUD said they would lower the price significantly, but they still have not communicated with us, so we are cancelling our contract. It's sad, but here's what I am thankful for.

~The storm happened before we moved in or did any work. How frustrating would it have been to do all that renovating and then have to pay our insurance deductable and do it all over again?
~God protected us from possibly getting in WAY over our heads in work load and finances.
~Because of the way we cut back and set up our finances to afford the house, we will probably be able to get completely out of debt much sooner than we thought now that we won't be adding a mortgage on to our monthly expenses!

God is good. I still want to nest, but my desire to go where God calls me and do what God asks of me far outweighs it.

2. Weekend! David and I traveled up to PA to lead worship at his parent's prophetic conference. We got to stay from Thursday to Monday and had a great time. Not only did we get to spend some quality time with his family, but were blessed by the conference. There is so much I experienced that was new for me, and I think I'll need to devote a whole post to it! Shout out to Michelle and Sierra for reading my blog! Love it!

3. Lifestyle! I am committed to instilling discipline in my life! I have not consistently worked out since our wedding and we're coming up on a year here before too long! I am going to start working out and eating healthier. There are a lot of areas in my life that need discipline...
~ Working out (First time today!)
~ Cooking healthy meals
~ Daily prayer time
~ Training my crazy dog
~ Reading more
~ Organizing my house
~ Couponing and saving our family money

These are all things that David and I decided to do at the beginning of the year but have not done a spectacular job.
I'm reinstating our quote of the year: "The pain of discipline is nothing compared to the pain of regret."

Lots of things going on! I have so many thoughts rolling around my head right now. I plan on posting tomorrow about what I learned this weekend!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Mom I Hope to be ... someday

I know this is quite late, but my new work schedule has been making it difficult for me to find time to blog. I'll go more into that later.

Since Mother's Day was this last weekend, I wanted to blog about Moms. I happen to have an incredible mother and mother-in-law. I also happen to be surrounded by amazing moms at my church. Ever since I was tiny, I have dreamed of becoming a mom myself. You can ask my mother! I used to play house and carry my dolls around everywhere. I even used to stuff pillows under my shirt to pretend like I was pregnant. NO I am not pregnant now. nor will I be any time soon if we have anything to say about it, but I am closer now to being a Mommy than I ever have been and I think a lot about the type of Mommy I want to be. Soooooo I decided to make a list. These traits and qualities were inspired by all the amazing Mommies I know as well as God's word.

I want to be the kind of mommy that...
1. ...teaches her children about the Lord.
2. ...prays daily with her children so they learn how to pray.
3. ...reads the bible with her babies every night.
4. ...feeds the homeless and helps those in need with her children.
5. ...always works hard to provide for her family, no matter what her job may be.
6. ... LAUGHs with and at her children as much as possible.
7. ...cooks with her children and feeds them healthy food.
8. ...always listens to their problems and is Patient.
9.  ...lets her kids wear pajamas to church on Wednesday night.
10. ...loves and respects her husband.
11. ...makes family traditions that they will always remember.
12. ...teaches them to love others more than themselves.
13. ...wipes tears and fixes boo-boos.
14. ...handles anything that comes her way with grace!
15. ...makes sacrifices for her family.

This list could go on and on. I definitely have to work on a lot of these things in order to be successful when the time comes. I am so blessed by all the mothers in my life. I guess for now I will practice on the puppies!

Happy Mother's day very late!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Hope for the Hopeless

So....there's so much I could update you on and I will....however, I think it's important for me to focus on one particular thing today.

Yesterday David and I had the privilege of going downtown to Water Angels Church. ( I wanted to link you to their ministry website, but it's not working right now.)

This is a ministry that began when a mom and her young daughters were doing a service project for their girl scout troop. They decided to pass out water to homeless people in downtown Knoxville. The more they went, the more they connected with people, and everyone started calling them the "water angels." This small act of service has led to an entire church and ministry to homeless people.

Every Sunday they have a church service in the afternoon that various local churches help put together. Northstar helps out I believe once a month. They serve lunch to them afterwards. There are bible studies thorughout the week and various outings they go on. They also help them get food, clothing, shelter, and other needs. (For example, they are going together this week to help people get ID's that don't have one)

I have helped out in ministires similar to this before, but I am so completely moved by what God is doing in this place.

Not only am I completely humbled that people who have nothing can praise the Lord and say how good He is when I complain about everything, but I was moved by the work of the Lord to deliver these people from the captivity of sin.

There were people who had abused drugs for YEARS who are clean now and are serving the Lord. One woman was a nurse and lost her license because of drugs, went to jail, and abused drugs for years. Then she was saved and asked God to deliver her. Not only is she clean now, but because of her testimony and character has earned her nursing certificate back! How amazing is our God!?! There were so many similar stories of God restoring people who were considered "hopeless" by our standards.

This is what I learned yesterday. People that we look at and say in our hearts "there's no hope for them" CAN be delivered!! Our God can do so much more than we give Him credit for. No one is hopeless to God. There is ALWAYS hope!

I want so desperately to show God to hurting people. If God can deliver a prostitute or a drug dealer, don't you think he can deliver you? What do you need to be delivered from today? What is holding you back? What has your heart hostage?

I'll leave you with the precious prayer of one of the little girls at Water Angels church. This child is probably 10 years old. I don't know if she's homeless or just from a poor family. I don't even remember her name. But I will never forget her prayer.

"God you are the light of my world. Lord you are the healer of my heart."

Recognize today that you can pray this same prayer to our Father. He IS the healer of hearts.