Sunday, November 23, 2014


Usually when God speaks to me, it's in a gentle voice.  Kind of like, as a child, when your parent would gently ask you to clean your room or do a chore. At that point, you have a choice to obey or disobey.  If you disobey, the voice your parent uses becomes a little more harsh and loud.  And consequences soon follow. Know what I'm talking about?

Over a year ago, God told us to "Go."  He said it in a gentle voice and we obeyed.  Now I like to say that I'm "walking in obedience" because of that one act of obedience.  Recently, God has been teaching me that it's not a one time thing, but more like every  day.   Acting obediently and rightly every. single. day.
I expect my children to obey every day.  At the sound of your alarm clock, you wake up.  Obedience.  You get yourself dressed and out the door for school on time.  Obedience.  You respect the rules of our home.  Obedience.
Why was I thinking God was any different a parent than I am?

Of course, He's the perfect Father.  I, of course, am no where near the perfect child.  I have been quite disobedient for over a year now.  I've been a spoiled baby, is exactly what I've been.  God has been telling me gently that I need to start taking care of my body.  Treating it with more respect, keeping it healthy, feeding it properly, building strength instead of fat.  I've given in to "stress" and given myself permission to eat foods that comforted me instead of foods that healed me.  As God gently reminds me time and time again of His plans for me that are good, I am convicted of what I am doing to myself that is not good.

Obedience.  My choice.

I was convicted a few weeks ago during church.  Our amazing church is growing in number so we are currently in the process of building a larger building.  Larger buildings require funds to build them.  We've been talking about sacrificing things to be able to give to our church.  Joyfully giving out of obedience, sacrifice, and knowing God will provide a way for us.  My 12 year old son had been saving up money for a larger computer monitor. After his birthday he had enough money to be able to buy one that we found a great deal on for $60! He had his money in his pocket one Sunday because we were going to pick up the monitor that Sunday after church was over.  Before service started, he said, "Mom, I need to talk to you about something." He said he was feeling God asking him for that $60 to give to the church instead of buying something he didn't really need, but just wanted.  He wasn't sure what God could do with his measly $60, but his wise response to God was that he would definitely obey because he knew God would provide for him in His perfect timing.  Yes, my 12 year old responded with such joyful obedience & with full trust that God would provide for him. No closed fists....just an open palm raised to Heaven.

If my 12 year old can obey like that, then much older momma can stop acting like a spoiled brat and obey with her health, knowing that God will provide a way for her out of her joyful sacrifice.  Is it even the same concept?  YES!  God doesn't just want me to obey with my finances.  He wants me to obey with my talents, my choices, my health, my service...everything!! Everything I do should be a reflection of His glory in me.

So, tomorrow...during the week of Thanksgiving, God has called me to be obedient in the most difficult way possible (at least for me).  I will be starting a lifestyle change of portion control and exercise...did I mention over Thanksgiving?  God seems to make the challenges not quite so easy.  But He always provides a way for us to obey.  He sent an old friend to help me through this process with a program and some accountability.

His plans for me are GOOD!  What He will reveal after my step of obedience is something I cannot wait to see. My loving Father has told me to keep my hands out of the cookie jar, and I choose obedience.  I choose sacrifice and joy.  

Sunday, August 17, 2014


I think from now on I'll just title each blog entry as "Overwhelmed".  While we've been at seminary, our mind has been blown at least once a week!  God's provisions in this walk of our journey are truly AH-mazing!

I share things over and over again so that God will be glorified.  I share our weaknesses, as embarrassing as they are, so that God can be glorified in our weakness.  This one I'm going to share today may just possibly blow your mind as well. God truly is our Jehovah Jireh...the God who provides.

Michael had just returned from England.  Three weeks of not working equals very little money in your bank account.  We had a little saved up for a family trip to Arkansas to celebrate my momma's 70th birthday.  Money or not, I would have found a way to get there to honor her on her special day! We spent a little over a week with family we haven't seen in over a year, and friends who pray for us and help support us along this crazy journey we are on.  It was a week of refreshment, which we all desperately needed.

