Friday, May 20, 2011

On Wearing Green & Giving God Our Tomorrows

Next year we'll be wearing green. 
We found that out late this afternoon. 
This morning, Robb and I woke up very anxious and uncertain about our future. Sitting around the kitchen table this morning, we started to talk out all the different scenarios that could occur in the following hours. I opened up my email and read aloud a devotional by my favorite preacher, who sadly, is no longer with us on this Earth. David Wilkerson's message went straight to my heart. I think I'll let his words speak for themselves. 
GIVE ME ALL YOUR TOMORROWS
by David Wilkerson

The Lord appeared to Abraham one day and gave him an incredible command: “Get
thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house,
unto a land that I will show thee” (Genesis 12:1).

What an amazing thing. Suddenly, God picked out a man and told him, “I want
you to get up and go, leaving everything behind: your home, your relatives,
even your country. I want to send you someplace, and I will direct you how to
get there along the way.”

How did Abraham respond to this incredible word from the Lord? “By faith
Abraham
, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after
receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he
went” (Hebrews 11:8).

What was God up to? Why would he search the nations for one man, and then call
him to forsake everything and go on a journey with no map, no preconceived
direction, no known destination? Think about what God was asking of Abraham. He
never showed him how he would feed or support his family. He didn’t tell him
how far to go or when he would arrive. He only told him two things in the
beginning: “Go,” and, “I will show you the way.”

In essence, God told Abraham, “From this day on, I want you to give me all
your tomorrows. You’re to live the rest of your life putting your future into
my hands, one day at a time. I’m asking you to commit your life to a promise
that I am making to you, Abraham. If you will commit to do this, I will bless
you, guide you and lead you to a place you never imagined.”

The place God wanted to lead Abraham is a place he wants to take every member
of Christ’s body. Abraham is what Bible scholars call a “pattern man,”
someone who serves as an example of how to walk before the Lord. Abraham’s
example shows us what is required of all who would seek to please God.

Make no mistake, Abraham was not a young man when God called him to make this
commitment. He probably had plans in place to secure his family’s future, so
he had to be concerned over many considerations as he weighed God’s call. Yet
Abraham “believed in the Lord; and [God] counted it to him for
righteousness” (Genesis 15:6).

The apostle Paul tells us that all who believe and trust in Christ are the
children of Abraham. And, like Abraham, we are counted as righteous because we
heed the same call to entrust all our tomorrows into the Lord’s hands.
 
In yesterday's post, I told you that "wherever He led," we would go. 
We're giving Him all our tomorrows.
What about you? Where's He leading you today?
If you look closely, you will be able to see His path clearly.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Chasing

I wish you could have witnessed or maybe not my romp across the yard this morning. I was chasing a dog that doesn't know his name - ya know, the street dog.  He's been nameless for so long that I suppose we can call him anything, because he comes to nothing.  I've not owned a little dog in quite some time. He's a Cockapoo, that unfortunately, now looks like a Poo-Weenie.  Yes, you heard me right.  The groomer asked if I wanted him cut like a cocker or a poodle.  Since poodle felt girly, for a young strong handsome dog like himself, I decided Cocker was the way to go.  
Let's just say...I'm embarrassed for him. He looks ridiculous. Currently, he's shaved short on top with a Weenie dog looking body, with fluff underneath like a Cocker Spaniel.  I'm just glad he's a dog.  I mean, I've had bad haircuts and cried myself to sleep before, especially in Junior High when my hair dresser used to trim my bangs like Ni-Hai-Kai Lan. 

This morning, I was sporting exquisite baby blue bottoms from Target with my Dallas Cowboy vintage tee from Hibbets, when street dog decided to sprint down the road.  There I was (barefoot and all) chasing a dog who doesn't know his name down the street who now looks like a Poo-Weenie instead of a Cockapoo.  Maybe he felt like a puppy scorned and he set out to find a new home. I wouldn't blame him. The groomer stripped him of his identity (we had named him Curly due to all his cute curls).  It's a doggy identity crisis I suppose.  Yet, I can identify.

