Daddy’s Girl

When I was a teenager my daddy was the pastor in a small Mississippi community where we lived. I was raised with strict rules not to drink alcohol. But of course I had some friends that did drink and in my effort to try to be in the cool crowd I wanted to hang out with them. But I had a quandary. See, I didn’t want to hurt my daddy. I loved my daddy more than anything and I respected him. Because I loved him I wanted to honor his reputation in the community and if the Pastor’s daughter of the Assembly of God Church would of been seen underage drinking or worst yet been arrested, that would of just killed him and his reputation. But…… I also wanted to be cool, So I devised a plan of how I could save my daddy’s reputation and still be cool.

See,  I knew my friends would hang out in front of the arcade in the small town I went to school in (9 miles away from where I lived) For those of you that don’t know what an arcade is, it is a building full of video games, foosball machines and pool tables. They were much more popular in the 80’s before Nintendo and X Boxes came to our homes. As a teenager the Arcade was the place to hang out, and meet up with friends. Today we just know the Arcade as a place, maybe in a room at the Movie Theater or the Pizza Parlor.

Since the Arcade was the place to be, after I got my drivers license I would drive the 9 miles over to the next town where the arcade was and would hang out with my friends,  now not all of my friends drank in fact my best friends didn’t.  But, I wanted more, As many schools, towns, and even work places are today there were clicks in my school there was a pecking order and I wanted to move up in the pecking order and it seemed to me at the time to do that I needed to drink, but how could I do that and not break my dads heart. I knew it would kill him if I ever took a drink and I respected my dad to much to want to hurt him. So I devised a plan.

See I knew that the I.B.C Root-beer bottle looked an awful lot like the beer bottles my friends carried around. So I figured I could just pick up a bottle of I.B.C Root-beer on my way to the Arcade, I mean after all we usually got something to drink before going over there anyway, and if I just happen to have that bottle in my hand and hid the label with my hand when I walked up to my friends drinking, maybe just maybe this new crowd would accept me. So I did, and I felt pretty good until one of my other friends who didn’t drink and knowing the horror it would be to my family if I did drink, walked up to me in shock and asked “Alesa, are you drinking?” As I looked innocently at her and said, yea, Root-beer!

I couldn’t help but remember this story this  past week because it was my daddy’s birthday and even though he has spent the last 28 years celebrating his birthday in heaven, what I remembered most about him is that I loved and respected him so much, I never wanted to do anything that would hurt him. This got me thinking how many of us feel like that about our Heavenly Father?

Do we love our Heavenly Father so much that we don’t want to do anything to hurt him. Now the truth is, if my daddy had seen the compromised I made that day.  Even pretending to drink but acting like it was just an accident when it was really a conscious decision to disobey,would of been a terribly disappointed in me.

I don’t think he even knew about this story before he died but I still remember it because I think it was one of the times that I consciously choose to disobey. But how many times have we blow off something that God’s word says not to do just because we wanted to. How many times do we just ignore what we have been taught is right just because it isn’t convenient for us. Because we want more and we are willing to do whatever it takes to get it. How do you think your Heavenly Father feels about that? I guess I can relate to my Heavenly Father because I had an amazing daddy. He was my rock, my provider, my protector, He loved me with an everlasting love and there was absolutely nothing that I wouldn’t do for him. Why, because all that He had done for me. See my daddy didn’t have to love me, he didn’t even have to take care of me. But he choose to, see I am adopted. So He didn’t have to love me.

You know what? You have been adopted too! If you choose to follow after Christ the bible says that you are adopted into His family. In Ephesians 1:5 (NLT) the bible tells us God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” Now, I don’t know about you but after all Christ as done for me I don’t want to disappoint Him either. So, I don’t live the life I live striving each day to please Him (and yes there are still plenty of times I mess up) because I don’t want to go to Hell. No, I live this life to please Him because of the gratitude I feel toward Him.

The same kind of gratitude I felt for my earthly father. Because of what my daddy had done for me I knew He loved me and trusted me. He disciplined me too. plenty of times.  But I knew when my earthly father did it, it was because He loved me and wanted the best for me. When my earthly father told me to not to walk across the street before looking both ways. It wasn’t because he didn’t want me to cross the street it is because he wanted to protect me. That is the same thing with God’s word, When He tells us not to do something in it He is telling us because He loves us and wants to protect us. 

So this week Let’s seek to please our Heavenly Father, Let’s consciously choose to please Him, Remember if He tells us no about something,  it is because He loves, not because He wants to harm us.

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God’s Got This! (my bodyguard)

If you have seen our family, you know the men in my immediate family consists of 2 sons and 1 husband. You also know that 2 out of 3 of those men are not average size, in fact they range in the 6 foot 2 inches plus,  tall range and lets just say in the 300 pound area, and the other is not wimpy either. So needless to say, when my 5ft 2in frame stands besides these guys they tower over me. In fact I have actually been asked, “Are these your body guards?” (because with their sun glasses on and a stern look on their face they an kind of look that way).

