Posts Tagged ‘Women of Faith’

26
Dec

The 12 Days of MIP 2014: 8 & 7…

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Hope all of you had a great Christmas and Christmas Eve! We will be celebrating our own Christmas tomorrow since weekends are a little easier for the offspring who live out of town. I’m almost ready, which is a major accomplishment since my to-do list has been overtaken, recently, by doing things for Compassion Counseling Center.

My 8th most favorite post of the year was one of the few “Lessons Learned” posts for 2014. Since the Lessons Learned posts were probably one of the biggest reasons I jumped “ship” at Facebook and started MIP, this seems ludicrous even to me, but MIP has taken some new twists and turns this year. This particular Lessons Learned is different from the others, but I think it’s different in a fun way. Go here to see what I mean.

My 7th most favorite post is pretty much the opposite of # 8 in that it was the first time I ever posted about some of the “essentials” of my life and what those items tell about my personality quirks. I hope that I will be able to do more of these in 2015 because most of you liked this debut. Go here to revisit What My Purse Says About Me.

Monday’s Post:  What is meed?

You Might Also Like: The 12 Days of MIP 2014: 10 & 9; The 12 Days of MIP 2014: 12 & 11; and The 12 Days of MIP: 12 & 11

21
Nov

Slow Reader Friday: Twirl

pinwheel

I needed this book this month. I especially needed this book this week. Things exploded this week on the Compassion Counseling Center front (in a good way) and I found myself scrambling to just get the essential tasks of living done each day. I’m not complaining–God has chosen to use me in a way I never thought I could be used and it’s exciting. But, if one is moving too fast through life, we may fail to stop and realize how much “extra” God has provided for us to simply enjoy, particularly in the United States.

Enter TwirlIf you’ve never heard Patsy Clairmont speak, plan to do it. The elder stateswoman of the Women of Faith speakers is hilarious when speaking and she could easily have her own comedy series any time she wanted. Instead she chooses to use that sharp sense of humor to remind us to take time to appreciate the little things in life.

The titles of her very short chapters ( more like long devotionals) tell the things we fail to appreciate every day: decorating, reading, laughing, art, dancing, fragrance, bubbles, trees, birds, cuddling, and stars, just to mention a few. At the end of each chapter she asks the reader to ponder 3 well-written questions to encourage deeper reflection about ourselves.

Even though Patsy is probably 20 years my senior and has a deeper appreciation for all of the above (particularly this month), I found myself identifying with various parts of her life and enjoyed both the poignant and humorous “phraseology.” Here’s a taste of what I mean:

1. “Sometimes growth can only be measured by where we’ve been, not by what others are doing. (You might want to back up and read that sentence again.)”

2. “Take, for instance, the seed….Get this: It has no brain, yet it knows exactly what it wants to be when it grows up. (Most of us are still trying to to figure that out.) We never see zinnias strain to produce tomatoes, nor have I caught my petunias trying to be svelte lilies. Instead this diminutive encasement follows its Creator’s plan and purpose right up to the blossoms.”

3. “As I age my sleep patterns become more unpredictable. I’m finding it takes a lot more discipline to set myself up for sleep. Resisting sweets, ice cream and chocolate after 6:00 seems helpful. And personally, I can’t handle any caffeine after 3:00, which includes chocolate; otherwise I’m practicing Zumba steps at midnight, which tends to annoy Les.”

As we enter this holiday season, I hope you will pick up this book and put down what you’re so busy doing and just read one chapter. And take a moment and remember how much fun it is to twirl, like you did as a kid.

Monday’s Post: What in the world is “infix”?

