Tuesday, February 28, 2012

To me, you are perfect

This is from one of my favorite movies Love Actually. I think I may have Patrick get his picture made with a sign like this. I am blessed to have a husband who really does think this. So why can't I say this to myself?
Unfortunately, I am bombarded by the images of what the world says is perfect. Believe me, I in no way measure up. I don't think I did even before I sacrificed my body for the team and had three children. If I didn't before, there no way I can measure up now. No matter how consistently I work out and eat right, I am faced with a body that only surgery (and thousands of dollars) can fix.
And because I don't measure up to these standards that I have accepted as truth, I demean myself even more with my thoughts. When I don't see what I want to see in the mirror, say mean things to myself in my head. This self talk, as counselors would call it, extends into my interactions with others. I heard a local pastor say in a recent sermon that what you are thinking about, is what you look for and therefore, what you see. Wow! How true. What I am thinking about is how unworthy I am, so I look for and "see" confirmation of that in my relationship with others. You can't talk to me right now? You must not think I am important enough. You already have plans this weekend? You must think I am not good enough to hang out with.
Again when my thoughts betray me, I must turn to the source of truth. His word tells me that I don't need to be concerned with what the world defines as beauty. He defines beauty as those who fear Him. In Proverbs 31:30, we are told "Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised". From what I have read charm, in this verse, means form. While the world tells us that form and looks define our beauty, these are things we cannot control. Over time these things fade, no matter who you are. What we do have control over is our inner thoughts and actions towards others. This is how God's word spells out the way He defines beauty.
"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight." 1 Peter 3:4
From now on when these thoughts enter my head, I will recite these verses and turn my thoughts towards Him. I will begin to measure myself against His definition of beauty. I know that if I can do this He will be saying - Candace - to me, you are perfect.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Confession is good for the soul!

I have to confess that I am a mess. The whole put-together, happy wife and mom of three, full time teacher, got everything under control appearance is an act. I am really just an insecure and emotionally unstable wreck. This week has not been good. It has actually been horrible. I have been on the verge of tears all day, just about every day this week. I think Patrick even wondered if I was going to be okay at times. And, while I know that things will work out and nothing earth-shattering really happened, it just seems that when one thing goes wrong, some other insecurities rear their ugly heads. It is amazing how that always happens. A wave of failures and insecurities have flooded my thoughts this week. It has left me feeling lonely, invisible, unimportant, and overlooked. My prayers have gone unanswered and my feelings have remained hurt.
However, while my feelings and thoughts are real, it doesn't mean they are true. The Lord has been so faithful to me in the midst of my pain. Though my thoughts may betray me, He never will. Through this time of insecurity, I cling to the promises that He offers though his word. He sees me and He knows how I am feeling. Isaiah 49:16 says "See, I have engraved you in the palm of my hand." I am not like the things we write on our hands in pen so we won't forget, only to was it off a few hours later and then accidentily forget. No - my name doesn't wash off - I am engraved in His hand. He doesn't forget me. His word also tells me that He collects my tears in a bottle in Psalm 56:8. He sees my hurt and I am not walking through this alone, although I have wondered this week how big my bottle of tears must be. No matter how many times people let me down or when things don't go my way, I know that my God is walking with me and cares for me. So, when these thoughts seem to overwhelm me, I will rest of His words. They are the truth that I cling too.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

December 8, 2001

Today is the day! Candace and I were married 9 years ago today. Here's the extremely short version of how we got here. There are a lot more details, and if you want to know more stay tuned, maybe some day we'll put a "History of Us" page on here somewhere.

It all started in 1998 at the Georgia - Georgia Tech game, our unofficial first date. We had been "Friends" for some time and I wanted to ask her out, but I was too nervous to actually call this a date, so we went as "friends", but I still paid for everything and treated it like a date...but who cares now;) Fast forward to Valentine's day 2000; I asked Candace out, officially this time. Our first date was a double with David and Liz. We went to the Basil Press in Athens and then went to see Carrot Top at the Classic Center. One year later, February 14, 2001, while having a picnic (Five Points deli chicken salad!!!) I got down on my knees and washed Candace's feet, asked her to marry me and pledged to serve her like Christ served the Church. She said yes and almost 10 months later we promised to love each other 'til we are parted by death." Somehow I think I will love her longer than that though!

