Acknowledged

Tiny sock covered feet shuffle across the carpet towards my room.  I hear the shh-shh-shh-shuffle getting closer.  It stops a few feet from me.  I look up to sleepy eyes and tornado hair.  She waits.  “Good morning bitty girl!” I muster all the excitement in me.  Her eyes brighten, her eyebrows raise, and her mouth tips upward as she takes a flying leap towards my legs with arms outstretched.  I cover her head with kisses and bend down to sprinkle some love on her cheeks and forehead, as well.

 

Every morning is the same.  My little girl drags into my room and waits to be acknowledged.  When I recognize the little pajama-clad girl in my presence, it’s as if I’ve flipped a switch.  She comes alive. 

 

I laugh just thinking about it all the while knowing I’m the same.  Not long ago I wrote an email to one of my favorite singers Sandi Patty.  A few days later, she emailed me back thanking me for the words of encouragement.  I was elated.  I printed the email to show my mom.  I told all my friends.  I couldn’t believe it.  She acknowledged me.  

 

Oh, how I long to be acknowledged by Christ.  And friends, He recognizes me every day.  In even the tiniest of details, He calls me by name.  He acknowledges all His children.  Can you hear him calling you?  How will you respond?  Will your eyes brighten, eyebrows raise, and mouth tip upward as you take a flying leap towards His feet?  Join me there today sweet friend, and let Him cover you with His love.

 

Lord, thank you for calling my name.  Thank you for acknowledging me.  You lavish me with your love, and I am forever grateful.  I come alive in Your presence, Father.  Let me call all my friends and tell everyone I know that You have acknowledged me.  Amen.

 

“Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.” Matthew 10:32 NIV


**Y’all I had the best time this weekend.  I was blessed to attend the Women of Faith conference in downtown Atlanta.  God acknowledged me when he sent a precious woman who provided me and three girlfriends with free tickets and a hotel room.  It was an awesome time of praise and renewal.  So here are a couple of pics for you.

16,000 women praising God!
These girls know how to have fun!
 

Carol

Laying it Down

My arms hurt.  On Sundays after church, I carry my ten pound purse, my five pound Bible, Alan’s five pound Bible, two pounds of paper loaded with glue and glitter, and drag one little forty pound princess to the car.  When I get there I quickly deposit each of my weighty items into the floorboard.  After the instant relief, I hop in the front seat and sigh.  Ahhhh.  My arms feel weightless but hurt.

 

Today, I carried one chapter with a haunting deadline, one cookie cake needing to be bought, one room mom letter needing to be distributed, two children needing to be disciplined, two Glorieta workshop handouts needing to be written, one dinner needing to be cooked, one little ear threatening infection, two laundry baskets of wrinkled clothes needing to be folded, one friend needing to be lifted, and one husband in need of attention.  My arms hurt. 

 

Lord, I lay all of these weights at the foot of your cross.  I know that you will carry them for me.  Lord, they hurt.  And it brings me to tears knowing you’ll carry them still.  Oh God, hold me.  How can I ask you to carry what I cannot and still ask you to renew me and fill me?  I don’t deserve it God, but I know you are bigger than I can ever comprehend.  I give it all to you, Lord.  Every weight, every worry, every child, every friend, every need.  Fill me.  Oh God, tomorrow let me fly.

 

But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31 NIV)

 

 

Carol

Ping-Pong

“I cooked, so you get to clean.”  PING

 

“I gave the kids a bath last night, so you can do it tonight.”  PONG

Join me for the rest of the match at Faith Lifts.  Click HERE to read my devotion.

 

Carol

A Realization – Part 2

Friends, I began seeing the path God was readying for me.  Imagine yourself walking through the forest not sure which way to go, constantly weaving in and out of trees to avoid obstacles.  As you walk, fog blankets over you and everything around you.  Your visibility begins to diminish.  You come to an overhang of weeping willow trees.  Through the bowing limbs, you see a sign before what appears to be a path.  You push limbs and leaves away to find there are words carved into the sign.  It is very old.  As you run your fingers over the letters, you feel a breeze.  The letters are familiar, but fog prevents you from reading them.  

There’s the breeze again.  The fog is gently blown away, and the willow limbs part.  You try again to focus on the sign.  Shock seeps into your body, as you stand frozen.  The sign is carved with your name – first, middle, and last.  There is no mistaking it.  That is you.  The breeze continues, and the limbs are swept away to reveal the path.  It is for you.   You know it.  

