10,000 reasons for my heart to find

6 Aug

On July 7, 2012 I was about to face the toughest thing I’ve ever had to face.  I was lying in a hospital bed in a dark labor and delivery room.  Around 4 am I woke up.  Contractions had officially started and they were not fun, especially since I knew that I was contracting so I could deliver a lifeless child.

On July 3rd our family went in to get our routine 20 week ultrasound and instead of finding out if we were going to have a son or daughter we found out our baby’s spirit had left.  No heart beat.  The delivery was scheduled for four days later.

So there we were.  God had already began the healing process during those days waiting to deliver, but waking up that morning knowing what was about to happen was hard.  But I decided instead of lying there mad at the devil that I would turn on my iPhone and sing and worship my Savior.  So that’s what we did.  My husband Josh was right there with me.  The song that I will never forget singing that night is what inspired this blog.

Bless the lord oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship his holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I worship your holy name

The sun comes up
Its a new day dawning
Its time to sing your song again
What ever may pass and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

You’re rich in love and you’re slow to anger
Your name is great and your heart is kind
For all your goodness I will keep on singing
10,000 reasons for my heart to find

And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Soon my soul will sing your praise un-ending
10,000 years and there forever more

We raised our hands and sang this out through tears that morning and a few hours later the delivery was over and we were home.  I remember saying to Josh later that night, we have so much to be thankful for… I bet if we sat down there would be 10,000 things our hearts could find to be thankful for.

So what is this blog about?  The other day I was making dinner and the thought came to me.  I wonder how many things you would have to be thankful for every day for a year to get to 10,000.  So I asked Siri to do the math and I was surprised.  27!  That’s it.  (Technically, 28 for 145 days and 27 for the rest)  So I decided that night as I was chopping up an onion that every night before I fell asleep I would take time to write down 27 things that I am thankful for and at the end of the year my heart will have found 10,000 reasons.

I don’t read blogs.  I’ve never written a blog.  I don’t even know if blogs are cool anymore, but after I came up with the idea I just felt like I should make it a blog.  Hopefully it inspires people to be more thankful.  Psalm 103:2 Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me.

So here it goes..  my first list!  A lot of these are the broad strokes.  The things that will shape most of my lists to come over the next year.

  1. Jesus – how can He not top the first of my first list.
  2. Josh – my husband of 9 years and my best friend for the last 12.
  3. Gus – my first born!  the coolest 4 year old on the planet.
  4. Beau – my beautiful 16 month old daughter.
  5. Felix – my precious son who I will meet in heaven.  only in our lives for 20 weeks and made such a huge impact.
  6. My mom – Loves God and loves people.  One of the most generous people I know.
  7. My dad – One of my favorite people to talk to because he’s a good listener.
  8. My brothers and sisters – I have 6! And I love each one of them and loved growing up with them.
  9. My mother in law – I am one of the few people that doesn’t just love their mother in law, but likes her too.
  10. My father in law – I am so blessed to be his son’s wife.  Josh is such a wonderful husband and father and so much of it is because of his dad.
  11. My sister in law and her family -They love God, love each other and love us.
  12. My church – Gateway Frisco!
  13. My job – So thankful I get to work from home for an awesome ministry: Ken Blount Ministries
  14. My husbands job – Getting paid to teach children God’s word every week..  how awesome is that!?
  15. My Bible – It’s like opening a present from God every morning.
  16. That Gus puts on cologne after his bath.  Love tucking in that sweet smelling boy.
  17. For the 30 minutes, literally 30 minutes that Gus talked passionately about God’s word with me today on the way home from the mall.
  18. For the cloud Gus saw today that he said looked like the Death Star from Star Wars and was convinced God made it that way just for him
  19. That Josh will be home from his staff retreat tomorrow!!  I miss him!
  20. For my blue letter bible app.  Revolutionized my bible study time.
  21. Air conditioning
  22. That my washer and dryer are not the in the garage
  23. For the much needed rain shower today
  24. For the indoor play place the kids had so much fun playing at
  25. For the song “I’m Not Afraid Anymore” by Leeland
  26. That Josh gives the kids their baths every night.
  27. For this promise- Jeremiah 50:9 Our arrows (our kids) shall be like those an expert warrior; none shall return in vain.

