Thursday, August 26, 2010

Walking in the Spirit is not an easy task ....

Why is it so hard to walk in the Spirit? I fall into the same sins over and over again. I feel remorse and ask for forgiveness over and over again. But why? Why, Lord? Why can't I get this right? I want to honor you. I want to be the best me I can be. I want to truly and completely walk in the FREEDOM you've given me. You set me FREE so that I could be FREE! So why am I not FREE? How can I get out of these sin habits? How can I throw off my selfish desires and want ... no, be desperate for what you desire for me?
Oh, Lord! I fail you oh, so often! How do I stop? And how do I start living all for you?
In SoZo last week, we talked about what it means to walk in the Spirit. We talked about reading your word and applying it to our lives - living it out each day. We talked about loving and encouraging your people - pointing them to you. We talked about seeking out the calling you've placed on our lives and then living it. These are ways that we can walk in the Spirit - part of what it means to walk in you. But Lord, it's gotta be more than that!
What? What, Lord, does it mean to really WALK IN THE SPIRIT?
Please teach me. Please continue to teach me each day to walk in you ... and to walk in you with all my heart! Help me flee from temptation that so often leads me into sin ... and sins that I've struggled with for such a long time. Help me get out of the sin once I've gotten myself into it. Don't let me keep wallowing, swimming, even basking in it, Lord! Oh, Jesus! Change me from the inside out! Whatever it takes, Lord, to make me more like you - do it!
Help me grow to my full potential ... to know you better and to love you more with each day, each moment ... and to honor you with every aspect of my life. And also, to gain and maintain an eternal perspective in all things. Oh, Lord ... keep convicting me. Keep encouraging me. Keep making me into the woman of God you desire me to be. I will never stop striving after you ... no matter how much opposition I face - within myself, within this world, withing my walk with you ... I will never give up serving and seeking and loving you. Teach me what it means to truly love you with all that is in me! Please forgive me, and make me stronger. Be glorified in me, Lord. I love you.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

GoG 214: The Productive Day ... again!

Another productive day ....

Filled out substitute teacher applications
Went to the license branch to buy my license plate for my new car
Deposited some money

It always feels good to be productive!

GoG 213: The Forever Friends

A few weeks ago, Mags facebooked me and Hannah about getting together for dinner or some hang out time. We ended up getting some dinner and watching Wildfire. And the grace in that is that Maggie is the one who initiated it. I know that you don't usually LOSE a friendship when your friends get married and start having kids ... I'm sure thankful that I haven't lost my friendship with Mags ... but it has changed. It has to ... there is no getting around it, I've learned. So it was great to have Mags initiate the night ... when she's busy with work, Oliver, and hanging out with Jared when he's home from longs weeks/weekends away from home.

Friends forever ... I really appreciate that!

GoG 212: The Yummy Cookies

Haha! So the first Sunday of the month, I made cookies for my SoZo kids. I took them out of the oven a bit earlier than usual ... and they were gooey and yummy. I was also hanging out with Jason and Melissa and the gang that day. So I split the cookies between the dinner at the Adamson's and youth group. And everyone who ate them went on and on about how good they were.

I made yummy chocolate chip cookies ... and that's just fun. :)

GoG 211: The Continuing Definition of Colossians 3:2

Ahh ... the continuing definition of Colossians 3:2 ... good stuff!

God has been pressing the idea of ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE on my heart and mind for months now. I've decided it is my new life-long goal ... to grasp an eternal perspective. Well, during some prep for Sunday's Sunday School lesson for the youth, I was thinking about the EP .... and God brought to mind the concept of Jesus holding all things together.

And so Colossians 3:2 - Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things ... and Colossians 1:16-17 - For by Him, all things were created, in heaven and on earthy, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities, all things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him, all things hold together .... are connected to each other.

Because ... Setting our minds on things above means to not only realize but trust that God is in control of all things. And in trusting that He is in control of all things is to understand that He holds everything together, makes everything work, and is worthy to be trusted.

I was thankful, on that day, to find a further understanding of what it means to really set our minds on the things above. Thank you, Jesus.

GoG 210: The Movie Date

Movie dates with myself are always grace ... 'cause I'm independent enough to go to movies by myself! :D

I went to see Inception at the Regal ... popcorn, a large Coke, and a great movie! Good times!

GoG 209: The Bargain

July 29 - GoG 209

3 outfits for $100.
Now that's a girl's picture of grace, isn't it? :)

GoG 208: The Productive Day

July 28 - GoG 208

What productive day ... sub forms, paid bills ... it took several hours ... but I did it!

GoG 207: The Nothing At All

July 27 - GoG 207

Did I do anything at all today?
What grace!

GoGs 204-206: The PA/WV Adventure ... or lack thereof

Well, I'm gonna cheat a bit for the next couple of posts. I wrote about them on my bucket list blog. The story is too much work to tell twice, so here's the story of my wanna-be trip to Pittsburgh for a youth work camp.

