October 28, 2010

Deep Thoughts...Or, Maybe Not So Much!

OK, you know how sometimes things get stuck in your head and they just never leave, even after like 10 years or so?  Well, since I can't sleep, I thought I would share some of those things that were funny or odd at the time, but I never thought I'd remember...yet, I find myself still pulling them out all these years later!  Hope you enjoy my randomness!

-I'm a dirty, dirty vessel and I don't deserve to be here.
-I'd like to change my vote.
-Oh dear, I broke your door.
-You have a face for comedy.
-And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down.  And they eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on Him. (dramatic pause) Whose eyes are fastened on you?
-Keep stretching!  Keep stretching!
-DelGado, Louisa.  Female.  15 years.  Site of death: 96th Street at Callen Ave.  Death due to massive crush injury caused by municipal snow removal vehicle.  Accidental.
-Is Dave checking his email again?
-Camp Hades
-I have two feet less!
-Ryan!  We're praying!
-Ohio Stinks!
-Is Dr. Burt your holiness thermometer?
-Remember? The Alamo!
-White trash.
-The back of the van is for sleeping!
-I have had 9 hours of sleep in the last 9 years!
-Women were not allowed in the synagogue.
-Distraction Spice, World's Most Eligible Bachelor Spice, Single Spice, Chester Spice, Scary Theology Spice, Old Spice
-The crow flies at midnight!
-Go to half!
-There once was a church up on a hill, where everything was fine, until...
-Love does not think evil thoughts...
-I'm so...possessed???
-Four years old!
-Let's get the heck outta Dodge!
-Jesus saw a person.
-Weast. Weastie. The Weastonator.  The Weaster Bunny.  The Wicked Witch of the Weast. Are you speaking Weastonics?
-There are worse things than death.  Worse things than dying at the height of your career.  You could be alive.  You hear the songs and watch the videos and know that you will never feel that wall of love again....
-I grabbed my grandmother's knitting needles and I shoved them into my eyes.  And I just kept shoving until the rats quit chewing!
-All souls come clean (pause) John 3:(pause)16.
-No, I'm not suggesting a new word.  I'm simply suggesting we practice the dynamics of this encompassing word (pause, pick up "phones") love.
-spoken as quickly as possible so as to end a nearly unbearably slow scene Just that's all, that's why I came over.  I wanted to tell Miss Abby to call the police, but if it was you and that's your car, then I don't need to bother her and I'll just be running along home now. (nervous giggle and huge, gasping breath)
-Cough drop?  Anyone?

Well, that's probably enough for tonight!

October 27, 2010

Lessons Learned

*DISCLAIMER: I have debated whether to even write on this topic, knowing that it is such a strong source of contention, emotion, and passion, but God has used this situation to teach me and make me much for thankful, and I felt I needed to share.  Please know that I am sharing what I have learned and that I am not intending to force these lessons on others.  God has given us all brains and a free will to make our own decisions, and He has lessons for each of us to learn.  My lesson may not be your lesson!  As you read, please bear in mind that I am not condemning, accusing, or looking down on anyone who may not share my opinion or feel the importance of the lesson I have learned.  I would prefer that no one comment, mainly because I know it could turn ugly quickly, but, as I stated before, God has given you a free will and I cannot control whether or not you comment.  But, I do ask that if you comment, keep it short, uplifting, and in an attitude of love.  If you have strong feelings against what I have to say, feel free to email or FB message me rather than write a comment so as not to start an argument.  Thanks for listening to the thoughts of an overly dramatic 30-something and may God bless your day!

