Monday, June 24, 2013

Redemption Draweth Nigh


Redemption Draweth Nigh..I grew up singing this old hymn at church.
I had forgotten about it until yesterday. Yet boy did it ever come back to me in the corner of the worship center yesterday.

Redemption..the greatest gift of grace we have ever received.

Our Shoreline family has been reading through the Psalms this summer, and week by week, God continues to refresh, inspire, rebuke, and renew us in the truth of his redemption through the messy, chaotic life of David.

Boy can I relate.

Oh I’ve never committed adultery.

But I have sinned hugely against God. So many times I can’t count.

My guess is, so have you.

 One thing I realized yesterday, we are not alone.

Scores of people in our church family have responded with the same experience…..feeling far from God, restless, and hopeless……………..Until a BUT God moment arrives.

And for the repentant heart, it comes.

 Our own David- Dave Cross- shared his own story yesterday, recounting a time in ministry he was down for the count, a time when he thought God was finished with him and he, because of his own intentional sins, was so far from God while still engaged in the activity of ministry.  
6 years ago, that was me.

Nancy Hamilton.

Lover of God. Lover & networker of people. Talker, engager, the giver of Jesus to many.

Failed to seek God in the midst of serving God.

God used Dave’s broken heart yesterday to heal me.   

In the biggest mess of my life, that I –yes …I caused, I found God where I had not looked for him.

In the silence of my repentant heart.

My heart had been broken into a million pieces.

 I was a train wreck inside my put-together, seamless  & perfect fa├žade.

I, like Dave, was on a downward spiral of poor decisions.

Yet because I thought I could handle it, I became my own God and God would not allow that.

It’s his glory he’s after- not mine.

He broke me down to build me back up. 

What he did for me, he WILL do for you.

What he did for Dave Cross, he WILL do for you.

Dave & I still don’t have it together most days.

Yet if you ask him, and you ask me, each day is a gift of grace and God has made a message of the mess we made of our lives.

As I was reminded yesterday, wherever you are in your journey, be reminded of these truths about redemption:

1.   Restoration starts with repentance.

2.   Acknowledgement of a confession of sin doesn’t always lead to true repentance.

 Sometimes it takes a while to get there. Be patient. Where’s your heart? Are you just afraid of getting caught? Or afraid of NOT?

3.   Repentance doesn’t necessarily mean immediate & complete healing.

 Repeat this- healing takes time. You aren’t over it in a day. Sometimes healing takes months, even years. (Yep, I’m in the years club)

4.   True restoration in Jesus always leads to more of Jesus.  

          You’ll find that Jesus is all you need when you discover that Jesus is all you have. He is enough.

Where in your life is God drawing you to true repentance?

Get on your knees and humbly ask. God is waiting to reveal that area to you in case you don't yet know. But my guess is, you probably already do.  

Redemption awaits you. Seize it today.

But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me. Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light. Because I have sinned against him, I will bear the Lord’s wrath until he pleads my case and upholds my cause. He will bring me out into the light; I will see his righteousness. Micah 7

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

And these are a few of my favorite things....

One of the things I am beginning to love is reading other people's blogs- their opinions, their likes, their dislikes, etc. This morning I stumbled upon this blog and was reminded how fun summertime can be. So as I listen currently to Pandora and in the background "raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens" is blaring,  here are a few of my summer favorite things.

1. Being outside
Seriously, if the sun is out- I have to be outside. Something about being cooped up inside when there's fun awaiting. Whether it's hiking or laying in the sun with my counselor bestie getting free  advice (ok Jules, feel free to put me on retainer), I would be outside from daylight to dark. Perhaps that some of the nostalgia coming back to me of growing up out in country where as a child I would play hard all day and sit on our family's or neighbor's porches just visiting. And catching lighting bugs too- a definite summer must.

2. Coconut Lime Lotion
Seriously, doesn't this just take your mind and senses right to the beach?
Yes, it definitely takes me to my happy place!

3. Wednesday night bible study group
These women are some of the most generous, kind and loving women I've ever known. This picture was taken the night after one of our sweet sisters Bobi (1st row, 3rd from right) was baptized. It was a beautiful night celebrating Christ renewing our sweet sister's mind, heart and spirit. And, it's weird. You know how that sometimes you meet people and you feel as though you've known them forever? That's how I feel about these women. I've lived in this state for only 2 1/2 months. They are connected to my soul. Only a God thing I tell ya!

4. Daily  Reading
This summer, our church is reading Psalms together. What a blessing to be in God's word and get revelation from it, then talk to someone else, and discover God said something so different yet in an affirming way. That's our God. Need some kind of plan to get yourself into the Word this summer? Join us here!

5. Greek Yogurt with homemade vanilla and sliced almonds
Yes, I think it's true. I've eaten this every night for the past month as a bedtime snack. It's yummy!

6. These pens!
Anyone who knows me well knows that I have a love affair with good pens. This s the one I'm currently on. And by the way, if I've been in your office and you can't find your pen, chances are I have it. It's not like I am intentional about stealing them but I have a box of pens in my garage that somehow ended up in my bags over the years...and I'm positive I didn't buy them.