Got back from Pennsylvania AND West Virginia on Monday night ... it was an interesting weekend. Saturday morning around 8:00, I left my house to head for Pittsburgh. A work camp full of teenagers awaited me there. Or not. I had set out to volunteer as a behind the scenes leader on the trip, cleaning bathrooms, sweeping floors, keeping the lodging facility spic and span for the week. But when I got to Pittsburgh, no one was anywhere to be found. I had arrived the night before to get settled in and have dinner with the staff. So I waited around for while, but no one came. I called 3 or 4 different numbers to get ahold of someone ... anyone! ... at the organization. Nada. So I decided to head out of Pittsburgh to find a hotel for the night. Stayed in a Motel 6 that night, got some Bob Evans for breakfast the next morning, and headed back to the facility for registration and welcoming the campers. Ha! But no one was there once again. I was beyond confused at this point. I continued calling the numbers I was given in case of questions or emergencies. No one answered. I walked next door to a church that was just finishing up its Sunday morning service, or so it appeared to be.

"Do y'all know anything about a work camp going on next door this week?" The man shook his head and said, "I see people doing things over there on Wednesday nights, but I don't know about a camp."

Weird, right? Wow. I was dumbfounded. Where was everyone? I wish I could say the camp folks eventually showed up, and they explained their tardiness ... but no. I waited around just outside of Pittsburgh for nearly 2 hours, waiting for a call ... but I heard nothing. I knew nothing. ... So I finally decided to head home.

Thankfully, I'm on a quest to see all 50 states .... and Pennsylvania is a beautiful state! Pittsburgh is awesome too - full of tunnels and bridges and a huge river running through the middle of it! So the trip wasn't wasted by any stretch of the imagination. AND! I decided to take the long way home ... through West Virginia! Ohhh! WV made it beyond worth it! I took I-79 through central WV to Charleston ... and it was entirely gorgeous! Mountains the whole trip into Ohio! Heck! It was pretty hilly into Indiana!!!! It was such a great trip! I'm still trying to get ahold of the work camp folks ... but the trip was great anyway!

GoG 203: The Porch

July 23 - GoG 203

I dropped by The Porch to say hi to my mom and brother ... when I got there, several cars were in the parking lot ... the entire front lot was full, and there were 4 or 5 cars in the back lot. That is awesome! Business is picking up! The full parking lot inspired me to take some pictures and start a facebook page for The Porch. It was great to see my mom's hard work starting to pay off.

GoG 202: The Night with Mags and Oliver

July 22 - GoG 202

I hung out with Mags.
We watched a movie. We hung out with Oliver. It reminded me of our friendship over the years. Mags has been my longest friend ... 17 years. Life-long friendships are God's grace in action, for sure!!!

GoG 201: The Free Sweet Tea

July 21 - GoG 201

Hahaha! This GoG makes me laugh because it shows how obsessed with sweet tea I am!

On the 21st, a few of the SoZo-ers and I went to the Indiana Dunes for a day of swimming and sunburns and running in the sand. On the way home, we stopped at Golden Coral for dinner. At the end of the night, I asked our waitress if I could get a to-go cup of sweet tea. And she gave me it for FREE!

Free sweet tea .... it doesn't get any better than that!

GoG 200: The Short-term Dreams

July 20 - GoG 200

I met with a friend, and we discussed short-terms goals. Short-term being 5 years.

Get married and start a family ... ha! 'Cause I have control over that ;)
Keep a couple thousand dollars in savings
Get a Master's degree in Bible/Youth Ministry or try to pass the Praxis again
Move out of my parents' house

Can't think of too many more ....
Goals. Setting goals, I found, is a glimpse of grace ... because another word for goals is dreams. God gives us dreams. And that is something we don't deserve.

GoG 199: The Annual Grilled Cheese and a Milkshake :)

July 19 - GoG 199

The second day of the county fair. Every year, I go to the fair, specifically and ultimately, for a grilled cheese and a milkshake. This year, I walked around looking at my kids' 4-H projects ... and one night, SoZo passed out waters at the Calvary Chapel booth ... but I'm good with a grilled cheese and a milkshake.

Tasty. Fun. Simple. Grace. :)

GoG 198: The SoZo Testimonies

July 18 - GoG 198

SoZo shared testimonies about our Cottage Cove Trip. It was great to hear from many of my kids who went on my trip. And I found myself so thankful, once again, for the calling God has placed on my life - youth ministry ... and even more thankful for my 18 kids that He has placed in my spiritual care. My calling is more than grace!

GoG 197:The Hugs from the Bride and Groom

Well, I've beaten my record! It's been over a month since I've blogged!!!!! I've got some catching up to do ... so here goes!

July 17 - GoG 197

James and Hannah .... married!
It was a great day of chats and hugs and dancing and clean-up. And my GoG for the day was getting a hug from both James and Hannah.