Let's Lighten Up A Bit

Saturday, May 21, 2011  ::   10 important comments

Things have been so serious around here lately, so I think I should tell a little story.

First point you should know in this story is that I have been having a few "fat days" lately.  Don't freak out or post a comment about how I'm not fat.  I know. But I am a girl and pretty much every woman I've ever talked to has a fat day from time to time.

Thursday I went to the gym for my normal work-out. I lift with a friend (who has ditched me lately claiming dead car battery as her excuse---yeah right) at 8:15. Since she didn't couldn't come I decided to hit it extra hard. (Just kidding, Shawna.) I did all my normal stuff, but extra fast. Dizziness only came a couple of times. But, my biggest struggle was my pants. They just felt like they were slipping down in the back. I would do a set of squats and then have to pull my pants up. The thought kept running through my head, "Dang!! My butt must be extra huge today. My stupid pants won't stay up!"

The next part of my work-out was to teach my cycle class. True confession: I was really nervous about my pants issue because the mirror is right behind me and giving a glimpse of my behind did not seem appropriate. I made it through class without incident, but with many awkward tugs at my clothes.

Because of my body image issues and my awkwardly fitting clothes which seemed to be caused by my derriere, I worked my tail off in my morning routine. It was the kind of work-out where the room seems to spin a bit, nausea sets in, and heat emanates from your face. Don't you just love that kind of exercise?

After class I headed to the locker room to clean up to prepare for the rest of my day. I felt great for pushing myself physically, but emotionally felt a little pressed down because of my ill-fitting clothes. I rarely weigh myself because I'm extra dense (with muscle of course) so the number on the scale is more than a woman wants to see. My barometer of health is how my clothes fit and obviously it was a stinky day for good feeling clothes. Guess what I discovered??

My pants were on backwards.  Awesome.

The End

Fabulous Femininity

Thursday, May 19, 2011  ::   10 important comments

Esther is 14. Next Wednesday is 8th grade promotion which means at about 9:30 am, she will officially be a high schooler.  Sometimes when I think about this, I'm giddy with excitement. She's funny, smart, loves to talk to me, is finding independence, and makes great decisions.  Other times the thought creates this strange uncomfortable lump in my throat.  She is gaining independence and allowing her to make her own decisions will most definitely lead to difficult times, but it's all part of the growing process.

Tuesday night Esther and I went out to her favorite restaurant, P.F. Chang's, to celebrate becoming a young woman. We've talked many times about how amazing it is that God chose us to be women, but I wanted this night to be extra special, something she would never forget, to feel completely honored.  Chad bought her flowers. We both wrote long, mushy cards to her. She fixed her hair and wore a dress which is a huge deal considering she's usually donning a grungy t-shirt and basketball shorts.  We talked, laughed, held hands, ate way too much, and had an incredible evening.  I feel like she has a great grasp on the glories of being a woman. I pray she allows God's intent of femininity to be cemented into her heart and mind.

These are a few points of being a woman that we've discussed. Godly femininity includes:

  • understanding that Christ has clothed her in strength and dignity. She doesn't need to earn or prove strength. Resting in the fact that God is giving her strength will create a confidence that she can never gain by her achievements alone. 

  • knowing that she doesn't need to work to have power over men or surrender herself to a man. She can have confidence in knowing that God designed her to be secure enough to allow the men in her life to carry heavy things, or open pickle jars, or physically protect her when necessary, but also to know that she can enjoy friendships with men who are secure enough to never be threatened by any physical, emotional, and spiritual strength that she exudes. 

  • believing that her body is made to glorify God.  She doesn't need to show cleavage or wear short skirts or tight t-shirts to gain favor, attention, or allure a man.  Her body is a temple that is reserved to worship, and if God wills it, to be given to one man.  Beautiful femininity understands that God's grace has provided clothes to cover what culture tells young women to show the world.  

  • believing that through the Bible, God asks women AND men to submit to authority, but does NOT ask all women to submit to all men.  In her secure God-centered self, she will trust God to lead her to respect the men in her life, be confident and humble in her opinions, and again, if God wills it, understand that apart from God-given authority in her life, her role as a woman requires submission to only her husband. Her trust and faith in God will prayerfully lead her to be with a man who is worthy of respect. 

  • knowing that having a monthly period is in fact not a curse, but a beautiful gift in God's perfect design that only women can truly appreciate and understand.  

  • realizing how much God loves women. Story after story after story in the Bible shows how tenderly, beautiful, lovingly, and perfectly Jesus interacted with women. 

