Thursday, December 24, 2015

Roots

This time every year I get concerned with my roots. Family. Not hair.

I get concerned about my lack of "roots".  Our gypsy lifestyle always gets the best of me from Thanksgiving until the New Year.  First a military lifestyle for 10 years of uprooting our life every 3 years.  Now a ministry lifestyle of having to "work" Christmas.  We've been in church ministry now for about 9 years and getting off for Christmas is almost impossible.  Christmas Eve is the biggest night of service, so asking off to "go home" for the holidays is never an easy task.  Don't get me wrong...I'm not complaining.  I just get concerned about my roots when it's so blatant in my face. I'm human, no where near perfect!

As I was belaboring some root issues around Thanksgiving, even after spending time with my family in Arkansas, God shed some light on things for me.  He always does that when I bring my belabored issues to Him.  Seek and you WILL find.  He brought home for me His words in Colossians 2:7,

"Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness." or Ephesians 3:17, 

"Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong."

My root-ed-ness is not in where my earthly family all gathers with or without me in attendance.  My roots are where God is.  And when I'm walking in obedience to God wherever He's placed me for such a time as this...that's where my roots are.  They grow deep, but they can also be easily uprooted by the Master Gardener and re-rooted wherever He sees fit to plant me.  My family is not just blood relatives, but also the church family that God has given me for the exact moment they are needed in my life.  Or even, at the exact moment I'm needed in their lives.  God's family works both ways. 

I am proud to be a Caudle by birth, a Corsar by marriage, and a child of God by His mercy and grace.  He chose me before the foundation of the earth was lain.  And I await the days the skies are rolled back as a scroll and we see all our Father face to face.  Believers in Christ all have the same roots.  We just live physically in different locations.  I love that my family is literally all over the world.  My Christmas cards reminded me of that this year. 

#notofthisworld #gypsymomma

Friday, May 15, 2015

Thoughts on Year 2 of Seminary

Well, we've been in a "foreign land" now for 2 years.  In a land not particularly of our choosing, but where God chose to send us nonetheless.  Following a direction to simply, "Go". Go to school.  Michael has finished up two years of his Master of Divinity degree.  His emphasis is currently Biblical Counseling, but that may change, as he's presently leaning toward Expository Preaching.  We've been serving in several ministry capacities, but still haven't found our "niche", and haven't received any further calling.  After two years into this obedience thing, we were kind of expecting something by now.  It's still embarrassing to answer the question, "So, what are you going to school for?" or "What are your plans after your graduate?" with the answer... "I don't really know yet."

We have learned more in the 2 years we've been here than ever in our lives.  Even though Michael is the one officially enrolled in seminary, I get to learn right alongside him.  He'll be the one getting a paper diploma at the end, but I get to enjoy all the knowledge without all the studying and tests!  :)  Not only are we receiving book knowledge, but the faith lessons are unimaginable.  Watching God's provisions will never cease to amaze me.  There are still plenty of things going on that I don't understand the reasoning behind, but I'm just leaving those things in God's capable hands.

The most amazing of His provisions come in the way of people that He places in our lives.  People who come on the scene exactly at the moment we need them.  People who share stores of things in their lives that encourage us at the exact moment we need to hear them.  Friends who provide for us financially with words totally anointed by our Father.  I want to tell you about one of those instances most recently that blessed me.

Michael and I had just had a discouraging conversation of  not feeling our "calling" yet.  There are times when God is silent and you feel He has forgotten where He's put you.  You ask Him for direction and the only answer you get goes back to your original call.  Nothing new.  Can I be honest?  That is SO frustrating!  If nothing else through our journey, I'm gonna be honest.  Following God's call is NOT easy, sometimes totally not fun, and as current culture has shown us...it's not safe!  But IT'S GOOD!  It was at this exact moment of discouragement, we received the most anointed note from a dear friend encouraging us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. She wrote, "Our ministry IS the journey.  We tend to look too far ahead sometimes."  How could this friend have known this was our struggle unless God prompted her to pray this and encourage us in this exact area?!  God is so good!

That's probably the best lesson from 2 years of seminary.  God is good.  Even though He can be hard, He's good.  Even though we don't understand, He's good.  When I doubt Him and fail him, He's still good.  And He still continuously shows me that this verse was written for me: "God directs the steps of the godly.  He cares about every detail of their lives." Psalm 37:23

Every detail.  All the time.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Jorge the Light

I'll never get tired of that feeling that washes over you when God shows up!

I pray over my daughter every day.  Alex has had the hardest 2 years of any teenager I know.  She has been plucked out of her comfortable life and plopped right into God's plan for our family which has been anything but comfortable.  God is writing a beautiful testimony for her life that I'll let her share when she sees fit. But I'll share little snippets of it now and then.  :)

She is in a public high school in a pretty big city.  1600 kids walk the halls daily.  Since her first day of school I have emulated my cousin who has prayed this verse over her children:

Matthew 5:16, "Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."  

