I’m a Believer

…blessed is she that believed… -Luke 1:45

If I Told You My Story… August 30, 2017

Filed under: christian life,faith,Uncategorized — Laura @ 6:11 pm

tell you my story.jpg
I had occasion recently to write a Personal Statement of Faith. While I have strong convictions and generally know what I believe and why I believe it, it was a challenging exercise.  I’m glad I did it.  Here it is.

I came to Christ with saving faith as a newlywed over 25 years ago.  Through my childhood I learned several important truths about God: that God was real, God was good, and God was important.  I knew about Jesus, that He was the Son of God and that He had died and had risen again.  However, I had never learned about His complete work of grace that completely saved sinners just like me.  When someone finally shared the Gospel with me plainly, clearly, and personally, I surrendered to the Holy Spirit’s invitation and was born again and became a new creature.

As a new Christian struggling with how God could use me and I could walk in His will, I found Romans 8:28  “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” What a treasure and an encouragement that verse was to this new believer trying to reconcile my past with His plans.  Years later, as an older Christian trying to reconcile my future with His plans, Luke 1:45 became very meaningful to me.  “And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.”  Indeed, I have been blessed when I have believed, and He has always kept His word.

Since He saved me, God has graciously ordered my steps through His sovereignty.  He has placed godly people in my life to teach me and to guide me.  He has made provision for me and opened doors of opportunity for me.  He has taught me of His faithfulness through trying and nearly impossible circumstances.  He has never left me nor forsaken me.  He has challenged me to serve Him and provided the people and places that have needed that service.  He has called me to believe Him.  He has equipped me for every spiritual battle that I have come upon.  He has forgiven me and shown mercy to me too many times for me to count.  He has given me good gifts of family and children and has entrusted their hearts to me for a time.  He has changed me.

I’ve learned so much about God and His love for His Church that it is difficult to put everything I believe into words on one piece of paper. But I’m grateful to have an occasion to try.

Here is my simple personal statement of faith.

  • God knew me before I was born. He made me and had plans for me long before I even acknowledged Him, and while I was yet a sinner, Christ died for me.
  • The Holy Spirit of God drew me, comforts me, strengthens me, and fills me.
  • The atoning sacrifice of God’s Son Jesus Christ saves me eternally.
  • The resurrection of Jesus Christ gives me FREEDOM from sin and death.
  • The grace of God moves me to inexplicable gratitude.
  • The mercy of God covers me.
  • The Church of God gives me a place to serve, to be built up, and to belong.
  • The Word of God is the only Truth in this world.
  • The command of God is for His children to love Him and to love people, with the ultimate expression of that love being to share His Truth and His Gospel with the world.
  • The promise of God is that He will return for His people who were bought with the blood of Jesus Christ.  I will serve Him until He comes.

I’m a Believer!

Laura

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Perspectives on Motherhood May 9, 2010

Me with the girls who call me "Mom"

The idea of motherhood for me has changed a great deal from when I was a child and HAD a mom (note:  I still have a mom!), to when I had children of my own and BECAME a mom.  Here are some things I have learned:

  • When you are a child and you HAVE a mom, you may think she has some pretty strange tastes.  She likes the end piece of the bread, she always eats the burnt piece of chicken, and how can she stand those licorice jelly beans?

When you ARE a mom, you realize that when you go to make yourself a sandwich, the only pieces of bread that will be left in the bread bag are the end pieces.  At dinner you know that lonely burnt piece of chicken will just sit there unless you eat it –besides, you burned it, you earned it, you get to eat it!  And black jelly beans… well if you ever hope to eat another jelly bean at Easter time, you better learn to like the black ones.  They are my mom’s favorites.

  • When you HAVE a mom, you think it is sooooooo sweet that she always saves that last piece of cake and puts it up on a special little plate up in the cabinet just for you.

When you ARE a mom, you remind yourself once again, that next time you need to find a better hiding place for your secret snack time treats.

And just when you are tempted to have a pity party for yourself, you realize that Mom does not live by bread (or chicken or jelly beans) alone and that the most important nourishment you can get will come from God’s word.  (Luke 4:4)

  • When you HAVE a mom, there may be times when you are convinced that she is not nearly as fun as Dad and wonder why she doesn’t always come with you and Dad to the park, or the lake, or on a bike ride.

When you ARE a mom, you find yourself daydreaming about Dad walking in the door and announcing Prince Charming style that he is taking the kids to the park, because you know what that means…. you are going to get…. a BATH!

