I'm so glad you've stopped by my blog! I am a Women's Minister and a former Pastor's Wife. I love finding God in my regular-everyday-stuff. I struggle with keeping up with the laundry, I love blogging, and my kids are my first line of ministry. I am recently widowed. So God and I are on a brand new journey as I try to find peace and understanding. Please grab a cup of coffee and let's get to know one another as we journey on our faith walk together.

Monday, April 26, 2010

"I've laid out your clothes for you"

This morning I got up early, made the coffee and started the laundry, before sitting down for my prayer time. I just love a quiet house first thing in the morning. Today, I read about Gideon in the Old Testament. Gideon is one of my most favorite characters and I've written about him several times. In fact, as I get to that part of Judges I even begin to smile - for I remember all the precious lessons the Lord has taught me through this great man's life. Gideon was not an obvious warrior. In fact he pleaded with the Lord that he was the least in all his family! However, God knew that with His strength He could make even Gideon a strong leader!
These are the things that make me smile about his life. But what I saw this morning was a fresh new lesson that I'm looking forward to putting into practice starting today!

Judges 6:34 (ESV)
But the Spirit of the Lord clothed Gideon,
and he sounded the trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called out to follow him.

Okay, I know at first this verse doesn't seem to be that impactful. However, I couldn't get "the Lord clothed Gideon" out of my head and my heart. Let me give you a little context here. Their leader, Joshua, has recently died and they have already gotten away from serving the Lord their God. In fact, the 6th chapter of Judges starts out by saying that they were doing evil in the sight of the Lord. As a result of their sin, they were being attacked by their enemy, the Midianites. Under such distress the children call out to God for help. God chose Gideon to be the leader of His rescue mission.

Right before the time came for Gideon to bring the tribes together to fight, we read this verse above. It's almost as if God was thinking... "I know what's in store for you and I want to make sure you've got the right outfit on for this task. Therefore, I'm going to clothe you with what you need."

Growing up, my Mother used to lay out my Dad's clothes on Sunday morning. He always claimed he was colorblind and needed Mom's help. Perhaps that was true. But I think over the years it was a win-win for both my Mom & my Dad. He got his clothes laid out for him, and she made sure he wore what she wanted him to for Sunday morning. Some Sundays required a suit - for it was his Sunday to serve Communion or be a greeter - other Sundays he might just need a nice shirt and slacks. Either way - my Mom would lay out the clothes that would best fit his required service.

Today, I find myself doing the same thing for our daughter. Everyday she wears the same uniform to school. It certainly makes getting ready on a busy school-morning nice & easy. I have no doubt that Jordan could do this herself, but she has come to love that she can go upstairs after breakfast and find her clothes all laid out for her for her day at school.

I thought about what my Mom does for my Dad and what I do for Jordan, this morning, as I read about Gideon being clothed by the Lord. What an outfit that must be - to be clothed by the Lord! It made me wish that the Lord would say to me at the start of my day, "I know what's in store for you today - therefore, I've laid out your clothes for you." Then I realized - He does do that! That's what happens in my prayer time! It's there that He provides me with an outfit of strength for those difficult moments He knows I'm going to face. It's during that time, that He clothes me with His steadfast love, so that not only I feel loved & cared for- but so I can pass it on to those around me! He knows when I'm going to need an extra measure of patience for those frustrating situations that creep into my day and He covers me perfectly. That's the beauty of God's clothes - they fit perfectly!!! He knows my exact size!

Today, whether you're doing laundry, hanging up clothes, laying clothes out for your family or putting on certain clothes for specific tasks yourself - get a visual of the Lord laying out His clothes for you! Wear them proudly and serve Him ardently - for He's picked out the perfect outfit for the task that He's given you today!

I love you all dearly!
Your sis in the faith,

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Leave Nothing Undone!

I love making lists! They give me such a feeling of accomplishment! Sometimes, I even list things that I've already done - just so I can have more things that are "marked off" on my list. I know it's crazy... but it makes me feel good to actually "see" what I've done, what I've gotten accomplished. I remember as a kid, Saturday mornings were "clean-the-house-day". And my Mother had a way of making it fun for me & my younger sister. She listed all the chores on small slips of paper and put them in a jar. My sister & I would choose a chore and race to complete it - just so we could go to the jar and choose another one! Brilliant Mom, really!

I read a verse this week in my One Year Bible that got me to thinking about another checklist. It inspired me to make sure that I don't just make lists for making a list sake - but to rather work to accomplish the goal that has been assigned to me.

