Monday, August 29, 2011

God's Little Reminders

It's been a week since we dropped our middle son off at James Madison University and I'm coping well. High five, girls! I only cried when we left him and since then I've certainly missed having him around, but the pervading emotion is excitement for the steps he's making and the wonder of how God will show up in Aaron's life.

I had to wait in my car for a bit today and picked up a devotional I leave there for just such a time. It is entitled Jesus Calling and was given to me by a dear friend. For grins, I flipped to August 23rd, the day we took Aaron to school. Why I am continually surprised by the Lord I do not know, but every time He has something for me! Here it is, verbatim.....

Entrust your loved ones to ME; release them into MY protective care. They are much safer with ME than in your clinging hands. If you let a loved one become an idol in your heart, you endanger that one- as well as yourself. Remember the extreme measures I used with Abraham and Isaac. I took Isaac to the very point of death to free Abraham from son-worship. Both Abraham and Isaac suffered terribly because of the father's undisciplined emotions. I detest idolatry, even in the form of parental love.

When you release loved ones to ME, you are free to cling to MY hand. As you entrust others into MY care, I am free to shower blessings on them. My presence will go with them wherever they go, and I will give them rest. This same Presence stays with you, as you relax and place your trust in ME. Watch to see what I will do.

God couldn't have made it any plainer. Tears of gratitude filled my eyes as I read the words and knew them to be so true, and I will wait eagerly to see what the Lord will do.

Friday, August 26, 2011

“It is well with my soul.”

I have been thinking about the month of August and this old hymn came to mind.

What a privilege to pray for friends spouses with severe health issues.
It is well with my soul
A cool morning after all the heat.
It is well with my soul
Stock market crashes!
Then I remember-
It is well with my soul
Earthquake! What, in VA?
It is well with my soul
Neighbors come to door scared- we offer comfort.
It is well with my soul
Can’t make contact with children and grand’s
It is well with my soul
Texting not working! Panic can’t reach them.
Then I remember-
It is well with my soul
A friend from Alabama calls to check on us.
It is well with my soul
Yea, Facebook is working.
It is well with my soul
Stock market down again and again.
It is well with my soul
His promise to supply for all our NEEDS
It is well with my soul
Does that mean all the bills?
It is well with my soul
Dryer vent over heating (hot spot on wall is found)
It is well with my soul
Could have been a fire!
It is well with my soul
A contractor to resolve dryer issue-price is right
It is well with my soul
Sweet time with book group (now a prayer group of sisters)
It is well with my soul.
Daughter returns home safe from trip to deliver her daughter to school in TN
It is well with my soul.
Joy of sharing the power of prayer
It is well with my soul
IRENE on her way!
It is well with my soul
Niece calls - needs to leave Norfolk with new baby, 4 yr-old and two dogs, husband deployed
It is well with my soul
Praying traveling mercies for all traveler tonight and next several days.
It is well with my soul
My praying family.
It is well with my soul
Thanks for texting and IM
It is well with my soul
Joy of giving surplus sewing material away.
It is well with my soul
Time for coffee with friends.
It is well with my soul
Joy of a last lunch with granddaughters before school.
It is well with my soul
Books to read. Yea, lots of them.
It is well with my soul
Food in our pantry.
It is well with my soul

So for today and for the days to come I know it will be well with my soul.
Thankfully God is Still in Control.

Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Remembering What I Know

It was 3:00 A.M. and I couldn't sleep. That seems to be the way things have gone since my surgery seven weeks ago. This insomnia seems to be environmental in the making. It's partly due to the pain that seems to strike in the middle of the night. And then there are those racing thoughts that come once I'm awake. How am I going to....? What am I going to do when.........? I can't believe I have to..... and what about? You get the idea, right?

Well, my biggest hurdle after being immobile for five weeks was to be able to get off of my porch since my strong man, who wheeled me off for various appointments, was leaving the country for three weeks. My prayer request for everyone who asked was:"Pray that I can get off the porch!" I couldn't even walk. How in the world was I going to be able to get off the porch until I could put weight on my foot? On and on my thoughts would go until anxiety and fear were my companions in the night instead of peace and rest. Pain and fatigue increased my fear and didn't help with the clarity of my thoughts.

