I hope that you have absolutely had a wonderful summer! My family and I have enjoyed every last minute of it! We have done the theme park, the swimming pool, and tons of time with friends and family. We have played until we were exhausted. Stayed outside until we were as red as lobsters. Enjoyed ice cream and cookouts and laughed in the joy of the Father. I pray the same is true for you!
All of that said I have to say that one of the most precious times we as a family had this summer was spent on a patio in the mountains of New Mexico. I was so blessed to be able to spend several days basking in the glory of the Lord and I cannot tell you what it meant to my tired, overwhelmed heart. I spent mornings worshiping and appreciating the majesty, the “big-ness” and the beauty of the Father. The Lord has ministered to me to in such a precious way this summer.
Reminding me of my first love.
I love my family.
I love my work.
But what I believe the Lord spoke to my heart in the mountains of New Mexico is, “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love”- Revelation 2:4.
Have you ever felt like I have recently felt? I love God and I have been obedient to what He has asked of me. But without realizing it, I let my obedience become my only interaction with Him. I want you to know that more than God desires our efforts, He desires our hearts. I am actively involved in handing Him my whole heart through my personal worship and quiet times spent with Him alone in our secret place. I have a long way to go, but can I tell you that He has already begun to renew my strength and to cover me with His wings?
I want to encourage you to do the same…not a legalistic act of obedience…but a relational act of worship to the only One worthy of it!
My love to you!
“Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husband and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” Titus 2:3-5
Can I just say that this scripture has not only urged me to be a good wife and mother through the years, but my faithful friends living out the admonition of this passage have talked me off the ledge, talked me out of hysterics, driven me to my knees, calmed my fears, and made me laugh until my sides ached! I am, yet again, in a season of life that my Christ-like sisters who are just a few steps ahead of me on this journey are encouraging me to keep my head up and my feet moving! Oh, how I love them!
When Brian and I were dating and preparing for marriage I had wonderful woman who gave me great advice like always keep your marriage first, don’t stress about the small things, and never stop laughing together. Then throughout pregnancies and sleepless nights with babies and toddlers, the “older women” in my life brought meals, prayed for us, and rocked colicky babies so I could sleep! The teenage years are a blur, but I can hear the many different beautiful voices of my friends saying things like enjoy every moment, don’t stop we can see the finish line, don’t take yourself so seriously, and battles are won on your knees. But I must say thinking back over the many transition points in my life, the time I have needed them most is NOW.
You see, I have three children. My oldest son, Tanner is a US Airman and his precious wife, Whitney, and my three grands live in Montana which is way too many miles from this GiGi! My son, Jake, is 18 and graduated high school in May, and my baby, Madison, is a 16-year-old high school junior. We are in the throes of transition in the Gibbs home and I am not transitioning well. In a few days, we will be taking Jake to Texas A&M where he will serve in the Corps of Cadets and further his education.
To be honest, Jake will do amazingly well. He is ready physically, academically, emotionally, and spiritually. I don’t remember the last time he needed re-directing, let alone, punishing. He is just mature, strong, and prepared. He has had victory and adversity and he has learned tough life lessons through them both. He is ready and I am not worried about him at all.
So, when the tears come (and there have been a lot of them), it isn’t out of worry or fear that we haven’t prepared him. The tears are simply because…I will miss him deeply, to the deepest part of my soul and I am not ready for this transition.
For those moms standing looking into the quickly approaching unavoidable horizon of sending a youngin off to school…I would like to share a few of the nuggets my precious friends have shared with me. Thank you, Suzanne, Cindy, my Brenda, and countless others for living reverent lives and being such an encouragement and safe place to so many of us…
- You have done a wonderful job. All the late-night runs to Walmart for the last-minute project supplies (OK, I know they assigned them 6 weeks ago but you know what I mean) and nachos at midnight so you could have some talk time…it all mattered.
- Write a note to leave with them when you say goodbye on move in day. I know we have so many things we want to say but it may be hard for the words to come in that moment. Take a little time to put your heart in writing and then leave it under their pillow.
- Make plans for the next time you will see them. It will give everyone something to look forward to and it will help with the missing.
- Set at time to talk to them each week. Texting is wonderful, but your momma’s heart is going to need to hear their voice. We can tell a lot just by their tone. 😊
- Your relationship doesn’t have to change. That one actually came from Jake. He said, “Mom just because I am not living here doesn’t mean our relationship has to change. We will always be close and you will always be my momma.”