I remember one time when there was a severe thunderstorm happening in our area, at the time we lived about 30 minutes from our church. I had went to the church for a meeting and when my oldest son (about age 16 at the time) heard how bad the weather was going to be he asked his father to get in the car and take him to the church just so he could drive me home because he didn’t want me to drive alone in that weather.

Countless times my 2 big guys have been right there by my side in a crowd or whenever we are out. It isn’t uncommon for them to take my arm, and direct me in a different path because they can see over the crowd and realize there is a better direction I can go or they detour me from danger they see ahead, yet I am blind to, because I can’t see what they can see. They have a much larger perspective than I do.

I can’t tell you the times I have felt comforted when walking down a long narrow scary hall or alley. Just knowing that “My body guards” were with me I didn’t worry. In fact, I walk with my head a little higher and maybe even a little strut in my step.  See, I know these guys will do anything for me. I even believe they would die for me, so know, I have nothing to fear when I am with them. Because I know my guys are watching out for me.

This got me thinking………

How many times do we walk in fear? We come against challenges in our lives or have to step out and do something for God and hesitate because we are scare. When our heavenly body guard is always walking with us.

I think all to often we forget that Christ walks with us wherever we go. He is our body guard and promises to be our ever present help in times of trouble. (Psalms 46)

What could we do for God if we really believed that? If we really took God at His word and when the bill came that we couldn’t pay,  or the call from the doctor came with bad news? Instead of freaking out and being upset.

What if we trusted Him? I think if we really believed what He said, we would simply turn to our “body guard” or fall on our knees and rely on Him to take care of it.

You may be asking what does it mean to trust God?  How can I control the fear and anxiety I feel when it comes over me? You may even believe you can’t do anything different. I want to suggest to you, that next time this happens, begin to quote scriptures of the promises God has given us  (you can google them or look in the back of your bible) when those negative thoughts and feeling of fear overcome you. Turn on some good praise and worship music and sometimes you just need to turn that music up loud and dance through the house and sing it like you believe it. See if satan can keep our thoughts on the negative and everything that is going wrong in our lives, he can keep us in fear and worry.

My dad use to say, you can’t stop a bird from flying over your head, but you can stop him from making a nest in your hair.  What that means is you can’t stop those thoughts from coming to you but you can refuse to dwell on it. So replace those thoughts of fear and insecurities with encouraging words and music from what God has promised us because, after all He is your body guard.

So this week as you go about your day, and something happens that causes you to be afraid. Remember your heavenly body guard is with you. He cares about you and wants nothing but the best for you. Trust Him to walk with you in this journey because He can see what is ahead and know He has already given His life for you. Once you have done that, then walk with your head a little higher with a strut in your step! Because, God’s Got This!

 

CRUSHED!

CRUSHED!

crushed pictureI silently prayed, I wished, I hoped, and I dreamed. It was so close! And, for about a week or two, I actually had the thought “I must be one of God’s most favored children if He has granted me this wish.”  I literally felt like I was walking around on air for a while. I was ecstatic with excitement! I thought my innermost desire that I had been praying for most of my life was actually going to come to pass. I thought God had heard my prayer and one of my greatest hopes and dreams was going to come true. I thought maybe, just maybe, it really would come true. I was scared to hope, but I allowed myself to do so anyway. I would shrink back and try to calm myself; then I would allow myself just a little more hope, afraid to believe but full of hope at the same time. And then, once I allowed myself to believe completely, it happened!

…………………. It all fell through at the last minute, and I was crushed. Crushed because I now wondered if it had been just a silly idea. Crushed because I had wanted it so bad; how could I have believed it would not come true? Crushed because I was crazy enough to believe.  Crushed because it didn’t happen. Crushed because, wasn’t I His favorite child??? Crushed with shame that I even believed. I knew I was silly to even think it was important enough for God to care about.

Have you ever been there????

Boy, I have! And, I have to tell you, it isn’t any fun! The mixed emotions can leave you speechless and somewhat in a state of shock. So what do we do at points like this in our lives???

Well, we have a choice, a cross roads per se. We can choose to be offended, and blame God, like a child who doesn’t get their way and stomps off and decides they never want to have anything to do with this God because, after all, “if He isn’t here to answer my prayers what is He here for?” Or, once all the dust settles and we come out of the shock we are in and pick ourselves up off the floor from fainting (Ok! so maybe that doesn’t happen literally, but it happens to us figuratively!), we can remember that God knows best; He knows our every thought, and He sees what lies ahead.

It all really comes down to, “Do I trust Him?” Or, are we looking for a God who will be our “genie in the bottle” and provide our three wishes? Do we want a God we can explain or do we want a God who is bigger than what we can comprehend?

Do we want a God we can explain or do we want a God who is bigger than what we can comprehend?

