“Triple T”

You know how so many of the Old Testament books
of the Bible seem to be filled with gloom & doom?
But there’s actually SO much more.

Here’s a quick example:

God was pointing out how so many of His people
had stopped tithing,
stopped obeying,
stopped caring about God altogether.

Then He says this…

Malachi 3:16 (another great “3:16” verse)
“Then those who feared the LORD spoke with each other,
and the LORD listened to what they said.
In his presence, a scroll of remembrance was written
to record the names of those who feared him
and always thought about the honor of his name.”

Did you notice that?

1. God was listening to the conversations between
people who served Him.
He was LISTENING! And they weren’t even praying!

2. They purposely kept a record of the people who
obeyed God and always THOUGHT about honoring
His name.

So I need to remember…

A. God is listening!
Stop complaining!

B. Think thoughts that honor Him!
He makes note of it.

C. Thinking about God will quickly make me thankful.

So… this little verse tucked away in the last book
of the Old Testament tells me to
THINK THANKFUL THOUGHTS!

Those are three “T’s” that I need to write on some sticky
notes and post them everywhere in my face,
and phone,
and mirror
and heart!

THINK THANKFUL THOUGHTS!

Accomplished Plans & Smiling Hearts

“I hep ya, Mama?”-
A direct quote from all 5 of my kids…
over the last 20 years.

I have pictures of them standing on chairs or little stepstools
in the kitchen, wearing an apron, stirring, mixing or just watching
with great interest. Now, back then I didn’t really need their help,
but I loved being with them, and they loved being a part of the action.

One time our oldest, Mariah, (about 5 yrs old at the time) was setting
the table. Her little sister Courtney was about 18 months old
and wanted to help, too. So Courtney proceeded to take a can of pop
from a box of 12, and one by one with your little toddler hands,
took EVERY single can to the dinner table… where all FOUR of us
would be eating! Her “help” may have added a little extra work on my
part, but she was so stinking’ cute and felt so happy to be doing her part
that it made my heart smile! 🙂

On Friday when I opened my Bible, God said I should just make everything
I read my prayer. I’ve been reading in Isaiah, so I picked up at Chapter 25.
Verse one says…

“O LORD, I will honor and praise your name,
for you are my God.
You do such wonderful things!
You planned them long ago,
and now you have accomplished them.”

I started praising His name and thanking Him for all He’s done
and accomplished in Detroit and Courage Church.
Then He quietly said,
“My plans for you being in Detroit have been accomplished.”
Before I could even finish a nice sigh of relief
I stopped short & said,
“Lord I’ve made so many mistakes, how could it all be accomplished?”

He smiled at me ( yes, He does that) and said,
“Yes of course you made mistakes.
You’re a human child, but my plans have still been accomplished.”

Then I read on until this verse …
Isaiah 26:12
“LORD, you will grant us peace;
all we have accomplished is really from you.”

(I added the underlining!)

oh, Duh, Netta! Of course!
Everything is accomplished because HE did it!
Such a merciful God who lets us “help” Him carry out His plans!

Thank you, Daddy God, for allowing me to “help” you!
Perhaps I made your heart smile, too! 🙂

Simultaneously Sad AND Happy

happy sad

I’m not Whacked out.
Sad AND Happy live side-by-side in me.
It’s sound like a bit of a “condition,
but quite honestly,
this combo of emotions screams,
“Healthy!”

Here’s why…

God has directed my husband to transition from the role
as founding/lead pastor of Courage Church to
joining the team of Mount Hope Church in Lansing , Michigan
full-time. ( More details are here)
To say that my emotions are zipping around from one
extreme to the other is stating it rather lightly.

Feeling sad & nostalgic …
– Over 10 years ago God directed us to start
this wonderful Church in Detroit.
– Was here when she, Courage Church, was born
– Have been involved in its growth & maturity
– Love & adore the people of Courage Church
– Now… it’s time to let her continue without us
– So much history with our Courage Family
– Saying goodbye to the hardcore, super cool, come-back city
– two of our children were born here
– our gorgeous old historic home must now be sold
– we raised our oldest girls in this city
– those two girls will not be making to move with us
– personally growing in a zillion ways & making huge memories
– there is nothing quite like this amazing church & city

And just like that… My eyes are spilling all over the place!

But at the same time a happy, bubbling dances inside my heart.
God has asked us to be a part of something new…

– Falling in love with another church family
– Experiencing new areas & ways of ministry
– Knowing God will develop unused parts of my life
– Making new friends to share our lives with
– Becoming part of a new city
– Hunting for a home
– Establishing new patterns
– Making new memories

And… just like that… I’m all gitty and jumpy inside!

I’m not pschyo … it’s supposed to be this way!
If I was ONLY sad, then I’d be hanging on too tightly,
and now allowing God to do His work in my heart.

If I was ONLY happy then I’d be running from something
and not allowing God to do His work in my heart.

