I absolutely love my bible study girls. I wish I could take them with me to Texas. Each of them is so unique and bring such a wonderful quality to our group. What I love most about these girls is that I feel free to be me around them. I can vent about Cooper’s lack of sleep, laugh about something rather silly, cry about motherhood or about friend and family who need Christ, or just be a plain dork (which I do rather well). These girls have poured out love for me as Chris, Cooper, and I are getting ready to move in about two weeks. They have had a girls dinner out one week, a huge going away party with all my extended friends, and a bible study farewell dinner with our spouses last night. The love I feel from these girls makes me so grateful to God for allowing me to be apart of these women’s lives. How I love all of them so much. I pray that they know how much I have appreciated each and every one of them!
Here is what I have learned from each of these women:
Jo- to be more flexible with life. Every day presents a new challenge and we just need to accept that with each day comes some variation. I have also learned to be open and honest with needing help and asking for it. She has encouraged me to reach out to my friends when I need more help. I have also seen how Godly a woman she is and she inspires me to lean on God for my every need. She is a wonderful mother and wife and I pray that her example would help me to grow as both a mother and wife!
Angie- to be content in all situations. Angie has had a lot of difficult situations this past year between moving to a state and knowing no one, raising a newborn, health issues in her family, and buying a new home. Despite all these difficult situations, she has not complained at all. She has share her heart with me and her sadness, but never once complained. She is a woman who really trusts in God. Shes loves her son and husband so much and it is evident in her actions!
Tricia- a Godly woman. She is a person who truly loves the Lord! She has such great insights to share when we are studying the bible. She is a woman of prayer and really has a Christ like love. She has really convicted me to spend more time with God in prayer and reading his word daily. My relationship with God has grown so much because of the example she has set for me. She is a wonderful mom and wife with a true servants heart!
Janel- a praying wife. She is a woman who prayers for her husband and family all the time! Instead of sitting back and saying, oh well life sucks for my family, she gets down on her knees and prays. She also asks for her friends to join her in prayer. I have seen God do wonderful things in her family because of her prayer and petitions to God. She is also a person with a servants heart. She is always helping other people who need help, whether that is babysitting for a friend, driving a friend to the doctors, coming over to a friends house who is crying and needs support, or just bring a meal to a friend. Janel is a trust worthy friend and I am going to miss her! Although Janel is not a mother yet, I have no doubt that she will be a fantastic mom when her time comes!
Andrea- rely on your friends. Andrea just had her first child this year. As a first time mom, she has been great about asking for help from her friends. I was not so good at asking for help. She has taught me the value of community and depending on your friends for help, support, encouragement, and prayer. I hope that when I move to Texas that I can reach out to other woman as Andrea has reached out to me and her other friends. She is also a very Godly woman who has total trust in God’s plan for her life. She has inspired me to have more trust in God. She has also encouraged our bible study to pray more often and because of that we have seen God answer some awesome prayers! She too is a wonderful mother and wife!
Crystal is an other amazing person who is worth writing about! Crystal is Colleen’s (the girl I wrote about in my previous post) best friend. Crystal stands along side Colleen doing all of the same outreach ministries that Colleen is involved in. But it should be noted, that Crystal currently works two jobs but still finds time in the evenings and weekends to invest in the lives of the young children at Metro Ministries in the inner city Baltimore. Colleen wrote a blog entry about her Crystal about a month a half ago and I think it is worth reading. Check it out! http://charmcity-colleen.blogspot.com/2009/02/volunteer-profile-ms-crystal.html She is an amazing woman of God and her heart is so passionate about sharing the love of Christ with these children! I am blessed to know her 🙂
Please pray that God would continue to use Crystal to bless the lives of the children she works with at Metro Ministries! Also continue to pray for her protection, as her and Colleen are often out on the streets of inner city Baltimore late into the night talking with at risk youth and homeless men and women!
This weekend Chris and I took our friend Colleen out to lunch for her birthday. For those of you who don’t know our friend Colleen let me tell you a little about her. First, she is an amazing Christian woman. I first meet Colleen because of Chris. Chris was helping Colleen out with an out reach program she was doing with the inner city homeless. She was going to a park every Sunday with a group of people and serving them food and sharing the message of Christ. During this time she was also spending her weekend days and evenings in Baltimore City hanging out with the homeless, sometimes even at 2am. Then about about a year or two ago, she felt lead to help the inner city children. She found a church in the inner city of Baltimore and helped develop a program for at risk youth called Metro Ministries. She is now serving there as a missionary.
So we sat there at lunch and we chatted about what was going on in her life. She proceeded to tell how she had just spent the morning and afternoon driving to some of the children’s homes that she works with at the church. She was just checking in with some of them and to talk to their parents about their behavior. She was also telling me how they are now hosting a teen night from 9pm-12am Friday night to keep the teens off the streets during the highest crime time for young teens. 40 teens showed up his past Friday night and half of them were new and had never come to the church before.
After lunch was over we drove home and I started to think about Colleen and how God is using her. She is an amazing woman who is totally devoted to sharing God’s message of hope and love. She has traded a world of stability (having a normal job and stable income) for a world that relies totally on God’s providence and provisions. She may be the only love and stability that some of these children see on a regular basis. What an encouragement she is to me! I know what God will say to her when she arrives in heaven, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:23)
If you are a person of faith, I ask that you would pray for Colleen, Metro Kids ministry, and other people who serve in this ministry! I have provided a link to Metro Kids Ministry if you would like to read more about her ministry!
As a Christian, I have become dependent on prayer. I realize in the beginning of my walk with the Lord that I was not in control of my life and the decision I made. God was the one who had the final say and decision for my life. As Proverbs says, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” So I have learned that no matter what great plans I have dreamed up and tried to initiate, if it is not in God’s will, then it will not happen.
