Saturday, June 14, 2014

Joe Davidson Park

Our annual picnic is filled with happy fellowship. 

Exploring nature 


Working on new sport skills 

And of course, the food is WONDERFUL

Here I caught Dan with a mouth full of food and Ray teasing Nita. 

I like this pic, here are 3 of our single men. 
We will be praying for them as they venture forth as the Lord calls them. 

Mother and daughter



After a full day we go home tired but thankful. 
These are happy days with our church family. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

2014 Women's Retreat

  Holden Beach

We showed up for our spring ladies retreat to be blessed by lovely beach homes, beautiful sisters, lots of food and the truth of our Blessed God.

Can you imagine the energy level and the chatter? Happy faces everywhere. Catch up fellowship, adorable babies to love. And a coffee pot kept going, decaf or caff .. you choose. Creamer? Low fat? Sugar free? Flavored? Half and half? Yep, it was all there. Plates of fruit, homemade cookies, muffins .. all served with a smile.

The ages in our group ranged from 2 months old to 60 something. Everyone in the same group. We served together, we played together, we worshiped together.

We visited the beach being warmed by the sun and the sand. 

Photo by Sara Curtis 

Our new attendants among us splashed and laughed in the water. Running from the beach to the pool to the the warming jacuzzi bathtub.  It had to be FREEZING but you would never have known it.

Thank you Jennifer Holmes for the beautiful photography

I would say the spirit of the weekend was a little bit of heaven. 

To bring our hearts to worship we sang praises to our God that we love.

We came to the retreat for more than just fellowship. The time had come for us to gather to hear from the Lord through His vessels, Deborah Cobb, Cindy Fox and Hope Kemp and Tara Ariel. 
The topic was suffering. Amidst all our fun and fellowship each of us carried our own burdens in our hearts and those very burdens were the ones we examined.

Deborah brought a suitcase as a  symbol to remind us to take a look into our own hearts to see what we packed to bring with us to the retreat. We had a lot of different things. There were as many different things packed in our hearts as there were women. Women of multiple stages in life with different dynamics. Young ladies, just embarking. Single women, married women. Children, no children.Even those recreating their lives in their 50's and 60's. 

It's no surprise that we found that even with all those differences the Word of God could speak to each one, individually. 

Deborah shared the importance of time spent alone with the Lord. There in His presence is where we can find rest. When we take that time to be quiet with Him we are shown His truths about us. Sometimes our thoughts race through our minds that are contrary to His purpose. When we get alone with the Lord and His Word we renew our minds and by the power of the Holy Spirit our thoughts are put into proper order. 

I waited patiently for the LORD; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.
Psalm 40:1-3 

Cindy and Hope took us to 1 Peter 3 and 4. 

Recognizing that everyone suffers, how we walk through the suffering is the strengthening value. 

Quoting Elisabeth Elliot 

 Suffering is having what you don't want or wanting what you don’t have.

The deepest things that I have learned in my own life have come from the deepest suffering. Out of the deepest waters and the hottest fires have come the deepest things that I know about God. I imagine that most of you would say exactly the same. I would add this that the greatest gifts of my life have also entailed the greatest suffering. The greatest gifts of my life for example have been marriage and motherhood. And let’s never forget that if we don't ever want to suffer, we must be very careful never to love anything or anybody. The gifts of love have been the gifts of suffering. Those two things are inseparable.

It was encouraging to understand that all of our suffering is beneficial with God. The difficult things in life as well as the tragic are all being used to transform our hearts into the likeness of God.
We learned that just being alive on our planet earth is reason enough for suffering. 
But, if we are to suffer, let us suffer for doing good ...

17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil.
18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, 20 because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah,while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. 21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

God did not save Noah from the warning or the flood waters but God made a way for Noah and his family. That's what the Lord does for us, He makes a way for us as we are living through the suffering of this life. 