Home Sweet Home

10 Sep jmbarclay

Before my husband and I were married we decided we wanted to be home owners.  He went to the bank, got approved for a loan, found a realtor, and started shopping.  I can still remember meeting Josh at his parents’ house and driving to our realtor’s office so she could take us on our first day of house hunting.  We were both pretty excited, but by the time we got to the fifth or sixth house, discouragement began to set in.  Is this really the kind of house we are going to have to live in?  Everything we saw was everything we didn’t like.  Old carpet, popcorn ceilings, low ceilings, lots and lots of 80s architecture, and zero charm.

We went back to Josh’s parent’s house and wondered if we were doing the right thing.  We talked about perhaps just getting an apartment to start off with, but we kept coming back to the feeling that God had a house for us, so Josh talked to our realtor and let her know more about what we were looking for in a home.  The next time she took us out we were on the other side of Tulsa and the houses weren’t perfect, but they had potential.  We saw several homes that we liked and one, which for some reason beyond reason, we fell in love with.  We bought it and spent our first night as a married couple in that little place.  We lived there for five years, fixing it up along the way.  It was the perfect first home for us.

I was reminded of our first house-hunting experience when I read this verse this morning,

1 Corinthians 3:16 (Weymouth) Do you not know that you are God’s Sanctuary, and that the Spirit of God has His home within you?

God went looking for a place His spirit could call home.  He had lots of different options.  Somewhere on the beach, up in the mountains, a place with a big backyard and great big oak trees, a quaint little cabin in the woods, or He could have stayed in the nicest place imaginable—heaven.  Instead, He let His realtor know He was looking for something different, something less perfect.  Something that came in all shapes and sizes.  Something that came in diverse colors.  Something that looked more like Him.  For some reason beyond reason He wanted His Spirit to make its home in His people.  He wanted a “fixer-upper.”  He knew we weren’t perfect, but we had potential.  He was done living in the temple; He wanted to live among His people—ALL of His people.

So that’s what He did.  The Creator of the universe, who could have chosen a home more beautiful than we could ever dream of, chose to live in us instead.  He made us His dwelling place.  We are what His Spirit calls “home sweet home.”

I’m so thankful that Jesus came and got me ready to put on the market.  He cleaned me up, got rid of my popcorn ceilings and old carpet and turned me into the kind of place He knew His Father would want to live in.  I’m no longer for sale, but completely sold out to the Spirit of God.

Auto Correct

21 Aug IMG_4711

I’ll just come right out and say it. I’m not a fan of talking on the phone. I used to like it. I liked it so much that when I lived at my parent’s house they got me my own phone line so I wasn’t always tying up theirs or making it impossible for the dial-up modem to connect to the Internet. But that was before I owned a cell phone. More importantly that was before I owned an iPhone. My dislike for talking on the phone came when I got one of those bad boys. It was just so much simpler to text than it was to talk; especially with a 2-year-old running around. Now, I have three children at home and I rarely answer my phone. I’ll answer a text pretty quickly, but if you call me, you’ll have to wait until the baby goes down for a nap and the big kids are being entertained by a monkey and the man with the yellow hat before I call you back.

Since I communicate so much via text messaging I’ve come to appreciate Auto Correct. This is a handy software feature that automatically replaces a word or suggests an alternate word, if the word you type does not appear in the built-in dictionary on your phone.

For instance, if I had too much soy sauce with my sushi, and my extra-puffy fingers accidentally text, “I kovr sushi,” Auto Correct knows that kovr is not a word and what I meant was, “I Iove sushi,” and automatically changes kovr to love—so smart!

Your phone will also train itself to recognize certain words that are not in its dictionary, if you text them often enough. When I first had my daughter, Beau, her name was not in my dictionary, and Auto Correct was always trying to change it to something else. But after I declined the word replacement suggestion enough times it learned that Beau was what I was actually wanting to text. It even learned to automatically capitalize it.

I was texting my husband the other day and watching all the words I mistyped transform into the words I meant to type and I thought to myself, we need Auto Correct on more than just our phones, we need it in our minds.

Wouldn’t it be nice if every time you started to have a wrong thought, your mind would auto correct and replace that thought with a right one? Imagine what kind of effect that could have on your life. If you are thinking right, you are talking right, making right decisions, producing the right kind of fruit, attracting the right kind of relationships. All would be right in your world if you could only program your mind with an Auto Correct feature.

