Archive for January, 2011

Songs in the Car (by Amanda)

Every now and then I have an experience with my children that takes me back to the days when my mom had a fabulous wardrobe of leotards and large, geometric earrings and drove a sweet, earth toned stay wag that was named after a dinosaur.

Yesterday morning on the way to the kids’ school, we were listening to the Passion: Awakening CD. “How He Loves” was playing when we pulled into the parking lot and I brought the car to a stop right when the song was getting really good. Some of you musical people know the name for that part of the song and are saying it to me like I can hear it through the computer screen. Anyway, y’all know which part I’m talking about.

It seemed like such a shame to turn off the car before we got to sing “And we are His portion and He is our prize! Drawn to redemption by the grace is in His eyes. If His grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking. And heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss and my heart turns violently inside of my chest. I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way that He loves us…” Jackson threw off his seat belt and climbed in the front seat and we sang it together with all our guts.

I remembered being only yay big and in the back of that station wagon, sitting behind my mama’s big 80′s hair and belting out some Amy Grant and Larnell Harris. Nothing in life was so urgent that we couldn’t finish “Angels Watching Over Me” before we got out of the car.

*****

This old church directory photo from FBC Victoria, Texas, came into my life this week. There is no end to how much joy it’s given me. When I look at it I feel loved.


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A Few Minutes To Say Hi!

Hey, Sweet Things! I’m sorry I’m not able to check in more often during this season! It’s mostly just me on here with you these days and the balancing act of a heavy writing and work schedule with a very busy family imposes some sizable limitations. To say that we all miss AJ is a vast understatement! I’m still so proud of her for the decision she made on behalf of her family. It was the right thing but we surely do have a gap around Siestaville. Thankfully, I don’t have a gap in my heart and home where she’s concerned. We all live life in pretty close community. Her little family is unending delight to me. We have LOVED having Melissa and Colin back! Their apartment is just darling and we so hope they stick around a while. Something really fun happened last night. Melissa and I knew we were going to be out much later than usual because we were hosting guests after Bible study so she asked Colin if she could just spend the night at our house. She lives much further out than Keith and I do and, after dropping me off at my house, she would have been super late getting back to her apartment. Colin blessed her to do that then called back a little while later and said he’d just come, too. So he packed a bag and they both stayed at our house. That is one reason why we love him to no end. He is a family man to the bone. Hopefully Melissa will be able to say hi a little more often on here in the near future. We are keeping her hands full but she has a soft spot for Siestas. That’s a fact.

I’m just sitting out on my back porch having a few minutes to myself. I’ve been throwing the ball to Star and watching her and Geli chase birds and reflecting on the last day or two. God brought us another astounding group of women last night. I have never seen a larger group with a smaller feel. What I mean by that is, they participate like they’re all on the front row. If I ask them to repeat something, they do it LOUD. They stay right on point and they’re happy to tell me if I miss a blank on their handout. (I love that. That means they’re paying attention.) Honestly, I think this is one of my favorite Tuesday night groups ever. I know, I know. I say that a lot. I fall in love easy. But my worst nightmare is that I’d just keep “teaching” the same people the same thing year after year after year after year and nobody’s heard a fresh word in five years but everybody’s too fast asleep to realize it. O Lord, deliver us. This is one reason why we have to study under many teachers and why teachers have to serve different groups. Sometimes we need to shake it up. It’s so easy to grow dull of hearing even a voice we dearly love. Sometimes all it takes is a break. Other times we need a change. Knowing the difference is critical.

I am so relieved and grateful to our merciful God that, for now, He’s bringing numbers of people we’ve never seen before and even their presence there stirs up the ones who have been around a long time. I love the familiar ones and the new ones alike. My concern is that women be in the best environment for learning and living the Scriptures. When we’ve ceased hearing or changing, we need a new environment. I am also mindful that, as I beg Him to keep me fresh and thrilled in His Word, that He often uses difficulty to answer that prayer. About the time I’m feeling a little lifeless or dull, something happens to make those words jump off the page again. Most of my revivals come from survivals. I still need Him so much. I need His Word. I need His Presence. I  need His help. I need His deliverance. It’s weird to realize that sometimes our desperation for Him is an answer to our very own prayers to love Him like nothing else. He is so faithful. I shake my head at the wonder of Him again today.

