Saturday, July 5, 2008

Connections Through the Moments.

The last 24 hours have brought about numerous conversations. A couple really stick out in my mind at the moment.... all connected in one way or another.

Last night, we were with a large group of individuals at some dear friends' house. I noticed this elderly woman sitting at one of only a couple of tables by herself. I walked over, sat down, and introduced myself to her.

Nancy is in her 80's. I could not help but laugh as she was sharing with me about her days on the water. As we looked out on the picturesque views the lake was providing..... she mentioned that she had stopped skiing when she was 55-years-old. Why did I laugh? When I asked why that age instead of 54 - she replied, "Well, I finally realized I was too old for that sort of stuff. It took me a year.. but when I realized it - I stopped." Rich stuff there...

As we talked, as we shared...... we realized we had much in common over the moments of our lives though greatly far a part in the number of years. A few other individuals kept joining us as we continued to talk. One was her daughter. As I was sharing certain things about myself - she gave me the funniest look. Then, she had a light bulb go off.

She had been in a room full of people one day when I was the guest speaker years ago. She said, "You know Camey? I remember people praying for you and your family during the years you were ill. And all that time we were praying..... we never realized the impact those prayers - your healing would have on us here. How we would directly benefit from carrying you to God other than that time spent with The Father?"

She then told her mom, Nancy, who my dad was. Nancy looked at me and got big tears in her eyes. You see, Nancy gets around via wheelchair. I just had not asked why up until that part of the conversation. I took Nancy's hand in mine as her daughter told me, "Mom has Parkinson's like your dad did. He was a great encouragement to her."

Nancy and I proceeded to talk about the struggles of illnesses, about losing independence, needing individuals to care for basic needs, and yet how much can be gained in the process. There was another woman sitting at the table with us... before leaving - she told me how much she had enjoyed listening to our conversation even though she rarely entered in to it with audible words.

Nancy's son-in-law said to me, "I can remember your dad crying buckets as he would give us the latest update on your health. And then cried even more when sharing that you were healed. And we all cried with him."

Funny enough? The day I came to speak to 3 different large groups at this physical church building on the hill in G-town, Texas... it was my first time to drive that far by myself any where since 1998. I got lost. And when I stopped in a little convenience store to ask for directions... a man said to me, "Sister! You're not that far from your turn." I walked out the door laughing..... And little did we know at that time - God would tell us to move there...... here..... a year later.

In the fall of 2004, Parker had a dream. By this time hubby and I had surrendered to God..... In the dream, the next place we were going to live was surrounded by trees. Lots and lots of trees. As I sit here writing this - you should see all the trees behind me, to the sides of me, and in front..... Again... laughter... rich laughter.

There are connections through the moments. And today, as I had conversation after conversation with individuals all over G-town during the parade and after... I am reminded of that all the more. As Brother G is at Wal-Mart.... as Austin is at the little store here in highly secure gated community.... and as Trav, Park and I are heading to the pool here shortly.... all the more.

So, whatever lies ahead.... I am grateful for the struggles and the fights and the Victory in Jesus.... and for knowing that grace walks each step of the way..... even with that turn around the corner that has our name on it.

He is the God of our yesterdays... Today.... And tomorrows.....

And it is a privilege to be His servants wherever we may be or go.....

Friday, July 4, 2008

Wrestling with Patience.

So, it's the 4th of July weekend...... and I have a confession to make.....

I am already wrestling with Patience.

There is an estimated 60,000 plus individuals expected to hit our town during this holiday weekend. Did you catch that? 60,000 plus???? In G-town.......

So, I'm wrestling with Patience already this morning.

Parker returned from camp yesterday. I wish I had a thought to record him as he was sharing with me the low down. It's a fact - he can talk faster than his mom and Austin put together! He was/is PUMPED UP! (Thanks to those who were praying!!!!) More to come on that.....

G & JE have a teenage boy from Spain staying with them for the next month. The three of them, our three sons and myself hung out at the pool last night. We have plans to meet them there again at 11:00 a.m. this morning. Pepe is a not-yet-believer. Seeds are being planted during his time here....... Funny how water, splashing, and smiles can break down a language barrier.

Again, I'm wrestling with Patience.

Tomorrow morning is the parade down on the square. Thousands of thousands of individuals will be lined up and down the streets... in the shops.... walking around and checking out the booths. And yes, it is like being in a time warp. Okay... so that part to me is a little weird.

Why am I wrestling with Patience? And why am I capitalizing it as if it were a proper name?

Ahhhhhhh because it is in this case!

Instead of seeing the 60,000 plus peeps hitting our town as traffic and a major headache....

I see it as opportunities to show God's kindness and love.

While there is a part of me that is preparing to leaving G-town when called to... whenever and wherever that might be.

This weekend - I am still here.... we are still here.....