Long trips take money...a little more than we had.  We ended up having to spend out of our savings, which is where Michael's book money is located...and classes start Monday!  I had a 2 day drive home to praise God, to thank Him for our trip, and to ask for His provisions for a few needs our family had in the coming weeks.  A few important needs we had on a zero bank account.  I have learned to pray specifically for "needs".  "Wants" occur occasionally, but God is honing us on what our "needs" really are.  In my spirit, I felt at peace and felt God telling me just to wait until we get home and check the mail.  For as I'm learning...He already had provisions set up long before I discovered I needed them.

About a year ago, we had closed out some credit cards, as we are trying to be obedient with waiting on God's provisions and not charging things we think we need right away.  I have to admit, it's a little scary not to have that "safety net", even though it's not really a safety net.  Know what I mean?  Well, there on the table is an envelope from Bank of America.  Michael opened it wondering what they could possibly want since we don't use them anymore.  I'll quote exactly what the letter said...and I'll photograph it if you don't believe me.

"We have enclosed a check for you.  We want you to know we appreciate your commitment to our country and pride ourselves on serving you. Based on a recent review of your account, we may not have provided you the level of service you deserve, and are providing you this check. There is nothing you need to do other than cash your check.  Thank you for all you've done to serve and support our country."


What credit card company reviews your account and feels they didn't give you the level of service you deserve and then gives money back to you?!  And what about the timing of that?  We sure needed that money RIGHT then! I can answer those questions with the simple answer...God.  God is bigger, God is greater.  Bigger than our looming financial needs, greater than any financial institution.

At present, our family is praying over a mission opportunity to Niger.  The cost seems big, looming.  Ebola on that continent seems scary and crazy for us to consider going.  But God is bigger.  God is greater.  As soon as we commit, God will provide.  After the check from Bank of America came in our time of need, Michael turned to me and said, "Are we done doubting yet?"  Yes, Lord.  In a thousand ways, Yes!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

July 14

I think I'll now forever remember this date.  This picture was taken on that date.  It was our last Sunday in our beloved Grand Forks, North Dakota.  It was the day we were to say goodbye to friends who felt like family.  Goodbye to our perfect house that we had remodeled exactly like we wanted.  Good bye to the church who had launched us into ministry.  All because God said, "Go."

I was reminded of the date this year on July 14.  An overwhelming sadness lurched over me that day and I wasn't sure why.  I was looking through pictures during my little pity party when I came across this picture and realized the date was July 14, 2013.  We were all so happy then to follow God's Great Commission and GO!  We considered it a journey.  An adventure.

My life verse since about 2010 has been Psalm 37:23, "The Lord directs the steps of the godly.  He delights in every detail of their lives."  That verse has sustained me through A LOT!  So, why did it surprise me that when I went to my devotion book, "Jesus Calling" (that I received for Christmas this year) on July 14 that this verse was there to sustain me through a day of mourning my past friendships.

All I can say is God is good.  He has forever been good.  He will forever BE good.  Have we been through a year of hardship and sadness?  Yes.  But it's good.  It's growth.  It's obedience.  God delights in every detail of my life.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

I have been offended...highly.

I am officially offended.  It takes a lot to offend me, so this one must be big.  In reference to the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court ruling, someone referred to Christians as the American Taliban.  Seriously?

As a Christian, I am expected by others to never publicly give my opinions on homosexuality, on government, on abortion, and so forth, because my beliefs are considered by the culture as "offensive", as "bigotry", as phobias, as "hateful". Since that is the case, how is it okay for someone who believes different from me to refer to ME as the American Taliban?  Do you know what the Taliban stood for?  Do you know the evilness that abounds in their hearts?

Do you realize there will come a day in our country (it's already happening outside of our country) when Christians will be killed?  Are you really okay with my death? Are you okay with Michael being beheaded for believing in and sharing Jesus with others?  Are you okay with Alex and Evan being shot in the head because they choose not to denounce their Lord and Savior?  Are you willing to kill ME because I believe contrary to you?  When you spout anti-Christian hate speech, you are hurting me and my family.

My sister in law is gay.  I love her deeply.  I love her girlfriend.  I do not spew anti-gay speech because I know that's a nail in her coffin.  I have friends who have had abortions, so I don't go off the rails telling them they are going to hell because I realize they are a soul God loves and He is a great redeemer. I don't advocate for anyone to die because their beliefs are different from mine. If you are a Muslim, I don't pray for you to die because of your beliefs.  You are still a soul God loves.