Joshua 11:15, 
"Just as the Lord commanded Moses his servant, so Moses commanded Joshua, and Joshua so did. He left nothing undone of all that the Lord had commanded Moses."

Do you ever get to the end of your day and re-evaluate your checklist and move things to the next day? You just ran out of time. Sometimes, after moving things day after day to the next day - I just eventually let them "fall off the list." Visualize Joshua's "To Do List" for just a moment...
1) Get people to the Promised Land, 2) Fight off the nations currently living there, 3) Teach the people to serve only the Lord... etc. These are pretty BIG tasks! And notice what this verse says - "so Joshua did" and "he left nothing undone" - Wow!!!

Can I say the same about my "T0 Do List?" On this morning I prayed that the Lord would renew a fresh spirit within me to have follow through. In the big and the small. To pick up those few small things in the living room before going to bed - to set the timer on my fancy coffee pot so my husband has a cup of coffee on the way to work, to focus on eating right, to lead women to follow Christ, to love graciously, to seek to serve Him with my whole heart!

I want the Lord to look at my checklist and see that nothing was left undone with all that He commanded me to do. How is your checklist? I know you can do it! Don't give up! Joshua didn't and neither should we!!!

Your sis in the faith,

Monday, April 19, 2010

The good stuff's in the middle!

Saturday mornings are a special time at the Franklin house. We sleep as late as the kids will allow and then I make coffee while John takes a quick trip to the "do-nut store" (as JP puts it). It's always a surprise as to what he will bring home. But everyone's all-time favorite is the HUGE cinnamon roll. This past Saturday morning, JP brings us his plate to inform us that he was "done" and ready to go outside & play. I took one look at his cinnamon roll and found this!

Only the center had been eaten. John said, "Well, at least he's learning where the best part is!" No need to waste time eating towards the center - just go right straight to it!

JP has learned that the good stuff is in the middle and why take up valuable tummy space eating the outside when you can fill up on the yummy center! Now that's a concept!

It makes sense to put the yummy stuff at the very core - in the center - protected on all sides. As I looked at JP's cinnamon roll - I thought about my precious family. John & I do our best to protect them. We protect our kids from danger, from seeing things that are inappropriate for them, we protect our time together. The special part of my life (short of my relationship with God) is my family! I guess you could say that the good stuff is in the middle regarding my family!

But so often I waste valuable time (tummy space if you will) on the outer parts - emails, phone calls, laundry, cleaning, working at the church, and various other things that distract me from the "good stuff".

Today - I want to encourage you to head straight for the middle - go directly to the best part of your life and let them know just how wonderful they are. Fill up on the good stuff in your life first!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Holy Ground?

So this morning I walked into our kitchen and found this! My husband's boots, our son's shoes and baseball glove, and our daughter's backpack. Now to give you some context - these are the steps that lead down into our kitchen from the dining room. Why is it that these steps (which everyone uses, I might add) are the place where everyone chooses to deposit their belongings!

When I looked at it I thought, "What is this?! Did they think the kitchen was Holy Ground and they needed to take their shoes off then and there?!" But as I thought about it more & talked about it with my husband - I realized that they weren't too far off the mark. Because what makes a place holy - where God is and where He is working. So to review what happens in this room... yes, cooking and family meals, but also this is where I help our daughter with her homework, it's where I keep my laptop and write devotionals and Sunday lessons for church, it's where I teach our 3 year old about every day life, and finally it's where John & I have most of our heart-to-heart conversations. So yes, I would say that in this humble little kitchen tucked away in a quaint part of New Orleans - is indeed.... holy ground!

So I guess I should just smile (instead of getting frustrated) at the shoes on the steps - knowing that my family loves entering into such a wonderful place.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

This needs to be shredded!

Good Morning!
What a great week this has been! The car pool lane has been a little different for Jordan's school this - based on the upcoming fair. So for this week, John has offered to take her to school every morning... since his Jeep is able to maneuver better in smaller spaces. Jordan has TOTALLY loved this and I've been able to get a few more things done in the morning - like exercise and this devotional! I also have a little project that I would like to (at the very least) get started this week... and that's cleaning out a portion of our garage. I love cleaning (I know, I'm a freak!). There are some boxes that need to find a better, more permanent home within the garage, and there are some boxes that need to be cleaned out and their contents find a place within the house... but there are a few boxes that I know need my attention and I'm dreading opening them. Why? Well... we've been saving them for their contents are headed right for the shredder!!! Do you have boxes like this in your house? Or maybe you're way ahead of me and you just have few small piles that are heading to Shredder-ville? Either way - their final destination is to a place of destruction. As of right now, they are taking up valuable real estate in our garage. In fact, at one time John & I even two-stepped in our garage - before these boxes arrived! I want my dance floor back! Therefore... pack your bags boxes... your destination is sealed!

