Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Would You Judge?

As a believer, sometimes Satan puts things in our path to see if we will stumble. Sometimes it would be so easy to take up those things in our path and run with them. Have you ever seen others stumble on that path and try to help just to find yourself tempted as well. What if the person that stumbled was someone in a leadership position that you hold in high regard. Does it make you question your faith? Does it make you feel that that person is less worthy of God's love and need to be cast aside by Him or by us? Do we let Satan creep in on us and allow ourselves to be tools for him and become judgemental? Sometimes the further we wander outside God's will, the more we judge others and the less we show mercy.

Lots of questions that I may not have the correct answers to. I know how I feel in my heart. We all know that we sin. I have always been told, "A sin is a sin is a sin." Is this how everyone feels? I don't know but what I do know is that God will forgive the sinner, but He will still judge the sin. God tells us to forgive, he never suggests that we forgive only when someone asks for forgiveness. He simply says forgive. Sometimes for the sinner, even when we know that God has forgiven us, it is hard for us to forgive ourselves. We must remember that God will always lead us to victory, but He will lead us His way.

I believe the biggest target for Satan is a believer in Christ. An even bigger target are those whom are Christian leaders. For if Satan is able to invade Christian leadership, he may be able to place some doubt in the minds of the congregation and help in his works. So as part of our duty as Christians, I believe that we must not only pray for ourselves and our family and friends, but also for those who lead us. They are very big targets for Satan, as stated in Alan Redpath's book, The Making of a Man of God:
Oh, from what heights of blessing it is possible for a man to fall! To what depths of sin a man can descend, even with all that spiritual background! The higher the pinnacle of blessing, authority, and publicity he has attained by grace, the deeper and more staggering can be his collapse. There is never a day in any man's life but that he is dependent upon the grace of God for power and the blood of Jesus for cleansing."

Please pray for yourself, then pray for someone you know who is being mightily used by God.

"Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently...." Galatians 6:1

Friday, April 25, 2008

Happy Birthday Zach!!!

Just a little stop to wish my oldest son, Zach, a Happy Birthday. It is hard to believe that he will be a teenager in 1 year. It just seems like yesterday when we brought him home from the hospital. I know we have made some mistakes along the way but for the most part, I feel we have done a good job. Zach is not only an awesome athlete, he is truely a good person. The most important gift I feel we have given him is his faith and love of the Lord. Happy B-day Z-man!
(PS--tried to download a pic but blogger is just not having it today).

Thursday, April 24, 2008

May is NF awareness Month

This morning was a rough one for my youngest son Hayden. It was a tearful morning for him. He was so adamant about not going to school today. He has many of these morning where he begs me to home school him and not make him go back to school. Even though I know it is socially and developmentally the best thing for me to force him into school, I do have some sadness when I have to do it. Hayden is often the center of some bullying due to a genetic condition he has. Hayden has a genetic disorder called Neurofibromatosis or NF.

NF encompasses a set of distinct genetic disorders that cause tumors to grow along various types of nerves and, in addition, can affect the development of non-nervous tissues such as bones and skin. NF can cause tumors to grow anywhere on the body. There are 3 different forms of NF, which Hayden suffers from NF-1, the most common form.

NF-1 also know as von Recklinghausen NF or Peripheral NF. It occurs in 1:3,000 births. Characterized by multiple cafe'-au-lait spots(look like birth marks) and neurofibromas(pea-sized tumors) on or under the skin, enlargement and deformation of bones and curvature of the spine(scoliosis) may occur. Occasionally tumors may develop in the brain or cranial nerves, or on the spinal cord. About 50% of people of NF also have learning disabilities.

Hayden's main skin problems is multiple cafe'-au-lait spots, to numerous to count and a few neurofibromas. He has some bladder issues which we have discovered is not to uncommon with individuals with NF. He is fairly clumsy but his coordination tends to be getting better as he gets older. Fortunately, I believe we have missed the learning disabilities but he does get some help at school for speech and occupational therapy to help with his fine motor skills. Even with these problems, I know Hayden is destined for greatness. God choose the right one of my children to give this disorder to because even though Hayden does have some social hard times, he has a certain drive about him and his love for God will see him through. His future plans are to be a policeman, a fireman or a vet. He loves animals so much and they always seem at ease with him.