I believe our issue with such extreme polarization and hatefulness comes from the fact that on social media we can "say" whatever we want without seeing the repercussions of what we say.  Would you say to my face that you feel I act like the Taliban?  Would you say to my face that you hate me because of my beliefs?

To your face I would tell you I love you.  I will pray for you, for God to reveal Himself to you in a miraculous way.  And if you don't like hearing that to your face, then I'll pray for you privately and not post things that I know are detrimental to you.

I have so many friends who are all so different from me. I will never use words of hate to describe them.  So please don't refer to me, a Christian, as a member of the Taliban simply because I have a belief system that is different from yours.  I am proud to be a Christian.  The Bible will always be my final authority.  I am raising my kids to be pure, holy, and set apart, non-judgmental, and kind.  I am forgiving and passionate.  I have specific views on sex, raising kids, marriage, and family life.  They are MY beliefs. I realize they are contrary to public opinion and they flow counter to the current culture.  I'm okay with that.  And I will die for them.  Because if you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything. And I have earned the right to have MY beliefs because I sacrificed many years without my husband while he was off fighting for the freedoms we all enjoy.

I would expect you to stand for what you believe in as well.  And I will fight for you if anyone ever tries to claim your life.  So, yes, I'm offended.  But, I'll be okay.  God's got me.  And He is truly the only thing that makes sense when the world has gone crazy!

My "different" friends...I pray for you all daily.  I love reading your posts about your silly kids, your vacations, your jobs, and your pets.  And I do read all your posts that are far different from what I believe.    Just know that I'm reading and watching.  You can offend me, but I hope your not okay with killing me.  Even if you are...that's okay.  Christ in me, the hope of glory!

Thank you for letting me speak freely.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

God is good...again.

That song, "One Thing Remains" has a line in it that reverberates in my soul.  "...on and on and on and on it goes.  It overwhelms and satisfies my soul."

Overwhelms.  Literally God's love breaks you from the weight of it.

I have to share another God story for you.  We are keeping our life as transparent as possible to show you the awesomeness of our Father.   I was at Student Life Mission Camp this week with Alex.  A great week of following God's call to missions and sharing His love with others.  The pastor for the week was Tony Merida, a great pastor from right here in Raleigh!  One night he shared a story with us to bring to life the verse in Philippians 4:19, "My God will supply all your needs...".  The story was of a youth minister he knows who had about $0.13 in his bank account. (Yes, we can relate to that right now.) This man and his wife needed simple things like milk and toilet paper that they couldn't provide that week. They decided nothing was too small for God to provide, so they prayed for toilet paper. That night as they slept, their youth group did what teens typically do to their youth ministers as a silly prank...they TP'ed their house!  They got spooked and only used one roll, then left the huge bag they had bought (of Charmin, by the way) on the porch.  The youth minister walked outside the next morning to a huge bag of super nice toilet paper on his porch.  Did God provide toilet paper?  YOU BET!

Of course, this story made me tear up like a baby in chapel that night.  I was telling the story to Michael when we got home and Alex said, "Seriously, mom.  You cried over the toilet paper story?"  Yes, dear one, I did.  Because God's love overwhelms and satisfies my soul and He has done the same thing for me.  My friend Tabitha provided super amazing toilet paper for us when Michael was unemployed a few years ago. I wrote about that in one of my blog posts a ways back if you want to read about that.

Anyway, this morning Michael walks out to his car to get something and notices a gas leak all over our driveway from his car.  He knows nothing about cars and fixing them.  This sounds like an expensive problem to fix and we don't have ANY extra money to get that fixed.  So I said, "Pray for toilet paper!" I am NOT exaggerating this story, just so you know...but right after that I start to open the mail that Michael had just brought in. In my soul something said, "Prepare to be amazed..."  I blew it off as my mind playing tricks on me.  I open some junk mail, then I see an envelope from Armed Forces Insurance which was the home owners insurance we used in North Dakota.  We had failed to cancel our policy after we sold our house a year ago!  They were sending our refund check in the amount of $1400. There was a second check in the envelope for $7.00.  Michael said, "I wonder what the $7 check is for?"  I said, "Well, that's just reminding us that this money is from God...because isn't 7 the number for God?  The number of completion?" We stood in the kitchen right there crying.  Being overwhelmed and satisfied.  Knowing that God cares about everything we need.  Even toilet paper.  And money to get the car fixed.

Prepare to be amazed.  God is good.  On and on and on and on it goes.  Again.   