Daily, I have prayed for her to shine so bright that others find Christ through her actions.  Every day.  But daily, she comes home defeated as if she's just fought the biggest, ugliest battle in history!  She comes home tired and depressed.  This morning, I was impressed to pray something different over her.  I asked God instead of making her a light to shine all alone...may He lead her to other lights in her school.  I asked Him to show her other believers to remind her that she's not alone, so they can shine even brighter together!

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, " Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor; If either of them falls down, one can help the other up."

I prayed this prayer as I dropped her off, and drove home.  I really didn't think anything of it as my day went by and I was engaged with a thousand other things!  I  noticed Alex was more chipper and energetic when I picked her up  after school.  Again...didn't think much of it.  But after dinner this evening, she walks downstairs with her Bible in her hand.  She had ask her dad to start discipling her and teaching her how to study her Bible. She then tells me that she met a new friend in class today, named Jorge.  He is a Mexican kid who speaks broken English that she struggles to understand.  But he asked her in class about the church she went to.  He asked her to tell him about her church, and then he told her about his church.  He then started quizzing her on Bible trivia.  They talked about God until the teacher got upset with them for disrupting class.

As she was sharing this story with me, God showed up.  Well, He had been there all along, but He finally showed up in my mind. I started crying, and Alex, who is quite used to her mom's emotional tears, rolled her eyes jokingly and asked why I was crying.  I told her about my prayer for her this morning.  My prayer for God to lead her to other lights in her school.  Jorge the light.  I'll take it!

Sometimes we pray things that we think are right to pray.  There was nothing wrong with my prayer for God to make her a light.  I believe He is doing that in His own way.  But God impressed on me to ask Him for something MORE right for her...right now.   I wonder if Jorge's mom was praying for him this morning, too.  Praying that he might find another light today.

Psalm 37:23 "The Lord directs the steps of the godly.  He cares about every little detail of their lives."    Every. little. detail.

Friday, January 2, 2015

New


Today I start my new year.  Putting away the Christmas decorations of the month past.  Putting fresh, new sheets on bedding.  Washing laundry to make it fresh and clean after a great week of celebrations!  Focusing on a new year and what I want to accomplish and change this year.  As I contemplate all these things, God gives me the word "new" to focus on.

My day began thinking of my precious cousin, Schawn, who is currently living in a new body with our Savior in Heaven.  She is in all new surroundings that would literally blow our minds just thinking of all the new sights and sounds she is experiencing!  I have always been fascinated with Heaven and longed for the day I get to see it!  I always get a little jealous of those who get to experience it before me. Morbid?  No.  That's where I'm created to live, so it's natural to feel a longing for it.

The word "new" is used numerous times in the Bible.  The verse that resounds in my head today is Lamentations 3:22-23, "The faithful love of the Lord never ends!  His mercies never cease.  GREAT IS HIS FAITHFULNESS; his mercies are NEW every morning." I read a Desiring God commentary that stated  God is not "old"; He is.  We are not young or old; we are.  It is a continuum of time on God's big timeline.  Everything that is in existence now is because that is where God has placed it on the timeline to exist for His glory.  Daily, He makes all things new because it is existing today for His glory. My cousin, who lost her mom, said she is just taking things "day by day".  That's exactly how we are to live.  God gives us the grace sufficient for one day.  I exist for His glory today. Tomorrow is not promised to me, but if I am blessed with another day, it is a new day. One more day to proclaim the glory of God. One more day in which He will be with me, walking beside me, giving me strength to do the task He has called me to do...today.

I can't stop singing "It is Well With My Soul" today.  The history of that great hymn goes something like this.  Horatio Spafford was a wealthy man in Chicago who was financially ruined after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.  He was moving overseas on business, but had to send his wife and four daughters ahead so he could finish up a business venture.  Their ship collided with another sea vessel and sank instantly.  His wife was saved alone.  Horatio came to get his wife and while grieving the loss of his four daughters, he penned the words to this great hymn.  "When peace like a river attendeth my soul.  When sorrows like sea billows roll.  Whatever my lot, thou has taught me to know.  It is well, it is well, with my soul."
The people of the church he attend
ed and where he was an elder, decided that he and his wife must be living in great sin and these events were God's punishment on them, so they cast them from their church.  Can you imagine that pain?! After starting a new family with his wife, their four year old son soon died from scarlett fever. Sorrows like sea billows roll is certainly right.  But did they turn from God?  No.  They allowed the great pain in their life to be used by God to bring glory to His Kingdom.  

In this new year, I want to use whatever God gives me to bring glory to His Kingdom.  I want to live on His great timeline and not try to make it my own.  Whatever happens, it is well with my soul. 

video
Evan and I set up a mock recording studio this afternoon to honor my cousin's family and my family during this trying time of grief.  My 12 year old is amazing at his computer, so we hope you enjoy this recording session we shared together as I worked through my own grief.  It's all I have to offer to you...along with my prayers of comfort.  I love you Caudles, Browns, Slacks, Carters, Spanglers, Stuhans, and Williamsons.