OK, so, here goes.....As most of you know, yesterday the vote passed to change the name of my collegiate Alma mater, Hannibal-LaGrange College, to Hannibal-LaGrange University.  If you are an alum, faculty or staff member, member of the MBC, or Hannibal resident, you know this has been a HUGE issue over the past few months.  I have to admit that when I heard they were wanting to change the name (to University of Hannibal), I got very angry very quickly!  I was so mad I could hardly see straight, though I wasn't upset for the same reason as most.  I mean, change the name, that's great, but all I could think was, "Really?  Of all the things that you could spend what little money you have on, you choose a name change?  You must be kidding!"  Let's face it, we all know the college is far from being over-run with too much money floating around and I couldn't help but think that if they would first spend the money on their programs, then a name change, they would not only bring in more students, but actually keep more students!  And, if I am going to be totally honest, the thought of the words "Hannibal" and "University" being used together, in any combination, was totally laughable to me.  There is just nothing about Hannibal that makes it a "University" town!  So, I sat down and wrote a letter (though, I didn't sign my name, I was just too chicken.  I know too many people there was too afraid one of them would pick up a phone and confront me and I HATE confrontation!)  Shortly thereafter, madness erupted!  Accusations were flying.  Voices were being raised.  Friendships were demolished.  All over the name of an institution of higher education that only has about 1,500 students.  What in the world was happening!?!?!?!?!

It was then that God began to convict me about my pride and attitude.  First of all, I was making judgments and assumptions without having all the facts.  In fact, I was making them without having many facts at all!  As I began to dig deeper, several of my assumptions were proven wrong and I began to see just how much I was rushing to judgment.  I don't work there.  I don't visit campus, other than the mail room occasionally.  I don't know even a fraction of the students.  I don't know what's happening on campus or in the classrooms.  I really have no idea what is best for the school.  I was only focusing on what I wanted, what I thought would look good.  Second, the attitude with which I was sharing my opinion was far from Godly!  I just wanted to feel important, let my voice be heard, and let people know that I indeed had an opinion on the matter!  I mean really, who cares what little ole me has to say on the matter!  What was I thinking?  But, I think the biggest lesson I learned was to be grateful and thankful for all the Lord has given me.  He got me thinking back to my days as a student and staff member there.  What was it that made HLG so special to me?  What was it that made me want to return as a staff member after 4 years as a student?  Was it the name?  NO!  It was the people!  Honestly, I could have probably gotten just as good of an education, maybe even better, somewhere else.  Most people at any given college/university can probably say that!  What made my experience so different?  What endeared that place to me so much?  The people!!!  Most of the staff and faculty truly saw their jobs as ministry.  They asked for prayer requests, prayed for you, kept up with you, checked in on you, and poured themselves into you on a daily basis!  The friends I made there have been friends for life.  We may not talk in months, but in one short 5 minute chat, it's as if we've been together every day for the last 10 years!  I can still pick up the phone anytime I need advice or prayer and call any one of those great friends!  The most important lessons I learned didn't come in a classroom.  They came in the living room of a faculty member taking care of a grief-stricken, ill student.  They came in the lobby of an old, decrepit theatre with some of my best friends.  They came in a van with 7 or 8 other people as we spent the school year and summer traveling the country using drama to share Christ with others.  They came in great conversations with a great friend sitting in Taco Bell.  They came while chatting with the wife of a faculty member who loved her husband's students every bit as much as he did.  They came in watching faculty members turn what could have been paralyzing loss into honor and glory for God alone.  That is what I remember.  That is the education I got.  That is what I needed to be thankful for!  You see, no matter the name, those faculty and staff members, those experiences with other students are awaiting what I hope is thousands of other students to come, regardless of the name.  You know, I think I would have still had those same life-changing experiences even if the name had been Muddy Mississippi College of River Rats because God is bigger than any name conceived by man!  Hallelujah!  And really, in the midst of all this, God really pressed upon me His sovereignty.  He was there when they founded the college in LaGrange in 1858.  He was there when they moved the college to Hannibal and only kept LaGrange in the name to appease those who didn't want the college to move in the first place.  He was there when they wanted to close the doors and focus on the campus in STL instead.  He was there when fire nearly destroyed the campus.  He was there when they began discussing changing the name, again.  He was there when the Haiti team went rolling down a hill. He was there yesterday when the vote happened.  He knew.  He saw.  And none of it happened apart from His hand.  Now, whether the name change and switch from U of H to HLG-U was God redirecting His people to His path or God, like when His people cried out for a king and, though He knew it would destroy them, gave them what they asked for anyway, God was turning His people over to their own free will, I don't know and I don't know that it even matters.  All I know is, I love that college, I love the lessons I learned there, I love the people I met there, and I hope my kids go there someday and have the same great experience I had!  Most of all, I pray that God will pour out His Spirit on that campus in a mighty way!  May He greatly effect every soul that steps foot on that campus.  May He use that campus to change the world and may He get all the glory and honor!