For me, I don’t want a God who jumps at my every command.  I want a God who I serve, not one who serves me, I want a God who watches out for me and keeps me from harm’s way.  I am thankful that I serve that kind of God. I am thankful that God cares for me enough to tell me “no” when what I want isn’t in my best interest; even when I have hoped and dreamed of it for years. Yes, it hurts and it is disappointing, but it comes down to the question: do I trust Him to know what is best for me, or do I want to hold on to control myself?  As long as I am in control, I will continue to make the same bad mistakes I always have! But when I have surrendered my will to His, sometimes (no, most of the time!) that means I will be disappointed, if I think things are going to work out the way “I” planned.
The Bible says in Proverbs 19:21, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”

So how do we avoid disappointments of this magnitude? Ultimately, we have to know and trust that God is in control. I don’t think it was wrong of me to hope and dream. In fact, it was just the opposite. See, by hoping and dreaming, it showed the faith I have in God. The Bible says, in Hebrews 11:1, “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see”.  If I didn’t have faith that my God is big enough to make my hopes and wishes come true, I wouldn’t have any faith. But I am wise enough to know that if something doesn’t happen, then God’s plan is better and I have to say, “I can’t wait to see what is better, because my dream is pretty awesome!” And yes, after I picked myself up off the floor and dusted myself off, I still think I am His favorite child. The truth is, He, like our youngest when he was three years old, when asked who he loved more, mommy or daddy, would respond, “I wuv you all the same!” Christ does love us all the same, and I am so glad that He calls me friend and I always trust my friends!

Won’t YOU trust Him today??

You call me Friend !

Amy & Chad

Amy & Chad

We have all done it: admired and looked up to a leader or person from afar; created pedestals for them, and somehow now believe they are better than us. We think we would never be able to speak to them or be their friend; that they are beyond the reach of what we could be. They are too pretty, too smart, too gifted, too anointed, too rich, or too skinny. They are far more than we think we could ever hope to be. They are the people who appear to have their stuff together and make those of us, who feel we don’t, even more conscious that we could be doing better. Not in a condemning kind of way, but a way that inspires us to do more, be more, do our best.
Then it happens. You get the e-mail or the phone call, and they call you, “friend!” I remember when this happened to me. There was a particular ministry leader who I could not imagine would ever have anything to do with me, I just wasn’t that good. Then one day I got an e-mail from her that said, “Hey Friend!” Friend? She called me, Friend?? What??? No way!!! I can’t be her friend, I am not that good. I could never be good enough to be her friend! After having a small meltdown and a little panic attack, it hit me why I was freaking out.
It was because I looked up to her relationship with Christ; I admired her spiritual leadership; and, as long as I looked on from afar, I wasn’t on her level. But as soon as I became her friend I was no longer looking up to her, but I was her peer! I would suddenly (at least in my mind) need to be on the same level as her spiritually!  Or, worse yet, is it possible she saw something in me that I had not seen in myself that she felt she wanted to be a part of? Could it be possible I could be a blessing to her?? I don’t know about you, but I am always amazed that God would choose to use me, that He sees something worthy enough in me to allow me to be a blessing to someone else, because I know I am just not that good and it is only in Him that I can do anything.
You know, in the Bible it says that Jesus calls us “friend.” (See John 15:15). In fact we were created because God wanted someone who could choose to be His friend. Not because we had to, but because we chose too.  The Bible says the very rocks will cry out and praise Him, if He commands them!  But God gave us a choice, a choice to choose to choose Him, and I don’t know about you but I am amazed that Jesus chose me to be His friend! (See James 2:23).
The unique thing about my perspective of not being good enough for my “friends,” is the truth is that there is someone out there who feels that way about you and me. They feel privileged and a little better about themselves when we reach out to them with a smile, or a quick lunch, a listening ear, or when we call them “friend!” The truth is, we all have influence on someone; and the question is, are we using it for the Lord?
There is a song that goes something like this: “I am a friend of God, I am a friend of God, I am a friend of God, He calls me friend! Who am I that You are mindful of me, that You hear me when I call . . . ”
I love this song because it reminds me how much God loves me and cares for me. And that makes me want to share this love with someone else. I don’t think I will ever (and I hope I will never ever) get over the amazement that God loves me and will use me, if I will just allow Him to do so. The question is, “Who does God want you to bless today with your time and attention?”  Sometimes all we need is someone to call us friend!

There Comes A Time

Draw-A-Line-in-the-Sand image                                                                                                                         There is NOTHING to big for my God! There just comes a time and a place where we can look back at what God has done in our lives and say “I am more than conquer because of who I believe in!!” So when the next trouble comes (and it will come) we can remember what God has done for us and rest in the fact that He WILL do it again! That my friend is when satan can no longer control you with fear or worry. Because you have chosen to focus NOT on how big your problem is, BUT how big your God is!!