Friday, February 22, 2008

A DEEP SADNESS

Two days ago I received a letter from Kathy, she is the daughter of the man and woman I grew up calling Papa and Grandma Kovich. In the letter she said Papa was not doing well and she did not expect him to be here much longer. She called today to tell me Papa died yesterday. I cannot tell you how sad I am. It is hard to explain because I did not see him a lot since Grandma died (she was the one that kept everyone and everything together), but I am sad.

I have heard stories of me calling the Kovich house when I was three and simply saying, “come get me” and one of them would come pick me up and take me to their house. Grandma would also come to my house, pack my suitcase and take me to the mountains for a week at a time. After my parents divorced and I moved to Miami with my mom, my visits with Grandma were seriously curtailed by the powers that were.

Visiting the Kovich’s was always the highlight of my Christmas, Easter and summer break. Any time I could spend with them was never enough. Grandma was fun, silly and she loved Jesus. Papa was quiet and prayed all the time. My clearest memory of Papa is him kneeling at his bed praying. Their house may have been the only place that I could be myself as a child. Grandma would listen to me and I could cry and cry and cry in front of her and always felt comforted. She brought joy into my life that I did not experience anywhere else. It was a sacred place for me.

We ate at A&W and I always got a plastic, mini root beer mug. She loved Captin D’s and would always bring the hushpuppies home to eat in a bowl of milk. She always ordered the vegetable platter at the 5 and dime where I learned the fine art of removing just a bit of the paper wrapping on the straw and blowing to send the paper cascading across the table right at Grandma. She loved tomato and onion sandwiches. Grandma was known for having very old boxes or cans of food in her pantry. Papa always had beautiful flower gardens and grew delicious berries. He was kind and gentle. I could go on and on.

Grandma and I would travel mountain roads and she would sing about Jesus one minute and take her false teeth out the next and smile real big for passing truck drivers. It was always fun to be with her. One of her jobs was to attach advertisements to mailboxes, so we would drive sometimes for hours and rubber band flyers to mailboxes. It never mattered what we did, we had fun. She had lots of jobs and she always took me with her. I felt important when I was with her and she was important to me.

Todd and I moved to Georgia in 2000 and I was so glad to be closer to Grandma and was thrilled to know I would be able to see her whenever I wanted to, but she passed away one week after we moved here.

Today shortly after I received the call from Kathy a friend called and prayed with me. One thing she prayed was that all the prayers Papa prayed for me would be released and you know it never dawned on me that he was praying for me. That is an amazing thought considering how the Lord has worked in my life, probably as an answer to a lot of those prayers.

This afternoon I remembered Papa comforting me at Grandma’s funeral with these words, “we will see her again one day” and it made me smile to know they are together now. Isabella drew a picture for me this afternoon and it was Papa ascending into heaven with a ray of light shining down and Jesus waiting for him on a cloud. What a gift from my precious daughter that made me smile through the tears.

God blessed me with two wonderful people to step in and grandparent me as my biological grandparents were not capable of doing. Grandma singing, “yes Jesus loves me” still rings in my ears. Jesus does love me and sent me two wonderful people to love me with His love that I needed so desperately growing up.

Usually I am so good at describing how I am feeling, but not tonight. I really cannot put it into words other than – a deep sadness.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

REVELATION

It’s 6:30 a.m. and there is crying and screaming in my house – not a good way to wake up if you ask me. Yet, this is how most mornings begin lately. The baby is crying because she is ready to get up and the three year old is screaming, “the sun is up” in great faith because there is not a hint of sunlight peeking through his closed shutters. Inevitably the five year old wakes up with all the noise.

Our day begins fast and furious. They wake up hungry, so I begin passing out vitamins, drinks and food. Then it is off to the bedrooms to dress the two little ones and make sure the oldest dresses herself instead of playing. Every morning I put on three shirts, three pairs of pants, three pairs of socks, three pairs of shoes, brush three sets of teeth and brush three heads of hair. So, if you ever wonder why I look the way I do it is because I’m last to get all of these services and by the time it is my turn I’m too tired to care. Some days the process is grueling - that was yesterday.

