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Sabbath?

Friday was absolute mayhem around here.

I mean, complete and utter chaos. Nothing bad happened at all. Only good things - just tons of them all occurring at the same time. I hadn't planned it that way. In my mind (and on the Notes App on my Iphone) everything had been planned in perfectly timed intervals that would allow for a smooth 24 hours. But nothing actually panned out that way.

I mean, does it ever?

For example, the delivery guy from the furniture store arrived to put together my sons' new bunk bed at the exact same time the handy man showed up to tinker with their broken go-cart. We are also in the middle of turning a clothes-hanging closet into a space suitable for holding books and school supplies. So, the contractor arrived (with two other contractors he'd not mentioned over the phone) just as it was time for me to start making dinner. When I opened the door to greet them, they nodded and smiled as if everything were normal . . . even though they was supposed to show up before lunch time.

To top it all off, the wonderful people from Focus on the Family were in our office for a Bible study taping with my family - parents and siblings. So, we did our best to host them while our tiny office space got turned upside down with cameras and lights and microphones and cords.

Fun.

Busy.

Exhausting.

By the end of the day, Jerry and I were winded like we'd just run the Boston marathon and were totally ready to plop down into the bed . . . just when we remembered that we'd scheduled a dinner with friends. Man, we hated to cancel. It'd been on the calendar for two months and deep down inside we knew that once we got there we'd be refreshed. So, we showered, tried to look presentable and drove off to meet them. So glad we did.

Whew. . .what a long day.

Which is why the irony of what my kids had been doing throughout the midst of that jammed packed day struck me so poignantly.

A friend of mine has been helping them to understand some of the details about the Jewish Sabbath recently. Just for informative fun. Over the past few days, they'd talked about it a little bit and even read up on a few details. So to culminate the experience they thought it'd be fun to actually have a traditional Sabbath meal. And they scheduled it. . .for Friday.

I joined them for a while as they drew a candlestick, goblet and other traditional elements onto a make-shift table cloth in an attempt to make it resemble the real deal . . (since I had no intention of buying a real silver goblet no matter how hard they tried to convince me that we'd use it on a regular basis).

I loved watching their excitement as they followed the recipe for the traditional Sabbath bread.

They watched and waited for it to rise all day and then popped it in the oven for baking.

As soon as it was cooked and ready, the table was set. Cups were filled with grape juice, candles were lit and then we listened to the reading of the traditional Jewish sayings. We tried our best to follow the directions - even down to my husband starting off with a prayer for his family like a Jewish father might at the beginning of the meal. We talked about how the Sabbath was a day of rest and refreshing and a time when the family is meant to enjoy God and each other.

We took communion together and then laughed hysterically when it was time to sing a hymn and my four year old belted out a rendition of "The Wheels on the Bus go Round and Round".

Hear me clearly - there was nothing calm or calming about our Sabbath meal but at least the kids got to experience it

. . .kind of.

In the midst of all the mayhem of this particular day- on a day when so much business abounded - it was just like God to remind me through my children about the importance of Sabbath - rest, refreshing, recuperation.

Prioritizing it.

Enjoying It.

Planning For It.

You have any "sabbath" moments planned this week?

Hot Mess? He Loves You Anyway.

 

Y'all, I woke up on the wrong side of the bed yesterday.

I'd been chugging along all week, but I crashed late Friday night, and managed to spend most of my weekend in my bed and on the couch doing almost nothing, save for some reading, tweeting and dozing in front of a collection of movies from the red box.

I rested so well in fact, that I slept through at least two alarms Sunday morning, and when I finally dragged myself out of bed yesterday I had just enough time to LITERALLY throw on some clothes, grab a cup of coffee and haul it to church.

By the time I pulled into the parking I lot, I was all too aware that I probably looked nothing short of a hot, sweaty mess: I hadn't finished my makeup, I'd chosen the WRONG bra for my maxi dress, and as I made my way from the car to the building I felt my unruly, bed-head hair slowly rise to the point of no return.

I've never been more tempted to circle through like I was driving Miss Daisy and just head for the nearest Cracker Barrel.

Instead, I fished in my bag for a headband (the higher the hair, the closer to God, right?) and made a beeline for the pews upstairs, hoping to hide somewhere in the rafters.

REALLY, I was so glad to be at church, and glad for worship and the message, but all I could think of as the music started was how tired I was.

But God.

AS SOON as @aguilbert led us in worship (and this girl can sang, y'all), her words hit me like a brick. I've been overwhelmed by many things lately, but it's been a minute since I've been overwhelmed by His mere existence.

Each day God gives us a brand new opportunity to forget the ALL of the cares of the day before. He wipes our crowded slates clean so we can experience His love, which is huge and sure and NEVER FAILS.

I'm going to pick a couple of these scriptures to focus on this week and remember. Will you join me? We'll let them seep deep down into our souls so we won't forget that God’s Love is Huge and Overwhelming and NEVER Fails. 