You Might Also Like: Slow Reader Friday: Beating Goliath; Slow Reader Friday: The Way Home; and Slow Reader Friday: The ONE Thing

26
Sep

Lessons I Probably Shouldn’t Have Learned at Women of Faith…

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This year marked the 2nd year I attended the Dallas Women of Faith conference at the American Airlines Center. This is a rare opportunity to hear the foremost women authors and speakers in Christian thought and entertainment. This year was even better and since so many things are inspirational and downright funny, it would be nearly impossible to capture, in words, what transforms my soul each September. So, I chose to focus on the weird stuff that happens when trying to go to a Christian women’s conference with 14,000 other women in one of the largest urban megalopolis settings in the country. Here’s what I probably shouldn’t have noticed:

1. If you leave at noon for a conference that starts at 7 pm in Dallas and have the audacity to eat at Olive Garden, you will be 20 minutes late.

2. If you leave at 1 pm to make it to a conference that starts at 7 pm in Dallas and choose to eat the inferior concession stand food, you will be 40 minutes early.

24
Sep

Children of the Day Post 5: 1 Thessalonians 4

Children of the Day

Last weekend I accompanied 15 old and new friends to the Dallas Women of Faith conference. Since we arrived late last year for this same conference for a variety of reasons, we adjusted the itinerary to allow us to arrive on time. The result? We were 40 minutes early for when the doors opened at the American Airlines Center. (My husband said that if we had left any later Dallas Friday rush hour traffic would have made us late, so I guess we’re doomed to be early!)

As a result we were chatting with the one woman in front of us as we awaited “open doors.” The conversation rambled as you would think and then, out of the blue, this nice woman said, “Well, Sister Loved by God…” All of us in line were astonished since we were all studying Children of the Day together! It’s as if Beth Moore has given us “code” for greeting other fellow Thessalonian students! We all giggled at realizing that we were all studying these two books at the same time!

Here’s a brief summary of the points made in the last video session:

11
Jun

The New Anniversaries…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Warning: Get a beverage first.

Most anniversaries are happy events. I felt this way for many, many years. But as I age, I am learning, all too painfully, that there will be more and more anniversaries that will be sad and yes, painful. As I write this, a year, to the day, has passed since the onset of heart attack # 3 for me. This day marked the beginning of what turned into a painful year. Here’s why:

June 10th – My valiant attempts to ward off another heart attack are in vain and I find myself, in the middle of the night, on an emergency helicopter flight to a Fort Worth hospital.

June 17th – After being home only a few days from my Fort Worth hospital stay, heart attack # 4 rears its ugly head and I, once again, can’t stave it off with aspirin and nitroglycerin. Another helicopter flight and another stay in the hospital. This heart attack was different in a multitude of ways and the first one where I really thought I wouldn’t survive.

June 27th – My youngest son’s last birthday as a teenager. While a joyous time, it was difficult because even a brief time outside in the Texas heat worked on my heart in a negative way.

July 2nd – My brother’s birthday and the anniversary of my mother’s death. Since the latter occurred on my brother’s birthday, we, as a family, have always sought to make it less somber by going to watch the Rangers play baseball. I still wasn’t sure if I could handle the heat, but with the help of my family, I made it. It’s my brother’s last birthday celebration.

August 2013 – The youngest leaves for college; the middle child starts her last year of grad school; the oldest is promoted and moves to a new home; the latter’s dog comes to visit for an extended period of time and I find out, quite surprisingly, that I will be giving myself stomach shots twice a day every day and that I have a blood clot in my heart, putting me at risk for a stroke. I have to eat a very strange diet during this time.

September 2013 – Partially to keep myself from going insane and partially because I believe in keeping my promises to God, I arranged for 10 of my friends and I to attend Women of Faith. It was a tearful event, basically because I couldn’t believe I was still alive.

October 2013 – Two of my friends are diagnosed with breast cancer and unfortunately, neither one of them were diagnosed as Stage 1. But the best news is that they seem to be doing fine and hanging in there just as I knew they would.

November 2013 – My last Thanksgiving with my brothers together in my home. We knew my brother was having to really slow down while eating, but he had been checked out earlier and the fall and the doctor had pronounced him healthy.

December 2013 – My brother was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Christmas was poignant to say the least and my research told me he was fighting an uphill battle at best. He arrived at my house with his head shaved and hat on, feeling it would be easier to take baldness if he had some control over it in the beginning. Again, without knowing it, it was my last Christmas with him.

