Monday, December 22, 2008

Hearing the Voice

Not the booming loud voice that you imagine when you hear the story of Moses and the burning bush or of Moses on mountain top talking to God but a subtle soft voice that says it and leaves it. You know the voice that nugs you in the direction you're suppose to go and then leaves all the action up to you. I think that some would call that our subconscious and I do believe that our own personal mind and soul can interfer with our thinking but this is the voice that says "I want you to do this". I have had several things where I have been going in a direction that seems listless and relentless but everyday I am starting to feel like the direction is getting clearer. I attribute that to God. That's it just straight up God. I have a very strong feeling that He has made a decision to use me and my husband for Him. I don't know what for but more and more over the past 8 months I have been driven to accomodate some direction that God has set before me. Even though during this time, I have been very strong willed to do it my way and not His. Funny how eventually you do exactly what God wanted you to do, I believe that He allows us to make our choice of the hard way or the easy way and He just sits back and waits. Probably not a bad idea. I think for the most part I was making decisions based on my desires and emotions not on what should be happening and how I should be reacting. Instead I was letting myself be directed by something that made me mad or upset me to the point of not sleeping. Don't get me wrong, I still have those days where sleep is a valued commodity but they are becoming less and less. Hearing His voice tell me "I've got this, just let Me handle it" has made me more relaxed. It does take time and over the past couple of months I have found that the more I try to hear Him the less I hear. But then in a moment of complete humility when I don't have anyone else to turn to, He comes through. Whether it's an answered prayer or a confirmation, God seems to know exactly when I need the comfort the most or if I am at a complete impass with a problem. I believe more now than ever that Lee and I are being drawn closer to a goal that was established 17 years ago even when we didn't know it was happening. That belief is founded strongly in the presence of God in our life a strength that we have never had before. Hearing the Voice isn't what you expect it isn't that loud pronounced statement from above. Instead it's the quiet sound of comfort or the words of relief for burdens that can't be worked out, and it's closer to us than we think.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Call From Far Away.

We all screen our calls no matter if we are at home with caller-id, on our cell phones, and yes-even at work. If we don't know the number or want to speak to the person on the other end of the phone, we don't answer the line. Today is my birthday, a whole 38 years of life and I got a call on my cell phone from a number that I didn't know and didn't have listed in my phone book so I ignored it.....twice. Then the office phone rang and the person on the other end was "Ronnie from Iraq" (this is exactly what he told my co-worker). Needless to say I was completely and totally surprised and taken off guard. Ronnie has been overseas now for 6 months and I am not at all good at emails, cards, boxes or anything else no matter what kind of intentions I have they just never seem to get done. I was more than excited to hear from him. This is his 4th tour overseas so hearing his voice is.......peaceful. It's my confirmation that he's ok and counting the days to come home. I know now more than ever that God was watching out for Ronnie on each tour, didn't know then but know now. I don't know if Ronnie knows that but I know and I think Angi knows that too. I don't know if Ronnie knows about the Armor of God but I will pray over him a hedge of protection and the Armor of God until he is home.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Live Long and Prosper

I was always a big Star Trek fan when I was growing up and I spent most of my time in my early teens learning the Vulcan welcome sign and language. When I finally got it down I think I was 13 or 14, really not the cool thing to do in Northern Michigan. Of course, I was determined to learn how to act like a Vulcan; what I missed was how to live like a teenager-so I played catch up for most of my high school life. Now as a mother of three teenagers, I have found myself reflecting on my high school life and how much I tried to be like everyone else (obviously starting with Spock!). My teens are not like that, everyone of them is there own person. Kaleb knows more how to be like a man than I could ever imagine it's like he grew up overnight. He has grown in the last year in a more Godly way that I ever thought would happen. His insight and love of God is amazing. He does still analyze somewhat but he does it through a Godly view. Jennifer and Sydney, while completely different girls, are finding their own way in life. Jennifer isn't concerned with what people think of her and if you don't like her she's fine with that, her intellect over the past year has been a growth that I haven't seen before in teenage girls. She is confident and doesn't care if you don't like what she is wearing or how she is acting. She too found her own way to God and she just takes His Word as Truth and walks away. Sydney is a light that just shines all the time, she's happy and fun-loving most of the day. God has given her a gift of artistry and she has given it back to Him. She often paints and draws angels and people giving to others. I guess God got her too on His own terms and through His own way. And when I think about these teenagers that are in my life, I am reminded of Live Long and Prosper by Spock, a message of greeting that the Vulcans used when meeting one another. It's funny how a sci-fi television show took God's Words and put them on a national show. God didn't use those exact words in Jeremiah 29:11 when He said "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Kind of resembles "live long and prosper" huh!? I think back now on my days as a teenager and find that I was struggling in life. Today I find that God has provided me with three lessons in life: 1- Kaleb: Fight for what is right and do what is right. 2- Jennifer: Live for yourself and God and not others. and 3- Sydney: Look for the color in life the rest will just fall into place. My legacy and posperity are my children. It took 17 years for me to get this one from God, so I offer these words of wisdom to you "Live Long and Prosper".

