Monday’s Makes Me Smile: A Long Overdue Hello


Hi there, my friends~  Happy Monday!

Anyone feel this way today?

You sure have been on my mind lately, but lots of life has been lived between the last written post and this one, and a few ministry deadlines I had pushed off until this week just kept taking up my blogging time. 😉

As you know, our firstborn went to college last week.  Actually, he’s been gone 10 days now… and I still keep expecting him to walk in the back door any minute.   He’s doing great and the “few” times we’ve talked, he’s assured me that “I’ve got this, Mom.” – so I’m trusting that he {AND JESUS} – they’ve got it!!

I have to give great props to Mississippi College for their move-in procedures!  We drove up to a host of students who met us in front of the dorm and immediately unloaded our vehicles.  It took mere minutes to get unloaded.  Unpacked: a little longer.  But this unpacking and set up was SO MUCH EASIER with a boy than with a girl, I’m assuming!  (Guess I’ll find that out next year!) haha 😉

After the dorm room set up.

And at the end of move-in day there was a prayer and dedication service where we all prayed over our students and the faculty prayed over the parents… then we all went our separate ways… wonderfully confident that our students were right where they needed to be.  It was good.  It was right.  We were so grateful that this is the next stage of our son’s life.

Though college move in day was good and hard and wonderful and right… it just about broke this mama’s heart into a million pieces.  I held it together {with the Lord’s help} until we were literally driving off of the campus and then the ugly-cry began.  It’s not that I wasn’t happy and excited for Nathan, I was just already missing his daily presence in our home and family. I was grieving for me, for us… not for him.  Many of you totally understand what I’m saying, don’t you?

But no crying anymore!  We are smiling now.   We’re all adjusting to our new normal.  Abigail is missing her brother, but learning the joys of being an only child, and enjoying her Senior year of high school. 😉  And that makes me smile!

Jer 29.11

Know what else makes me smile?  The lovely “taste” of pre-fall weather we had last week!  The days were just a touch cooler, the misquotes weren’t swarming as ferociously, and we could be outside for more than a few minutes without breaking a sweat!  (Never mind that this week it’s back up in the 90’s, hot, and muggy again here… – I’m still smiling over last week’s weather!)


It’s also time for PUMPKIN everything!!!  YAY!!!  Abigail made our first batch of Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins this past week and they were SO yummy!  Our first fall food!  The recipe is here.

Pumpkin EVERYTHING – that makes me smile the biggest!!!  (I’m bribing myself to get my house under control this week so I can decorate for fall..  Wonder if that will work?)

Coffee.  Coffee always makes me smile – so do these coffee pics sent to me by a few friends:

 

 

Yep – that morning smell of coffee definitely makes me smile.

But most of all, my friends, the consistent presence of the Lord… that’s what makes my heart smile, even in the midst of tears, of weakness, of sickness, of sorrow, of loneliness, of stress, and of need.  We are never alone, and God’s love toward us never changes… no matter what!

“For I am the Lord, I do not change; that is why you… are not consumed.”  Mal.3:6 (AMP)


May each of us embrace the Lord today and cling to His presence in every circumstance, so that no matter what happens, He can keep grounded in Him, and then He will make us smile. :-)

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A Call to God’s Word

Word of the Day. An encouraging word from God's Word. SmellingCoffee.com
Twenty years ago today will always be a special “Spiritual Marker” kind of day with Jesus and me. I remember it so well because it was my 27th birthday, and the Lord awoke me that morning with a strong call to come away with Him and spend the majority of my day soaking in His Word. It was August 18, 1995. James and I had been married for just a few short years, and we living across the street from where we served in our first full time ministry church, Stithton Baptist Church in Radcliff, KY (right outside of Ft. Knox, KY). At that time we had no children, and I was quite ill.

I remember exactly where I sat and can still recall the feel of my journal paper under my hand as I wrote and wrote that day. God would speak through His Word, and I would record what He said, respond in written prayer, then read more, record more, respond more… and on and on we went. We broke for lunch, and then around 3 PM we had to wrap it up so I could get ready for a birthday dinner.

As I was packing up the nest of papers and books and Bibles (remember – there was no Biblegateway.com and Biblos.com back then – haha!) that I had made that day, I sensed the Lord say in my spirit something like this:

Every chance you get, come to me. Soon your life will have very few days where you will have the luxury of spending full days like this immersed in my Word just for fun, and you will have to live for years to come on what we are building together right now. Come to Me every spare moment you have over the next year, and I will fill and prepare you for the busy days ahead.