7. Time with the littles
As many of you know, moving home was a huge bonus for me to finally be around my niece's precious babies who need one more person in their family to spoil them rotten. Since it's nearly been 18 years that Dalton was little, it's fun to see these babies bring so much joy to those in our family. I try to get them weekly and dote as much as I am able. And yes, I want to be that aunt they'll run to when they get mad at their mama! Bella knows that I am the keeper of all things candy for her and little Colten will soon find out that as well. Love these babies so.

Photo: Bella & Colton

8. Coconut Almonds
My Arkansas sister Tracey just introduced me to these jewels last night via twitter, and yes at nearly 11pm I had them. Oh. my. soul. If you love coconut- delish. Since I forgot my lunch today, it looks like this may be my mid-day entree.


So that's just a few of my favorite things. What are yours?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A view of life in pictures

Tonight I decided to download the 100s of pictures on my iPad to my computer & I was so overwhelmed at God's goodness to me over the last year. Here's a small glimpse of the many ways God has gone above & beyond In his blessing over & in me! I have such a full heart tonight. God, you are GOOD!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

We all need to.....


When times get tough.
When times get rough.
When things seem unbearable.
When things seem like they are almost perfect.
When you don't even have a care in the world.

We all need to...REMEMBER.

The providence and graciousness of our faithful God who is right beside us in the thick and thin of our lives.

He has not left you. He's right beside you.
Interceding and working on your behalf. For his glory- and your good.

Here's to some promises  of encouragement from friend & mentor Marcia Chamblee that probed me to REMEMBER God's faithfulness.
Such truths on which you can bank your life!  
R   emember the wonders He has done - 1 Chronicles 16:12 
E   ncourage one another and build each other up  - 1 Thessalonians. 5:11
M   ake the most of every opportunity  - Colossians 4:5
E     xalt the Lord our God ... for the Lord God is holy  - Psalm 99:9
M   ourn with those who mourn  - Romans 12:15
B     elieve in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved - Acts 16:31
E     xamine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith -2 Corinthians 13:5
R     ejoice in the Lord always   - Philippians 4:4
I will remember the deeds of the Lord;...I will meditate on all your works & consider all your mighty deeds. Your ways, O God are holy,what god is so great as our God. Psalm 77:11-13

Monday, May 6, 2013

What are you leaving?

Yesterday at the end of our worship time at Shoreline, we were introduced to a cute, funny video reminding us of a significant day that is just rolling around the corner…Mother’s Day. (It’s this Sunday-don’t forget!)
As I began thinking about the incredible gift of a mother with whom God has blessed me, truly my mom – Sue Hamilton, is a rare gem. In all my years of living, I’ve NEVER heard her say an unkind word, nor have I ever heard her complain. NOT.EVER. She’s taken care of my dad and our family for 43 years and her example of faith in my life is irreplaceable. She served selflessly.
Another mother figure I had in my life was my maternal grandmother, Loney Rebecca Hamilton. This simple and kind woman only had about a 4th grade education, yet she carried with her the most loving demeanor of Jesus and faith I’ve ever known. It’s because of her I know God. It’s because of her I love His Word and teach the Scriptures. She gave generously.  
I could recount over the many years the numerous other women God so graciously deposited into my broken, messed up life at the times when I most needed His touch
Margaret Byrd
Cindy Wright
Reva Nickell
Char Gray
LeighAnn McCoy
Anna Lee Wiles
Jane Wilson
Sherree Ruston
Marcia Chamblee
 Ms. Lois
Susan Davault
Jane Anne Smith
Rosie Stephens
Deanne Goodrich
Mary Boellner
Johnnie Mac Henry
Lynda Elliott
Ann Rice…the list goes on and on.
What these women gave me during times of life and ministry was not only wisdom, but confidence that the one on whom I depend- Christ alone, is all sufficient.  What my mom, grandmother, and the other scores of women left me was something all of us are leaving with every single person we touch and know- a LEGACY.
These women shared their legacy with me sacrificially.
Wherever I go, they go with me.
I read on twitter just this week, “an inheritance leaves something for someone. A legacy leaves something IN someone.”
Wow. IN someone.
There’s lots of someones out there for you, and for me.
It was Mother Teresa who said,  Let no one ever come to you without leaving better & happier. Be the loving expression of God's kindness, kindness in the face, kindness in the eyes,  kindness in your smile.”
How often are those better after coming to us?
As a daughter, aunt, cousin, sister, mentor, mentee, employee and friend I’ve often failed.
Yet my daily prayer, goal, ambition, motive and challenge is that the gifts I leave IN those around me will be an eternal legacy that points each to Jesus. It’s the only thing that will ever matter.
What legacy are you leaving IN those you know and love?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Assumptions- truth or lie?

