Sunday, July 31, 2011

Happy 11th Birthday Joshua!

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of Your righteousness.
Psalm 145:7

Our Joshua turns 11 today!!  We love and admire our son.  He is growing into a fine young man.

I think back 11 years and how I labored for over a dozen hours, to no avail.  Then suddenly, Joshua arrived in this world via a frantic emergency c-section after his vital signs went blank on the medical monitors.  The umbilical cord was wrapped around Joshua's neck and he was losing oxygen.  The cord that was to give him life and sustenance in my womb became a threatening force to his very existence.  As they quickly wheeled me into the operating room, I looked up at my sister and said, "I know this baby is a boy."  I knew in my heart that we would have our Joshua.

Joshua means:
YAHWEH is salvation.  The Lord saves.  Jehovah saves.

 The Lord saved Joshua's life 11 years ago.  The Lord, by His grace and mercy, has saved Joshua's precious life through His salvation given to us through the cross.

Our prayer for Joshua (and Gabrielle) is that he always honors God with his heart and life, yields to the Holy Spirit, loves His truth, abides in Him and always has a teachable, humble heart.

Joshua loves God, his family and his friends.  He hold relationships dear deeply in his heart.  His demonstration of that love may often be quiet and private, but he treasures the blessings of people God has placed in his life as gifts. 

Joshua loves sports, especially football, basketball and baseball.  He also loves music and can effortlessly (and unknowingly) sing beautiful harmony.  He enjoys working on jigsaw puzzles with family and friends.

Yesterday, we surprised Joshua with a family day trip to New York City, and we invited another family we treasure as dear friends/family to join us in our surprise birthday celebration.  We traveled the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City and saw the Broadway show Wicked.  (Once you get past the title, the show and music are amazing with meaningful life lessons of friendship and priorities tucked inside.) 

At my friend's suggestion, we ate lunch first at Ellen's Stardust Diner on Broadway.  It was so fun enjoying burgers while listening to all the Broadway hopefuls sing their hearts out between waiting on tables and serving the customers.  Our waitress even serenaded Joshua.  Here is my amateur video:

Our prayer is that Joshua and Gabrielle always here His sweet serenade as He rejoices over them with singing.  "He will rejoice over you with singing."  Zephaniah 3:17

Happy Birthday, Joshua!  We love you! 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

He Speaks...She Listens

"Now, O women, hear the word of the LORD;
open your ears to the words of His mouth."
Jeremiah 9:20

I am thankful for the blessing of attending the She Speaks Conference again this year.  This conference, hosted by the P31 ladies, is a blessing because it really is all about nurturing our personal relationships with Jesus above anything else.  While providing fabulous speakers, resources, appointments with publishers and a banquet of other blessings for attendees, honoring God and His Word are their priorities for the weekend.  They don't claim to have a flawless ministry, rather they desire to seek and serve a flawless God.  "As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless." Psalm 18:30

Women will gather in Charlotte, NC, this weekend from places far and near.  Imperfect women seeking a perfect God.  Humbled authenticity pursuing His gift of holiness.  Fear and trembling hushed by His love and sweet serenade.  "The LORD your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”  Zephaniah 3:17

These women will be fine tuning God-given gifts of speaking, writing and leadership so that those hearing the message they share through their lives will have faith resting on God's power, a demonstration of His Spirit.  For His glory.  "When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power." 1 Cor. 2:1-4

One of the first things I do when I arrive at the conference is spend time in the prayer room. Lovingly prepared for us, this hotel meeting roomed is transformed into a beautiful sanctuary. Prayer is covering all the women there and all of the families back at home.

Each time I attend the conference, I ask the Lord for a scripture that I make a prayer to Him for the conference.  Opening my heart to His work, conviction, encouragement and molding, the scripture becomes palpable as I offer it in prayer.  This year, the scripture I am praying for me, my girlfriends, the leadership of the conference, the staff at the hotel and all of the conference attendees is Jeremiah 9:20 ~ "Now, O women, hear the word of the LORD; open your ears to the words of His mouth."  I just want to hear the Word He has for my heart.  Soaking it all in so He can pour out through me to my family and beyond as He sees fit.  My only expectation for this weekend is knowing God will meet us all personally as we seek His truth.

(Last year's scripture was also one of my faves ~ Exodus 33:13 ~  "If You are pleased with me, teach me Your ways so I may know You and continue to find favor with You.")