That was 20 years ago today. And that’s exactly what I did. I spent as much time as I could soaking in Jesus and His Word. At the time, I had what I can now see was a gift – a debilitating illness that often kept me home-bound, couch-bound, or sometimes bed-bound. That illness gifted me with time in God’s Word… and as usual, He was right!

By the next August 18, even though I was still sick, I was great with child (Nathan), six weeks away from my due date, and already my life had sped up too much for me to spend the full day soaking in God’s Word.

In fact, I’ve not had a full day in God’s Word “just for fun” {without seeking Him for a certain purpose or study reason} like that 1995 birthday since. It was one of the most special birthdays of my life.

{Now, I can imagine that by now, I’m about to lose some of you, if I haven’t already. “Who has all day to read the Bible?” “I wish I had all day to stay home and study God’s Word!” etc. I get it. I totally do… but please read on!!}

What I learned that day twenty years ago is that It isn’t the amount of time that you have to give to fellowship with Jesus through God’s Word – it’s that you give Him the time you DO have.

In that 1995-96 year I had extra empty time… no children, too sick to work outside the home… lots of down time in the bed or on the couch… God asked for whatever time I had, and I gave it to Him, and He built something in me that He’s been adding to and using to sustain me for the past 20 years.

Fast forward to 2000/2001. Two preschoolers, a healed and active body (PTL!!), a husband whose job takes him around the country teaching and helping other churches (bringing some part time single parenting into the mix) while actively serving in our church, writing, and traveling/speaking once a month.

All of this = No. Extra. Time. No day to spend “just for fun” with Jesus as I gently basked in His Word with my cup of coffee and little else to occupy my mind. In fact, for many of these preschool days, my extra time with Jesus was stolen time I would find while my children were occupied and I would run hide UNDER MY BED with a Bible and notebook!  Not joking!

It isn’t the amount of time that you have to give to fellowship with Jesus through God’s Word – it’s that you give Him the time you DO have.

It had become a blessed habit early on to begin my day with Jesus, acknowledging His presence and supremacy over my life, bowing myself before Him, putting on my armor, thanking God for specific blessings, confessing my sins, eating a bite of His Word, and praying it over my loved ones… but this is like eating a bite of peanut butter first thing in the morning in lieu of a full and healthy breakfast. It will sustain, but sometimes the body needs more. So does the soul.

As I’ve moved through each season of these past 20 years, I’ve realized that the message God impressed upon my soul so long ago was both a gift and a warning. Time is fleeting. And we need Jesus. And we need God’s Word.

Whether we are in a fast-paced season of life or a slower one, there are a gazillion options pulling at our “extra time” – but only one of these options is divinely created to fill us and re-energize us for everything else we do. That is the offer and the pleading of the Father to come and eat of God’s Word.

It isn’t the amount of time that you have to give to fellowship with Jesus through God’s Word – it’s that you give Him the time you DO have.

Twenty years later, I can testify to the sustaining energy and life joy that can come ONLY through this time in God’s Word. Among multiple other gifts and blessings, God sends forth His Word and heals our hearts and minds (Psalm 107:20), counsels us (Ps. 119:24), revives and stimulates us (Ps. 119:25), raises us up and strengthens us (Ps. 119:28), gives us hope (Ps. 119:43), helps us walk in freedom (Ps. 119:45), gives life (Ps. 119:50), comforts us (Ps. 119:52), teaches us (Ps. 119:66), makes us wise (Ps. 119:98), and brings us Peace (Ps. 119:165).

Who doesn’t need this?

It isn’t the amount of time that you have to give to fellowship with Jesus through God’s Word – it’s that you give Him the time you DO have.

Remember, Jesus is the One who took five rolls and two little fishes and fed the five thousand with them… It’s not your TIME that He needs in order to feed you through His Word. He simply wants you to come, sit down with Him and His Word for a minute or two… and share a Meal (more sustaining than physical food) with Him each day.

It isn’t the amount of time that you have to give to fellowship with Jesus through God’s Word – it’s that you give Him the time you DO have.

This is His calling upon my life – to beg others – to beg you, my dear friends – to join Jesus at His table and to eat of His Word, so that YOU can walk with Jesus intimately, enjoying the blessings of the Father’s passionate love for you, and the freedom to wholly trust Him with every big and little thing in and around your life.

It IS possible, if we will simply come.

It isn’t the amount of time that you have to give to fellowship with Jesus through God’s Word – it’s that you give Him the time you DO have.

Below is a simple method I often use when reading through passages of Scripture. SOAPping the Scriptures brings them alive where they become an applicable part of every day life.

