Thursday, July 28, 2011

Lynnette Cretu, Daughter of the King

The rain is falling in buckets right now. The brown crunchy grass is soaking it up, grateful for being replenished. I am thankful for this gift from God. I get a reprieve from watering today. My Father took care of it for me.

I just returned from the She Speaks Conference and it is difficult to find words to explain my experience. Simply. God was there.

My first evening in North Carolina, I had dinner with the ladies I "met" on Facebook. God was stretching me. He knew, walking into a room where I didn't know anyone was out of my comfort zone. I sat at the table and made small talk through dinner, we shared our stories and our hopes for the weekend. As dinner finished and people slowly returned to their rooms, I could see God's fingerprints. The few remaining ladies at our table discovered connections: stay-at-home moms, exploring the path God prepared for them. One of the moms, has a ministry for young girls, it was an answer to my prayer. God had put it on my heart to start a ministry like this with my daughter, but I didn't know where to begin. As we talked, the connections grew and we all became good friends.

The second day brought more answers. God (and Mom) has been telling me for a while now that I need to find my voice and be true to it. How do I do that I wondered. I listened to amazing authors tell their stories, each one different and wonderful, the way God planned. Tell your story, I heard. You are the expert of your life. God created you exactly the way you are for the purpose He wants you to fulfill. Invite people in. Be honest with the messes, the skinned knees and the amazing saving grace that rescues you every time.

He is amazing and He does save.

The prayer room was the place I most wanted to visit. The women of Proverbs 31 placed different names of God on the table and prayed over each of the 650 women at the conference, our names were individually matched up with one of the names for God. I couldn't wait to find my name. I was unprepared. I eagerly entered the room and stopped as I realized the air was heavy with His presence. I could have stayed there forever, soaking in His love. Once I recovered from the awe and wonder, I found my name matched with El Shaddai, The All Sufficient One, The God of the Mountains, God Almighty, (no problem is too big for Him to handle). The problem, I soon discovered, was that I was holding on to my problems. I wasn't trusting Him enough to let go of them. I had to open my hands in order to release everything into His loving and fully capable hands.

God spoke to me again and told me to slow down. He said the only title I have that matters is "Daughter of the King". While I was pushing ahead for the next thing, I was missing the most important things right in front of me; the time with my kids and the conversations with my husband. I was searching for a ministry outside my door when I already have one inside my home.

Lysa TerKeurst said, "be an extreme noticer of life, noticing provides the technicolor". But how do I do that when it doesn't come naturally? Again, in only a way that He can, he brought someone into my life to answer the question.

Hoping to delay our good byes, I tried to get on the shuttle to the airport with my friends. We planned on having lunch together before flying home, but God had other plans. I ended up leaving the hotel several hours later on the last shuttle, with all of the other "late flight" people. I sat in the back and started up a conversation with the two ladies seated next to me. As one of the women began sharing her ministry I almost fell out of my seat. Her ministry called Living the Abundant Lifestyle is how to look at life and appreciate the gifts God has given us for today. I couldn't believe it. God spoke through her... and I... didn't say anything.

Our shuttle arrived at the airport and people scattered to various check-in locations. Once I made it through the pressure and scrutiny of security, I could hear God speaking to my heart. "Lynnette, you should have told her how her ministry touched you. You should have encouraged her." Yes, Lord you are right, but she is gone now. How would I find her? An email will have to be enough. God and I talked all the way to my gate. I knew He was right. I made my way to a restaurant to grab a sandwich and guess who was there... my Abundant Living friend. I ordered my food and talked with her over a leisurely meal. I confessed how God had spoken through her and how much I needed her ministry. We shared our experiences and the things we learned at She Speaks. I thank God for that surprise appointment.

While I am overwhelmed by everything I learned, I am so grateful for the opportunity to spend time with such wonderful women. As I thought about writing this post, and trying to capture all of the moments, I didn't know where to start. God reminded me of a conversation we had back in February while I was praying about attending the conference. God said to me "Go. I will make your direction clear. You need to be there, and I will make the way." He is so good. He did and He did.

As the rain falls this morning, I feel like the brown crunchy grass. I was so thirsty for Him. My Father took care of it for me and I am grateful for being replenished.

As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Isaiah 55:10-11

Thank you God for your perfect appointments that fill us, beyond our imagination.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Giving Grace

A couple of weeks ago, while dropping my son at pre-school, I witnessed something life changing. Usually when this happens, it is an experience I would like to forget. This time, however, it was something great and wonderful. We were all standing in line waiting for the teacher to open the door and welcome the kids for the day. A mom and her daughter were standing next to me. "Oh my goodness" the mom said, "today is your snack day and I forgot." I stood there anticipating the little girl's reaction. The little girl looked at her mom for a long time and then she said, "that's ok, Mom, I know you have a lot going on right now." The mom leaned down and said, "I'm really sorry, Sarah*, thank you for giving me grace."