Robb and I have been chasing something this week as well.  For those of you that follow me on facebook, you probably know that Robb is in the final moments of knowing what his job will be for next year.  We are beyond chasing a job.  We simply are chasing God's will. Where His will is, His peace is.  And my brain is exhausted from the possibilities.  It's down to two schools.  One leaves us where we are, the other moves us away.  My devotional this morning spoke directly to my heart: "remember the miracles God has done for you."  
Yes, I remember them. They are etched in my brain and written upon my heart.  It's a full circle moment for us, reminiscent of the days when we were uncertain about bringing three babies home from the hospital.  We wondered then how God would provide, how we would take care of triplets, and what job Robb would find without taking a huge cut in pay.  God did then what He does best: he performed miracles. So many, that I could fill up book upon book. We don't know what the future holds for us.  Yet, we are chasing the heart of God.  Wherever He leads, we will go. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Why Gideon's God is my Hero

Dear, sweet, Gideon - he must have been so confused!  Sometimes instruction from the Lord that doesn't line up with our expectations can really throw us into a tailspin.  Robb and I- we've been on a roller coaster this week.  He's had four schools interview him - 1 offer, 1 pending offer, 1 wishful offer, and 1 door slam shut. The suspense is killing us! We've hashed and re-hashed situations, but the bottom line is -- this isn't our battle. 
It's God's.  
{But, sir, "Gideon replied, "if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?" Judges 6:13}
We can talk about it until we've run smooth out of oxygen and our talking won't change God's plan.  God has a plan - a good one according to Jeremiah 29:11. 
{For I know the plans I have for you, declares, the Lord, plans to prosper you, not to harm you; to give you a hope and a future.}
 We want to be in the center of His will.  His will is perfect. It's flawless.  It sees into the future - unlike our Earthly eyes that can lack vision and clarity.  My knees are raw. My heart has been heavy and my mind muddled with what if's and a simple desire for closure.  I hate limbo- the in between can be the worst.  Yet, this is often where we learn the most about ourselves.  
And then there's Gideon's God-- my God.  He's big and sometimes He wants everyone to know that He alone is our deliverer.  That's what happened to Gideon. 
{The Lord said to Gideon, "you have too many men for me to deliver Midian into their hands." Judges 7:2} 
Gideon was going to battle with a vast army - 32,000.
I'd have been pretty confident. 
How about you?
Until God gave unthinkable and seemingly irrational instruction; to send away a portion of His army. 
{"So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained." vs.3 }
Say what?
But, Gideon was obedient.
God wasn't through whittling.
{"There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will sift them for you there." vs 4.}
Who's sweating this out with me? Seriously?
And I would have been askin' Him...
"Why in the world would I do that?"
"Do you want me dead?"
But, Gideon was obedient even when things made no sense.
{But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong." 1 Corinthians 1:27}
God reduced Gideon's army to a mere 300 men. 
Then, God did what He does best - He single-handidly delivered them from their enemies.
Why?
{"In order that Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her." vs. 2}
Because sometimes we like to deliver ourselves. We get a new job because we "know people."  We are successful because we are "educated."  I am guilty.  It's ingrained in our culture; our minds get warped.  The pull yourself up by your bootstraps kind of mentality stands contradictory to God Himself rising up in our defense.    
Sometimes God puts us in impossible circumstances. The impossible dances around us and we ask God:
"What in the world are you doing?"  
And His reply?
{"...My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9}
That my friends, is why Gideon's God is my Hero- because He doesn't need me. 
His grace is sufficient. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Something for all my local readers: Free Photo Session

If every family is as easy to photograph as the LaRive family...

