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Archive for August, 2010

Cling-Ons

We are  happy to have Missy Caporale, a member or our writing team, share with us today. Thank you Missy for letting us hear your voice! It is a blessing! Here’s Missy:

Have you ever been made to or tried to operate in a capacity less than what you were created to function in? I was blessed with two healthy arms but there has been an occasion or two when at least one arm was occupied by a sleeping or squirming child, who I lovingly refer to as my little leaches or, for the purpose of this story, my “cling-ons”.

 This was never a problem when I wasn’t doing anything except loving on them but when I tried to perform a routine task such as cooking, cleaning or eating, the task became a little more difficult to complete. But with a little practice I learned to function, albeit in a diminished capacity, with the ever-growing “cling-on” that seemed to be permanently attached to my arm and hip. Over time, as this growth became heavier, I found it increasingly more difficult to execute even the simplest of tasks. Finally, there came a day when I said, “enough is enough” and I had to lay down my “cling-on” so that I could move forward in accomplishing whatever my “calling” was for the day.

Sometimes our “cling-ons” are not so cute and cuddly and until we make a choice to lay them down, we cannot function in the capacity in which we were created. Today, I am choosing to lay down a couple of these “cling-ons” that I have held on to for far too long. I have allowed fear and guilt and regret over my choices to rule me and incapacitate me spiritually. Although I knew I was forgiven, I believed I could never be used by God again. And guess what? I couldn’t be used, not in the capacity He intended because I was saying “yes” to fear and guilt and “no” to Him. Now that I have made a choice to daily say “no” to guilt & fear, I am also trying daily to say “yes” to God and open myself up to be used by Him.

About six years ago I was given a journal and told I was a writer. I have never considered myself a writer and even still, I question exactly what this means. With the exception of school assignments and this blog entry, I have never written anything resembling a story so unless God throws me a curve ball, this is probably the only “story” I’ll post. Instead, I will be sharing some of the poetry I have written. This will certainly be an exercise in faith for me so thank you for allowing me a safe place to lay down my “cling- ons” and share. It is my prayer that everything posted in this Still Waters blog will find its way to the eyes of those whose hearts need to “hear” it.

Here Waiting

  

Come and sit with me my child

Can you stay for just a while?

I’ve been here waiting, calling your name

 I long to see your smile

 

I’ve seen it offered to others

So freely you give it to them

Yet I’m the One who can free you my child

Will you turn me away again?

 

I’ve given my all, there’s nothing left

It’s your choice now to make

I’m standing here, the doors wide open

It’s your step now to take

 

What cling-ons in your life are or have diminished your capacity? Do you have any encouragement for others dealing with cling-ons? How do we begin to take the steps to put down our burdens? Any other comments or thoughts on what Missy has shared…

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He is here…

We are pleased to have Whitney McClendon as part of our Still Waters writing team…thanks, Whitney, for being YOU! Open, raw, honest..and we have little doubt God is at work in all of this!  Without further ado, here’s Whitney:

Father,
Here I am…raw and exposed.  Teach me to know you intimately and to know your face.  I want to know YOU and not rely only on my ideas of You, but truly know you and relish in your consistency.  How very great and sovereign You are!
 
Let’s begin with my confession.  I confess that I have not been available to the women of this church.  I confess pride in my lack of vulnerability.  I confess my comfort in superficial and shallow relationships, but it is now time so here I am.  I have been “slapped” by the Lord who told me my story is not one to be silenced or hoarded in complacency. 

This is not only a word for me but for the women of this church.  IT IS NOW TIME…to step out of our superficial, only scratching the surface, relationships and dive into true fellowship sharpening one another.  Our stories are not ours but have a divine purpose to further the Kingdom; a purpose we cannot fulfill if we remain hidden from one another.  When we facilitate shallow relationships, it becomes very easy to be superficial with God as well.  However, a superficial relationship with God is a game of hide-and-seek that we will lose someday.  Let the loosing game be sooner rather than later.  Surrender and let’s begin the process of refinement. 
 