Last night we had a treat that many of us are still talking about today. Kari Jobe and her band led us in worship. Many of us were first introduced to her through “Revelation Song” and are familiar with her through the Gateway worship projects. She is tremendously gifted, blatantly anointed, and absolutely delightful. Amanda had the joy of hosting Lysa TerKeurst at Bible study last night and afterward for a quick bite while Melissa, Michelle, and I hosted Kari, her mom, her sister, her coworker and several lifelong friends. By the way, you guys, Lysa TerKeurt’s book Made To Crave is flying off the shelves and into the hands of women who are being deeply effected by the power of Christ. It is one of two books I plan to read next. Made To Crave recently hit the NY Times Best Seller list and we praise God for drawing attention to this powerful message and messenger. I noticed that a number of you were reading it in your comments to the last post. We got to have Lysa at Bible study last night because she was in town for interviews all day today on our local contemporary Christian radio station, KSBJ. (89.3 FM – find it on line. You will love it.)

Here are a couple of pictures we snapped with our iPhones last night after dinner with Kari. We took several of the whole group with a regular camera but those haven’t made it to me yet. Is she the cutest thing you’ve ever seen?? (Yes, single, but not presently interested in everybody fixing her up with their best single guy friend. It is a shame though, isn’t it?) I was so glad that I changed my mind at the last minute and didn’t wear my tutu. She might not be ready for us to dress alike yet. I am going to get me one of those headbands, however. Just think what a poof I could get going with one of those.

This is Kari with Michelle who did indeed wear her tutu. You just can’t see it in this picture.

Well, my man is acting like he’s hungry and I’m supposed to do something about it. I am especially taken with him right now so I’m going to hop off of here and tend to him.Keith and I ride a roller coaster…and it’s sort of on the upside right now. Thank You, Lord. I don’t know why but I’m laughing out loud.

I’m so happy to touch base with you today! I love you guys like crazy! You know what I’d like to hear this week? One thing God is teaching you right now. Just one. Do tell.

Your Mama loves you.

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Just Wondering What You’re Up To

Hey, Darling Things!

I’m working from home today and thought I’d take a little break and let my study-brain relax a minute and tune my heart into Siestaville. Let me tell you how proud I am of you for clocking in with the same general number of 2nd verses as you did your first verses. The hard part is not the start. It’s pressing on all the way through the year to the finish. But, then, like all runners that make it across that beautiful line, we get to celebrate a huge victory that only comes to those who sweat it out. We give all praise and glory to our empowering, sustaining God and sit back for a reflective moment, take a deep breath, and feel His glorious good pleasure. Community will become more and more essential as we realize that, without making a public commitment and running the race beside a host of others in this Scripture memory marathon, we’ll probably fizzle out. There is no doubt in my mind that we’re more successful at this together than we are separately. It’s God’s way.

Yesterday was a really fun day at LPM. I already put this on Twitter but it took about a half a dozen of our staff members to put together additional shelves for the books Melissa has acquired since she last worked within the ministry office.

I have promised Melissa my library when God takes me Home, but if she keeps this up at this rate for the next fifteen years, she’s going to pass me by and I’m going to leave mine to Curtis. (That threat won’t mean much to you but it will get Melissa and her dear brother-in-law  sparring again over who gets the books which, in turn, gives me a great laugh.) Amanda has been promised other things like what sits on my left hand. But I might spite them all and live a really long time…with colored hair and firm foundations (and I don’t mean the latter in the religious sense. Or the former for that matter. I cannot find hair color in the Scriptures unless I get to count head coverings which, to me, is not unreasonable. In that way and others like unto it, I am a very submissive woman).We’ll see how that pans out. (The timing of my demise not my hair color.)

The other really cool thing we did yesterday at LPM was preview the movie Courageous. It’s the new movie by the people that gave us “Face the Giants” and it comes out in September. (www.courageousthemovie.com) I will remind you guys about it when the release day gets closer but I can’t wait till then to tell you about it. Sisters, it was so good. I don’t want to give away the story line but I can’t quit thinking about it. They have done such a magnificent job with it. We honestly laughed out loud and cried and cheered. I can hardly wait until it comes out. I think God has something far beyond good, solid family entertainment for this film. I’ve told you guys before that, after retiring from the Army, my daddy ran movie theaters so I love few things on this earth more than good movies and great popcorn. (Yes, we popped corn yesterday. And I ate mine with a Starbucks instead of a coke which was an odd pairing and one I might not venture to combine next time.) The primary message of Courageous is targeted to our men who we all know are also targeted by our very vicious enemy. I really believe I can tell you in advance that the guys in your life will love the movie. Mine will and he’s not easy to please. Courageous scores very low on the cheese factor which we know drives most guys crazy about any form of Christian entertainment or encouragement. I dare say that we may be a tad cheesy in Siestaville but we try to keep our Velveeta loaded with jalapenos.