May is NF awareness month, so if you are looking for a good cause to donate money to or to support, please keep Hayden and those like him in mind. You can donate or look up more info on NF at the Children's Tumor Foundation website, www.ctf.org for NF research so that we can help those all affected by it.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Are we all not brothers?

Friday evening was great for us. Zach hit his first home run of the season over the left field fence. It was awesome! Not sure how far it went, but it was a long ways. With the excitement of the day, there was a down side to a game that we came back from a 0-4 deficit to win 5-4.
Prejudice-1. a preconceived, usually unfavorable idea, 2. an opinion held in disregard of facts that contradict it, 3. intolerance or hatred of other races.
I know I have faced some prejudice in my life maybe over some minor things such as politics, preferred college team to follow or maybe even over religion. However, what I experienced on Friday evening was an experience I can honestly say I don't think I have ever felt. I feel that our team was being prejudice against due to the part of town our team is from and the major skin color of our team.
Our starting pitcher, who is normally on, was having an off day. During the 2nd inning he lost a little control and hit 2 batters with pitches. After the 2nd hit the opposing coach came out to the umpire to tell him if we hit another kid they were going to forfeit. Next came their fans with comments being yelled at our kids such as "We will never come over here and play again", "He is trying to hit our players", "We should have know it would be this way on this side of town". I was astonished and embarrassed by their behavior. Astonished that they would pick on 12-yr-old boys and embarrassed that these people are from my town. Granted, these individuals are from a much whiter, much wealthier side of town, but it just amazed me.
My husband had a long talk with the boys after the game. He commended them on maintaining their composure and ignoring the opposing fans and staying in their game and being able to come from behind and win the game. This team is getting better and better and now are 4-2. They are beginning to reveal the character of this team. They are sticking together and really bonding as brothers, because after all, is that not what we all are?
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Truth and Consequence

What is your initial response when you know someone has done something to you like, stole some of your property? This is an experience my family and I have had to contend with in the past few weeks. I have experienced a range of emotions but instead of letting my emotions get the better of me, I have tried to let the Lord guide me trough the process and I can say it was a learning experience.

A young man my husband and I have taken pretty much into our family was the culprit. The property was money and once we discovered it was missing we knew who had done it but we had to be very careful in the process in which we handled things. The incident occurred a week ago Thursday. When I initially asked this individual about it he denied it and tried to place blame on my younger son even though he had been the one seen messing with the money by both of my boys. I knew I had to devise a plan to deal with it but was unable to do anything for this past week due to my family being ill. That all changed yesterday afternoon.

After picking all the boys up from school and going to our house before baseball practice, I called all 3 boys into my living room. I address all of them as the possible culprit. I did not hold any punches. I explained the disappointment I had in the 3 of them and that not only were they lying to themselves and me they were ultimately lying to God, but told them, He already knows what you've done and it was just best to come clean. I told them that they needed to hold each other accountable and figure out the situation. I explained that I was giving one last free pass. If they told the truth that I would not make it a big ordeal, but this was the last chance. I then left the room to prepare to go to work.

Approximately 10 minutes later Zach came to get me and let me know they were ready. The young man in question came clean. He did not say he took the money on purpose. He stated that it was by accident. He thought the money was a note from his sister and put it in his pocket and that the note was the money and left it on the table. Even though I knew this was a far fetched story, I accepted the story for I knew he could have continued to deny that he took the money and I was glad he had at least fessed up even though it was not the exact truth. I never found the note in question.

For those that know my husband know his initial response to this was anger. He was very offended that this young man that we had invited into our home would do this. After taking some time and discussion we both agreed that we were going to have to place some stronger boundaries with this young man but we know we cannot turn our backs on him because that is what has happened his whole life. I am sure that is what he thought we would do to him. We are going to keep on keeping on with this because we know the ultimate goal with him is for him to accept Jesus as his Savior and hopefully teach him to be a responsible young man along the way.