Coming out of seclusion, He has taken me back to the foundation of who I am…I am still exploring this one.  Some days it’s easier to hear and believe what He says to be true, but He’s still working on me! Who are you?  If we yearn to be “Christ-like” and we’re made in His image, then knowing who we are comes from understanding who the Lord is. 
 
When you think of GOD, what comes to your mind?  How do you define GOD to others?  Is He your Maker…your Father…your Judge…your Healer…the Solid Rock…Everlasting Love…Abundant Joy…Overwhelming Peace…your everything…? 

I believe the answer can be relative, as it varies greatly on who is answering the question.  He has many faces and I have found Him in things all around me.  I see the joy of the Lord in the belly laughs of children.  I see the heart of God through people joyfully giving everything they have (2 Corinthians 9:7).  I see the love of the Lord through restoration and forgiveness.  He is here!!  He is the Sovereign King and the One who favors us…
 
…that leaves me breathless…
 
  
To begin knowing those who are reading this, who is the Lord to you?  How does He show Himself to you?

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Living with Loss

We are very blessed to have the first of our writing team to share with us in this post.  Tammy Bolton is stepping out in faith and sharing with us where her heart is and how God is showing himself to her even in her unimaginable loss.

8-14-10
I’m at my 9th grader’s freshman volley ball game, wearing my team shirt and ready to cheer the team on.  Entering the gym I glance around for familiar moms.

“Oh I like her but she’s got her little boy with her.”

“Oh crud, so does she.”

“Oh, I can sit by her.”

I walk up the bleachers smiling, waving and saying “Hi” to everyone.  The game is close and our team is doing awesome.   Wow, what a spike! “Good job girls!”  I scream as I clap excitedly and “Woo Hoo!”  I get such an adrenaline rush at these things.  It’s so exciting!  Then there’s a time-out and I glance around.

I see several younger siblings.  Man, those kids have grown.

Oh, those three boys look like the same age that Justin would be.  I bet he’d be sitting right there with them goofing around.

I start to feel my barrier falling.

“Stop it” I tell myself. “ Look away. “ I start clapping and yelling for the girls, “Come on Pirates, you can do it!”  I stay focused on the rest of the game.

When it’s over, I say my “goodbye,” “good game,” “see you tomorrow” as my daughter gets on the bus with her team mates.

I walk to my truck and once inside where no one can see me, the tears that I’ve been stuffing down come pouring out uncontrollably.  I glance in my rearview mirror imagining my little buddy’s face smiling back at me.

Then he’s asking, “Mom, whatsa matter?”

“I just miss you.” I say.

When I start the car Chris Tomlin is singing from my radio, “…I will rise when you call my name, no more sorrow, no more pain…. “

OKay Lord, I’m ready,  please call my name.

But no, not today.   My sadness continues through the rest of the day. God has been truly patient with me and has allowed me to swim in my pain and loss as a lasting companion.  No one should have to lose their child, particularly the extra special ones like my Justin.

I wake up the next morning still feeling pretty defeated but ready to go to church and worship my Savior.  In bible class we’re talking about missions and today’s focus is the message.  Mt 28:16-20 and Mt 25:34-36. Don taught, “I am to be a disciple.  When Christ is inserted into a situation, you then have the power to live it.  Christ inserted changes the power level so I can control the circumstances rather than the circumstances controlling me.”

Wow. I pray on those 3 sentences the rest of the day.  Yes Jesus, it is only with you that I can live my life.  Until you bring me to heaven I must fulfill my missions and share your message.   That is my purpose in living until I’m rejoined with my son.

How do you deal with situations when you feel like the situation or maybe even your own mind or emotions control?  Have you had a time where “inserting Christ” into the situation made a difference?  Would you share it with us?

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I am a fool for you!

Since being a new mom, I have noticed how babies turn grown adults into the biggest fools! I am no exception. I gladly make ridiculous faces, completely inappropriate noises, and crazy and occasionally frightening dances just to get a giggle, smile, or even eye contact! It is all worth it just to see her pleasure.