Lastly, I’ll tell you that we started our January Bible study on Tuesday night with one of the best groups God has ever brought our way. We were flabbergasted. May He be greatly praised and glorified in that sweet sanctuary where He’s met with some of His people so many times. We’ll be talking on here about meeting on Tuesdays but we won’t be talking on here about the material because I’ve established a gag order. Laughing. The on-site participants are previewing a (very little) bit of homework so that their experience will be richer but, for copyright’s sake and for future publishing, we’re going to keep it and the session materials low key. It’s not that we’re hiding something. It’s that it’s just a long way from being finished. I also don’t want hype. Ick. Even well meaning hype from those who are sweetly biased. I just want to study Scripture as God presents it to us in His own good time and His own good way. I won’t actually do the LifeWay taping for this series until late April when we do it with a studio audience and I’ll still write through most of the summer. I am reluctant to keep bringing up the series on here because I don’t want to build it all up in anybody’s mind. A curriculum that speaks to one person can hit another person cold. How this turns out is all up to the Holy Spirit but what I can tell you in advance is that, God willing, we will do our best to know that brief Book of the Bible by the time we’re done.  Whether anybody will actually “like” it or not is up for grabs. James isn’t necessarily a party bus.

Well, I’ve had about as much of a break as I can afford today. You’re on my mind every day and I pray for you often.

Oh, and this is one reason I got on here today! You know what we’re doing to stay in the Word this early 2011 but what are each of you doing? (Besides memorizing!) Tell me what you’re studying right now!

I love you guys.

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2011 Siesta Scripture Memory Team: Verse 2!

Hey, Sweet Things!

You guys are so much fun. Thanks for getting excited with us about the app. I’m just thinking about how this whole technology thing was in the mind of God centuries ago when He inscribed His words on the sacred page through the pens of men. Too much to wrap our minds around, isn’t it? He is the One who knows “the end from the beginning,” and “from ancient times, what is still to come.” He says, “My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.” (Isaiah 46:10)

At the moment I’m typing up this post, we have a whopping 9250 entries under Verse 1. Never in my wildest imagination did I picture this. I was pretty blown away by our strong and steady couple of thousand in 2009. Keep in mind that the 9250 is not an exact reflection of participants because there are some replies under comments, like, “I’m copying yours!” and “I’ve never even heard that verse!” I’m not going put a restriction on that because community in Christ is what makes Siestaville work. We do know, however, that way over 8000 are participating because that many women ordered spirals or downloaded the artwork. Others who are participating grabbed their own spirals the easier way from the store. I also want you to picture the many preadolescent girls we have on our team. Don’t you remember loving stickers and pens and school supplies when you were that age? I should have known they’d take to the spirals. Just close your eyes and imagine them reciting some of the verses dearest to your heart. Many of us have lived long enough to know by life experience what they are reciting by faith. It’s such a precious thought to me. They will find Jesus faithful just as we have. Yep, we have junior Siestas but we also have plenty of senior Siestas which delights me just as much. Our joy in standing shoulder-to-shoulder with this mighty band of women is indescribable. I wonder how many football fields we would stretch across. Whew. For just a split second I saw us all in my bright red college drill team uniforms. Scratch that thought.

OK, before I call for your second verses, many of you asked for the exact date of the SSMT celebration next January. I double-checked the weekend with Sabrina and it’s January 20-21, 2012 from Friday evening until Saturday noon. Of course, we’ll get you the proper information starting early next Fall but, if you think you might want to come, put it down on your calendar, start saving your expense money, and plan to memorize your darling little head off. The event itself is our gift to you and your ticket in is your well-used spiral (of either kind).

Are you ready for SSMT Verse 2? I’m giving you a heads-up that I plan to target a lot of James verses this year so, while I’m still going to tell you mine each time, I’ll also suggest a good alternative for those of you who could use an additional idea. Remember! Limit your comments to Name, City, Verse, and Translation. Here’s mine:

Beth, Houston. “My brothers and sisters, do not show prejudice if you possess faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.” James 2:1 The NET Bible

Here’s an alternative I really love and memorized a couple of years ago. My dear coworker, Diane, is memorizing it right now so it’s washing back over my mind:

Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders You have done. The things You planned for us no one can recount to You; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare.” Psalm 40:5 NIV

And that, O Lord, is the gospel truth.

OK, Sisters! Bring on Verse 2!

I pray that Christ is so pleased. I feel in my soul that He is.

Have a great weekend!

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A Siesta Hello and a Happy SMT Update

Hey, Siestas!

I wanted to say hello by video because it just feels more personal sometimes and I also have an update that some of you might think is really fun. Watch the greeting then, if you have an I-phone or I-pad and you’re game for it, this is how to download the app:

Siesta Scripture Memory Video #1 from LPV on Vimeo.

How to download app:

1. use URL: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bethmoorelpm/id412142472?mt=8

Or

2. go to the itunes store,

search with: Beth Moore SMT – click “free” then click “install”.

