Thursday, July 25, 2013

When He Calls

I am really disturbed by what the Lord has been speaking to my heart lately.  I've talked to my husband about it.  About what we can do as a couple to rise up from our pews and actually walk out into the world and begin to make a REAL difference in our community, our world.  My soul is longing to put my hands to something, to love on someone, to heal, to be the hands and feet of Jesus.  I'm not disturbed because I don't want to...I just don't even know where to start.  I wish he would show up with a mega phone and say "Go here."  "Do this"  "These people"  But he doesn't (or hasn't yet) and I'm left wondering which direction to go.  I do know when I read these types of things...
I realize (or should I say I'm reminded) that there is a whole big world out there of hurting people and that yes, it is messy but it's real.  I've been thinking and questioning if the Lord is pleased with how I/we serve.  Is he content that we show up every week and sing the doxology, two hymns, one praise song, listen to the sermon and go to Sunday lunch with our friends?  Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying this makes us bad people.  I'm just wondering is that all there is to it?  Is it enough?  And if it is why I am felling like it's not. 
Are we suppose to get together and talk about other people who are doing mission work or are we suppose to actually be getting together to DO mission work.
I'm not waiting on my "You're going to Africa" call.  I realize that there are a thousand  things right here in my own city limits that the Lord might use me/us to do. I just wish it was more clear what that is.  Am I the only one who struggles with this?  It seems as though I'm just sitting around waiting on the plane to fly over with the sign attached while all these things go undone.  I know in my heart it's in the small things as well as the BIG.  It could be a phone call, a card, a hug or a smile, an invitation, or maybe just to show up.
Speaking of showing up....
A friend of my brother's/fellow church member showed up one night at my dad's home when it was potentially going to flood to dig a trench to keep the water at bay.  He got the call at the last minute and he dropped everything and came.  He stayed from early afternoon until almost dawn on a back hoe in the rain.  I remember thanking him but what I remember most was his response.
"It's what we do if we are Christians...we show up when our brothers and sisters need us." 
It wasn't a haughty response...just a "is there any other way to be attitude."
He served our family lunch at my dad's funeral.
I bet Jesus smiles when he looks down on Brother Rick.
He's so selfless.  A less of me, more of him spirit. 
I don't know...maybe it's just another "deep thinking session."  Maybe it's the Lord pressing upon my heart.  I just know that he created us for a purpose and I'm positive it wasn't to keep a pew warm.
When I read verses like this:
Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
Mark 8:24
I get the feeling he means REALLY.
I don't pretend to know the mind of God.  His ways are so much higher than my ways.  But from what I've read in THE BOOK, I think he wants a relationship with us and not so much organized, program religion from us
I don't want to be standing in the throne room of God at the curtain call and he say
"What did you do with me Mary Anne?" 
And the only thing I got is the weekly doxology I sang and the fact that my space in the church was occupied each week.
So God if you're listening up there...and I know you are....
Could you please knock me over the head or something..
Spin me around and point me in the right direction where you can use this mess of me?
That would be awesome cool and I wouldn't be wasting so much of your precious time.
You can find me on the front row of that little church out in the middle of nowhere.
Or even more amazing is that I know you know right where I sleep.
I've got my ears tuned and my heart open.
Do your thing.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Our pastor preached a message last Sunday on compromise.  He used Revelation Chapter 2.  I promise you I have thought of it constantly the past few days. I felt as though he were leading me by hand down the garden path.  No distractions, no detours, just a straight shot all the way.  It was perfect.  It was a story unfolding, a picture created by scripture and the words God had given Jay to share with us.  It was convicting and it motivated us to consider that we might need to change.  At the end he asked us to close our eyes and think of all the ways we were compromising in our walk with Christ.  I have to tell you, we really needed more time because my list was long and time was relatively short.  He then asked us to remain in our seats if we had no areas of compromise and come forward if we did.  It was a different invitation..but different is good sometimes.  We can get stuck in routine. There should have been no one left in the pews. The altars should have been packed.  Self examination and honesty are  powerful tools for spiritual growth. That invitation could have ignited a revival.  If I'm being honest I have to admit to myself and you that I compromise all the time.  I'm not near what Christ created me to be.  My language compromises his will for me, my attitude, my commitment to study his word and my prayer time.  My choices for entertainment leave areas for improvement, my giving, my pride..I mean I could go on and on. 
The scripture Jay shared talked of us being an adulterous people.  Unfaithful to God, to Christ and our relationship with him.  We as the bride, being unfaithful to the covenant relationship we have entered into with him, the groom.  He created a picture of Jesus holding out his hand and asking for our hand in marriage.  We accept his proposal and yet we return to our friend the world and it's sinful ways, compromising what we know is right in God's eyes.  I've witnessed that this week.  Reading commentary from a pastor of a large church questioning the truth of God's word versus culture and changes in society and his perception of what the future holds for the modern church and how we will realize what the "heart of God is" as times are changing and surely what God said then was just a product of the times and that audience.
We can't even know if we are compromising if we don't know what his word says.
We can only trust those around us to indicate what they feel is right and wrong.
And that is a scary place to be.
Right and wrong is subjective in humans.
There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.
Proverbs 16:25
We must examine ourselves against the standard of Christ.
Sanctify  yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD  your God.
Lev. 20:7
Will we be the church of Pergamos?
Are there areas you may be compromising?
Is Christ saying "I have a few things against you." Rev. 2:14
If so, he has a solution.
Repent..Rev. 2:16
And I have been doing a lot of that for the past few days.................
What about you?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

50th Wedding Anniversary Party

Saturday night we celebrated my in-law's (Charles and Ruth Anne) 50th wedding anniversary.  My sister-in-law and I had so much fun planning this party.  We started almost a year ago making lists, gathering supplies and purchasing all the little things that would eventually come together to create our vision.  We put our own spin on what "50" looks like.  No gaudy gold and black for us.  We wanted a country theme but we also wanted elegant and I think together we achieved exactly that.  We merged our ideas, my mother-in law's beautiful homemade wedding dress, my flea market finds, items borrowed from friends, Christine's mad skills with the Cricut machine and half of my house...literally... to create a very special evening for two very special people.
Aren't they ADORABLE?  It's such a beautiful love story.  One that I hope to exemplify.
The evening was shared with family....
and many friends...
Speaking of friends......We have our own cake boss here in the south.

I have no other words for this man except...AMAZING!  He took two different versions of wedding cakes and created this work of art that we had hoped he could bring to fruition. Randy is a very special man.  In more ways than one.  Cakes are just one of his many talents.  I could be here all day talking about his character.

The candy bar was a huge hit with the little kids....and the big kids alike.

Instead of gifts, we asked our guests to contribute a covered dish.  We ended up with a huge spread of good southern cooking.  Better than ANY catering people...but that's just my humble opinion.  We washed all this good food down with sweet tea, and lemonade.  Strawberry lemonade if that's what you prefer.

It was a magical evening celebrating love and family, good food and friends.  Many people came from out of town.  A testament to the legacy these two have created over the years.

 Everything is packed away and cleaned up.  I'll be spending the next few days weeks trying to find a place for all these things I somehow stored before this party.

But it was SO worth every minute.

Special thanks to Christine for her co-hosting skills.  I couldn't have pulled this off without her!
There are so many others who helped out in big and small ways and I appreciate all their efforts as well and everyone who came from near and far and brought their best dish and spent a few hours with us celebrating with these two wonderful people.

And as always, my husband, who always executes my visions and tirelessly keeps the magic coming.

He's the best part of me.