I am most definitely a very blessed man to be married to her. These 9 years have been absolutely amazing. At the risk of being cheesy, I will say that she makes me smile. If I am down all I have to do is look at her and God reminds me that He has good plans! It hasn't always been perfect (although there are far more highs than lows), but there is no one on the planet I would rather spend my life with (ups and downs).

In our short period of time together, God has blessed us with 3 beautiful children, and a host of wonderful friends and family. I am truly blessed and humbled to be her husband and servant. I Love Candace more today than the day we got married and I can't wait to see what the next 9 years has in store for us. Looking back at where we've come from one thing is certain, God has a plans for us and those plans are for our prosperity (Jer 29:11).

So today I am blessed and full of Hope because I see how good God has been and know how good He will be.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


I wanted to write something to describe how thankful I am for how much God has blessed me, and when I visited the blog I saw my post from July 13, 2009 (Wow, we really need to post more often!) so I decided to repost it:

In Luke 17:11-19 Jesus, heals 10 men with leprosy. Only one (the Samaritan) returns to thank Jesus, to which Jesus responds (vs. 17 & 18) "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" As I was talking to the kids about the story it hit me that I am often like the other 9, always asking for God's help, but never returning to him in thankfulness. David mentioned the same thought in his sermon on effective and fervent prayer, mentioning that we as parents are much more likely to be more generous to our children when the are thankful for and appreciative of the things they have already been given.

The problem I have is that I don't often take the time to reflect on what God has given me, so I am often forgetful of everything I have to be thankful for. Taking time to remember God's goodness can really change your mood, and its a matter of focus. God's nature doesn't change. If he has been good to us in the past he will be good to us in the future, even if we don't seem to understand it. The prophet Jeremiah tells us (29:11-14) "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.'" The lesson for me in all of this is that we can't seek with our whole heart if we can't approach with thankfulness.

So today (and hopefully everyday day after) I am THANKFUL!

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Vine Year 2

Sensational God

So at the vine we are talking about how we experience God through our senses and this morning I had an encounter. A young man in my office, Michael Sensabaugh, who was in his mid 20's passed away on Saturday morning. Needless to say, work has been strange this week as people try to reconcile their hurt, grief, shock, and anger over Michael's death.

Michael was an amazing man. I don't think I ever saw him without a smile on his face and he was always genuinely concerned about me and my family. I will truly miss the conversations we had!

Trying to deal with the grief and revelation of your own mortality is difficult, but throw in tough questions from others and it gets hard to deal with. SO I was riding the bus this morning and contemplating how to present the truth of God's love in a way that accurately represents His character and nature while still addresses people's lack of understanding and grief. While I was sitting there praying Matthew 28:20 came to my mind , "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." I admit, at first I was confused about what God was telling me, so I asked for some clarity and again God spoke to me in a song.

Tenth Avenue North was playing on my ipod, "Times" was the song. The chorus says:

i hear you say "my love is over,
its underneath, its inside, its in between
the times you doubt me, when you can't feel
the times that you've questioned 'is this for real?'
the times you've broken, the times that you mend
the times you hate me and the times that you bend
well my love is over, its underneathits inside, its in between,
these times you're healing
and when your heart breaks
the times that you feel like you've fallen from grace
the times you're hurting
the times that you heal
the times you go hungry and *are tempted* to steal
in times of confusion and chaos and pain
i'm there in your sorrow under the weight of your shame
i'm there through your heartache
i'm there in the storm
my love i will keep you by my power alone
i dont care where you've fallen, where you have been
i'll never forsake you my love never ends, it never ends

And it was clear to me...a truth I have always known. God is always with us, even when we question Him. He is big enough to handle our doubts, questions, anger, and even our moments of hate. It is specifically these times that our Faith is proven. We won't always understand why things happen but our challenge is to trust God with everything .