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Archive for March, 2011

Kindness

Good afternoon! I hope your day has gone well so far. On a quick personal note, I would sure love some prayers for a little baby girl that has decided that sleeping is just not cool enough for her anymore, and she would much rather spend that time crying her little eyes out and breaking her momma’s heart. I usually try to get this post up in the mornings, but I was a bit frazzled and thought it would be best to get my head clear before I put anything on the internet! I’ve had sometime to breathe and collect myself, and asked God what in the world to post today. The simple word “kindness” immediately came to mind…

I remembered our pastor, Phil, had recently spoke about the scripture that states how “His kindness leads us to repentance.” (Romans 2:4).

I began wondering what “kindness” really means. I think it is one of those words that gets overused to the point that it begins to lose its meaning. So, being an unabashed nerd, I checked Merriam-Webster.com. I found that kindness is much more complex than I had pressumed. When I looked up “kind” these are the definitions I was given:

Definition of KIND

1chiefly dialect : affectionate, loving

2a : of a sympathetic or helpful nature

b : of a forbearing nature : gentle

c : arising from or characterized by sympathy or forbearance <a kind act>

3: of a kind to give pleasure or relief

I was most struck by definition 2c “characterized by sympathy or forbearance”. I had never thought of kindness and forbearance ( a refraining from the enforcement of something (as a debt, right, or obligation) that is due) being related. I suddenly realized how kindness and forbearance/forgiveness are related, and that really kindness is forgiveness that is motivated by love, sympathy and patience instead of duty or obligation. (Someone correct me if I’m getting off…this is all a thought in progress.) Isn’t that exactly what Christ did for us on the cross; shared complete sympathy with our pain and human weakness in order to take away the debt we owe for our sins?

I started thinking about how many times I have forgiven people with my arms crossed and my jaw clenched thinking “Fine! I’ll forgive you, but only because Jesus told me, too!” Whoa…hang on…something is very wrong with that. That is definitely not the type of forgiveness that Christ gave me, so it cannot be the type of forgiveness that I give to others. If I am going to be transformed into the character of Christ then, I have to allow Him to teach me how to be kind to others, have sympathy for them and forbear their wrongs against me with patience. Thankfully, I don’t have to do this on my own. That would be impossible!

I believe that before I can show this depth of kindness to others, I have to first fully accept it for myself, and then in turn give it to others. So today, I’m taking a moment to realize how God has shown kindness to me, how He has shown sympathy for my suffering (even the self-inflicted kind), forbearance for my weakness and failures, and patience for me to turn from myself and walk to Him in repentance. And how can I not? When I see His kindness, I want nothing more than to turn away from my feeble attempts at getting it right and cling to Him.

Hmm…I feel like there is more to think about here…I definitely don’t have a complete understanding of God’s character, but I think I just got a bit more of the picture.

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The day got away from me yesterday and I didn’t get a post up, but maybe that’s how it was supposed to be because Lauren Childress has an inspired “Psalm” of her own to share with us:

My Psalm for TODAY:
 
Holy Spirit is my Pace-Setter, I shall  not rush.
I will spend time in His Word & to be still & KNOW that He is God today
I will quiet my soul & listen to & for Him so that He can refresh & 

restore me & give me the mind of Christ
He always guides  me in paths of righteousness for His name sake
Even though I have many things to accomplish today,