See…. These roller coaster emotions prove HEALTH.
They only FEEL whacky…
Maybe that’s because I’m living in a condition of the heart
that is only about a sentence and a half away from tears
at any moment.
But I’m OK with it all.
I know the One who is directing our steps and
He’s the same One who created my heart!
As long as this heart of mine is following diligently
after Him, then sad AND happy will be just fine with me.

Normal, Common, Regular

“How was your day, today?”

“Regular.”

This conversation used to happen between
my daughter and her friend, Satina.
We always got a kick out of her
use of the work, “regular.”
Other people usually say words like,
“fine” or “good.” Her day was usually
just, “regular!” (I love that girl!)

Honesty, that word describes most of my
days, too. As a stay-home-mom I do nearly
the exact same tasks every day/week.
Not much changes. And since my five kids
range from ages 7 to 22
(only four are still at home), I’ve been
doing these daily jobs for 22 years with MANY
more years to come! Many!
The real kicker is that these
jobs are never, ever “completed.” NEVER!

As soon as I clear & scrub the sink,
someone eats again!
(how dare they?)

No sooner do I sweep our gorgeous wooden
floors & the dog saunters through the room &
disperses his hair to every corner.
(What does he have against me?)

Laundry is put away just about the time
someone dumps dinner on their clothing!
(Seriously?)

You know exactly what I’m saying!

Very few areas of my life offer that
wonderful satisfaction of “a job well done”
because nothing is ever DONE!
This reflects the “stay-at-home-mom” life.

Unrelated side note:
Recently when I called myself a stay-home-mom
a lady said to me,
“Oh, you shouldn’t feel bad that you
live with your Mom.”
WHAT? Come on!!
(but this is another topic altogether!
)

Regular. Common. Normal.
That’s my daily life.

All throughout the Old Testament the Bible
refers to the “Holy and the Unholy,”
the “Sacred and the Common.”
My daily life feels like it belongs in
the later of each of these comparisons.
And yet… it does NOT!

Everything my hand finds to do is
for God’s glory.
It’s all for Him.
It feels “regular,” but my feelings lie.
Whatever I do, I do it all for the
glory of God!
This makes the common task HOLY!
(Scripture references are from 1 Cor. 10:31 and
Col. 3:17)

Take heart, my fellow moms!
Chin up, faithful employee
with “menial tasks.”
Our attitude of praise & glory to God
converts our “normal regular stuff”
into holy, God-glorifying
jobs of great importance!

Yes, I’m a “stay-home-mom” but I’m far from common!

A Proper Home

I excel at DIY projects… in my heart, at least.
But in reality I make a big mess, and when it’s all finished
words like “crooked” or “splotchy” come to mind.
Wouldn’t it be fabulous to know how to build & create beautiful
things that function well?

Leadership is like building, but fortunately for me,
it never requires things that are purchased from Home Depot or Lowes.
In 2 Corinthians 13:10b, Paul says,
“I want to use the authority the Lord has given me to build you up, not to tear you down.”

In this verse the phrase “build up” means constructive criticism and instruction
that builds a person up to be the suitable dwelling place of God
,
to make a suitable place where the Lord is “at home.”
What a thrill! Our job as a spiritual leader is to help others grow and
serve Jesus in a way that makes their lives a comfortable home for JESUS!

I may not be gifted at interior decorating, and I’m certainly not
good at DIY projects, but I CAN encourage and instruct others as
I whole-heartedly follow Jesus. If I am dedicated, faithful and
open myself up to those who are following me then I become a decorator!
Imagine it! Me… and YOU…
creating a comfortable & proper home for GOD Himself!!!

Eat your heart out HGTV!

That first drive – 10 years Later

Ten years ago (June 2004) Chilly & I, our three young daughters
and 8 young adults moved to Detroit. Over the next few months
I will be posting parts of that history – my history- possibly
your history, too. Each post will include “10 years later” in
the title. (If you’d like to make sure you don’t miss any of
these posts you can have them sent directly to your email.
See the bar at the side.)

That First Drive

hamtramck MI

When Chilly first drove me into the strange and ever-so unique
city-within-the-city-of- Detroit known as
The City of Hamtramck, I was praying.
Desperately.
Franticly.
In a horrible panic.
“Oh, Jesus! Please hurry & help me love this place!”

Unknown

Oddly-shaped,unusually decorated buildings.
Muslim call-to-pray blasting over city-wide loud speakers.
Men in dresses.
Homeless & needy people in every direction.
More cultures and religions in one tiny place
than I could’ve imagined. (and I’d done my homework!)
“Help me, Jesus! How on earth can I possibly live here?”
“Is this even America?”

hamtramck MI

I dug deep and found positive things to say
to Chilly, anything besides what I was really thinking.
He knew. But how could we voice it. If God was sending us
here, to this pocket of Detroit to begin a new ministry,
then how could we do anything but look for the good…
to hunt diligently for it.

