Sunday, January 31, 2010
I tend to be a pretty shy person. I have a hard time walking up to people and starting up a conversation unless I know them extremely well or have something to say. I get nervous and tongue tied, and usually never get around to saying much of anything that makes alot of sense. I even get that way with people I know well and talk to on a regular basis. I do not know why that is, its just how I am.
There are so many new faces at our new church. We have doubled in size from our old building, if not more, and I think I see more new faces than ones that I recognize. I try really hard while singing on the platform with the praise and worship team to look over the crowd and concentrate on actually seeing the faces. Most people are creatures of habit like myself, and they try hard to sit in the same spot or close to it every week.
Back to my opening statement. I am doing something different. I have been praying that God would give me a ministry. Yes, I put in 1 week a month with the children's department, and I am on praise team, and those are both really great ministries, and dear to my heart, but they are not sacrifices for me. Well, maybe working with the kids, but definitely not the music ministry. I find great joy in being part of the worship team, and it is definitely my favorite. There is just nothing like worshipping my God and King. What I'm talking about is a ministry that goes deeper for me. Something that requires me to make sacrifices, to come out of my comfort zone, something that helps to further Gods kingdom.
I am not getting alot of answers right now.
Years ago, the Lord gave me a vision. I went to my very first women's retreat, Women of Faith, and knew that what I saw and heard that day was just the beginning for me. It changed my life, like nothing else ever had. These women were real, they were just like me, and they had stories like mine. They were sharing those stories, the good and the bad, the better and worse, the deep dark and ugly, and people were getting saved!! God has put upon my heart that someday I would do that. But when???
It has been alot of years since that retreat. I still see that same vision, though some of the aspects have changed. I continue to pray about how God wants me to use what he has put in my heart, the passion He has given me towards this ministry, and also who. Is it women? Is it older women? Younger? Married? Where am I supposed to be?
Right now, I am supposed to be EXACTLY where I'm at. All He is asking from me right now is obedience, an open heart to His leading, and a teachable humble spirit. Sounds easy, right? Wrong!!! It is hard. I want to go ahead of Him. I want to do what He has for me NOW!! Even though I really don't have a clue, I am not very patient!!
A couple of months ago I asked Him what He wanted me to do. New church building, new people, unfamiliar faces. I said "Here am I Lord, send me." I am very confused about where He sent me. Of all places, He sent me to the front foyer of the church. Not to be a greeter, not to serve coffee and donuts, just to be there, in that room, with all of these unfamiliar, new faces. And do what?? Well, He hasn't said yet!!! I am just supposed to be there!! Talk about being out of my comfort zone!! As I said earlier, I am a shy person!! I do alot of observing from my post, smiling at people, and really doing nothing. But that is where I'm supposed to be!!
Awhile back I asked Him "When God? When is this vision going to be more than a vision?" I was told that my main task and ministry right now is my family. My husband and my children. The children will grow up and move away, leaving just me and my husband, and until then, I am in training. When the time is right, Jeff AND I will fulfill that vision. That has been his plan all along. He is not only training me, He is training my husband. It is not His plan for me to do it alone. When He put Jeff and I together all those years ago, it was for a time such as this. I do not know what or how, or even who, but I trust God, and that's what He is asking from me. Obedience. He is refining both of us.
Now that doesn't mean that I am to do nothing!! I still have a job to do!! It is my job to witness to those around me by the way I live, the way I raise my kids, the way I treat my husband, and by being a good steward with everything He provides for us.
That in itself is a full time ministry!!!
Thursday, January 7, 2010
I am blogging about "prayer language" or " "speaking in tongues".
A few years ago I attended a women's retreat hosted by Joyce Meyers. There was something like 5000 women in attendance. The worship was absolutely amazing, the message she brought was phenomenal, and the fellowship with the women from my church will be forever etched in my memory and my heart.
As will what happened at the very end.
She brought a gentleman out on the stage and he began talking to us about prayer language. Now you have to understand that at this point in my walk I'm pretty naive about some things, and I didnt grasp what he was talking about until part way into it. My mind finally began to grasp what he was saying, and I was interested. Very interested. This is a subject I knew about and had read about but never really tried to understand. I was doing good to pray in normal everyday language, let alone an unknown tongue. I was having a really hard time wrapping my brain around what he was teaching, but he had my attention. Imagine!! A language satan does not understand!!
