Sunday, November 23, 2008

Hard work produces a profit.

The blog of all blogs… I hope this makes sense. I’ve been trying to get it down on “paper” for a few weeks now. But I’m glad that I was able to finish it tonight… this weekend was a blessing and I’m glad to finish this in hope instead of frustration!

Hard Work. I’ve found myself desiring to be a wife and a mom that gets to stay home and clean house. I think, “I’ll make breakfast for my husband, spend tons of time with the Lord, work out at least an hour everyday and get about 7.5 hours of sleep each night.” Real life? Not for many of the moms I’ve been around. They are definitely Proverbs 31 women, but let’s get real. Every day unexpected things happen… the day gets hiccups and at times falls down and goes boom!
I have an incredible job and desire to be there as long as I’m supposed to be. The vision, people and benefits are great.... But the desire to be a career woman left me a long time ago. I’ve found myself saying, “It’s a great job, as long as I have to work. See, I want to be a wife and mom, but since I can’t do anything to make that happen as long as I have to be here, it’s a good job… but I don’t want to work!” Don’t want to work???? What am I thinking?

The rest of my life I will work, I have to embrace the work and enjoy the work and the fruit of the labor… I’ll also never arrive… life is about process! Embrace the process!

I just spent a few days back in East Texas for Tara’s wedding (so beautiful!) and to spend a few days with Tandra, Stephen and their new super beautiful little girl, Rachel. Helping with just one little one that nurses and sleeps was certainly less work for me than helping with 5 that have ballet, karate, naps, picky food issues and one in diapers. Also being back in Longview reminded me of my life back there… It was great, but it was also the typical unmarried life (my new preference to single, is unmarried. It’s in the bible.. check it out in 1 Cor 7 ;-)!). I certainly had a lot going on and was busy helping the church and helping out friends and even babysitting for the Graves family every weekend, but it was on my terms. Living with them is a lot more dying to self. NOW HERE’S WHERE I WANT TO BE OPEN AND HONEST… but please hear me. The Graves are amazing and DO NOT EVER ask too much of me in helping out. It’s the being apart of a family, the coordinating of picking up kids, bed-time when John’s out of town working, cleaning this massive house before Life Group on Sunday… it’s all of the things that come with a big family that are causing me to die to self.

I’ve been snapping at the kids a lot lately. Not really out of frustration, and it’s not a snapping in anger. It’s a “DO this now” kind of snap. I have felt like I come home and we don’t have time for them to play or disobey or be silly. “We have a task to get done! It’s bedtime. Come on, guys obey the first time!”

They’ve asked me a few times, are you ok… they are noticing that I’m not ok. I’m tired. But it’s not just the physical tired or the fact that my body is weak now with a sore throat… I’m spiritually tired.

Tonight I was so blessed to attend a Thanksgiving (thank you) dinner for the entire worship minister (about 350 people there with their families!)

I really feel like God lovingly reveal some things to me. In worship we sang an old Keith Green song (how I love Keith Green)… about not seeking our own crown in God’s Presence and there I was seeking crowns in my head… wondering what people were thinking of me. I told God, I’m tired of fear of man… and that I just needed Him. I believe He started allowing me to see that when I approach Him, I don’t feel like I’m enough and that’s why I am striving a lot. He reminded me of the price He paid for me and that He loves me enough to pay the greatest price of His son…

Then I remembered how I’ve been snapping at the kids, and it hit me. Children really are reflectors of your own character and if you watch how you treat them (and how they treat you back), you’ll learn a lot about yourself. I realized I come home and am treating them the way I’m treating myself. I so long to enjoy each moment and not just think about the next task that needs to be done, but I’ve been failing miserably.
Marcus Brecheen shared a message at the Thanksgiving dinner and here are some of the life changing points..

A lot of people have gifts, but character is a victory.
One of the greatest tests is business.