Chains & a gate on the building when we first saw it

Chains & a gate on the building when we first saw it

Walking into the building that had been “given” to us
did nothing to erase the panicked flipping of my stomach.
The once-Polish nightclub, turned church, turned abandoned
building would become a second home to us…
but at that moment we were greeted by mold, dirt
and fragments of what had once been something.
It was now “nothing.”
It would become a thing that would change lives.
But first Jesus had to begin that change in ME!

(To be continued…)

That Word – Humility

When you think of words that make your tummy turn a
little flip and your heart utter a little prayer of
forgiveness, one of those words would most certainly
be HUMILITY. Am I right?

This difficult quality will not grow in us as long
as we are thinking about ourselves.
“How do I look?”
“Did I do that right? Are they noticing?”
“How will this affect me?”
“Why are they doing that? That’s not even right!”
“They’re so insensitive!”

Insecurity kills humility.
Cuz thinking about ourselves all the time
is pride… the enemy of humility.

A purposeful effort must be made to
NOT be full of self-thoughts.

Make an effort to…
– be gentle (deciding to be kind)
– be patient (cuz impatience is selfishness!)
– work without a title
– not depend on others’ affirmation
– choose the “invisible” jobs
– recognize others when you’re craving recognition
– be alone without being lonely (quote from our mentor Jeannie)
– stop rating other people
– remember Who you serve & why

Humility is the inside-out virtue that’s produced
by comparing ourselves to the Lord rather than to others.

“Always be humble and gentle.
Be patient with each other,
making allowance for each other’s faults
because of your love.”

Ephesians 4:2

Just Standin’ there, Confused

It’s there… in the Bible… and it seemed like
such a sad thing to say about the disciples/friends of Jesus.

Jesus hung dying on the cross,
“But Jesus’ friends, including the women who
had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance watching.”
(Luke 23:49 NLT)

It was a BIG deal. A huge moment.
An event that would forever change their lives.
And they kept their distance, watching.

These were not just casual observers who had heard of Jesus,
these were His close friends. The Greek word used in the
text means those who had a close experience with Him;
someone who knew Him first-hand. Someone like…
ME!

That’s exactly what I said to Jesus as I read this.
“Lord, I’m like these disciples. I know You first-hand
and understand that You’re doing something hugely
significant right in front of me, and yet I’m standing
off at a distance, rather dumb founded, just watching.”

Then God silently spoke: “You ARE just like those friends.
But what ELSE are they doing?”

Me: Umm.. we’ll they were probably…
Uneasy
Confused
Scared
Unsure

But they…
Stayed
Waited
Watched
Were Loyal
Kept eyes glued on Jesus

Oh… Yes… Thank you, Jesus.
I get it!
(Big relieved sigh!)
I will keep my eyes – heart- glued on YOU!

I’m a Boring Shopper

Maybe I’m just too practical, but
I buy boring Christmas presents.

My brain thinks ahead
“Can they use this in more than one way?”
“Will it still be appealing in six months?”
“Will it drive their parents crazy?”

I guess that may NOT be what most people
think when they’re Christmas shopping, but
being a good steward of our money stays
with me… always… in every area… including…

This year our church has adopted several families
and will be providing a wide range of gifts
to care for a variety of needs in their families-
food
clothing for each member
shoes & socks
toiletries
household necessities
gift cards
and of course TOYS!
(a 15 passenger van FULL of toys was kindly
provided by Rochester Michigan Assembly of God!)

Everyone has eagerly grabbed up the cards
that describe one of the needs in each family.
I happily took some cards for children’s clothing.
(I have a little experience with this, huh?)

I wanted to buy great striped or patterned
sweatshirts and funky jeans & tennis shoes.
Then, “Practical” kicked in.
It’s more than likely that whatever we buy
for these children will be worn several times
a week. So… stripes and patterns are going to
be rather obvious and possibly invite teasing
(which they may already be enduring).
Enter “Boring Practical Shopper Lady!”
068909_t

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Basic colors that won’t be too obvious if worn often.
Jeans that are dark & won’t show as much dirt, crayon marks,etc.
Boot shoes. Not snowboots,
but OK if worn when snow is on the ground,
yet still a shoe.

Not exciting.
But then again, maybe it’s because most of
us have MORE than our basic needs met.

Thank you, Lord, for meeting our needs
and allowing us to share!

Dreams fulfilled

I wrote the following things in my journal last week when I was thinking about
“dreams come true.”

 

Dreams are fulfilled in relationship, not accomplishments.

Relationship with Jesus, Chilly, my children, family and church, etc…

It doesn’t mean that these people fulfill my dreams-
that would be setting us all up for failure.

But rather, it means that the joy of
loving them,
serving them
and having them in my life is enough for me!

I’m livin’ my dreams!