But being cautious, you are afraid.  You edge closer and stretch your neck out as far as you can.  Plunging waterfalls, fields of fragrant wildflowers, exquisite mountaintops, soft green moss beds, and towering trees are just a few of delights to be found along the path.  No person has ever walked this path.  As a matter of fact, no one but God knew it existed – until now, until you.  This is the path that God carved out with His own hands specifically for you.  Sounds pretty amazing but true.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Hebrews 12:1 emphasis added)  

God does have something just that amazing planned for you.  He is calling you now to follow His plan.  Are you listening?  Is there something in your heart you feel God is calling you to do?  Maybe you’re not so sure.  Do you get butterflies every time you hear a missionary share their stories of serving God?  Maybe it’s a longing you have every time someone stands up to share a beautiful song.  Perhaps you think, “I could do that,” when you hear a speaker share their testimony. 

God has a plan for each of us.  His plan for you will involve something to further His kingdom.  God’s ultimate plan for the world is that all will hear the gospel of Christ and come to have fellowship with Him.  For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life. (John 6:40)  

You are a part of that plan whether you are aware of it or not.  Sometimes the plans we have made for ourselves are not what God had in mind.  Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. (Proverbs 19: 21)  

Oh, how this verse speaks to me.  I am a planner.  The smell of a new daily organizer, and the sight of the rows of lines and blank squares make my heart beat a little faster.  I love to pour over my planner and fill in the lines with trips, deadlines, and errands.  Something about seeing all the squares fill up makes me feel important, like I’m doing something.  Honestly, none of my plans are really important when compared to the plans of our Lord.  That verse in Proverbs could read, Many are the plans in Carol’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.  Could you substitute your name in that verse, too? 

If we make ourselves available to the Lord, He will use us.  He will reveal His specific plan for you if you ask.  The plan God created for you wasn’t something He thought of only yesterday when you told Him you loved missionaries.  God’s plan for you was created long before that and hasn’t changed with time. But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations. (Psalm 33:11) 

Back up with me in your own experiences.  When did God come up with His ultimate plan for you?  Can you see the threads God has woven through your life to create that perfect plan? 

Take time today to reflect on your life.  Do you feel lost in the woods just looking for the sign with your name?  What things do you love to do?  Do you know your spiritual gifts?  Could you be using those to help fulfill God’s ultimate plan of bringing the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world?  There are many free spiritual gifts surveys online.  If you are unaware of your gifts, take some time to complete one today. 

Read 1 Corinthians 12:1-11

 

**You may recognize part of this post as one from New Year’s Eve.  It was taken from my book Woven.  Thanks for reading!

 

Carol

A Realization – Part 1

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

 

My hand twitched and began to move.  I watched in dismay at its slow but steady rise into the air.  I glanced down at it assuring myself that it was still attached to my body and that I still had control over it.  Next my mouth began to form words.  There was a tickle in my stomach.  My heart started to race.  “I want to publish a book,” were the words I heard come out of my own mouth after being called on by my Sunday School teacher.  Had I just said that out loud?  Those around me were smiling and nodding, so I must have.  Well, it was true, but I hadn’t thought about it in a very long time. 

           

Our Sunday School class was reading The Dream Giver, by Bruce Wilkinson.  While reading the chapters at home, I really put some thought into what my dream was.  Was my dream to be a stay-at-home mom? Yes, that was true.  That was a dream I was living.  For years, I dreamed of becoming a mother and leaving my teaching job to stay at home with the kids.  I would be following in my mother’s footsteps.  But lately, I felt the call to do something in addition to being a mom.  But what else did I really want to do?  

I wanted to write.  I love words.  Okay, I admit that I’m a big talker.  But my love of words was more than the way they spilled out of my mouth.  It was the way they sound, the pictures they paint, the stories they tell.  I liked to form them, shape them, and weave with them.

           

It was a blue Smurf folder.  That was the special folder I kept my writing in as a child.  I wrote poems.  I loved the rhymes.  Then as a teenager, I fell in love with Shakespeare.  The Complete Works of Shakespeare wasn’t what other teenagers had under the Christmas tree, but I was excited to find it under mine.  I poured through Romeo and Juliet.  Within the safety of my room, I could read the words aloud and even throw in an English accent with a Southern twist.   

In college, I was thrilled to get actual credits for taking poetry classes.  I’m not sure they had much to do with my teaching degree.  How that poetry helped me to be a good mother, I’m not so sure either.  But I knew it fostered my love of writing into adulthood.  What did that have to do with God, though?  A lot, I came to find out…

 Join me for the conclusion tomorrow. 

Carol