And just when you are about to lose your mind wondering if you’ll ever wash your hair again, you are reminded that a clean pure heart is even more important to God.  (Matthew 5:8)

  • When you HAVE a mom, you may think she does some strange things like crying when she is happy?!

When you ARE a mom, you know in your heart that those initial tears of joy you shed when you first saw your baby’s sweet face are only the beginning of many tears that you will have throughout the life of this child:  happy tears, sad tears, frustrated tears, worried tears, prayerful tears.

And just when we begin to wonder what all this crying in about, we can remind ourselves that our tears are precious to God.  The Bible says He sees our tears, saves our tears, and one day will wipe away all our tears.  (Psalm 126:5, Psalm 56:8, Revelation 21:4)

  • When you have a mom, you may find yourself wondering why she can’t be a “cool mom” that’s more like a best friend than a parent.

When you ARE a mom, you will find yourself calling your really cool best friend (who just happens to be your Mom) and asking her when you can quit being mom & just be a friend to your child.  She’ll tell you that the better parent you are now, the better friend you will have later.

And just when you are about to give up on your child having the kind of friends she needs, you will remember to tell her that Jesus is a friend that sticks closer than a brother, and He is always there. (Proverbs 18:24)

  • When you HAVE a mom, you know that if you cry out because you had a bad dream, she will be beside your bed to comfort you.

When you ARE a mom and you hear that little cry from down the hall, first you wonder why Daddy ears don’t work as well as Mommy ears in the middle of the night, and then you rush to your child’s bed to assure her everything will be ok.

Just when you start to wonder how long you will have to make these midnight comfort runs, you are reminded that you won’t always get to, but that you serve the God of all comfort who promises His children that He is a very present help in time of trouble. (Psalm 46:1)

  • When you HAVE a mom, you know she loves you.

When you ARE a mom, you suddenly know HOW MUCH she has loved you.

You also begin to get a glimpse, just a glimpse, of how much God must love you. (John 3:16)

  • When you have a mom, you are convinced that even though she does some things you don’t understand, she is the greatest mom in the world.

When you ARE a mom, you look around at other moms and you are convinced that you are NOT the greatest mom in the world.

Then you remember who gave you this job.  God Himself has graciously given you this job!  Your job is to raise your children so that they can move from depending on you to depending on God.  And as you serve this great God, He has everything you need to be the mother He has called you to be.  (1 Thessalonians 5:24)

Motherhood itself is the perfect Mother’s Day Gift!

Happy Mother’s Day to my mom, who has taught me so much & loved me through all the tough stuff, and to all the other moms out there trying to do the best you can for your children.

I’d love to hear what perspectives motherhood has changed for you.  Leave a note in the comments…

I’m a Believer!
Laura

 

Daughters… January 23, 2009

gulf-shores-2008-129I have three…three girls that God saw fit to give to my husband and me.  (Amazin’ in itself!)   I’m the oldest and only daughter with three little brothers, so even though I am a girl, I was a little concerned about what to do with girls, having grown up taking care of boys.  I was grateful when baby number one was a girl because my mom always told me that “Every mommy needs a little girl.” (It still makes me feel special when I think about that – thanks, mom!)   Whew – I was glad to get that out of the way.  After that, I just knew the others would be boys.  BOY, was I wrong.  Two more beautiful baby girls.  And I was grateful for them, too!  And now, well, here’s the problem…

It has recently come to my attention that these three girls are growing up.  As I said to my husband in December (with a new sense of realization)  “THE BABY IS NINE!!”  And just this month, my oldest has turned 16, gotten a driver’s license, and started her first job.  Last summer my sweet middle child 🙂  hit double digits!!

This has thrown me into a little bit of shock, I think.  I’m to the point of struggling on a daily basis with measuring the amount of mercy and grace I give to each child, wondering if I’m being too lenient or too strict.  Am I holding them back from discovering something wonderful, or am I protecting them from being discovered by evil?  Am I parenting by faith, in full assurance that God has His hand on their hearts and their lives, or am I parenting in fear, living out every “what if” scenario in my mind in great detail?  Sometimes I’ve gotten to the point that I don’t even know what to pray for.  For those of you who have done this, or are in the process of doing this, maybe you can agree that THIS IS HARD. 

I found something this morning that helped me immensely!  I dug a beautiful treasure out of God’s word that spoke to me suddenly and strongly.

…that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace:  ~Psalm 144:12b

King David was praying for protection for his kingdom and thanking God for all the strength and provision He gives His people and he stopped and asked that the daughters would be “as corner stones.”  And not just any plain old cornerstones (too boring!) – but “polished” and “after the similitude of a palace.”  This is breathtaking to me.

