Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Said the night wind to the little lamb, do you see what I see
Way up in the sky, little lamb,
do you see what I see
A star, a star, dancing in the night
With a tail as big as a kite
With a tail as big as a kite.........

~~~Do you know what I see when I look at this picture?  I see my just-became-a-teenager daughter.  Yes, amidst the mass of bodies, the sea of faces, I see her at her Christmas choir concert.  How is that possible?  Because SHE is the one I'm looking for.....

You will look for Me intently, and you will find Me.~ Jeremiah 29:13, VOICE

 Said the little lamb to the shepherd boy, do you hear what I hear
Ringing through the sky, shepherd boy,
do you hear what I hear
A song, a song, high above the trees
With a voice as big as the sea
With a voice as big as the sea

~~~Grumbling when the checkout line is too long, complaining when the prices aren't right, yelling at drivers that just aren't up to speed, condemning the traditions and choices of others....
If we aren't careful, we may allow these sounds to sneak their way into our soul.......but just as we SEE what we are LOOKING for, we also HEAR what we are LISTENING for.......

 Now if you will hear My voice, obey what I say, and keep My covenant, then you—out of all the nations of the world—will be My treasured people. After all, the earth belongs to Me.~ Exodus 19:5, VOICE

Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king, do you know what I know
In your palace warm, mighty king,
do you know what I know
A Child, a Child shivers in the cold
Let us bring Him silver and gold
Let us bring Him silver and gold
Said the king to the people everywhere,
listen to what I say
Pray for peace, people everywhere!
listen to what I say
The Child, the Child, sleeping in the night
He will bring us goodness and light
He will bring us goodness and light 

~~~Friends, I don't know if all the holiday baking will get done. I don't know if just-the-right gifts will be purchased.  I don't know if I will remember everyone on the card list.  I don't know if the outdoor lights will get hung. And I'm quite certain the hubby won't get the hallway walls painted before company arrives. But do you know what I DO know?

 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Eternal, “plans for peace, not evil, to give you a future and hope—never forget that. ~ Jeremiah 29:11, VOICE

In the midst of this season,
I want to SEE you, 
I long to HEAR you, 
I desire to KNOW you.
Happy Birthday Sweet Savior. 

Peace & Love to You & Yours this Christmas!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

But God......I don't WANNA say Yes...

The past few days have been hot.
I mean.............HOT.
High temperatures paired with even higher heat indexes have resulted in school dismissals, sweaty kiddos, and super simple suppers.
Tonight was no exception.  After a most simple "breakfast-for-supper" feast, I stood at my kitchen sink washing up the unexpected basket of beautiful cucumbers I had found on my counter. As I worked, I praised God for this beautiful harvest blessing, and for the kindhearted friend who was willing to share in her garden abundance {grateful for her willingness to say Yes!}. As I praised, I heard God speak to my heart (I have found that I always hear Him most clearly in the midst of praise, go figure)....... 
"Tera, go for a walk."

Um.....No thanks God, not tonight.  I mean, it's H-O-T out there.

I continued to peel, and He continued to plea..."Tera, go for a walk."

But God.....I don't wanna. After all, I'm really more of a "morning" gal, and it's already after 7pm.
"Tera, go for a walk."

FINE Lord (you can just hear my sassy-pants attitude, can't you?)....I'll go for a little walk.  

I told the hubby and the kids that I'd be leaving (to which they each stared at me blankly, surely thinking, 'what? it's almost her BEDtime!'), strapped on the tennies, and headed out.  I could walk around the neighborhood and be back before I broke a sweat.......or so I thought.

"Tera, take your normal route."

But Goddddddd..........C' normal route is over 4 miles. It's late. I've had a really full day.  I'm tired. And did I mention, it's really HOT outside?
{At this point I realized I sounded more like a whining preschooler than a woman on a journey of saying YES to God.}  

So I walked........and walked.........and listened......and listened.....and waited to hear what He had to tell me.  Nothing. 

Gimme a Break God, You called me out of my air-conditioned haven into this sticky icky heat, I'm listening, now the least you can do is say or show me SOMETHING.

No booming voice from Heaven.  No divine meeting along the path.  No special signs pointing the way.  Instead, I saw..
.................................... A Sprinkler.


                 Instead of avoiding it, I walked through it, feeling refreshed in the waters of baptism.
Galatians 3:27 “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”

..............................................A Hill.

                  Instead of avoiding it, I climbed it, recognizing that I can do all things He calls me to do, through His strength, and not my own.
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ, because he gives me strength.

............................................A Cross.

                       Instead of walking by, I paused and gave thanks to the One who gave us His one & only, and for one & only  reason......He loved us so.
John 3:16   For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

and finally, I saw............a Sunset.

                       And instead of hurrying to get home, I stopped. I stopped and realized that sometimes, often times, God doesn't shout. He whispers.  He uses the everyday things of this world to captivate our attention, and draw us near to Himself, to simply talk.....and faith.

An act of obedience to God may be serving as a missionary in Uganda, it may be selling your home and making a move, it may be sponsoring a child in need or helping a friend through a difficult season, it may be a few kind words to a not-so-kind neighbor or sharing a gift with a stranger, 
and it may just be, on a hot steamy night .................a simple walk.

Living it out and Learning along the way,

***Inspired by God and the amazing book, "What Happens When Women say Yes to God" by Lysa TerKeurst

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Housework, Homework, and How I Learned the Difference ♥

Early Mother's Day Morning 2013. 
Two cards awaiting me at the coffee pot.


After a few downed mugs and some quiet time with was time for.....Housework.......or so I thought.
I started up the laundry.
I washed up the dishes.
I made up the least of those who had awaken & arose.
Tween daughter remained in slumber.....that is, until I received a ringing Facetime.......requesting I bring her breakfast in bed. "Just peanut butter toast Mom, oh, and some milk."  As I popped in two slices of bread, and reached for a plate and a glass........I STOPPED.
What is wrong with me?  Why in the world am I doing all this housework AND serving my preteen princess on what is supposed to be MY special day?? And Why oh WHY, am I ....................................................................................HAPPY about it????  (Lord knows there were plenty, and I mean PLENTY of years where the feeling would have leaned heavily on the side of resentment......nowhere NEAR the vicinity of Happiness.) 

Then right there, in the middle of a kitchen, standing on a rug that was yet to be vacuumed....God told me why.

"Tera, what you do in this place has nothing to do with housework and everything to do with homework.  The sheets you wash, the silverware you clean, the toilets you scrub, and the food you prepare have NOTHING to do with your house, ........and EVERYTHING to do with your home.  You are happy because; although you like your house, you LOVE your home. And you know, that when you are serving are serving ME."

Could He be Right?
 He proceeded to lead me to these two verses ~

 Each of you has received a gift to use to serve others. Be good servants of God’s various gifts of grace. Anyone who speaks should speak words from God. Anyone who serves should serve with the strength God gives so that in everything God will be praised through Jesus Christ. ~1 Peter 4:10-11

And then I read them again.......this way.......and listened as He spoke to me.....

Tera, you has received a gift to use to serve others (Motherhood). Be a good servant of my various gifts of grace (Thomas, Abby, and Jack Henry). When you speak, I want you to speak with the words I give you (Words of Kindness and Encouragement). And when you serve (and cook and clean and drive the carpool), you should serve with the strength I give you,  so that in everything, (every dish washed, floor swept , meal made- EVERYTHING) I will be praised. ~ 1 Peter 4:10-11

He was right. (Note: He always is, so no use arguing).
I serve my home because I love my home. 
Because I know it is a gift. 
Because I know that THEY are a gift.
Because I know that when I serve THEM, I serve HIM.
and above all else, Because I know that the love I have for THEM is a result of a love He has for ME

We love because He first loved us ~ 1 John 4:19

 In other words,

I love (my husband, my children, my parents, my friends, my HOME) because GOD. LOVES. ME.      ~ 1 John 4:19

And He loves YOU. 

And it's why homework makes THIS mama.......a happy mama.

Happy Mother's Day Sweet Friends. ♥
Love & Hugs,