January 2014 – My brother is in and out of the hospital repeatedly with complications, despite trying to be meticulous in following his doctors’ instructions.

February 2014 – My brother makes the decision to “pull the plug.” He moves to hospice care.

February 27th – My other brother and I tell my brother it’s okay for him to go. His breathing grows farther and farther apart. It’s my last time to see him.

February 28th – My brother dies.

March 8th – My brother’s memorial service. It’s a time of laughter and fond remembrance, but it is still difficult for all those who attended.

March 9th – May 5th – My other brother and I clean out my brother’s home and say goodbye to “the House of Tears” as my other brother calls it.

May 9th, 10th and 11th – My daughter graduates with her master’s degree and those festivities are quickly followed by Mother’s Day. While I am so, so grateful to see her graduate with all of her friends, the brother who always celebrated those graduations with us and often celebrated Mother’s Day with us, is painfully absent.

While I’m grateful to still be walking and talking, I am squelching tears as I write this. I know, all too well, from having grieved other family and friends who have already gone on to Heaven, that this coming year will be difficult for me simply because I have a few more “anniversaries” to get through. And I also know that more and more things of this nature will probably continue to take place. At my age the passing of friends and family is simply inevitable. It will happen with more and more frequency and more and more depth of pain.

With this reality ever present now, I do my best to remind myself that I am one blessed woman. Grief and tears are actually a blessing. They are an indication that we love a lot and have been loved. It’s an acknowledgement that my joy will never be complete until it’s my turn to journey to Heaven. And I am blessed to be an American, live in a nice home, in a nice town, with plenty of comfort. I’m blessed to still be surrounded by a wonderful husband, wonderful children and a wonderful extended family and great friends.

Even so, if I don’t smile as much this year, if I don’t crack jokes as much on MIP this year, if I seem a little preoccupied this year, you’ll have to forgive me–I don’t do grief well.

I know I have much to learn in this phase of my life and probably the most significant thing to learn is to still smile, to still celebrate, and to still cherish those whose presence I’m still privileged to enjoy. Thank you all for giving me a reason to smile, to celebrate and to cherish.

Friday’s Post: God’s Sick Reading List…

You Might Also Like: So, Where Are My Posts?; Lessons Learned from Heart Attacks 3 & 4; and Lessons Learned from Being a Pansy and No, I Don’t Mean the Flower

 

 

25
Oct

Slow Reader Friday: Life Interrupted…

reading

Well, Book Club Homies…we’re here! I hope you have taken the journey with me as I read Life Interrupted by Priscilla Shirer. And here’s why: I was fortunate to hear Priscilla Shirer speak at the 2013 Women of Faith conference in Dallas. And Priscilla had a tough place on the agenda–right after a filling lunch! She was quick to acknowledge that most of her audience might be nodding off during her time slot! But, she was oh, so wrong–she held my attention the entire time she spoke!

Thus, I was anxious to make the first MIP Book Club Selection her book, Life Interrupted. I have to confess that I chose her book partly because of the ridiculously cheap price for the Kindle edition–a mere $ 2.99. But, it turned out to be a GREAT $ 2.99 to pay. The stoic Scot over here found herself crying several times as I read about her take on the book of Jonah.

I don’t know about you, but I can so relate to Jonah. Running away from my responsibilities is one of my favorite hobbies! But Shirer carefully and skillfully shows us why God did what He did with Jonah and how we, as modern-day Jonahs, can learn to embrace an interrupted life as something new and magnificent and even as an adventure.

It is truly difficult to pick my traditional 3 quotes today, because I’d like to put about 19 here, but here are the ones I selected:

1. “…interruptions are only negative when we deem the person, problem, or circumstance that’s forcing itself on us to be of less value or interest than what we were doing before.”

2. “Hold your own plans loosely and stay ready to submit to His. Consider them to be more important, more desirable than anything you could dream up on your own.