What exactly is a cornerstone?  Well, off hand I know that Jesus is the chief cornerstone (Eph. 2:20).  That’s good company to be in!  We are supposed to be becoming more and more like Jesus, so praying for my daughters to be corner stones seems like a fabulous idea!

Corner stones in this scripture probably more specifically mean  pillars.  Pillars were used in building temples and palaces.  They were the support system the structure.  Pillars of old temples and palaces were beautifully carved, carefully crafted, and this verse refers to them as being “polished.”  

I yearn for my daughters to be polished, yet  I can’t imagine that polishing stones or pillars of stone is an easy process.  It must involve cutting away parts of the stone that won’t meet the design standards.  Surely it involves a constant attention to bringing out the beauty of the stone without marring it.  It must take a careful hand to cut the stone to the proper size and shape and yet maintain the strength and integrity of the original material.  I’m certain it has to be difficult to balance these tall structures so that they will stand strong and not topple, for if they fall, they may shatter into tiny pieces that can’t be put back together again.

But when the stone is finally fashioned, this verse says that it is fit for use in a palace!  What better place for a daughter of the King of kings, than a palace?

This is my prayer for my daughters – that they “would be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace.”

I can see that it will be a long, sometimes painful, sometimes joyful, sometimes tedious process.  I know my husband and I won’t be able to do it by ourselves.  We will need the Master Craftsman to guide our hearts and our hands and fix our mistakes.  He may have to take the chisel out of our hands and replace it with a gentle polishing cloth, or point out to us a rough spot that we ignored because it seemed to difficult to reach.  But when I see my girls standing strong, supporting whatever is placed upon them, carefully polished into the beautifully strong yet fragile pillars that God has designed them to be,  I know it will be worth it.

For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:  Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.  Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.   ~Philippians 3:20-4:1

I’m a Believer!

Laura

 

Daily Mercies – The Best Way for Bad Things to Happen November 10, 2008

daily_mercies2My friend Rena & her sister Ginger have started a new “meme” called The Daily Mercies in which we are encouraged to share a story or testimony of how we’ve seen God’s mercy at work in our life or in the lives of others.  What a great idea!  I’m so excited!  Now I’ll have a place to record all those wonderful moments when I get to see God’s hand.  At the moment it happens, His hand may be SO OBVIOUS, but in a few days, or in different circumstances, I’m tempted to forget those “Daily Mercies” that He shows me.  So thanks, Rena & Gin!  You’ll help me to remember…

Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth; O ye seed of Israel his servant, ye children of Jacob, his chosen ones.
1 Chronicles 16:12-13

So, for my first Daily Mercy, I would like to share with you how God can allow bad things to happen to you, but happen in the best way possible.

As I pulled out of Hobby Lobby parking lot after a delicious lunch with my friend Rena, I thought about which way to go.  Left to the interstate – quicker.  Right to the back way – less traffic…  I decided to go right, the back way.  Something seemed daunting about the interstate. 

As I drove down the road about 2 miles from Hobby Lobby, 3 miles from the interstate, 6 miles from home, 20 yards from a stop sign, and 100 yards away from an old bridge in the middle of road construction, my gas pedal suddenly went to the floor, all the dashboard lights came on, and my three year old van stalled.  GREAT! (That’s a sarcastic “GREAT”, by the way.)  As I tried to crank it again, it WOULD NOT START!  So, I sat.  A sitting duck in a bright blue van 20 yards away from a stop sign. 

I tried to turn on my flashers.   My battery was so dead, I could not even turn my flashers on.  I tried to put the van in neutral so that I (haha) could push it onto the shoulder and out of the main lane.  The battery was too dead to allow me to put the car in neutral.  What???

And so I called my friend who has recently decided that she will not talk on the phone while she is driving.  Great idea – but I think she was driving when I called.  No answer.  I promptly forgot that my other friend lived 2 minutes away, so I didn’t call her.  Then I remembered the ringtone on my phone  “When you call on Jesus, all things are possible…” it sings at me regularly.  So I called on Jesus and tried to start the car again.  Nope.  So I called my husband at work, my regular knight in shining armor who always comes to my pathetic rescue when I need it.  The rescue is not pathetic – no, it is far from pathetic, it is always selfless and noble, and I’m grateful for that.