I’ve got good news. You can. You don’t have to hire a computer programmer or a brain surgeon. You don’t have to pay a fortune. You don’t have to take special vitamins or eat a certain diet or be a part of Mensa. All you need is a Bible.

II Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV) All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

The Word of God, when mediated upon, has the power to auto correct your thoughts. When you study and memorize scripture you are downloading information into your mind and spirit that will override and correct any wrong information you’ve been programmed with, so you can be equipped to do all that God put you on this planet to do.

You may have programmed yourself to think that stress is a normal part of life and something that you just have to deal with. You may even start certain days proclaiming, “This is going to be a stressful day!” But if you study the Word you’ll see that that way of thinking is wrong. The Bible says not to worry about anything. The Bible says Jesus came to make our burdens light. The Bible says Jesus is the Prince Of Peace. If you make those truths a part of your life, they will auto correct your thoughts when you begin to feel stressed or overwhelmed. They will change your proclamation from, “This is going to be a stressful day,” into “This is the day the Lord has made. He’s going to carry my burdens! He’s going to command peace over my day. He’s going to lead me beside still waters. He’s going to calm my storms.”

You may have programmed yourself to think that your dream is too big. You find yourself doubting the call God has placed on your life or trying to figure out how you can make it happen in your own strength. But if you study God’s Word, and the lives of men like Noah and David, you’ll reprogram yourself to correct those thoughts with things like, “My God is faithful! He who started a good work will finish it. He makes all things work together for my good. His ways are better than my ways!”

We all live in the same fallen world and we have all been programmed with thoughts that do not line up with the Word of God, but we can train our minds to replace those thoughts—to correct those thoughts—by filling our inner dictionary with promises and principles from God’s Word.

It may not happen overnight. Just like it took several times of me declining whatever word my phone suggested, when I typed Beau’s name. It may take you several times of declining whatever wrong thoughts pop into your mind first, but eventually if you keep putting the Word of God in your spirit, it will stick. God’s Word will be the first suggestion that pops up in every area of your life. Truth will override everything else and all will be right with you.

Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us. (II Tim 3:17, MSG)

Privileged Information

6 Aug

Last year I learned Gus was not quite ready to keep a secret.  I purchased a watch as a birthday gift for Josh and when it arrived in the mail, I showed it to Gus.  I said, “This is what we got for dad.  We will give it to him in a few days at his birthday party.  Don’t tell him what we got him, okay?  It’s a secret!”  He agreed.

That night Josh got home from work and Gus says to him at the dinner table, “Dad, we definitely did NOT get you a watch for your birthday.”  Josh smiled at me.  He knew immediately that a watch was exactly what we got him for his birthday.

If you want to keep a secret safe you can only tell it to people who are trustworthy.

Psalm 25:14  The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant.

What a great verse.  God, the Creator of the universe, wants to share His secrets with us.  We trust Him with our lives and He trusts us with His secrets.

Everyone should have a special covenant friend.  Mine happens to be my niece-in-law, Courtney. She knows my secrets.  I tell her things before I tell anyone else, besides Josh, of course.  She gets privileged information based on our relationship.

God says that the people who honor Him are his special covenant friends.  They receive privileged information based on their relationship with Him.

The Hebrew word for secret is cowd.  It literally means a couch or a cushion.  God wants to share his couch with us.  He wants us to come over, make ourselves at home, and have a seat on his couch.  This is the couch where He shares His secrets.  Not everyone is allowed to sit on “the couch,” only those who are true worshippers have a spot with their name on it.

It is also interesting that the primary meaning of the root word for secret is to be or to make tight.  In other words, if you want to be tight with God, you must honor God!

The more time you spend on the couch with Him the more He will show you about your covenant with Him.  You will begin to see His goodness in ways you’ve never seen before.  His love and favor will be clearly revealed to you.  His Word will make more sense to you.  Your understanding about who He is will be enlightened.  These are the kind of secrets you NEED to know!

The Message sums it up perfectly: God-friendship is for God-worshipers; they are the ones he confides in. (Psalm 25:14)

Lessons From Disney World

28 Apr

Every year millions of people from all over the world make their way to Orlando Florida to experience the happiest place on earth, also known as Disney World. Parents save up their hard earned money for months, they work overtime, have garage sales, and do whatever it takes to take their family on a fun and memorable but very expensive vacation. If you are going to invest in a vacation like that you want your children to enjoy themselves, right? Well let me tell you about a scenario I’ve seen played out at Disney on multiple occasions.