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

One Year Down...

Within the past year, we have sold our home in North Dakota, moved ourselves across the country to North Carolina to attend seminary. We have gone from "plenty" to "want".  We have gone from "big" to "small".  We have gone from full speed ministry to rest.  

We've seen that when you move out of your comfort zone, you can see God so clearly.  Well, there are times when He's quite hazy and you're really not sure if He's there or not, but then He shows up to remind you, "I'm here....and in case you were wondering, I got this."

I think I've blogged all year of our "struggles", which we now view as blessings.  The past few weeks have been quite the "struggle", or blessing, I guess.  :)  Sometimes the college life, the endless studying, the working of crazy jobs at crazy all gets the best of you.  We live on the tightest shoestring budget we've ever lived on in our life.  But God is good.  And He crazy ways, but it's still provision, and we continue to make sure He gets all the glory for it.

Michael has a cool opportunity to study in England for a few weeks this summer.  There is an underlying God story to how he's able to go (for free), but that's another blog.  There is a ton of reading that must be done before he goes, while he's there, and even after he returns.  The whole summer will result in 6 hours of coursework.  He's super excited!  We sit down with the reading list and immediately Michael gets overwhelmed.  He's not a reader, by the way!  And the cost of the books is pretty steep.  Yes, we can get things cheap on Amazon, but when your budget is already stretched as tight as it can possibly get...well, think of the squeezing blood from a turnip analogy.

So, we turn to facebook to see if any of our friends might possibly have these books we can just borrow for a few months.  Most of them are C.S. Lewis books.  Great books to add to our ministry library, but that will have to happen another day.  For now, Michael just needs the books in his hands to start reading (for he will need all the time he can find to read them!) We were totally NOT prepared for what happened next.  Seriously.  God's crazy provisions, I tell ya.  

First, a fabulous Thrive friend from eons ago offers to buy us one of the books.  Then a girlfriend from high school offers to buy another book, calling it an investment.  Wow.  Thank you, God, for that little tidbit of encouragement  thrown in to remind us that we are walking the straight and extremely narrow, hard path, (one that we feel like hopping off of almost every day!) but affirming it as the right direction for us.  Then my dad shows up buying us the monster book that is 600 pages!  Eeek! Then my aunt chimes in to buy a book.  Then 4 other fabulous brothers and sisters in Christ throw their pennies in our hat.  Blown away.  We just wanted to borrow some books, but God chose to use His faithful followers to bless us another way.  We don't take that lightly.  Anytime God chooses to provide, it's HUGE for us!  It's huge because you allowed us a glimpse into the face of God.  I ask frequently for just a, He honored that request.  

This song has been reverberating in my soul for the past few weeks.  If it ever gets sang in church, my heart may just explode with the love of God.  We made it through a year.  And only with God's strength can I write that sentence.  Keep praying for us.  We have a few more years to go!  Blessings to all you big-hearted friends out there!  We LOVE YOU!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Half a century, a full life.

My parents have been married for 51 years!!  I can't get out of my mind what a miracle that really is!  How people can stay happily in love for that long baffles a lot of minds.

They have known each other since they were kids.  Got married.  Wanted kids.  Couldn't have a baby, adopted my amazing brother.  Then miraculously a few years later had a baby.  Demanding job.  Crazy work hours.  Moving all over the place.  Raising kids, then teens.  Sending them off to college, then marrying them off. Retirement.  New job adventure.  Financial hardships.  Building a house together.  Selling a home.  Taking care of sick and dying family members.  Medical problems.  Grandchildren. 

Otherwise, in richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, in good times and bad times...

They quoted those vows...and they meant them. They didn't just say them, they LIVE them. Life has never come easy for them.  There have been plenty of faith lessons along the way. They've usually gotten an A+ on faith lessons...maybe not always.  Mom has not always been graceful and beautiful; Dad has not always been a knight in shining armor.  But God has been good to them and has honored their faithfulness and obedience to Him.  A legacy that cascades down their family line.

I am proud to call them my parents.  I wanted to honor them at their 50 year mark last year, but our life was in full swing of moving.  I will throw them a huge party someday...maybe at 55.  Maybe at 53 just to be different.

Their lifestyle of living on faith is one that my family has adopted.  I probably wouldn't be comfortable with this lifestyle if I hadn't seen it lived out in my parents' life.  But I see that my dad and God are best friends, so I know I have nothing to fear.

