Tuesday, July 21, 2009
My Mom always used to tell us, make sure you pray over your food! That never made sense to me until this past week for several reasons. For heaven's sake, we had the FDA! We live in America!
The first time that statement came back to haunt me was while driving in a van with 10 teenagers, the youth pastor and another driver. A man drove by us honking, pointing and waving! I assumed he was referring to the cool window art on the side of the van that said "Texas or Bust!". But because our driver at the time is very cautious, we pulled over just to make sure everything was kosher. We soon discovered that the back door of the U-haul trailer we were pulling was all the way up--you know, the one holding all our luggage, bed rolls and earthly possessions. One suitcase, our drivers, looked to be the next escapee. Well, we hauled all the kids out of their slumber and to the back of the van where were eliminated victims by having them check to make sure that their allotted amounts of luggage were still in the trailer. It was all there! Praise the Lord! I was having visions of having to find a complete wardrobe at Wal-Mart for the week, which would have been a total miracle. My suitcase looked to be the second in line for a dive onto the highway.
However....we did discover that something had escaped and was laying somewhere in Central PA. Our cooler with the watermelon that we had packed for dinner was gone. We were bummed, but some Pollyanna assured the kids that the further south we got, the sweeter the watermelons would be and they all climbed back into the van and went back to sleep.
The second time I learned how important it is to pray over your food is when we walked into the cafeteria at CFNI to eat. You have to have a lot of faith to eat there because you really can't tell what you are eating unless you look at the white board to see what they are calling it. Again Pollyanna chirped in "Well, it's better than what you would get at a Chinese prison." And we all shrugged and dug in.
The last time I thought about praying over my food was the day I went to Wal-Mart and spent $20.00 on junk food. I brought it all back to the room that I was sharing with 4 other girls and put it on the shelf. When they came in from swimming or something, one of them spied it on the shelf and said "Cool! Cashews! Whose are those?" Now I had fully intended to share, but once things got started, it was like a feeding frenzy at the local aquarium. Ripping and tearing sounds drowned out the air conditioner that was only pretending to run as Smart corn, Crunch and Munch, Sun Chips, Cashews, and Gardetto's flew all over the room! Soon, the girls from the next room were in our room--they must have heard the sound of real food packaging--and they were eating it too!
So when you are sitting down to eat, pray over your food and be very thankful! And make sure that you pray for it's protection, preservation, and edibility! It will keep you from finding out what the food at a Chinese prison tastes like.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
--I spent 4 days in a van with 10 of the most incredible teenagers, a youth pastor and a fellow driver.
--I spent 5 days in Dallas, TX, experiencing the hottest days they've had there since 1967 weaving and dodging amongst 1200 kids that ranged in between the ages of 12 and 18.
-- I ate food, well let's just say, it was a lesson in being thankful. I spent almost every meal saying "well, it's better than what I would get in a Chinese prison!" Today, I really got some perspective into how blessed I am and how little I notice it when I got such joy over deciding for myself what was for lunch!
--I saw a friend whom I have not seen in 15 years! It was if we had never been apart. I saw that spiritual fruit had remained and increased in his spiritual life and I was glad, so glad! And I met a new friend, his wife, whom it seemed I had known just as long!
--I saw God do some really, really deep down work in the hearts of our youth. It was not the usual youth conference that very often produces short lived change made from hyped up altar calls and man manufactured excitement in the name of the Holy Spirit. I saw God taking His Word and planting it deep, deep in the hearts of our youth group. And I'm excited about what the fruit of that is going to look like!
--I stood in a crowd of over 1200 people earnestly seeking and crying out to God and it was awesome!
--I can't remember a week when I have laughed so much in 6 days.
--I realized that I have the privilege of knowing some of the most sincere teens in this country. They have let God make them and are hungry for more. Even though they were packed in the van, sleeping on each other, spilling on each other, and falling over each other, I didn't hear one disagreement, one "STOP IT"-unless in the case of tickling, or one complaint. In fact, in 66 hours of driving, there was only one bathroom stop request. Now THAT'S a miracle.
--I saw what the love of a dedicated youth Pastor and the Word of God can do in the lives of our youth and I realize that the future is very bright for this generation! We MUST be about our Father's business!
--I really came to appreciate all that God has given and done in my life and the lives of those I love, and I am humbled and very, very, thankful. All praise be to Him!
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
I had scheduled this one for July 4th, but it didn't post! I must have done something wrong! Oh well, better late than never, right?
In celebration of July 4th, here is a very freeing article if you are single! Sorry, girls and boys, I just keep finding good ones. If you are caught in the "I have to get married trap", well, today is your Independence Day! Embrace where you are and let God work out the rest!
