"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God; and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."
2 Corinthians 10:5

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Celebrating 75!!

I ABSOLUTELY have the best friends in the entire world. Really. My sweet sisterhood girls celebrated with me tonight in reaching my 3rd weight loss goal of 75 pounds down. How cool are they?! We had originally planned to all get pedicures and then head to dinner, but I decided it would be more fun to just do a LONGER dinner instead and skip the pedicure. Karla LOVED me for this decision...she's not the biggest fan of having someone touch her feet, and besides, I just got a pedicure a couple of weeks ago with another friend for her birthday so I was cool with celebrating with a big fat dessert instead of with a pedicure. :) Words really cannot tell you how much I love these girls. I love that we celebrate with each other when goals are accomplished, we cry with each other when our hearts are heavy, we pray for each other, we make time to spend fun time together, we talk until we are all blue in the face about everything and we love each other SO much. You all know how excited I get when I have the opportunity to go out on a date. (few and far between...that's not the point though.) The point is, is that I get even MORE excited when I know I get to spend some quality time with these girls. They rock that much! (Girls, maybe I'm only able to say this because the right guy just hasn't come along yet...ah, just kiddin!) THANK YOU, THANK YOU sweet friends for such a fun dinner, for my super gifts (which you shouldn't have gotten me!), for your amazing support and your love. I'm so thankful that I get to do life with you! You're a true blessing to me. Kimi and Courtney enjoying some "dessert shots"!
Oh My Yummo! Desserts Shots - Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Cinnamon Roll, and Apple Dutch Something. Crazy good.
My sweet gifts. Cards of encouragement, my favorite chocolate WW snack cakes and muffins, and a SPA Pedicure Gift Certificate.
Kimi, Kacee, Me, Courtney and Karla. We missed you, Aly!
This is one of my most favorite pictures. Kimi and Courtney.
Kimi, Courtney, Me, Karla and Kacee.
Karla and Kacee

"Rejoice with those who rejoice!" Romans 12:15

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Have you ever??

Have you ever just had one of those days when not much seems to go right? I am not lying when I say that I thought I was going to have to check myself in to a mental institution today. Definitely an OFF day. Tomorrow will be better. :)

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Mister Gets a Haircut

It was definitely TIME for Luke (my nephew) to get his first haircut...the kid so had a mullet. But that sweet baby hair is gone forever now! Definitely a bittersweet moment. When I went to visit him last night (my first visit since he got his haircut on Friday) I was very quick to tell him how handsome he looked! His hands when straight to his head because he knew exactly what I was referring to. He knows he's handsome! Check out the new "do".

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

He is FOR me!

Hey all! Hope your day is good. Mine is great! I'm off from work today and I just finished up some quiet time w/ the Lord and I absolutely cannot help but share my study with you from today. My quiet times with Him are very personal, but today, I feel that He wants me to pass on what He spoke to me this morning. This will take you some time to read through, but I'm trusting that you'll be encouraged by it. Print it out, read on your lunch break, do whatever you have to do. This particular study is taking me through the "Psalms of Ascent" and during these beginning stages of my study, I'm having to learn that before I can freely move forward in my journey with the Lord, I must constantly be reminded that He is for me and that He has rescued me (Psalm 124: 2-3). Something that I also read last night greatly ties in with what I'm learning today. I purchased the book "The Shack" this weekend - apparently it's all the "rave" right now. I've not actually started the book yet, but last night I did read the reviews at the beginning of the book and this statement from a gentlemen really stood out to me..."God never leaves us where He finds us, unless we insist." One of the first statements in my Bible study this morning is this, "I often reflect on how God delivered me from myself as much as from Satan." So, there you go. Read on!

"Imagine standing on a battlefield all alone facing an angry army of 1,000 men, each breathing torturous threats. Suddenly you feel the earth pound beneath your feet like the hoofbeats of 10,000 horsemen. Your heart nearly melts with fear as you prepare yourself for the ever-mounting foe. Then you realize it wasn't 10,000 horsemen after all. It was one. Your gaze lifts higher as you try to focus on His face with the sun in your eyes. He looks 100 feet tall atop His stallion, and His very presence emanates authority. He is stunningly beautiful. Staggeringly powerful. His horse gallops onto the battlefield, kicking up the earth. The rider firmly pulls the reins and brings His horse to a halt right beside you. The horsemen then looks down at you and says, 'Proceed into battle, mighty warrior. I am on your side.'"

"One man of you puts to flight a thousand, since it is the Lord your God who fights for you, just as He promised you." (Joshua 23:10)

"When we call upon His name, God promises New Testament believers that same kind of power and victory in the far more terrifying battles of the spiritual realms. He didn't just promise we'd be conquerors. He promised we'd be more than conquerors. Christ will never take us into a battle we cannot win. We would have to choose defeat against our new nature. Why aren't we living with that kind of confidence? If I were a betting woman (something my grandmother always used to say), I'd wager a small fortune on the validity of this statement:

Regardless of how long we've been Christians and how deeply we've studied God's Word, most of us don't realy believe down in the marrow of our bones that God is entirely, wholeheartedly, and unwaveringly on our side.

