Monday, May 23, 2011

Apply it to Me Monday

One of the neat rewards of youth pastoring is getting to see your students graduate over the years.  Our weekend was filled with graduation celebrations, and we have more to come!  We are seeing our students here graduate from high school and college, while we've rejoiced with students from the very beginning of our ministry years graduating from Bible Universities.  Seeing students you've poured into entering full-time ministry is priceless.

I have a favorite passage of scripture that I have shared with these students with a prayer that it will be one to carry them through some of the challenges life will throw at them.  The Lord spoke this scripture to my  heart during a time of great uncertainty in my life, and it certainly carried me!

"If the Lord delights in a man's ways, He makes his steps firm. Though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with His hand."
Psalm 37:23-24

I wish I had more time to spend with you on here.  The girls are "cleaning" their rooms right now to earn their trip to Sci Port today.  I better go help them if we're ever gonna make it. 

Have a great Monday!  Rely on Him to make your steps firm.  Make it your prayer that your life will be a delight to Him.  That's my prayer today.

~Josh and Jill

Monday, May 16, 2011

Apply it to Me Monday

"..He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord."

I've never been one to worry.  As the baby in my family, I went through life pretty carefree.  Trusting in God came easy because I've always been a positive person with an everything will work out mindset.  Then one day I became a mommy.  Wow, did my mindset really change in some areas!  First of all, I learned that stay at home moms work incerdibly hard!  Their job is never done, and very rarely is there a decent, private shower, much less a moment of kicking back in front of the TV.  The same goes for moms who have a job outside the home.  I've lived in both worlds and they are both demanding.  Another mindset that changed was my thinking that my kids would be perfect with perfect behavior, because after all, they have the perfect parents!  I have a whole new compassion for those frustrated moms at the store or restaurant with a toddler acting, well, like a toddler.  I've been that mama so many times.  And can I just say for the record, mean stares don't help one little bit.  But, oh, those precious people who came along and said something comforting because they understood.  It usually calmed me and my babies. 

I also thought I'd never be a mom that worried... ever!  From time to time those sneaky little fears of something happening to my most prized little bundles of love creep in and threaten to take over my heart and my mind.  If I'm not careful to guard against those thoughts, I can become consumed with thoughts and imaginations of terrible things.

Now, I know that God does not give me a spirit of fear, so I know when thoughts like these rise up, they oppose God.  In those moments of irrational thinking, I simply ask the Father to bring His scripture back to my mind, and so many times God has reminded me that a righteous man or woman does not have to fear bad news.  What a comfort! 

I wrote verse seven of Psalm 112 at the beginning of this post, but for those of you who need some overcoming power over a stronghold of fear, I am going to type the whole chapter.  One day, I hope to have the whole thing memorized.  It's just that powerful to me!

"Praise the Lord.
Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in his commands.
His children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.
Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever.
Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man.
Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice.
Surely he will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered forever.
He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end, he will look in triumph on his foes.
He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor, his righteousness endures forever;
his horn will be lifted high in honor.
The wicked man will see and be vexed, he will gnash his teeth and waste away;
the longings of the wicked will come to nothing.
Psalm 112

Monday, May 9, 2011

Apply it to Me Monday

“If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me, and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.” Psalm 139:11-12

We have life through a limitless creator who knows no bounds. He separated light from darkness, but He is not limited by that separation. We fumble around when the lights go out, but that’s no challenge for God.

It’s the same with the spiritual and emotional darkness we at times face. We can find ourselves in a place that feels so dark to us we feel hidden by it. It’s easy to feel forgotten or overlooked by those around us. Oh, but we are never forgotten or overlooked by our limitless creator! He watches over us in our seasons of day and sees us just as clearly in our seasons of night. When we draw close to Him, He even makes our night shine like the day!

How He loves us so!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

I wanted to take a quick minute to get on  here and give a shout out to all the mothers in my life!  Some of you are my family, some friends, and some are like a mother.  Each and every one is so dear and special to our family, and I hope you are having a wonderful day reflecting on the blessings God has granted you!

I am especially thankful for my own mother.  She's always there to answer the phone when I need cooking advice at odd moments.  She has always been faithful in seeing that our needs are met and beyond.  So, thanks mom! 
I'm also thankful for all the moms and grandmas on both mine and Josh's side of the family.  I feel so blessed to truly feel a part of both families, not just my side.  That's huge to me.

God has really begun to bring dear friends into my life who have small children.  I am so thankful that when I complain on the bad days how I just want that break, they so get that!  They never judge or make the misunderstanding of thinking I don't love my children.  They know those kids are the world to me, but they so get all my little frustrations.  I thank God for my friends!  A good friend is a rare treasure.

And, oh, my two sweet things!  I am blessed beyond measure to have two little girls to pour love on!  I can remember a picture my grandpa always carried in his wallet (he may still carry it).  It was a picture of dish soap called Pride & Joy.  That's what Kylee & Aubrey are to me... my pride and joy! 

So Happy Mother's Day to all of you who are moms, and all of you who some day want to be!  I pray God blesses you with children!  Until then, I pray He fills your heart with extra joy and peace.  If you are past the age of having children and have never had children of your own, may God grant you spiritual children to love and treasure!  I am so thankful God fills the voids of our lives when we trust Him with it.

I know I promised pictures last Monday, and somehow the week got away from me. So, here are a few pictures of the two girls in my life that I adore!

We tried sponge rollers.  They absolutely had a blast sleeping in them.
They didn't work for anything, but the girls felt beautiful anyway! 
Aren't they cute?

Kylee with her friend Leilah and Ashleigh at the zoo.

Aubrey at the zoo.  Sweet smile.

Taking pictures in their new outfits from "Gram-Gram".
I've trained them well... they appreciate some cute clothes!

Kylee standing on the beach of Chocolate Bayou in Alvin, TX.

Waiting for the boat ride!

Fun Times!

Kylee & Aubrey with their cousins, Jaden & Braden.
They are all right at the same age, so they have a blast when they get together!
Jaden & Braden are absolutely adorable!

At the aquariam.

 Love her expression!

Daddy helping the girls pet the sea creatures.

"She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come." 
Proverbs 31:25

Hope you check back tomorrow for "Apply it to Me Monday!" 
~Josh and Jill

Monday, May 2, 2011

Apply it to Me Monday

We've been busy having tons of fun with our family this week while enjoying some time off.  Our hope is to post some of the sweet pictures we've been getting of the girls throughout the week.

In Bible study this week, I was reminded of a couple of verses that have encouraged me during some of the difficult times in my life, so I thought what better to share with you today!

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit."
Psalm 34:18

"The Lord redeems his servants; no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him."
Psalm 34:22

"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."
Psalm 147:3

Before we're off to more family time, here are a few pictures of us with the girls.  I look at these pictures and feel so loved by these two sweet things!

Have a wonderful week!  Check back for more pictures!
~Josh and Jill