I know His plans are best & I will follow His lead
I choose to walk by faith, share His love and cast out all fear, because He is always with me
He has sent Holy Spirit to guide, protect, teach & comfort me
I will make good food choices, for God has prepared a table for me, in the presence of my enemy
He put His hand on  my head & all the tired is gone
Living water overflows from me because  I choose Life
And to be lead by His Spirit &  be a bold witness every day He has for me here on earth
Because I am His & He is mine—-forever!
 
~~~Lauren Childress
        Inspired by Holy  Spirit on 03-29-2011

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Good Thursday morning! Just a reminder that if the Lord puts something on your heart to share with us here, email it to springsstillwaters@gmail.com.

This morning, I just want to share a little scriptural encouragement that I read in the book Daily Light for Your Daily Path. I don’t know exactly what you may be facing this morning, but this is what I read, and thought we could all use the reminder:

“For nothing will be impossible with God.”…”And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”     -Luke 1:37, 45

No matter what is going on in your life, whether big or small, be encouraged this morning to know that nothing is impossible with God. Hang in there! He will do what He has promised you!

I don’t know about ya’ll, but I could do with some true encouragement today. It has been one of those weeks that feels especially difficult eventhough nothing especially difficult has happened.

If you have any kind of encouragement to share whether it be scripture or your own bit of encouragement, please share it on the comments. It is so important that we take time to encourage each other in our daily lives.

Be blessed today, and remember that nothing is impossible with God!

Cathryn

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You Did What?

Monday morning, we meet again!  Monday after spring break is a tough one to get everyone up and motivated.  We had a pretty good start, though, today…and I was able to secure my almost 8 year old son’s permission to share with you a small part of HIS spring break that I bet he never forgets…

Will and Abby were able to go stay a few days with my mom and dad on the farm at Turkey, TX over spring break.  Will had gotten a BB gun in the fall and had not had alot of chances to shoot it, so while there, he had plans to shoot him some cans.   Poppa had given him good gun safety lessons earlier and he is very careful to follow all of the rules…so he shot up several aluminum cans and was having the best time.

One day, he was outside shooting, Poppa was at work, Grandma and Abby were inside sewing…Will gets curious.  Never a good thing with an 8 year old boy and a BB gun. 

SO – what did his curiosity lead to?  He pointed the gun at his flip-flopped foot and pulled the trigger.  Not kidding.  He wanted to know what it would feel like to get shot with a BB gun. 

According to Will, his flip flop went flying, his foot turned purple, and he fell down and grabbed his foot – BUT he didn’t cry.  He wanted me to be sure and point that out to everyone.  He held his foot for a few minutes, then he retrieved his flip flop and went inside and didn’t say a word to anyone. 

A little while later, Grandma noticed his foot was blue and red and swollen.  She knew what had likely happened – but thought it was probably an accident and he was being careless, swinging the gun around.  When she asked him about it, Will told her “I shot myself in the foot with the BB gun because I wanted to know what it felt like…” Grandma was SHOCKED that he had done it ON PURPOSE….Then Will says “But please don’t tell my momma.  She’ll be mad.”

Will now knows it was not the smartest decision he could have made and Poppa told him if it had been anything but a BB gun, he may not have a foot left…but at the time, his curiosity over it screamed louder than common sense. 

As I was thinking about it, I realized that all of us do that.  There are times and situations in our lives when we make decisions based merely upon what’s screaming the loudest at us – even though in the back of our heads we know it’s probably not the best decision, probably not the decision God wants us to make, probably not would benefit us the most in the long run. 

I know there have been times in my life when I knew I had stepped outside of God’s will for my life…when I have knowingly sinned.  And I have tried to hide it from God…because I knew He’d be disappointed with me, just like Will was afraid his momma would be mad.  I knew in my head that  God already knew all about it, but I still thought I could hide.  Twisted, I know.  I would stop showing up at church, I’d stop hanging around my friends who I thought could maybe tell something was going on, I’d quit praying…but hiding my poor decision making and my mistakes did not make them go away.  It made them grow bigger…it wasn’t until I came clean to God about it that my wounds began to heal and God could move me past those mistakes and show me that I am more than my mistakes. 

Luckily, Grandma doctored Will’s BB gun wound really well and all he has left is a little red circle as a reminder of his choice.  And God can doctor our wounds and make them go away, too….I am so grateful for a God who loves us and wants to hold us and kiss away our tears, even when we bring it on ourselves. 

P.S. When I first told Dallas about Will’s “choice”, his reaction was “I’d probaby have done the same thing for the same reason…”  Seriously?  Must be a man thing.

 – Kacey

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Mom

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! I hope you are having a wonderful week so far.

This morning we are sharing a post from Lauren Childress. She has shown great trust in sharing so openly with us about her family and struggles. If you can, take a moment just to comment even briefly; it is always encouraging to those who share to know that they have been “heard” when people respond with comments. Here is Lauren:

“I am so sorry, please forgive me.”  Oh, how I had longed to hear that for most of my life.  It is amazing how I had allowed the LACK of hearing that to mold & shape me, my perception of situations and  others and had left a huge hole in my soul that I have spent much energy, resources and time filling with so many other things.

Since my mom left our family when I was 9, I have struggled with a spirit of rejection.  I have received deliverance and much prayer for this, but never really received true freedom from it.  Every time that I thought I had worked through it, some new circumstance or event would happen, & I would quickly discover that it was still there.   I truly wanted that freedom, but it was so deeply rooted and imbedded in me, that I was dealing with it in layers…..like a smelly ol’ onion.

  I did not grow up in a “Christian home”.  My parents didn’t read Bible stories to me, pray with or for me.  My dad did send me and my two siblings to church via a Bus Ministry.  Those times at that Baptist Church bring back fond memories. 

My mom, did not have a good relationship with her own mom, and that lack of a positive female role model, I feel, deeply impacted her.  My mom was not the nurturer in our home, my Dad was.  When my mom got  home from work, she spent most of her evenings on the phone.  On the weekends, when my Dad was off too (he worked nights), she wanted him to get us out of the home so she could clean.  I do not have any memories of family times together.  It was always my Dad and the three of us kids doing things together.  I have forgiven my mom, a long time ago.  It was a part of my healing. In recent years, I have also had the privilege to develop a relationship with my mom, even though it is just on the “friendship” level.  I am so thankful for this, and the time that we have gotten to spend with each other, getting to “know” one another.

God has really been dealing with my heart about my mom in the last few years, and more recently especially.  Our Women’s Bible Study on Tuesday nights has really pushed me out of my comfort zone.  Because of my past with my mom, I have struggled with trust issues, especially with other women.   And just the week before this most recent episode with my mom, I had confided in the group about my struggles with women.   Through new insights from this Bible Study, God has been nudging me to go deeper in my forgiveness and my relationship with my mom and with women in general.

Recently my mom called to say that she thought her retina had detached and they were rushing back to West Texas to see her ophthalmologist.  Clay (my hubby) & I got to go over to her home and pray with her the night before her surgery.  I arranged to take off work the next morning, to be with my mom and step-dad during her surgery.  When I woke up that morning (3/8/2011), in my spirit, I saw little girl Lauren, running to her mom, like she has done over and over and over again, trying to gain the love and acceptance that she has yearned for all her life.  I cried out to God, “I’m so tired of dealing with this.  It has got to stop!”  I even tried to talk myself out of going to the hospital.  I am busy at work, maybe I should just go on to work and call and check on mom later.  I woke Clay up and had him pray for me.  I didn’t give him any specifics to pray …..”just pray”…..and he did.   As I pulled away from our home, I turned on the radio, and the praise song, “I’ll Praise You in This Storm”, was playing.  I sang….and cried.  I continued to pour out my heart to God as I drove to the hospital. 

 During this drive, I heard the Lord say (not audibly), “I want little Lauren, that hurting child within, to come up and sit on My lap.”  I saw little Lauren, that long blonde haired little girl, go up and sit on Jesus’ lap.  I even said to Him, “She’s really cute!”….we laughed together.  I then felt Him stroking my hair and shoulders as He told me over and over, how He loved me…….how He accepted me……how He even created me & placed me in my family.  I looked up to His face, and asked Him to forgive me for not trusting Him in this.  I guess somewhere deep down inside, I had even blamed Him for putting me in this family.  Then He said, “Lauren, give Me your broken heart.”  I saw little Lauren, take that broken heart out and place it in His cupped hands.  Our eyes met.  It was such a tender moment.  At that very moment, a huge wave of healing swept through my car, my body, my soul and my spirit.  I still get goose bumps just thinking about it.  I told Him, “God, I may never hear my mom say, ‘I love you’, in a way that makes me feel loved.  I may never hear my mom say, ‘I accept you’, in a way that I feel accepted.  And I may never hear my mom say, ‘I am sorry for leaving you kids’, because God, I really have never sensed that she is even remorseful for that.  But I do know this God, that YOU love and accept me…….and God that is more than enough.  I am sorry for that not being enough for me.  I am sorry that I have tried to fill that emptiness with so many things, including other relationships and even food, for all of my life.” 

I pulled into the hospital and went up to be with my mom and step-dad.  The hospital only allows one person at a time in the surgery waiting area.  My mom had me stay to fill out some papers for some equipment she needed, and my step-dad went to the waiting area.  We got the papers filled out and visited briefly.  I then asked my mom if I could pray with her again, since I probably wouldn’t see her until after the surgery.  She said she would really like that.  I got up and put one hand on her head and the other on her shoulder, holding her in a loose embrace.  I prayed for her. 