And that's where wrestling with Patience comes in to play....

For while I am thankful to live in America... and in G-town.....

There is nothing like the real freedom that Christ paid for.

And it is a pleasure and privilege to be able to share about it through acts of kindness.

It is also a responsibility I believe as a Christ-follower to let His Light shine for others to see.

The Light of the World is truly better than any fireworks display!

Happy 4th of July!!!!!

Don't play it safe........ make the most of every opportunity.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Speaking of Those Kind of People..

I've written about Trouble on numerous occasions. Today, I've had a couple of people ask me, "Why are you not asking for prayer for Trouble?" I have been in various other places and ways.

Trouble has had this infection for quite some time. It looks like it is turning out to be MRSA. Trouble's health ain't so keen any ways... Throw in the fact that she is in her 80's....... And we're talking a recipe that none of us want to taste at the moment.

I spoke with her late this afternoon after numerous attempts to reach her throughout the day. Trouble cried and cried on the phone with me after hearing about all the people asking about her and remembering her in prayer.

I'm often asked how did Trouble and the G family become so close. That's what happens when individuals come to love and accept each other so deeply. We often disagree... or agree to disagree... disagree to agree - if you get my point. We hug each time when saying "hello" and "goodbye" - even if we've been spitting at each other because we've been so passionate about whatever the subject has been.

Trouble and I have spent numerous hours over the years praying together. The conversations we've had at great lengths in the foyer of the physical church building would make some people blush. Trouble shoots from the hip.... and she shoots straight. And man, oh man..... if I could grow up to be half the woman she is....

The last time Trouble brought us a bag of goodies it contained some of our favorite things: sugar cookie mix and pancake mix. And while to most that would not seem like that big of a deal... for a woman who is on a very fixed income such as Trouble.... it is a priceless gift. It is also a testimony of her faith and investing in the lives of others. The sugar cookie mix is for me to make with our sons... the pancake mix is for Brother G to fix me one of my favorite meals - pancakes, lots of syrup, real butter, and whipped cream on top. She has taken the time to learn these things over the moments.

So, I ask if you will remember Trouble as you pray....

More than that, I ask that you consider the legacy she is writing during the moments..

For you see, for well over a year plus now - she has been covered in sores, in pain, searching for answers and that has not stopped her from loving generously.

Trouble is one of those kind of people. And the G family is ever so grateful for her life for she loves Jesus and is not afraid to wear it on her sleeve even if you were to wipe your nose on it.

Those Kind of People. Real Nourishment.

Yesterday morning I received a phone call as I was preparing to leave the highly secure gated community for the day. It is safe to say, the person on the other end is one of those kind of people. We were discussing an article I had written... and he was editing it.

I've been writing for years. Never had this type of editor before... Oh, sure individuals will say, "You did not have to say it that way." Normally, that's because I've stepped on their toes or encouraged them when they really did not want to be. Or so I'm often told.

This was different. He was asking me questions and I was required to dig deeper. I had written in a way that I do not normally do. Therefore, the flow was not natural. Oh, the piece in of itself was not bad. That's not what he was saying. It just did not necessarily jive with how I write here - nor how I speak/talk.... and he called me on it. And it is safe to say I had an "AHA" moment.

I had let a couple of other individuals read the piece before I submitted it. I went back to them and shared about my conversation with the editor.... they all agreed with him. In their love for me, they had given me nothing but positive feedback on it. And yet, when told what this individual had to say, they coughed up their flowery love and showed me their real love.

One of the things I've fought time and time again is "yes" people. I am not that kind of person. And I do not want those kind of people cheering me on. I want people who will say, "Man, Camey. You blew it with that. What were you thinking?"

I believe as Christ-followers we are called to spur each other on. To cause each other to dig deeper than we would on our own... to help prune the thorns if you will....

And all the while knowing that it is not us who truly do so.... it is the power of His Spirit alive in us and flowing out because of His love and kindness. The Father does not want us to stay the same..... but to grow and mature. And at times that hurts like heck. But man, oh man..... is it every worth it in the long run...

Are you one of those kind of people?

God's love is not all flowery. Why should ours be either?

I go back to my use of the onion here... It can stink... Cause one to cry... And yet, what can be created with onion as an ingredient can satisfy a hungry body - provide real nourishment.

AHA! Start cooking people. (and Camey)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Prayer Life - Guest Blogger

There are numerous individuals in our lives that we are beyond thankful for. One's name is Leonard. The following was written by him for Life in the Moments and just one example of why we are so grateful for his life.... and ministry in the moments.

Prayer Life:

I have about 7 different conversations with my wife. They have many different forms but boiled down; they amount to about 7 or 8. I love them, I am not bored with them, and in fact they are what consistently keep us on the same page with joy and partnership. These conversations mean so much to us, our marriage and family that we take time to sit nearly every day to have these conversations, we make time to call and have these conversations and we stop other things in our lives to have these 7-8 different conversations. I liken this a bit to my prayer life.