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for taking those wedding vows seriously.  Thank you for living them out in front of us, in good times and in bad.  Thank you that my family is blessed because of your faithfulness.  Thank you for your loyalty and love to Aunt Bo when she was dying, to Grandma and to Aunt Joan as you took such good care of them as they breathed their last and entered heaven.  Those will be the first there to greet you when you get there with a crown of loyalty and gentleness.  Thank you for the example you are to my children and the blessings you give my children.  But most of all thank you for praying for your children so passionately for God's blessings to continue to us.  And thank you for loving and caring so deeply for each other.  I pray that Michael and I are annoying each other as lovingly as you guys are when we hit 51 years!  :)

Happy Anniversary.  I love you from the depths of my soul.  And we WILL have a party...soon!  

Mr. and Mrs. Archie Caudle 1963

Mr. and Mrs. Archie Caudle (& Punkin) 2013

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Momma's Boy

My son gave me the most amazing compliment in the world today!  He didn't realize he was giving it to me.  But, man, it was awesome!

I've been under strong conviction lately that it's time to start cutting the apron strings a lot more for my children.  I literally do everything for them.  And I'm learning that is hurtful to their development.  Of course, I do it not to hurt them, but because I love them so much.  My spiritual gift is service, so I'm showing them how much I love and value them by doing everything for them! least that's what I've been thinking.  But after much reading, I'm finally getting it through my head to start letting them be who they are.  Letting them fail if they have to.  Letting them clean their rooms even though it's not as clean as I'd like it.  Letting them have their own say.  Within boundaries, of course.  I'm not letting them go totally...just easing up a little.

Over a lunch date today, my tender hearted Evan told me of his desire for friends.  Friends who liked the same things he liked, he used to have in North Dakota.  His desire to be viewed not as "the new kid nobody knows", but the cool kid who everyone likes.  Back in North Dakota, he was cool because he was Mrs. Becky's son.  Mrs. Becky used him for a vital role in children's church.  All the kids knew Evan.  They all looked up to Evan.

I explained to him that NOW he has the opportunity to be cool based on who he is...not because he's Mrs. Becky's son.  His reply to me with crocodile tears was, "But I always want to be Mrs. Becky's son."  Oh, my dear will always be my son.  You will always be my super cool, super intelligent, big hearted kid.  But now you can define yourself based on who YOU are.  Not based on who I am.  Not a person has ever met Evan who didn't instantly love him.  I am so thankful for his presence in my life.  And I cannot wait to see what God chooses to do with that big cool heart of his!

Instead of him being Mrs. Becky's son, I now get to be known as "Evan's mom". COOL!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Provisions in the desert

Isaiah 41:10 "Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand."

It's getting easier!!  

Now, I didn't say, "It's easy."  I said, "It's getting easi-er."  It's getting easier to trust fully in God.  So many things keep happening in our lives and God keeps showing Himself faithful.  It's really the coolest thing!  

God has us in a precarious position financially.  Not sure why He has us here, but it's all good.  Maybe He has us here to teach us some lessons, maybe it's so that He can be glorified.  Whatever it is, we will follow.  

Michael went in to work last week and found out that his hours have been cut by about 5 hours a week.  Since he's only working part time, that is a punch in the stomach financially.  When he told me, I didn't even worry!  Normally, I would be crunching some numbers, trying to figure out what we were going to do!  I would have worked myself into a tail-spin.  Michael was a bit discouraged so he went to his room to lay down and pray about it.  He came downstairs an hour later with a big smile on his face.  "Well, God's done it again," he said.

He has been talking with a friend from our new church who owns a window washing business.  (Friends from North Dakota will see the funny twist of events in that statement since our pastor was a window washer on the side!) He called Michael and told him he had just landed some big window jobs in the mall and needed Michael to head those up this week.  The money he would make on that would more than compensate for the 5 hours of work he was losing at his other job!  

What I want to point out is that the financial things that God is blessing is NOTHING we are doing on our own.  We aren't going out looking for money.  God is simply providing the opportunities for us when there is the need.  

1 Peter 5:6 "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time."

Just so cool I had to share!  I want to share our crazy life with you so you can be encouraged that God truly does LOVE His children.  So you know that God does care about all those little details of your life.