Oh, how the list could go on. I so desire for all three of my beautiful daughters, not just Esther, to understand how amazing it is to be created to be a woman. The gift is priceless, to be a daughter of the King, an heir of the Most High God.  

Esther, Morgan, and Carah, may you truly know that charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting. My prayer is that your praise will come from your fear of the Lord.  Please be clothed in strength and dignity that Jesus provides. Know that being a woman is an amazing gift. Never be ashamed of femininity that glorifies God. Allow Him to guide and carry you to become the women He has planned for you to be!

Esther, I trust you to continue to seek Jesus above everything, to work hard, to laugh and have fun. Thanks for allowing me to invest so deeply in you.

To my women friends, think deeply today about how blessed you are to be a woman. It is a tremendous gift given from the God of the universe who ordained your very existence. You were not a mistake or after thought.  You are fearfully and wonderfully made, woven in the depths, created with beautiful femininity.

What do you love about being a woman? Step in the conversation and share your serious, funny, and deep thoughts.  

I seriously love this young woman!

Moxie Memorizers

Sunday, May 15, 2011  ::   12 important comments

The 15th really snuck up on me this month.  With end of the school year activities, kid sports, Second Mile stuff, I'm running around like a nut. To top it off, this weekend we had orientation for seven students headed overseas for the summer. It was an amazing time working to teach them values that not only will help them through the summer, but hopefully through life.  Prayer, initiative, community, flexibility, amplify, cultivate, and integrity were the areas we focused on through simulation, stress, and strategy. I really love this group of college students and can't wait to see how they grow in so many areas over the summer and the next couple of years.

I'm not quite finished with the Matt 7 passage, but will finish it this week.  I'm going to join so many of you in memorizing the Lamentations passage for the second half of the month.  I've really focused on waking up in the morning and thanking him for the new mercies for the day. Having this passage in my memory will make it so sweet.  I love speaking His very words back to him through prayer. His words are so much more profound than my own! 

I will be working on Lamentations 3:19-21 NIV for the next two weeks and will add the next three or so verses in June.  

Lam 3:19-21 

 I remember my affliction and my wandering, 
   the bitterness and the gall. 
I well remember them, 
   and my soul is downcast within me. 
Yet this I call to mind 
   and therefore I have hope:

Please post your verses.  Please don't skip out on memorizing through the summer.  As it turns out, we pretty much need God and His word in our lives the whole, entire year without breaks.  

What to Do, What to Do

Monday, May 09, 2011  ::   2 important comments

At the beginning of the year, Esther had an assignment where she had to write about a difficult decision she was facing.  She couldn't think of a single topic.  On one hand I was happy that she is grounded in her relationship with Jesus, secure in her parents, and that her temperament lends itself to stability.  On the other hand I wondered if she was too sheltered.

Now we are nearing the end of the school year, the end of Middle School, the end of easy decisions.  Right now we are talking through a pretty big decision she needs to make. It isn't a make or break decision or one that is overwhelmingly important, but it will definitely affect school, friends, and her interactions with adults.  I'm not exactly sure how to guide her.  

I am definitely not a driven parent who demands certain levels of success from my kids.  I also wouldn't describe Chad and I as too laid back or apathetic.  So far, I feel like we've struck a pretty good balance.  As Esther and I talked today, I was able to assure her of my love no matter what conclusion she comes to, that I didn't care if she became the most famous circus clown in all the land... as long as she loves God and loves people I will be proud and happy.  (She laughed about being a clown and said she didn't think she was on that path.) But, it really is true.  I don't know if there is a right or wrong concerning this decision, but there are difficulties either way.  

Proverbs 20:24 A man's [8th grade girl's] steps are directed by the Lord. How than can anyone understand his own way? 

Proverbs 16:3 Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed.

Psalm 37:4  Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Driving right pass the girl guarding her.  :) 

I don't know for sure, but this shot was probably a total swish.  ;)   

Embrace My Mom

Thursday, May 05, 2011  ::   4 important comments

Let's just say I was probably a difficult kid to raise.  I was pretty rebellious, very opinionated, and extremely independent.  I had moments of extreme joy and incredible despair. My mom walked with me through so much. I'm so grateful for my mom!  Happy Mother's Day!!

P.S. Mom, you don't need to reply with a mushy comment.  If you absolutely need to, just send me a text.  ;)  

Cord of Hope Recap

Tuesday, May 03, 2011  ::   2 important comments

On Good Friday 100 beautiful Easter baskets were delivered to women across the city of Tucson.  Our giving team was met with smiles, hugs, a couple of squeals, and many sweet responses.  As always, a couple of dancers told us that our gift would be the only thing they would receive over the holiday weekend. One young girl told us she loved getting our gifts, took a pack of lip balm out of her bag and exclaimed, "BURT'S BEES!? This is really nice stuff!" Another girl expressed genuine gratitude for our faithfulness to come bring gifts to them. The owner that we've worked with the longest, thanked me again for continuing to come and "spread our message of love" to the women.