~~~~ As for me and my HOME, we will serve the Lord.
                                       Joshua 24:15 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Hello my Name is ____________

The more time I hang out with Jesus, the more "a-ha" moments I seem to experience.  You know what I'm talking about, those moments when the light bulb flickers and the wires connect.
It was last Friday on my way to work.
I heard the song "Hello my Name is" by Matthew West.
Sure I love the tune, but what grabbed me, what stopped me en route..... was the story that inspired the song.
It was the story of Jordan. A preacher's kid.  A preacher's kid who wrote a letter to Mr. West that began with: Hello my name is Jordan...and I'm a drug addict.  Eventually he landed in Teen Challenge, a Christian rehabilitation center in the business of restoring lives with the hope of Jesus Christ.

A preacher's kid? 
How could that be?  
I mean, a preacher's kid would know all about God right? 
I mean, if a preacher's kid who knows all about God struggles, what hope is there for the rest of us?

That my friends, is when the light bulb flickered, actually it shone SO BRIGHT it caused me to pull over and listen.................. to Him speaking to me.

"Tera sweetie (God always calls me sweetie), I don't want my children to simply know all about Me.....I want my children to KNOW ME.  You see sweetie, Saul knew "all about Me" and continued to persecute the Christians.  The Woman at the Well knew "all about Me"  but continued to feel alone and judged and condemned.  The Pharisees knew "all about Me", reciting every scripture, but continued to err on the side of the law.......instead of people, MY people.  
Tera sweetie, it's not enough to "know all about Me".....I want my children to KNOW ME.  THAT is why I sent Him to you.  My Son. Grace & Truth in Human Form."  

And the results?.........well, let's take a look......