The world has said that you must have a mate in order to be complete, and if you don't, there must be something terribly wrong with you. There were times I believed that lie. I'll never forget the woman in church who said to me, "Helen, you'd better hurry up and get married, or you are just going to dry up like an old raisin, and nobody is going to want you." Another woman said, "You better get married soon, the biological clock is ticking. Tick, tick, tick. You'd better get busy and find a man." For years those words would vex my soul. We are often led to believe that if we are alone, we are half a person. That is a lie! You are a whole person, and you are already complete—in God! A husband will complement your life, but he will not complete you. The word "single" means more than unmarried and separate. It also means unique, remarkable, extraordinary, whole, sincere and pure.
This Isn't What I Asked For From the time I was a little girl, I desired to be married. I received prophecies as a teen-ager and assumed I would meet "Mr. Right" in college and marry after graduation. But that didn't happen. Every year, I had slogans to keep my faith and hope alive:
In 75, I will survive
In 76, God will fix
A man from heaven in 77
God won't be late in 78
A mate divine in 79
A gift from the Son in 81
God will come through in 82
A blessing for me in 83
He is coming through the door in 1984
You can imagine the myriad of emotions I went through over a period of 20 years until I finally married in 1994. Sometimes I was believing and trusting. Other times, I was doubting but holding on to the promises of God. Depression tried to settle in, but I refused to let it consume me. At one time or another we have all blamed our appearance for our lack of a mate. You also may have thought it was your upbringing, your lack of education or your past. Your blessing of a mate is not being withheld because you fell into sin or failed God in some way. It's not because you have been married and are now divorced. Moreover, you are not out of the realm of blessing because you were pregnant and unmarried or decided to have an abortion. God hasn't given up on your future because you have made unwise choices in the past. God has an ultimate plan for you. If you have a promise from Him for a mate, you will have one. His purpose for your life will be fulfilled, and His timing is perfect.
While You're Waiting There are several things you can do while you're waiting for God's promise to come to pass.
1. Know who you are. God gave me a wonderful analogy one day as I was riding in a limousine. I was going to pick up a church guest, and a young man with whom I'd had a short dating relationship passed us in his Thunderbird. As he drove by the limo he recognized me and waved. At that moment, the Lord said to me, "Helen, you wanted a Thunderbird, but I'm going to give you a limo." Many women are satisfied as long as they get a man—any man. They don't care whether he is a Thunderbird, a Toyota or a Volkswagen Bug. Many wonderful women would even settle for a tow truck because they are so desperate. They feel they have passed the age where anyone would want them. But a tow truck picks up things that aren't working—things that need repair. On the other hand, a limousine picks up royalty—a woman of distinction, who knows who she is and where she is going.
Young women in the church settle for less than God's best when they choose a husband who will put them down, let them down and then take them down with him. God wants to bless you with someone who will build you up. But first of all, God wants to make you whole. Then, when His perfect timing comes for your mate, you will attract another whole person. There is such power in a relationship that consists of two whole people!
2. Speak life to yourself. Practice the Lord's presence daily, and allow the beauty of your life with Him to be evident on the outside. Recognize the power God has given you, and then begin to speak to yourself. Tell yourself the truth about who you are in God. More than self-esteem, have "God-esteem." Get God's Word inside you. Develop a personal, more intimate relationship with Jesus. Worship Him and praise Him continually (see Ps. 34:1). In the natural realm, do everything you can to improve on what God has already given you. Get a new hairstyle, shed a few pounds, treat yourself to a makeover. Read, enlarge your learning capacity. Know what is going on in the world around you. Most men want more than just a pretty package. They want to be able to open the package and find the goodness of heaven on the inside. They want someone with whom they can laugh and enjoy life. As you pray, God will show you what to do both naturally and spiritually.
3. Purify your heart. In your journey toward wholeness, you must allow the "dealings" of God to bring order and discipline to every aspect of your life. There are several attitudes which, if left unchecked, will keep you from receiving God's best.
* Compromise. Some single women in the church, because they are unable to wait for God's timing, completely discard the tenets of holiness and become involved in immorality. You must ask God to deal with any areas of compromise in your life. And you must learn to say no to fleshly habits, hobbies and attitudes that are not pleasing to the Lord.
* Blaming others. Many of us attribute our present position in life to the way we were treated in the past by other people. But what is really important is not what happened to us but how we deal with it. You are not responsible for what other people do to you, but you are responsible for your reactions to what they do. If a "hypocrite" is standing between you and God, he is closer to God than you are! Don't let what someone did to you years ago keep you from a fulfilling future. Make a decision—today—to forgive those who have wounded you.