I like to start in a book of the Bible and “SOAP” my way through it, a few verses at a time. You can do this according to how much time you have to read the Word – but don’t rush through your reading just to get to a certain point. I read until the topic changes (or where I would imagine a paragraph change, since my Bible isn’t laid out that way), or where I sense the Lord lead me to stop.

A good place to start would be Psalm 119. Just soaking in some wonderful truths about God’s Word and applying them to your life would be a super way to jump-start this process.

After that, the books of John, James, Philippians, Psalms or Proverbs would be good choices to SOAP your way through. {I’m in the book of Acts right now and am learning SO much that applies to today… and leave my time in the Word energized and feeling less hopeless about our world and more ready than ever to see and be a part of the Kingdom of God coming on this earth as it is in Heaven!}

That’s the “S” part, then I go through these “OAP” steps, recording them in my journal. (How much you record is totally up to you – however, I would encourage you to write down at least the S and the A – just one sentence so you’ll have a running list of where you are and what God is teaching you through His Word.)

The SOAP method is below this post.

It isn’t the amount of time that you have to give to fellowship with Jesus through God’s Word – it’s that you give Him the time you DO have.

This post is long, and I apologize for that, but it will probably be silent for another stretch of days – so come back and read as you can. We are packing Nathan and taking him to college on Saturday. I’ve put off a lot of things until this week is completed, including lots of blog posts! 😉 But you’ve been often on my mind.

Oh my sweet friends… if there was one thing I could give you on this day, it would be the heart of obedience to always respond with a “YES” answer to come when God calls you to steal away with Him for a few minutes in His Word. I’m still learning this consistent, non-delayed obedience myself. Oh what a difference it would make in our lives if we would give Him what little time we do have and come away with Him when He calls!

I’m praying for all of us to love God AND His WORD more and more as each day passes. I sure do love you and thank God for a group of readers who keep coming back to SmellingCoffee.com on a consistent basis.

“Your words were found, and I ate them;
and Your words were to me a joy and the rejoicing of my heart,
for I am called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts.”
Jeremiah 15:16 (AMP)

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What is S.O.A.P.?

S.O.A.P. stands for Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer. It is a way of getting more out of your time in God’s word. We did not invent it, we just decided to make a website to make it easier to do. {Jennifer here: You can do this on your computer with this website, or on a plain piece of paper you keep folded up in your Bible.  Something for everyone.  The method will work beautifully both ways!}

How does it work?
It’s quite simple. When you sit for your daily quiet time read the bible as you normally would with one simple difference. Underline or make note of any verses that jump out at you with special significance. This is the basis for diving deeper and using S.O.A.P.

Now comes the cool part. Login and create a new SOAP entry. There are four fields to fill in and I bet you can guess what they are:

Scripture
Type in the verse or verses that stuck out to you in your reading. You can show the verses and even have them read to you with the click of a button. No copying and pasting blocks of text.

Observation
What did you observe about the scripture that struck you. This can be one sentence or a whole book.

Application
How can you apply the observation so that it affects your life today.

Prayer
Write out a prayer to God based on what you just learned and ask him to help you apply this truth in your life.

Thats all there is to it!
(From SOAPstudy.com – they didn’t invent this method, but made a website about it and have a mobile app making it easy to use this method on your phone.)

 

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Monday’s Makes Me Smile – It’s either that or cry! ;-)

Monday's Makes Me Smile SmellingCoffee.com

Some of you know exactly what I mean – and are feeling the very same way right now! 😉 This is a big season of life change in our home.  Abigail is (and many of my friends’  children are) beginning her senior year of High School today.

Last “First Day of School” in the Walker family… Abigail’s Senior year, and her very first time EVER to pose for the “official pic” & leave for school without her brother by her side. #Godhasgoodplansforher

And I know of lots of us who are sending our first borns (or last borns) off to college this week and the next… and we are finding ourselves in that daze stage where we are in the middle of the joyful prep, then think about what we are really doing… then catch ourselves staring… then tears pool in the eyes… then we have to shake it off, remembering that this is right and good… say a prayer for our child’s future, then switch to thankful-mode for this stage and this child and get back to making the college preparations. {Those of you have walked this path before know exactly what I mean… right?}

So to lighten the mood a bit, I thought I’d put together a few funny pictures depicting this stage of life. Because my son is the one leaving this year, these are about boys and their moms… but maybe all of us can get a chuckle from them. 😉

 

This is still the best:

Old Spice Mom Song


Click here if you can’t see the video.