I was so shocked, I'm sure my mouth fell open. How much we could all learn from this sweet five-year-old. We have all been at that fork in the road. Someone has let us down in some way. We can take the road that our flesh is screaming for us to travel. We can get angry, ignore the person who has wronged us, we can yell and scream and have a tantrum, we can pout and make sure that person really grasps the severity of their error. Or, we can take the road less traveled. This road feels much less appealing. It is not easy to extend grace to another person. It is not easy to swallow our injured pride and love a person that is not easy to love at the moment. But it is a choice, a decision we must make.

How do we extend grace when we don't feel like it?

Forgive as the Lord forgave you.- Colossians 3:13b

Remember that Christ died for us while we were still sinners. We did not deserve his sacrifice, but he did it anyway because he loved us.

When was the last time you made a mistake?
I made one this morning. It wasn't intentional and it wasn't life altering, it was an irritation. My family had to make a choice. They could say, "that's ok, I make mistakes too" or they could make sure they knew how much I had interrupted their lives.

I was reminded of that little girl and her mom. How did the mom teach her daughter grace? I realized that she hadn't taught her by simply talking about it. She had taught by example. The mom had extended grace when she wanted to yell about the spilled milk, the forgotten tennis shoes or the lost library book.  The mom taught grace when daddy forgot to take the garbage out, when someone cut her off in traffic or when a friend had to cancel plans.

The only way that we can expect grace from others is by giving it to them.

How much grace have you given today?
You better start giving it away, you never know when you are going to need some back!

Lord thank you for your amazing saving grace. Teach me to take the right path towards giving grace. Please help me extend grace to others and remind me that it might be me who needs the grace next time. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

*Name changed.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

He doesn't need me.

I can remember a day recently where my children called me constantly. “Mom, can  you get me a cup?” “Mom, what are we going to do today?” “Mom, I’m hungry is it time for lunch?” “Mom, what’s for dinner?” “Mom, he took my toy.” “Mom...” “Mom...” “Mom...”
There are moments when I wonder if these needy times will suck the life right out of me. I wonder how I can possibly meet all of their needs. How can I give any more?
The God who made the world and everything in it, this Master of sky and land, doesn't live in custom-made shrines or need the human race to run errands for him, as if he couldn't take care of himself. He makes the creatures; the creatures don't make him. Starting from scratch, he made the entire human race and made the earth hospitable, with plenty of time and space for living so we could seek after God, and not just grope around in the dark but actually find him. He doesn't play hide-and-seek with us. He's not remote; he's near. We live and move in him, can't get away from him! One of your poets said it well: 'We're the God-created.' Acts 17:24-29 (MSG)
This passage stirs my heart. God made the world and everything in it. He doesn’t need me to do things for Him. He doesn’t need me for a specific purpose. 
He doesn’t NEED anything from me.
He WANTS me. His only desire is for me to love Him, to spend time with Him and to know Him.
He WANTS me. Just as I am. I don’t have to impress Him. I don’t have to be “Super Mom”. 
The Creator of the Universe is calling me. He is not playing games. He will not run or hide from me.
He WANTS me to seek Him because He has what I NEED.
He WANTS to give me the love, patience and wisdom I NEED to be a great wife, mother and friend.
He WANTS to give me the power I NEED to make better choices.
He WANTS to give me the direction I NEED to live the fulfilled life that He has planned for me.
Contributor: Sujin Jetkasettakorn
But I, by your great love,
   can come into your house;
in reverence I bow down
   toward your holy temple.
-Psalm 5:7

Thank you Father, for knowing exactly what I need for today and providing it for me. I am grateful that you don’t ask for more than I have to give. I find comfort in knowing that you love me just as I am. I am forever thankful that you make the sacrifices that I am unable to make. Please fill me today with your love and patience and light so that others will be drawn to you. In Jesus precious name, Amen.


Friday, July 1, 2011

Pastor Mom (or Dad)

Photo from: photostock
The most important ministry God will ever give you is to lead your children to Jesus.

Everyday, we must take up our cross and follow him the best way that we can because our children are always watching. That doesn't mean that we should be perfect and never stumble. God said we are all sinners, we have all fallen short of the glory of God - even parents. It means, that we need to be open and honest with our children about the times that we make mistakes. We say to our children, "I'm sorry, Mommy was not her best today." We ask our children for forgiveness and then, we pray out loud in front of them, and ask God for forgiveness too.

live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way -Colossians 1:10

Live a life worthy to be copied. Be a good example for your kids today, they are watching.

Who are the children in your life that need to hear about Jesus?

What can you teach them today about following God with all your heart?

God, please give me a thorough knowledge and understanding of Your will. I want to live a life worthy of You and please You in every way. As I learn more about you God, thank you for teaching me how to be a better parent. Please strengthen me so that I may have great endurance and patience. Strengthen me Lord, not with the grim strength of gritting my teeth and just getting by, but with the glory-strength that only You can provide. This is the kind of strength that endures the unendurable and then spills over into joy. Thank you Father for making me strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that You have for me. Thank you for rescuing me from dead-end thinking and habits. Thank you for loving me so much that you sent your Son, to take me out of the pit that I was in and remove the sins I was doomed to keep repeating. Amen (Colossians 1:9-14)

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Prayers and blessings to you today!



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