The Lord stopped me for a moment of reflection standing at the fridge. I was whining and complaining in my head and He reminded me that this is my “job”. This is the place to which He has called me – this is my purpose. Well, that changes everything!

Some people get up, take showers (in silence), drink coffee and drive (alone) to work. They work their 9-5 in the place that God has called them for this season to accomplish His purposes. Yesterday He showed me that just because most days I don’t get a shower, don’t do anything alone, am lucky to remember to get a drink of water and am on call 24 hours a day does not make this any less my place to which He has called me for this season to accomplish His purposes. My attitude has not caught up to my revelation, but it is revelation nonetheless and that is a gift from God.

As I read Christ the Healer the other day, Isabella asked me to read some to her. After I read she said she did not understand, so I rephrased it. Then she said, “I’m going to make up a verse.” The Holy Spirit was so present I knew it was going to be good, so I braced myself and this is what came out of her mouth:

“Satan listens to the Word of God but he disobeys it. He who lies disobeys the Word of God, but he who listens to the Word of God runs from the liar to the One that has the Holy Fire.”

That was better than the best job evaluation, the bonus check and the awesome raise. My job has benefits although I do not see them everyday or even know what they are sometimes. Being here with these children is a gift from the Father, so I do not miss moments like that. That is the best compensation I could ask for.

Give her the product of her hands, And let her works praise her in the gates. Proverbs 31:31

Saturday, February 16, 2008

MY CUP OF TEA

Orange Chamomile

Rooibos Caramel Apple

Walnut

Thursday, February 14, 2008

TEA, BEAUTIFUL TEA


Once I knew we were buying Tea & Traditions and would soon have a website I knew who I wanted to take pictures of the tea - my friend Faith. She has an eye for "things"! She photographs people well, but there is something about the beauty she captures in inanimate objects that blows me away. Here is one of her photographs of our Jane Austen tea, isn't it beautiful? You can see more of her work at Zazzle or her blog Simplicity.

MYTH #2 - BEHIND EVERY GOOD MAN THERE IS A GOOD WOMAN

Pride, control and shame are just a few pieces of baggage I carried along with the phrase, “Behind every good man there is a good woman.” Again, I didn’t know this was “just a saying” or a “myth” – I bought it lock, stock and barrel. In my mind God not only wanted me to help myself, He wanted me to help my husband too. I hauled around a lot of false responsibilities as a young woman that He never designed me to carry.

When God created marriage He never intended for us to be responsible for each other’s actions. He was creating a picture of His Son’s love for the church (Ephesians 5). A canvas colored with love, patience and forgiveness. The lie I believed left mine covered with anger, resentment and criticism - not a good way to start a marriage.

At 18 I got married and had been told numerous times, “Behind every good man there is a good woman.” It then became my purpose to make my husband “good” even though I had no clue what that meant and I did not actually see myself as good either. How could I considering the lies I was living by? My thought process went like this, my husband is not ambitious, therefore, he is bad and if he is bad I must be bad and everyone will know it. Ouch! It was a lose lose situation.

I was trying to be a “good woman”, so he could be a “good man” not realizing I was putting myself in a position of control. In reality I was making myself a roadblock to what God wanted to do in him. Not only did I buy this lie, but I was sucked into believing that I had control in some way. Control in itself is a lie because we don’t have it – we NEVER have it. If you think you have control, you’ve just bought a lie.

Needless to say, that marriage did not work out. Not only did I live and die by false beliefs, neither of us had a relationship with the Lord. In all our striving and attempts to fix ourselves, each other and our marriage we failed miserably because we were working toward the worldly fa├žade of a “happy” marriage. That was half a lifetime ago for me and in that time I have been transformed by the renewing of my mind (Romans 12:2). The renewing of my mind was the only thing that was going to clear up the lies, confusion and crazy thoughts in my head.