October 22, 2010

Christmas Presents

So, Kevin and I are thinking of doing something a little different with the kids for Christmas this year.  We really want to teach them that they not only need to be thankful for the abundance that God has given them, but also they need to be giving out of that abundance (because it's all God's to begin with) to help others.  I got the Samaritan's Purse gift catalogue this week and an idea came to me.  It's nothing new and I am sure many of you have done or are doing similar things.  We've decided that, though we will get the kids some stocking stuffers and 1 or 2 bigger gifts, we are doing to decide on a dollar amount for each child, then let Sophie pick gifts out of the catalogue, and those will be their Christmas gifts this year.  They will be helping to buy Bibles, food, school supplies, etc. for children around the world who don't have those kinds of things.  Just curious if anyone out there has ever done this or is doing something similar this year.  We would like this to become a Christmas tradition here in the McSmith house and just wanted some advice or cool ideas to make this something memorable and something they truly learn from and look forward to each year.  Your ideas and thoughts are much appreciated!

October 19, 2010

Names, Names, Names

Maybe it's because there are so many people having babies, I don't know, but I have really been thinking about names lately.  Names and their importance and significance.  In Biblical times, what a person named their child was uber important.  The meaning of the name meant more than whether it would sound good or weird or whatever. 

So, I'd love to hear about your children's names, what they mean, why you picked them.  Most people have some kind of meaning or story behind the name choices for their kids, and I want to hear it.  Just to get you started, I'll share mine!  As you know, we aren't very good at coming up with names ahead of time in our house!  And, even though we hadn't discussed Sophia before she was born, it was always in the back of my mind.  I knew that it meant wisdom, which meant a lot to me.  I feel as though wisdom is one of the things I really lack in my life!  I wanted that name because I knew I could then pray that God would help her grow into that name and that it would truly become synonymous with her personality.  Her middle name is Anne.  Both my mom's and Kevin's mom's middle names are Ann, so I was pretty sure I wanted to get that in there, but I wanted to add the "e"...mainly because I think it looks pretty!  It also means grace.  Again, another thing that I could pray over her...that she would grow to be a person who pours out grace on others and a person who comes to understand the fullness of God's grace.  When we got pregnant with Ethan, I knew instantly that I wanted to pick a first and middle name that meant the same things as Sophie's (Wisdom and Grace).  There are a plethora of those names for girls...not so much for boys!  So, once we found out we were having a boy, my search almost came to a complete stop.  Then I read somewhere that Ethan the Ezrahite had written Psalm 89 (a beautiful Psalm of remembrance of all God has done).  I read that in Biblical times Ethan (and they presume it is the same one who wrote Psalm 89) was the second wisest man alive, second only to King Solomon.  So, of course, I settled on this name pretty quickly, and Sophie picked up on it quickly, but it took awhile for Kevin to come around!  ;)  Kevin chose the middle name, James, mainly because that was the book of the Bible he was reading at the time (though I must wonder if it had anything to do with his college roommate, James "Jimmy" Snowden!  JK).  That's what Ethan's name means for us, though they literally mean "strong, firm, impetuous" and "supplanter".

So, tell me your names and stories!  Can't wait to hear them!!!!!

