My girls had a lot of fun performing in the play “Christmas in Reverse” play at Parkway tonight. Here are a few excerpts from their performance.

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Last night our family had finished eating dinner and my two girls went upstairs to take baths while my husband and I enjoyed a few quiet moments at the dinner table. Our two year old boy decided to go upstairs and monitor the bedtime routine of the girls. Within a few short minutes my husband and I could hear pannick in the girls’ voices as we could hear them skirmishing around quickly trying to resolve some sort of dilemna. They we heard, “No Luke, don’t flush the toilet!” This was followed by, “Come on…we need to get mom and dad.”

We could hear the girls tearing down the hallway screaming, “Mom, Dad, come quickly! Luke threw moms’ watch in the toilet and is trying to flush it!”

John tore up the stairs at record speed while I stayed at the dinner table and I calmly listened to what followed. I heard my husband tell Luke VERY emphatically, “No Luke! ONLY peepee and poopoo in the potty. No watches in the potty. ONLY peepee and poopoo!” My 6-year old daughter felt the need to clarify to Luke, “and toilet paper Luke.”

Luke replied, “Ok, dada.”

The next day I put my driver’s license and credit card on the kitchen table and ran upstairs. When I cam back down stairs all that was left was my driver’s license. After looking all over the place we have come to the conclusion that Luke has experimented with the toilet again.

According to John, apparently Luke had seen a commercial a few nights back that showed a toddler throwing random objects in the toilet and flushing them. He seems to have learned well.

Last Tuesday I was working the polls on Election Day for the presidential election. I was responsible for staffing three of the precincts and had them well organized. Unfortunately the weather was awful. It rained practically the entire day and was gloomy and cold. One of the precincts got short-handed because some high school Republicans failed to show, so I was asked to go help out for a few hours. This particular polling location was at a public library. I was bundled up in my raincoat while trying to juggle an umbrella and handing out voter guides.

Much to my dismay, a lady that looked to have had a rough life by her appearance was just hanging around the library and coming outside to talk with me repeatedly. She kept returning, wanting to talk about random and frivolous things. Her hair was shaggy and unkept. She wore no makeup and had wrinkles of a senior, even though she was only 37. Most of her teeth were rotted out, to which I surmised was from drug use of some sort. And all she wanted to do was have idle chit-chat:

Lady: How are the elections going? I’d vote for McCain if I could.
Me: Why can’t you vote?
Lady: Felony, but it was just petty theft. Can you smell the cigarette smoke on me? Do you think my mom will be able to tell when she picks me up?
Me: Yes. Why is your mom picking you up? Aren’t you 37? Don’t you work?
Lady: I try and get work but I can’t. My parents drop me off here everyday until they are done working. I’ll be off probation in two weeks.

And so the conversation went for a long time and in my head I could hear the Holy Spirit saying, “Share with her the hope of Christ!” To which I say to the Holy Spirit, “I don’t want to do that right now. I’m busy handing out voter guides for the presidential elections. It’s raining. I’m distracted. Your timing is not good. She seems mentally short-changed. I don’t think so. I’m busy doing something else right now.”

So I politely went about my business and proceeded to leave when I was done and bid her farewell. I never thought I would see her again. I go to this library at least once a week and I have never seen her there. I thought it was all in the past. But then Thursday arrives…..

I pull up to the library to put some library books in the drop box return. As I get out of the car and approach the drop box, there she is, standing right next to it. I couldn’t believe it. Perhaps she won’t recognize me without my raincoat, pony-tail, umbrella look. But I hear God say, “Now do you have time?” As I put the books in the return the lady turns to look at me and says, “Hey, I know you! How are you? Do you mind if I tell you something? Ever since I met you two days ago I’ve been trying to quit smoking. You made me feel really good about myself and believe I can do something good now. It’s really hard but I’m trying. Thanks so much.”

So now you can see I can do nothing but agonize inside as the Holy Spirit pierces my conscious and convicts me of my disobedience, right? The Holy Spirits prods, “Now will you share with her the hope of Christ? Do you think you can fit it in your schedule now?”

God is sovereign and was determined for me to interact with this lady. So I blurted out, “I know that quitting smoking is very difficult. I had two parents who used to smoke and quit. But I also know that all things are possible if you know Jesus. Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?”

