August 18, 2014

Sending a Baby to College?: From My Heart to Yours:

I share from a tender heart this morning. I have many friends who are sending their sweet babies off to college this month. A few asked me to re-post my post from 2011 when I took my sweet girl off to college for the first time. So below, I am re-posting that post. But BEFORE you read it, I want to encourage you  with a few words from my heart this summer as we sent Lauren off for her senior year at UGA. 

Laurenspeaking

Lauren speaking at her high school graduation June 2011

FamilyinNYC.Dinn

Our July 2014  visit with Lauren while she interned for Major League Baseball in New York City!

We not only survived but thrived!!

These three years have gone by so fast. But may I tell you, Lauren and I have grown closer than I could have ever imagined! In her words (that make this mama’s heart sing), we have become more like girlfriends!! We truly ENJOY each other. We have taken some of the most amazing trips together. So the “goodbye” that initially shredded my heart into a million pieces has now blessed my heart more than I could have ever asked or imagined. And just a few weeks ago, she left me this message on Facebook.

“Fifteen Best Things about Being Close with Your Mom”

http://www.cosmopolitan.com/lifestyle/a29039/best-things-about-being-close-with-your-mom/ via @Cosmopolitan (cut and paste)

So as you read the post below, keep my words above and my closing words tucked deep in your heart. The ache will lessen. The tears will subside. Joy will return. I promise! And always remember in the wait…His mercies are new every morning!!

My heart’s cry from August 2011

No one ever prepares you for the hurt that accompanies sending your baby off to college. Moms share their experiences. They give advice. They pray. They send Scripture. But when the moment arrives…nothing prepares you.

As we stood in the darkness of the parking lot outside Lauren’s dorm, I felt as if I could not breathe. Waves of grief overcame me. She hugged her Daddy. Next she hugged her brother. I stood, waiting for my turn, tears streaming down my cheeks. Finally she came to me. I held her for what seemed forever as we both wept…no words just tears. Finally, we spoke our last goodbyes. I watched her walk up the stairs to her new home. Everything in me wanted to run after her. I wanted to turn back time and take her home…just one more year with me. But I knew that was not possible.

It was time…time for her to journey into the next phase of God’s plan for her life…a plan I know is perfect…a plan I know is one planned by God since before time began…a plan to prosper and not to harm her…a plan to give her Hope and a future.

But knowing those truths does not make saying goodbye hurt any less. As we drove home, the ache in my heart grew.

Walking into the house brought waves of tears. It hurts so much. How do I walk this walk? How do I live each day knowing her bright, smiling face won’t be walking through the door every afternoon. How do I serve dinner every night with one less place setting? How do I go to Target knowing she isn’t with me to stop at Chick-fil-A to get our sweet tea? How do I watch “Bewitched” without her at 4:30 every afternoon? She is everywhere!!!

How will I walk this walk? The only way I know how…one step at a time…with my Lord guiding each and every step and with you, my sweet friends, whose prayers and words of encouragement have held me up. It is such a lonely feeling, yet you have helped me know I am not alone.

My friend Marlo Huffington wrote these beautiful words:

Let the sweet waves of loss wash over you for they will eventually give way to joy!

So, I will wait patiently for the Joy that always comes in the morning.

Until then, I rejoice for Lauren. Her first two days were so hard. But now she is enjoying Rush and making new friends. Nights are still a bit lonely as she misses “home.” But I told her soon UGA would be her new “home,” her “home away from home,” and it would feel good to be there.

And I was right…even though in that moment I didn’t want to be. All I wanted to do was whisk her back home. But Athens, GA has become Lauren’s home away from home with girlfriends who love her; a football team she’s rabid about (Go DAWGS),  a Christian community that has challenged and developed her faith, and an education that already has opened amazing doors for her. And, most importantly, it’s where God has grown her into an independent, capable and strong young woman! All things I know would never have happened had she remained here with us.

If you are one of those moms today (or have a friend who is), please leave a comment and share your (or her) name and your (or her) child’s name. We are not alone. Thousands and thousands of mamas all over the world know the ache in our hearts. I promise to pray for each woman and child by name. And let’s band together and pray for each other…that the God of all comfort will ENABLE us to entrust Him with our babies and FILL our hearts full of His peace, love and grace today!!

Blessings,

August 10, 2014

Should I Say Yes or No? How Do I Choose My “Best Yes?”

