Wednesday, August 29, 2007

15th Birthday Tea

For the occasion of my 15th birthday, we had special, memorable event. We had a mother-daughter tea, celebrating the virtues of godly womanhood. To prepare for the tea, my mom, my sister and I made place cards, bookmarks and soap. We also got a crash course in flower arranging from a friend at church. It was fun transforming our schoolroom into a beautiful tearoom!

Many of the women in our church, as well as some family friends, wrote letters explaining what being a godly woman means, as well as encouraging me to develop these virtues. I'll share some of their wisdom later on my blog. The women that were there to participate in the tea read their letters aloud. Some gave gifts reflective of their letters, while others gave things for me to keep in my hope chest. I have an exceptionally special hope chest because my grandfather made it, and it contains wood from the old family barn.

Here is an idea of how it went:
After the guests arrived, we ate some of the tea food and (some) drank hot tea. After a little while of visiting, the ladies began reading their letters, and giving their wisdom. Then we ate the teapot cake my family made. It turned out really cute!

The Tea Pot Cake!

Friday, August 17, 2007

More on Trusting God

I wrote how God worked through me teaching me to trust Him, but as surprising as it may be, there’s even more to that story. God did so many different things in the midst of that, and it’s just so amazing what a great God He is. After praying for a friend for over a year, I started to wonder whether God was really going to bless me with a friend, and if that was His plan. Although asking for a friend stayed in my prayers, it was not as important. My relationship with my parents however, seemed to grow stronger and deepen during those years. I also became closer to my siblings. All in all, God knew it was best for me.

So what did I do during these years, if I had no close friend to hang out with and spend time with? Well, I began learning different things that would be beneficial to me later in life. I read my Bible, and worked through devotionals and other good books. I began to bake more, and work on becoming a good cook. Also around that time, my mom had my youngest brother, and I learned how to care for babies. I took a Safe Sitter class, preparing to be a babysitter. I read a lot of books that encouraged and blessed me. I started reading the Keepers at Home book, and trying to learn and complete some of the stuff in there. For that, I learned how to iron. Ironing was a great thing for me to learn because eventually I was able to take the place of mom in ironing the clothes for Sunday, freeing her to do other things. Now my sister has taken my job of ironing so she can learn how and practice doing it. Additionally, I tried to start what I called a Saturday Bible Club, where I would do stuff with some of the neighborhood girls. I would come up with Scripture, games, and encouraging articles that I thought would be great for them It was a good experience for me, and I had to dig into God’s Word and read things to plan for it. I had fun while it lasted. Stamping cards was another thing I started up, and I wrote many letters and cards to pen pals.

The Scripture I memorized during these times has stuck with me. Whenever I don’t understand something and just start to ask God “why?”. He has the same answer for me. He turns me to the book of Isaiah, “My ways are not your ways”. How true that is! There have been different situations other than moving where that verse has been applicable. My story is just a testimony to the greatness of God and how His ways are always perfect and right.

Trusting God

One thing God has taught me the last few years is to completely, without doubt, trust Him. As easy as it sounds, it is often a hard thing to do! I was first met with the decision to trust Him or not when Dad said we were going to be leaving our church in Arkansas and most likely moving out of state. Although I did not have a single friend my age, we did have some family friends that I didn’t want to leave. In the difficult midst of moving, I struggled with God over having us move. However, God knows best. Trusting completely in God is one way He has worked in me the past few years, while we’ve moved multiple times. Once we had moved to Houston, Texas to begin a family integrated church, my Dad being the pastor, I was excited. Being a part of the family integrated church movement was a great thing for my family. It was what we believed all along and I had like-minded friends my age. Soon though, we realized we would need to relocate to a different part of Houston. It turned out that there was a group of about 10 families that needed a pastor about an hour away from where we lived. Dad met with them and we started the church that January. Once again, I was met with the decision to trust God or not. I was led to the verse again and again in Isaiah 55 that says, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.” God had to really work through me to get me to trust HIM. I wanted to tell HIM what I thought we should do; in fact, I really didn’t want to move to this new city to be with new people. I was fine where we were! Just as in the former move, I had to cry out to God, seeking Him and letting go of my will, submitting to Him and trusting Him. One of the verses I learned before the first move was Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge HIM, and he will make your paths straight.” I guess I had not completely surrendered to God and trusted Him, so he had to take me through another similar circumstance. Now, I can’t believe my previous actions. I am truly blessed by my church family and can’t imagine leaving! God is SO good, and even though it’s sometimes hard to trust Him, know that He is good, and His ways are always best.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Poem for Older Sisters

Here is a poem I ran across that a friend of mine had. I thought it was great for older sisters; it reminds them that they do influence their younger sisters (or brothers for that matter) for good or for bad.

A Little Sister Follows Me
author unknown

A careful girl I want to be;
A little sister follows me.
I do not dare to go astray
For fear she’ll go the selfsame way.
I cannot once escape her eyes;
Whate’er she sees me do, she tries;
Like me she says she’s going to be—
That little sister following me.
She thinks that I am good and fine;
Believes in every word of mine.
The bad in me she must not see—
That little sister following me.
I must remember as I go,
Through summer’s sun and winter’s snow,
I’m building for the years to be
That little sister following me.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Honoring Your Parents

taken from "A Young Woman After God's Own Heart"
by Elizabeth George
Yes, but how?
1. Your attitude- Where is your attitude born, cultivated and maintained? In your quiet time, as God’s Word fills your heart and sets your direction for your day…as you pray! Purpose to …
· Seek the Lord’s help daily through His Word and prayer
· Seek an “I’m #3 attitude (with your father as #1 and mother #2)
· Seek to put away self-ishness and put on self-lessness.

2. Your Room- Go the extra mile to have a cheerful heart while cleaning your room or doing whatever your parents need you to do.

3. Your Cooperation- your willingness and cooperation will affect the family. Give your all.

4. Your Help- Constantly be asking “How can I help?”. The Bible says “Two are better than one”. So offer your help!

5. Your prayers- Pray for yourself and your family. Pray God will soften your heart and change your attitude. Ask Him to help you submit, honor and respect them.

6. Your submission- I need to learn to submit to my parents in everything, cultivating a happy, obedient heart. How I submit to my dad will be how I submit to my husband.

7. Your Truthfulness- Always tell the truth!

8. Your Giving- Learn to be a giver. Ask God in your heart, “What can I give?” in every situation.

I read this book and took notes throughout about a year ago. I encourage each young woman to read it. Although there is a little in the end about dating, the rest is great. Also, here is a wonderful poem I found in that same book that goes along well:

Good, better, best,
Never let it rest
Until your good is better
And your better best.

Lists like this I think are great as "check ups", to see where your heart is and where it needs to be. How are you honoring your parents? How are you serving?