As I sat IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD, I figured I better get out of the van in case anyone plowed slap into me as I waited for my hero.  Alrighty then – There I stood, beside a stalled car.  The children would be getting off the bus in 45 minutes.  Oh look – I suddenly saw a tow truck.  “Maybe he’ll stop!”  (That’s me talking to myself.)  Nope.  Sit, sit, sit.  Wave to direct people  – “Just go around it.  I’ll just stand here.  Thanks for stopping. ”  (More sarcasm – no one had stopped.)

Aha!  A police car!  Yes!  “Hey!   Yooo hoooo…”   Wave, wave, wave…. Over here!! Wave higher, wave bigger, wave louder….  Oh – he turned.  But look – that creepy guy that looks remarkably like the uni-bomber is headed my way.  He must have thought I was waving at him instead of the at the cops.  I wonder if he’ll let me borrow his “hoodie” or his mirrored sunglasses, or maybe his house shoes. 

A black pickup truck pulled up behind me, just as UniBomber made his way to my front fender.  The kind, older, trustworthy-looking man inside asked how he could help.  He jump-started the van so that we could put it in neutral and push it onto the LOVELY CORNER LOT that I was just inches from.  He shoooed away UniBomber and assured me that he “Had his eye on that fruitcake.” 

Five minutes later, my knight in shining Mazda showed up and took it from there.  

What on earth does that have to do with the mercy of God?  I’m so glad you asked. 

I’m learning to be thankful to God for times like this.  Times when it is inevitable that something has to go wrong – car batteries and pcv hoses (whatever that is) don’t last forever.  It was time for my van to break down.  But the breakdown didn’t happen when I was flying down an unknown interstate in Georgia just the week before.  It didn’t break down in the middle of New Orleans while I had a vanload of kids only 2 days before.  It didn’t break down on a rickety bridge.  It didn’t break down on the interstate.  It broke down just inches away from a lovely corner with plenty of room to park.  My husband was not in court or in an appointment when I called.  The uni-bomber didn’t get me. 

I believe that God’s MERCY has to do with His witholding bad things from us.  God withholds so many bad things from happening to us every day.  We usually don’t know the extent of His mercy towards us.  Sometimes, though, as in this instance, we get a little glimpse.  It was time for my car to break down – it was time for “something bad” to happen.  But God allowed it to be in the best way possible.  He loves us, He wants good things for us, and many times He provides those things by His mercy. 

This is why Jesus says that we can have peace.

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.  John 16:33

Did you hear that?  Jesus says that we can have peace in Him.  In the midst of the troubles of this world (i.e., car trouble), we can be of good cheer – that means happy and not anxious, because He has overcome the world.  When we are in Him, He can allow us those breakdowns that have to happen, but they can be turned into breakthroughs when He has directed our paths.

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.  My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.  He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.  Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.  The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.  The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.  The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.  The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.  Psalm 121:8

I’m grateful that my help comes from Him and that He preserves me and keeps me and that His mercies are new every morning.  Visit Rena & Ginger to hear what else our merciful God is up to.

I’m a Believer!

Laura

 

I Have to Believe (Song) October 30, 2008

I know I posted the lyrics to this song on here before, by my playlist song disappeared, so I can’t hear the song anymore. Here’s a youtube video of the same song. I love this song, and I hope you do too! Enjoy!

I’m a Believer!
Laura

 

Challenged by True Christianity October 29, 2008

Filed under: Bible,Christian Living,faith — Laura @ 8:48 am
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I came across this video on youtube and found it very challenging to me and to my faith and what I am supposed to do about my faith. Strangely, I agree with nearly all this man says, until the end. Watch it all the way to the end, and see if you are not only surprised, but also challenged.

So… whaddaya think?

I’m a Believer!
Laura

 

It’s Women’s Conference Time! October 24, 2008

UPDATE – CLICK HERE TO READ ABOUT THE CONFERENCE & TO LISTEN TO CONFERENCE MESSAGES!

Hey y’all!  I’m not sure how many bloggy friends I have that are actually in Louisiana, but I just wanted to let you know that our 7th Annual Women’s Conference, Dream Big, is coming up November 7-8, 2008 and YOU ARE INVITED!  (I’d love to meet you!)  Our women’s ministry prayerfully anticipates this event each year.  I hope you’ll stop by the church website and read about it. 

If you don’t live close by, please pray for us that our conference would be edifying to the women who come.  Also, I would appreciate your prayers for me as I prepare a message for the conference.  It is our prayer that we lift up the name of the Lord so that He would be glorified through every single thing that is said and done as we Dream Big.

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.  ~Ephesians 3:20-21

I’m a Believer!

Laura