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Soccer, Oh What Fun!!

So it was 34 degrees, the wind was blowing like nobody's business and we spent 2 hours at Cape Fear High School for what we hoped to be the first of many play off conference games. Unfortunately, things didn't quite work out like we had hoped. The varsity team played great! They played with integrity and tenacity that they should have been playing with the entire season. I know that for a parent sitting on the bleachers it is easy to see the mistakes and missed penalties of the referees. And yes, as a group of parents, we are very voictrice and loud about those missed penalties and calls toward the referees. It is even fair to say that over the past two years, the paid referees and line judges have steadily become worse at their job; mind you a position that they volunteer to do for a very low pay check. I guess I expect more out of the referees in that sense because they chose to do this in addition to their regular everyday jobs. The fact that the reffing was not great and the loud parents of our Hoke County Bucks did not prove to be that unusual, but last night the reffing and the parents was much worse that I have ever heard. Among other things, the referees failed to make several off side calls against the home team (we beign the visitor team). Don't misunderstand, the line judge did consider it (by slightly raising his flag then immediately dropping it) for 3 of the 5 goals made but he just never managed to put his arm up to call off-sides. Calls that were easily no penalty calls were made against both sides for fair checking of the player were called penalties generally in the wrong direction (for those of you who don't know soccer is a full contact sport and as long as you are in full view of the ball controller, and you don't use your elbows, you are allowed to play rough). Again, this was toward both teams, not simply toward Hoke; however, several yellow and read cards were given to our team members that were neither legal nor warranted. And, as you can imagine, that did not go over very well with the parents nor the coaching staff. And yes this is the first time in 3 years that I have been absolutely discouraged by the referring at a soccer game. At the same time, I was very disappointed in our parents, the majority of whom were being demeaning and abusive, in my opinion, toward the Cape Fear players. Don't be mislead here, I am fully for yelling and dogging on the referees in my opinion they are adults and if the ref can't control the game they should get a good tongue lashing by the spectators; this in the world of sports is nothing new. BUT, it is not kosher nor kind to take out frustrations on the players. This by the parents. Now I don't know what went on on the opposite side of the field (home side) but I could hear a lot of the same type of accusations and insults towards our players as was coming from our side of the field. I wondered on my way home what was going through the parent's minds as they were yelling at the players of the opposite teams? What were they accomplishing except insulting a 18, 17, 16, or 15 year old boy, whom was probably under enough stress and pressure from his teammates and coach already? I guess that's what I will never understand. I know that I take things very seriously and competitively and I do yell and holler at bad calls by the refs but I don't take out the same frustrations towards the young teens who are just playing the game. This is where sportsmanship is footed, by the parents. Coach Butler prided himself on the sportsmanship attitude of the team this year, the fact that the team was noted for being respectful but he did not have the same words for the spectators or parents and now I know why. I hope that I can help make a difference next year, Kaleb's senior year. I'm going to offer my help to Coach Butler and Gary Brigman (athletic director w/Hoke High) because I think all to often that we, as parents, hear from the Coach and Brigman and don't take it to heart. My hope and goal is to relay what I have encountered this year and change the next years encounters.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Notes of Encouragement

