Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
• Our goal is not perfection, its imperfect progress.
• God made us as human beings, not human doings. As we look for God's will for our lives we should remember that its not so much what we are to do but instead its who we are supposed to be.
Lysa's talk centered on the following verses:
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
"16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."
She said that there are three commands here from God telling us what His will is for us.
1) *Be Joyful!*
• Sometime when we feel no joy, that's the perfect time to look for God.
James 1:2 reference: "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds"
God doesn't say 'BE joyful' or 'FiND the joy' in the trials....rather He says 'CONSIDER it'....just think about where joy might be, even in the storm.
Lysa told a story about her daughter competing at a pretty high level in gymnastics until she got hurt and could never compete again. This led her to really examine why God allows (not causes) trials. She said that the trials are for one of three things:
A) God's Protection - maybe He is protecting us from something that could've happened down the line had we not faced the trial. In the case of her daughter.....maybe a broken neck instead of a messed up shoulder.
B) God's Provision - maybe God is allowing us to find something better. In the case of her daughter.....she then got into theatre and found an awesome leadership role.
C) God Process - maybe the trial is teaching us to grow, to learn, to become stronger for whatever God wants us to do in the future.
Lysa finished off this point by saying - 'I'm not trying to raise a great kid, I'm trying to raise an amazing woman.'. (Liked that!!)
2) *Be Prayerful!*
Lysa challenged us to move away from the 'God, bless me....' prayers and ask Him instead to 'interrupt us, to inconvenience us'. She talked about how its often difficult to really get fired up about prayer, to embrace it and what it can yield. She insisted that we should have a true conversation with God as we pray, asking Him to use us to direct His love to others. Then we should look for Him all throughout the day - look for all of the opportunities around us that He's given.
Lysa ended with this: 'Invite God to do life with you each day.'
3) *Be Thankful!*
Lysa talked about the fact that we've become so good at planning and strategizing and orchestrating our lives that we really require very little faith. When we aren't having to rely on faith, we tend to not be as thankful, or think to be thankful.
She encouraged us to ask God to take our little bit of 'natural' and add His 'super' to it each day. through seeing God work we can learn to have a thankful heart!
She left this topic with this: 'a truly thankful person is a truly peaceful person.'
At the end of Lysa's talk, she stressed that we needed to get out of the rut we so often get into to. The 'woe is me, I HAVE to get up, I HAVE to grocery shop, I HAVE to take the kids here and there, and so on.'. Instead we should be glad and rejoice that we are ABLE to do these things! She said 'I don't HAVE to live my life, I am ABLE to live it. And that is good.'
Be joyful, be prayerful and be thankful and just SEE what God does!
Monday, August 29, 2011
I think Penny and I met at Belvidere Jr High School. We probably played BYB softball against one another when we were younger....but I don't think we met til 7th grade. I wish I could remember how we met.....a class, volleyball, basketball or somewhere else. Doesn't really matter though....what matters is the friendship that we had in school, throughout college and even today.
Penny had I had so many things in common way back when. Off the top of my head;
- Brains! Yep, we were a couple of smart cookies. We took many a class together back in the day.
- Athleticism! I was a volleyball/softball girl, Penny was a basketball/softball girl. We played competitive softball together during our high school years and both went on to play sports in college.
- Attitude! We both had a bit of a sarcastic side and were equally invincible. Penny and I were risk-takers, always loving the thrill of pushing the envelope. I may have been a little more of an instigator but I'm pretty sure I never had to twist Penny's arm.
- Awesome parents! We were both blessed with great parents that raised us to be independent. While we took that a little too far at times and sometimes ventured a little off the deep end, they did a great job molding us into responsible adults.
Penny and I kept in touch throughout college, always visiting during breaks and meeting up at different campuses throughout the state of Illinois. After graduation Penny stayed in Illinois and I moved to Alabama. Today we stay in touch through Facebook and over the phone....we may not talk for a few months, but it's always like we just talked 'yesterday'.
I have so many funny memories of our times together.....sneaking out at night during sleepovers, all those toilet-papering escapades, wild times at softball tournaments and all the instances where we got busted by one parent or the other. I wish I had a nickel for all the lame excuses that we made!! There are even a couple of memories of when one of us got hauled off to jail and one when the other SHOULD HAVE been.....but those won't be described in detail here. =)
My best memories of Penny and our friendship are centered on the traits that make her who she is. Penny is first and foremost the most HONEST person I've ever run across. She might be blunt and may at times bypass her filter, but I can say that I've always loved that Penny told it like it was no matter what. During times when I needed her to tell me that something was wrong, she did it...in a loving way of course. Some of those times I really didn't want to hear it, but deep down I always knew that she was right.
Penny's COMPASSION is another trait that I love. Even back in high school Penny would stick up for the little guy and she would help someone that needed it. After college she went into teaching and now works with kids who are locked up - helping them gain the skills to get their GED and make something of themselves. Penny has been by MY side when I needed her.. .even if she didn't agree with what I was doing at the time.
Finally, Penny and I share a deep faith in Christ. She's been a good Catholic girl (no, I can't type that with a straight face....) most of her life and I've only been a Christian since the age of 24, but over the last several years, many of our best discussions have centered around how God is showing up in our lives and how we're growing in our walk. A friendship based on faith is certainly a special one....there isn't much that can break that foundation. It makes me smile now remembering that she came down from Illinois to Alabama one weekend 17yrs ago when I got baptized. Way back when I didn't realize just how special that was, but I absolutely realize it today.
Penny - you know that you are indeed a very special friend. We've had our moments, but in the end we've come back to knowing that our friendship was one that was meant to last. Sometimes you're my hero, but you're always my friend. Love you!