What Takes Me Home?

Recently, my husband cooked a meal that he had often enjoyed throughout his childhood. He kept making the remark, “this really takes me home!” Then, he asked me what meal gives me that “home” feeling. I kept thinking about it, but nothing came to mind. He desperately threw suggestions at me, but nothing seemed to trigger that feeling.

Though many would consider my childhood to be a rough one, I did thoroughly enjoy it. I received the Joy of the Holy Spirit at a very young age. So, no matter what storms Satan threw at me or my family, God always saw me through it. Even before I knew The Lord as my personal Savior, I firmly believe someone was praying for His Guiding Hand over me. God is faithful to answer prayers when they align with His Will. As I watch my life unfold, I can see why He protected me. I have my fair share of scars, mental and physical, but I have still felt joy no matter what I was going through. 

God gifted me with the privilege of living on a large plot of land at the end of an old dirt road. That land holds most of my sweetest memories. That’s where my dad taught me to ride a bike, then my brother taught me to ride a dirt bike. That’s where my brothers and I spent hours on end cutting down trees to build trails. And, that’s where we were when our mom called us to dinner most nights.That’s where I built my own little sanctuary to pray and taught my niece how to talk to God just like a friend. That’s where I enjoyed going for a run with my dogs to clear my mind on a stressful day.

I couldn’t think of a meal that took me home because I didn’t value meal time the same way my husband did. I valued my time spent outside. That’s why, during the brief time we lived in Nashville, TN, I loved going running on a trail I found near a lake. What takes me home is going running through the woods and having that time alone with God.

I also was gifted with the privilege of growing up in small country churches. I remember singing the same hymns every Sunday: Amazing Grace, At the Cross, I’ll Fly Away, and I Shall Not Be Moved. Those are still my favorites! Today, when I enter a small church that still uses a hymnal, and I hear the music director call out a number, I’m taken back to those days. It’s a totally different experience to read the lyrics from a book than on a screen. The day I got my hands on a Heavenly Highways Hymnal of my own, I was ecstatic! I want my kids to experience that, too. As our children grow up in this electronic world, it’s our job to instill in them the love of books of all sorts. The most important books in our home are The Bible and Heavenly Highways, because that’s what takes me home.

These things I’m writing about (cherished meals, an abundance of land, God’s Holy Word on paper) are all privileges. They are extras. They are not necessary. I thank God for these privileges because He used them to lead me to the Greatest Privilege which is my Savior whom He sent for me. AND for you! 

—-Raye

 

Advertisements

From Truth Pervert To…

A beloved mentor and seminary professor of mine, Dr. Cliff Estes, once told me “we must get the Gospel right.” With that being said, there is so much Truth to give you and not enough space or time. So, I’m going to start with this post, and we’ll go from there. It seems to me that not only are we putting God in a box, but locking the box up and throwing away the key. When, on God’s green earth, are we going to stop being selfish, self-centered, Truth perverts and start being completely sold out Truth junkies? I grew up in a Christian home where my dad strived to teach me, day after day and night after night, about Jesus Christ. Tirelessly, he would try and get me to focus and stay awake during Bible study. I was “that” Christian, if you could even call me one. You know, the kind who has the privilege of growing up hearing the Truth but nonchalantly falls asleep during the prologue? That’s the one! As Stephanie Tanner would say, “how rude!” How very rude we are to even ponder falling asleep during a revelation of the Truth! Many nights I would fight my dad, tooth and nail, to avoid sitting through another boring episode of “the Bible series,” (and I don’t mean the television program, because God knows I probably would’ve watched that). I’m talking about the crackling of the old Wesleyan New King James Version opened to 1 Peter 2:2. Let’s be honest, most of us have the Bible read to us via YouVersion rather than taking the time out of our “busy” day or simply sacrificing a little sleep and waking up earlier to give God our best by physically reading the Bible aloud to ourselves out of something that’s NOT electronic. I’m sick of how poorly I treat God. I’ll be honest, most mornings I can barely fart my fat butt up off the bed, much less wake up any earlier to give God my best. So, I end up listening to the Scripture on my phone on my way to work; then I wonder why I succumb to temptation. Maybe it’s because I’m letting the devil do his job of perverting the Truth by making sure I don’t get my daily dose of it. How many of you out there can identify with me? I’m not trying to convict anyone. I’m already convicted myself, and the feeling sucks which is why I’m sick of it. By my next post, I will have completed a successful week in waking up earlier to give God my best because I crave the Truth. Will you do this with me? Will you be a…Truth junkie?

SuperMom… What does that even mean?

The facts:

  • I have two sets of twins. (4 kids under 2 years old)
  • I am their sole caretaker for at least 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.
  • Thus far, I have been fairly successful at breastfeeding my second set.
  • My husband and I take our four kids with us to the grocery store.
  • I am responsible for the weekly maintenance of 80 finger and toe nails, not including my own.
  • I never slow down, physically or mentally.

Do these facts make me a “SuperMom”? People use this term in reference to me on the regular these days. I’m flattered, but I don’t feel like I deserve it. The truth is, when I’m not focused on God and forget to give Him the glory, I’m a total mess. My house gets out of control with clutter, my older kids spend the majority of their day watching TV in their play yard, I have to supplement formula to my baby girls because my body lacks the things necessary to produce milk for two babies, and I say hurtful things to my husband. However, when I do start my day off in His Word and pray and meditate on God throughout the day, He helps me manage my mountain of responsibilities like a pro. The difference is absolutely miraculous! I’m just a Mom. The real super hero in this equation is God. He is superLoving, superForgiving, superGracious, and, let’s not forget, superSneaky. When everything in my day seems to time out just right, I’m certain God is answering my prayer. When I slip up and try to manage on my own, eventually I have to step away from the chaos long enough to reach out for His Almighty guiding hand. After all, that’s the reason He gave me four kids under two. They are a constant reminder of how much I need Him. I am HumanMom. God is more than Super. I think we make a great team, though. So, I guess, you can call us SuperMom!

