"Our family will base our success on one thing...our impact for the Kingdom of Christ." -Rick Burgess

Friday, November 18, 2011

Five Minute Friday - Grow

Liking up with Lisa-Jo today for another fabulous Five Minute Friday!

Today's word is.......GROW.

Here I go.

My first thought when I saw grow was....Oh how I hope my waistline doesn't "grow" too much next week during Thanksgiving. Cause I'm about to dive all up in some turkey and dressing, cranberry salad, cheesy rice, green bean casserole and a pie of some sort. My pants feel a little tighter just thinking about it all.

OK so now that I got that out of the way....let's get on to some real meat.

Like ummm...the meat of His Word.

    "For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes ; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit."   Jeremiah 17:8

I love this description...being a tree planted by the water. Being a tree that grows deep roots. Being a tree that won't fear when the  hard times heat comes.

It blesses my heart to watch people grow in their relationship with Christ. It especially blesses me to see my girls growing in their walk. Seeing the fruit that they bare in their small sphere of influence.

Thank you Lord for the growth and the growing pains. Because with one usually comes the other.

Uggh! My time is up! Spent too much time talking about food. Sorry you had to "see" me being a glutton.

Thanking God for helping me grow,

Tracey
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Thursday, November 17, 2011

30 Days to Being Thankful (Day 17)

I've missed a few days, but here I go...time to catch up.

Thankful...

229. to be able to "meet" other bloggers.
230. for feedback.
231. for community
232. that she received the journal...in the mail, and in her heart.
233. that she's healing and growing in HIM.
234. for sweet text that say I was missed.
235. for friends that care.
236. that even though no one else understands our life, we do, and it's working for us, and we'll continue to make this way work until God shows us otherwise.
237. that God still speaks to me through His Word.
238. that I can learn from the wandering Isrealites' mistakes.
239. that God taught me to be patient, whether it's 2 days, 2 months, or 2 years. I will still praise Him.
240. that next week is Thanksgiving break! Woo Hoo! We get to sleep in for a whole week!!!!


Tracey
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About Me!


Hi there! I'm Tracey. Christ follower. Wife to Jeremy. Mother of three. Thanks counter. Not so many years ago, God chose to redeem my mess and allowed me the privilege of walking though life with my best friend. We've been walking side by side figuring out this marriage thing for almost 18 years now. God also saw fit to arm me with the responsibility of raising three girls. Our dearest friends call them the KP's. They are each uniquely different and I love them with all of my heart. I guess God knew what He was doing when He decided I could be a mother. So far they've reached 16, 14, and 7 with all their teeth, limbs, and appendages. Plus I can even say they have fairly decent manners. (You can pat me on the back when you see me.)

I strive to shine God's light wherever I go. Right now my light is shining in my home and somehow my mission field found it's way to this online space. In 2011, He called me to write here at LOE. It's been something that I've had to grow into. It still wears a little big, and I still feel that I don't really have anything to "say", but I'm adjusting. Along with writing, came a lesson in thanksgiving. I learned in 2012 how to give thanks with my words and more importantly with my life. I'm now living a life of gratitude. 2013 led me to the hearts of women. I felt God urging me to encourage the hearts of His daughters. My sisters in Christ.

Fast forward to 2015. In a whirlwind of a day on April 8th, our family went from warp speed, over booked, average American family to a family living with cancer. The months that have followed have been full of every emotion imaginable, but mostly they been full of prayer, faith, humility, and trust in the only One that can turn this diagnosis around.

I covet your prayers as I live out His plans for my life, and as we trust in His will for our family. In turn, please know, that I pray earnestly for you all and take each concern that you share with me, to the foot of the cross.


Thank you for sharing in this journey.


"A threefold cord is not quickly broken..." Ecclesiastes 4:12


"You love people with your eyes & ears. Focused attention & active listening is a healing gift you give to anyone." -Rick Warren

Learning as I go,

Tracey

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Journey to Salvation

NOVEMBER…

When most people think of November the first thing that comes to mind is Thanksgiving. And to most, Thanksgiving equals turkey, pilgrims, and parades. Sadly, few think of the “thanks” in Thanksgiving.

Midway through 2011 I was given a new perspective on gratitude. EUCHARISTEO! Nothing radical, or “band wagon”. It was basically, common sense, slap yourself on the forehead kind of perspective. You know the plan God had intended all along, the one that will always work….but the one we seem to have the hardest time catching on to. This word eucharisteo opened my eyes to what being thankful to God was really all about. It was being thankful in good times and bad. It meant being genuine…sincere…living life on purpose and not taking it for granted. All of this combined together to awaken me to the one thing that I am most thankful for…..

My Salvation.