I was doing ok until he asked all of us to join him in talking in tongues.
All 5000 or so of us.
At one time.
Talk about confusion. Not every woman in the stadium participated. There were several from my group who did not, but also some who did. I did not.
I listened for a moment. To the chaos. To the confusion. Then I did the only thing I knew to do. No, I did not join in. How could I? This went against every thing I had ever read in my Bible about speaking in tongues. Instead, I sat down in my seat and cried. I begged for understanding, I prayed for enlightenment. All to no avail. It was all I could do to stay in the stadium at all. It didnt feel good, and my spirit just grieved. The only words that I could think at the time was that this was evil. I was so angry and hurt.
It has never left me. What it has done is send me on a search for truth. Again, this was not Biblically sound in my mind. I will not compromise when it comes to truth. I never EVER want anyone to feel the way I did that day, nor do I want to be the cause of it. So I have been on a quest.
I fully believe in this gift. I know that it is Biblical, and I know that it happened the first time at Pentecost. I fully believe that I also have this gift. I have felt the rumble in my spirit. I also believe that we were shown how to use this gift and how NOT to use it.
I have read some pamphlets on how to recieve the Spirit. I have talked to several people of different denominations that I respect in the fullest sense of the word. I have told them my story. Its amazing how many different answers you get.
I couldnt wrap my brain around one of the books, even though it is supposed to be a guide to understanding. I asked another person who is married to a preacher about my experience and the response I got made me laugh. I was told that this person could sit at the kitchen table with me and have me speaking in tongues in 5 minutes or less!! Like a mere man could "give" me a spiritual gift! I believe in laying on of hands and receiving the gift, but not someone teaching me "how" to. This same person told me I had already made up my mind to be afraid of this gift before going to this retreat, even though as I stated earlier, I was naive, except to what I had read about it.
I read up on Pentecost. I am to understand that when the Spirit came upon the believers, the unbelievers understood them in their own language.
ACTS 6 -When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: "Aren't all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language?
When asking about this I could not get an answer that could be backed up BIBLICALLY. I dont care what man "thinks". I want proof, I want solid, no holes in the bucket, answers.
1 Corinthians 14-22 Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers;
27If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God.
33For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.
39Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.
The verses I have posted above speak loud and clear to me about my grieving spirit at that conference. I have really been in prayer and in my Bible over this. I want to understand. To reiterate, I believe in this gift.
I am just tired of being told that if I do not speak it I am not truly saved. I wont bend and I wont break, I wont water down my faith. I must be a light for future generations. (great song!) I seek the truth, and the only thing that makes sense is what I have learned in the Book. I think people try to make Christianity complicated, and it is not.
There is so much more I could say on this, and probably more that I should say, but for lack of time and fear of overwhelming the reader, I should stop. I do want to say however, that I am not closeminded. I will continue to seek answers and maybe I will find some. I am definately open to discussion and welcome it.
In the mean time, God has given me the best answer. The reason WHY I am finally at peace with what I believe about this subject. Where did I get it? In HIS WORD of course.
1 Corinthians 16-13 Be on your guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be brave. Be strong. 14 Be loving in everything you do.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
This is Part 2-B of the Creative Writing Course. I am beginning to have a little fun with it! I feel as if I have learned a thing or 2. I am really excited about some of my future postings. I have gotten some ideas and feel like I am actually writing with a purpose now. Or at least I will be! I haven't done much other than the course for quite some time, because I really want to learn this! All of my "free time" (ha ha) has been spent researching, observing, and thinking. I hope it pays off!
Randomly pick one of your posts. First of all, look at the title. If it were on another blog, would you stop to read a post with the same title you chose? Why or why not? Now, look at the first 3 sentences. Is there at least a hint of your message there? Would someone reading it be able to give a good definition of what your post was about or would they totally miss the mark?
This is the post I chose (OH MY GOSH, I DID IT!!!! HTML, HA!)
I chose this post at random and did so because of the title. I couldnt remember what the post was about, but it was kind of quirky sounding compared to the rest, and it piqued my interest.