Well, to make a long story short, physical therapy came none too soon. By the time I left the therapist's office after the first appointment, I was walking to the car with the aid of a walker. Yep, I, the one who had worried, fretted and cried for days about this possibility,,had walked to the car!!!! Not only that but I walked onto the porch and into the house.

Amazing, right? For me, absolutely!!!!!!!! God had answered my prayer about being able to "get off the porch" before John left. So, what's the point of this blog entry? Just to encourage your heart that God answers our prayers in His time and that He is faithful. Well, not exactly.

Would you believe, after my walking victory, the next time I got up to walk I couldn't move? Yep. That's right. I was frozen in place. I couldn't remember what to do next. I was stuck and had to call for help. It had only been 5 weeks since I'd walked uninhibited to carry out the tasks before me.

In the middle of the night as I was fretting about forgetting, God gently reminded me to go back to what I knew. The therapist had taught me how to hop and I had rehearsed those steps in my mind. So, I thought if repeated them, it would trigger my ability to remember to walk. Guess what? It worked!!!!!!!

In all of this, God reminded me to go back to what I know to be true about Him as well. There is no formula like the physical therapist gave me for walking but there are truths that I can cling too even when I'm stuck and don't know how to move in a spiritual sense. There are things that are true of me as a new creation in Christ (2 Cor.5:17) that may not always feel true in a given moment. I can choose to live like they are true of me regardless of my feelings.

Just because walking didn't feel natural to me anymore, didn't mean that I wasn't meant to walk again. I just had to remind myself how to walk over and over and choose to do it. I'm happy to say that the walking is coming much more easily now. I believe the same thing is true of me spiritually. As I am transformed by the renewing of my mind (Rom. 12:1) and learn to live as though what God says in His word is true about me,I will begin to walk like the new creation in Christ that He says I am. It will be moment by moment. One choice (or step)at a time empowered by His Spirit in me. That sounds like the kind of walk I want to have. How about you?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Falling Bricks

Do you ever feel like the walls are crashing down around you? Sometimes visuals work best for me. I have this picture in my head of blocks falling all around a wall breaking apart, and I'm struggling to catch the bricks and stones that are falling to keep them in their place. It's just too much...too many bricks all at once falling down around me. Finally, I sit down in exhaustion and let the bricks fall where they may. It does kind of hurt sometimes when the bricks hit me, and I dread each brick that falls next. But then I notice that there is a stone that is standing strong and not affected, not moving at all. It's holding the wall from completely crashing down on me. It’s so strong and quite beautiful really. I’m in its shadow and I realize that it’s protecting me. The thought occurs to me, “Yeah, He's with me and I don't have to strive anymore to make things okay. He's my rock, my fortress, the foundation that cannot be shaken.” This brings such peace. I can leave the falling bricks to Him. He is strong. He can take these bricks that look a mess and make them into something so very beautiful. So I’m still sitting there…admiring His strength, even thankful for it but still tired and worn out from the struggle to keep everything together. And He whispers, “Yes, I am strong and I can put the bricks in place and make something beautiful…but you are forgetting something….I am in you! You can stand up and have confidence in me. I will be your strength.” Wow! That’s exciting and comforting!! How does that look in my life? What does that mean? For me personally, I can rest in Him and rely on Him in all of life’s circumstances….good and bad or even unchanging. Though my husband and Dad are both experiencing health issues, a move might be coming up next year, finances could always be better, my daughter is growing up and life is changing….I don't have to struggle to keep everything together and in order. I can trust in Him to be my strength in everything. I can rest in foundation. So what about when I sit down feeling exhausted and defeated? Will He condemn me or turn away in disgust? No, He will lift me up! You see, He values me. He cares. I am rooted in His love, His security, His acceptance. He will not condemn or turn away when I forget that He is my strength. He will continue to love me and comfort me. That is empowering. Yes, that’s His strength. So when the walls seem to be crashing down around you, look to the Rock that is our strength.