Did you know that the Bible talks about things devoted for destruction? (Do you think God had my shredder pile in mind when he penned those words?) I read about it this week in my prayer time. And as I read it, I might have thought about my garage for a moment - but then I quickly went to my heart and thought about cleaning it as well. Read this verse below and you'll see what I mean.

Joshua 7:12 (ESV)
Therefore the people of Israel cannot stand before their enemies.
They turn their backs before their enemies,
because they have become devoted for destruction.

Okay - you might need a little context. Joshua is leading the children of Israel into their Promised Land - their land flowing with milk & honey. However, as they would fight different nations to take possession of the land, the Lord told them to keep nothing! For the possessions of their enemies were devoted for destruction. And as long as they were obeying the Lord - they had success! However, in Joshua 7:1 we see Achan keep some of the devoted things for himself. He actually hid them under his house (hmmm...kind of like my garage)! At the next battle with Ai, they lost! Joshua was devastated! He cried out to the Lord and God revealed to him that they would not experience victory. He told Joshua that because a member of their tribe had stolen things devoted for destruction now they too were heading for destruction. Take another look at the verse above. Because they had stolen these items they could not stand against their enemies. They had to turn and run from the people of Ai because they had become a people devoted for destruction!

What a scary thought! Now, in no way am I saying that because I have a box that is heading for - devoted for - destruction that I cannot stand against my enemies and be strong! That's just silly! But what about my heart? Have I picked up some things up along the way that really belong to the enemy? Like bad habits, wrong attitudes, or selfish endeavors that should be devoted for destruction?

This morning I prayed that the Lord would purify my heart and help me clean out the garage of my heart so that I'm not contaminated with any thing that should be shredded. The main reason I need to send those devoted things to the shredder is because once I do - I can stand up against the enemy! I can confidently fight the battles that the Lord wants me to win! Now that's some motivation for cleaning! And secondly..., once I clean those things out - send them to the Spiritual Shredder if you will... - I'll have a lot more room to two-step through life with my Heavenly Father, my husband, my kids and anyone else He's brings into my life!

Do you have a dance floor at the bottom of your heart that's just waiting to be cleaned? Don't be afraid to dive in and start assigning these things to be removed and possibly even shredded! Once you do - I promise you'll be ready to stand up against your enemies and be victorious in all that God's already promised you!

I love you all dearly.
Your sis in the faith,

Monday, April 12, 2010

Dimmed View

Okay, okay! This is the week! This is the week that I am committed to getting my eyes checked. I'm quickly approaching 40 and my eyesight it getting the best of me. And as I was struggling to see the words on the page of my One Year Bible - I read this from Deuteronomy 34:7, "Moses was 120 years old when he died. His eye was undimmed, and his vigor unabated."

He was 120 and had great sight - I'm not even 40 yet and mine is failing! I'll keep you all posted as to the results of my eye exam and I'm sure subsequent contacts and/or glasses!

In the mean time - my prayer to the Lord was not for Him to heal my eyes and let me have great sight until I'm 120 years old - but rather for my spiritual eyesight to not go dim. I want my passion and sight for the things of the Lord to stay strong (much stronger than my physical sight and vigor). I don't want to have a dimmed view of the things the Lord wants me to see or for my "vigor" to lesson for the tasks He has before me.

So, in the mean time, I'm going to make sure I can actually see the words of the Lord in my Bible - so I can then in turn obey them!

Have a great day as we start a new week!
Your sis in the faith,

Friday, April 9, 2010

You happy now?

Good Morning!
Yeah! It's finally Friday! I just love the weekends. They seem to bring hope & happiness. Even in the quietness of my kitchen, as I drink my coffee with my favorite Bible (while everyone else is still sleeping) I'm thinking happy thoughts about what the next 3 days will bring. (And we don't even have any BIG things on our agenda yet).

Have you ever noticed how a small intentional smile can change your mood - your attitude - and perhaps reset your very steps? No parent thinks it's fun to discipline their children. It's certainly not a "happy or smile-able" moment in our house when that is taking place! But almost immediately after the cries have subsided, JP will come up to me and give me the most intentional, adorable, long-lasting smile. He'll look so intently at my eyes (and not let me look elsewhere I might add) that I feel his smile in my heart. Then he says, "You happy now?" I know he's looking to make sure that he & I are good after I've punished him. He's just seen my face and my tone not happy and directed at him - so he's looking to make sure that I can still smile back at him and ease his sweet little heart. Of course, I scoop him up and we hug and I kiss his sweet little face and say, "Of course I'm happy! And I love you very much!"