I was surprised, but yes, there was a hint of my message in the first few sentences. Actually, I thought it got right to the point.
2. Repeat with a purpose.
Is there a phrase I can repeat throughout my writing to drive home my point?
I promise I did not plan this!! I just picked at random like we were instructed above! I was having a little fun with this particular post, and I found that my repeats were indeed repeats but also had more than one meaning.
3. Be sincere.
Am I passionate about what I write? Do I truly care what my reader takes away from it?
I am very passionate about what I write, or I would not write about it. I do care what my reader takes away from it, because alot of the things I write about are things that I am learning in my every day walk with Christ. I want to be encouraging, yet I want to teach. I want to be light hearted and funny, yet I want the Lord to use me.
For each of the emotions listed below, give a brief description from your own life as to where you draw the deepest expression of that emotion. What is the story behind that deep expression?:
Ok, the hard part for me. I am not an emotional person, so I am really having to reach deep for some of these. OK most of them, except the anger one, which really irritates me!!!
1. Love-My children. They are a piece of me. I would be lost with out them.
I have miscarried 3, and I dont talk about it often, because it is so very painful. I often wonder what they would be like, I wonder if they will know me when I am reunited with them and if I will know them. I wonder if I would have the kids I have now if I had never have lost the others.
2. Anger- injustice, child abuse/neglect, battered women, this list is pretty self explanatory. I guess I have one or 2 other things that affect my own life, and I just keep praying that God would soften me, and open my eyes to His truth.
3. Sadness-Cant do this one.
4. Surprise- That people really can change! I have not had a huge opportunity in my life to see this, but lately it is all around me. Including myself!! It's been almost like a domino effect!
5. Joy- Kids learning about Christ and memorizing scripture, and worshipping. Especially my own! Ever sat in a teen agers worship service? Talk about POWERFUL!!!
Today's Final Assignment:
Now it's time to begin creating! Besides working on your topic post, begin using what you've learned in the last 3 lessons to write other posts. Choose topics you know and hold dear. Try different methods of grabbing your reader's attention. Keep evaluating what you are writing, ask others to evaluate with you. Are you seeing improvement? Are you feeling more satisfied with what you write? Keep working at it!
I have several different things I want to write about. I am very surprised that I have not taken the time to do so lately, because they are truly life changing events. I am in a time of healing right now, as is my family, and I wonder if this is maybe just a "down time" for me. Every day I live with new challenges, and I think this writing course is a time for me to "get away from it all." I can't truly do that, but for a few minutes or an evening I have something else to concentrate on.
I am more than happy to be evaluated on any of my posts! I do have to say that the one I linked up here is probably one of my fav's. I didnt realize it until I went back and read it, but it has some of the qualities of what we are learning here. I was pretty satisfied with it!
Part 3 coming soon! Thanks Amy!
Monday, November 2, 2009
This is the second part of the creative writing course that I am taking part in. If your interested, click on the link above and jump in!
Come up with 1 funny story and/or 1 serious story (preferably from your own life) and write down the basics of it. For instance:
The lights during the wedding dance were shining right past the bride and groom and directly onto my husband and I.
Now, take each noun and see if you can add more description to it that makes the story pop (remember not to overdo so people don't start rolling their eyes
The blinding lights from the DJ station at the wedding dance shone right past the blissful, (and thankfully, oblivious) bride and groom and directly onto my husband and I, who were sitting ever-so-casually against the far wall.
Now kick it up a notch. No, I don't mean lie...I mean take what happened and make it worth reading. I'll do it and then explain how I did it:
The blinding lights from the DJ station at the wedding dance shone right past the blissful, (and thankfully, oblivious) bride and groom and directly onto my husband and I, who were sitting ever-so-casually against the far wall. Staring into those two bright lights, neither one of us could resist...my husband slowly brought his hands, shaped to resemble antlers, to the top of his head as I turned sideways and proceeded to make shadow puppets on the wall.
The real story is...we didn't make a spectacle of ourselves like it sounds. Everyone was watching the happy couple (we think...these lights really were very blinding so there's no telling how many were watching us too), and my husband's antlers and my shadow puppets lasted all of a nano-second. It really wasn't much of a show. But, kicked up a notch, it makes for a good story.