“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in Him at all times…..”
Psalm 62:5-8a

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Asking for Help

Today is August 23, 2011. It’s not a holiday; it’s not a birthday or anniversary of anyone I know. It’s not even a Saturday. Nevertheless, it is a slightly momentous day for me – exactly one month from this day, I will begin the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk for the Cure.

For those who don’t know, the Walk for the Cure is a 3-day-long event in which I will be walking 60 miles to help raise support and awareness for breast cancer. This also means 2 nights of sleeping in a tent and 3 days of going to the bathroom in a port-a-potty. (I’m not exactly thrilled about that.)

Since this blog is sponsored by a church, I thought it’d be good to have some Bible verses to demonstrate why this is important, but when I looked up “breast” in the Bible, everything was in Song of Solomon and that just didn’t seem appropriate, so I thought I’d tell you why I feel this walk is important.

I was going to start out by saying that 1 in 8 women in the US are affected by breast cancer, but that’s wrong. In fact, 1 in 8 women in the US are diagnosed with breast cancer, but many more men and women are affected. Mothers, daughters, fathers, sons, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends... when 1 person is diagnosed, so many more are affected. (Not to mention that men can actually get breast cancer too – wouldn’t you hate to be a man having to explain that?)

As a woman who has breast cancer in her family, and too many friends who have been touched by it as well, I feel it is something I cannot ignore. I feel that if I CAN help, then I HAVE to help... for myself, for my family, for you, and for your family.

However, I'm actually doing this walk in honor of 2 dear friends who are currently fighting other forms of cancer. In my opinion, cancer is cancer, and I'm sick of my friends and family having to deal with it in any form. So, although my friends don't have breast cancer, I'm walking for them. I believe finding the cure for one type of cancer can lead to advancements in a cure for another, so I'm walking to help eradicate not only breast cancer, but all cancer.

So why am I telling you this? (I bet you can guess in one try.) I’m telling you for two reasons:

First, I’m asking for prayers. I’ll be walking with a friend, Martha, and my mother is going to be a crew member (non-walking volunteer), so we’re asking for prayers for our health and safety and stamina. Also, I don’t know about Martha and my mom, but I’m a bit nervous about this, so prayers for peace and calm would be appreciated too. And, of course, prayers for my friends and anyone you know who is battling this horrible disease.

Second, obviously, I need financial support. (You knew that was coming, didn’t you?) Komen requires a minimum of $2,300 per person. I’ve done pretty well in my fundraising so far, but I need some help to get to finish line (literally and figuratively). I hate asking - I really, really do - but every little bit helps and would be sooo appreciated. Oh, and of course any donation would be tax deductible.

If you’d like to donate, please follow this link: (When I add the "stuff" to make this an actual link, it disappears from the post, so you'll have to copy and paste it. Sorry.)

Thanks for bearing with me on this! :)

Oh, by the way, I was totally kidding about Song of Solomon – I never even tried to look up “breasts” in the Bible.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Dry Spell

I've been going through a bit of a dry spell lately. Can't seem to find my footing, can't seem to get motivated and I can't seem to get interested in anything. Have you ever felt like that? Something is missing and you can't put your finger on it?

It began sometime after my 2nd son graduated and I had to deal with the truth that he would be heading off to college. Of course I'm proud of him and am excited for him, but it makes me think of the way life keeps moving forward and that it won't be too much longer before all three are gone and I'm left behind. It's had a strange way of making me feel useless, tired, and dried up.

I took my dried up husk of a self out to do some back to school shopping and I witnessed something that spoke to me and could potentially change the way I attack this dry spell. We'd had a bit of rain the night before, much needed rain, and here and there puddles were still visible. In one of these puddles, approximately 10 Canadian Geese were sitting and they looked to be enjoying themselves immensely. It was right by the side of one of the busiest roads around Manassas, but they weren't concerned with the busyness less than 6 feet from them, they were plopped in the water, as though they were sponges soaking up every last drop.