Hey girlfriends! I’m so excited to be part of Lysa TerKeurst’s “The Best Yes” Blog Tour.  Today, I get to share a bit of how her new book, “The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands,” has touched my life. Read through to the end  to learn how to join in promoting Lysa’s book AND LEAVE A COMMENT FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A COPY OF “THE BEST YES”!

***Winner of the “liquid love” giveaway announced at the end of this post****

BoWendy.BestYesT

Bo (my sweet son) and I on a “Best Yes” day!!!

Let’s start with a few questions that I bet you can identify with.

Does your life feel like an urgent rush from one demand to another?

Do you live a reactive rather than a proactive life?

Do you find yourself stuck between two decisions, paralyzed by the thought of choosing one over the other?

This last one is where I found myself two weeks ago. Lysa’s message allowed me to choose MY “best yes” during one of the most trying times in my life as a mom. I was serving at our Proverbs 31 She Speaks Conference. Each day filled with responsibilities…things that my team assigned me to do.

Twenty-four hours into the Conference, I received a phone call from my daughter, who was interning in New York City, that she was sick, breaking out in some kind of allergic reaction. A bit distracted, I advised she head to the closest urgent care.

Despite treatment, her symptoms worsened throughout the day. I encouraged her to go back to urgent care the next morning and ask for more medicine. I continued with my She Speaks duties, but now she had me a bit worried.  By bedtime, she felt like she was struggling to breathe.  She clearly was not responding to the meds they gave her, and they couldn’t give her anymore. Both my husband and I were out of town. He in Kentucky. Me in Concord.  But he arranged for her to fly home immediately. Whatever caused this reaction had now invaded and overtaken her entire body.

I was terrified. What if they can’t control this? What if she can’t breathe? Who will care for her on the plane? What if we lose her?

The “best yes” seems obvious doesn’t it. Of course. Go be with your sick  child. That is the “best yes.” And, of course, that is where I wanted and needed to be. But what consumed my mind was how many people I would let down at the Conference. How many people would have to step up and take over my responsibilities. How many people who were already overloaded with their own duties would now have to pick up mine. So many emotions tangled up in my heart.

I knew where I needed and where my heart longed to be.  But lies infiltrated my heart. You are letting so many people down. Surely a close friend could step up in your place and call you if Lauren needs you. You could have worked something out.

As I hovered over her in  the Emergency Room, the condemning thoughts persisted. When her symptoms failed to improve, they admitted her to the hospital. I was terrified. This was my baby girl. In the dark of the night, as I lay by her side, my thoughts returned to all the women who were doing what I should have been doing. My heart raced. My stomach churned. But why? I knew I was where I needed to be so why didn’t I have peace?

Restlessness consumed me until the very women who stepped up to take over my responsibilities began texting me…powerful  prayers, beautiful Scriptures and WISE WORDS…words reminding me that I had responded with MY BEST YES by choosing to be with my daughter.

As they placed TRUTH in front of me,  God’s Wisdom drown out the lies!

In those crucial moments, God assured me that I had chosen MY BEST YES!

Friend, being equipped with God’s Wisdom and Truth is a GAMECHANGER in our decision-making. It makes us soldiers fully equipped for the decisions we will encounter in the midst of endless demands.

I had fallen victim to the evil one and allowed him, the one Jesus identified in the book of John as  a “liar” and the “father of lies,” to invade my thoughts and take them hostage, taunting me…lying to me…sending me to places I didn’t want to go. He didn’t letup until TRUTH came against him. It wasn’t until I stopped listening to the lies and began listening to and speaking back God’s TRUTH that he relented. And eventually, he slithered away with his big ole’ ugly tail tucked between his legs.

You see, sweet friend, TRUTH has a powerful way of interrupting the runaway thoughts and feelings that come in the midst of choosing our”best yes,” But if we don’t know TRUTH, we are powerless against the enemy’s tactics…his lying thoughts…his crafty deceptions.

I absolutely LOVE the three questions Lysa equips us with in Chapter 4 when we face difficult choices.

1. Have you been reading and praying through God’s Word lately?

2. Have you been applying God’s Word in your life lately?

3. Have you sought godly counsel and insights from wise people who know specifics about your situation?

BestYesCover

The key to choosing our “best yes” depends on having godly wisdom. Godly wisdom comes from one place and one place only…God’s Word! We must learn it, study it, believe it and store it up in our hearts!!