Now, you try!
OK, I think I will! I have been brainstorming for days, and like I said in the earlier part, I am not a very creative person. Nor do I have the greatest memory for telling stories! I asked my family for ideas for a funny memory, and how crazy, they all came up with the same one!! It's funny because this is not especially one of my favorite memories, as they were picking on me!! Here goes!
The truck was barreling towards us at 65 miles an hour.
We were headed out of town on a much anticipated family vacation. I had already lost myself in the book I had brought along, and nothing was going to bring me back to reality. Until my husband yelled "AAAAHHHHHH". I quickly looked up and adjusted my eyes and wits to the road in front of us just in time to see the truck that was barreling towards us at 65 miles an hour. It took only an instant to decide what to do, and I reached over and smacked that husband of mine on his arm, and told him that was NOT funny, and if he ever did that to me again, he was walking! The truck that was barreling towards us at 65 miles an hour was actually being pulled backwards on a tow truck, but when I looked up from my book it really looked like it was going to hit us at first glance!!
From that day on, you will occasionally hear my children or my hubby ask me "Is it funny yet?" To which I always reply, "It will NEVER be funny!"
To be honest, it is funny now, but I will never tell them that!! It would spoil all of the fun!
2. Be real, but encouraging
What part of my life can I share that my audience can relate to? How can I show the real me without making this the most depressing post ever? What has happened in my life that I have learned from and can share with my audience as a way of encouraging them?
When your reader can relate, they read. When they see themselves, they read. When they find encouragement, they read.
Go back and look over the list of posts from #1 of Creative Writing - The Message. Chances are those posts were more you. What about them spoke of you?
Now, make a list of who you are in real life...what makes you you. This is NOT a list of who you wish to be nor is it a list of all your negative traits. Be real.
Lastly, randomly read a few of your blog posts and consider if your reader is getting a true picture of who you are. Are they edified by what you have to say or does misery love company?
Here's my take...
MY BLOG POSTS:
I write from my heart. I use my emotion and what I have learned, and what I know. I use my own convictions from my everyday life, and I use the scripture that is given to me through it. Sometimes I start with a scripture and build from there on what I believe to be true, or that has been revealed to me through my daily walk with Christ.
WHO AM I?
I am a leader in training.
I know that I am privileged to be a wife and Mother
I like pretty things
I am not the greatest organizer of the home, no matter how much I want to be
I am an optimist, and negative people drive me CRAZY!
I am firm in my faith, and I have strong beliefs that some people dont agree with.
I analyze way too much!
I am a loyal friend
I am the exact opposite of my husband!
I have a heart to reach the lost that they might be saved
A RANDOM READ REVEALS:
I went back and re-read several of my posts, and there are a couple that I can't believe I actually wrote. They sounded good, they flowed, they just worked. Then I came across some that made me cringe and want to hit the delete button! I can definitely see the amateur writer with a gift, and I am finding pieces of me that I never knew. Again, I am not exactly sure WHO I am yet, no matter what the list above says. It is a true list, but definitely only a beginning.
AS FOR BEING ENCOURAGING:
Well, I hope I am an encouragement. Most of my writing at this point I think is meant for me to take my jumbled and sometimes not so together thoughts and just get them out of me. I very rarely share with others verbally, because I have a hard time getting spoken words to say what I am trying to reveal. This is also a way for me to deal with some things I dont understand quite yet, and a place that I have found healing. It is a place of strength for me. So, encouraging? Well, guess the longer I am here, the more I will see!
3. Shock 'em and then pick 'em up off the floor
Is there something I can say that will really grab the reader's attention without overstepping my boundaries?
Take this phrase and build the bare bones of a post around it...(this post can be about anything)
I've Had Enough!
HMMMMMMMM........Amy, you made this one tough because, frankly, it made me think, and I learned a couple things about MYSELF through it.
I've had enough of women who dont know who they are in Christ. My heart just bleeds for those who dont know Him, and dont know the POWER and HEALING He can bring to their lives!