Hmmm...I had to think about this. What could I learn from some silly old geese who were feeling kind of parched and in need of a pick me up? Why had God drawn my attention to them and immediately brought to mind the way I had been feeling lately? Geese in a puddle used as a teaching tool...kinda wild but perfectly sensible in a way.

So, I decided I need to look for the small ways to beat the drought. Find the puddles rather than the raging waterfalls, the sips rather than the gulps, the brief shower, rather than the deluge...and I'll find that sufficient to see me through. In my gratitude journal, which I've been keeping this summer, I made a note of the dry and dusty geese and thanked the Lord for pointing me in their direction and for the small things He's going to bring my way as encouragement.

Having your own dry spell? Look for the little things and turn your face up to the One who provides the life giving water. One puddle at a time.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


I had just gotten a new camera for graduation, a Nikon D3100 with an interchangeable lens, auto correction zoom, and a good old fashioned viewfinder. It was my new obsession. When my family went to the beach, I practiced ways to capture a person's expression or the correct angle to create a sense of depth and personal connection between the viewer and the subject. Portraits were my favorite, and everyone had to get used to me shoving my camera lens in their faces. When it came time to pack for Honduras, I couldn't bear the thought of leaving it behind, so into my bag it went. I quickly became the classic American tourist, and took pictures of everything- the road, street signs, cars, fences- you name it. The one day that I failed to take many pictures, however, was the day our group visited the orphanage.
INFA is a government-run organization located just outside San Pedro Sula. It's a square building with a courtyard in the middle and encased by 30 ft. walls lined with barbed wire and a guard stand. The doors and windows all had bars built in, and the building gave the impression that it had been neglected for years. There were areas where the paint was peeling off and dirt had begun to fill in the cracks. The floors were concrete, and the rooms were gigantic holding pens for twenty kids at a time. Ice Age was playing in one of the rooms, apparently the same movie that was playing when a team member had visited two years previous. The kids there know no stranger; it didn't matter that we were gringos and had never met them before. We were capable of love and they begged that from us. They'd throw their arms around our waists and jump up to steal kisses, sometimes fighting for attention from the same person. I escaped from the older kids- they were too much for me to handle- and made my way to the baby room instead.
The room was split into two where one room held the healthy babies and the connecting room held the special needs children. The instant I entered the room, one little girl came waddling up to me, so I scooped her up into my arms and took a tour of the place. It was dark and crowded. Baby cradles lined the sides of the room with two or three occupants inside. Kids were crying and reaching out to us, but the scariest was one little girl who didn't make any noise at all or even respond when she was being touched. I made my way over to the special needs side where I saw ages ranging from babies to extremely severe older cases of mental retardation. There was one boy who had to be about 11 or 12 in a diaper sitting in his crib. He couldn't speak but reached out a hand to me, just to touch him. I knew that, like the babies around him, he just wanted to be held; it was the only mindset he would ever have, but I couldn't give him what he wanted. He was too big.
I wandered from crib to crib in the special needs room, noticing that most of the babies were silent, unaware of where they were or that I was even there. I stopped at one little boy who seemed content in his crib. His big brown eyes were crossed and he had the most beautiful smile I had ever seen. I added baby no. 2 into my arms.
I was told that the orphanage has the most hope for the babies to be adopted, that they are usually the first to go, but looking into this little boy's face was like being punished. He was a whole piece of God's world for me to see, but none for me to feel. All I knew was the pain that he was too lost to notice and the love that he was desperately lacking. I'm not sure if I can tell you the number of times I kissed him to try and make up for it, even if only for a minute.
When it came time to leave, I had to put him down in his crib and watch his smile disappear. He started crying, holding his arms up towards me. I've been babysitting since I was in the sixth grade, and usually letting kids cry doesn't bother me because I always have the intention of walking back. But this was different; I would not be returning.
The night we returned from Honduras, my boyfriend, Aaron, drove me home. It was a bad flight- I was dealing with some monthly issues and the airport had misplaced my luggage- but he knew there was more on my mind than just that. Returning to Virginia was like walking into a false sense of reality. My little bubble had expanded beyond Northern Virginia, and home no longer seemed to be enough. I couldn't stop thinking of that little boy. Aaron let me cry in his car, listening as I asked him who would ever adopt that baby, wondering if anyone would ever love him the same way that I do. Then Aaron reminded me that someone already does, more than I ever could.