Having download problems?
Apple has walk through steps for downloading at: www.apple.com/support

I’m crazy about you guys! Beth

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Urgent Siesta Prayer Request

My Dear Ladies,

It has been *so* long since I have written on this blog. WOW. Things have been so busy at work and around the Fitzpatrick house but today I got some news that compelled me to get on the blog immediately. Joanne Heim, a dear siesta, suffered a stroke this morning. She is the thirty-eight year old wife of Toben and mother of Audrey (12) and Emma (9). Some of you around here may know her as the Simple Wife. Joanne has inspired me countless times with her witty and profound comments. She is a brilliant student of Scripture, an amazingly devoted wife, and a fun and creative Mom. The last time I heard from her she told me that she was teaching her girls Greek. My heart was pierced when I heard the news a few hours ago and I have not been able to get the Heims out of my mind. Please hear me when I say that I know nothing except that Joanne has been in surgery, they located a blood clot, and she is out of surgery. I have been stalking news about her on Twitter, and apparently she is still sleeping but has been responsive by squeezing her husband’s hand.  The family will not know anything substantial until she wakes up.  I am not an authority on what is going on as I have very few details (and the ones I do have are from Twitter!), but Mom, Amanda and I do want to invite you to pray for our dear sister Joanne. If you feel inclined, please use the comments on this post as prayers for Joanne and family.  We have been told that there is a call to prayer tonight at 6:00 CST. Check Twitter (@joanneheim/#prayingforjoanne) because the last we heard, they were going to try to Skype. No matter when, no matter where, let us all join together and pray for all things concerning the Heim family.

Love to you all,

Melissa

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The Mixed Up Life of Happiness and Horrors

Hey, Sweet Things!

I feel like I’ve lived a month-full of events since the last I checked in with you but decided in retrospect that maybe God had kept me busy so I’d leave up that last post a little longer. I knew in my heart that many of your lives were touched by hidden disabilities just as mine has been. Some of yours, vastly more than I’ve experienced but I know some of the pain and bewilderment and fear. My prayer is that, at the very least, you know you are not alone and that God sees every struggle and is moved to compassion by every heartache. He is still our Healer and when healing doesn’t come the way we wished and prayed, He is still our Strength and Sustainer.

OK, let me think what has happened around the Moore world since I talked to you last. Thursday morning I had the great joy of heading to San Antonio for one of my closest and dearest spiritual daughter’s first baby’s birth. (Did you follow that??) I have known Amy since she was barely out of college and came to work at my home church years ago. We were not instantly close because of such a wide age gap between us but God wove our hearts together through the ups and downs and twists and turns of time. For years now we have been as thick as blood. She is big sister to both of my girls and I love Amanda and Melissa even more for always opening their arms to her. As tight as the four Moores have been, I have never for one second been able to tell that they felt the least bit threatened as Keith and I loved this young woman second only to them. I relish so many dimensions of life in Christ and one of my top five favorites is family that He brings together, not by natural means but by the bond of the Spirit. The riches are immeasurable.

Amy moved to the Texas Hill Country where her man works after they married two and a half years ago.  Then eight months ago while Keith and I were at our cactus ranch, I got a text from her that said, “Hey, can you call me when you get a minute?” That was not unusual but I just had the weirdest feeling in my stomach. I dialed as fast as my fingers would move and when she answered, I blurted out, “Are you having a baby???” And we both screamed and then cried. Amy married just on the other side of her mid-thirties and God knew that the desire of her heart was to have a baby. I was all about rushing it but, since I had no control, I let Amy and Steven do what they thought was best. And, boy, did they ever do a good job of it.

Michelle drove me to San Antonio so I could still work on my laptop in the front seat of the car. When she offered, I reasoned that it was a tad above and beyond her job description but she countered that I am her job and, after all, it was a workday, and, furthermore, when I’m out of the office, she doesn’t have as much to do. The truth is, I think she caught a bad case of itchy feet from me and I’m just as glad. She is the easiest person in the world to travel with and a big help to boot. Her Dad works for Marriott so she got us two rooms close to the hospital for $40 each. Not bad at all.

I stayed in touch with Amy and Steven all the way from Houston to San Antonio and made it to the hospital in time to lend some support to my sweet girl while she labored from 6-9 centimeters. I was so proud of her. I’ve thought a lot about Amy and Steven and that baby coming in their later thirties rather than their early twenties. I know this is not always the case but, as for this young woman, she felt so blessed to be carrying that baby that she virtually never complained about being sick or, as most of us feel from seven months to nine, ample of stomach. She was nothing but grateful all the way from push to shove. As I stared at the two of them staring at her, I wondered if I’d ever known a baby that was more welcome or more apt to be savored every single second of her young life.