3. “Sometimes the divine intervention of God means breaking allegiance with what you love.”

So, dear Book Club Readers (and Slow Reader Friday Readers!), I have a few questions for you to answer below. Today I will ask you a few more than I will in future months, simply because I want your input about the type of books you like to read, etc. I will do my best to take your interests to heart when I’m considering books for the future:

a) Do you prefer Christian-oriented books or something different?

b) What genre of book is your favorite? Biographies, novels, non-fiction, self-improvement, historical accounts, mysteries, sci-fi???

c) What is the highest you are willing to shell out for a Book Club book? (I’m trying not to break your budget, so please be honest and you can answer under an “assumed name,” if necessary.)

Here are the Life Interrupted questions:

d) On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being “WOW! Loved this book” and 1 being “Really? Why did you even select this book???”, where would you rate this book?

e) What was the most memorable quote of the book for you? Why?

f) What other impressions (good, bad or indifferent) did you have to the book? (Remember–I’m not judging anyone about anything here–you have a right to your own opinion–even if it’s completely different from my own!)

Thanks, in advance, for sharing!

Click here for the November 2013 Book Club Selection!

Monday’s Post: How roweled up are you?

You might also like: Slow Reader Friday: Mere Christianity, Book Club, and Slow Reader Thursday: Heaven by Randy Alcorn

14
Oct

Word of the Week: redound…

Picture picture

Picture picture

Book Club UpdateWe’re supposed to be on Chapter 10 today of Life Interrupted. Don’t be Jonah and run away from your responsibilities! 🙂

Join me and my friends for the 2014 Dallas Women of Faith conference on September 19-20! If you book your ticket now, you will save $ 30 off the regular price (only $ 71!). This will also include a one-night stay for the conference! Message here if you are interested. Tickets are going fast! Do you have to be a Christian? Nah. Do you have to be a member of my church or be in my family or one of my buddies? Nah. Just join us.

Not sure why you’re on the planet? Burned out? Live in my “neck of the woods”? Female? Then, join me and my buddies at Oakdale United Methodist Church on Sunday evenings beginning 10/27 at 5 pm for a study on our unique place in the world. We will be using the book, S.H.A.P.E., for our study. Cost of the book is $ 12.00 or you can download the Kindle version here. Not a Christian? Not an Oakdale member? Trust me–my buddies and I really don’t care–just join us anyway.

Have you encountered a word you did not know this week? Then send it to me in a message here and if I don’t already know it, you may just find it as one of our future WOWs! A reader already sent me such a word and I’ve already added it to the list and it is just a really fun-sounding word, so I am looking forward to the week we get to discuss it. Keep in mind that I am working my way through a list of words I’ve already chosen, so it may be a while before your word appears, but have no fear, it will appear eventually!

Okay, Word Lovers, enough updates and announcements! Last week’s Word of the Week (WOW) was miscible. According to Merriam-Webster Online, miscible means capable of being mixed; specifically, capable of mixing in any ratio without separation of two phases. Hmmm…kinda like my mixing of several unrelated definitions for the WOW. This definition got me to thinking, “Is mixable really a word? If not, should we be using miscible instead?” We Americans sure like to “mess” with the English language and create words that really do not exist and fail to use the proper ones.

However, I looked up mix and yes, mixable is perfectly fine. Thus, I think I now know why we don’t use miscible! Mixable makes more sense to us and is easier to remember how to spell!

Redound is our new WOW. Here are my miscible guesses for it:

redound: (ri-ˈdau̇nd) 1. a rebound shot with a red basketball 2. the color of your skin after trying to take off a pound or two by running around (I’m a poet and I didn’t know it?) 3. the color of a child’s face when wound up

What are your guesses for redound? Comment below!