We live most of our lives unconvinced that God is really for us. We have little trouble picturing ourselves on God's side, but for the life of us we can't picture God stooping down enough to be on ours. Even though we'll say things and sing things to the contrary, we live as if we believe down in the hidden places of our hearts and minds that God at best tolerates us. And lucky we are at that!

We may rarely admit it, but our actions, anxieties, fears, and insecurities suggest something else. Perhaps some of us don't feels as if God is against us as we just don't necessarily feel as if He's for us. We conclude that the only person God is truly for is Himself and rightly so, we reason.

Somewhere deep inside I think we're secretly convinced that God created man with very high hopes only to have them dashed. Forget divine foreknowledge and a Lamb slain before the foundation of the world. We proved a terrible disappointment to God, but because He is faithful to His covenant, He's obligated to see the plan to completion. Therefore, He tolerates us because He's stuck with us.

Be completley honest. Have you ever felt the way I just described? Thank about how you often fell in the hidden recesses of your heart and what yor actions, faith practices, and accepted limitations suggest.

Estimate the position you tend to picture God taking with you: God is against me, OR, God tolerates me, OR, God is for me. Meditate over your history with God. Regardless of where you pictured God's position with you, name a couple of things that helped you shape that conclusion. If you maked that you are most often convinced (actions bearing witness) that "God is for you", you've already answered this question. Despite how we feel much of the time, can we think of a few times when we'd have to admit that God seemed to be on our side?

I'm hammering the point because I'd like to suggest that in our humanity we tend to determine whether God is against us, for us, or tolerating us based on how He appears to act in our circumstances. In other words, our litmus test for whether we think God is really for us is circumstantial evidence. If I don't the promotion, God was for the other guy. If the relationship doesn't work out, God didn't root for me. If the cancer treatment doesn't take, I'm not a high priority to Him.

Don't for a moment think that I'm minimizing the confusion any of these examples can cause as we try to picture God "on our side". John 12:7 continues to come to my mind with great relevance to our subject matter today. "Jesus answered him, 'What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.'"

I well remember making decisions for my children they considered to be uncaring or even mean-spirited at the moment. I even used words from time to time, "I am for you, child. For heaven's sake, I'm your mother! Why wouldn't I want what's best for you?" I remember times when one of them would claim with great drama, "You hate me!" She was too young and immature to understand that my decision was for her.

What invariably hurt most ws if one of the children charged me with making the decision selfishly because I didn't want to go the extra trouble a yes answer would necessitate. Sometimes I couldn't convince them otherwise, so I'd have to temporarily live with them thinking poorly of me and questioning my motives. I wanted to be popular with my children. I didn't want to make decisions that could be misunderstood. Still, the future ramifications were worth the present misunderstanding.

On a much greater scale, God can take a similar position. He knows when something glorious in the future necessitates something difficult in the present. Because He knows the glory will be worth it. God will risk being misunderstood. Yes, God wants us to have joyful, satisfying lives, but He also wants us to have crowns to cast. Rewards to receive. Character to develop. Compassion to give. Testimonies to tell. In the midst of those painful processes, God makes bold promises.

Romans 8:28-39 promises me that He will make sure all things work together for my good. He will graciously give me all things. He will intercede for me. He will not let anything separate me from Him. He will not condemn me. He will protect me.

He is not against you. He does not just tolerate you. He doesn't stick around because He feels obligated to you. God is on your side because He chooses to be. "

- Taken from Psalms of Ascent, by Beth Moore

God has delivered me from Satan and from self, and I want to choose to live that way each day, knowing that He is on my side because He WANTS to be! Praise the Lord.


Monday, August 18, 2008

Praying for 20!!

Please check out my friend James Wisener's blog if you have a chance this week and join us as we pray for 20! James and his family are not only dear, sweet friends, but he's also my old boss. He's currently Student Pastor at Trinity Baptist in Calhoun, GA and will have the opportunity to preach this coming Sunday morning to a LOT of teens! He's specifically praying for 20 salvations to happen! I've learned to not only pray, but to pray BELIEVING that God can do so much more than what our tiny minds can conceive. Check out his blog at http://jameswisener.wordpress.com/ Leave him a message letting him know you're praying...and REALLY pray! :) I'm praying that the floodgates of heaven be opened!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Hip Hip Hooray!!

For those of you who have been keeping up with my GFJ (Get Fit Journey), you know that I've been right around the 75 pound mark for FOREVER! Well, guess what? I reached my third weight loss goal today! I haven't been able to go "weigh-in" for several weeks due to summer craziness, but at my weigh-in today I was down 3.8 pounds, bringing my total to...75.2!!!! It makes me want to "throw my hands up in the air, and wave 'em around like I just don't care!" Ok, enough of that...but I am excited! :) God is good. I celebrated with a "Thin Mint Blizzard" from the DQ. YUMMO! Now on to my next goal...85. :)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Meredith's Get Fit Journey - Take 7...Seeing results.