October 14, 2010

The Lord Will Provide

This week in our worship service at CBC we will be focusing on Jesus as the lamb.  We will be doing this in the worship music and through the ordinances of baptism and The Lord's Supper.  As I was thinking of this, my mind was drawn back to a study that the ladies in our SS class did a few years ago.  It was called "I Want to Know You" by Kay Arthur and focused on some of the names of God.  The one that I was reminded of this week was Jehovah-Jireh, meaning the Lord will Provide.  The first time we see this name is Gen. 22:1-19 in the story where God has asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac.  When God provides the lamb in Isaac's place, Abraham named the place where he sacrificed that lamb "The Lord Will Provide".  You see, never in my life had I ever really heard anyone talk about Jehovah-Jireh in any sense other than that He  provides for all our earthly needs: health, finances, other resources.  How selfish and prideful is it to think that His name is so focused in me and my needs alone? It was so eye opening to see that the name was given in such an instance that so blatantly points to Christ as our sacrificial lamb, paying a price we never could and receiving our punishment.  It is only because Christ was the lamb in our place that we can have our sins forgiven and have a relationship and eternal life with Christ.  Now, don't get me wrong, He does provide for all those daily, earthly, temporal needs (even when we don't think He's doing so), but the most important thing He provided was Christ as a lamb to cover our sins.  He provided salvation for us!  Wow!  One of the points she makes in the chapter is, "Within limits, people can provide for everything they need while they live, but they can't provide for death.  For death, there is only one provider, Jehovah-Jireh.  Jehovah, who in Himself possesses essential life, is the only One who can make provision for us as sinners to live.  He did so by providing us with the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.  How fitting it is, then, that the first time we see God as our Jehovah-Jireh we see a father offering his only son on Mount Moriah.  Love, worship, and obedience become three in one!"  Again, I say wow!  That pretty much blows my mind and makes me so ashamed to think that I had spent so much of my life thinking of this life-changing name of God in such a shallow way!  Lord, forgive me for not seeing the whole truth in Your name and for missing out on so much time to praise and honor and thank You, by name, for giving me salvation through the Lamb of God!  Thank You for the reminder today that Jehovah-Jireh provides so much more than money, food, clothes, and health!

October 05, 2010

It's Been a Long Time!

So, I feel like the queen of randomness.  Most of my posts just seem to come from nowhere.  Probably because I wait so long between posts and I try to cram in everything that has happened in between!  Perhaps I should blog more often and this wouldn't happen!  Who am I kidding, I am blogging about as often as I can find the time or inspiration!

I cannot believe how fast my kids are growing!  Sophie never ceases to amaze me with her skills, memory, and ability to understand things I never thought she could at age 4!  Of course, she also makes me smile with her sweet simplicity and total lack of understanding at times, too!  I love how God uses both of my children to teach me more and more about Him and about myself in relation to Him each day.  Sometimes, it's a little overwhelming!

Ethan is just growing like a weed, too!  I am constantly amazed at how quickly he has figured out how to work zippers, open sliding boxes, and how close he is to being able to open doors!  How did this happen!!!  He is saying several words now, though never when you want him to!  He now says mama, dada, shoes (though he said that before he said dada), more (mo), Sis, ball, and moo.  He will repeat what you say sometimes, but he hasn't ever said any of those words at any other time.  Yesterday, for the first time ever, he was following Sophie around her room saying, "Opee!  Opee!"  He hasn't done that since, either, so maybe it was a fluke! 

God has really been working a lot in my prayer time.  So many things have been going on around me and He's using that to help me see the true power and need for prayer in my life.  He's teaching me that it doesn't have to be me just sitting for those 15 minutes in the morning for it to be prayer...I can pray all day, no matter what I am doing or who is around.  Of course, He is also showing me that I do need that time, just He and I, in order to truly hear from Him, rather than just requesting everything under the sun from Him.  I need time to praise Him, hear Him, plead with Him, pour out my heart to Him!  I don't do any of those enough!  I have been so convicted, especially through our small group doing Crazy Love, that I do not use my time wisely or on things that will edify the Kingdom.  Too many times I give God my leftovers (in service, prayer, Bible study, parenting, as a wife, the list could go on and on) and use my best for things I want to do that have basically no eternal significance at all.  Wow!  It's going to be a process, but asking God to reveal in me the changes I need to make and to give me the strength to make those changes.

Our revival last week was pretty challenging, too.  He talked mainly about forgiveness, but also talked about having an angry heart.  Now, I would so not say that I have an angry heart, until he had us look further at our reactions to things.  Man, I am a much more angry person than I thought, I just tend to try and hide it so people don't know.  Oh, how I wish that my reactions to my children and husband, strangers and church family were loving and always in line with how Christ would react.  Again, that will take much work and time spent on my knees before the Father.  It's about more than just having patience, it's about truly relying on God, trusting in Him at all times, surrendering my heart and whole life to Him that He may live and speak through me.  Wow!  Much easier to type than do!  Lord, fill me, change me, and use me!