Wednesday’s Post: Lessons Learned from Actually Walking the 2009 Dallas Komen for the Cure 3 Day Walk

You might also like: Word of the Week: miscible; Word of the Week: depone; Word of the Week: tourbillion; and Word of the Week: orgulous

27
Sep

Best Quotes from the Dallas Women of Faith Conference…

power tool

Each and every speaker at the Dallas Women of Faith conference have “sound bites” down to a science and that is probably why they were chosen to speak at such a large conference. I caught myself thinking, “I would give my eye teeth (whatever eye teeth are) to just spend a week with them and soak up their passion, enthusiasm, humor, knowledge and wisdom.” That is probably one bucket list item that will never happen, but if I can’t do that, then I prefer to share with my dear readers what I wrote down as my favorite quotes from the conference. These will soon be posted to my Quotes page, so if you can’t find this post to remind you of something you also liked, look for it there in the coming week.  Here goes:

Anita Renfroe:

“If you can’t love it, just decorate it.”

“Just because they make it in your size doesn’t mean you should wear it.”

“My doctor said, ‘You are what you eat.’ Therefore, I want to eat a skinny chick.”

Patsy Clairmont:

“You are more than you know.”

“You are going to have to take some risks to prove that you are more than you know.”

“We shouldn’t just memorize, but internalize.”

“Stop believing the lies told to you when you were young.”

“I’ve been around the block so many times, I’ve worn out the curb.”

“God is so much more than you know.”

Sheryl Brady:

“We play so hard to get with God.”

“Praise and worship is not about you.”

“You are closer to the miracle than you have ever been.”

“You don’t know how important Jesus is until He’s all you’ve got.”

Christine Caine:

“Are you willing to be inconvenienced for your church?”

“You are the answer to your own prayer.”

“God cannot multiply what you don’t recognize.”

“We see the enormity and think we can’t do everything. So, we do nothing instead of doing one thing to start something.”

“Jesus doesn’t show up until it’s impossible to do it without Him.” Impossible is where Jesus starts.”

“If you are broken into a thousand pieces, collect and gather the broken pieces and just see what God will do with them.”

Priscilla Shirer:

“This is supposed to be an encouragement so you want more of Him.”

“Just like deodorant, we need to ‘put on God’ every day.”

“God doesn’t need a nap before He can handle you.”

“God’s power is often seen in what He refrains Himself from doing.”

“God has your back.”

“Become the women of destiny we are called to be.”

“You are not an accident! God knew you were going to be here today when you were born. If you think it was a miracle you were born, it was even more of a miracle that you were born again. The Hound of Heaven has been looking for you.”

“Lasting external change comes from changing ourselves from the inside out.”

“I am where I am because God wanted me right where I am to serve right here.”

“I had not been cheated; I had been chosen for that location…for that ministry.”

Mercy Me:

“You are a little kid with power tools…you’re dangerous!”

So, my readers, how “dangerous” are you? Become the person of destiny you were called to be and watch how dangerous you become. But, danger (at least this kind) can be oh, so much fun…and good for the rest of man- and womankind!

Monday’s Post: Is tourbillion a numerical term?

You might also like: “Because I Want to Be with You…”, Things I Love about the Man I Married, and How I Cope with a Heart that’s a Ticking Time Bomb

25
Sep

Lessons Learned from Attending Women of Faith…

city traffic

For those living on the moon the past few decades, Women of Faith is an annual Christian women’s conference that is held throughout major U.S. cities. It features the top Christian women writers, speakers and comedians as well as many popular Christian musical artists.