- Tears are cleansing. Let them come. They are simply authentic love.
- There are so many beautiful things about this new season. Learn to find the beauty and wonder in it.
Well, that’s it. I will have you on my heart as the Gibbs family faces what lies just days ahead. We can do this!! I will leave you one last thing Jake said to me during one of my many…well you know, emotional moments…“Momma, breathe. You have done a great job. Now it is time for me to do mine.”
I was so thankful to be a part of Trinity Fellowship Church’s 2017 Exchange Fest last week. Here is the conclusion of what I believe God had to say to these powerful students! If you missed Part One, find it here.
I was saved. I had also been baptized. Jesus had given me authority. But, I did not have power, because I had not waited for the baptism of the Holy Spirit, as a matter of fact, I had not waited for it or asked for…I was afraid of it and didn’t want any part of it. So, I had authority. Jesus had given me a job to do right, go and make disciples, tell people about Me. The problem was that I had no power to do that.
I ALSO HAD NO POWER OVER THE ENEMY. I HAD NO POWER OVER THE GIANTS IN MY LIFE.
So…I struggled. The giants in my life were whoopin’ me….
I was afraid. I was shy. I was awkward and insecure. I made the wrong kinds of friends trying to fit in. I compromised. I dated guys I shouldn’t have. I had sex before I was married. I drank. I fought with my parents. I was a complete wreck.
I was a Christian, I had been saved and baptized. Jesus had given me the deposit of the Holy Spirit in my life. He had given me authority…
BUT, I HAD NO POWER.
Remember what Acts 1:8 says “But you will receive power with the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses.” David is one of my favorite heroes in the Bible. Saul was the first King of Israel and Samuel was the prophet. Samuel heard the voice of the Lord. (Remember Samuel grew up sleeping in front of the Ark of the Covenant or the presence of God.) The Lord told Samuel it was time to anoint a new King and to go to the house of Jesse in Bethlehem. So, Samuel tells Jesse that the Lord will anoint one of his son’s as king to bring all of them before him. (1 Samuel 16: 6 – 13) So, the Spirit of the Lord comes on David in power and he is anointed to be the next King of Israel…what did he do next? He goes back to tending the sheep. He goes back to just being in the presence of the Lord and listening for His voice.
However, David’s brothers go and serve in Saul’s army.
Remember Goliath? The Philistine Giant over 9 feet tall? For 40 days, he comes out and mocks the Israelites and he mocks God. The Israelites are terrified of him. David shows up one day to take some food to his brothers and he hears Goliath…and he is offended by Goliath’s attacks on God. Who is this guy that he should defy the armies of the living God? (1 SAMUEL 17:32 – 37) We all know what happens, with stones and a slingshot this young man defeats the giant. David was a kid! But he was a boy with POWER…because the Holy Spirit was ON him!
So, what is the baptism of the Holy Spirit? (Acts 19:1-7) Paul came upon a group of men who had accepted Christ. And he asked them, “have you received the baptism in the Holy Spirit?” They didn’t even know what anything about the Holy Spirit…he laid hands on them and they received the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
What did it take when you accepted Christ for you to be water baptized? All it took is for you to say, maybe I don’t understand all the significance of being dipped in water, but that is what the Lord says for me to do…so out of obedience, you are water baptized. There is absolutely nothing different to being baptized in the Holy Spirit. The word clearly says…when you are baptized with the Holy Spirit you will receive power…you will experience the Presence of God…he will change your perspective, your passion and the level of your power.
All you must do is out of obedience say…I want to be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
So, remember the jar from the Part 1 blog? Once we are saved, the Holy Spirit lives IN us…sometimes He pours Himself ON us.
I then had a young man come up to the stage. I asked him, “Have you accepted Jesus? He has saved you…given you the deposit of the Holy Spirit to live in you and given you Authority. Have you been baptized in water? Great. Are you ready to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit? For His holy spirit to come on you in POWER?”
LISTEN TO ME…YOU HAVE GIANTS IN YOUR LIFE…YOU NEED HIS POWER TO OVERCOME THEM.
Jesus has saved you and forgiven you. He has given you purpose, calling, and authority. Now, it is time to receive the power necessary to be who He has called you to be. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to pour Himself ON you.