I think sometimes I forget that feeling someone's love isn't as good as actually knowing that it's there. God's love is just that; it isn't something that changes the same way that people do; it is constant, sometimes forgotten, but universal. Even if that baby never knows a person's love in his lifetime, I can find some peace in knowing that a person is hardly anything compared to what God feels for him.
I wish I could take a picture of that.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Living in a hungry world...

I think I have always been a traveler at heart. From the time I was a young girl I was always thrilled to get away whether it was on a trip or to summer camp I always loved being gone. I went on my first international trip when I was barely 15 when I traveled to Europe with my High school French teacher. After that only school,  my job, and at times and money could keep me stateside.

In the last year I have been to Jamaica multiple times and have just recently returned from Honduras. I loved seeing the similarities and differences between the two countries but I was saddened by the reoccurring theme of poverty. Granted, Honduras' poverty seemed more widespread and extreme than in Jamaica but nonetheless poverty is never appealing no matter the amount.

I always have a hard time integrating back into America society after being abroad but adjusting back after Honduras was even harder than usual. We saw some terrible things there all centered around the devastating effects of poverty. Children were highly malnourished, mothers were desperate for clothes, shoes, and food to care for their families, and their living structures were no more than pieces of wood and trash bags. For two nights I laid awake trying to process what I had seen but could find no peace. Then on the second day back I got an email from an acquaintance at World Help.

The email told about the tragic situation going on in Somalia due to an extensive famine. The numbers in the email were heart breaking. 29,000 children under the age of 5 and died in the last 90 days with thousands more expected in the coming weeks. More poverty to process and I felt confused and overwhelmed by it all.

I grappled over the numbers, played the pictures of the children in Jamaica, Honduras and now Somalia over and over on my computer and I knew I had to fight for them somehow. In order to help to the fullest capacity I felt like I needed to understand how they felt and what they were going through. On my quest to understand poverty and world hunger I created the Hunger Project where I vowed to forgo food until I felt somewhat close to how these starving children feel everyday. I am currently on Day 6 of the project and have blogging my daily finds about how it feels to truly be hungry. The blog and project are helping make people more aware of world hunger and encouraging us all to never forget how blessed we are. Some have joined me on a lesser scale and are giving up one meal a day. All money that is saved on not eating out and buying groceries is going to shipping 20 $6,000 food containers to a refugee camp in Kenya to help these dying people groups.

This is not a call to join the hunger project and to commit to giving up food because that part is simply not for everyone. Instead, this is a call to never forget that people around the world are dying everyday because of a lack of food and water. Also, I hope none of you will ever forget to be thankful that your children and families are amply blessed with the necessities  of life.

In Christ,
Shannon Perdue

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My First Mission Trip - Following God Despite My Circumstances

All my life, I have felt called to go on a mission. For many years I thought, “Lord. What do I have to offer?” As I entered my mid-twenties my thoughts changed to, “OK. This could be possible Lord, but I still do not know what I could offer to a mission trip.” After I had children, I began to feel like I needed to find a mission trip. Then I would think going on a mission should wait until the kids are older. A year ago I started to attend Grace Life Community Church. A few months later was missions’ month, Michael Gaitande stands up and says “If you think you can’t go on a mission trip because you have kids…” OK. I hear you Lord. Missions do not have to wait.