  1. Right when you should start seriously planning the logistics of attending a conference with your friends, that’s when God will decide it’s time for you to visit the hospital…twice.
  2. It might be helpful to actually read the Group Leader information first.
  3. If you need assistance from the Group Leader Coordinator, she’ll be on vacation…for a month.
  4. The very assistance you could use is only available for groups of 25 or more.
  5. The cheaper, better tickets will sell out when you are having an angiogram.
  6. The cheaper, better parking will not sell out, but you will be convinced it is, based on the evil marketing tactics of Ticketmaster.
  7. You’ll pay about $ 25 extra because of succumbing to #6.
  8. I have a phobia about driving in Dallas.
  9. If you use three different GPS navigation systems, one will be right.
  10. Right when you have everything planned, Women of Faith reps will call and tell you that your plan can be scrapped due to changes they’re making in the schedule.
  11. I will have to summon all the verbal restraint I can muster in order not to swear at a Women of Faith representative, who happens to be male. What?
  12. In a land where summertime drought is the norm, the conference will begin…in a monsoon.
  13. Metroplex drivers will still have no earthly idea how to drive safely in a monsoon. Refer to # 8.
  14. While obtaining the last few tickets and details needed to survive, you’ll pass several hospitals, because of course, one should be visibly reminded of their favorite home away from home before attending a faith conference.
  15. The hiccup with hotel rooms will not come from checking in with free hotel stay points for 14 different people.
  16. The hiccup will occur when someone tries to enter your hotel room at 5 am. Thank God I was wearing the cute jammies.
  17. Never forget to double bolt your hotel room door. See # 16.
  18. About the time you and your roomie begin to fitfully sleep again, the room phone will ring and of course, no one will be on the other end. Was this God saying we needed a wake-up call?
  19. I can listen to speaker after speaker with only 2 hours of sleep. But, I may require the $ 8 coke to do so.
  20. Standing up to sing contemporary Christian music requires Celebrex, Aleve and thicker-soled tennies, all of which I didn’t bring.
  21. After making the decision to leave our suitcases in the room to go eat breakfast, the room key card won’t work. Funny…it worked great for another couple at 5 am.
  22. Even though you were the first of your group to check in, the very same lady who checked you in will declare you a “no-show.” I guess I borrowed Harry’s Invisibility Cloak for the weekend.
  23. The walk back to your hotel room will require you to remember that one of the Ten Commandments is, “Thou shalt not kill.” Where is Charleton Heston when I need him?
  24. After reassuring her that I am, in fact, “real,” she will still not remember to re-key your key card so you can get your suitcase. Hmmm….Maybe I’m dead and I’m an angel? Might explain why I feel at home in hospitals.
  25. Go to the restroom when you don’t need to go to the restroom. By the time you get to the outer restroom door, you’ll need to go.
  26. The shortest line for anything is always the one you’re not in.
  27. You will hear that there were free giveaways at certain booths after you leave the conference.
  28. Christian rock groups start their concerts with, “Don’t Bring Me Down” just so I can have one song in which I know all the lyrics.
  29. Sarah should appreciate that she’s 19.
  30. They don’t make reading glasses strong enough to read jumbo-trons from the nosebleed section.
  31. Aussies may have a cowgirl mentality, but they need to work on their pronunciation of “y’all.”
  32. Texas women need to work on their pronunciation of awesome.
  33. The web site will say not to bring children to the conference, yet there will be a nursing mothers room. Ummm…babies are not children? Okay.
  34. If you’re over 50, you can leave home and no one cares. Except maybe for the dogs.
  35. Having a meeting place at the American Airlines Center is ridiculous. So, what will the “experts” tell you to do? Have a meeting place at the American Airlines Center. Who made these people “experts”???
  36. Just when you think that perhaps it’s not worth it to attend next year, those crafty convention people will state that next year’s conference is all about the exact things you have been struggling with. I officially hate them.
  37. The prettiest sound is 12,000 women singing “Amazing Grace.”
  38. Never assume another woman “has it all together.”
  39. The best speakers are the ones who have hurt the most. They will also make you laugh the most.
  40. You have not heard “How Great Thou Art” until you have heard Kari Jobe sing it.
  41. Christians outnumber female slaves 85 to 1 and yet there are over 27,000,000 enslaved people throughout the world.
  42. I’m taking reservations for next year’s conference NOW. Are you in? Hotel room invasions cost extra, particularly if you book through Ticketmaster.

 

Friday’s Post: Best quotes from the Dallas Women of Faith Conference…

You might also like: Lessons Learned from Being the Rookie Parent, and The Weirdest Diet on Earth…the Coumadin Diet

05
Jun

A MaryAnn in a Martha World…

Mary and Martha

Warning: You might want to get a beverage first.