Ainsley Elizabeth was born to Amy and Steven at 6:12 PM as Steven’s parents, Amy’s mom, sister, and brother-in-law, and our dear friends, Steve and Bonita Seelig, and Kimberly McMahon and I waited nearby on pins and needles. Steven shot me a text about ten minutes later and we shouted till the dead could have been raised at Methodist Hospital in San Antonio, Texas. In no time at all, we all got to go back and see as beautiful a newborn as any of us had ever laid our eyes upon (needless to say, alongside Jackson and Annabeth Jones). A little while later while I was hogging her, everybody but her parents (busy with the doctor) gathered around to gawk at the gorgeous reality of her. I said to that darling little thing, “Ainsley Elizabeth, the generations welcome you! Come into this family and be loved!” And she had an expression like she might do just exactly that.

Ainsley and her absolutely darling new Mommy. I normally would never post a picture of a woman who’d just walked through the Valley of the Shadow (what my mom called childbirth) but Amy looked so fantastic that she earned this. This baby wasn’t even an hour old in this picture.

Since I did that to her in her unadorned hour, I think it is only fair that I show you a regular picture of Amy with her man. This sits on an end table in our den:

Back to the hospital Thursday night. This is some of our very best lifetime friends, the Seeligs, with Ainsley and me. Steve is a minister at “the other” big Baptist church right down the road from us and has been on the LPM board of directors since its inception. He is a nut just like he appears to be in this picture and that’s why I’m posting it.

This is one we keep looking at and laughing. I mean this in good humor and with nothing but respect (and our dear Sister Lynn knows that’s the truth) but doesn’t Ainsley look a little like Mother Teresa as an infant here?

This is Ainsley and the uncontested man in her life: Daddy.

And this is Miss Pris all by herself. This is her first outfit and I was given the dubious honor of putting it on her:

I got back Friday night and threw a roast in the oven and sliced potatoes in a pan and prepared a heaping helping of birthday dinner for one of my favorite men in the whole wide world. Curtis Jones turned thirty and our entire family unit was there to celebrate. It was one of those nights you can’t really plan when everybody laughs like there’s no tomorrow and makes big over everything. Colin and Melissa gave Curtis a great set of speakers for his I-pod and we turned up the music and danced our legs off on the kitchen tile. Well, at least Amanda, Melissa, Annabeth and I did. Keith wanted to. I could tell. He just wouldn’t bring himself to do it since the other men were sitting back laughing while we were carrying on. Believe it or not, Keith Moore was a disco king back in our college days and could twirl a girl on the dance floor with impressive flair. After we were entirely out of breath, we crowded around the Cotton Bowl until Amanda, our resident Aggie, just couldn’t take it anymore. All of us texted each other the next day and said what a blast it was.

Such a great welcome to the weekend then yesterday came.I spent the first part of it in near euphoria with both my daughters at lunch at a great little tea room by the ministry. Melissa had a decked-out veggie sandwich and my favorite pasta salad in the world. AJ had chicken enchilada crepes and a green salad and I had chicken and spinach quiche with tortilla soup. Man, my mouth is watering thinking about it. We then dropped Lis off at the ministry to do some catch-up work then I took AJ home and grabbed the boy. He, Buzz Lightyear, and I headed to the park where we played for about the next hour and a half. If I loved this boy one iota more, I’d break into pieces.

Then I got a text. A horrific thing happened in Arizona, sending shock waves all over the United States. A gunman unloaded a semiautomatic weapon at a public gathering for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. He wounded thirteen people and stole six precious lives right out from under their families. One was a nine year-old little girl. A nine year-old little girl. It’s the kind of thing that makes you throw your hand over your mouth. A bloody rampage. What on earth makes a person do a thing like that, we wonder. What kind of world is this we live in??

These are strange days. Terrifying days. Sometimes I just sit and shake my head and wonder what on earth is ahead. During those times, my mind often turns to the divinely intended irony of the exact same phrase found in Acts 2:17 and 2 Timothy 3:1 -

In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Acts 2:17

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 Timothy 3:1

A few days ago an older man I respect so much told me that he was scared to death for our world and that he believed we were facing history’s most perilous days. I hadn’t even unpacked my suitcase yet from a conference where I saw 22,000 college-age men and women wildly proclaim the Name of Jesus, pore over His Word, and support His cause with over a million dollars for missions. I thought of the irony. I thought of the truth. I thought of the prophesy of the worst of times and the best of times. The same days that will give rise to such peril will also see the rising of a refined church. Darkness will come but light will shine in the darkness. The shroud of death may threaten to cover the earth but the tender cries of newborns still remind us that beauty can rise from the ashes.