One day the thought struck me that God is just as much a fool for us as we are for babies. Think about it…look at creation…roses make me smile, penguins make me laugh, and globe willows blowing in the Lubbock wind captivate me. As much as I enjoy these gifts, how much more does it please God’s heart to see me smile, hear me giggle, or just look into my eyes. So I want to encourage you to take pleasure in the gifts God brings you.    

Please take a moment and share with us on the comments about what brings you joy, and this doesn’t have to be spiritual; feel free to have a sense of humor. After all “I Love Lucy” and a Snickers bar also make me giggle with pure pleasure.

I must surrender the keyboard to Elizabeth now who has been waiting impatiently to bang on the keys, and of course, I would not want to deny her the pleasure of this activity. It makes my heart happy, too!

Blessings!

Cathryn

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A tiny bit of business first – the easiest way to keep up with when new postings are up is going to be to subscribe to the emails that go out automatically when a new post is up.  You can do that by clicking on the “Email Subscription” link over here on the right side of the page.  Otherwise, I’ll try to put it up on facebook when it’s updated or you can just check back in on a regular basis and see what’s going on.

Now that is out of the way…..Today, we have the great pleasure of having Carol Thomson as our FIRST EVER guest blogger!  Woo hoo!!  Thanks, Carol, for being willing to share with us.  And without further ado, here’s Carol:

A Sacrifice of Joy

We had been anticipating this trip for months.  Jennifer and her family had made the move to Idaho 4 ½ months earlier and we were so anxious to see her, her husband, Danny, and those six perfectly wonderful children.  We were long overdue for some much needed Noni and Papa time with Wyatt, Sabrina, Colter, Monique, Zane and Laurel. 

The days were full of so many plans – t-ball games, church activities, an early birthday celebration for Zane, many trips into the beautiful mountains of Idaho, a small town Fourth of July celebration that lasted three days, exploring the four acres around their house during the days and sitting on the deck marveling at the beautiful and extended sunsets each evening.

I kept my camera handy and took pictures constantly.  I was soaking up every moment, cherishing every adventure, collecting hugs and kisses every chance I got so that when that inevitable time of separation came again, I would have those memories to pull out and relive once more.

Little did I know that a completely spontaneous event that would last only a few seconds would become more than a memory but a moment in time that would completely change my heart forever.  Let me set the stage.

Picture if you will, a house full of mountain air and sunshine.  Our six grandones are in various places in the house and outside, but little Zane is in the kitchen with Papa and me.  Zane is three and has all the energy of a three-year old and all the spunk necessary to keep up with four older brothers and sisters.  At the same time he is a gentle big brother to his younger sister.  He has the cutest little arms and legs that never quit moving and he lives every moment to the fullest. His curiosity is unceasing and his smile – well, you just can’t resist a smile like that.  Nothing in particular is happening, just the day-to-day motions that make up family life.  Dishes are being cleaned, floors are being swept, questions are being answered, laundry is being sorted. 

And then it happened.  Galloping across the length of the kitchen and the family room and flapping his arms all the way, Zane yells at the top of his voice, “Thank you, God, for this wonderful day!” 

Have you ever experienced a holy moment?  A moment when you felt the presence of God in such a remarkable way that the hair on your arms stood on end?  That is what that moment was like for me.  Everything stood still as I reveled in the simplicity and sincerity of this act of gratitude.  I was convicted by the grumbling and complaining that seems to come so easily to my lips and how easily praise flowed from Zane’s.  I knew without a doubt that I was in the presence of angels and that God was pleased.  And I knew that I would never be the same again.

A long time ago, I memorized the verse “This is the day that the Lord has made.  I will rejoice and be glad in it.”  I can still sing the little chorus that I learned as a teenager.  I couldn’t tell you the scripture reference although I know it is in the Psalms.  (Psalm 118:24 – I just looked it up!)  But that day, angels danced with Zane and rejoiced in his uninhibited praise and gratitude to God.  I saw Psalm 118:24 in the flesh.  I will never be the same.

