Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Future and a Hope...

If you haven't been asked the question already, it is only a matter of time. What do you hope for your children when they grow up? What do you dream for them?
Matthew and I were on the way home from Costco going crazy in the car. We were just chuckling about the fact that we had not yet heard, "Mom, I have to go to the bathroom," and we were already 20 minutes into the drive home. With four little ones, the small things in life, like one less trip to the potty, are really big!
Anyway, we got on the subject of what we hope for our kids when they are 30 years old. Matthew talked about happiness and no regrets. He also shared that he hopes our kids never grow up desiring material things to fulfill them.
Me, I hope that no matter what they do there is depth and purpose in their lives. Ultimately, I hope their relationship with Christ will define both of those things. I hope my kids are not teachers for the sake of teaching, or business people for the sake of making money, or athletes for the sake of their sport, but that they teach to change lives, are business people to serve others, and athletes so they can influence the masses. Whatever they are when they grow up, I hope it becomes more than they could have ever imagined.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Life in Death: He's done it again

Life in Death...When I think of the corss I know that Christ's death has brought me life. I know that because Christ died, I can now live, but I have never considered that someone else and their death might bring life. Of course, not the life that Jesus brings, but a renewed hope in God's overwhleming mercy and his love for us, especially in the midst of pain.
Death can bring life in the sense that the one who dies has such an impact on those that are alive that their lives will never be the same. Can I tell you a strory?About a week and a half ago some friends of ours had their firstborn twins, son and daughter, Graden and Gianna. Born at almost 27 weeks, both Graden and Gianna were in critical condition. Five days into their new lives baby Graden, or Grady as his proud daddy calls him, took a turn for the worst and went home to be with Jesus.Tragedy. Brokeness. Death. I can only imagine how Grady and Gianna's parents hearts ache, but something incredible is beginning to take shape, and today, I began to see how our God can create life in death.
Grady's dad, Ryan, loves baseball. He does some baeball work where he speaks to parents and college-bound kids. During his speeches, he shares about the privilege to play the sport. He is passionate that these kids understand their time as ball players has an end and because of that, they need to enjoy every minute they have on the field. I know Ryan cherishes every minute he has had as a baseball player and now that he is a dad, I know he cherishes moments as a daddy too, but most of all, Ryan cherishes his time as a Christian. His deep seeded passion to see others know Christ is his focus during this tragedy. In fact, Ryan is using his life circumstances to point others in the direction of the cross. He believes God will use this tragedy to bring others to Him and new, changed life.
Wait, the story gets better...Ryan ans his wife, Katrina, have had an outpouring of love from people all around them. These people have asked if they could make donations in honor of Grady. Well, this is where Matthew and I come in...We have a stadium here at AIA (for those of you who don't know what AIA does, visit and know that Ryan life embodies why AIA exists)that has been put on hold for quite some time. There have been numerous reasons, including funding, why building the stadium has been delayed. Along with the building delays has been the issue of what the stadium will be called. This stadium needs a name with a legacy behind it. It can't be named after something insignificant. So, why not call it, Grady Smith Stadium. Talk about a legacy, a story to tell al those who come to watch countless ours of baseball. Ryan, Katrina, Gianna and Grady's story will be told for years to come. People lives will be changed as a result of how God uses the ministry of AIA and this stadium, and incredible would it be that Ryan, Katrina, Gianna, and Grady will be a part of it all.
As this story continues to unfold and donations are sent in on behalf of Grady, we pray that God will finish the work of this stadium and be glorified in it. God's goodness prevails. It prevails over our mistakes, it prevails over our hurts, it prevails over weak and feeble bodies, and His goodness prevails over death. God is so merciful and I am thankful for guys like Ryan who remain faithful in the midst of unbelievable pain and sadness. I am thankful that little lives like Grady's are never insignificant or by chance. Grady's short life be in the hearts and minds of others for a very, very, long time.

good (n.) : God

Definition of good...

good (n.): God God is good.
synomnyms for good: pure, moral, conscientious, meritorious, worthy, exemplary, upright

Some of you know that thoughts from my head are sometimes random. Some of you might say, "Uh, yeah, Heather. Thanks." Other of you might need this thought from a sister. Here it is...

God is good has taken on a whole new meaning. This is how I have been thinking about goodness as of late. If God is good, then anything that is good is from Him. The sweet juicy watermelon I ate for dinner. My car that had enough gas to get home. My house. My FAMILY!!!!! The new shorts I bought that fit SOOOO good. Every good and perfect gift comes from Him and everything good that we have is from Him. God is good is not an adjective (even though it is). God is good is a noun. He is the definition of good. The only way things get messed up is because of sin, our human inclination to do what is wicked and evil and, of course, the evil one himself, who distorts (or tries to at least) goodness.