I am in total amazement sometimes that my children, all three of them, have musical talent. Why? Well because music is not one of mine nor Lee's strengths so for all three of our children to be able to read, play and comprehend music is an amazement to me. What really baffles me is that without struggle or hard work applied to it, all the kids can read and understand musical notes. They even get frustrated with me when I assume that they can read each others music. Silly me I didn't know there was a difference between the musical instruments,their tone (this has a lot to do with the type of music), and the music they each read. Don't be mislead, I love music especially classical but reading and playing was not my forte'. What I've realize over the past couple of months is that a spiritural life is similar to music, even more so-similar to musical notes. When we discover that there is more to life than what we are living we are confused, disoriented, and overwhelmed. The Word looks like a jumble of musical notes, things we can't put together or understand. And when we think we have it figured out the sound that we hear is unflowing and, bluntly, a horrendous sound. I don't think that this is true of only those of us who come to the Truth later in life, I think it's true for all of us. At some point in our life, we look at the Word and think "this can't be right". This can't be right! So we decipher and pull it apart trying to figure out; what it is that the notes are suppose to mean? How they're suppose to look?What they're suppose to sound like? I believe now more than ever this is an act of legalism or contracting. As adults, yes adults because as children and even young adults,we take the Truth at it's word, it's not until we are adults that we read the Word and when it doesn't speak to us we get worried, scared, fearful. So we start to look for the missing link, the thing that we will understand in a sea of musical notes that we can't read. This is when we look to make the connection with God a contract, a legal part of our life that will fit into the adult world we live in, the notes begin to form a reasonable line and look to take form, but when they are played the sound is uncomfortable, cumbersome. I can't speak for all adults but I think that at some point in our adult life we start trying to force God's Word and plan to make sense for the life that we want. There is no rhythme, no beat just a mix of ups and downs that we keep putting together because it sounds like the notes should go there. When God said " For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" He wasn't kidding. So why do we try to make His words fit into our life? Simply because we don't want to give up any control over what we want, so we rewrite the song. Fumbling with the notes that keep getting misplaced, struggling with a song that looks right but sounds horrible, fighting for the composer's seat. Sound familiar? I don't know how long it takes for us to realize that we aren't in control, it took 37 years for me to realize it. I guess for each of us the music comes at different times and in different places of life, while we are struggling to make our composition work and in the middle of it falling apart, we get it! I believe it happens all at once, that God just simply says "That's enough! Now listen to me!" Stop moving for just one moment in time, not long just a few moments when you are totally in peace and talking to God. Most of us already do that to some extent just in full motion, on a time frame for our daybut stop moving, settle your mind and picture yourself sitting before Christ and listen. I think you'll hear a song that you weren't expecting. The musical notes that you've been struggling to fit into a concerto all of a sudden just start falling into place. They may seem to be only a small portion or a string of lines and notes at first but as you return to your child like life of believing in what God says is real, the notes start to fall into place and you hear for the first time a sound so pleasing to your spirit and heart that you can't do anything but shout "YES! HA! That's it, that's all there was to it!" And one day you'll wake up and hear songs in your heart that are simply peaceful, you didn't put them there, your mind didn't write them, but those simple, easy notes that looked so hard to understand send songs of delight to your life. Songs of simplicity and understanding of like you've never heard or known. I'm not sure if there is a meaning to the words that are above here, I wasn't planning them to work out this way. It's funny when God decides to move He really moves. I don't know why the musical notes, I just believe that they were placed there by God and He knew I'd understand. Funny how that works, the musical notes that I so desperately wanted to learn as a young teen weren't meant for me but my children. Maybe the same is true for the musical notes that I tried to rewrite for 30+ years to make my life what I wanted, maybe the same is true for you.

Funny Sunday Morning

So I didn't feed on Sunday morning at 7 Am and the girls thought that was unacceptable. They took it upon themselves to literally eat a hole into the side of the shed and pull out a bale of hay!! Not so funny on Sunday morning as we drove by the pasture to church, but now really funny and I wish I had taken a picture! I guess that's what I get for taking one morning off. So Lee and I spent a couple of hours fixing the barn and getting the side of the shed ran with hotwire to keep the girls out. I laugh now because I have been delaying in handling the horses like I am suppose to. What's even funnier is that the entire time I was in the pasture Kibryia was standing almost on top of me. I guess it's actually time to do something with these horses. Wish me luck, I might need some prayer too.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Forward or Backward?