How to know ur spiritually tired-

Lack of compassion
Loss of ability to empathize
Surfacing on relationships

The Lord is so good. I went down for prayer (humbled myself) and walked away knowing God was going to bring rest and revelation… and He did. It’s been a long weekend of Nicole and Hannah at dance convention, driving Friday night to Ft. Worth to stay with a friend, singing at all five worship services in the choir, watching the kids last night, walking through an emotionally difficult weekend with a good friend… but something changed. Shifted really. I’m at peace. My heart feels taken care of by the King. I stayed up late last night with the 4 kids (minus Hannah) and the two little girls just clung to me missing Mommy. I needed that time wth them. I needed to kiss and tickly little Johnny and play karate with Joseph. It’s hard to come in as the big sister and have authority when I don’t have the fun/love/joy time with them. It was a late night, but it was a good night with them.
In worship this morning there were so many powerful moments, especially singing, “When I speak Your Name”. I just felt my spirit rising up and saying, “speak Jesus over every mountain in your life”! It was very powerful. And yet, the fear of man and performance I’ve struggled with kept rising up, too. I told God, I’m sorry, Lord! I don’t want to seek a crown (recognition, being noticed or praised) but just to bring you glory. The Lord sweetly whispered in my ear of His love and hope. I was in awe and for moment forgot that I was on a stage surrounded by a huge church. God loves me and wants nothing more than to give me hope I so desperately need to walk in faith, faith that pleases Him. He didn’t judge me or get frustrated with me b/c have of the worship time, I was wondering if I looked thin, or NOT, and wondering if I was noticed in the sea of faces… I don’t deserve His love and hope, but He gave it anyway. My precious Jesus. He truly is my strength and my portion.

When I was at Tara’s wedding I can’t even remember how many times someone older asked me when my wedding is going to be… they’d grab my hand and ask where my ring is. HELLO… there’s not even a man, how on earth can there be a ring.  One older gentleman sweetly told me, “Maybe God needs a little help” Seriously???? I’m over here trying to give Him more and more control and you’re telling me to take it from him and try to “catch” a man? NO THANK YOU! I don’t want the kind of man that will respond to me pursuing him! Oh how I long to respond. I fully believe God reveals, the man initiates and the woman’s job is to respond… Yes, that’s the nut shell version, but I want to respond to God and to a godly man whose heart is after the Lord…

The other day I was driving and thinking of different relationships I know of. I just cried out to God to let me deal with as many issues now that I can before marriage. I completely know that marriage will bring up issues and character will have to grow, but, OH LORD! Please help me to lay down as much as I can now!

I have so much hope. The enemy use to try to get me to believe that I’m forgotten or behind. Whose time-table is he on? Who cares that I’m 28 and living with a family and feeling like I’m not establishing anything tangible of my own, because the truth is what is being established in my heart is more than walls of a house.
Proverbs 19:14 (AMP)
House and riches are the inheritance from fathers, but a wise, understanding, and prudent wife is from the Lord.

Man can give wealth, but it’s the Lord who gives wisdom, understanding and prudence. If this is true, then my job as an unmarried woman is not to look left and right for a husband, it’s to look straight ahead searching for God. Searching for His wisdom, understanding and prudence.

Lord, thank you that you are speaking to me despite all of my failures, blind spots, mistakes, prideful thoughts, and impatience. I’m yours Lord. You have my heart.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Rebekah Elise and Anna Elise

I've known the Graves Family for about 10 years now and it's one of my greatest joys in life being able to live with them, A.K.A. Family School. It's a great privilege to be "re parented" and to learn to not be a selfish single girl wrapped up in my own cares. God has done so much in my life through them. Ok -that's another blog.

Friday night all of the family, minus John (in CO) and minus Katie, but with Noel, went to a ballet social with all of Hannah's dance company. We had a blast. The hay ride was a little "coldy" as Johnny would but it, but I just love seeing how great the kids play together and take care of each other. Seeing Joseph put crickets on the other girls as they ran with high pitched sreams was priceless. :)

After eating hot dogs Bekah wanted dessert. She had her choice of homemade cupcakes and others delicious delicacies, but Bekah just wanted the store bought cookies. Why? Because they had SPRINKLES on them, of course!!! I sat with her to share in the joy of her sugary delight when Sprinkles became the perfect nickname for my little Bekah Boo. :) Nicole walked up and took a few pics of us... I mentioned being sleepy so Bekah said let's take a nap! I love when the kids do the sweetest little things like how she put her hand on my face. Priceless!

