Saturday, November 27, 2010

Celebrate 30! {week 27}

{As I countdown to my 30th birthday, each week I’ll be sharing a spiritual milestone…thanks for helping me celebrate 30!}

I love how the Lord is exactly what we need in every situation we face. Over the years, I’ve learned several names of God- El-Shaddai (God Almighty), Jehovah-Jireh (God our Provider), Adonai (Lord).

In the spring of 2005, I learned a new name for God, El Roi, the God Who sees. The Lord taught me that year that I can’t retaliate against those who wrong me. That’s a hard lesson, isn’t it? My fleshly nature is all about fighting back, defending my reputation, proving people wrong, but that isn’t the Lord’s way. I’m not saying there aren’t ever circumstances where you might need to speak up, but the particular situations of 2005, I needed to hold my tongue (see Romans 12:18).

I needed to know that though I felt alone and wronged, the Lord knew the truth. He saw it all.

Thankfully such attacks are few and far between, but the principle that God sees is a powerful one in many areas of my life. And when I’m the one on the attack (yes, it happens!), He’s the one who sees that too and will hold me accountable.

Every Monday morning at BSF Leaders’ Meeting, I have the privilege to pray the names of God back to Him. It’s a sacred time of letting the truth of who God is wash over me. As I’ve faced some emotionally trying times over the last year, I’ve realized that sometimes all I have to hold onto is who God is. At times of deep distress, I can’t always recall a Bible verse, but you know what rolls off my tongue and out of my heart? The names of God. Not the Hebrew names, but who He is to me:


Friend


Counselor


Strength


Refuge


Savior


Peace


Truth


Healer



HOPE.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Coming to Terms

I read a phrase this week that really hit home, “coming to terms with the Lord.” The minute I read it, I knew it perfectly described what’s been happening in my life over the last couple of months. I guess if I were honest, though, it’s been happening over the last few years.


Here’s how the dictionary defines “coming to terms”:
1. to come to an agreement with someone
2. to learn to accept someone or something

Here’s how I define “coming to terms”:
1. agreeing with God that He is in control of my life
2. accepting what my life looks like


I discovered a song a few weeks ago that I wish I had written, but I’ll have to give Bebo Norman credit for that! I hope you’ll listen to the entire song (“Tip of My Heart”) but the phrase that most sticks out to me is “this life I’ve made but don’t understand.” I know that I live a blessed, beautiful life, it just doesn’t look like what I thought it would. This is what I’m coming to terms with: accepting my life as it is, as God has it.

When I was a young teenager, my favorite verse was Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” When I was 13, I was positive this verse meant that God would make all my dreams come true. As the years have gone by and life happened, I realized I had been misinterpreting the scripture. I came to realize that Psalm 37:4 is saying that as I delight (obey) the Lord, my desires will be to know Him.

I was so excited tonight when I found another verse that goes perfectly with Psalm 37:4 and clears up the misinterpretation:

“Yes, Lord, walking in the way of Your laws, we wait for You;
Your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.”
Isaiah 26:8

Psalm 37:4 isn't God promising to fulfill my Cinderella dreams; it's God promising that as I obey Him, I will know Him in deeper ways.

Of course, I’m still praying that my prince shows up to make those Cinderella dreams come true, but my goal in the meantime is to continue to daily delight in the Lord, knowing that as I do, He will reveal Himself to me in new ways and help me share His love to those who come across my path.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Celebrate 30 {Week 28}

{As I countdown to my 30th birthday, each week I’ll be sharing a spiritual milestone…thanks for helping me celebrate 30!}


Girlfriends are a big deal in my life. They always have been. Sure, I’ve experienced the heartaches of friendship, but for the most part, my life is much richer because of the friends God’s given me. There’s no way I can mention each of my girlfriends by name, but I would like to write a little tribute (or shrine!) to one of my first friends, the one who really taught me how to be a friend.

