Wednesday, June 20, 2007

My Wilderness

The other day I was talking to a dear friend and I shared with her my recent spiritual frustrations. I simply said, "I am in the desert, and it's not even a good one!" You know, in the Bible a wilderness experience normally preceeds a visit from the Lord. In my life it has always been the same, God meets me in the desert. The desert times, the dry times are when God can grasp our attention, because we are seeking something. Not so this time! I have felt very alone in this wilderness! But God has finally allowed me to see a glimpse of His presence and to once again hear His voice. Oh how desparate I have been for that! Just a few weeks ago, I started the Bible study, He Speaks to Me by Priscilla Shirer. It has been amazing. God has been teaching me so much. This week we have been studying about "a single minded worship." This seemed to be a theme in my house this week as well. How often is Sunday morning the craziest time of the week! Satan so tries to distract us with everything he can, and by the time we arrive at church we are exhausted, stressed, and in no way ready to meet our Savior! God has been teaching me to truly plan for worship, such simple things as preparing ourselves for corporate worship on Sunday morning, and trully PLANNING to worship him every day. So often pride and other sins get in our way and we find ourselves distracted in worship. A big distractor for me in worship and ministry has been my desitre to people please. Seeing as though being a mom is my primary ministry these days, God has really allowed me to get perspective in this area. Having a 2 year old, my best efforts of affirmation, correction, discipline and training, are often lost when we are out in public! I want so badly to be a "good" parent, and while I know any 2 year old is far from perfect, God truly is teaching me humility through Eliana! In addition, 2 year olds are wonderful equalizers! My knowledge or ackomplishments are truly lost on her; my 2 year old does not care that I have a masters degree! Talk about truly learning to please an audience of One! All that I once sought diligently . . . as Paul said, "I count as loss." Toddlers surely put people pleasing into perspective! God is Good! Cast aside all distractions, Plan to Worship Him, Plan to please Him, Plan to be "single-minded" in worship!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Back in NOLA!

WOW! Our journey over the last 2 years has been a wild one, one that has brought us full circle. Eliana just turned two, and I calculated the other day that she has lived in at least 6 houses, in three States, two countries, on 2 continents! Being back in New Orleans in bittersweet. As you drive through the city many houses look as though Katrina happened yesterday, while other houses right next to them may be completely restored. It is a baffling sight. A site of destruction yet of hope. God is a God of restoration, a Sovreign God that has a mighty plan for this city and the people of New Orleans. Our journey has been amazing, a roller coaster of emotions, and a true call to obedience. God is teaching me about seasons, how He brings us through seasons of life and it is our job to worship Him in every season and to bring glory to Him to the best of our ability despite any circumstance. Over the last few months, I have felt frustrated and alone, and completely useless most of the time. I treasure my time being a stay at home mom, but anyone who knows me knows that I thrive on chaos! Too much stillness and I go crazy! well, God moved me to a city where I knew no one and I certainly never felt more alone, even isolated. When we felt God's call to move back to New Orleans, to the seminary campus, I was thrilled! I couldn't wait for that sense of community, to be surrounded by others walking down the same road. As we moved back this week, I couldn't wait to meet people, to get involved. God quickly caught my attention. I have had many opportunities to seek God in the stillness, and have instead complained about it. As I make this transition to a more "active" life, how can I move on when I have yet to learn what God has tried to teach me? In true "Nicole" style, I have to learn this lesson the hard way! Instead of seeking God out in the stillness when there was no other option, I have to "Choose" the stillness and to choose worship Him in this "Season." Life has been crazy, and I feel as though the seasons never stay for very long, but I know I want to worship Him in every season, and to seek out how I can best glorify Him in wherever He brings us. We are so grateful to the many of you who pray for us regularly. We hope and pray that this blog keeps you updated with the happennings of our lives adn most importantly, how you can most effectively be in prayer for our family! We covet your prayers and we treasure your friendships! May our Great God richly bless you wth more of Himself!