This year God has stretched me in ways I would never have imagined. My husband, Paul, and I discussed the idea of taking the kids on a mission trip to Honduras. We attended the informational meeting. Paul wasn’t sure about going, but he seemed to be a little open to it. I discussed it with the kids, explaining that we would go to another country and help the children learn about God. A few weeks later, Paul told me he was done with our marriage. At that point I had given up going to Honduras this year.

During the first month after Paul had left, Ryan came up to me and out of nowhere asks “When are we going to the other country to help the children?” At that very moment I remember thinking “Yes Lord. You have my attention.” The next Honduras meeting was a few days away during connect group and deposits were due. I told Ryan that I would discuss it with his father. I prayed to God to make this possible if this was his will.

I had been unable to discuss this with Paul before the meeting, so I attended connect group. I was not really able to focus during connect group. I felt like I was not in the right place. So I left half way through to join the Honduras meeting. I apologized for being late and explained what had happened. Emily said it would be fine if I could get the deposit to her before the end of the week.

I spoke to Paul a few days later. Paul agreed that we could use some money from our tax refund to cover the expense of Ryan and I going to Honduras. I sent out emails asking for monetary support and/or prayers. God provided through many wonderful people just over the amount we needed to cover our mission expenses. Over $400 came in the day before I left!

Honduras was an amazing experience! Not once did I feel afraid or like I shouldn’t be there. It was Ryan’s and my first time out of the country. We were exposed to so many new people and customs. I still wasn’t sure what I had to offer, but I dove in and helped where ever I could trusting God would keep putting me where I needed to be. We got to know our wonderful team and the missionaries there better. I handed out stickers to people young and old and enjoyed the smile it brought to their faces. Grown men when they saw other adults had stickers, started asking for them and bringing the other men to me whom I had missed. I held babies and talked in my limited Spanish to the moms. It showed me that I remembered more Spanish than I thought. Despite my terrible fear of heights, I prayed for courage and zip lined over a waterfall. I can’t even describe the wonder of looking at this beautiful waterfall from a zip line. Meanwhile, Ryan played with the babies he came across. Ryan also saw behavior that desperation brings out in people. He remarked on things that were different from home. All and all it was a big growing experience that God provided for both of us. In learning to trust God, I have never felt more at peace and full of life.

Lesson learned: Trust in God. He knows what he is doing. :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Honduras Update

What an amazing week we spent in Honduras! So many things come to my mind, but one story stands out the most. On Sunday afternoon, our team drove to an area of San Pedro Sula that is called the Bordo. The Bordo is a town of shacks and make-shift houses on the edge of the river (bordo means on the edge). It is where the poorest population of the city lives. Wendy, a 19 year-old resident of the Bordo, has been called by God and raised up to start a church in her community. Our team put on Vacation Bible School for the kids in the church with crafts, games, and Bible stories. We also handed out backpacks that the kids from Grace Life Community Church made in VBS this summer as well as hygiene packs. It was such a blessing to be part of Wendy's ministry and see how God can use anyone for His purpose and glory, even a poor 19 year-old woman! Our team also was able to purchase a new roof, new flooring, and a retaining wall for the church. We delivered the material to Wendy and she said it was a gift from God for her birthday which is on August 20. Please keep Wendy and her church in your prayers.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sit Back & Rest

The picture of my life right now is anything but restful. We are just like many families where our summer seems busier than our school year. We have had family trips, extra house guest, everyday swim practices, softball games, and the very early morning swim meets. It is hard for any mom to get rest among all of the summer events.

There is one area of my life where I feel at rest. Our family is in the middle of an international adoption from Ethiopia. We have spent the past few months filling out forms and piles of paperwork. Doing and redoing things such as doctors forms, fingerprints, background checks, reference letters….the list goes on and on. Things are notarized, authenticated, and then authenticated again. All of that paperwork was mailed to our agency’s home office and was finally sent off to Ethiopia on June 24. I could finally say that everything we could do, besides praying, had been done. It is now in God’s hands.