In the midst of hiring staff, letting staff go, setting goals for the church, managing a church, providing for a family, caring for my friends and well you know all the other kinds of activities we do I was reminded by my Father in heaven not to trade praying a lot for a prayer life. I was immediately encouraged and challenged in my spirit.

You see, I try to have a prayer life. You know about 7 or 8things I stop my life to talk with God about. These are people and things that I could never stop praying about because they are in the center of everything I do and am. What happens to me is I get so busy that instead of forging the time to have this repeated but necessary conversation with God, I just end up just praying a lot. I trade a prayer life for just praying a lot. Sure I pray as I am driving, showering, eating, sitting, waiting, studying, getting ready for bed, getting ready to get up and I end up with about 99 conversations with God. This makes for little depth for me and while I am praying a lot, it does not make a prayer life.

Here is my habit for the past 20 years or so. I have a list. It is a physical list that sits on my desk or in my bible or on my computer. On this list is my wife, my kids, my extended family, my church, your churches, the church in the world, the lost and myself. These 8 things are the only thing that ever make my prayer list. In other words, these are my repeated 8 conversations with God. I try to pray for those things every day in a time of just sitting before my heavenly Father. I will add some listening time, praise time and confession time (sometimes I need a lot of this, especially on days that end with y). I then use my driving, sitting, waiting etc. for the other 99 things I need to have a conversation with God about. This is when I pray for the sick, for the overwhelming number of requests that come into my life, for jobs for people in my church…

When I pray a lot God answers prayer and his work is done. When I have a prayer life, I am changed and know my Father in heaven. As you head into a busy summer that was preceded by a busy spring and will be followed by a busy fall, can I encourage you with the same encouragement I received from my Father in Heaven, don’t trade praying a lot for a prayer life.

Monday's Dances.

When we left the house yesterday, I simply had no clue what all would go down. The anticipation was in the air and it was creating a beautiful sound - one of music you could dance to.

Parker got off to camp with a big smooch and squeezing the heck out his mom.... I just had to laugh. He then told me I was free to go hug on some other children who needed to know God's love. He also said, "Make sure you tell those teenagers to play with them. They like hide-n-go seek." Thata boy Parker! Talk about dancing....

Allen is sixteen-years-old. He is one of the students that Brother G and I have been vesting in the last several months. He just insisted on riding shot gun with me in the vehicle I was driving. So, Austin and Travis were cool enough to go with Ryan and Shelley instead of their mom. Those boys dance with their mother in more ways than I can count.

I had a great group of students with me at the site we were assigned. As we waited for the children to come - I encouraged them to play games with them. Not just hand them the sack and say a couple of words and then off they would go type thing. And did they play.... They let the children chase them... swung on the swings beside them... and on and on....

As the other children were playing, one was sharing with me about his home life. When he told me what school he went to, I looked at him and said,, "Do you know Parker?" He then went on to say that not only did he know Parker but that Parker and his dad had fed them & spent time with them last week. He talked more about his home life. I put my arm around him and hugged him and told him that we would be praying for him and his family. He hugged me back hard and said, "I know you will because I know what kind of kid Parker is and he was here with his dad." Please join us in praying for him and his family....

Allen, Leah, and I talked more about camp as we were closing down. They were so incredibly inspiring listening to. I asked deep questions and they responded with more than "Sunday School" answers. We talked about how they could put feet to their thoughts. That they needed to be more than mere emotions and feelings alone. More than a few camp fire songs that burn out after daylight dawns. Please pray for Allen and Leah as they seek to listen to God and follow Him no matter the cost.

After returning back to the physical church building, Cyndi asked if I could take her to meet her mom. As we were driving into town, Cyndi and I talked about cell phones and texting... about how God spoke to her last week. We talked about the mission trip to Mission Arlington that she had gone on. She shared with me about her thoughts on next summer. We talked about practical ways she could be on mission right here in G-town. Cyndi is a leader whether she wants to be or not. Please join me in praying for her to be the kind of leader that God wants her to be.

As we were heading back to the house, Austin and Travis talked more about the day's events and various other things. It's funny how much one can learn from their own children. The music was totally beyond words for this mom and sister in Christ.

Brother G stocks water at Wal-Mart for 8 hours a time. That's how much bottled water the folks of G-town use.. And that's just from Wal-Mart people! While we know there are many who do not understand and are not cool with the fact that he is working there.... others totally get it. People are thirsty. Make no mistake about it...

There is Only One Living Water...... Where's your watch? And are you dancing?