This myth could be truthful if stated this way, “Behind every good man there is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.” It would also alleviate a lot of false guilt and responsibility that wives carry around.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

MYTH BUSTER #1 - GOD HELPS THOSE THAT HELP THEMSELVES

Myths have been around a long time. Now there is even a website (snopes.com) that is “The definitive Internet reference source for urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation.” Some people know a myth when they hear it, I wasn’t so fortunate.

As a child I struggled with depression which only got worse as I entered adolescence. For days I would isolate, cry and be riddled with negative thoughts. It was like being in a pit with no way out. During one of these dark times someone told me, “God (only) helps those that help themselves.” Something in my already distorted thoughts grabbed hold of this statement and I knew that I had to do more to help myself. That began years of spiritual self-reliance. I wanted so desperately to be well and tried so hard to be “happy”, was it not enough? How much did I have to help myself before He would help me? All this striving and God still wasn’t showing up.

This belief that became ingrained in my thinking and was fueled by many well meaning counselors telling me all the things I had to do to be well. For years it was behavior modification, medication and self-help books to no avail. That statement kept creeping into my thoughts and convincing me I still wasn’t doing enough to help myself. It had set me up to live in a perpetual cycle of failure because it was a lie and no matter how much I did to help myself it could never prove itself true. This convinced me that God was a rewarder of performance and mine just wasn’t up to par. Had I known the truth of the cross I would have recognized the lie and understood He is a God that helps the helpless and saves the sinner who can’t save himself.

Once I understood salvation I had a checklist in my head of all the I had to do to get “right” before I could be saved – back to the ‘ol “God (only) helps those that help themselves” drawing board. Now that lie was keeping me from the cross. Fed up, desperate and afraid I surrendered my life to Christ. I truly did not understand what I was doing at the time, but the Father did – He just wanted my total surrender. Knowing my distorted thoughts, I believe, He wanted to show me His unconditional love and His desire to “save” me because I had no ability to save myself (by His design). In His gentle way He said, “Now, I want you now, regardless.” It was as if a hand nudged me toward the altar because I had no intention of going down there myself.

In that sweet moment as I experienced the heart of the Father the lie I had believed for so long began to shatter. It took several years for all the layers of that to be chipped away but He is faithful. The very first verse He gave me that sank deep into my spirit was Ephesians 2, the complete and total contradiction to “God only helps those that help themselves”.

But God--so rich is He in His mercy! Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us, Even when we were dead (slain) by [our own] shortcomings and trespasses, He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ; [He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him, for] it is by grace (His favor and mercy which you did not deserve) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ's salvation). Ephesians 2: 4-5 AMP

The key to dispelling a lie is Truth – Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8: 32, 36. NIV I had tried so hard to prove the lie that I was miles away from truth.

More truth to conquer the lie:

While we were yet in weakness [powerless to help ourselves], at the fitting time Christ died for (in behalf of) the ungodly. Romans 5:6 AMP

For You have been a defense for the helpless, A defense for the needy in his distress ,A refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat; For the breath of the ruthless Is like a rain storm against a wall. Isaiah 25:4 NASB

For years I was enslaved to a lie that was nothing more than a quote from Ben Franklin in Poor Richard’s Almanac which had absolutely no basis in Truth. What lies do you believe? Seek Him and He will show you truth in your inner being!

Behold, You desire truth in the inner being; make me therefore to know wisdom in my inmost heart. Psalm 51:6 NIV

Come back tomorrow for MYTH BUSTER #2:
BEHIND EVERY GOOD MAN THERE IS A GOOD WOMAN.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

WAIT FOR THE LORD

Sometimes God speaks to us and He speaks clearly, but we can be left with more questions than answers. That’s where I’m at right now. Yesterday I told the Lord I needed a word from Him during this season of questions. As I was preparing a cup of tea to drink while I read my bible I heard Him say Psalm 27. So, sitting down with my steamy cup I opened my bible…the last verse is:

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. (NIV)

I love it in the amplified:

Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord.