We had originally planned to take gifts to our regular destinations, three different clubs.  Each season we usually have 10-15 gifts left over, so I had decided that we would stop by a smaller club that had let us pass out gifts only one time. After the first time, they asked us not to come back citing "conflict of interest" as their excuse.  We had heard from a very reliable source that the management had changed, so with our 15 extra gifts we made the trek to the club close to the airport to ask permission once again.

Prayerfully, we walked up to the door and asked for the manager. He came out and I went into my prepared plea of wanting to give beautiful Easter gifts to the dancers in the club. He was suspicious, invited us into his office, and then asked me about our mission and purpose. We talked for awhile. I could sense that he was torn. He decided to get a second opinion and called in his partner manager into the office. When the number 2 manager walked in, number 1 briefly explained what we wanted to do and said, "What do you think?" With only a very brief pause number 2 manager said, "Sure. It sounds like a very kind, generous gesture. I don't see a problem with it." And just like that GOD granted us access to the club once again.

Let me just tell you that in the 7 years that we've been doing this, I have never seen reactions like we got in that club.  Girls were squealing with delight! They were calling their friends over to pick out a gift. Everyone was so excited and no one refused a present which sometimes happens.  It was really beautiful.  Not only did the management allow us to give gifts, but they allowed us access to the club to make sure every single women received one.  It was very successful.  I truly believe that those women felt loved and remembered.

Many of you have heard me say that we will continue to walk in obedience of loving the women in the sex industry of Tucson whether or not we see lives changed.  My fear is that because of my continual pointing to obedience that our prayers become only that of surrender to his will. Prayers of surrender are good prayers, but in this ministry we must continue to pray huge prayers for the women we love so dearly. Please, friends, continue to ask the God who loves people to draw these women to Himself.  Ask Him to give the women courage to call us or go to the dancer website we've created or even be brave enough to show up on a Sunday. Petition God to move in their hearts so they may experience freedom, love, and salvation.  Even though we walk in obedience because He is our God and our obedience shows Him we love Him, we must continue to pray huge mind-blowing prayers for the women in our city who are part of the sex industry.

Galatians 6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for in the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Moxie Memorizers

Sunday, May 01, 2011  ::   17 important comments

Happy May! I'm getting really excited about the summer. Having my kids home for an extended time, swimming, great fruit, and homemade ice cream are just a few things I love about the coming season. I was looking through old pictures and came across a couple of great ones that begged to be shared.

2006---My cute little children excited to swim!

Morgan is 4 in this photo.  You better believe she wasn't going to sink!
Do you know what is the best way to kick off summer? Memorizing scripture!! I knew you would be excited, too.  I hope you are enjoying the journey so far. When you look back at the verses you've taken in so far this year, I pray it lifts your spirit and makes you smile. I am SUPER proud of you for sticking with it this far!! To be honest, I'm pretty proud of myself, too.  

This last week I had to barter with myself a little bit in order to get my reviewing done.  It looked a little like this:  Angel, you can not turn on the radio in the van each day until you've reviewed your memory pack. Or... Angel, you have 10 min until your next meeting. See how many verses you can review before your appointment.  There are others, but most are too silly to share. And, yes, I do talk to myself... often.  

I've been in a time of a little discontentment with a few areas of life, so I'm going to focus my thoughts and meditation on his provision for the first half of this month. This passage also speaks to what I've been learning about caring for people around me. Isn't it interesting that I have been discontent AND learning about caring for others? My heart can be so contradictory sometimes. This may take me through the whole month, but it is a fairly familiar passage. I will update my progress on the 15th. 

Matt 5:7-12  Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.  Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a snake? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. 

Like I said, I know it's a lot. It will probably take me all of May. We'll see. Maybe I'll barter something really great with myself if I learn it in the next two weeks! 

I'm really excited to read what you will be memorizing for the 14 days! And, summer does not mean a break! It doesn't matter that you are out of your normal routine. It doesn't matter that it's too hot. It doesn't matter that you are traveling or vacationing. It doesn't matter that you are mentally spent. God's word remains true, established, life-changing and worth you pushing past any excuse you can muster! Take any extra time that summer may bring to memorize an extra verse or review an extra time. Stay the course, friends! 

Post away!