I know this is one of those times that God has been speaking to my husband and I. We actually stopped yesterday and listened. We know what we must do and realized we could not follow our initial reaction to push this child away and turn our backs on him. The Lord said NO! We are continuing the work He has started for us and I know it will concluded the way He wants it to.

"I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built." Luke 6:47-48

Monday, April 14, 2008

Lost...and Found

Did you know that according to the Dept of Statistics the average American spends one full year of their life looking for lost things. That is amazing that we spend this time looking for kids shoes, the car keys, our shades that are on top of our head or maybe just our mind.

Jesus spent 3 years searching, his whole ministry. He was not hunting for material things, but for lost people. He did not search amongst the "popular people" or the socially acceptable people. He search among the sinners. That is where he found Matthew, Mary Magdalene, Peter and John. He went to those that so need Him.

Jesus continues today to search for those among us that are lost. Where did he find you? Living like a rebel(that was me), out partying with your friends? Or did he find you sitting in a church pew, convinced that you had everything together. You had the religion thing down. You knew the routine, the right things to do or say but you were just not getting him.

I know that He continues to look every second of everyday for us lost souls because we count to Him. He values us and He places worth on our lives no matter where we come from, what we have done in the past. You are his beloved and he smiles and rejoices when we repent and turn from our sinful ways and choose to follow him. He will always welcome us home.

"So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him." Luke 15:20

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Four Letter Word In Our House

Four letter word. Not what you think. In our house the biggest four letter word there is is TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills). This test has been the biggest thorn in my side for the past 3 years.

My oldest son, Zach has a severe form of dyslexia. He finished his 3 years of language retraining through the Scottish Rite Program offered at his school. We have seen good results but we were told he would never be a great reader due to the severity of his dyslexia but he would have adequate reading skills. I would say that that is exactly were he is at. But, let me tell you, dyslexic kids mixed with standardized test is just not a good combo. I can honestly say the only thing this series of test have done are crushed the spirit of my child.

This testing process, I feel has not only hurt my son, but that Texas students are being cheated out of a good education. School administrators are stressed about their districts results, therefore they put pressure on the teachers to get the students to pass. This results in the teachers teaching to the test and not giving our students a good, well rounded education, never mind the stress the students get put on them to perform like puppets in a puppet show. (Area physicians I know tell me stress related illnesses such as stomach aches and headaches increase in school aged children this time of year due to the pressure our young students are facing). There is something wrong with this picture.

Our children are stuck in these little TAKS learning boxes. They can't function outside the box. Now wonder why the younger generations are having such issues. They don't get taught common sense because they don't get put in everyday life studies because there is not enough time in the day. They must cram as much TAKS junk into the day that they can.

My son is a beautiful, tender hearted, sweet, compassionate, christian young man that has been made to feel like a failure due to this test. I have to continually convince him that in no way does his performance on these test going to determine the person he is going to be. His label of himself is that he is stupid and dumb. He calls himself these names at least once a week. He has stated more than once that he would trade all his athletic ability in order not to have dyslexia. I told him that God does not make mistakes. He has made Zach the way he is for a reason. So to all of you who are dealing with this same four letter word, know I am feeling your pain.

"being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

My Dad

Today is a special day to me. It is a day of remembrance of my Dad. My dad, John Robert Lowrance left this earth April 8, 2002. I think back to that day often with some sadness but in odd way with some peace.
My dad struggled with kidney cancer for 6 years. Most of those years were good years. He was able to continue working at his business he so loved, travel and see all the grandchildren he was to have arrive on this earth. Even though I was sad for my dad to leave I know he had suffered so much that the peace he had at the end brought me some comfort.
When I look at this picture, that is how I remember him. Sitting at his desk at his business, talking with customers who knew that they could trust him, watching him get a breaker box ready or splice wire to get a Red Jacket submersible pump ready to go so his customer could get some water.
I do miss the fact that my dad is missing my boys growing up. I know how much he would love to watch Zach playing all his sports. He was such a sports fan. As Zach grows older, I see more and more of him in Zach. I recently looked at some childhood photos of my dad at about Zach's age. They both have that eye squint and have the same expression on their faces. I see his quiet presence in Hayden. Hayden is like him in that way. Not much on words but usually when speaking they have something important to say. Hayden is an avid reader like him. My dad would read every paper he could get his hands on front to back usually 2 or 3 times.
So here is to my dad. I miss him so but know one day we will be reunited in the way God wants us to be. But until then, I will think of him fondly and hold him close to my heart as I see him in my boys.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Are You Listening?