Lastly, Tara shared her personal experiences. I heard her talk about happy times and hard times. Their life on the island is impacting many people and likely will have an effect for years to come but it's not without a cost. They share in the suffering of the saints. The culture they live in is all messed up. At one point there had been an offense and the perpetrator defensively argued with Nate stating the offensive acts are just part of the culture, and I just LOVE what Nate said, he looked him straight in the eye and told him, 
"No sir, that is not a cultural behavior that is sinfulness and it will not be tolerated."
 Wow! You go Nate. Calling sin for what it is. 
That circumstance was a long road for them to suffer but they have traveled it and there is peace again. 

We ended the retreat sharing what the Lord had taught us, I asked if anyone would mind sharing their thoughts from the retreat and Nicole Manning sent me this message 

I enjoyed the deeper conversations that brought me to not only tears, but to renewal. I could not pinpoint what was one of the feelings I have felt on and off this past year through the rough waters of a trial, but God, who is rich in mercy, used a sweet sister on numerous occasions to soften my heart and for me to see what was weighing heavy on my heart. I think sometimes as women, its hard to relate at such a deep level when we hold back so much, in fear of what others may see as weakness. But, are we not most used by the Lord when we are weak and willingly being molded by the potter? God used her heart to heart with me to strengthen and renew me through his truth. You know who you are sweet sister!!! God bless! It was a wonderful time of fellowship and friendship with all the ladies as well. Love you all!

I know many of us were encouraged and ready to go back home with a stronger walk with the Lord. Thank you Deborah, Cindy, Hope and Tara for your time of preparation. The Lord used you as His willing vessels to draw us closer to Him. 

On our way home we stopped for lunch .. here is one group of ladies having a final time of fellowship before heading home 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Psalm 18

If you want to know God better, you can do that by studying about Him in the Bible. 
One of my favorite things to do is to go through Psalms and underline every expression that describes who God is or what He does or has done. 

Psalm 18 has a lot of descriptions ... 













You really get to know a person when you know their name or what they do. Our God is personal and delights in us. What a sweet time it is to spend with Him, getting to know Him.

Psalm 18 also talks about Him being angry. We take the whole WORD. Something that has helped me through the years is when I don't understand something about Him. I ask Him. He has always given me insight. Sometimes the insight came months later but, it came. I bet it came when this human brain and fleshly heart was open to hear it. Another description of God is FAITHFUL. Cause He is.

Here is the complete Psalm .. as you read it, talk to your Father that loves you.

For instance, verse 2 ... Lord, you are my Rock, my Fortress, my God, my keen and firm Strength. I will trust you and take refuge in you. You are my Shield and the Horn of my salvation, You are my High Tower. Thank you, O Great Father. 

Psalm 18

To the Chief Musician. [A Psalm] of David the servant of the Lord, who spoke the words of this song to the Lord on the day when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. And he said:

I love You fervently and devotedly, O Lord, my Strength.
The Lord is my Rock, my Fortress, and my Deliverer; my God, my keen and firm Strength in Whom I will trust and take refuge, my Shield, and the Horn of my salvation, my High Tower.
I will call upon the Lord, Who is to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies.
The cords or bands of death surrounded me, and the streams of ungodliness and the torrents of ruin terrified me.
The cords of Sheol (the place of the dead) surrounded me; the snares of death confronted and came upon me.
In my distress [when seemingly closed in] I called upon the Lord and cried to my God; He heard my voice out of His temple (heavenly dwelling place), and my cry came before Him, into His [very] ears.
Then the earth quaked and rocked, the foundations also of the mountains trembled; they moved and were shaken because He was indignant and angry.
There went up smoke from His nostrils; and lightning out of His mouth devoured; coals were kindled by it.
He bowed the heavens also and came down; and thick darkness was under His feet.
10 And He rode upon a cherub [a storm] and flew [swiftly]; yes, He sped on with the wings of the wind.
11 He made darkness His secret hiding place; as His pavilion (His canopy) round about Him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.
12 Out of the brightness before Him there broke forth through His thick clouds hailstones and coals of fire.
13 The Lord also thundered from the heavens, and the Most High uttered His voice, amid hailstones and coals of fire.
14 And He sent out His arrows and scattered them; and He flashed forth lightnings and put them to rout.
15 Then the beds of the sea appeared and the foundations of the world were laid bare at Your rebuke, O Lord, at the blast of the breath of Your nostrils.
16 He reached from on high, He took me; He drew me out of many waters.
17 He delivered me from my strong enemy and from those who hated and abhorred me, for they were too strong for me.
18 They confronted and came upon me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my stay and support.
19 He brought me forth also into a large place; He was delivering me because He was pleased with me and delighted in me.
20 The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness (my conscious integrity and sincerity with Him); according to the cleanness of my hands has He recompensed me.
21 For I have kept the ways of the Lord and have not wickedly departed from my God.
22 For all His ordinances were before me, and I put not away His statutes from me.
23 I was upright before Him and blameless with Him, ever [on guard] to keep myself free from my sin and guilt.
24 Therefore has the Lord recompensed me according to my righteousness (my uprightness and right standing with Him), according to the cleanness of my hands in His sight.
25 With the kind and merciful You will show Yourself kind and merciful, with an upright man You will show Yourself upright,
26 With the pure You will show Yourself pure, and with the perverse You will show Yourself contrary.
27 For You deliver an afflicted and humble people but will bring down those with haughty looks.
28 For You cause my lamp to be lighted and to shine; the Lord my God illumines my darkness.
29 For by You I can run through a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall.
30 As for God, His way is perfect! The word of the Lord is tested and tried; He is a shield to all those who take refuge and put their trust in Him.
31 For who is God except the Lord? Or who is the Rock save our God,
32 The God who girds me with strength and makes my way perfect?
33 He makes my feet like hinds’ feet [able to stand firmly or make progress on the dangerous heights of testing and trouble]; He sets me securely upon my high places.
34 He teaches my hands to war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35 You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, and Your right hand has held me up; Your gentleness and condescension have made me great.
36 You have given plenty of room for my steps under me, that my feet would not slip.
37 I pursued my enemies and overtook them; neither did I turn again till they were consumed.
38 I smote them so that they were not able to rise; they fell wounded under my feet.
39 For You have girded me with strength for the battle; You have subdued under me and caused to bow down those who rose up against me.
40 You have also made my enemies turn their backs to me, that I might cut off those who hate me.
41 They cried [for help], but there was none to deliver—even unto the Lord, but He answered them not.
42 Then I beat them small as the dust before the wind; I emptied them out as the dirt and mire of the streets.
43 You have delivered me from the strivings of the people; You made me the head of the nations; a people I had not known served me.
44 As soon as they heard of me, they obeyed me; foreigners submitted themselves cringingly and yielded feigned obedience to me.
45 Foreigners lost heart and came trembling out of their caves or strongholds.
46 The Lord lives! Blessed be my Rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted,
47 The God Who avenges me and subdues peoples under me,
48 Who delivers me from my enemies; yes, You lift me up above those who rise up against me; You deliver me from the man of violence.
49 Therefore will I give thanks and extol You, O Lord, among the nations, and sing praises to Your name.
50 Great deliverances and triumphs gives He to His king; and He shows mercy and steadfast love to His anointed, to David and his offspring forever.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Valentine Banquet 2014

Deborah Cobb captured the magic of our 
Valentine Banquet
TThank you for this post, Deborah  <3 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

He Cleans Up

Mommies, I know this very spot of exhaustion and the feelings of condemnation that comes with it.
Here in Elisa Morgan's book is a question that will right your thinking. The answer is yes. 

An excerpt from the book The Beauty of Broken  by Elisa Morgan 

It had been a long day - the kind where everything came undone as soon as I did it. Preschooler insanity. I wiped bottoms and mouths and countertops, though not in that order, of course. 
At last, bedtime. Evan was at a meeting, and I made it through the sweet night-night routine with Ethan, still a baby, and then three year old Eva, offering what I thought was pretty much mothering perfection. I'd embraced the myth of perfect parenting, fully expecting to create in my home what would become a perfect Christian family. 