This blessed Salvation….my greatest gift….the gift that was always there waiting for me….the gift that Satan didn’t want me to find….the gift that my Sweet Savior, Jesus Christ, died for….the gift that I don’t know how I lived 27 years without.

My journey to Salvation….

I’ve been darkening the doors of church since the womb. Every time they were open I was there. So your probably thinking…“How could she not have been saved?”
Well, according to records, I was “saved” in 1991 at age 14.

It was “Revival” week at our church. You know the week of the year in all Southern Baptist churches, when we bring in a different preacher to shake things up and get the people fired up for the Lord again after a year of backsliding. (I mean no disrespect, but those of you who grew up in church…especially a Baptist church…know what I’m talking about)

So the evening service was upon us. All the Youth were seated down front, instead of in our usual spot in the Amen corner. I don’t remember who the pastor was…all I remember was that he was loud and commanded our attention. You see our pastor was very soft spoken so the sheer volume alone held our attention. I was transfixed as he shouted about…of all things….hell. I don’t think any of us (Youth) blinked or even breathed through that entire sermon. We were probably sitting there, mouths gaped open.

Then comes the alter call.

All I could think about was that fact that I did not want to burn for eternity in hell…I knew how it felt to get burnt on the stove for goodness sake…I surely didn’t want to be set on fire for all of eternity! So when the pastor gave the OK to come on down, I…(A) went up front out of pure fear, and (B) went up front because all my friends went up…apparently they didn’t want to burn either.
So it was all taken care of…I was going to heaven…WHEW!!!

Fast forward to 1995.

Still in church every time the doors opened. I did, after all, have social obligations.

Trying to make it on time on these Sunday mornings since I could now drive myself. Trying to stay awake during the sermon, because I’d stayed out late the night before. Trying to make it through my Senior Year of High School so I could get out of this small town that I’d lived in all my life and had grown to despise!

No part of my life (other than the fact that I occupied a pew every Sunday) gave witness to the fact that I’d been “saved” four years prior.

Life after High School led to College. College meant freedom and no time for church. Two and half years into college…here comes marriage.

1997. Marriage in the church that I’d been “saved” in six years prior. Marriage to an unbeliever. But that didn’t matter…it never even crossed my mind. Because you see while I did have the advantage of a life spent in church…and while I did have a piece of paper saying that I was “saved“…I was just as lost as my husband was.

Here come the kiddos!

June 1999. The birth of our first child. Six weeks later….on the road we go. Out of town with my husband’s job….no church.

October 2001. Birth of our second child. In and out of town with work. We’re home for a while and I connect with a friend whose husband works with my husband. We travel together some. She starts talking to me about the religion that her mom follows. She’s starting to go to meetings with her mom. She and I, strangely enough, start talking about the Bible. It’s been years since I cracked open a Bible, so I have to go home and find mine. I brush off the dust and start searching because some of the things she’s said just didn’t sound right.

God used my friend, my Jehovah’s Witness friend, to get me back to the Bible. This was my first step toward Him.

So I kept searching, and I found the truths written in His word, and shared them with her. She was not receptive.

2003. Time passed, and children grew. It was time to come home to stay. Kindergarten was fast approaching. We got settled back at home after several years of being on the road.
My friend still pulled at me to follow her religion. I instead ran hard and fast back to my roots. Back to my safe harbor. Back to the very pew in which I’d sat years before and heard the message that scared me down the aisle…the message of “dying and burning in hell”.

This time that pew felt entirely different. I sat there older, bearing the scars of an unholy life, a life not lived for Him. But I also sat there as a mother of two. A mother who knew that her children needed to be in church. I sat there knowing that the beliefs my friend was offering were wrong. I sat there knowing that I’d been taught all the right things. I’d been taught all the Bible stories. I’d been taught the law.

The thing I had not been taught was that I could have a personal relationship with God…with His Son Jesus. I didn’t know that what I had been running away to find…what I had been searching for…the thing that would fill that empty spot inside me was an intimate relationship with Jesus. I’d never realized that He was Someone I could talk to about anything. That He was the One who had always loved me and always would. For me God was always some far away entity looking down ready to strike and send people to hell.

So I sat in the pew on that Sunday morning with a longing that nothing could fill….lost. I sat there feeling out of place in a place that was so familiar. I sat there and listened with an open, wounded heart as the choir sang. And with each word they sang, God filled the empty place inside me. He whispered, “Welcome Child, I’ve been waiting.” For the first time in my life I knew what the Love of God felt like. I knew what it meant to have a relationship with my Heavenly Father. I had a longing, but this time the longing was to know Him more.

I couldn’t tell you what the sermon was about that day. I can’t even tell you what the song was that the choir was singing. All I know is, that Sunday, I was willing to go and Jesus met me there. He met me…I laid myself bare before Him and He saved my soul.