  • Psalm 13:5 
 But I trust in your unfailing love. 
I will rejoice because you have rescued me. 
  • Psalm 21:7 
 For the king trusts in the Lord. The unfailing love of the Most High will keep him from stumbling.
  • Psalm 36:7 
 How precious is your unfailing love, O God! 
All humanity finds shelter
 in the shadow of your wings.
  • Psalm 147:11 No, the Lord’s delight is in those who fear him, 
 those who put their hope in his unfailing love.
  • Psalm 143:8 Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, 
 for I am trusting you. 
Show me where to walk, 
 for I give myself to you.
  • Psalm 107:15 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men.
  • Psalm 33:5 He loves whatever is just and good; 
 the unfailing love of the Lord fills the earth.
  • Psalm 36:7 How precious is your unfailing love, O God! 
 All humanity finds shelter
 in the shadow of your wings.
  • Psalm 119:76 Now let your unfailing love comfort me, 
 just as you promised me, your servant.
  • Psalm 130:7 O Israel, hope in the Lord; 
 for with the Lord there is unfailing love. 
 His redemption overflows.

Happy Monday! You are fiercely loved.

~AshleyM.

A Recipe for Prayer.

So, I was thinking...

The CONCEPT of having direct access, uninterrupted, to God is pretty fantastic.

Ever have trouble communicating with God? The reasons as to when, how and why we communicate may vary, but His grace is truly found in simple, transparent moments with Him, and absolutely necessary if we are to receive anything of value.

God can do so much more with what little we have than we ever could on our own! His place is one that is full with abundance and provision.

Be encouraged!

~AshleyM.

 

 

I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant

Have you seen that show?

It's on TLC and rivets my attention every time I've watched it.

Cause I just don't get it.

How in the world can you be pregnant and not know. Every single time I conceived, I was immediately overrun with exhaustion, developed strange eating habits and needed to go to the bathroom every 20 minutes. And that was just in the first 4 weeks.

Before my first doctor's visit around the 6 to 8 week mark, I'd already packed on fifteen pounds and in the months that followed I turned into a balloon with legs. I knew I was pregnant... and so did everyone else. And if I had any doubt, it was all quieted when my belly appeared to have an alien moving around under the skin when I lay in bed at night. Yup, there was a baby in there. No doubt about it.

But apparently there are women who go the entire 10 months without realizing what's happening.

I heard a speaker named Jasmine share a fabulous message around this theme last week. She pointed out that in most of the cases documented on the television show, the only way the women knew they were pregnant . . .was when they went into labor. It was the pain - the agonizing discomfort - that caused them to head to the ER for help. The pain was the indicator not that something was wrong but that something amazing was about to happen.

Pain in your life right now? Something uncomfortable driving you to your knees in prayer? Remember that all pain is not a sign of something gone wrong. Some pain is designed to reveal the start of something new; something that God is going to birth through you: a new ministry, a new calling, a new endeavor a new level of relationship with Himself. And sometimes, labor pain is the only way you can get jolted away from the regular endeavors of your life long enough to concentrate on what is to come.

The pain is what causes you to look into the eyes of God and hear Him whisper: "It's time. Push."

So, I hate to be the one to break the news, but you just might be pregnant my friend. The pain might be proof of that. Something brand new is on the way.

So push. . .and keep pushing until you are holding all that God has for you in your hands.

Priscilla

Happy Labor Day!

Hi Friends, Happy Labor Day!

We hope you are finding some peace and rest today with your familes, we are trying to do the same. :)

We hope this verse encourages you today:

We are praying for you!

Blessings,

The GB Team

A Fall Bucket List

Happy Friday!

Since September is {literally} around the corner, it's perfect timing to talk about fall! It's really one of my favorite seasons, and not too hot or cold.

Here's my {bucket list} of things I'd love to do before winter comes pushing through:

 

 

 

what's on YOUR Fall bucket list!?

~AshleyM.

This is THE CHURCH

I saw THE CHURCH this past weekend.

I saw her rise to the stature she’s been redeemed to reach. It was beautiful and life-giving and heartwarming.

Different churches from all over Tennessee brought the women in their congregations together on a Friday night and Saturday to worship and dive into God’s Word together. It was a energetic time that put smiles on all of our faces.

But when the conference “ended” at noon on Saturday. . . it began. Bus loads of homeless women, that had just been scooped up from underneath the downtown overpasses they call home, piled into the sanctuary to join us. And then. . . THE CHURCH kicked into full gear.

 

The women who’d attended the conference exchanged their high-heels for flip flops and went to work – washing and styling their guests hair, helping them rummage through donated clothing for their sizes, feeding them, giving them medical checkups, praying with them and so much more. The hallways were abuzz with women serving other women. Their sisters.

A couple of trailers, outfitted with shower stalls and laundry machines, pulled into the parking lot prepared to serve those in need.

 

No one left untouched and unchanged . . .

. . .especially us – the ones who had the opportunity to be exactly what we’ve been redeemed to be.

THE CHURCH. 

It’s dawning on me that I feel more alive, more complete and more full when I’m serving someone who can never do anything in return, than almost any other time in my life. I think it’s because this is what following Christ was meant to encompass. It is what my redemption was meant to inspire. So, I’m committed to looking for more opportunities to do it over and over again. Somehow I think I won’t have to look long or hard.