Somebody new might read this post and think how idealistic and out of touch I seem and that’s okay. Enough of the rest of you know that I didn’t even make it out of toddlerhood as a budding Pollyanna. Though many of you suffer in ways I can’t imagine, I have ongoing hardships and some personal challenges that seem overwhelming at times. Even in the midst of escalating horrors, Scripture commissions us in the final words of Romans 12, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Some verses skim easily off the surfaces of our lives. Others make it deep into the echoing chambers of our hearts. Psalm 27 is one of those for me. I memorized it years ago out of the KJV at a time when I thought I’d be swallowed up whole by my enemy. To this day, I call its closing words back to my conscious mind every single time I feel overcome by evil.
13      I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the LORD
In the land of the living.
14      Wait on the LORD;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the LORD!  (Psalm 27:13-14 NKJV)

The goodness of the Lord. Here. RIGHT HERE. In the land of the living. May He strengthen your heart. And may He crowd around the suffering with such force and affection that His healing presence is palpable.

We are praying for you, Arizona. And we are so, so sorry for your suffering.

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Possible Support for Families with “Hidden Disabilities”

Hey, Sweet Things! I am about to do something that I don’t often do. I’m about to mention a website that has no official connection to Living Proof Ministries. I hardly ever do this because we would not know where to stop. By God’s grace, there are so many great resources out there that our entire blog would be given over to a steady stream of recommendations, swallowing up our purpose here. We also don’t have the ability to thoroughly police every site, founder or author we might want to mention. I’ve learned the hard way that, to many folks out there, a favorable mention or a recommendation about someone or something means that you line up with everything they’ve ever said or, scarier yet, will ever say. The risk can be enormous.

The reason why I’m taking the risk this time is because those of you who stand to be helped could need it in the worst way. There is no doubt in my mind that many of you Siestas have a family member with what can be called a “hidden disability.” Or, it might not be a family member at all. It might be the God-cherished and Christ-chosen person you see in the mirror. The new website is called Chosenfamilies.org and its founder and CEO is Shannon Royce, a brilliant woman of God I have known for the better part of 20 years. In order to avoid misquoting or misrepresenting her, I have taken the following excerpts straight off the website so she can explain for herself what Chosenfamilies.org is all about.

Shannon Royce explains,

As a mom of a child who has been diagnosed with a hidden disability, I know the challenges our families face. These hidden disabilities — Anxiety, Asperger, ADHD, Autism, Bipolar disorder, Depression, Learning disabilities, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Tourette syndrome, and others — are neurological disorders that affect every area of a child’s and a family’s life.

While the medical community is beginning to understand these disabilities, they are less understood in the church. As if the diagnosis and daily challenges were not enough, the burden is often made heavier by a lack of understanding and support from the body of Christ. At best, the church is silent, and at worst it is hurtful. Wrong-headed theology treats these disorders as sin or demonic possession rather than as neurological disorders affecting an organ of the body — the brain.

Families struggling with these issues are left to fend for themselves as they seek to raise their child or live with their family member who suffers from one of these disabilities.

Some of you know what she’s talking about. Here’s a brief bio on Shannon so you’ll know she didn’t just fall off the apple cart: (Again, I’m quoting off the site)

Prior to founding the organization, Shannon served in various pro-family organizations as a public policy advocate.  Among her experiences were the privilege to serve as the Director of Public Policy and Legislative Counsel for the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. Prior to her work with the Southern Baptist Convention she served two Senators as a policy advisor.  She earned her Juris Doctorate from the George Washington University School of Law and is licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Siestas, along the way so many of you have asked me questions concerning (what we can now call) hidden disabilities and often I didn’t feel qualified to answer them. It wasn’t because my life had been untouched by them. On the contrary, my life was effected by them in the past and is effected by them in the present. Still, those kinds of answers need to come from people with more focused education and professional experience. I am relieved to now have a place to suggest to you for information and potential support from those with a Christ-centered world view. (There may be more out there but this is the first one I’ve learned about firsthand.) I implore you to allow me to make this suggestion to you because I love you and care for you so much without holding me responsible for every conversation or article that could take place on the site.  This I can tell you: I have known Shannon Royce to be a steadfast, sound, and mighty woman of God and I don’t look for that to change overnight.