I am thankful to have dear friends who are ushering me and a trio of girlfriends to She Speaks in prayer, encouragement and love. This trio of girlfriends has said yes to God in obedience as they attend the conference this summer. Other girlfriends have obeyed the Lord by waiting on Him and knowing this is not yet the time for them to attend the conference. Whether saying yes or no, each will be blessed by the joy and peace that always accompanies obedience to Him. (I love you, dear girlfriends, who are ushering us there in prayer!!)

A dear friend accompanied me yesterday on a spontaneous and hurried 10-minute shopping trip to DSW as I was hoping to find a new pair of shoes to wear at the conference.  As we ran through the shoe store looking for just the right pair of pink shoes....she found them...and they were on clearance!!  Woo Hoo!   

(Have I told you lately that I have the best girlfriends!?!?  Praying girlfriends and shoe-shopping girlfriends!!!  Does it get much better????)

Bags are packed, loving care for my cherubs is arranged while hubs is working, meals are prepared for the family, their Sunday clothes are ironed, my nails are freshly manicured, and I've completed the Pentagon-level planning required for a wife and momma to get away for a few days.  Hubby is enthusiastically supportive of me and excited for me as he covers me in prayer and washes me in the water of God's Word.  My heart is so thankful to the Lord for my hubs and my cherubs.

So, at 2 AM tomorrow morning, the terrific trio of girlfriends and I will begin our road trip to Charlotte, NC.  I imagine we will talk the whole way there and back.  We will chat.  We will pray.  We will laugh.  We will cry.  We will worship.  We will listen.  We will listen.

Speak Lord, we are listening.  Let our ears and our hearts receive the word You have for us.  And for those dear sisters at home who desire to be with us and are not, please minister to them in such beautiful, personal and intimate ways.  Let them know that You are listening and You see.

“You are the God who sees me...
I have now seen the One who sees me.”

Genesis 16:13

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Treasure Verse Tuesday ~ Our Youth

I have these scriptures written in my Family Prayer Journal for our children.  In reading through Jeremiah again right now, I am praying these scriptures for our children in a fresh way.  Thankful that He is their Guide.

But the LORD said to me: “Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’  For you shall go to all to whom I send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak.  Do not be afraid of their faces, for I am with you to deliver you,” says the LORD. 
Jeremiah 1:7-8

I remember the devotion of your youth,
how as a bride you loved Me
and followed Me through the desert,
through a land not sown.
Jeremiah 2:2

My Father, You are the guide of my youth...  
Jeremiah 3:4

I am SO thankful that He gently leads us as parents, "those that have young".  But by His grace...

He tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young.
Isaiah 40:11

Friday, July 1, 2011

Refreshed In The Mountains

Lake Pleasant at Camp of The Woods
 "The LORD looks from heaven;
He sees all the sons of men.
 From the place of His dwelling He looks
On all the inhabitants of the earth;
 He fashions their hearts individually;
He considers all their works." 
Psalm 33:13-15
Fashion my heart, Lord.

Each year before our now-traditional family vacation to Camp Of The Woods in the Adirondack Mountains of New York, I ask the Lord for a scripture of prayer for me and my family for the week.  He is faithful to grant my request as I spend time in His Word each morning.  

Nestled in His beautiful creation of the majestic Adirondacks, I long to soak in His truths and hear His voice.  His Word washes over my heart and He is faithful to do a beautiful work at the foot of His mountains.  His love is perfect.

These are the verses I have written down in my journal as scripture prayers for my family and myself at COTW ~ Summer 2011:

 "My dove in the clefts of the rock,
in the hiding places on the mountainside,
show me your face,
let me hear your voice;
for your voice is sweet,
and your face is lovely."
Song of Solomon 2:14
Maker of the Mountains, let us see Your lovely face and hear your sweet voice.  Give us responsive, humble and teachable hearts so that we hear Your voice.  Receive our praise and prayers.

  “ Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His paths.” 
Isaiah 2:3 

Teach us, Lord, as we go to the mountains.  Teach us Your ways so we shall walk in Your paths.  By your grace, keep us on Your narrow paths of truth and righteousness.


As you vacation this summer, whether at home or far away, may He refresh and renew your heart. 

4th of July at Camp of The Woods
You are resplendent with light,
more majestic than mountains rich with game.
Psalm 76:4