I have watched several women lately in my life who know they need something more, are searching for something more, and yet wont accept the yoke God has to offer. I have been through so very much as of late, and if I didnt have the Lord in my life, I dont know how I would have handled it.
I have been through some pretty life changing events, and I could have come out angry, depressed, beaten down, and feeling abandoned. Instead I walk in victory everyday, knowing the Lord has a plan for my life and the life of everyone around me. I am scarred from what I've been through, and my life will never be the same, but it will be ok, because I know whom I put my trust in.
I've had enough of women not being happy with their own lives! Happiness comes from within, as I have truly been finding out. So many times we lose ourselves to our homes, and our children, and our husbands, and I'm not saying that is wrong, but we must be the women God made us to be! Yes, we are nurturers' and housekeepers, and doctors, and some of us have full time jobs, but we are also still individuals who write, crochet, enjoy art, plays sports, and too many other things that I could mention.
I am married to someone who does not share the same interests that I have, for one reason or another, and I gave them up for so long because I thought I was the "bad" wife if I didnt!! Recently, I found myself in a rut! Living everyday was so mundane, and boring! It doesnt have to be that way. Yes, we need to find a balance, and yes, sometimes things need to be put on the back burner, and yes, our families need to be our priority, but we have to take care of us too!
OK, ready for the next part. Again, I'm EXHAUSTED!! What an awesome class!
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
I'm a little behind! I am going to be real and tell you the real reason!
I needed to see what everyone else was doing first!!
Some things come easy to me, but not writing, and to be honest I am not terribly creative. I am just an average, ordinary, not really unique in anything, every day girl. Now.
I grew up in the school of hard knocks, and have really only become the woman I am now through alot of prayer, hard work, fighting through it, and allowing myself to be mentored by others, usually by quietly observing. One day I hope to be able to share my whole story, uninhibited, but right now I am still learning to become a "productive member of society." Writing helps me with that.
I have come to a point in my life where I want to know who Stephanie is, not just as a mom and wife, but as a woman of God. I havent always been so great at the latter of these either, at the most, I'm just mediocre. But I'm a work in progress!! In my opinion anyway.
So, I think I have gotten part of this backwards, but I will just use this as one of my "posts." I am excited to see what this course brings out of me. Thanks Amy, for your time and talent.
1. Who is your audience and what is your purpose?
Ask This:Who reads your blog? Who do you want to read your blog? What past posts have gotten the most traffic? What kind of posts on other blogs do you enjoy reading?
I do not know that I really have an 'audience.' My closest friends and family read my blog. I am still rather new to blogging and I took a year off before really getting back into it. Some women have private diaries, I have a blog.
My posts that share my personal testimony are the ones that get the most traffic. I suppose that is my purpose. I really have a heart for women who are hurting, who dont know Jesus, who have low self esteem and need someone to believe in them.
I enjoy reading light hearted posts as well as those on room makeovers, and organizing, I'm really getting "in" to the ones on photography! Matter of fact I just bought myself a new camera so I could pursue that interest.
Everything written has an audience (even your diary!). You don't need to change who you are and write things just for your audience, but it does help to know who is reading. If you are writing mainly to young ladies, then your tone will be different than if you are writing to seasoned mothers. You will use different analogies and assume they have a different knowledge base.It's best to concentrate on the audience you already have. They are there for a reason and ignoring them while you seek after new readers just isn't nice.
2. What do you know? Ask This:What does my day consist of? How is my life unique? What things do I know that could help others? Have I seen another blog post about something I do, but in a different way?
My day consists of work, hubby and children, and finding ways to share God's love, mercy, and salvation. The blogs I follow are very good and uplifting, and encouraging, and informative, but I have yet to come across something that screams "THATS ME, THATS MY LIFE!!!" I guess that makes me unique!
Do This:Brainstorm your life and come up with a list of 5 topics that are part of your life (hopefully, some of them coincide with the list you made in #1).
1.Taekwon do....martial arts. I have a real passion for this. Some day I would love to teach a womens self defense class.
2.Writing...sharing my story to encourage other women and find healing for myself through it.
3Music/Worship....my very first passion and oh how I would love to combine it with my own writing
4.Giving testimony...I am not a great up front speaker, but with practice I think I could do it!