When Brother G came back to the highly secure gated community, he shared with me about all the various folks he saw through the course of the day... one was Cyndi. She then went on tell him some about our conversation. Make no mistake about it either - students watch and listen.... and learn one way or another... Please join us in praying for all the individuals who can be found at Wal-Mart... whether working there or just coming in to not make it out without spending a $100 bucks.

Brother G just left to go the physical church building. He is wearing a t-shirt and blue jeans.. His t-shirt says it well, "Work Hard. Pray Hard. John 3:16" Yes, he wears these type of t-shirt for a couple of reasons... 1) he's that kind of guy really; 2) they prompted conversations... open doors.

Monday's dances are songs that linger into Tuesday's moments and so on..... That's the type of music that He provides us to dance to..

As always - you dear reader were prayed for this moment wherever you may be and go.

Monday, June 30, 2008

What A Monday!

The household has been wild this morning! We've all been here this morning. That does not happen often any longer.

That's changing though...

Brother G has left to tend to one of his properties. Then on to Wal-Mart.... until 8:00 p.m. tonight.

Parker is leaving for preteen camp.... he'll be gone until Thursday. Longest he has been gone from us! He's on a special mission this week. So please pray for him.... pray for those he will be sharing God's love and kindness to. Pray for all the kids and adults going. Pray for their parents! lol

Austin, Travis and myself - are heading to feed some children free lunches and show them God's kindness. Then, the boys are going to a Bible study. Where am I going to be? hmmmmm.....

What a Monday!!!!

Talk about being pumped up!!!!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Answers to Prayers. Seeing God Move.

Back a few weeks ago I shared about The Ashes in Life. 10 Years. This morning... I saw Dating Ashley and walked up to speak with her. Friday night was so chaotic that I did not get to spend any time really talking with her upon their returning from camp. She looked at me and said, "So? Do you know?" She then proceeded to share with me about accepting Christ at camp on Wednesday night. We hugged and we cried... Then, she blew me away even more....

As we were worshipping, Pastor Mark asked a couple of the kids from camp to come up and share about it. Ashley not only got up there, she shared about the God-sized hole she'd had in her life. How only God was able to fill it and complete her. Again..... tears down my face. She so gets it now!! She then encouraged any one who was still searching to stop looking everywhere else but to God. Thankfully one of the gals next to me had a kleenex.

As we were getting ready to leave... Ashley came and found me. We hugged... and hugged. She will be out-of-town for a month. When she returns - she plans on getting baptized. She said, "My mom will come then and will have to let my little brother come too. Keep praying Camey!"

As if that was not enough......

We had the Lord's Supper this morning.... What an incredibly special time that was...

Our AP, Randal, announced he has been called to be the senior pastor of a church in Georgia. His wife, Cathy, was unable to be with him. He accepted the call last Sunday night for them to then run to be with her dad for his last few moments. Cathy is still in Florida. This couple are dear friends of ours as well. Cathy and I were both on staff together at another ministry when my dad passed on. We've been through many valleys together as well as mountain tops. She is definitely my sister in Christ. Randal is a brother to me as well. He and I get madder than a hornet's nest at each other but love each other (and each other's families) so deeply. We ache with each other. Laugh with each other. We hope..... We pray..... Distance won't change that I'm sure. And for those who were mad that I did not share about any big announcement being made today - not gonna apologize for that... it comes with the hats that I wear.

Brother G and I are currently teaching the 18-25 somethings during the 10:30 time slot. This morning - Brother G was needed elsewhere. Today I had 5 individuals in the group. One whom was in a class of mine a year or so ago.. another whom we've known for a couple of years. Since we really do not know many in the group - today we spent time getting to know each other some. The more transparent a teacher can be .... often times.... those in the class will follow. This morning was proof of that.

Holy Spirit was freely moving in that room. One guy who normally does not talk much... finished answering the direct question I asked him before needing to leave for his job at Wal-Mart...... he said, "No, I can't go until I finish answering your question." One guy had tears in his eyes as he was answering his question. One by one as they were walking out the door - they reached out to hug me. That's not me people... That's God moving.... I'm just the vessel being used at that moment.

I'm often told that individuals do not want to be asked questions... especially not direct ones. I beg to differ. My time with pregnant teens, single moms, young marrieds with preschoolers/children, teenagers, the homeless, and etc. all show otherwise.

If we want individuals to come to learn that God can and does meet them where they are at - wherever that may be - we must be willing to be His hands and feet. To ask those questions..... to take a vested interest in the life of another..... To share openly about how He has changed our own lives and is still changing us daily.... To not make complete sentences and yet for them to make sense because of Him because no other answer works.

I do not know if I will see Ashley get baptized.

Or see her mom and brother come to know Jesus.

But I do know this.... PRAISE GOD for how He moves...

For He has passed by this way..... He has made His presence known.

And today... we drank from the cup and ate the bread and remembered it was He who gave His life for each one of us.

Time to get out of that boat people! And walk......