 ...then I'm going to have the time of my life as a photographer. 
 My cousin has told me for two years that I should try my hand at photography.  
 I finally decided to give it a try.  
I think my resistance has been because I despise reading things like camera manuals.  
I'm sure you can relate. Right? Right?
My sister jokes that my name should be "Basic Photography." 
 We've had a few good laughs about that one or she has anyway :).
 And although I still hate things like manuals -- I know one thing that I love...
 ...capturing life in motion.  
 We've only got one life-- sometimes one chance to capture those expressions. 
 And these moments...
 ...they sadly pass us by all too quickly.  
 And if I can be a part of capturing those memories before they grow wings and fly away--
 I believe I'll make the most of it. 
 And with that I have some good news for my local readers.  
I'm giving away a free photo session. 
Here are the rules:
1) You must live in the Liberty area (as the shoot will happen locally).
2) You must leave a comment as to why I should pick you or your family to win the free photo shoot.
3) You must post a link to my blog and this contest to your facebook wall in order to qualify.
4) You must follow Jessie's House either directly on the blog or through Facebook's networked blogs (you can search Jessie's House to find me on networked blogs). 

What will you win?
A 1-hour photo session.  Bring as many outfits or people as you like.  I will edit all the pictures and give them to you on a CD.

Good Luck!  

Sunday, May 8, 2011

When the Poop Hits the Floor on Mother's Day

  I can honestly say that I've never banged out this particular triplet, toddler incident because...well...it involves poop.  Today, I'm feeling pretty candid on Mother's Day - so roll that beautiful poop verbage. My sincerest apologies to any editors, publishers, or important people who might be viewing my blog today - but this story desires to be told.

There once was a woman who lived in a shoe.  
She had dirty children and knew not what to do!
 Her husband was gone far away to a game of footballs, whistles, and touchdowns that day.
All in diapers and covered in dust; to the bathtub they would go.
Soap was a must!
Have you ever bathed three babes in a tub?  
With two year old triplets, there was much dirt to rub!
I was feeling good, this wasn't so bad. 
Bathtime with triplets by myself; no dad.
Until, I saw it. There arose a strange sight. 
 A floating brown blob caused me great fright.  
I needed a net or something to scoop.  
It was contaminating my bathtub, for this was much poop.

There was no net, no scoop, or help around when I began to gag.
So, I did what every inventive, multi-tasking mom would do and got a rag.
Into the toilet the rogue poop went, but the triplets were now filthy again.
I drained the water, stood them up right, and rinsed them off with all my might.
Out Laci! Out Seth! Out Leyton too! This place smells just like a petting zoo.
One might think we were clear since bathtime had closed,
until I smelled something putrid wafting near my nose.

In horror I looked left and looked right, to see Seth pushing with all of his might.
"No Seth!  Wait for a diaper!" But, it was too late.
My carpet was soiled and there was no time to waste.
These tots were not trained to poop in the pot, and they didn't care if they had diapers or not. 
I cleaned up Seth and looked for Leyton, but much to my shagrin.
I found him behind the rocker, with a pile of poop once again.
I cleaned up scene number two and raced to find my girl.
She was gagging in the corner while peeing on the floor.
"Oh, Laci! Please no!" My voice must have roared.
Cause she fled in fear to the wet bathroom floor.
She wobbled and slipped like a puppy on ice, her feet over head she hit the wall twice!

Sometimes, this is the scene with a house full of babes.
Who pee and poop and messy up our days.
But, all in all- I wouldn't change a thing.
For these are the funny blessings that God sometimes brings.

Happy Mother's Day! 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Struggling in the Gray

I like things to line up. 
To go according to my plan. 
But, sometimes normal isn't what we thought it would be.
We want the fog to lift immediatey.
We want directions to be clear in life.
We want to be fast on our way to purpose, peace, and prosperity.
I struggle in this place. 
It's the gray area. 
In this place my expectations, the way I thought
life would be, stand in stark contrast to reality. 
I feel guilty in this place. 
I muddy my mind with what if's.
  The pain I feel physically threatens the truth in my heart.
Light fights darkness. 
I've been struggling in the gray.
But, ya know, I don't think I would give it back if I had the chance.
Because we grow in the gray. 
It beckons.
 "What will you do with the only life you have?"
And it demands an answer.
Today, I've answered this question in my heart.
Even through the pain; I will answer it every day. 
I choose God. 
He sharpens. 
And in the end, we become more like Him. 

"When you pass through the water, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you: when you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee."
Isaiah 43:2




Thursday, May 5, 2011

These are a few of my favorite...