Will you think about it? Anything that is good right now, in this moment, is because of the Lord. Thank Him. Praise Him. It is so simple, yet we make it convoluted. We second guess where that goodness originates and why it is good. STOP! Don't think twice. God gave you the good things. Thank Him. Do it. Ask Him to help you see it!!!

Love from above overflows with mercy, grace, and power.

Peace to You and Love,Heather

Friday, August 24, 2007


I have been reading in Romans 9 that God chooses us, we do not choose Him. This has been heavy stuff for me, especially in the past. If I do not choose God and He chooses me, then what about all of those people who are going to hell? What does that mean about the kind of God I serve?
God has shed new light on this subject. In verse 16 of this chapter Paul says, "So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy." God has mercy on me? God has mercy on you? Wow, think about that...
Picture a king (you know, back in medieval times) who is all-powerful, who has reign over all the land and all the people. His servant comes before him with their head bowed, on one knee, with nervous anticipation, waiting to see whether or not the king will spare his life. The servant knows that he has done something worthy of death. The servant waits on their knee, in nervous silence, sweat dripping from their brow. The king, who has the power to send his servant to dungeon of death, gently speaks to his servant and says, "Do not be afraid. I have chosen you out of all the land to serve me. I have everything you need waiting outside the castle gates. Now go. There is work to be done in the land. The people need to know their king loves them. Tell them about me."
God is our King. He is all-powerful. He is the master of the universe.
If you are honest, and if I am honest, do you ever think more of yourself than you do of the Lord? I am guilty on a regular basis of not putting God in His rightful place in my heart. Why is it that we forget that we are His servants. Our lives are not our own! Are we afraid of God? Or do we not know Him? What is it?
If we study His word we learn that our God is full of grace, mercy, and endless love. At the same time, He is the Ruler, the King, our Shield, and Protector. He created me and He created you. Because of Him I have life, breath, existence. According to His word I have purpose and He has a good plan for my life. This life is not about me. This life is about Him and what He wants to do with me.
I am challenged today to remember and to learn more about God. Who does He say He is? I am challenged to break forth in joyous praise and say, "Thank you, my King, for choosing me! Thank you for Your mercy on me!"

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Seek First...

Matthew 6:33 "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."
I was struck by this verse the other day. It actually came to my mind in the form of a children's song I used to sing when I was a little girl..."Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness. And all these things will be added unto you. A---lle---lu--- A-lle-lu--ia."

I have been struck by the word "first" in this verse. Is there any question about what the word "first" means here? It is unmistakable that the Lord has commanded us to seek Him above all else. Simple, isn't it? Yet I get caught up in so many other things. Even when I think I am doing something really good, I put God in a corner and get to Him when I am done doing whatever it is I needed to, a shower, paying bills, grocery shopping, cleaning, the list goes on....These things are all important, so what is the "big deal"?

Do you get caught up in the thoughts and ideas of what you want your life to look like? Once you get your house the way you like it, as soon as the kids are in school, when the baby sleeps a little more through the night, or, are you in some difficult circumstances and waiting for the Lord to be done with you? As soon it is over and you have been "refined" you can move on and life will be back to normal, right?

However, if we are actively seeking the Kingdom and the righteousness of our Lord, isn't it dangerous to want to get back to the way things used to be or back to "normal"? If we are heeding the Word here in Matthew, our desire should be for God's kingdom and righteousness...WOAH...that's a lot more than my "normal" life! When I think about God kingdom, I know that there will need to be a lot of changes if I am going to somehow fit into His kingdom. Shouldn't I desire to be changed and made new, not "normal"?

I have tread on dangerous waters with thinking that "my" life is mine and craving normalcy. Somehow, I have deceived myself. My life is not mine. I gave it to the Lord years ago. God tells me to seek Him, actively pursue, look for Him, FIRST! Wow! The Lord wants me to want Him FIRST, before anything else and He takes care of the rest.

So, how would my life be different if I put the Lord first? How would your life be different if you sought the Lord first? Who or what do you put in front of Him, be honest with yourself!

He loves us so much that He desires a relationship that is deeper than any relationship we have ever had...He wants us to look to Him before anything or anyone else. Lord, will you help me seek You, Your kingdom, Your righteousness...