* Jealousy. At one time during my single life, God confronted me about the jealousy and bitterness in my heart toward married women. I would look at them holding their husband's hands and get mad. I would think, I'm just as cute as they are, just as intelligent and just as nice. So why do they have someone when I don't? God told me I wouldn't receive my blessing until I was delivered from the spirit of jealousy. He also reminded me that His timing is perfect and that I needed to trust Him. I repented and began sowing into the lives of married women. I started giving their husbands money when I would hear they were having an anniversary. You see, I was planting seeds for my anniversary. In the process, I was set free.
* Apathy. As a pastor, I saw many women, especially older single women, who had lost faith and found themselves with a spirit of hopelessness. They no longer believed that God cared about their personal lives. This type of attitude literally ties God's hands. You have to believe in spite of your present circumstances that He will come through for you.
* Self-pity. You have to fight against the spirit of self-pity that tries to attach itself to you. Your own words will keep you in prison. But you are not the only one who is lonely and going through difficult times. God showed me how to fight this spirit while helping other single women. Several years before I married, I started inviting five or six single women to my home for dinner on Valentine's Day. One was a single parent who brought her daughter, another was separated from her abusive husband. Others were either divorced, widowed or never married. I made our time together very special. Each of the women received a Valentine card from Jesus, telling her how much He loved her and encouraging her. I chose a special gift for each lady, and I cooked them all a wonderful meal with love. It became an evening of joy. I was able to rise above my own pain and minister to sisters who were also hurting. We laughed together and played games. We didn't feel sorry for ourselves, because we were learning to make Jesus the lover of our souls.
Change Your Outlook Many people felt sorry for me after my 40th birthday. I remember standing up in church and saying, "Don't feel sorry for me. I have a promise from God that I am getting married. "I may be old, but you will see me come down this aisle and get married." I wanted to see the fulfillment of the Scripture that says, "Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished" (Luke 1:45, NIV).
I learned to love my life as a single woman. You see, if you don't love your life now, you won't love it after you get married. Marriage does not fix everything in your life. In fact, it can add pressures you didn't know as a single woman. So learn to enjoy your singleness. Serve God with all your heart, mind and soul. Get involved in the things that will advance His kingdom. Not every single woman will marry. But if you have a promise from God for marriage, wait for His perfect timing. Don't go out and try to find a man; let him find you. In the meantime, and for all time, make Jesus the lover of your soul. He knows every heartache and every tear. He understands you when you are unable to verbalize what you are thinking and feeling. He is faithful.
Jesus is your ultimate mate, and you are His beloved!
Helen Stubblefield Trowbridge and her husband, Tim, founded Trowbridge Ministries
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Reasons To Be Glad You Are Single
Our country's freedom isn't the only thing worth saluting this 4th of July. Here, some reminders of why being single can be a real blast.
1. You get to go wherever you want and do whatever you want on vacation. If you hate cold weather, you don't have to risk losing toes to frostbite just because your sweetie is a ski buff. And once you get wherever you're going, if you decide to stay in the hotel room all weekend with room service and an on-site masseuse while ignoring the historic blah blah blahs? No problem... Nobody's gonna know!
2. You get to sing out loud — badly, without embarrassment — to your iTunes whenever you're home.
3. The remote control is all yours, all the time. And you don't have to worry about anyone else making fun of you because it's switched to Lifetime or hours of NASCAR coverage.
4. You can comfortably put up that Star Wars poster you've had since you were a kid or paint the bathroom walls petal-pink—after all, decorating isn't a team sport.
5. Your friends all instinctively make you their "...and guest" when they go to an event. You get prime invites to concerts (especially popular during the summer), weddings (ditto) and other ticketed events every time someone's significant other has to bail.
6. You get to indulge all of your interests, no matter how bizarre, without negotiating. That means you can hole up with piles of true-crime books or drive an hour for the fairy exhibit at a nearby museum without ever having to explain yourself.
7. You can try all five of Cold Stone Creamery's July-only flavors... twice... before noon... and not have to hide the fact that you ruined your appetite for lunch.
8. When you get to the front of the line at Blockbuster, you know with certainty that you're not going to have to pay someone else's late fees for a movie you'd never watch.
9. You never, ever have to look over your shoulder before drinking straight from the milk carton. In fact, being single means you can leave the toilet seat up, the toothpaste cap off and your dirty undies on the bathroom floor. Let your inner slob run free!
10. You get to go to parties and barbecues without worrying that the person you lugged with you is bored or annoyed.
11. You know that there will always be ice cubes when you want them because you never put an empty back into the freezer! (I added this one).
12. Nobody ever hogs your side of the bed, steals your covers, wakes you up with freezer-toes or loud snoring. And every single night, you nod off knowing that you're in the company of someone who really loves you.
Single girl Laura Gilbert is a freelance writer in New York City. Her recycling often consists of nothing but Domino's boxes and Gatorade bottles, and she's proud of it.