Sometimes surrendering our own plans and desires can be hard, especially when we want something so bad. At times I thought that God would never answer my prayers, but God calls for us to be strong and wait for HIM to act! He does everything according to his perfect timing, all though it may not be our perfect timing 😉 I find I get discourages when God has not answered my prayer in a “timely manner” (well I want him to answer me faster). But, I am reminded that the Lord does answer the prayers of the righteous! God calls us to pray continuously, leaning on God for our strength and support! During our waiting period, God is growing our faith and trust in him. It is easy for me to get discouraged, but these scriptures helps restore my hope and faith that God has heard me and will answer me in his perfect timing.
Currently, I happen to find myself waiting on the Lord. I have been praying a certain prayer for almost 5 years now without an answer. I have seen glimers of hope, but still no answer. I was starting to get discouraged, but then I opened my bible and stumbled across the three scriptures at the top. The Lord spoke to my heart and my hope has been restored. I don’t know why the Lord has not answered my prayer yet. I may never know why. But I do know my God has heard my prayer and will answer me one day. Until then, he provides me the strength through his word in the bible!
I am reading a book called How Good is Good Enough by Andy Stanley. I ordered this short book (92 pages) a few weeks ago and I finally sat down and read most of the book today. Something interesting struck me in the book. On page 78 Stanely wrote:
“For most people, choosing a religion is like choosing a flavor ice cream- we pick what we like, what we are comfortable with, what suits our taste. That’s understandable, but it’s not very smart. The issue is not What do I like? or How was I raised? or What makes me comfortable? The issue is What is true? I find that people don’t like to be backed into a corner and forced to discuss religion in terms of true versus false. Again, understandable. But once you decide that people live forever somewhere, you are staking your eternity on what you choose to believe is true. So it is entirely appropriate to discuss religion in terms of what is and is not true.”
I know many people who believe in Jesus, but don’t really believe all of what Jesus claims. They pick and choose what they want to believe in. Almost like we were creating our own pizza and we could put on as many toppings as we want or leave off the toppings that we don’t care for. Stanely has pointed out an issue that is very prevalent in our society. We want to believe in what we want to believe in. We don’t want to compromise our life style or choices so instead we just pick and choose what we want to believe in or is convenient for us.
For instance I know many people who believe in Jesus- believe that he is the son of God, came to earth, died on the cross, and was raised from the dead. But at the same time, these people also believe that if your a good person and live a good life, that you’ll go to heaven even if you don’t believe in Jesus. This just does not measure up. If you are a Christian then you must believe in what the bible teaches about Jesus. Jesus taught, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6).” So if you proclaim to be a Christian, you would also believe that you must believe in Jesus to go to heaven and be with God (the father) one day. All the good things we do here on earth will not earn us a free ticket to heaven. Rather, Jesus calls us to trust and believe in him– that is the only way to heaven.
The “good people go to heaven” idea just does not hold up if you claim to be a Christian. The bible points out that not one person on earth is perfect or good- not even Mother Teresa. “There is no one righteous, not even one (Romans 3:10).” We can never be good enough to go to heaven. We make small mistakes daily. We are angry drivers, tell a little white lie, gossip about a co-worker, the list goes on. Maybe these sins are not as bad as murder or adultery, but they are still sins. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).” That is why Jesus died on the cross, because we all fall short of God’s glory and standard of goodness. In the old testament Jews had to sacrifice animals when they made mistakes (sins) in order to be forgiven. Jesus sacrificed himself by dying on the cross for our sins so that we could be forgiven. All we have to do is ask God for forgiveness and believe that Jesus died to be the sacrifice for our sins.
So as Christians, we cannot subscribe to the “good people go to heaven” idea. Jesus’s teachings points us in a different direction. We cannot pick and choose the parts of Christianity that we want to believe in–it would no longer be Christianity. Just as if you were to bake a cake and leave out the eggs, would the cake turn out right? No. You need the eggs in order to bake the cake correctly. Just like we need to believe that Jesus is the only way we can go to Heaven. Being good is not enough alone. We need to believe that Jesus died so that we might be forgiven for our sins and one day spend eternity with God (our father).
We wish all of you a very Merry Christmas!!
Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
This past month has been very busy for the three of us with visiting family and friends and Christmas parties. We have enjoyed having a little more freedom now that Cooper seems to have settled into life a little more. He is such a social baby and enjoys all the attention he gets from all our friend and family. He only wants to be held so he can see out. If you obstruct his view he becomes very frustrated. Cooper is 3 months old now. He just started to laugh last week and Chris and I think it is the cutest thing to hear him giggle. He continues to grow like a weed. We currently weighs 13lbs 13ozs. It is hard to believe that he was only 7lbs 8ozs when he was born.
Chris and I are excited to spend Christmas with our son. We will be in Houston visiting with Chris’s family. We are looking forward to waking up on Christmas morning and sharing Christmas as a family. It is hard to believe that just over a year ago Cooper was only a twinkle in our eye. We look forward to watching Cooper grow up and experience Christmas each year as he gets older. While we plan on celebrating Christmas with presents under the tree, Chris and I feel it is very important for Cooper to know that this holiday is about Jesus Christ, and he was born on Christmas day. While Cooper is still young, we plan on baking a birthday cake and singing happy birthday to Jesus. I think it is a shame that with all the commercialism and Santa emphasis the real reason for the season is lost. I think this is true for children and adults. Without the birth of Jesus Christ, we would all be without hope. For the bible says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)” It is my prayer that you would all believe in Jesus. God offers us the best Christmas present of all- his son.