Until, tiptoeing down the hall to my room for mommy time with a bowl of popcorn and the the TV remote, I heard a toddler cry, "Mommy!" When I returned in a huff, my daughter wanted another drink, another book, another kiss - more of me. I didn't have more, I was on empty. While I gritted my teeth and endured the moment, I knew I was a nasty fake. I reeked of impatience and anger. Where did such anger come from? By the time I turned out her light again and made it back to my room, I knew I didn't deserve mommy time. I thought, 

I am a lousy mother. The worst mother on the planet. I will ruin my children, I know it! 

Hannah's prayer from 1 Samuel 1:27-28 filtered through my mind: "I prayed for this child, and the Lord answered my prayer and gave him (her) to me. Now I give him (her) back to the Lord. He (she) will belong to the Lord all his (her) life." The words were embroidered on a pillow in my daughter's room. I'd expected to pray this prayer when Eva went off to college or walked down the aisle to be married - not when she was three. But mercy! I need God to take over now

God was listening In fact, He piped right in, whispering to my heart, 

Okay, Elisa, I'll take care of Eva. No worries. But do you trust me with her?

You bet! I shot. "You are God!" 

Do you trust me to walk her through a life-threatening illness?

"Err ... yeah ..."

Do you trust me to decide who she should marry, or if she doesn't marry, to provide for her? 

"Well, I'd love a say in 'who' - but okay .." 

Do you trust me to determined if she should go to public schools or private school or be homeschooled? 

"Yes, I trust you with Eva."

Then Elisa, do you trust me to choose for Eva the very best mother for who I know she will become? 

I sat with that question a long time. Did I believe that God would pair me with my child - to be the mother she uniquely needs today and in the years to come? Was I up to the year-after-year-after-year commitment of knowing this truth and living out in my actions? I still trace my fingers along the edges of this truth today. 

The answer is YES. 
He placed that very child in your home, in your arms. Yes, He uses that child to draw you closer to HIM. Yes, we can TRUST Him with those children and YES, we can trust Him that we are the mommy He designed for our child. 

At one point Elisa said she was the worst mother on the planet. She is going to have to get in line for that title. We all share it. A friend comforted me years ago by saying that we all have uglies in our closet. 

Each day will have troubles and blessings. Trust in HIM who makes us clean, who wipes away tears because He is the Faithful One. 

Take a deep breath and sing a song of thankfulness to the Lord. He will sustain you and clean up after you. 

Because ... He is just that good. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

January Fellowship

You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord,
    and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.

You shall no more be termed Forsaken,
    and your land shall no more be termed Desolate,
but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her,
    and your land Married;
for the Lord delights in you,
    and your land shall be married.
Isaiah 62:3-4

Our January women's fellowship was a reminder of who we are in Christ. 
We are -

My Delight Is In Her 

Jesus paid the ultimate bride price, He knocked on the door of our hearts and by the power of the Holy Spirit, we have opened the door and invited Him in. 

Our identity is being united with The God of Abraham through His son Jesus. 
We are grafted in, we are adopted, redeemed and we are called to be His Bride. 

As the Bride we are lavished with love and security. 
We belong to our heavenly Groom and that gives us the confidence to walk out a life of faith.

Using Denise Glenn's workbook Restore My Heart, Elisa and I shared the message of the eternal love from our heavenly groom. 

We had a delightful evening with our precious sisters.

We are remembering that 

  • We are loved by Christ 
  • He has paid the price for us, 
  • He has offered us the cup of the covenant, 
  • We have been washed by Him and 
  • Now we wear the beautiful bridal dress of righteousness, which was provided by our heavenly groom. 

As the Bride, as the believer we will receive a crown from the Lord. 

On this night, we had a crown to represent all the love from the Bride, from the Body of Christ that we have received. Each lady added a flower and a remembrance of a bit of love she had personally received. 

At the end of the evening we said our goodbyes but our hearts were full because we had remembered who we are .. 

My Delight Is In Her

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Sweet Pics 2013


Walk for life in Washington DC 

Baby showers 

Allied Churches 

We gave through Feed the Hunger and now 10 little children have shoes for their feet. 

Mother and daughters 

Sweet Sisters   

Beth Moore seminar