Forward! Hummm. I don't know, maybe it's backward? Hummm. In a kunundrum of monumental proportion, am I going forward or backward? Sometimes I feel like I have finally went forward but when I take a couple of steps I realize that it was actually backward I was going. So is it forward or backward? I have found that this is how most of my life has been going, me thinking I am going forward and realizing that I was actually going backward. Of course it took 37 years for me to figure this out. Welcome to the race, that seems to be what God said to me in one moment of realization, welcome to the race. That would be the human race. So here all this time I have been living the way I wanted to and thinking that I was going forward and in actuality I was falling farther and farther behind. Things seemed great and were moving really well in a forward motion for me and my family all was good! Then I found out that I wasn't really going forward, all that time I spent thinking that I was in the right place and everything was going in the right direction and just about the time that my mind thought I was in the right place .... my soul and spirit was falling apart. That's when it happened, that's when I turned around and, for lack of better terminology, saw that there were no foot prints from the way I came. Backwards, that's the way I was going. It took a third party to make me realize that, among other things, I was a hateful person. Not by anything this person said to me but by the way this person treated others around them. This person who was a pronounced Christian, someone who had God in their mind, heart and soul...well I was going to find a way to bring them down with their own guide for their life, the Bible. Well needless to say, that quickly back fired on me. God found a person who was just like me to show me that while I was using His Word to fight this person I actually needed to hear it. GREAT!!! Conviction!! At first it wasn't like that though, it was condemnation the wrong thing, the misleading thing that made me feel in adequate. But over the past two weeks, literally, I let go of something that really altered my life. In a matter of a few minutes I was set free. Free from the hatred and anger that was ruling my life. Free by simply letting this great weight be handled by God. What a release and breath of fresh air. Now this doesn't mean that I am different in the way that most people will see me but it does mean that not everything is filtered through that part of my life...FREE! Why is this so important? Why was I going backwards in my life?
Why did it feel like it was forward but not? Why was everything looking good even though it really wasn't? Because I was seeing what I wanted to see and living how I wanted to live instead of living like I was suppose to. Somewhere along the way my soul and spirit started to fall apart, which made me very unstable and overwhelmed. It took almost 16 years of trying to run everything in my marriage for my whole life to catch up with me, or really for me to catch up with what my life should have been. Kind of a refreshing feeling to know that I was "trying" to control when in reality I wasn't, I was right where I was suppose to be according to God in order for Him to wake me up. FORWARD! Forward it is! I now know that forward doesn't feel like control, it feels like trust. Something I was not willing to try, trust. Forward it is. I think I'm going to like this...being in the forward motion, trusting the direction and living for the moment!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Friends Far Away

Over the past nine years I have met lots of people but I have found that those that I cherish the most are those who seem to always be far away. Not that those that are close are any less friends, I just seem to desire to be close to those away from me. Angi has been a friend for way to long; she knows more about me than I care to have anyone else know but that's ok. She went places with me and did things with me that most friends wouldn't have done. She even made an impact on my life with God. She doesn't know that, not really, but she did. When we were all being teenagers in middle aged bodies, she stood her ground on being a "grown up" and setting an example for her children that many of us lost in that time of our lives. She is integrity even when the wind is against her and I wouldn't miss being her friend or part of her life for anything.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Horses on the Forefront!

Ever notice that no matter how much you attempt to make a person change to your idea of whom they should be, the more they rebel! Well believe it or not, it's the same with horses. I have a nice little 9 year old mare, Kibryia, who just hasn't come around to liking me; worse she doesn't really tolerate me either...problem #1. After a year plus some, I had expected her to move out of her complete distraught dislike of being in North Carolina would change but my expectations have not been fulfilled! I believe this is my change my view and not expect from Kibryia. I'm not sure I like this expectation but I think I can attempt to fulfill it to the best of my ability, I'm not a very patient person when it comes to conformity (surprise, surprise). So on to the new challenge and work with Kibryia maybe she will surprise me, maybe I will surprise myself.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Our Horses

It's funny how things work out sometimes, planned or not things always seem to go the way they are suppose to even though they are your plans. I helped a friend out last year, someone who was loosing her farm and her horses and I did it behind my husband's back then "sprang" it on him with one days notice to prepare for 4 more mares to come to the property. Needless to say having 7 horses was a challenge; moving two of them to new homes and loosing an old mare to cancer bigger challenge. We are now down to 4 horses, 3 arabs. Our plan is to move forward with a small breeding program and farm, create well rounded endurance horses and move them to sell at reasonable prices for the average rider and horseman. While my plans are big and my goal reachable, the price of feed and hay this year has made it difficult for me to even attempt to keep our two original mares.
More and more I see where people are just not feeding horses because they can't afford it and can't sell them, so after a long talk with Lee, we decided to sell if we can but if not we would work out the feed arrangement to keep the 4 that we have indefinitely.
I hope and pray for guidance from God on this because it's seemed so close when I started and now seems so far away, maybe I'm missing the trees for the forest, maybe I need to step back and let God move the way that He has planned, get out of the way, and enjoy the trees!