“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10: 38-42, NIV

It took me a long time to understand that most people, when reading or hearing this Scripture, identify with Martha and are a little stunned to hear Jesus chastise Martha. I am not most people. Perhaps my parents knew, instinctively, that I was much more like Mary and thus, gave me her name as part of mine. Now, for the record, I completely understand that the world needs “Marthas.” In fact sometimes I can almost pull off a good “Martha impression.” But, that is not who I am.

I almost always have my head “in the clouds.” I am dreaming, thinking, analyzing, planning, and “writing” constantly, constantly in my head. I live in my head. Thus, I generally do not notice that my house needs dusting, sweeping, cleaning and that my guests might like to be fed after several hours at my home. When you live in your head, it just doesn’t need a whole lot of dusting very often. Yes, there are a few cobwebs up there, but the cobwebs usually connect all the disjointed and diverse ideas in my head, so they’re actually helpful.

Would I like to be more of a Martha? Oh, my goodness, YES! Because Marys have a very bad reputation in our world. Marthas are much more often appreciated by society. Marys generally are very messy, irresponsible, insensitive, spacey little critters (or so it appears to the world). But, Marthas are organized, tidy, clean, thoughtful, generous and perfect hostesses. They are the ones who show up at all events with their kids perfectly clothed, perfectly coiffed, and perfectly mannered.

So, given this perception, why on God’s green earth would Jesus praise Mary and not Martha??? Because Mary figured out something while her sister was busy thinking about cooking and cleaning and entertaining…that she probably wasn’t going to have too many opportunities to hear Jesus speak in her very own home and she shouldn’t miss that opportunity. In other words Mary decided her relationship with Jesus was far more important than doing something FOR Jesus.

I cannot tell you how often I do what Martha did–I think that the way to improve my relationship with Jesus is to do stuff for Him and for his people. But, the other night I suddenly woke up at 2:45 am (Why does God keep doing this to me???) and God decided it was time to have a “conversation” with MaryAnn that was, quite frankly, unprecedented. In most of my “conversations” with God (my prayers), I do all the talking. If you know me personally, you know this is no big surprise. This time I ventured one (in my head) question to the Heavens above, and a still, small voice (still in my head) immediately answered with a very un-MaryAnn-like answer. Cue the Twilight Zone music.

I have long suspected that my little blog may never be “popular” with others. But, I still feel very “convicted” that I should keep writing it. During this unusual convo, I asked God, “If I’m supposed to write this blog, Lord, but it’s never going to reach many people, why do You want me to write it?’ He replied quietly, “Because I love you and so you and I can be together.” Tears streamed down my face. After all these years in “Christendom,” you’d think I would have figured out that my relationship with God comes first with Him and everything else is secondary. And you’d think I also would have figured out that I should feel the same way about that relationship. But, I had thought, quite mistakenly, that I had to do something for God (Of course, it has to be something important!) in order to demonstrate my faith in Him and my desire to be with Him. I felt hugely ashamed by my silly, faulty thinking, particularly because I tend to identify more with Mary in this story and not with Martha.

So, to all of my messy Mary friends and family, guess what? We really don’ t have to pick up after ourselves to be good Christians (Let’s be honest–we’re too busy reading Christian books and listening to  Mandisa anyway.) And to my Martha friends and family? Sit down. Take a load off. Get silent…really silent. And let God do the talking. He just wants to spend time with you because He thinks you’re really cool…even if you do clean too much. 🙂

Point to Ponder Challenge: When’s the last time you scheduled time just to further develop your relationship with God? How about an entire weekend? I plan to attend the Dallas Women of Faith conference this September to work on this. Want to join me? Great! Send me an email via the Contact page. You’re a guy??? Then, how about a guys’ weekend with the Ultimate Guy? Go here for more info: http://www.promisekeepers.org/

Tomorrow’s Post: Are you going places?

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