Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Teachings

This is it!

Tomorrow morning we're heading out...Concord, North Carolina--Here we come!

Here are the teachings.


The day my daughter Aila was born is burned into my heart. But so are the many months leading up to that day.

About a year before, we'd learned I was expecting--but then the unexpected happened.


I sat in the waiting room that morning, a pregnant woman already in maternity clothes with bizarre cravings, just like the other moms-to-be. We knew we'd be seeing our son through sonogram that day, and we couldn't wait.

But when the doctor began the ultrasound, she was very quiet. There was our baby boy on the screen--we could see his tiny form. But he was not okay. We'd woken up that morning with no worries, no indication of any problems...but no heartbeat. And no hope of holding our son until Heaven.

God was gracious, and very soon after that I became pregnant with Aila--but the next nine months were filled with countless concerns and complications--just one scare after another. And a high-risk pregnancy was a lot to take while our grief was still so fresh. And I was desperate to get to hold this child this side of Heaven.

I remember exactly how I spent the day before Aila's birth--praying, crying, and worshipping--I was so grateful for this life God had place within me--but I was out of strength. Done. I had completely and totally hit a wall. I told the Lord, "I just can't wait any longer--no even one more day! I just have to have her in my arms."

And the next day, she was.

Recently the Lord began to shed some light on this time in my life. He said, "Thea, you lost a son, and you had a long, difficult wait for your daughter. You've understood the agony of empty arms.

But Thea, so have I.

There was a time when I waited for you. I had plans and a purpose for you, but you wanted other things more than what I held in store for you. And so I waited.

But then I rejoiced that day you came to Me. I gave you glimpses of this joy the day Aila was born--a child finally where she was created to be--in your arms. And just as you see redemption when you look into your child's face, you are My child for whom I did a redeeming work. You see, I knitted you together and have always had you engraved on My hands, but it wasn't enough. I could not wait to have you in My arms."

You see, the loss of my son made a way for Aila. But the death of His son made a way for me.


Oil and flour. Fish and loaves.

Have you ever been in need of a God Stretch? That’s when He takes what we think won’t be enough, and He makes it stretch to cover our needs.

We’ve probably all heard the story of Jesus feeding the multitudes. He took a boy’s lunch of fish and bread, and multiplied it to feed thousands. With leftovers! But there’s also another God Stretch in 1 Kings 17. Elijah was living in a time of terrible famine. The Lord even commanded birds to bring him food. One day the Lord sent him to a widow’s home for food and drink. Elijah asked the woman for some water, and when she turned to get it, he called after her, “Oh, and can you bring me some bread, too?”

I can just imagine the look on her face as she slowly turned around. After all, he had just asked her for something she did not have to spare. “I don’t have any bread,” she told him—“only a handful of flour and little bit of oil.” She went on to say that she was just headed home to make one last loaf of bread to share with her son, and expected that they would die from hunger at some point after that. But Elijah said to her, "Don't be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the LORD gives rain on the land.' What an amazing test of faith! "So she went away and did as Elijah had told her. And there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the LORD spoken by Elijah.

So that’s what a God Stretch looked like back then. But what does it look like now? It’s the owner of Chick-fil-A who has always stayed closed on Sunday and trusted the Lord to make 6 days of business stretch to cover a 7-day week. It means trusting the Lord that when you tithe, He can meet your needs more with the 90% that's left than you could with 100%.

And that’s where I am right now. In my world, waiting on a God Stretch means praying that our resources will be enough to cover our needs.

And I mean NEEDS. My husband’s old truck finally gave up the ghost, so we had to get something that actually runs. Which means we just added a car payment to our plate.

Both of our children have been in and out of doctors’ offices quite a bit this year. Believe me--I’m trying not to loathe the word “co-pay.”

Then there's our mortgage payment, grocery bills, tithe…

TITHE? Yes, tithe.

Oil and flour. Fish and loaves.

A woman GAVE her oil and flour. THEN God made it stretch.

A boy GAVE up his lunch. THEN God made it stretch.

So now we have 90% of a paycheck left for Him to stretch. But in faith we know that the Lord can do more with less than we could ever do with more. We just need to offer all things up to Him.

Have you ever asked the Lord to multiply your efforts in your marriage? How about your relationships with your children?

Have you asked him to stretch a night’s sleep after you’ve been up for hours with a sick child?

Have you ever called on Him to allow your resources to be sufficient for your needs?

He meets your needs and mine according to His riches. And we can claim this truth over our circumstances!

When I am afraid…When I don’t know how it’s all going to work out…

Oil and flour. Fish and loaves.

When it doesn’t add up on paper (and there are times when it won’t)...

Oil and flour. Fish and loaves.

He is God our provider—worthy of our trust!

Oil and flour. Fish and loaves.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Last-Minute Change

7 Days until "She Speaks." That's all.

And to my great fear, I very recently realized that my testimony needed "tweaking."


I was a bit nervous about having upheaval in the works with so little time left until the conference. After all, whatever I stand up to say in one week has got to be familiar to me. But I was actually excited, more than anything--expectant of what the Lord still had to reveal to me.

And He did.

He gave me the ending phrase to my testimony just as clear as a bell. And the rest came together over the next two days. Phew! And now that's a truth--or should I say a TREASURE--from Him that I will always have!

I'll post my two teachings just before leaving for the conference. Which is SOON (6 days)!!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

21 Days

Three weeks until "She Speaks!"

I've started packing. Practicing. Preparing.

And PRAYING. After all, what does it matter if I remember to pack everything I need, or even if I have my two teachings memorized perfectly, if my heart is not ready to hear from the Lord? I think this conference is going to be special in lots of ways. But more than anything, I want to be ready to listen and respond. I want my heart to be cultivated through prayer.

Counting down these days...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

My Reason

Have you ever just sat completely quiet and still before the Lord and then spoken, "Lord, You are..." and then filled in the blank with what He revealed of Himself to you? Powerful. These were the ones He revealed to me this morning:

Lord, You are...

Bright and morning star
Great Physician
Image of the Invisible God
One who never leaves me
My beloved
Ever-present help in times of trouble

* And while I love these all, I think this next one was my favorite:

My reason for living
My reason for loving
My reason for going beyond myself
My reason that I'm justified
My reason that I know I don't have to settle for anything apart from abundant life with Him
My reason I'm no longer who I was, nor will I be who I am.

He is my reason that there is ANY sort of hope for me.