It’s nearing the end of the afternoon and young children all over the park are getting worn out, but mom and dad want to keep going so they feel as if they are getting their moneys worth. They park the stroller, have the kids get in line for the Peter Pan ride, which always has a long line, and after about 5 minutes of waiting their children start to complain. “I don’t want to wait in this line. My legs are tired. I want another churro. I want to go back to the hotel and watch TV. I’m hot. I’m thirsty. I need to go potty.” The parents tolerate the complaining for a while and then when they can’t take it any longer they bend down and get right in their children’s faces and say to them, “We have come too far and paid way too great a price for you not to be enjoying yourselves! So you better stop complaining and start having fun!”

I think I’ve had that conversation with my little ones a time or two while waiting to board Peter Pan.

The Lord had that conversation with me today as I was studying Romans 6.

Romans 6:10-11 (Amp) For by the death He died, He died to sin [ending His relation to it] once for all; and the life that He lives, He is living to God [in unbroken fellowship with Him].Even so consider yourselves also dead to sin and your relation to it broken, but alive to God [living in unbroken fellowship with Him] in Christ Jesus.

Jesus came too far. He left His home in heaven and traveled all the way to the earth to make His home among us. Jesus paid too great a price. He gave his life, the most valuable thing He had so that we might live. So it’s time we stop complaining and start having fun.

Maybe you aren’t having the greatest day; can I just remind you of something? We are dead to sin! We are alive to God and can walk in unbroken fellowship with Him. That right there is enough to turn any day into a good one.

Jesus came too far and paid too great a price for His people to live defeated! Don’t be like a whiny, ungrateful kid at Disney World today. Jesus has a lot invested in you. Make an effort to an enjoy it!

Looking For Donkeys And Finding God’s Will

22 Apr

Everyone knows how shepherd boy David came to be King David.  The Lord told Samuel he would find the next King of Israel at a man named Jesse’s house, in the town of Bethlehem.  Jesse brought out seven of his strapping sons, but none of them were right.  Samuel asked to see Jesse’s youngest son, so Jesse sent for him.  He was out in the fields tending sheep.  He wasn’t even invited to the let’s pick the next King party, but as soon as Samuel saw David he knew he was the one.  He anointed him right then and there and eventually he would replace King Saul as the King of Israel.

King Saul was the first King of Israel and his path to the being the guy that gets to wear the crown was quite a bit different than David’s and not as popular of a Bible story.

Saul was out on a search when he stumbled into God’s plan for his life, but he wasn’t searching for that plan, he was searching for some lost donkeys.  His dad’s donkeys wandered off and Saul was sent to track them down and bring them back home.

I can just imagine a young Saul drawing up some missing donkey signs and posting them all over the water wells in town.  Asking different people if they had seen these donkeys.  Calling out, “here, donkey, donkey, donkey!”  He wasn’t having any luck.  The donkeys were nowhere to be found.  Then the servant that was with Saul had a brilliant idea.  He had heard about a man of God that lived in the city that they were in and he figured this man of God would be able to tell them where the donkeys were.   The man of God was Samuel.  Not only did he know where the donkeys were, he knew that Saul didn’t show up in his life because of the lost animals, but because God wanted him to.  God told Samuel about Saul the day before they met.

1 Samuel 9:16 (amp) Tomorrow about this time I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be leader over My people Israel; and he shall save them out of the hand of the Philistines. For I have looked upon the distress of My people, because their cry has come to Me. 

A couple of lost donkeys led Saul to the throne.  A couple of lost donkeys led Saul to the exact place he needed to be at the exact time he needed to be there.  A couple of lost donkeys were used by God to help fulfill His plans.

As I read this story I couldn’t help but think about the time we followed a pastor to another city to help him plant a church only to find out a few months later he was living a double life.  He was, to put it nicely, a lost donkey!  But God used him to get us to that city and find a place on staff at one of the greatest churches in America.

“We have no idea how God will use the seemingly normal – and annoying – circumstances of life.” – Guzik

You may be dealing with some annoying circumstances like Saul was or just going about your normal life like David was, whatever the case remember this, God is always working on promoting you.  Be encouraged!