5. My husband....God did not give me this life to walk alone, I will do it beside my man, who also has a testimony to share.
4. What do you want your readers to feel and know after reading what you've written?
I want my readers to know truth and feel that I am genuine and authentic. I want them to see my heart and my peace and desire a piece of that for themselves. In some cases I want them to see my struggles and mistakes and hopefully learn from them and not have to walk through some of the muck and mire I have.
Ask This:Do I want my reader to DO something with this information or do I want them to FEEL something? Am I able to take this topic and clearly convey a message?
Know This:Not every topic is easy to work with, but just about any topic can be transformed into a good post depending on the viewpoint you choose. The spots on my carpet and the fact that I have no idea how to get them cleaned up is only going to hold my reader's interest for a short time. However, if I can take that topic and parallel it with something much deeper (like how we are unable to remove the spots in our lives on our own and thus need the saving power of Jesus), THEN I have an awesome blog post in the making. More on this in #5
I think I am done for now. Well not done, but ready to move on to part 2!! I have decided that this writing course is WORK!!!
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
I've gotten myself lost in blogland! I have followed my sister in laws blog for years, I finally decided I wanted one too! It took me a long time to actually get it done, because oh my gosh, what if someone actually read it!!!
Writing was always a private part of my life, and I never thought about sharing it. However, blogging is so much fun and so relaxing to me, it was easy to get addicted! Now I don't necessarily fall into the same category as alot of the blogs that I read. I don't homeschool, I am not quiverful, and I have an average size family. What draws me more to these certain blogs is the content, and the fact that they are Christian women sharing what they do in everyday life! They laugh, they cry, they cook, they decorate, they serve, they mentor, they help other women. And they are so much fun!!!
Right now there is a blog party going on! If you want to join, click on the Harvest of Friends button and get started! I am looking forward to blog hopping and meeting new people! So to introduce myself, I will be answering a few questions that Lynette, our hostess, has prepared! Ok, here I go!
1. What is your favorite thing to snack on while you're blogging?
I am not much of a snacker, but I would take a cup of coffee with Vanilla Caramel coffee creamer.
2. What is one thing you wouldn't want to live without?
My Jesus! My Lord and Savior. I have lived without Him, but it wasn't really living.
3. Beach, Mountains or Farm? Where would you live if you had a choice?
This is a tough one! How's this...Where I live right now is a combo of all 3! We are surrounded by 3 lakes, in the beautiful ozark mountains, and I can see deer and raccoons out my back deck. How do I choose one when I can have it all!
4. What's your least favorite chore/household duty?
5. Who do people say you remind them of?
Usually someone they know back home!
6. Prefer parties and socializing or staying at home with the fam?
I am kind of a home body, but I like blog parties!
7. What's your all time favorite movie?
Not big on movies and TV, so I really don't have one.
8. Do you sleep in your make up or remove it like a good girl every night?
9. Do you have a hidden talent or a deep desire to learn something that you've never had a chance to learn? What is it?
Yes..that's why I joined the creative writing course! I would also love love love to learn how to play piano.
10. What's one strange thing you're really good at?
Understanding how men tick! At least mine anyway!
11. What first attracted you to your spouse?
His truck! There's something women like about a pickup man!
12. What is something you love to smell?
Freshly mowed grass, all smells at Christmas.
13. Tell something about you that you know irritates people.
Hmmm....maybe someone needs to tell me so I will stop! I am not sure!
14. When you have extra money (HA!) what's the first thing you think to do with it?
Thrift store shopping! I also like to buy new things for decorating my home! This is something i have really gotten into lately also!~
15. Are you a silent laugher or a loud laugher? What makes you laugh the hardest?
Loud! I usually laugh alot around friends and family!
16. Where is your favorite place to shop?
Thrift Stores! Oh, and Kohls! I like Deb shops too. Did I mention JC Penney?
17. What's one thing you'd do more often if you had more time?
18. Are you a big spender or frugal?
Depends on my mood and how much my hubby has spent!
19. Who is your favorite character of all time (from a movie or book)? (Can't be real)
Too many to choose from!
20. Would you want to be famous?
Yes! I wouldn't like the invasion of privacy, but when you are famous you have more of an opportunity to change the world!