(This is a poem I love.  The author is unknown.)

She came tonight as I sat alone

The Girl I used to be

And she gazed at me with her earnest eye

And questioned reproachfully:

Have you forgotten the many plans 

And hopes I had for you:

The great career, the splendid fame,

All the wonderful things too

Where is the mansion of stately height

With all its gardens rare?

The silken robes that I dreamed for you

And the jewels in your hair?

And as she spoke, I was very sad 

For I wanted her pleased with me…

This slender girl from the shadowy past

The girl that I used to be.

So gently rising, I took her hand

And guided her up the stairs

Where peacefully sleeping, my babies lay

Innocent, sweet, and fair.

And I told her that these are my only gems,

And precious they are to me;

That silken robes is my motherhood

Of costly simplicity.

And my mansion of stately height is love,

And the only career I know

Is serving each day in these sheltered walls

For the dear ones who come and go

And as I spoke to my shadowy guest,

She smiled through her tears at me.

And I saw the woman that I am now

Pleased the girl I used to be.

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Brian spoke a couple weeks ago about making 2 degree shifts.  I love that idea, as I am sometimes an extremist.  To change a little, turns into a lot of change.  The book he referred to is Heart Shift, written by John Trent.  Good book.

As Brian and I prepare to speak together in our parenting series, I am remembering another great book I once read:  Raising Faithful Kids In A Fast-Paced World by Dr. Paul Faulkner.   This book was compiled  by interviewing exceptionally successful people who had managed to raise strong vibrant families.  You will see that they had much in common.  Great book!!!

And my last book mention–The Saggy Baggy Elephant.  I love this little Golden Book.  I once used it in a meeting to speak to teachers!  It is about a little elephant who doesn’t really like himself and tries to change to be like others, until he finds out how special and valuable he really is!  Good children’s book for all of us!!

I had dinner tonight with the Oak Leaf Church staff wives!  They are awesome, and God is doing amazing things at their church in Cartersville!  It is fun to hear about what God is doing in different places.  Anytime you get with other church planters’ wives, you instantly have a lot in common. Fun night.

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the needs of people.  I wish I could personally help everyone.  In a church where there are too many needs for me to personally address, I have had to ask myself, “How do I know who to help?”  I have recently realized that, if I will stay close to God and be sensitive to Him in my life, He will, as they say in the church world, “put someone on my heart.”  I guess to me, that means that if I keep thinking about that person’s need over and over; and I can’t stop thinking about it,  then I know that I need to personally do something to help.

Are you praying for something and you feel like God is just not on your timetable?  He probably isn’t.  He has His own timetable, and He will do things the way he wants to do them.  Several years ago, Brian did a 40 day fast and prayed for many things, one of which was for God to “show us” the land for our church to build a building.  As he prayed each day on a rock on a familiar piece of property, he had no idea that he was across the street from our future land.  God had actually “shown him” the land as he was looking at it each day.  The crazy thing is that he did not know this until 4 years later when the property became available for sale.  I heard a great quote once, “God may delay, but He is never late.”  We can trust Him, because His ways are higher than ours.  He is at work now in His possible silence to bring about His best plan for you!

I wrote earlier about The Case For Faith For Kids.  Here’s a little bit about another chapter.  It is concerning doubts, and it asks if we can believe God and still sometimes have some doubts about things.  It says, “One day a man came to Jesus with a son who needed healing.  Jesus told the father that everything is possible for someone who believes.  The man said, “I do believe!  Help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24).  Now there’s something–a man who says that he believes and he doesn’t believe.  that’s kind of like…well, pretty much everybody.  It’s not that people have no faith.  They just want God to help them with those little unfaithful parts inside them.”  Now remember that this book is for kids, but I think it explains things pretty well.  Strobel goes on to explain that doubts can be like a “faith workout.”  It can make us stronger as we seek to understand God more.  He also says,”  Faith is never blind.  (it) is walking to the edge of all the light that you have and taking one more step.”  Reading this book with the boys has certainly sparked interesting conversation in our house.  I think kids can be pretty good thinkers.  

 

Along these lines, I began to think about faith in my own life.  I wasn’t there when Neil Armstrong arrived on the moon, but I am choosing to believe that the footage we see on TV is accurate.  I can’t understand weather forecasting, but if the weather man calls for a 95% chance of rain, I will probably take my umbrella with me.  I have never been to heaven or met anyone who’s been there, but in faith, considering all the evidence, I choose to believe there is a heaven and that Jesus is my way there.  Maybe this children’s book is interesting to me because I worried and doubted things (mostly myself) as a child, growing up in a Christian home.  I think it is great for our kids to have the freedom to share thoughts and doubts and for us to have the opportunity to guide them into growing faith that will one day strengthen them and give them boldness as adults.

What a great Christmas we had with family this year!  We did Christmas with Brian’s family on Christmas Eve.  We opened presents with the boys on Christmas morning and then drove 9 hours to Virginia to be with my family.  We ate and ate and shopped and went ice skating!  Did I say we ate?! On the way home we took the boys skiing in Boone, NC.  The New Year’s Eve ceremonial Bloye family fondue was a highlight; and finishing up the holiday was the journey group feast at the Barfields!  We feel blessed and ready to face a new year.  (And clean out that basement!!)

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