“The Best Yes” releases Tuesday, August 12th! Will you join me and our entire Proverbs 31 family in sharing this great news on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram? Click here to find great quotes, banners and pins to share. And click here to purchase a copy. Our hashtag is #TheBestYes. Below are some tweets to get you started.

Living with the stress of an overwhelmed schedule? @LysaTerKeurst is showing me the freedom found in #TheBestYes.

overwhelmedschedule-400x400

Decision-making. Ugh. Should I say yes or no? @LysaTerKeurst is showing me there’s another choice: #TheBestYes.

Will you join me in seeking God’s Wisdom so that together we can choose our “BEST YES”? Leave a comment today and share your favorite way to gather wisdom. I will choose one name to win a copy of Lysa TerKeurst’s new book “The Best Yes!”

 

*****The winner of the Liquid Love giveaway from my last post is  Eileen who posted on 7/25 at 9:03 am. Please send me an e-mail at deuteronomysix@aol.com with your full name and address so I can send you your books.*****

Blessings,

July 25, 2014

A Call to Share God’s “Liquid Love” Giveaway

Welcome Encouragement for Today friends!! I’m excited you stopped by to visit. Please be sure to enter the Giveaway at the end of the post. I’m also sharing my free five day devotional, “Five Days to a Faith-Full Life.” It goes along with my newest book, Living So That: Making Faith-Filled Choices in the Midst of a Messy Life. You can receive the free devotional by clicking here.

Book Cover

Before I share what’s on my heart, would you please pray for me? This is our Proverbs 31 She Speaks Conference week! And at 2:00 today (Friday), I teach a session on Writing Bible Studies. I’m excited and nervous all at the same time.

Today in my Encouragement for Today devotion, “She Met God in the Grocery Store, I share a story about when God called me out of my comfort zone to love a stranger in a way I never had before. If you want to read it, click here. So I thought I would dig a bit deeper into what God’s Word teaches us about loving others…especially when loving them feels awkward, uncomfortable or is just downright difficult.

God makes it very clear in His Word that we are love others. And that sounds good, but sometimes it can be really hard. Especially if showing that love makes us uncomfortable either because it’s someone that isn’t easy to love. Or it’s taking us out of our comfort zone, as with my story.

But God’s command is unmistakable.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart….love your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27

You and I are called to love. Not with a false love or a love we muster in our strength, gritting our teeth every step of the way. That love must be “sincere” Romans 12:9. In the King James, it says love must be “without dissimulation.” This word in the Greek is anupokritos. It means “true, unfeigned, without hypocrisy.”

Friend, God calls us to the real thing. Just like Coke; nothing compares to the “real thing.” Sorry all you Pepsie fans. :)

But we aren’t called to love with this “real” love in our own strength. If we were, we could never ever do it. We are too selfish. Too judging. Too self-centered. We are called to love with a particular kind of love…God’s love…the love He deposited in our hearts when we said “yes” to Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

1 John 4:7 says, “Let us love one another, for love comes from God….”

God has given us an amazing resource from which to draw. WE DRAW FROM HIS LOVE! It’s a sacrificial love. The kind of love that moved Him to sacrifice His One and Only Son.

Read the words of Romans 5:5: “God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” God’s love is a fruit of that Spirit. Galatians 2:2

To grow His love in us, God will continually challenge us to love beyond our natural capabilities. To love those who might be considered enemies. To love those who have hurt or betrayed us. To love those who make us uncomfortable. To love those who are strangers.

For this to happen, we must rid our hearts of toxic feelings, thoughts, fears, and emotions. I love the words of Beth Moore on this topic. She says that when we empty ourselves, “the liquid living love of God will not only surge through our hearts; it will splash on anyone nearby!

Hallelujah! Sweet friend, who does not want more of God’s “liquid love” surging through her heart?!

Join me today in taking a small step of obedience? Let’s ask God to open our eyes so that we can see how He wants to use us to splash some of His LIVING liquid love on someone today.

 

MyEFTJuly14.DevoImage

GIVEAWAY:

For a chance to win a signed copy of my newest book, Living So That, AND a book of your choice from our P31 bookstoreshare your prayer asking God to open your eyes and use you or share how God has used you to splash some of His amazing liquid love!

Blessings,