Pictures. I promised pictures for this post. So, here's a "before" my GFJ started picture and a "now" picture. I would totally be lying if I said it wasn't hard to look at the before picture. Not because I think any less of myself when I see me in that picture, but just because I realize now how "limited" I felt at this point in my life because of the extra weight that I carried. My life was good...absolutely...don't get me wrong. I laughed just as much then as I do today. :) I'm thankful to have the friends that I do, the family that I do, and the Savior that I do that supports me, loves me, sustains me and doesn't measure my worth by a number.
...this picture was taken when I lead a group of students on a mission trip to Arlington, TX.
...taken last night before Mom and I went for our walk.
My advice for this GFJ post...take pictures along the journey! Some days you won't feel like you've come very far...but seeing results helps unveil the truth that you really have!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Vacation Post!

What a wonderful time my family and I had on our annual trip to St. Simon's this past week! It was so relaxing and much needed for all of us. I'm sad my Dad couldn't make the trip with us! There were about 15 total of us this year, so it was a smaller number than usual, but still a great week. I took at least 3 naps, slept past 9 AM several mornings, played my heart out with little man Luke, soaked in the rays on the beach, went for my massage at the Aveda Day Spa (amazing!), traveled to Savannah one day with my Mom, Sister, Bro-in-law, and Luke where we had lunch at Paula Deen's restaurant ("Best Dishes From My Kitchen to Yours!"), shopped a couple days, relaxed and felt loved by my family all week! Enjoy a few pictures from our fun times together. Outside Paula's Restaurant
Yes, I wanted my picture made with The Deen Boy's...so what!
My sweet family...minus my Daddy.
My sister and me.
Luke and Kevin...Luke absolutely LOVED the beach!
Look at him..acting like he knows "what's up!".
Two of the best looking girls you'll ever see! :)
The girls and Luke with Paula. He thought she was pretty special too.
LOVE him!
Getting ready for the beach!
Down at the pier one night.

Luke swinging at the pier.

Not quite ready for sandcastles.
Running for the waves!
Hope you all have a great week! Thanks for letting me share!

Monday, August 4, 2008

When life gets messy, maybe you'll learn a lesson or two!

Today was my first day back to work after being away on vacation for an entire week. (BTW, vacation post with pictures coming soon!) As much as I LOVE vacation and enjoy the time off, I truly wasn't dreading going back to work today. I love the girls that I get to work alongside everyday and I really do think our doctors are the best. However, I will say this...they definitely "welcomed" me back with quite the busy day today. We were hoppin' to say the least. I like it that way though. I had some "criers" today. I had two younger, precious little boys today as patients that had to be skin tested - neither were looking at this experience as a pleasant one. One of the little boys cried so hard that he actually threw up. Not in the trash can, but instead on our carpeted patient room floor. Poor thing! All he wanted was for the testing to be over and to go home and play outside in the dirt like little boys like to do! I, myself, wanted to cry because I had to clean throw up off a carpeted floor after he left. But while I was on my gloved hands and knees, with my 409 and wet paper towels in tow, the Lord spoke. He always chooses those "messy" times to get my attention. I'm not a big fan, but whatever works. :) I realized that the reason I was cleaning up this mess was due to the fact that one sweet small boy was absolutely scared out of his mind because he didn't know what was about to take place in his little world. He knew that something was going on and that it probably wasn't a fun something. So he did what most of us do when we're in situations like that. He freaked out and somewhat lost control - hence the vomit. While I was scrubbing the floor I started to think about how I react in these kinds of "fear of the unknown" moments in my own world. Those times when I'm not sure if something is going to hurt just a little or if it's going to hurt a whole lot....or of it's even going to hurt at all. I start to lose control before I even have a chance to know the whole situation, or when the Lord is disciplining me in a certain area in life and it starts to hurt the least bit and I take off running from His correction because I'm afraid I won't be able to take the "pain". In the mind of this little boy, he wasn't mature enough to grasp hold of the fact that this testing was going to be a little uncomfortable for a few minutes. He would feel a little poking and then a lot of intense itching that he wouldn't understand at all. But in the end, once we knew the results of his test and could then best know how to treat his symptoms, he would feel so much better and be a lot less sick. We knew this, but he didn't. I am so much like this little boy! God does things in my life on occasion that scare me to death and make me want to run like crazy. He allows me to go through some "uncomfortable" moments, moments that at first make no sense to me at all. But, God in His Sovereignty, knows what the end results are to all His "testing" and pruning in my life and if I'll just stay "still" and not run like a whimp because I'm scared, He promises to build me up, "make me better", and help me look more like Him in the process. "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." (Hebrews 12:11)