Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What 2012 Has in Store for Me

Well, it's been almost a year since I've actually updated this blog. So, New Years Resolution #10 is to journal and blog more often. So, here it goes :)

I don't know if it's because turning "30" is looming ahead of me this year or I just have a better outlook starting the year, but, I got so excited, I sat down and wrote New Years Resolutions. I've been thinking a lot about the upcoming year and I know changes are coming, but, good ones. I am very excited about what God has in store and what He longs to walk me through and teach me this year. I really want to be as open to Him and others as I can this year, trying new things, while being more intentional with every opportunity I'm given.

One of my resolutions is being more intentional & specific in my prayers for my children. Someone had given me a handout of prayers from "The Power of a Praying Parent", so I have started on Day 1 and now on Day 3 praying through scriptures for them. So, far securing protection, feeling loved & accepted, and establishing an eternal future. It's already been so rich! It has also given me more patience with them and allowed me to make the most of my teaching times with them through good things, discipline, etc.

I have also missed reading books! I just could NOT fit that in much this year. If it wasn't the Bible, I didn't have much, if any, time to read it. But, I finished a book in a day last week and that got me very jazzed! So, if you have any recommendations, please send them my way.

And, over all, I just want to be more like Jesus. I want God to shape, mold, teach, stretch me in all facets of my life (scary prayer, I know!) that I may truly know Jesus and be able to love, serve, and truly see people the way He does today.

Well, it looks like I have much ahead of me. I better hop to it. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What Will You Choose?

Wikipedia defines "worry" as an emotion it is experienced as anxiety or concern about a real or IMAGINED issue, usually personal issues such as health or finances or broader ones such as environmental pollution and social or technological change.

Yes, I capitalized "imagined" because I have found myself worrying about the things that have not even occurred and probably never will. I never thought I was a big worrier, but, something I realized: It's easy to say we're not much of a worrier especially when things are comfortable and going well, but, what will we do when the direction of our lives change a bit, and we're forced to truly trust God for what we don't necessarily understand? Will we trust Him because He's proven Himself faithful? Will we trust Him because He says He has plans to prosper & not harm us - plans for a hope and future (Jeremiah 29:11)? Will we trust His Word? OR, will we let ourselves spiral into a pit of worry that ends up choking the life & joy out of us?

Well, let's just say I've REALLY had to put this into practice recently. And, after reading Matthew 6:25-34 with our missional community and asking them to pray for me, I've been put in several circumstances this week where I was faced with a choice: to worry or not to worry. I really tried to "take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5) which for me meant that as I was faced with these decisions, I immediately prayed and recalled the character of God and certain scriptures I have memorized. It really helped! This led me to the question, "what is the source of most of the things I worry about?" and it was COMFORT! I tend to desire comfort whether it's financially, relationally, emotionally, physically, etc., I will usually choose comfort instead of denying myself for the sake of others & the kingdom. I'm just not okay with that!

Last week, I was listening to a song about the cross, This Is Our God, and I felt the Lord gently whisper to me, “Laura, what about the cross was comfortable for me?” That hit me like a ton of bricks! I am only here today because of what Christ endured on the cross, and I sit here wanting to just feel comfortable? Really?!? It sounds awful, especially when you put it on paper. I also began to read Philippians 2:1-11 out of The Message – now that is humbling. If we are to become more like Jesus, this means we set our comforts, privileges, & selves aside for the sake of the kingdom. What does that mean for you today? Will your answer be “yes” when you feel the Holy Spirit nudge you to say something, ask a question, invite someone in your home, serve the homeless, pray for your enemies, etc.? 

My prayer for us today: We will choose to listen to the Holy Spirit's whispers, and our answer would always be, "YES" even if it causes us to be a little uncomfortable for the sake of the gospel.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Embracing a New Season

Well, it has been FOREVER since I've updated my blog, so first New Year's Resolution of 2011 is I'll do it more often than once every 9 months ;0 But, as I sit here staring out the window at the beautiful snow (the first of 2011!), the words that come to mind are "a new season". That could possibly be because I was listening to Nicole Nordeman's "Every Season" song this morning.

As some of you may or may not be aware, I have resigned from my job as the Worship Associate at a local church to join my husband, Ryan Hairston, full time in our new ministry - Waken Ministries. I will continue leading worship as the Lord allows opportunities to come my way, and I will be posting those dates on my website as they come around. Also, we have recently started our first Missional Community with a group of 6 other families and we are excited about what the Lord will do through His people.

As I enter this season of change, I pray the Lord will continue to allow me to see Him in everything - good or bad. As the song says - still I notice you when change begins and I am braced for colder winds. I will offer thanks for what has been and what's to come. You are autumn. As we embark on this time, it may not all be easy or rosy, but I pray I will be able to offer thanks in any circumstance. I also love the next verse that says - even now in death, You open doors for life to enter. You are winter. I will miss my job & the people I was surrounded by every day, so I'll need to grieve that, BUT, I know God is bringing about a new life on this other side and I am waiting in anticipation for God to truly use Ryan and myself to waken people to the mission of God. And, the last phrase that sums up my prayer for me personally says: So it is with You and how You make me new with every season's change. And so it will be as you are recreating me. I know that I will walk through some hard days, some fun, adventurous & fulfilling days, but, through it all God will be changing ME more into the likeness of His Son, Jesus. So, yes, today, I will step out in faith for that!

This weekend's worship time was a great set for me to truly declare a few things to the Lord:

- I won't worry about to tomorrow, I'm giving You my fears and sorrows. Where You lead me, I will follow. I'm trusting in what You say. Today is the day
- My heart will sing no other name. Jesus, Jesus
- I am restless till I rest in You

Embracing a new season,

LORD, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, LORD. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy. Habakkuk 3:2