His Lullaby

4 Nov

My 18-month-old daughter has always enjoyed being sung to before bed.  I can’t say the same for my 4-year-old son.  He prefers to be tickled or rough housed before he gets tucked in for the night.  I guess that’s the difference between a little girl and a little boy. BUT when he was a newborn I sang to him often.

Singing over a baby always seems to calm them down.  Every mother who has ever held a crying baby has tried it.  I’m sure Eve sang to her twin babies Cain & Abel and Sarah sang to baby Isaac.  There’s just something instinctive in a mother that knows to sing to her baby and something instinctive in her little baby that knows to enjoy their mother’s song- even if mom is totally tone deaf or off key.

Scientist have shown that when a child is being sang to their perception of pain lowers as well as their heart rate.  Lullabies like “Rock-a-bye Baby” that have been passed down from generation to generation are more than just cute little songs, they are sure fire ways to quiet and calm a baby who has worked himself into a crying frenzy.

Zephaniah 3:17 (NKJV) The Lord your God in your midst, the mighty one, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness.  He will quiet you with his love.  He will rejoice over you with singing.

The instinct that mother’s have to sing over their children is God given.  He sings over us in the same way that I sing over my babies.

When we have worked ourselves into a frenzy, He quiets us with a love song.  If we will make time to get quiet and listen to His song our perception of pain will lower and our heart rate will get in sync with His.

He, the mighty one, is there.  He’s in your midst today.  He’s heard your cry and has come to pick you up, hold you close, and sing over you until you feel His peace and find comfort in His calming and perfect tone.  Listen closely to His lullaby.  Every lyric carries with it the encouragement you need to get through the day, the week, or this season of life.

Let Him sing over you until you find yourself so full of joy that you can’t help but sing back to Him!

When God Goes To Whataburger

20 Aug

I had lunch at Whataburger today.  Before you lose respect for me I have to tell you that the Whataburgers in the part of Texas that I live in are pretty fancy.  The one I ate at this afternoon is only a year or two old and it’s always nice and clean.  So yes, I did eat unhealthy, but at least I did it in cleanliness.

I had my five year old Gus and my two year old Beau with me, who both happen to be big Whataburger fans.  I place our order, have Gus get us a table while I fill up our drinks, sit down, and try to make sure no one falls out of their seat or spills their Sprite before the food comes out.  I’m in my own happy little world.  I wasn’t really paying attention or looking around to see who else was there.  Our food arrives, we dig in and about half way through our meal an older man comes over to our table.

I looked up at him, smiled and waited.  I knew he wanted to say something, but I had no idea what.  He looked at Gus, he looked at Beau, and then he looked at me.  He said he saw me walk past earlier and had an urgency from the Lord to tell me that the baby I was carrying was going to be beautiful.  He said, “you can see these two and it’s obvious that they are beautiful, but the one that’s coming, you haven’t seen, but God has, and he says he or she will beautiful just like these two that he’s already blessed you with.  I speak a blessing over you and your family.”  Then he told Gus to make sure and be a good helper for his mom.

It was such a sweet moment.  That man had no idea who I was.  He didn’t know my story.  He didn’t know that the last baby I carried had to be delivered still born and the doctor told us that we could see him if we wanted, but warned us that “it wouldn’t be pretty.”  He had no idea how much those words would mean to me.  He didn’t know if I was a believer.  He didn’t know if I would be weirded out.  He just knew what God told him and that God wanted him to share it with me, so he did.

I’ve been pregnant now 124 weeks out of my life.  That’s over two years and never once has a stranger had a word like that from the Lord for me.  With tears welling up in my eyes, I thanked him, and he left.  He made my day.  His simple act of obedience and the way that he stewarded the word that the Lord gave him about my sweet Sunny made me feel like God Himself stopped by our table.

How kind of the great I AM to show up at Whataburger in Frisco Texas this afternoon.

On the way home I thought about how I barely looked up while I was there.  I was focused on my kids.  I’m so glad that that gentlemen DID look up.  He wasn’t so focused on his newspaper or his french fries that he didn’t notice the people around him.  His spirit was alert.  Ready to hear from God and ready to obey.  He not only blessed me with the word he shared with me, but he inspired me to look around.  Ministry can happen anywhere.  There are people all over my community and yours too that God would love to speak to… through me and through you.

Pay attention to your surroundings and be ready and willing to obey when God speaks to your spirit!

Philippians 2:4 (NLT) Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

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