Article courtesy of Happen magazine, www.happenmag.com.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
As we sat waiting for the fireworks, I realized that I would miss the sunset. You see, I am an avid sunset watcher because it is so beautiful in our valley, almost every night. From my neighborhood, there is a panoramic view of both the sunrise and sunset and it rises and sets over the mountain ranges on either side of our valley. But on July 5th, my view of where the sun goes down was blocked by trees, so I thought that I would miss it. But God did not disappoint. Through the break in the trees, this is what I saw! I only wish that I had been somewhere to see the whole thing.
I doubt that I would have been too disappointed if for some reason the fireworks were cancelled, because of all the things I saw, this was the most beautiful!
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
The sun was reflecting off the clouds in such a way that I just knew that I was going to miss a nice sunset because our view of the location where the sun sets was blocked by trees. I contemplated taking a walk to watch it, but stayed instead to have fun with my family.
This is the famous BEAVER STADIUM, home of the greatest college game day show on earth! When it comes to student sections, we are the Dukies of NCAA football! Our stadium now holds over 100,000 people! It's a once in a lifetime experience to be in a stadium with that many die hard Penn State fans, all yelling at once!
Right across the street from the stadium is the Bryce Jordan Center, home of the NIT Tourney campion Nittany Lions.
As the sun began to set, God decided to give us His own firewoks display and I have to admit, it was better than the one choreographed by men!
Even if the fireworks display would have tanked, as it did one year not too long ago, I don't think that I would have gone home disapointed.
Monday, July 6, 2009
Then I found the 3 year old again applying foreign substances to my 2 year old's head, only this time it was hair removal cream that had fallen from the bathroom closet shelf, unnoticed by the adults. And then there was the day that she brushed his head with toothpaste.....and the day she covered his head in Vaseline.......right before church. (That was the day I discovered that you can't wash Vaseline out, not matter how many head washings you give, so you have to improvise and spike it!)
Tonight at dinner, we noticed that our golden retriever, who takes up all the leg room under the dinner table was missing. Upon investigation, this is what we found. She remained in this position for over an hour!
And every time Zoe, our dog would try to stick her paw through the fence, this is what the bird would do. Who knew such a loud, abrasive squawk could come out of such a little beak! The bird thought our dog was going to feed him. The dog thought that the bird was going to feed her!
This is my oldest son waiting for a throw from his Dad.
And smiling for Mom who always has a camera attached to the front of her face.
This is my youngest daughter, smiling at her Dad, whom she absolutely adores. Can you tell?
This is my youngest who was very patriotic if you count the red scratch, white skin and blue bruise right below his left eye. Looks tough, doesn't he?
Now the defender swore that he did not interfere, but I think he's busted!
But it didn't deter the receiver in any way! He loves it when he shoves it in the face of his older brother!
A good time was had by all. After football, we settled in for Subway subs, chips, cookies and soda. The boys drooled over the latest NRA magazine, the girls walked around visiting others that we only see on July 4th and then grabbed a good book until it got too dark to read.
God surprised us with a fireworks display of His own, but that will have to go on the next entry.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
It was off to
The home of the Penn State Nittany Lions with the Nittany Lion mascot that is recognized nationally and is a tried and true tradition in the world of college athletics, AND the home of:
Ike the Spike...
who is either really camera shy, or who thinks that his backside is the better side of his body because he is always turning around shaking it at people---Strange! I really began to wonder about him after awhile and was glad that my boys are past the age where they would want to go get his autograph! I was almost ready to go the main office and ask if they did an FBI clearance before hiring him! Yes, in my mind, he gave new meaning to the words:
Nevertheless, you can't deny the fact that even if you are not interested in baseball, the view from our stadium is beyond comparison!
And there is something fun to watch between every inning:
Where else in America could you watch people catch water balloons, (or not), in buckets attached to their heads?
Of watch human bowling balls knock down gigantic pins.....
Or watch mutant eye balls have a foot race?
Or watch a Nookie Monster dance a jig every time the team does something commendable!
Many even dressed for the occasion!
These guys were stretching it a bit, but I guess that's good because they were the leaders of God Bless America and Take Me Out To The Ball Game during the 7th inning stretch!
There was lots of baseball action too!
But the best part about July 4th is, of course, family, friends, and fireworks. But that will have to be part of the next blog!
Today, my hubby made good on this year's Mother's Day promise and took me shopping for patio furniture. I'm thrilled with the furniture, but what blessed my heart even more was watching the kids and my hubby work to put it all together and get it ready to "present" to me!
While they worked on putting it all together, I fixed dinner. Crock Pot meat and potatoes, fresh cantelope, and sweet tea! We had a wonderful time eating outside all together!
I LOVE MY FAMILY! They are so good to me! Now that everything is cleaned up, I think I'll take a book and prop my feet up on my new furniture and read til the sunset distracts me!