This isn’t funny at all… but isn’t it true? (Cue the tears)

But here is a good piece of advice: Now, if you can’t get a speedy text reply from your son, maybe you can try this method:


And always, this is the truth: haha

Oh, our children… among the thousands of other hopes and prayers we have for you, we definitely wish for you these two things:
Number One:

And Number Two: We hope you’ll always remember to do this –

haha!

And in the mean time, we’ll all be holding it together for the next 12 days and:


True??!

But seriously… I joke about this, and while there are those emotional melt downs going on both in my head and in real life… the Lord has been reminding me that my focus must continue to remain ON JESUS – and NOT ON ME!  This is the only way these changing days ahead will be navigated with wisdom, peace, and joy.

When I look at “my loss” or “my change” or “my anything” then I become merely a self-centered and self-focused mom who is managing her family and home with an “all about me” mindset that serves no one but myself.  This is not about me.  This is about the new stage in our children’s lives and all God has planned to do in and through them.  These days ahead should be filled with joy over what God has set before them – and us.

So mamas… let’s get out from under the covers, take our eyes off of ourselves and set them back on Jesus and His Word, and march into the changing days in front of us as the women of valor God has created us to be.  Many have gone before us, and many will follow.  This is our time.  We can do this.  It’s our calling, and we will go forth in the JOY and the Strength of the Lord Jesus Christ!

Hebrews 12:1-3
The Voice (VOICE)

12 So since we stand surrounded by all those who have gone before,an enormous cloud of witnesses, let us drop every extra weight, every sin that clings to us and slackens our pace, and let us run with endurance the long race set before us.

We may feel alone, but we aren’t. We are surrounded by an army of witnesses. They have run the race of faith and finished well. It is now our turn.

Now stay focused on Jesus, who designed and perfected our faith. He endured the cross and ignored the shame of that death because He focused on the joy that was set before Him; and now He is seated beside God on the throne, a place of honor.

Consider the life ofthe One who endured such personal attacks and hostility from sinners so that you will not grow weary or lose heart. 

The Voice (VOICE)The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

 

Mamas, let’s don’t grow weary and lose heart!  Let’s pray for one another and encourage one another.  I’m SO thankful for those of you who are prayer warriors for me during this stage of life, and count it a privilege to pray for you as you walk through your own jungle roads ahead.

And it’s a sweet gift to also know and remember that Jesus TOTALLY understands our “mama heart” when we feel this way… and will let us wallow in it WITH HIM for just a bit. 😉


With love and appreciation for each of you ~ (and didn’t mean to leave the men out of this one… but sometimes, the mama-hearts of us girls just have to be addressed). 😉

Happy Monday, back to school, or whatever else it is that you are doing today and this week~

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Making a little sense of the jumble… asjdkawjepr

Gal 6 4.5 msg SmellingCoffee.com Send2015

Hi there.  I have a question for you.  Have you ever had so many thoughts going on at the same time your heart and mind  – things and Truths God is doing and saying that it feels like when you are trying to put them into words they look and sound like the below? alskdf;oivawneklerndfjankdvpalke […]

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Monday’s Makes Me Smile

Lucy, the Beetle. SmellingCoffee.com

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a Monday’s Makes Me Smile!!!  It’s not because I’ve not been smiling, though, I promise!  See?       It’s mostly because Mississippi College keeps posting pictures this one below on their timeline every day (thanks a lot, MC!)… and this family has been coming and going in […]

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Are You Struggling With Sending A Child to School This Year?

Word of the Day. An encouraging word from God's Word. SmellingCoffee.com

 If so, I pray that you’ll be encouraged by this story of Moses and his mama and God’s perfect provision and protection.  Do you know anyone who is sending a precious baby off to all day Preschool or Kindergarten this year? Or to middle school? Or to high school? Or to college?  Maybe it’s you […]

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Who can know the Lord’s thoughts?

Word of the Day. An encouraging word from God's Word. SmellingCoffee.com

This summer I’ve been enjoying praising God through Romans 11:33-36 (from the New Living Translation) each morning.  Aren’t these the most praiseworthy of truths? Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways! For who can know the Lord’s thoughts?     Who knows […]

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How are you doing with your 365?

What will you do with the rest of your 365? SmellingCoffee.com

Which, btw, we have already lived 194 of them with just 171 of them left to live.  Can you believe it???   I mean… It’s already Christmas in July on the Hallmark channel! 😉 My calendar book was a MESS and needed a total make-over, so {never mind that my house was, too} as any […]

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