What about you? Tell me about a time you participated and/or watched the church be THE CHURCH and it touched you in a profound way?

You are loved today,

Priscilla

Fall, anything can happen.

Hello Friends,

Fall is coming. Although we are still in the high 90s here in Texas, it is coming. September will be here in a matter of days.

Ashley and I were looking out the window the other day and the leaves are beginning to fall around our office. Life around me is also starting to change. My brother left for college, friends are starting new jobs, the football season is about to kick-off and friends with children are going to student orientation. Life seems to be a buzz.

I have always loved the changes that the fall brings.

I remember vividly the night before I began sixth grade. I had my navy Jansport backpack zipped up and ready to go by my bedroom door. In addition I took my thorough preparation one step (too far) forward. I decided to get dressed in my school uniform…and carefully sleep in it! This seemed logical to me as I wanted to save time, of course! It worked okay. The next morning I was only partially (mostly) crumpled. After all, soon to be sixth graders had a lot of important things to do in the morning. Sacrifices had to be made.

The academic year always brought with it new challenges, new goals, new friends and new pencils! I could be anyone or anything I wanted. Everything seemed possible in the fall.

Now that I am two years into my post grad life I find myself feeling a little melancholy as fall draws near. I'm gearing up but there is nothing new on the horizon. There is no exciting school year to defeat.

I was talking to the Lord about this and He reminded me of this verse, "See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland." Isaiah 43:19

It spoke directly to me and it really changed my perspective. (Don't you love how he can do that?) Just because I am not going into a new school year does not mean that He does not have new things for me. That is the beauty of walking with Him. It is never boring or stagnant. In fact, life is ever-changing and growing.

I hope this challenges you to pray about the "new things" God is doing in your life. If you do not know what those new things are, I encourage you to seek him because Fall is coming and He is doing a new thing.

Blessings!

Green

PS: Pumpkin Spice Lattes soon! :)

Setting the Table.

 

I don’t have a kitchen table…or a dining room table…or any table, for that matter. There’s just no room.

I found a bar stool to fit under my counter from a discount store, but as luck would have it, it didn’t quite fit together, and then it was just in the way. I finally hunkered down and bought a “TV tray” but I never really eat on it, either. I normally just chow down while I’m standing in the kitchen doing something else, or if I’m brave, I’ll balance a plate while I’m on the couch and hunched over a book or my computer.

The only reason this is really bothering me is that I used to have my quiet times at the table, and somehow not having one has become my excuse for drive-thru meetings with God ... While I'm on the treadmill, brushing my teeth, walking to get the mail, those few minutes before I get out of bed in the morning, etc.And while I'm absolutely agree that God will meet us anywhere, this single gal has MORE than enough time for regular quiet times!

Recently I wandered again to the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10. I imagine they were pretty good friends of Jesus…the Bible says He was 'welcomed' into the home. But Martha is so consumed by all she has to do that she cannot focus on the presence of Jesus:

38 While they were traveling, He entered a village, and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home.[a] 39 She had a sister named Mary, who also sat at the Lord’s[b] feet and was listening to what He said.[c] 40 But Martha was distracted by her many tasks, and she came up and asked, “Lord, don’t You care that my sister has left me to serve alone? So tell her to give me a hand.”[d] 41 The Lord[e] answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things,42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has made the right choice,[f] and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

I’m sure there was much to be done around the house, probably scrubbing the house down and cooking up a delicious meal (and there is a lot to be said about operating with excellence), but in a moment where the attention probably should have been on simple fellowship with Jesus, Martha does…while Mary simply ‘IS’.

The only place she is concerned about is the one prepared by God. I’m always slightly embarrassed when I read through that passage, because I see so much of myself in dear Martha. Some days I have that quiet and gentle spirit that I’m sure Mary must have displayed, the one who sits readily and attentively at the feet of Jesus and just waits for Him, but more often I’m a naturally detail-driven Martha: a doer that hops up in the morning to get the day started and can easily be distracted with all that I have to DO for God, that I get distracted with everything else going on … and deep down in my heart I know that even though He acknowledges what I’m doing, He’s more concerned about the obedience of my heart.

So ... here’s what I’m learning : Slow down. Set the table. Enjoy Jesus.

~AshleyM.

Welcome To The Faith Place!

Hello friends! 

Last spring at our Awaken event, we had the privilege of gathering with over 1000 women for a night of worship and Bible teaching . Priscilla's message was called "The Faith Place" and was a powerful teaching and invitation to step out into a place of faith and believe God for more.  

This message has really challenged us in our own lives to look and see where God is calling us to greater places of faith, and we know it will encourage you, too. What is God compelling you to do?! This message can help you garner the holy boldness to do it without reservation!  

The DVD and CD's of this teaching are now available. Just click here for more information. We've also created these images just for you to use on your social media sites (twitter, facebook, pinterest, instagram, etc.). Post them and let us know how you're walking out your faith journey using the hashtag #TheFaithPlace.

 

Can't wait to hear what God is doing in you!

~ The GB Team

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