LPM exists to encourage women in their walks with Christ. I am painfully aware that many of you are walking under a burden that is far beyond our area of education. (I am reluctant to use the word expertise as I’m not sure I’m an expert at anything.) I love you so much and I want to see you get the help you need. My hope is that this connection might be extremely helpful to some of you and offer you the relief of knowing you are not alone. Allow me to strongly suggest that you seek professional counsel from qualified physicians to make sure you have or your loved one has been properly diagnosed. One last thing. Let’s be careful on our comments to this post. Remember how public this blog is. Please don’t share anything about a loved one with a hidden disability that he or she might feel dishonored by. If you want to share something under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, by all means, do, but leave off names or identities that could be (even unintentionally) damaged by it. Let’s also stay encouraging and retain our Blessed Hope!

Life can be hard, can’t it, Sisters? But our God is good and our God is so faithful. He tells us to “be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works.” (Hebrews 10:24 HCSB)

And, how about a shout of praise for God enabling my very small but mighty staff to fill EVERY SINGLE ORDER for SSMT spirals! And over holidays! The resource department is completely up to date in your orders which well surpassed 6000 spirals. (Some have just gone in the mail so that doesn’t mean all your orders should have reached you by now. Only that they are filled and soon on their way.) As you can see from the January 1st post, 8000 of us are memorizing Scripture together. PRAISE YOU, LORD!!!! Listen carefully with ears of faith and you just might hear the sound of Swords slicing through the air to the glory of God the Father.

You are loved here and counted into every week of ministry that takes place within these doors.

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Heading Home From Passion

My Dear Siestas,

I am writing you from an altitude of about 25,000 feet on my way home from Atlanta. I’m in the window seat and it’s a gorgeous day on our trek over Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi and I trust Louisiana and Texas, too. I’m sure I’ve told you before that I am one of those weirdos who actually loves traveling. As Melissa and I often say, our boots were made for walking. AJ is game, too, but two preschoolers have a way of coloring your present views toward air travel. Air Traffic Control is a breeze compared to Air Toddler Control. As for Keith, he prefers his size 13 D cowboy boot on the accelerator of a Ford pickup truck. I’m not a fan of the whole travel ordeal, mind you. A life thrown at the mercy of security lines, weather delays, mechanical difficulties, cancellations, and overbooking will take a toll on you. Sometimes my body feels so dog tired I can hardly fathom doing it all again but in no time I do. God gave me itchy feet.

You are one of two big things on my mind this morning as I make my way back to Houston. To say you completely blew me away with your Scripture memory commitments is an understatement almost too silly to say. My mind is spinning with what God might be up to. A few minutes ago I was looking ahead to the next portion of Scripture that I’ll write about in the James study. It’s James 1:19-21. (I know you are wondering how on earth I can only be that far in the writing process after all this time! It goes very slow because each portion has to be researched, mulled over, written, and self edited before I ever send it into LifeWay. The process takes a year to eighteen months of solid work.) As I read over the familiar portion, I fastened my gaze on the finishing words of James 1:21. It is the exhortation to all of us Christ-followers to humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. My eyes stung with tears.

God’s implanted Word has saved me from myself more times than I can count. I love it. No, I don’t always feel giddy about it nor do I always know what to do with it but the written Word of God hits me often enough in my daily exposure to keep me going back for more. I just do not know where I would be or, God help me, what my life would look like without my battered mind being interrupted and rewired by Scripture. Those words implanted deep into my belief system have convicted me, changed me and, at times, wrecked me. These thoughts are what led me to stop my research that very moment and write to you instead. I want you to know that you will never waste a moment of your life in God’s Word. (Unless you are trying to avoid actually doing what it says. There comes a time to shut the Book and go live the Book then go back to the Book so that You can again live the Book.) As you give yourself to the monumental, ongoing task of studying Scripture and hiding it in your heart through memorization, your life is altered. Unblocked and guarded, the words of God make it all the way into the marrow of your bones. Your way is made clearer, your thoughts brighter, your purpose stronger, and your glory to God greater.

I just want to tell those of you who have committed to a year of Scripture memory what I have a hunch you already know: you will not be sorry.

And that brings me to the second big thing on my mind, tied to you, the first, by way of the very same Scripture in James. I just left Passion 2011. It’s still going strong and will not end until tomorrow morning but my schedule was best suited to the first half of it. (I hate so much to miss Dr. Piper though.) If you’re not familiar with the Passion movement (Louie and Shelley Giglio, founders), I will never do justice to it here in this brief explanation so please google it and behold a mighty work of God. In a nutshell, however, it is perhaps the most powerful thing God is doing among college-age men and women across the globe. Do not believe the hype that Jesus has left the college campus. My whole family and I have had the mystifying privilege of being involved since the national conference began in the late 90’s. Even Keith adores it. Curtis serves as one of the community leaders and Amanda ministers right by his side. Every single time I stand in awe of God’s palpable presence in a secular arena packed with students but never more than this year. The event always attracts way over 10,000 people but this new year it sold out at a whopping 22,000 and about five minutes into the event, it was clear why. God.

