Sunday, June 28, 2009

Update

Today has been an eventful day! So far from what I pictured for this day when I woke up this morning!

Zeke and I decided that we would go visit a friend's church in Nashville today. Zeke met this pastor this week at camp, they worked together in the Green School at Super Summer, and Zeke told him that we would come visit in a few weeks because we were supposed to be out of town this weekend and then have children's camp next week. But since we ended up staying in town and my dad was still in the hospital and having a rough day, we figured we would just go to church and then head straight over to see my dad. While we were in church I got a text message from my mom saying that they had run tests to see what was wrong with my dad and they found that there was a leak so they were going to have to take him back in for surgery!

My immediate thought was we have to go, NOW, but as I sat there God began to speak to my heart that this was out of my control! (Obviously!) If we left in the middle of the service it would be awkward and getting to the hospital at that point would not do any good because there is nothing I could do anyways, except pray and that I could do right where I was!

So I began to pray! Pray that God would protect my dad and heal his body. I could not sit still all during the service - it could not get finished fast enough! Finally it was done and we were on our way over to the hospital. I got there in time to see my dad before he went into surgery and we stayed the entire time he was in surgery. Everything went well with the surgery and he is now back in his room at the hospital resting. On the way home, Zeke and I were talking and I began putting two and two together.

I have been going through I study about the Israelites and how God freed them from Egypt and took hem through the wilderness, providing for their every need as they went, but yet every time they came to a place where a need arose, they forgot that God was providing for them! This is just like me in this situation with my dad. There is nothing I could do to care for my dad and heal his body! I had to trust that God would provide like He always does! For me in this situation, that meant sitting through the rest of a church service realizing that my presence was not the one that mattered in the situation, but rather that God's presence was all that mattered! Trusting that He is faithful and will always provide for His children! Applying the knowledge I have gained from the numerous times He has provided for our family already!

I am so thankful that my family and I and those around us can look at my dad's circumstances and realize that God brought this about to reveal Himself! He has shown up and revealed glimpses of His glory all throughout this process! He is a great God! The only God and so incredibly worthy of our worship!


Just so you know...
My dad ended up having to have a temporary colostomy. This is very common with the type of procedure he had done the other day - colon resection - especially after chemo and radiation! Basically, the tissue in the area they resectioned, although healthy, does not heal back properly because of the radiation treatments. So they did a temporary colostomy. He will have this for 3-6mos and then be able to go in and have the colostomy reversed. They say 3-6mos because they want it to be as "cosmetic" of a surgery as possible. The surgery itself took about 3 hours. He got back into the room from recovery about 6pm and has been resting the rest of the night! Our family is so grateful for all of your prayers! They mean more than we could ever say!
Thanks so much!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Edited Pictures


These are some pictures that I took 2 Summers ago in Chicago. I just found them again on my parent's computer so I decided to edit them! Hope you enjoy! :)


Rain!

Ok, so I have to admit that this week has been absolutely insane! It started off a normal week of VBS (which by the way I haven't helped with in two years because of work!). However, it turned into a very big week in the life of my family!

Zeke left on Sunday afternoon for Super Summer a camp that the TN Baptist Convention puts on in Clarksville, TN. He went because one of their worship leaders had to back out at the last minute and a friend of ours got him the gig! A great way to make connections here in TN! However, I was definitely not looking forward to him being gone for a week! But it was just part of the deal.

On Wednesday, My dad went to have a colonoscopy done. This test was to check and see how the chemo and radiation had effected the tumor. The surgeon did the test and found that the chemo and radiation had worked to shrink the tumor and my dad would have to have surgeryto remove it. Oh and did I mention that the surgery was scheduled for Thursday - yeah you are following along correctly: colonoscopy on Wednesday, Surgery on Thursday! A BUSY week to say the least!