...pictures of Hannah, Clint, Tyler, and Taylor.  













Sweet family. Fun time.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Did He tell you?

We pause. 
Sit on it for a while.
Try on the consequences.
Weigh our decisions.
Then, we make a knowing choice between right or wrong. Light or darkness. Death or life. 
We choose it. 
Nothing is ever thrust upon us. 
We choose it.
Every day we make the decision through the way we live to get closer to God or move further from Him.
Which way are your decisions leading you today?

There is often a gap between what we know we should do and the choices we actually make. I want to make a radical difference in God's kingdom, but I've never known anyone to do anything extraordinary by sitting in front of the television set for hours on end.  Some nights television is a choice I make instead of doing something more meaningful for the Lord.  Isn't that sad?  A few months ago, I cut several programs out of my line-up because God showed me that they were harming my relationship with Him.  There were a few I just didn't want to give up. However, I would rather fulfill my God-given purpose, than watch someone else's bad drama play out on the tube.  I have been in a war deep inside over the shows I kept on my list as "viewable."  I paused.  Sat on it for a while. But, I kept watching the programs.  I heard God say that they had to go, but I told myself that I hadn't officially decided.  But, hadn't I?  Sometimes we actively choose to do something we know we shouldn't.  Other times, by fence-riding, we have CHOSEN!  Make sense?

I know someone that has been trying to decide if church is for him for twenty years now.  He says to me, "I just don't know if I am going or not."  Yet, don't his actions show his decision?  Sometimes we think we haven't decided, when we actually decided the very first time we said no.


I have picked a side.
You have picked a side.
Despite our denial at times,
we all have chosen Heaven or Hell.

Spiritually, this pause in obedience can be detrimental to our growth in Christ, our ministries, and the quality of our relationship with the Lord.  This pause might just be the difference between you spending eternity in heaven or hell.

When I was six years old, I told my mom that "God was bugging me."  See, I had heard the truth of the gospel of salvation preached at church.  I also heard the preacher say that I had a personal decision to make and my eternity hinged on this decision.  The price had already been paid, blood spilled, and a tomb became empty all on my behalf.  I heard the truth of 1 John 4:8 - the very first scripture I ever learned- come true in the detailed story of the gospel.  God is love.  And that love was the very reason that I had a decision to make that day.

But, I was painfully shy as a child. And so I prayed at my seat for Jesus to come into my heart.  Praying at my seat was easy.  It didn't require me to stretch or be embarrassed in any way.  But, something felt off even after my prayer.  Why did I not feel right?  I didn't feel right because obedience wasn't fulfilled in my heart.  See, God's word said to confess publicly this decision and I had hit the proverbial easy button.  I wanted to walk that aisle, but for three weeks I just re-asked Jesus into my heart in my seat.  I was too embarrassed to move. I paused.  I could have remained in that pause for years and I would have been saved eternally, but living separated because of my sin.  Because deep down in my heart, I knew the way in which God was calling me to obedience on that day.  I needed to walk the aisle and pray with the preacher.  

See, God is a loving God. And it is because of that very attribute that He doesn't overwhelm us with do's and don'ts.  But, he works on us often, one step at a time. Some of us live in the pause for way too long. We waste precious years that could be spent in peace. We throw ourselves in turmoil like Jonah did. Jonah ran from God's command to go to Ninevah and he ended up getting swallowed up by a large fish.  Do you feel like that today?  A few weeks ago, our preacher said "Do what God told you to do last."  I think that is a good place to start.

What did God tell you to do last?  


Did He tell you to be obedient through baptism? Did He tell you to attend church and receive that blessing of fellowship? Did He tell you to memorize scripture? Did He tell you to write out stories of deliverance?  Did He tell you to come lay your burden at His feet?  Did He tell you to believe in the Lord Jesus so that you might be saved.?

It only took me one more week to step out into the aisle and be obedient. Yet, I could have been miserable for years because of my disobedience. There will always be some good reason to hold you back from obedience, it's how our enemy works. He will always be there to show us the reason not to do what we know in our heart we should.

What did God tell you to do last?