No other reason.

He has as uncanny a way of showing Himself at these events and, in light of His innumerable mercies, we can guess why. There is no age demographic at greater risk than 18-25 year olds and He’s chasing them down like He’s got nothing to lose but a generation. Our embarrassingly secular culture (of which, in many ways, we are all a part) would be explanation enough for so many young adults walking away from the faith. Add to it the burgeoning disdain for Christianity and mockery of Christians on many college campuses and you’ve got yourself a boiling hotbed for disbelief. But our God is so faithful. We know He will retain a voice in the generations on the latter-day Kingdom calendar because Matthew 24 says that the testimony of Jesus Christ has to make it into every people group. Revelation 19 also tells us that He will return for a Bride refined and made ready. Jesus will indeed raise His Church to her feet but the closer and closer we get to His return, the stronger and stronger she must be. She will know a persecution and ultimately a suffering that 20th Century Westerners could never have imagined.

I saw about 22,000 reasons for high hopes in the last forty-eight hours. You see, Passion isn’t for the faint of heart. The schedule is packed and the sessions are refreshingly unrushed. About two seconds into the conference you lose that warm, fuzzy feeling that any god goes. If you’ve got an aversion to Jesus, you’ve got an aversion to Passion. The Word of God is preached and taught, read aloud and read in unison. The worship is…well…impossible to describe. Just go right ahead and anxiously anticipate the worship CD that will come out of it somewhere down the road. World missions and the needs of the downcast and suffering are kept at the forefront constantly and the 268 concept for the “Go-Center” is nothing less than genius. (Google all of this if this is news to you. You will be astounded and your faith will surge.)

Even this very moment, the Word of God is being implanted in those thousands upon thousands of young lives. Words that can save. Words that can sanctify. Words that can serve. Words that can send. Words that can be shared.

That’s the power of God. That’s the power of His Spirit. That’s the power of His Word.

That’s the power of Jesus.

Let’s keep saying it until every knee bows and every tongue confesses He is Lord.

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2011 Siesta Scripture Memory Team: Verse 1!

READY? AIM! FIRE!

Happy New Year, my dear sisters in Jesus! Last night I wrote a letter to the Lord Jesus right before I went to sleep and recalled His faithfulness through a tumultuous year. Right before I turned out the light, I opened up Daily Light for the last Scripture reading for the year and it offered this verse:

The Lord your God carried you, as a man carries his son, in all the way you went until you came to this place. Deut. 1:31

I could have cried. Yes, He surely did. And He carried you, too. Tightly in His faithful arms.

Only God knows what this particular year has in store for us. He alone sees how the path will wind, and climb, and fall, and rise again. We do not have control over the future as we glance ahead to 2011 but make no mistake. He does and we, His lavishly loved daughters, can indeed prepare to live what He thoughtfully brings our way victoriously. On this first day of the new year, we are not victims. We are called to live as victors, holding up the Shield of Faith in one hand and the Sword of the Spirit in the other.We need BOTH.

It’s finally time to post your first memory verse of 24 in 2011! If you haven’t already read the instructions thoroughly, please look at the post on December 26th titled “Siesta Scripture Memory Instructions.” It will tell you everything you need to know. Just a quick refresher: Your comments will almost entirely consist of these entries:

First name, city, verse, reference, and version.

Please keep it limited to these facts so that the verses stand out prominently for us to behold. You can occasionally say something as brief as “I’m excited!” Or “I need prayer!” but nothing longer than that please. Let’s let the Scriptures themselves rise like we’re looking at them with our 3-D glasses on.

Here’s my first Scripture entry of 24 in 2011:

Beth, Houston: All generous giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or the slightest hint of change. James 1:17 The NET Bible


Be sure and hand write your verse in your spiral to help engrave it on your sweet mind. Also consider writing your contact information on the inside cover in case you leave it somewhere and God causes someone gracious to find it.

I love to claim Psalm 65:11 on the first day of the new year:

You crown the year with Your good blessings, and You leave abundance in Your wake. The NET Bible

Lord, I want an abundance of Your Holy Spirit! (See Luke 11:13!) Abba, go before us this year and leave the fragrance of Your very presence in Your wake!

OK, Siestas! Hit it! I’ve prayed for you and can’t wait to pursue the Lord Jesus Christ with you this year. If some of you don’t know which verse to use this time around, consider Psalm 65:11. It’s a great first round.

Remember to wait 24 hours from the time you post your comment until you assume it got lost and enter it again. So many comments come in at once on these Scripture memory posts that the server bogs down, causing it to take extra time.

I love you, Sisters! Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can do this! Remember, KEEP IT SIMPLE AND MEANINGFUL!

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