November 30, 2012

Greater: Day 5 - Chapter 2 Discussion Questions

1. Describe your own “lesser loser life” – the ways that things like fear, self-doubt, and self-criticism make you question whether you’re a candidate for a greater life.

Satan loves to tell me that I am unworthy. He uses my past failures and trials (namely my eating disorder) to try and make me believe that I am flawed, broken, and so screwed up that I would never be useful to the Kingdom of God. When I listen to his lies, I become so wrapped up in self-doubt and dislike that I forgot all that God has done for me, and all that He was used me for in the past.

2. If you’re troubled by condemning messages in your head, where do you think they come from?

I believe that condemning messages in my head come from Satan. But he uses words that I have spoken to myself in the past. He plays on my deep seated insecurities. In my younger days, I had little to no self-confidence. I saw myself as ugly and an outcast of sorts. Satan whispers those words in my ear when he seeks to stop me in perusing the Lord.

3. In the past, how has your lesser loser life kept you from doing something you believed God was calling you to do? What do you think that you – and others – might have missed as a result?

I often wondered if I missed a calling to go into mission work. In the summer after my freshman year of college, I attended M-Fuge, and I remember distinctly feeling as though the Lord wanted me to pursue missions. But I thought that I was not a “devoted enough” Christian to do that. Then I worried what my family would think if I told them I wanted to delay college to pursue this call. So I didn’t do it. And I have to wonder if I missed a chance to reach lost souls for the Lord.

4. To you, who is a good example of a person who got past his or her lesser loser life to take hold of God’s greater things? What can we learn from this example?

The first person who popped into my head when I read this question was my father-in-law. He is just an ordinary man, not well educated, who has worked his whole life. He is soft-spoken, down to earth, and not at ALL the type of person I would expect God to call to preach. Mr. Mike thought those same things. So he spent numerous years ignoring God’s call on his life. He tried to appease God by working as a Sunday school teacher, a youth Director, singing in the Choir, and VBS chairman. But each work just left him feeling hollow, empty, and sad. When he finally submitted, he has become a powerful preacher and has won souls to the kingdom. The lesson here is simple: Trust that God knows WHO He is calling and WHAT He is calling them to do.

5. How would you describe your level of trust in God’s ability to do greats things through you?

My level of trust is small but growing with each passing day. The more time I spend with God, the more I realize how great HE is and how much He desires to use me for greater.

November 29, 2012

Lifted Up (Great Day 4)

Today’s challenge is to compose a blog post that lifts up some in your life that inspires you to live greater. I have two people that I want to blog about – my husband and my daughter.

I suppose to some, it seems cliché to blog about them as my inspiration. But there are not 2 people on this Earth who have inspired me more than my husband Micheal and my daughter Joycelen.

Micheal inspires me with his quiet strength. When I see an injustice or wrong in the world, I rail, shake my fits, demand that things change. Micheal simply steps in and works to fix the situation. He does not seek to blame anyone, he does not shout, he just does what he is called to do. Micheal also inspires me with his unconditional love. As my husband, Micheal is called to love me as Christ loves the church – meaning he is willing to die for me. And while I pray that he is never placed in such a situation, I know that in a moment he would offer his life for mine. In fact he does each day, when he chooses to put his own plans aside to do something I am “nagging” him about. When I get mad and snap, he just respond with a smile, shrugging off my angry words. I marvel at how he can see the darkest/ugliest parts of me, and still look at me with wonder in his eyes as if I am the greatest gift he has ever seen. It is this love that inspires me to love those around me who I may not always like.

Joycelen is my unexpected blessing. Micheal and I had only been married 3 months when we learned we were pregnant. As a newlyweds, pregnancy was not in our plans. I remember be shocked, saddened, but mostly scared. I was only a year or two removed from a 5 year battle with bulimia. I feared that pregnancy would stir up all of my old demons. But the opposite happened. As Joycelen grew inside of me, I marveled at what my body could do. Before she was ever born, my daughter taught me how to love and be at peace with myself. Then in March 2010, she came into this world, 7 lbs and 11 ounces of wide-eyed wonder. From an early age, she wanted to see the world around, to question, to learn. She inspires me to look at the world around – me to see what I can do for others. Joycelen is a happy child. In fact her cries were so rare during infancy, that the tiniest sniffle from her would bring any adult within ear shot running – because we knew there was a problem. Joycelen lives her life with joy. And she is teaching her mother how to do the same.

A loving husband and a beautiful daughter…

Two ordinary people…..

Who are my source of extraordinary inspiration.

November 27, 2012

Greater: Day #2

Today’s assignment was to answer the discussion questions found in the back of the book.

1. Tell about a time when you found yourself wishing you were accomplishing more in life that really matters. What caused your discontent?