Did you know that we - God's children - can be happy too, even after God punishes us? Take a look....

Deuteronomy 33:29 (ESV)
Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord,
the shield of your help, and the sword of your triumph!

Moses is blessing all the tribes of Israel - right before he dies I might add. And after he blesses each individual tribe - he says this. Of course they have just taken the journey of their life! And not just one of "over the mountain and through the woods" trying to get to grandma's house - but through the seas, the deserts, and through perilous lands! And through that journey they disobeyed many many times! And God punished them many many times! And yet - right before they walk into the Promised Land - Moses says, (in JP's words) You happy now! And why should they be happy? Because they were a people saved by the Lord!

My sweet friends - we too are a people saved by the Lord! We have Him as both our shield and our sword! JP recently got a pretend sword with a sheath as a favor at a birthday party. This was several weeks ago - but it has become one of his favorite toys. He loves to pull the sword out of the sheath really fast and say, "On guard!" Then he takes this battle-type stance with his legs and waits. I love the visual of this! The Lord is not just our shield - but he is our sword of victory & triumph!

If you are still feeling the tears of your punishment, if the sting of your sins is still on your hinny - you can still smile! You can still be happy! Look intently into the eyes of your Savior and know that He has saved you. Recall all that He has saved you from - small battles & big ones too. Reflect on your past prayers and cries and see just how good the Lord is! And if those are not enough to make you happy - then how about Him saving us from an eternal death! Don't diminish this! Let this verse be what resets your very steps this morning. Take what Moses said to the children of Israel and let the Holy Spirit say it to you! "Happy are you! Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord, the shield of your help and the sword of your triumph!"

Today - smile. Be happy - even with tears still rolling down your face. Take the sword out of it's sheath and say, "On guard!" For just as the Lord fought battles for the Israelites - He fights and wins them for you too!

The children of Israel had a long road ahead of them. They were just about to enter the land that the Lord had promised them. They still had a lot of work to do to conquer it and make it their own. But before all that - Moses gives them this reminder - to be happy because the Lord had saved them. We too have a lot on our plate. We too still have wars to be fought and places to conquer! But, we are a people who the Lord has saved. We are a people whose battles have been fought by the Lord. So in spite of all that you still have going on today - all your irons in the fire, I'm going to look you right in the eyes through this email and ask you like JP, "You happy now?" Moses told the children of Israel to be and we can certainly follow their lead.

I love you all dearly!
Your sis in the faith,

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Isn't it just a building?

Wow! I'm still in a little wonderment at what I just got to experience! Every Thursday morning our church is open for personal prayer & communion @ 6am. I've always wanted to go. Who wouldn't want quiet moments with soft music playing to read, pray and truly get prepared for the day ahead. However, with 2 small children and the rushes to get ready for school this event has never really been a do-able thing for me.

But this week, (thank you Sarah!) I got to go! I really wanted to be a part of everything the church was planning for Passion Week. There's just something about praying on Maundy Thursday. Today, almost 2000 years ago my Lord, Jesus Christ, a sinless man, was arrested - and took on my sins - took my place!

While I was sitting in the very quiet worship center I started out by reading my One Year Bible. I wrote down a few things that brought me peace and comfort and then I began praying. I prayed over the struggles of yesterday, the tasks for today, as well as many requests and needs of my brothers & sisters in the faith. And as I was praying the Lord brought to my mind a verse I had just read - but really just skimmed right by it.

Psalm 73:16-17(a)
"But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God".

Wow! This is exactly what was happening while I was praying to God! I was lifting up things to Him that I didn't understand and was quite weary over... but in those quiet moments, sitting alone in God's House - I began to gain some clarity. It seemed a wearisome task to understand this walk of faith - "until I went into the sanctuary of God". Yes, I can pray at home. Yes, I can pray while driving down the road. Yes, I can pray while the kids are being kids and all that goes with that... but there is truly something reverent, holy, and calming about entering into a place that is designated as a sanctuary of God. All I know is I went in there weary and left strengthened. I went in there anxious to hear from God and left with an ear full!

Is it just a building? Perhaps. But today it was so much more for me - and I think for the psalmist it was too. I pray that during this Passion Week - you too can find a place that's a sanctuary and gain perspective and strength from the Lord!