Proverbs 22:6
“Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Are you lost? Hurting? Longing? Confused? Weary?
Run to Jesus sweet friend. He’s the only Cure.

Matthew 11:28
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
 


Stumbling along,
Following Jesus,
Tracey
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Special thanks to Melissa at Beautiful Mommy Feet. First...for being a willing servant of God... second, for inviting me to share in this blessing of 12 Stones during the month of November.


172. for the stories He gives us to tell.
173. the courage He gives me to tell those stories.
174. the smell of glue as she cuts and pastes.
175. that halloween is over and we can watch cartoons again without them trying to tell my child that she has to dress up and be scary.(Soap Box moment)
176. that my husband appreciates me and he's not afraid to let FB know it. :)(BEAMING!)
177. for Fall
178. for my tree that bares delicious pecans(pronounced pi-ˈkän, but since your reading you can pronounce it however you choose.) ;)
179. spellcheck
180. for my sweet nephew who changed my worn our brakes.

My Road to Salvation

This blessed Salvation….my greatest gift….the gift that was always there waiting for me….the gift that Satan didn’t want me to find….the gift that my Sweet Savior, Jesus Christ, died for….the gift that I don’t know how I lived 27 years without.

Read the rest of the story....follow me over to Beautiful Mommy Feet today where I have the honor of guest posting.

It is a  privilege to share my story with the followers of Melissa's wonderful blog.

Join us as we celebrate this Thanksgiving of Praise.

Tracey
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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

30 Days to Being Thankful (Day 9)

Thanking Him...

221. for waking me up on time this morning....I forgot to turn on my alarm last night.
222. for Vick's Vapo Rub.
223. for being able to breath out of my nose again.
224. that tomorrow is our Friday!
225. for giving me this opportunity to use this blog for His Glory.
226. for fresh greens and the neighbor that offers them.
227. for Kaylee, who cleaned up and put away last night before bed so that I wouldn't have to do it. It means so much when they do these little things without being asked. She couldn't have shown her love for me in any better way. Priceless.

Tracey
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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

30 Days to Being Thankful (Day 8)

Today I am dedicating this entire post to my dear, sweet, hardworking husband.

Today I thank God for this man.

This man that stepped into my path almost 14 years ago and walked it with me.

The man that continued to walk beside me as God (little did we know) was directing the path.

The path that led us both to Him.



212. for his love.
213. for his support.
214. for his faithfulness
215. for his laughter.
216. for his love for our girls.
217. for his willingness to provide for our family.
218. for his love for the Lord.
219. for his talents.
220. for his assurance.


Now he called his name Noah, saying, "This one will give us rest from our work and from the toil of our hands arising from the ground which the LORD has cursed." Genesis 5:29

Thankful,
more than words can say,
Tracey
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Monday, November 7, 2011

30 Days to Being Thankful (Day 7)


I feel like I've been hit by a truck today.

Thankful...

201. that I have not actually been hit by a truck. :)
202. that I can get out of bed on my own.
203. that I was able to remove the peanuts from her nostrils (one in each nostril) and that I didn't have to make a trip to the ER.
204. that there was only ONE peanut in each nostril.
205. that Friday is a school holiday.
206. that my car is getting me to and from the places I need to go.
207. that KP #2 was okay about not going on the field trip. I'm so proud of that kid.
208. that I only have two baskets of clothes to put away today.
209. for the good turn out at the shower, and that she got lots of things she needed.
210. that at least my ears aren't stopped up.

Tracey
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Friday, November 4, 2011

30 Days to Being Thankful (Day 4)

1 Chronicles 16:34 MSG

"Give thanks to God - he is good and his love never quits."

Thanking my Heavenly Father for...

191. His unfailing love.
192. gut busting, belly laughs, filling the car...they missed each other so much...it's been far too long....absence really does make the heart grow fonder.
193. sleepovers.
194. best friends.
195. making lasting childhood memories.
196. The Hurricanes WIN!!!
197. Fall and Football.
198. new recipes.
199. the excitement and anticipation surrounding wedding plans.
200. the ability to drive myself where ever I need to go.

Tracey
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Thursday, November 3, 2011

30 Days to Being Thankful (Day 3)

Pulled a post out of the archives for today...

 It's a lesson that God taught me on choosing thanks...

 

113. that my house didn't get damaged by the storm.
114. that Kenny is in PA with Jeremy. It's always nice to see a familiar face when you're out of town.
115. that I've learned to how to find my joy when I loose it. I've learned to thank my way out of those dark places.
116. for my church...and the freedom to worship there without fear of persecution.
117. for my friend Sharon, and the fact that, without a second thought ,she was willing to run my daughter a snack to school because she forgot hers this morning.
118. for unexpected messages from old friends...the friends that you never get see or talk to, but when you do it's like you see each other everyday.
119. for things yet to come and the lessons I will learn.