This lady got the largest smile and said, “I sure do! But you know, it has been a long time since I’ve been to church, prayed or read the bible. I need to do that. Thanks for reminding me how important God should be in my life. Can I give you a hug?”

Next time I should just obey God the first time around and I’ll get to enjoy the blessings sooner. God is sovereign afterall, He’ll just pursue you until He gets His way.

On Sunday we were sitting in the front row of church during the service. The pastor was about 10 minutes into his sermon when my 5 year old Sarah leaned over and asked me:

Does the pastor ever get tired of talking?

Out of the mouths of babes….

A few days ago I was reading a book titled, “Prayer Coach” where the author encourages the reader to seize the next opportunity to not just tell someone you will pray FOR them, but take the time to pray WITH them. He goes on to say that you might be surprised how welcoming and receptive people are to an offer to pray with them. I decided to take this challenge. I bowed my head and told God that if he gave me an opportunity to pray with someone, I would seize the opportunity.

The very next day I was in the car with a friend and she shared with me some very difficult things going on in her life and family that no person should have to carry alone. I could hear the Holy Spirit whispering, “this is it, ask if you can pray with her right now!” I was initimidated to ask her because I didn’t know if she had a faith in the Lord or what her background was spiritually…but I pressed on. The Lord provided such an amazing experience. I cried with her, ached with her, and prayed with her. God was good.

As a result of my experience, I encouraged my women’s bible study to take up the same challenge and ask God to show them someone they could pray WITH before the week was over. The very next day I got a call from one of the ladies.

Teresa called to say she couldn’t believe what happened to her today. She took her bible to work and decided to read it at her cubicle during lunch rather than having lunch with the girls. A lady saw her reading her bible and sent her an email later to ask if her everything was ok. Teresa emailed her back to say everything was fine, she just wanted to spend some time with the Lord. The lady replied stating, “when you are praying, would you pray for me? I could really use some prayer.”

Teresa said she was flipping out because all she could hear was this voice in her head saying, “Remember last night? You know what I want you to do….I want you to pray WITH this girl, not just FOR this girl.” Teresa said she was scared out of her mind, because praying out loud is completely not her. She has prayed with her husband, but nothing really other than that, but she knew she couldn’t deny this was a divine appointment and there was no way of getting out of what God wanted her to do. She emailed the lady back and told her she would pray for her, but would she be open to Teresa praying WITH her. The lady said she would LIKE THAT if they could find somewhere private to pray. SO….they are meeting very early tomorrow morning to pray together!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is so awesome!!! Be aware of the divine appointment God has for you this week!

Last Sunday I allowed my girls to sit with another family during church. This was the first time we had ever allowed this, since they are only 6 and 4 and we haven’t felt like they are mature enough to handle such a responsibility without talking and playing too much. However, we decided it would be ok this Sunday because we were sitting on the very front center row and the other family was sitting on the very front left row. How much trouble can you get in on the front row? Furthermore, the family they would be sitting with are a very godly family and the dad is a sargeant with the Virginia State Police. I figured any messing around would get a stern eye from Mr. State Police.

I watched them through much of the sermon out of the corner of my eye to make sure they were being good…which they were for the most part. The pastor was almost done preaching and I thought we had gotten through our first experience unscathed. All of a sudden I see Abigail get up and run over to me during the service.

Mom, Pastor Brian just read the bible verse we learned this weekend. He just said, “Therefore there is now no condemnation in those who are in Christ Jesus.” Isn’t that cool, mom?

Mind you we were in the front row and the pastor is still preaching. When I told her she couldn’t return to her seat with her friend she started crying very loudly…in the front row. That was a tough lesson to learn (that you can’t roam church during the service), but it was great to see her enthusiasm for scripture.

My almost 5-year old daughter had the greatest prayer tonight. It went something like this:

Dear Jesus, give us our daily bread tonight, because we really need bread for sandwiches tomorrow. And thank you for our big family. I love my big family. We are big enough to fly on an airplaine by ourselves….or maybe not. And I pray my mom would figure out a costume for me tomorrow, because I really don’t want to go to the Halloween party without a costume. Amen.

It really doesn’t get ANY better than that!