Monday, October 20, 2008

I love Football... a little too much.

First - thank you to Nicole for tipping me off to a new layout for the ol' blog. :) Gotsta be as original as possible! Side note. I was complaining that a friend of mine has the same shirt as me. Of course she bought if after I did and had even seen me in mine! I came home "rightfully" complaining to Nicole about it and ranting about how I like to have my own style and not look like everyone else. AT that moment, Nicole's face was priceless. "Then don't shop at Banana Republic." HA HA - so true. Ahhh to laugh at myself. It's good at times.

Ok - so FLAG FOOTBALL!!! I've grown to love it since I first played 10 years ago. I just to watch football with my brothers but I would noticed their colors or people in the stands. I didn't get what was going on. I'm a hands on kinda girl. Once I learned that my favorite position is defensive line and I love, I mean LOVE to rush the QB... it's been all over from there.

I play every Saturday with other teams from seven (Gateway's young adult ministry - amAAAAzing!). Each team has to have a girl on the field at all times. Since out of our three girls, one quit before we started and the other hasn't been able to be there to the first two games, yours truly has played the entire game! YES! I love it... My team (shout out to the SKULLS!) We had a great team and a few of our guys were great commanding leaders. So this year, I have a huge expectation to win. :) Shot down, since we've lost the first two games. Our Team captain emailed everyone and got us all going, but then had to miss the first game. I was scrambling over email.. "Who's going to quarter back for us?!?!?!" A few of the guys could throw, but I was looking for a commander to step up and command everyone! Sure enough the first play of the first game, the other team scored a touch down. UG. My guys were happy to be having fun. Don't get me wrong. These are awesome guys and they play very hard... but I'm looking for the "win" and the take charge. A few times in the game I would mention to different guys, "they're pushing us to the left a ton" "what do we need to do in this play, etc" our new QB looked at me and smiled, "what should we do then?" "YOU'RE THE QB!!!! THAT'S WHY I'M ASKING YOU!"

So - here's the deal. I'm looking for a leader and someone to command me. Sure this is just a football game and it's fun, but it's exposing in me that when I'm not "seeing" that commander, I start commanding those around me and taking charge. It's one thing to offer suggestions, but it's anothe to desire an outcome at the expense of joy or even the people around you.

I started wrtestling with as a woman, how can I lead and also be graceful??? While walking with my dear friend Lory on Sunday (a perfect day with perfect temp and perfect skies), she gently encouraged me to defer to the men on my team. This is what I got out of it -Anna, quit forcing things. Allow these guys to lead and be what they are called to be. Don't try to take over. It's ok that I can see different leadership areas, but empower the godly men around me by supporting them. Make the suggestions and encourage, not demand them to make a decision.

I pray I quit looking for whatever it is I'm looking for. I think God's allowing this to uproot anything I'm still looking for man to fill in my heart. Here's to Saturday's game. May we play our hardest, gel together, support our QB, and may I play like a lady (strongly) and support the men on my team.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

New Music for Fall weather

If you know me, you know I HATE to be cold... today I was cold. YUCK. :) I listen to an amazing podcast about finding God in pop culture. Topics they wittily cover have quickly become my topic of discussions. A Current discussion they have is on Autumn music - here's a few of my pics to help with feeling "coldy" as little Johnny puts it.

I totally just fell in love with JJ Heller's music. Her stuff is great to listen to on a chilly day with a blanket wrapped around you, gazing out the window watching leaves blow in the wind or rain drizzle down the pane.

JJ’s style is differently similar. Her lyrics are pointed but not overt (and there was much rejoicing from all the CCM haters).

Download her newest cd for free -

You can’t beat free!!!!!

And – I’m super proud of my friend Cavanaugh James’ first project – check out a few awesome tracks –

Monday, October 13, 2008

My dreams... shot down by an eight year old.