So my dad went through surgery perfectly fine. The surgeon told us that he thought they would be able to repair the tissue and NOT have to do a colostomy, but he really would not know until they were in there and really saw what was going on. When the surgery was finished, the surgeon came down and spoke with me and my mom. He told us that everything had gone perfectly fine and that just like he thought, the colostomy was not necessary! He ended his description of what happened during the surgery with "God is good!" We of course completely agreed! There was great rejoicing in the waiting room when we came out and told the others waiting there with us! Relief!

At the same time, my wonderful husband was in Clarksville, TN (a couple hours away) and woke up Wednesday morning to a swollen, sore right hand! So bad that he was unable to play the guitar for the rest of the week! When he came home on Friday we went to the doctor and found out that he has tendonitis in his right hand which means that his hand is on rest for the next week or so!

So with all of this going on, God reminded me this afternoon that he knows when I need to be refreshed. Not only that but He knows exactly what will refresh me! Today was a day of cleaning and getting things ready for when my dad will come home this coming week and taking care of Zeke because he still cannot use his hand. On top of that, today was insanely hot!! But, about an hour ago, a rainstorm came through and the temperature outside was perfectly comfortable and it was just amazing to get to spend some time in the rain! God loves us! He cares for us deeply and He realizes when we need Him to show up in a special way and refresh us!
"I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys. I will make the wilderness a pool of water and the dry land, springs of water." Isaiah 41:18 God sends these times of refreshing into our lives as a way for us to refocus and prepare for the mext part of our journey!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Camp Impact


I sent this information as an email to some ladies I did a Bible Study with this Spring, but thought I should go on and post it as a blog so the rest of you can see it too!

God has been doing some amazing things here in Shelbyville! This is just a small glimpse of it!

Last week, we went to camp with Shelbyville Mills Baptist Church. We had been planning for this trip since March and we were so excited to see what God was going to do through this trip in the lives of the students and the church as a whole! Little did we know what He had planned....

The night before Satan launched a full out attack. His goal was simply to destroy the joy that I had going into that week! My mind was confused and I was becoming angry over some things and I was literally to the point where I just did not want to go! But as I prayed for the situation my mood changed. I knew that God had given me this opportunity to go and minister to these students and I could not let it pass me by. So of course I went and God showed up in ways I never dreamed! (Just to give you some background...this is the church that my family and I were attending when I gave my life to Christ and when He called us to be a part of the work in Las Vegas.)

The messages all week were focused on the armor of God(Eph 6:10-20). The first night was an overview of the armor and then each session after that focused on a specific piece of the armor. For each piece of the armor we focused on how that piece was used for the Roman soldier in battle, what that piece means to us as Christians, and how we can apply this piece of armor in our lives each day! Each message was amazing! And we learned that non of these pieces is more important than another, because if you are missing a piece then there is a part of you that is not protected from the attacks of the enemy! There was one piece that seemed to stick out to all of us more than the others though. This piece was the shield of faith. These shields used by the Roman soldiers were 2 1/2 ft wide and 4 1/2 ft tall, they were overlayed with leather that could be soaked in water to extinguish fiery arrows shot by the enemy, and on the sides they had grooves so that they could be locked in with one another to form a wall of protection. We learned that for us as Christians, our shield is our faith in God. Faith that He is who He says He is and will do what He promises! When the enemy begins to attack us, we duck down behind this faith just as a soldier ducks down behind his shield.