When was the last time you heard from God? Think about it. Has God's still, small voice been drowned out by the constant noise from work, family, church and friends? I know sometimes the noise is too much for me.
What can we do to be ready to hear God's voice? For one thing we need to be faithful and obedient servants. We must be ready to respond to Him just as Samuel was. Samuel was in the right place to listen. Are you? I know I am not always. We must have the posture that invites God to speak to us: faithful, obedient, humble, waiting and receptive.
If we want to hear God speak we must try to prepare ourselves to be ready. Be prepared when you are in a place of sanctuary; as you lay awake in the early morning hours, while you wait in the car to pick up your children(this tends to be my place), or on an evening walk. Try to let go of the mental noise we all suffer from, wait in faithful, obedient readiness. When God calls your name, respond, "Speak, Lord , for your servant is listening." Don't miss it. Don't just go through your quiet time because you know that is something your supposed to do. Really listen.
"O Lord Almighty, blessed is the man who trust in you." Psalm 84:12

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Great Times

From Sept of 2000 until June of 2006 I worked in the Labor & Delivery unit @ UMC here in Lubbock. I can honestly say that those years were some of the best of my life. The friendships and relationships that grew out of that time I will never forget. I remember when I made the decision to come from the dept I was in (NICU for 5 yrs) to L&D. I was very nervous because all I had dealt with straight out of nursing school was babies not with the adult mamas they came from. I was immediately made to feel welcome and I learned the art of L&D nursing from some of the best.

I soon discovered that the people I was working with were just not going to be my co-workers but my second family. It all began at the top with Ruth (best nurse manager, hands down). She had the unique ability to be your boss when she needed to be, but you knew she was your friend first. With that type of boss the trickle down effect went to all of the staff. We would sometimes get on each other nerves, just as family does, but when it came down to it, we were there for each other. We were truly a team that worked hard to help each other. There were days of blood, sweat and tears but at the end of the day we knew we had done a good job. We helped birth each others children, went through each others tragedies and triumphs, and just loved having coffee together and just really knowing each other and our families.

We always dreaded July 1st because here would come all the new residents. We knew it would be a trying time but I like to feel that we had some hand in developing these young doctors into fine physicians. We had some wonderful attendings but we really love Dr. Mac and Dr. F-S. I am proud to call them friends still today. There were wonderful and some not so wonderful residents. We know who they are. Who can forget the family practice residents. They always knew the way to our hearts, bring us pens from the med reps. They knew we would take care of them.

So here is to all the women I worked with and some of the men. I am going to attempt to name you guys but if I leave you out don't take offense, you were a great part of my life: Ruth, Kat, the big L ,the Lori's, Lucille ,Ginger, Carla, Chris, J'Layne, Kyle, Kevin, Christina, the Deb's, Amanda, the Darlene's, The Tammy's, Bev, JJ, Cindy, Sharon B., Bridgett, Irma, Jo, Sonya, Kelly,The Rebecca's, the Melissa's, Linda, Denise, the Katey's, Sid, Loli, Holly, Micah, and the one we lost, Barbara, how we miss you.

This past Sunday, I had the pleasure of having dinner with some of the individuals. It was such a great time. We must do it more often. It is nice to know that even though some of us have moved away, retired, work together in a different place and those that continue in L&D, that we still come together from that common bond we share. God never makes mistakes, he puts us where we need to be for the time we need to be and I am grateful for the time he put me there. I raise my glass to these fine people and know I will always care for you all.

"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." Jesus. John 15:13