I wish I could say that overnight my grumbling and complaining stopped.  I wish I could say that an attitude of gratitude is what easily tumbles from my heart. I still struggle with both, and trust me when I say that God is very patient with me.  What is different now is my awareness of His gentle guidance and encouragement as He moves me moment by moment into a realization of gratitude.  Habits are hard to break and over the years I’ve gotten complaining down to an artform!  I’m not proud of it – just confessing it.

And now I’m back in Texas.  Sixteen hundred miles from eight very important people in my life.   The pictures remind me of the precious times we had together and I will gladly share any of them with anyone that might be interested!  Time is passing and we are now looking forward to having them here in October.  But day by day, I’m reminded of Zane’s sacrifice of joy and I smile.  For that I’m very grateful.

What about you?  Do you have times in your life when bad attitude dominates over gratitude?  For the sake of  getting the comments going here, my answer would be: “You betcha and absolutely I do.”  And have you ever experienced a “Holy Moment” like Carol that you’d be willing to share with us? 

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Welcome to Still Waters!

 Hey!!  So glad you found your way over here! Welcome to Still Waters!

 Just a little back story on why this blog is even in existence and what it’s all about.   As a women’s ministry team, we’ve been praying and talking a lot about what the needs are of the women of The Springs and what our focus needs to be right now in order to meet those needs.  Time and time again, what we are hearing is that women within the church feel isolated, they feel disconnected.  Also, there seems to be a prevailing notion that we are each supposed to be this “perfect” Christian woman…and if we aren’t there yet, then we should fake it because everyone else has got it together, or at least is a lot further in the process than we are.

 Sorry to disappoint, ladies…or sorry to offend if you happen to think you DO have it all together…but we are all a work in progress. 

You see, one of the goals of this blog is to be AUTHENTIC…to be real…and that is going to require showing the world that we don’t necessarily have it all together.  It seems that there are many people within the Christian community that still think that we need to strive toward perfection, or that at the very least we need to have achieved some sort of mastery over our issue (whatever it may be – trouble in our marriage, depression, problems with children, loneliness, etc) before we can give it a voice – that we need to be on the other side before we can share our story, before it has any value.

 Not true…in fact, nothing could be farther from the truth. 

 We are all striving toward what God has for us, to become the person God created us to be…but that’s a journey.  I’ve never ever heard anyone say – “I’m there!  I’ve learned everything God wants to teach me,” or “I’m finished becoming more like Christ now.” 

 Seriously, ladies…it’s time to get real. 

Yes, authenticity hurts a little…true authenticity is vulnerable, it’s scary, it may leave you feeling exposed, and it forces you to be transparent.  YIKES!  (Believe me, I am the world’s worst at being transparent.  Being married to someone in the ministry is not an easy thing.)  And yes, authenticity is risky.  But the rewards are amazing…true intimacy & community, an amazing relational connection, and a deeper understanding of each others’ hearts…not to mention how God can truly begin to work in your life just by bringing things into the light.

 Now I made this sound all serious.  Truth is, this blog has no set guidelines on what should or should not be shared.  We are trusting God to fill in the blanks.  It may be as simple as how you had an amazing “God” moment that particular day sitting at a redlight…or it may be you had a vision or dream God put on your heart to share…or it may be a part of your testimony that needs to be shared.  It may be how God spoke to you through a song or something you saw on TV.  I don’t know.  I do know that I would ask each of you to consider sharing with us at one point or another.

 To get us started, we have asked a few ladies within the church to serve as our “writing team” – to share with us over the next few months what God puts on their hearts.  However, if any of you feel like God is encouraging you to get real and to share, then email us at springsstillwaters@gmail.com.  Cathryn Wright and I are serving as your moderators and will be checking the email and praying earnestly for this blog.  We will also take care of posting as we feel like God leads us. 

 While there will be a main post presented on the blog, there is an equally important part for this to be successful—comments! Bring on the discussion, ladies!  We encourage and welcome you to comment on the posts as often as you would like. This will allow us to carry on a conversation about the topic at hand. You never know when your comment may speak truth into someone else’s life.

 Well, there’s your intro.

Ok, God, let’s see what you are up to….

Now it’s time to get real…who’s with me?

                                                                                                              — Kacey

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