Dawn and I met when I was about 12 and she was about 16. She quickly became a fixture in our home and was the older sister I never had. She loved me when I was a headband-wearing, drama queen. She inspired me to love BBQ pizza, write letters and to follow in her footsteps as a summer camp counselor. Even after all these years, my family still calls me “little Dawn,” in reference to the sarcasm she taught me!


Every experience God gives us,
every person He puts into our lives,
is the perfect preparation for a future only He can see!

Corrie Ten Boom


In my post a few weeks ago, I mentioned God’s unseen hand in our lives. I can look back now and see that this is one of those areas where God was providing a foundation of true friendship that would see me through some dark days. I’ve been reminded lately how important it is to have friends and mentors in our lives to encourage and guide us when we can’t see the way ourselves and also challenged to be available for God to use me in the lives of others.

How I wish I could blog about each of my precious friends, who, over the years, have prayed and loved me through many highs and lows. I’ve often marveled at God’s goodness in my life to bring such great women of God into my life.


Some people come into our lives and quickly go.
Others stay for a while and leave footprints on our hearts
and we are never, ever the same.


To those whose footprints are forever on my heart- thank you. You are among God’s greatest gifts in my life! Much love, dear friends!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Exit Strategy

Abby and I had grand plans to kick-off the Christmas season by seeing Mannheim Steamroller's Christmas concert tonight.

BUT....we left at intermission!

I don't want to offend my friends who love Mannheim, so I'll just leave it at that, but on the way home we started laughing about what other things we've walked out on:
  • We've walked out of "Keep Christmas Alive"...I want Christmas alive, just not some of those performances!
  • We didn't even make to intermission with "Little Women- the Musical" and we had driven almost 2 hours to see it!
  • And even though we have a great time together on vacation, we actually cut 2 vacations short this year!
What's wrong with us (yes, I'll drag my family into this!)?!?! Is a sign of a lack of commitment? Of a short attention span?

I like to think that as we've all gotten older, it's a sign that we can be more honest with ourselves and each other and not suffer in silence to sit through something everyone is hating.

So, my Christmas season didn't get off to the start I expected, but I guess it's here and there's no getting out of it!


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Celebrate 30! {week 29}

{As I countdown to my 30th birthday, each week I’ll be sharing a spiritual milestone…thanks for helping me celebrate 30!}

It seems only fitting that the first spiritual milestone I share is that of my salvation.

At the age of 5, I prayed to ask Christ to be my Savior, so it was with great confusion that I started feeling convicted at age 13 when I was in a revival service led by former rocker, Ed Lacy. During the invitation I realized that if I died on my way home from church, I wouldn’t go to heaven. I vividly remember standing in the balcony of Southside Baptist, gripping the pew in front of me, stubbornly refusing to respond during the invitation. The revival lasted several evenings and every evening on the way home, I begged God not to let me die yet.

One night after the revival, I asked my mom to make an appointment for me to go speak with our pastor and on Thursday, May 19, 1994, I knelt in his office and settled once and for all, my eternal destination.

I laugh now when I remember asking my pastor if all those “quiet times” I had marked off my to do list (yes- I’ve always had a to do list…even at 13!) before my salvation were all useless now. Of course not! That’s how the Holy Spirit was speaking to me!

As I continue on my countdown, I look forward to sharing some stories of how “God’s unseen hand” was pursing me even before I had a personal relationship with Him.

In typical Forester fashion, you can count on me celebrating my spiritual birthday every May 19! Hmmm…maybe I’ll do a “Celebrate 30 - Spiritual Birthday Edition” when the time comes!

Friday, November 12, 2010

K-I-S-S-I-N-G

I didn't mean to write two posts so close to together, but I just read an article that so grabbed my attention, I had to blog! The article was on www.yahoo.com and said, "The average woman kisses 29 men before she gets married."

Maybe it's just my deprivation speaking, but that seems like a heartbreakingly high number.

According to the Census Bureau in 2003, the average woman marries at age 25. That means that between the time she was 16, she kissed about 3 guys per year before she got married.