The coolest part of this message was getting to watch the students play a game afterward that really helped this truth to sink in to their hearts and the hearts of those of us watching! After each night session the students had night rec. They would go out onto this HUGE soccer field and play games by the light of a single generator-powered stadium light. For these activities the students were split into their color teams (a mixture of church groups and ages). This night the rec leader had them get into their color groups at various spots on the field, so that the groups were a spread out from one another. The leader then explained to the students that they were going to have to find their church group...in the dark!! They cut the light and chaos broke out! It was so dark you could not see your hand in front of your face! The students were screaming! But finally they began to calm down and work to find their group. Once some of our students found each other they began chanting "Shelbyvile!" so that all the other students could find them. Finally all the groups were together.The rec leader then had them lock arms (our symbol of locked shields for the week) and not only lock with just their group, but lock with the two other church groups. So those of us leaders that were out their are standing on this hill and we start shining the flash lights we had on the students so we could see them and it was the most amazing thing I have ever seen! 100+ students standing arms locked, the length of the entire soccer field. Of course we were unable to get the lights to come back on, totally a God thing! As we stood there in the pitch black darkness the students began to sing! God spoke to my heart at that moment that this was a picture of how we look when we as the body unite with one another and stand against the enemy! The only words I can use to describe it are terrifyingly beautiful. I cannot imagine the fear that must have run through the enemy as he heard those students sing out the the living God!

So Sunday night the students shared all of this and more with the rest of the church. And God is using it in amazing ways! These students have been texting one another every morning to remind one another to get up and put on the armor of God and sharing with one another what God has spoken into their lives through their time with Him that morning! It is so amazing that a tool, like text messaging, that Satan uses so frequently to stir up trouble and worldly behavior has been the fuel that is keeping these students on fire! This fire also spread to the church! We woke up late yesterday morning and a few mins after I got up my mom called the house and said that one of the staff guys was trying to get in touch with Zeke to lead worship because we were going to have another service that night because of all that God was doing they just felt that we needed to meet again and be sensitive to the Holy Spirit's moving. So Zeke lead and the pastor spoke on revival. Revival for us as soldiers in a battle. There will be times when we are victorious, but shaken, wounded and hurting. In these times we look to God and hide in his shelter. We draw close to Him so that He can refresh us and renew our spirit!

I am sorry this is so long, but I really felt like I needed to share this with you all! Please pray for our students and the whole church that we would continue to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit's movement! Also please pray for me and the older girls (11th, 12th, and college girls) we are starting a Bible study tonight! Pray that God would use this study however He desires! That He would speak to the lives of all of us in the Bible study!

If there is anything I can pray for you about please let me know!

This video is of pictures from the week at camp!
video

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Last Blog Before Camp 09

So many things are running through my head right now! I cannot even begin to explain! Tomorrow we will head down to Piscah, Alabama with a group of about 100 students for camp! We are praying that God would move in a way that only He can! But as is always the case when God gets ready to do something BIG, the enemy tries to attack! It has started already!
However, it is a total God thing that I finally got my hands on a copy of The Power of a Praying Wife today so I can read the chapters as I go through this 30 day focus of praying for my husband with a group of ladies on facebook - random I know to those of you not involved, but amazing that God is so creative and does not limit Himself in the avenues He uses to challenge and encourage His people! My copy of the book is somewhere in our storage unit, and since the whole focus is to pray for my husband not to frustrate him by having him help me dig through our storage unit in search of one book, I figured it would be better to get the book from our church library! :) Anyway, today the chapter we are reading is about the mind of our husbands, and how we as wives can pray for God to protect and bring clarity to the minds of our husbands. I so needed to read this today! Satan is trying to get any foothold he can in our minds and lives as we head out for camp. My husband is leading worship for this camp and it is no coincidence that satan would try to attack through his thoughts on the night before we head out!

Reading this chapter, the first thing that hit me was this quote "If he and I were one, then an assault on his mind was an assault on me as well," (p81). If Satan is trying to gain a foothold by attacking my husband and discouraging him in an area of life, then Satan is also attacking me! I never truly thought about it this way, but it is so true! How many times has someting happened to our husband and we take it as a personal offense to us? This is because we are one! The Bible teaches us this! "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh, " Genesis 2:24.

Because of this truth, I have a responsibility to react when I see an attack coming upon my husband! I am talking about spritual attacks, not physical- in case you didn't catch that! :) If I see an area in my life where Satan has a foothold, I would be ignorant to just leave that area of my life alone and do nothing to guard it! The same applies to me seeing these areas in the life of my husband! His life is my life. I would be ignorant to let Satan gain a foothold in the life of my husband because I decided to do nothing even though I saw it happening! How foolish! So what can I do when this happens? I can pray!