Whew.....I feel so much better now.

I had to start out with thanks today. And now that I stop and think about it.....it should be that way everyday. I should start everyday with thanks!

I admit, this morning I started out with thanks in attempt to dig myself out of the ugly hole I'd fallen into this weekend.

My old enemy depression comes around occasionally trying to pull me back down....and I can usually brush it off and keep moving....but this weekend a little of it stuck and I didn't seem to have what I needed to shake it.

But thanks be to God that today is a new day! A day of sunshine and cool fall breezes. A day of awakening! And I awaken to the fact that I have to live on purpose. I have to push through the dark days and find the thanks. The thanks that leads to joy! It's impossible to be two things at once. If you choose to be thankful all the time (which will always result in joy) there's no room for anything else.

CHOOSING.....makes me think of the talk that I had with my girls this morning. Here in the South we like to refer to these little talks as a "Come to Jesus Meeting". They've both just had a little too much attitude for me lately. Too much arguing with one another....to little love and compassion, and considering others feelings. And this morning was the straw that finally broke it.

So in my best "I mean business" voice I let them know that we ALL wake up every morning with choices to make....and it's our choice how our day will turn out. We CHOOSE what kind of attitude we will have each day....we CHOOSE how we will react to others....and a lot of times our OWN attitude determines how our day will go.

As we sat there I realized that they weren't the only ones being taught a lesson. God was using this to teach me as well. We were all learning....learning a lesson in living life on purpose....taking control of our actions, our tongues, our decisions....learning that everything we say and do effects someone, somehow. And that the outcome of the days challenges have a lot to do with how we approach and react to them.

So as I sit here, with each word I type I inch my way out of the hole that I dug. I see the light of day....the positive.....the good....because I choose to give thanks to the God who created me.

My pastor gave me some new perspective on thanks during Sunday's sermon. He pointed out that giving thanks is a part of what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit and that there are three types of thankful people. I like to think of them as stages of learning thanks.

The first stage is the easy one....giving thanks after you've received the blessing. It's easy to give thanks for something that you already have.

The second one is a little harder....It is giving thanks before the battle begins. Remember the story of Jehosaphat.

The third is the hardest....giving thanks in the middle of the battle, when it looks like you've been defeated. That's giving thanks even when you don't understand...because you know that God has a plan and purpose that is perfect...you know that He works all things together for good to those who love him and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Everyday the Lord reveals something new to me....I am amazed at just how little I knew about the importance of giving thanks.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 "In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

 

Stumbling along,

Following Jesus,

Tracey

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

30 Days to Being Thankful (Day 2)

Day 2

John 11:41-42
41Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that You have heard Me. 4 2 And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.”

 
Jesus said “I know you always hear Me.”

Wow….do we have this same confidence? Confidence that Our Heavenly Father always hears us? Jesus’ example in this passage says that we should. His example also tells us that we should be giving Thanks to God in everything (yes the bad time too) and we should be doing it publicly. What a thought…people could actually be led to believe in Jesus because of our obedience in Thanksgiving to God.



I Thank my God today....

184. The girls had winter clothes from last year that still fit this year.

185. I finally got the winter clothes pulled out of storage and organized in the closet.

186. Almond bark (my waistline is not so thankful for this)

187. Satsuma oranges and the little stand on the side of the road where I bought them.      

        Lord Bless his business.

188. The laundry is done (for today).

189. It’s fellowship supper at church tonight!

190. We have bricks on our house. (one step closer to moving in!)


Stumbling along,
Following Jesus,

Tracey
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Follow the 30 Days to Being Thankful at Becoming a Strong Woman of God.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

30 Days to Being Thankful (Day 1)

Romans1:8 - "First I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world."

My MacArthur commentary tells me that in almost every letter Paul wrote, he expressed his gratitude. If thankfulness was that important to Paul, then I think I should take note and learn from his words of gratitude.

I take particular note that Paul thanked God "first".

A few months ago I read Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts. It was life changing for me. The portrait she paints of thanks is astounding. Since finishing the book I've started my own journal of thanks. I'll be sharing some of those lists of thanks with you throughout the month of November as I participate in the 30 Days to Being Thankful Challenge.


I thank my God for...

181. a quiet house after everyone has gone to bed.
182. the chance to hear about the Godly influence my girls are being to their friends and teachers at school. Thankful more than words can express, for their boldness in speaking God's truths, and their willingness to stand up for their faith even when they are the only ones standing.
183. the pure, sweet, and innocent gratitude of my little one(age 3) who says to me today..."Mama, I'm grateful for you today and for the rice krispies you made."


I'm linking up with Sonya over at Becoming a Strong Woman of God to share in her Challenge. Be sure to swing by there and take a look.

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