The verses from Jesus Calling this morning were just what I needed, and fit perfectly with the topic of this blog. Take a moment to get into God’s Word right now with these verses:

Luke 1:37 & 2 Corinthians 12:9
—-Raye 

 

The Introduction 

“The Beginning” 

These past three years of our marriage have been nothing short of God’s hand in our lives. He has saved our marriage, revealed Himself, blessed us, miraculously kept me from death, disciplined us and above all taught us. I would like to start with “saving our marriage”. We were into the latter part of our first year of marriage when I ignorantly mistook “God’s call,” to move us to Nashville, TN, for my selfish fleshly desires. I was sold on the idea that I was going to move us there to pursue my music career as a drummer. This proved a terrible disaster. I was transferring,, from a part-time retail position at Best Buy in Shreveport, to the Best Buy in Nashville and let me just say that for the record Best Buy is not a company you want to work for. The management and overall .dynamics is equal to that of a sweatshop except they pay you slightly more and you get to sleep at your own home. My wife worked at TJ Maxx, in Shreveport, and was also transferring to the store in Nashville. Although these jobs were suffice, for the time being in Shreveport, they were no match for the economical differences of the Nashville money system. You were either super rich or extremely poor and we were the latter. As the months passed things just got harder financially and we kept having to depend on my Father for financial support. This financial, “falling apart,” caused our relationship to quickly destroy us. It all came to a head about six months into living there. So we did what we didn’t want to do and moved back home. This sucked because not only did we have to move back home but we had to move back to our hometown, Natchitoches, into my in-laws house. It was not about the in-laws but rather the fact that Natchitoches held such terrible memories of my childhood and adolescent years.

“The Trash”

It was about the middle of October of 2012 when my wife and I were forced to break our apartment lease agreement and leave Nashville. We left the apartment complex owing 1200 dollars. To top all of this off I was promised a transferr back to the Shreveport store but that fell through. Apparently the Nashville management gave a negative recommendation stating that I was a terrible employee. Likewise my wife was unable to transferr back so we left Nashville with no jobs, and no money. We had hit rock bottom or so it seemed.  As a couple of weeks came and went the adjustment grew harder and harder as well as the tension of not finding work. It was thanksgiving eve night, as we were heading to my parents house to spend thanksgiving, that our typical fighting had quickly come to a head. My wife and I were gassing up the car and she told me that she was through fighting and she wanted for me to take her back to her moms house. I refused and headed towards Shreveport and she paniced and called the cops. In her defense I was in a terrible rage. Well the cops pulled me over and cuffed me. They made us seperate so my parents came and got me and she went to her moms. We had officially seperated and at that point I vowed that I would divorce her.

“The Story Begins”

To make this story shorter about 3 months passed and God had been working on me. I was listening to KLOVE when Sanctus Real’s Lead Me came on and it was then that I realized my need for God in my life. I told Him that if He would restore my marriage then I would do whatever He wanted me to. Well by the same time the next year my wife and I had reconciled and not only that but our relationship had seen a strength and unity unlike anything we’d ever known and even more God had given us our first set of twins. I was actively pursuing the promises I had committed to God. He had impressed upon my heart, which I wrestled tirelessly, that He wanted me for ministry. He made that evident by introducing me to a seminary within the church that we started attending. I started that following fall semester and have been attending ever since. Now there is one thing you must know about me and that is what God had delivered me from. I was about 9 when my insatiable sexual appetite had developed and I have been battling it ever since. God had delivered me from a bad drug and alcohol addiction but this was my thorn in the flesh that He wouldn’t lift. Over the next couple of years He would ultimately use this  porn addiction to mold me and know a deeper faith and dependance on Him. I am happily delivered from those chains of slavery today but I still struggle with it which is why I diligently read His word and pray.

“Yet to be determined”

So about 14 months after we had our first set we found out that we were pregnant with our second set. We were very shocked but felt that this was in God’s plan for our lives to use this as a part of our testimony. Now before I jump too far ahead I want to address the death pardon. It was about 3 months into our first pregnancy that my wife and I had moved out to Waskom Tx. I was on my way to Shreveport, with my wife following, when I was on my phone and clipped the tail end of a  car going 75 mph. My truck flipped and skidded about 100 feet into the ditch. Luckily I was able to get out before it caught fire. So once more God is at work in our lives.  With our second set on the way my desire and pursuit for ministry had begun to completely envelope me. God has yet to describe to me any details, or hints of details, as to just what in the ministry I might be doing and further more He had not given me any ministry opportunities. I can say this though that all of my strength and ability to care for my family, as well as juggle a full time job and seminary, only comes from the Father. He is good and has a very specific and wonderful plan for my wife and I which is why we are recklessly diving head first into complete reliance and faith in Him.

“Invitation”

I hope this encourages you to finally seek a relationship with Christ and fully surrender your life to Him. My story is unique to me and is not God’s plan for you but nonetheless He has a very special and unique plan for your life. Won’t you accept this invitation?

“In Love & Christ,”

– Joshua