I waited for Joseph tonight at Karate. We chatted about things he "already knew" since he's a yellow belt now and he watched the at home video. I love when he smiles at me when I get to pick him up on Monday nights while John and Nicole are with the rest of the kids (then they pick up Hannah from ballet at 9 - didn't I tell you this is family school?!?!) When I walk in the room and see Joseph's face light up smile at me, that moment is worth more than a thousand words.

We were driving home from Karate... and he made fun of my little car since it's not a Suburban, he always does... and I moved the conversation to, "Joe-B! You have to come with the family to see me play football!"

Joe simply says, "You don't play football."

"Yes I do! Remember I played on Saturday. Pastor Jelani was on the other team and I sacked him a few times. Well, I got his flag..."

"You mean, you don't play with a helmet and pads?"

"No, Joe. It's flag football. You have to come see."

"That's not football."

Shot down by my little "brother"... tough crowd.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Happy Birthday Sarah

Living with a family of five children and as well as sharing a room with "The Nanny" other wise known as my dear friend Katie, this season of life sometimes humbling and challenging, but it's mostly rewarding and joyful.

I found a new favorite place to spend time with the Lord. I set up in the home school room and see the sunrise climb above the trees and the view of the horses just as I'm "suppose" to be getting in the shower. Two days ago Hannah joined my time with the Lord and God used a scripture she was reading in Ezekiel to powerfully give scriptural support to my prayers for God to creatively speak to men and women about His salvation and love for our country! That's right. God used a sweet 10 year and the book of Ezekiel.

Yesterday Sarah joined me... This is her reading her bible, but just after that, she drew the most beautiful cross. I could feel God smiling at her expression of devotion and love for her Savior. I pray all of my expressions to Him and times with Him are as sweet as Sarah's. She turns five Oct. 13th. Happy birthday to a true princess and a little lady who's heart is after her Prince, Jesus.

Thank you God for ALL that you are doing.

email to Kelly

It's been a long time since I've blogged and I felt I need to start over with this one. Life's changed a ton since last year, so why not just start over! Two weeks ago, I started this as an email to a dear friend and realized it was much more of a blog. Here's to new life and new seasons!

I have a new song that is my anthem! I heard about it last night and it really speaks to me. I often tell God, how do I move forward in faith and wait at the same time? Saturday night, for some odd reason, was really hard for me. I fought with the Lord (had to repent later), about how very unsatisfied with where I am... Even though I truly wouldn’t change a thing and believe the horizon has the many things I’m waiting for... But still I was unsatisfied. I confessed it to my spiritual parents and John encouraged me. It’s ok to evaluate where you are in life and where your spirit is... To cry out for more vision and clarity, but more important it is to focus on who God is. Dwell on Him and not the evaluation of yourself. He encouraged me to enjoy the waiting... I felt like saying, how can I enjoy the waiting?!?!?!

Last night I was so blessed with the privilege to lead worship at our new life group. It went really well... And I God’s presence really showed up (He’s so great to show up when we ask him to!)... And I just realized that even though I thought that I would like to be singing on a stage more in this season of my life, that this life group is a great responsibility and right where I’m suppose to be. Vocal coaching starts this week, why would I be unsatisfed... More is coming even though I don't know what the more will look like.

TWO WEEKS LATER - God is faithful even when we are unsatisfied. I'm finding even more of Him in the midst of letting go of what I long for and finding all satisfaction in Him. Ok ok. I know. That sounds like a christianese abstract way of shoving down what I am really experiencing. So the real gut honesty of it all is that still long for my desires. They didn't go anywhere. But today I'm content. Content in knowing His Presence and listening to His voice and reading His word. Content in holding the unknown as Elisabeth Elliot puts it... and content in praying over all of my dreams.

I heard this song that week and it puts it better than I can. There's no resolution in the song other than waiting... but its in the waiting the resolution comes.


Lyrics -

8. While I’m Waiting
Psalm 5:3, 27:14, 33:20, 37:7, 38:15, 40:1, Isaiah 30:18, Lamentations 3:24
John Waller

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience

While I’m waiting
I will serve You
While I’m waiting
I will worship
While I’m waiting
I will not faint
I’ll be running the race
Even while I wait

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it’s not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait

I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting
I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting
I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting on You, Lord

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