I am learning that praying God's word is so powerful and effective that words cannot even describe it! God's word is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, andof joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart," Hebrews 4:12. As I went through the study Living Free this past spring, I learned that praying God's Word shifts all the focus of my prayers to God! So many times my prayers are so focused on me and have no authority behind them because of this. When I use scripture in prayer the authority of scripture is there and the weight of my prayers is placed on God.

So here are some scriptures mentioned from this chapter that I prayed over my husband and a few more. Sorry I didn't type out the whole verse, but I really need to get to bed! :)
Here they are:
Romans 8:6
Ephesians 6:10,11,18
2 Timothy 1:7
Philippians 4:8
2 Corinthians 10:3-5
Romans 12:2
There are many more, but these are just some that stuck out to me!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

So a lot has happened since I last blogged. One of the most exciting things was that Zeke and I got to go to a Hillsong United Concert with some friends here in Tennessee. If you have never listened to Hillsong or Hillsong United, You need to start NOW!!!
I had heard them before, had actually been listening to pretty much nothing but their "This Is Our God" CD for the last few months! It is amazing! The week before the concert their newest Hillsong United CD came out and we bought it on iTunes and had been listening to it the whole week.
There are so many amazing songs on these CDs and just when I think I have gotten all out of the CD that I can possibly get God speaks to me through something else in these songs!
So we were super excited about going to this concert just to catch a glimpse of how they view worship - in person this time, not from the CD. It was absolutely amazing! I am still a little overwhelmed thinking about it! God showed up in such an amazing way and we got to get in on it! With hundreds of people singing together to God and worship leaders who flew thousands of miles just to lead us before the throne of Christ. They shared with us that when they first began traveling to lead worship at events like this, they did not charge for the event. However this did not work out well, because they had people coming from 14 hours away that waited in line and then were not able to get into the concert because there was no more room for them in the venue! So they decided that they would charge the lowest ticket price at the given venue and all of that money would go back into their ministry and help them travel to places like Africa where people would not be able to afford an event like this.For those of you that don't know this group, Hillsong United, is the worship team for the student ministry @ Hillsong Church in Austrailia. So no one on the stage got any money out of the experience. It was amazing!

So all that information to get to this point. One thing God has really been speaking to me about over the last week is worship. So many times we allow ourselves to be distracted from worshiping because of the smallest things! When we are in group settings we focus on the people around us, what they are doing, what ehy are thinking, who they are looking at, etc. Yet even when we are alone distractions creep in as we seek to worship our heavenly father! We also allow life's circumstances to dictate whether or not we truly worship Him. the funny thing to me is that the Bible teaches us that God never changes! He is constant! Hebrews 13:8 says "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." There is an amzing song by Hillsong called "The Desert Song" The bridge of the song says this " All of my life, In every season, You are still God, I have a reason to worship." The point is, those of us that are Christians know the goodness of God! We know Him well enough to know that there is never anything that can come into our lives that does not give us a reason to worship. He gave to us something that no one else ever could! Life!! There will always be something to distract us, Satan will always try to convince us that God is not worthy of our worship, but we know better! Something to ponder as we live life with Him!

The next exciting thing it that we are heading to camp on Monday!! I am so excited! I have not been to camp in 3 years!! I have missd it so much! :) Please pray for us as we go! We will be in Alabama for the week (enough reason to pray already! LOL). There will be about a hundred of us total going down for the week! Please pray that God would move in a mighty way! That leaders and students would surrender to God and His work in their lives! That what God does this next week would flow over into the church families of the students! That they would catcha glimpse of God's glory as He shows up at camp next week! I am so excited about what God is going to do! I know He is going to move in an amazing way!

I guess I should stop for now cause this is pretty long! :)