When I finished praying, she grabbed my hands and began to sob.  I thought, “Wow!  The Holy Spirit is really touching her.  How sweet!”.  My mom then looked into my eyes, and said, “Lauren, I am so sorry that I left you kids when you were little.  Please, please, please forgive me!”  I melted!  I never ever saw this one coming.  She kept pleading with me to forgive her and telling me how much she loved me.  I told her that I had forgiven her a long time ago and that I did love her.  She went on, “I know how much that hurt you kids.  I wish I could change it, but I can’t.  This is something that I will have to live with the rest of my life……I have seen how it has hurt y’all and how it has affected you, even now.”  I then told her, “Mom, you are right, it hurt and does hurt.  But you know what, God can take those broken, sad, and hard things in our life (I was even thinking about that broken heart little Lauren had handed God earlier), and make something beautiful out of it.  It has made me a stronger person.  It has made me an awesome wife and mom.  I am a caregiver and always root for the underdog.  I am okay, Mom.”  She just continued to plead with me to forgive her.  I told her, “Mom, don’t let me walk out of this room, if there is even one inkling in you that I don’t love you.  I LOVE YOU!…..and Mom, I have already forgiven you a long, long time ago.  I love you!”  We both just cried & hugged.  I went back to the waiting room and cried and thanked God for the miracle that began in me earlier in the day and now was happening between myself and my mom. 

Mom came through surgery well, and when I went to see her she had her head down in that foam pillow, but I heard her say, “I can do all things through God who gives me strength.”  My step-dad then said, “What?  What did you say?”  I replied, “She’s quoting Scripture!”  Mom then said, “Charles (my step-dad), you may get tired of hearing me say that, but that and prayer is the only thing that is going to get me through this.”  You see, my mom & step-dad have been attending a church and Bible Study while they have been in South Texas.  I am so proud of the growth I see in my mom.  I ask that you join me in prayer that I get to help my mom receive a new freedom for herself too.  I know from my own past, that many times the hardest person to forgive is yourself…….and I want to help my mom with this too!  Since mom’s surgery, she has been so much more loving and concerned about me and open with me.  I am so grateful for this.

I recently read a quote, “I am not defined by my past.  I am prepared by it.”  How true it is!  Another friend recently quoted, “Jesus lived on a higher level.  Stop looking at where you have been and start looking at where you are going.  God never consults your past to determine your future.”  I am so thankful for this too.  I even have noticed a new openness with the women in my Tuesday night Bible Study.  Go GOD! & Go GOD in (& through) each one of you!!!

God’s love & mine,

Lauren Childress

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Our Gifts

Happy Monday morning!!!  I’m telling myself it’s a happy Monday morning, despite the fact that I have to go to work this week while my sweet kids are on spring break….I miss spring break. 

We have giveaway news to share!!  The winner of our $25 gift card to Bath & Body Works from Thursday’s blog is……JENNIFER REDMAN!  Woo hoo!!!  Jennifer, I hope someday you do get to go Hawaii with your grandma – and sneak me in your suitcase when you do!  Thanks to everyone who shared!!  And if you do ever get to go to any of your dream destinations, we expect a blog post and pictures to tell us all about it! 

Today’s blog – Phil has been teaching the last couple of weeks in his Sunday morning sermons all about the different gifts – the “Redemptive Gifts” and the “Spiritual Gifts”.  Someone out there correct me if I misstate this, but my basic understanding is that your Redemptive Gift is one that you are born with – it’s in your DNA  and it’s WHO YOU ARE – that God expects you to use in furthering his Kingdom.  Your “Spiritual Gifts” come later – they are given to you by the Holy Spirit and it’s WHAT YOU DO in order to, again, further His Kingdom here on Earth.  Everyone tracking with me?  There are links here on the church website that set out the tests and Phil’s sermons on the topics and explain it better. 

Well, thanks to Krista and Wednesday worship class for the kids, my whole family has taken a Redemptive Gifts inventory…and let me just say it explained alot.

As I wrote them down yesterday to turn in on my blue card, a lightbulb went off.  I find myself a “servant” amidst a house full of prophets, rulers, and exhorters.  No wonder I end up carrying everyone’s stuff when we leave church on Sunday mornings!!  Seriously!  I walk in with just my Sunday school book and bible.  I leave with my Sunday school book, bible, Will’s bible, Abby’s bible and sweater, and all of their stuff from children’s church. 

Really, though, it has really been very helpful to me in understanding a bit more about not only who I am and what my role can be in His Kingdom but also in understanding how Dallas’s, Abby’s, and Will’s brains work and how I can help them grow in those gifts and why sometimes we just don’t seem to be on the same wavelength. 

If you haven’t already taken the tests, I would encourage to check it out and do so.  I haven’t taken the spiritual gifts inventory but am going to ASAP. 

I would love to hear what some of you thought about the Redemptive Gifts and Spiritual Gifts- either what your results were or just your thoughts on the whole thing!!  I know our life group had a lively discussion about it last week!! 

– Kacey

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Giveaway Day!

Just to brighten your Thursday, we are doing a wonderful giveaway today! Simply comment on today’s prompt between now and Sunday night at 9 P.M., and you will be entered into our drawing for a $25 gift card to Bath and Body Works.

The prompt for today’s giveaway is:

If I could travel anywhere in the world, I would go to _________.

I’d also love to know why you would travel where you would travel just because I am curious.

I hope you all have a truly blessed rest of the week and weekend! And for those of you who are involved in education or have children in school, enjoy spring break this next week!

-Cathryn

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