Now, I know my views on such matters of the heart are conservative and to many outdated, but it breaks my heart to think of girls (women of any age, for that matter), freely giving away their kisses.

Even in the Christian community, it seems acceptable to encourage dating, kissing and all the trappings at an early age. As difficult as it is being single at 29, I'd rather be single at 29 with most of my heart intact and my first kiss saved, then to be 25, married, but having kissed so many frogs, I can't name them all.

I don't mean this harsh or judgmental to any of my readers who have kissed 29+ men; I mean it as a call to action to those of us raise or will raise girls. Let's teach them that their kisses are special and to be shared with a worthy man, not just any ol' Joe who comes their way.

In my own life, I decided 16 years ago that my first kiss will be with the man I marry. Is it easy? No. Have I been mocked? Yes. But will it be worth it? Oh, yeah!

For those of you in the trenches of parenthood now, let me share a book for you, "The Princess and the Kiss" (find at @ www.reviveourhearts.com) It's a beautiful way to teach your girls at an early age, that purity is worth pursuing.

The old saying is "you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince" but I'm determined to do things a different way!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The End

The good thing about endings is they make room for beginnings. I don’t normally think such things, since I’m a sentimental fool who loves tradition and hates change, but this week I’ve seen the value of endings.

As I faced a particular rough “The End” this week, here’s what I’ve learned:

First, the Lord starts preparing you for a crisis before it happens. I think it’s a lovely thing He does for His children- equipping us with His strength and peace to make it through. One way He prepared me was through the singing of “How Great Thou Art” at church on Sunday. Now, I’ve sung that song countless times in my life but over the years it’s message was lost to me. On Sunday, though, I was struck with the truth that NO MATTER WHAT, God is great. My circumstances don’t change His greatness. Though my pain is great, my God is greater still.

The second thing I realized is that sometimes you don’t know you’re holding your breath until you release it. Endings are painful, but experiencing that release of breath opens up life in whole new ways. As I said goodbye, I expected to be filled with great sadness, but instead I’ve experienced a great sense of relief and freedom.

My week started with tears, but it’s ending with praises to my great God for His sovereignty in my life. So here’s to beginnings…to new possibilities…to the freedom found in “The End”…

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Celebrate 30! {week 30}

Thirty weeks from today I will celebrate my 30th birthday! In an attempt to squelch my anxiety over reaching 30, I’ve decided to do a countdown….to stretch the celebration into 30 weeks. I mulled over several ideas, but eventually decided to blog about the spiritual milestones in my life.

A few Sundays ago, my pastor said, “The longer you live, the more you can trace the unseen hand of God in your life.” That statement really stuck with me and brought to mind the scarlet thread we see in the Bible. I’ll let the great preacher R. G. Lee explain it: “Interwoven in the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation is a scarlet thread–the story of redemption. Only as we consider that red road do we properly understand the story of man’s sin and the Cross of Christ. Overlook that scarlet thread in your reading of the Bible, ignore its fact in your religious life, remove it from your thought, and you have no Christianity. Without knowledge of that scarlet thread we have no knowledge of the supreme theme of the Bible–and we are ignorant of the full price He paid for human redemption.”

I want to take these 30 weeks and trace God’s unseen hand and reflect on the scarlet thread of His redemption in my life. So stay tuned every week, as I countdown to the big 3-0!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Let it be known!

"Sing to the LORD, for He has done glorious things;
let this be known to all the world."
Isaiah 12:5
When I read this verse tonight, I knew it was the best verse to describe a project I'm about to embark on. The Lord has done many glorious things in my life and I want to make them known!
I'm going to "unveil" my project this weekend, so I hope you'll check back and hear what it's all about!
What glorious things had the Lord done in your life? Take the opportunity right now to let it be known....post it on your blog, update it on your Facebook status, tell your co-worker, share it with your family...LET IT BE KNOWN!