Dear brothers and sisters, I want you to understand that the gospel message I preach is not based on mere human reasoning. I received my message from no human source, and no one taught me. Instead, I received it by direct revelation from Jesus Christ.
You know what I was like when I followed the Jewish religion—how I violently persecuted God’s church. I did my best to destroy it.  I was far ahead of my fellow Jews in my zeal for the traditions of my ancestors. (sweetie side note: wow - not only did Paul know "all about God" - he knew even more than his peers did!)     But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace. Then it pleased Him to REVEAL HIS SON TO ME so that I would proclaim the Good News about Jesus to the Gentiles. ~ Galatians 1:11-16 NLT, emphasis mine

WOMAN AT THE WELL:     The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming—the one who is called Christ. When HE comes, he will explain everything to us.
(sweetie side note: the woman knew "all about God" and yet still didn't recognize the One right beside her) 
Then Jesus told her, “I Am the Messiah!”
Just then his disciples came back. They were shocked to find him talking to a woman, but none of them had the nerve to ask, “What do you want with her?” or “Why are you talking to her?” The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?”  So the people came streaming from the village to see him. ~ John 4:25-30, emphasis mine

Paul had an encounter with Jesus and went on to preach the gospel and write nearly the entire New Testament.

The Woman at the Well had an encounter with Jesus and left her jug behind in order to run and tell others what she had experienced.
As a result.... 
Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I ever did!”  When they came out to see him, they begged him to stay in their village. So he stayed for two days,  long enough for many more to hear his message and believe. Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but BECAUSE WE HAVE HEARD HIM FOR OURSELVES. NOW WE KNOW that he is indeed the Savior of the world.” ~John 4:39-42, emphasis mine

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through ME. ~ John 14:6 NIV
Jordan discovered that truthDuring his time in Teen Challenge he began to realize that God wasn’t done with him yet, and that all of those defeating titles like “addict,” didn’t have to be attached to his name the rest of his life.  His story is far from over.  So is mine.......and so is YOURS. 


Drenched in Grace

Matthew West's video "Hello my Name is"


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Jack & The Jesus Cube

I received a package in my mailbox this week. One of those unexpected surprises that makes both your lips and your heart smile.

The package was from Miss Ruth.  


Miss Ruth is a beautiful 84 yr old African American woman I met on the plane ride home from Charlotte, NC in July of 2011.

I was on my way home from my very first She Speaks Conference.  A conference designed to encourage and equip women to share His message through speaking and writing. A conference I wasn't quite sure I belonged at, but had decided to trust the Father's prompting.

Miss Ruth was sporting a small red & white pin with the words 
"i  sunday school". 


I was a Christian Education Director at that time...and I just knew in my heart that God had arranged our seating for that 2.5 hour flight to Minneapolis.  I gently leaned over and quietly whispered....
"I like your pin".

Those were the last 4 words I spoke. 
The entire flight.

Miss Ruth spent the next 800+ miles sharing her God with me.

She had no idea who I was, 
why I was in Charlotte,
what I did for a living, 
or even if I was a believer.  
And it didn't matter. 
She was determined to spill Jesus all over me until the wheels hit the runway, and that's exactly what she did.  As we landed, I took out a small mesh bag of bible verses that I had received at the Conference, tucked one of my cards inside, carefully placed it into the palm of her hand, and said Goodbye. 

Months later, my phone rang.  Miss Ruth. 
Miss Ruth from Anchorage, Alaska.  
We have maintained a special friendship ever since that trip in the sky.  We write each other letters and cards, phone each other occasionally, and exchange small gifts, verses, prayers, and trinkets.

This week's package............a Jesus cube.  Or at least that's what Jack Henry calls it.  It's actually called the 'Evangecube', described as "an easy-to-use puzzle to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to life and designed to make sharing your faith simple and fun". 
Jack Henry concurs.

He was immediately drawn to this new "toy".  He flipped it and flopped it and carefully soaked in each and every completed picture.


 "Look Mama, here's Jesus on the cross.  He died there ya know.......for us ya know."

I smiled sweetly. {Kudos Sunday School teachers}

But it was the next explanation that truly grabbed my heart.  He arranged the new puzzle to display this well-known  image.


He studied it, smiled, and said.........................

"Look Mama, after Jesus died, He got to hold God's hand."


I have seen this picture/clip art/painting/image hundreds of times.

I have imagined it being God reaching down and we are reaching up.

I have viewed it as God offering His rescuing hand to our sinking soul.

And I still believe these are both great descriptions.

However........................I have never, EVER, seen this beautiful picture the way my Jack Henry had.  

Jesus dying, and then getting to hold his Daddy's hand again.♥

And the same will hold true..............for US. 
For we too.............are His children.

 “Do not hold on to me,” Jesus told her, “because I have not yet gone back up to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them that I am returning to Him who is my Father and their Father, my God and their God.” ~ John 20:17 GNT

  God gave His Son.  Jesus came.  He came to fulfill the law. And He restore the relationship between us and our Father.

For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life. ~ John 3:16 GNT

Everlasting Life Holding Hands with Daddy.

Thank you for sharing God's message Miss Ruth..........and Jack Henry.  


Whether your are 4 or 84, whether it be through a pin or a puzzle, a smile or a hug, a listening ear or a sturdy shoulder, there are a million ways for us to share HIM with this world.♥
Let's do it.

 For we are ALL children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. ~ Galatians 3:26 NLT
Your Sister in Christ,