We have the blessing of having friends that are a few steps ahead of us in the process. It has been great for me to see the mom of that family in different parts of the journey. She is always full of wisdom and insight. The biggest thing I have taken from her so far is that the true emotional strain comes after you see the sweet face or faces of those that have been handpicked for you. That is when aggravation over paperwork turns to desperation to be united with your children.

So for now, I feel God saying, “Sit back & rest, I got this!” Do you remember how you felt as a child sitting on the lap of your father with his arms wrapped around you? That was the safest place in the world for me. There was so much strength & protection in those arms. Having become a believer, I have found that same feeling in the arms of our heavenly father. They give me peace and rest. Yes, sometimes I get a little antsy and start squirming. It will not be the first time or the last time I have acted like a child in my adult years. My heart screaming, “When God? Who do you have for us God?” My heart starts to stir, but I feel God calm me like a father would. Amongst all the hustle and bustle of life, I will sit back and rest in the arms of the one who has declared that He has plans for me and for all my children.

Jennifer Blaschke

Jeremiah 29:11

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Women's Bible Study at GLCC....Fall sign up is here!

Womens Ministry at Grace Life Community Church
Message from: Lisa Fowler

Hello, ladies! I hope you are enjoying your summer!! It’s already that time of year to sign-up for our Fall Bible study. We will be starting “The Inheritance” series by Beth Moore beginning Tuesday, September 13th. This nine session DVD series is a topical study of inheritance throughout God’s Word. The key verse is Psalm 16:5-6, “The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.” This is one of Beth’s new series and is not homework driven. Leslie Farley will be facilitating the morning study at 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and Robin Boyd will facilitate our evening study at 7:00 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. Both studies begin September 13th and run for nine weeks, ending November 15th (we will not meet November 8th). Price for the study is $10.00.

Childcare will be available for an additional cost during the morning study only. Pre-registration is required for each child. There is an early bird discount so please be sure to sign up before August 21st to receive this discount and reserve a place for your child/children in the nursery. Childcare space may be limited depending on registration.

For more details and payment information, you can click on the appropriate link below to sign-up with the option to pay online.

For the morning study, you may sign up here:

For the evening study, you may sign-up here:

We hope you will be able to join us for either the morning or evening study! Take care and enjoy the rest of your summer!

Lisa Fowler

On behalf of the Women’s Ministry Team

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Love Affair

Hush, don’t tell, but after 30 plus years I am still in the middle of a love affair. Oh, silly yes, I am still madly in love with my husband and yes he knows about this affair. In fact he approves. I have to admit that there have been times he has been jealous, but for the most part he just tends to tolerate all of this.

You might ask who is the other party in this affair. Well, the answer is Youth. This all came about many years ago when there was a need in our church to help with youth. I answered the call and fell in love right away. My husband used to say that when I was with the youth they were mine and I was theirs. My focus and attention was theirs. All theirs!

Youth have not changed so much from then until now. Youth still face the same issues of drinking, drugs, pre-marital sex, homosexuality, divorce, single parent homes, blended homes, peer pressure, fitting in, etc. The list goes on. Decisions…decisions! It just seems to me that all of these social issues are so much more accepted as normal by today’s youth. Whatever normal is! Yes, there are youth out there who still share a strong voice for Christ, but there are many youth out there who still need to hear the message of forgiveness, peace and the saving grace that only Christ can give. They need someone to stand up and tell them truth.

Today, on occasion, I still get to interact with youth when I volunteer with the KISSN program in the schools. My heart still melts when I am with them, and when I observe them at GLCC. They are our future, and so worth any amount of time any adult can give to be with them, listen to them, guide them and love them. They can change your life. I know that they did mine.

Recently through Facebook I have been able to re-connect with many of my former youth. What amazing adults and parents they have become. Raising kids, working in the church, preachers, missionaries, all shareing the love of Christ with others. Some married their love from youth group, some needed to find out who they were and a few have faced divorce. For some it took longer to figure out life but, sooner or later they did.