He is so faithful to provide just what we need when we need it! So, now I wait, hope and EXPECT!!!

MYTH BUSTERS

I will be exploring two myths (any invented story, idea, or concept) that had huge impacts on my thinking, behavior and relationships. Check back tomorrow for Myth Buster #1 – God helps those who help themselves.

Monday, February 11, 2008

HE WILL CHANGE YOUR NAME...AND YOUR CHARACTER TOO!

Have you ever wished you had a different name? I did, all throughout my childhood. My name meant “bitter”. Name meanings were always important to me and I did not like the fact that the only meaning I could ever find was negative. Three years ago the Lord began to deal with me about bitterness towards my husband and it was a wonderful time of forgiveness and reconciliation. I was involved in a discipleship program and in our study we had to look up the meaning of the word “Lord”. I couldn’t find my dictionary, so I waited to use my friends when we went over the study. She had a bible dictionary and we looked up “Lord”. She began to read and this is what it said, “Jesus was also addressed with the Aramaic mari (“lord”). That is from the Holman Bible Dictionary, page 890.

At 33 years of age I finally found a positive meaning for my name, but it wasn’t without a willingness on my part to be changed. The Lord brought the bitterness to my attention, but I had to be willing to surrender it to Him and allow Him to change my heart. My reward was a changed name (meaning) something I had deeply desired my whole life. He rewards obedience.

Like me, Jabez (1 Chron 4:9b) had a name that had a negative meaning. His name meant “he will cause pain”. He did not want that to be his destiny, so asked God that he not do what his name implied - Oh, that you would bless me indeed, And enlarge my territory, That your hand would be with me, And that You would keep me from evil, That I may not cause pain! (1 Chron 4:10, TNKJ)

"In the Bible, a name and the nature of the one who carries the name are linked to the destiny God intends for them. For Jabez the change he desired meant a transfusion of the will of God to supersede his mother's careless action when she named him at birth. In effect, God changed his name by changing his nature. From that point, the name Jabez was changed spiritually to mean--blessed! enlarged! and kept by God from evil and from causing pain!" - Shirley Weaver Ministries, A Clear Trumpet, Inc., Post Office Box 2720 . Mt. Pleasant, SC 29465.Copyright (C) 2000-2006 All rights reserved.

Click here to get Shirley Weaver’s daily devotional emailed directly to you.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

SHOWERS OF BLESSING






It was just over two months ago when the Lord spoke clearly to me about purchasing a tea business, one month ago we signed the contract and this week we began to receive our first orders. When He gave me the vision for this business I had no idea how quickly and amazingly everything would happen. As a homeschooling mom of three and wife to one; I can tell you that the only way this all happened was "supernatural". God has given me the grace, energy and strength to do what He has called me to do over the last month. Obedience became a key in this process as the Lord showed me how obedience years ago had positioned me for this opportunity.

As we began to discuss the business we asked those closest to us to pray. The prayers went up and God's words came down. We were continually amazed at the clarity, confirmation and excitement. We knew before our first transaction took place we had to thank the Lord for the blessing and dedicate all we would do to Him. We invited those prayer warriors over for a celebration and dedication.

One couple brought a balloon and had asked everyone coming to seek the Lord for a scripture or word for us concerning the business to write on it. On the balloon was written "New Beginnings". It was truly a blessing to hear the words the Lord had given to these friends to encourage us in this process. I believe we heard clearly from His heart; His plans and purposes. We had a wonderful prayer time and felt blessed and encouraged by the scriptures and words everyone shared.

Just a few days before the celebration I asked Ann to take pictures for us. I felt it would be good to have someone else taking pictures, so I could focus on my guests and maybe even get some pictures of us praying. I was excitedly talking to Malorie about the party the night before and we were discussing the pictures and what vision God might give Ann while taking the pictures. Malorie said she believed we would see the very presence of God in those pictures, please take note of the picture of Todd and I releasing the balloon.

Above are some photos taken that day... All photos by Ann Purcell - thank you Ann for your vision.
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