In all honesty, I am in that moment now. I have a loving husband, a beautiful daughter, a job I enjoy, a home, a car, all of needs and most wants are satisfied. But I find myself wondering if I’m really making a difference if my life is having an impact on eternity. I remember times early on in my faith when I felt on “fire” for God. Now, I find myself going thru the motions – Sunday school, church, prayer meeting on Wednesday, repeat – and I want MORE.

2. As you think back over your Christian life, what has been your most grandiose (and unachievable) pipe dream about doing something great for God?

The summer after my 9th grade year, I attended M-Fuge where I dreamed of becoming a missionary. Um, so yeah, that didn’t happen…..

3. Steven says, “We wake up one day to find ourselves stuck in miserable mediocrity.” Is that true for your life right now? If so, describe how you are stuck in mediocrity?

I’m there. I attend church – but more because I feel guilty than because I desire to be there. I teach Sunday School – but put little effort into the lessons. And I am not sure that the life the other 6 days of the week really reflects Christ to those around me.

4. What’s your reaction to this book’s concept of greater (as opposed to grandiose greatness and mediocre great enough)? How does it affect your perspective on your future?

I finally feel excited about the future. I know longer feel as though I have to live a life that is either stuck in neutral or fails to live up to the “ideals” in my head. I don’t have to see myself as striving to be a “Super Christian” ala Billy Graham, Steven Furtick, etc. I can just be me – a wife, mother, career woman who is so sold out to God – that He uses me to do GREATER things in my little rural town in South Georgia.

5. If you already have an idea of what greater thing God might have in mind for you, what is it?

I have NO idea what the Lord has in store for me. But I am so eager to find out!

I am participating in an Online Bible Study via Melissa Taylor. We are using the book Greater by Steven Furtick. I will be sharing my thoughts/feelings here on the blog. I hope that you are blessed my this.

November 26, 2012

Greater: Day 1

This morning I began an online Bible Study via Melissa Taylor.  The study is using the book "Greater" by Steven Furtick.  The premise is to look at how we can move beyond mediocre Christianity and live a greater life in Christ.

For me, the study is an answer to my prayers.  I have felt - for months if not years - that my Christian walk was stuck in neutral. I was going thru the motions, the routines, the rituals - wanting to do more but having no idea how to get there.  I am eager to see what truths the Heavenly Father has in store for me with this study. I decided that I would document the lessons here on the blog. My hope (and prayer) is that it helps someone else who is struggling in their faith. 

Here is what I learned today:

"Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father."

~John 14:12

  1. If I hope to have any impact on the Kingdom of God, I first must have FAITH in Christ.
  2. My FAITH in Christ will lead me to do the works that Christ did - sharing the gospel, loving others, serving others.
  3. I can NOT be greater than Christ - after all I am flesh not God.  But I can be GREATER if I allow the Holy Spirit to empower me.  By living out my FAITH and seeking Christ's guidance, my life can make a difference.
Do you ever feel as though you are living a mediocre Christian faith?  Do you long to live a life that is greater?

November 24, 2012

Life with the Lees: Another Milestone

It’s been happening for awhile – I just did not want to believe. I would notice it in the once chubby legs that keep growing longer, sleeker. I could hear it in the broken sentence full of mispronounced words and a few babbles but are now entire conversations. I could feel it when angles of knees and elbows would jab into my sides during a Sunday afternoon nap. She’s declared it loudly for nearly 6 months. But yesterday, my baby officially became a big girl.

Yesterday afternoon, M and I built a toddler bed for Joycie. For months, we had stated that it was time to move her out of her crib – after all she will be 3 in a mere 4 months. But all attempts to find a bed that a) fit our budget, b) fit Joycie’s room, and c) fit both of our styles had failed. Then one evening while scrolling thru Pinterest, I found a link to a homemade toddler bed. I clicked it.

The finished project was a cute toddler bed. I showed the link to M who agreed we could do the same project for Joycie’s room. So with a few pieces of donated lumber, $30 in fabric and batting, and an hour’s worth of work, this beauty now rests where a baby’s crib once did.

And in it sleeps a “big girl” who doesn’t understand yet – but will someday realize that no matter how big she grows, how old she is, or what bed she sleeps in – she’ll always be my baby.

November 02, 2012

I don't think Amazon sells those....

Recently a couple in our church celebrated the birth of their second child, an adorable baby boy.  His big sister Amelia is in Joycie's Sunday School class and was excitedly telling her classmates about her baby brother.  When I picked Joycie up from her class, the following conversation happened.

Joycie: "Mama, 'Melia has a new baby budder."

Me: "A baby brother, that must be so nice."

Joycie: "Uh-huh. 'Melia says she LOVES her baby budder. I want a baby budder, Mama."

Me (quite suprised as Joycie usually tells her grandparents that she does NOT want siblings): "Oh really, and when would you like this baby budder?"

Joycie: "I need him at our house by Thursday!"

Oh dear, I hate to tell the sweet thing that it does not work quite like that. :-)