Just this week, I found myself being the “victim” of someone’s assumptions.
Now, it wasn’t something of which I worried or lost sleep due to its nature.
Not a fun place to be.
Yet, because God doesn’t waste one single thing in His economy, God had a lesson for me in it.
Someone who really didn’t know anything about me felt the freedom to express an offensive statement that in their perception was reality. Yet if this person knew me, that statement couldn’t have been further from the truth.
This person made a judgment call based on what she “thought” she knew. SHE.HAS.NO.CLUE.
So it got me thinking……
How many times in my life do I “assume” something about someone that in reality, is flat out judgment?
How many times do I assume that I “know” the truth yet long to bring that person down because of unresolved hurts or pain from the past?
How many times do I let those “assumptions” that are floating in my head, come out in the words of my mouth, and actually tear down the person’s reputation, mind, and person?
The truth is- A LOT.
For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. Matthew 12
My goal, my life ambition, my sole focus:
….so that the body of Christ may be built up, until we all reach unity in the faith & in the knowledge of the Son of God, becoming mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ
. Ephesians 4
So, my prayer for you and me today comes from the very first bible verse I learned as a child:
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, My Rock, my Strength, and my Redeemer.  Psalm 19:14
Lord, open my mouth today to only speak words of truth, kindness, blessing, and those words that only emulate your love.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

What would I tell my mid-20 yr old self?

I knew it would happen. I had such high hopes over the course of this month to post, yet I've let time get in the way. It's not that things have not been happening here. There's LOTS going on here. In trying to get into the rhythm of life, I’ve seen firsthand the power, faithfulness and provision of God not only in my own life, but in the lives of so many others in my family, and at Shoreline.

God has been so faithful to bring some precious mid-20 something young women into my life over these 4 weeks. As we have talked about where they are with Christ, what God is doing in their lives, what they believe the future looks like, they’ve come looking for encouragement, hope, and prayer.

As I began to pray and think about each one, God so gently reminded me of what a mess I was in my mid-20s. And yes even 30s. And maybe even today at ….well, age doesn’t matter. I began to think about how different my life would have been if I had taken a different approach to it. Sure, God met me with each trial and mountain of my life, but if I could give insight to my then 20something self from where I sit now…. Well, here’s what I’d share.
Thus, today’s post.

1.      Your value doesn’t come by doing more things.
I admit, I was a work-a-holic in my 20s and some in my 30s. I had spent my entire life proving that I could be the best, be on top, and was the most responsible employee, friend, daughter, and sister that anyone could find.

It wasn’t until the mid-life crash of 35 where I finally learned what God had been teaching me my entire life. God isn’t so concerned in all the things I think He wants me to do, but in WHO he wants me to be.

2.      Healthy relationships are key.
From friendships to family, to romantic relationships, you will end up at a dead end if you have co-dependent, unhealthy relationships. With the help of wise counsel, learn to begin to create healthy boundaries in every area of your life. Because of the nature of us women to overcommit, manipulate, and force relationships- often those that are not good for us, not one of those relationships where I did that DO NOT existence today. (thank the Lord for his great mercy on that!)

Because 20somethings crave community, the enemy often can and will twist things in your life to make you think you have to be all things to all people. YOU SIMPLY CAN NOT.

3.      Family- your blood family –is important.
Because I had such good friends in my 20s/30s, it was often easier to create family with those with whom I lived, worked, and did life with on a consistent basis. It was easier too. We all liked the same things and got along. However, I didn’t want to engage my blood family much because of the dysfunction that I knew I would have to address. Sure, I went to see them. But when I was with them, I was emotionally absent. Know this- every family has some kind of dysfunction. Don’t let the mess of your family keep you from figuring out how to serve them the best you know how and can.

4.      Margin in your life is a necessity.
Sure, there is something to do every single night of the week with friends you love and like. Community awaits you. However, when is the last time you were able to be still? The last time you allowed God to speak His promises over your life among the noise, drama, and chaos of what your Ipad, Iphone and other forms of I-ness bring you? Create space in your life DAILY to be still, to listen, and allow God to have room in your life and heart to communicate his promises of love to you. Sure, you are busy. But you can’t afford not to. Get into God’s word and let it get into you.

5.      Find someone to speak into your life consistently.
Whether that’s a mentor, or older, wise sage, find someone who loves you, but isn’t impressed with you. Do some seeking and find someone who makes you curious of why they do what they do, how they parent their children, how they memorize scripture, how they do marriage and life. Learn all from them you can. Ask questions. Find out what they are reading. Consistently meet with them ON PURPOSE for them to speak truth into your life and give them permission to see things and point them out that you do not see.

6.      Don’t waver.
Interpretation: BELIEVE GOD.
His word is true, faithful, and the Lord can be counted on. God is who He says He is and He will do what He says He will do.

Do not waver with unbelief regarding the promises of God, but be strengthened in your faith &give glory to God, being fully persuaded that God has the power to do what He has promised.” Romans 4:20-22

For the word of the LORD holds true, and we can trust everything he does. Psalm 33

What would you truths would you now tell your 20something self if you could?