The advice I would offer the youth of today is still the same that was given to the youth of 30 years ago. That advice is that the ultimate pleasure is not found in the instant gratification that the world offers, but comes from the long term joy of intimacy with our Lord. King Solomon learned this the hard way. In Eccl. 2:10 he wrote, “I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure.” But, after the pleasures of the world he concluded in verse 11, “All was vanity and grasping for the wind.” It’s no wonder he warned…”He who loves pleasure will be a poor man”…Proverbs 21:17 Still sound advice for us today.

As for yourself, are you living for your own pleasure, or living to please your heavenly Father?What kind of an example is your life demonstrating to Youth. Be careful they are watching. This is the question I would ask the youth of today Who are you living for is it the pleasure of this world? I love them too much not to warn them again and again of what the world offers compared to what Jesus offers. We need to believe in them and love them. Sometimes with tough, hard love but always with truth. They need the truth most of all.

Go out and have a Love Affair with our Youth….they are well worth the challenge!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

“I have come that they may have life...”

“and have it to the full” (John 10:10b).

I love summer! And August is my favorite summer month: lazy, loosy, unscheduled days; blue skies scattered with slow-drifting fluff-clouds; neighborhood streets bursting with sun-dabbed shades of green; sweet, drippy peaches and ripe, red tomatoes from road side stands; impromptu road trips to far off places or family ventures close to home; and of course, sandy, salty, ocean days languished away at the shore. Life and newness are everywhere! Even the super-heated air is heavy laden with energy and potential.

Summer is a time rich with experience. After the treadmill of May drops us with a thud, summer moves in slowly, like a soft, soothing rain. It seeps peace into the pores of my parched and weary heart. Summer is about being. Every morning begins a day pregnant with possibility.

Apparently, I’ve got a seasonal disorder of sorts! There is no doubt; my state of mind is influenced by the calendar page. And I need to get a grip on why. Why am I happier and appreciating life more in the summer than other times of the year? Certainly, there has to be more to it than scenery, produce, family time, vacations, and a lack of demands upon my schedule. Doesn’t it? Is my sense of well-being really that fragile?

I’ve come to the conclusion that it has to do with choices – my perception of my freedom to choose. When time is plentiful (as in the summer) I can choose how I spend it: shall I read this book, or that book? Should we go to the pool, or play this game? Which room ought I to clean first? Should I pack now or cook dinner? I am aware that time is a glorious gift from God’s abundant hand and I slowly savor every moment. During certain other months though (e.g. May), time sweeps me along like a maniac river. The schedule is my master, not the other way around. Demands pile up. Minutes are devoured like PacMen. I am a lifeless player in a script someone else wrote. Of course, I know this isn’t true. Traced back, every action is rooted in a choice I made earlier: “yes, I’ll bake the cupcakes”, “sure, I’ll volunteer to take up the collection”, “I’d be happy to chaperone”, “Of course, kids, you can sign up for _____ (scouts, piano, soccer, whatever).” But it’s so easy to forget this at the time, isn’t it?

Right now, I’m making a decision. Here it is: I will live each day of the year like it is summer. I will relish the moments, see beauty in God’s creation, laugh more with my kids, really listen, and be emotionally available at all times. In January, I will be feeling August. How? Because I just realized something: I am always free to choose. Maybe not so much WHAT I do, but always HOW I do it. How I think, feel, speak, see, perceive, and behave are choices I make, regardless of the date. When I surrendered to Jesus, he set me free (John 8:32). Now, I am free of guilt from yesterday’s poor choices, the power of sin today, and worry about tomorrow (Matt 6:25 - 34), because I know God’s in control and I am His. I am free to live in the moment and place the rest into my Father’s mighty hands.

As I abide in God’s word and connect with Him in prayer, I believe He will show me summer all year long. He will make me aware of each day’s specialness and the bounty of His provision. I will luxuriate in the texture of life because I am free - even when the skies are gray, the branches are bare, the produce is canned, and the only road trip in sight is to/from the soccer field! In my inner world, where Christ resides and life is a choice, summer blooms on. August is forever.