Power and authority: Luke 9:1-6, John the Baptist “I baptize you into repentance in water, he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire”
Moses to commission: Joshua Numbers 27:18
Jesus gave authority to his disciples: Matthew 10:1
Great commission: Matthew 28:16
All authority nothing will harm you: Luke 10:19
Last week I had the great privilege to speak to a group of amazing youth as a part of TFC Exchange Fest. I wanted to share with you a little bit about what I shared with them on Thursday night…
- I believe that you are the generation that changes the world. I believe that you are the generation that changes the world. I am expecting you to be the generation that changes that world.
- You are called to greatness. The Lord has given His angels charge of you, He goes before and behind you, He has prepared good works in advance for you to do.
- Are you tired of the things people say about your generation? Are you tired of just getting by? Just hit the lowest mark possible…don’t become addicted to drugs, don’t have sex, stay under the radar…just hit the lowest expectations set?
- I am sick to death of that…of Christ followers settling for barely getting by…
The night before a youth pastor from TFC, Pastor Austin, reminded us to Refuse the Sidelines…to get in the game.
I want you to be world changers, to be who He has called you to be, to believe that He can accomplish his plans and purposes through you, to trust that He has written a beautiful story for you and for you to truly see the miraculous.
For so long adults and leaders have focused on the sidelines…stay away from the edge, don’t fall off in this ditch or that ditch…we have told you how to avoid the sidelines…but Exchange Fest is about teaching you how to a powerful part of the team! How to play your position.
LET’S FOCUS ON THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN OUR LIVES.
I want you to understand that our relationship with God and every aspect of it is dependent on us individually purposefully pursuing the PRESENCE OF GOD.
What we are after is the Presence of God…because when we are in His Presence our perspective, our passion and the degree of our power changes.
Let’s think about people who truly understood the staying in the Presence of God:
- Moses – Would go into the tent of meeting to meet with God and when he would come out even His countenance had changed and his face looked what because he had seen the glory of the Lord
- Joshua – would linger there, he did not leave the tent Exodus 33:11
- Paul – Saw Jesus on the road to Damascus and was never the same
- Samuel – slept in front of the Ark of the Covenant (1Samuel 3:3) What did the Ark of the Covenant represent?
SAMUEL heard the Lord calling His NAME…
CAN YOU HEAR IT!?!
ALL OF US WHO HAVE ACCEPTED CHRIST AS OUR SAVIOR, HAVE HEARD THE HOLY SPIRIT SPEAKING TO OUR HEARTS.
I accepted Jesus when I was 5 years old, because I knew and understood that the Holy Spirit came to live in my heart. I was baptized in water because I knew that was the first step in my relationship with Jesus. But, I understood absolutely nothing about Holy Spirit and, frankly, He was a little weird and spooky to me. I thought that people who spent time focused on the Holy Spirit were super strange and I wanted nothing to do with that. I did not want to be embarrassed.
So, when I was 5 and I accepted Jesus…or you think about when you accepted Christ. HERE IS WHAT HAPPENED TO US…
- Sin separated us from the presence of God. The word tells us that we have all sinned and fallen short of his glory. Thus, the need for a savior. Jesus died for our sins and put us in position to again have relationship with the Father.
- Ephesians 1:13: “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of His glory.”
**So, say you filled a jar and sealed it up…this would represent when you accept Jesus as your Savior, the Holy Spirit lives IN you and you are sealed.
If Jesus is your Savior, you have the Holy Spirit in you. When we accept Jesus as our Savior…then we are given AUTHORITY.
So, after Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected, let me tell what he told is followers…Matthew 28:18 “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and Son and Holy Spirit.” Then He tells them in Acts 1:4 “Do not leave Jerusalem but wait for the gift my Father promised which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized in water but in a few days, you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” And verse 8 says “But you will receive power with the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses.”
So basically, Jesus is saying…I have given you all authority…now go to Jerusalem and wait for the baptism in the Holy Spirit because when He comes on you, you will receive what…. POWER!
THAT IS WHAT I WAS LACKING…POWER.
To be continued…Click here for Part 2!
What we know is that this culture is drowning. We also know that we know the One Who stands above the waves. Can you see Him? Do you want to reach for Him and walk with Him? It’s no easy task and it might make your teen feel left out (God calls that “set apart” by the way). Your teens are MORE than conquerors. They CAN make a difference in their culture.
Here is what a few parents had to say about the Rescue Parenting Seminar:
“Thank you so much for helping equip parents! The most helpful thing for me was the encouragement to set our own standards and not waver. We will look different than families around us. It is discouraging at times to be different. It was a great reminder that the things we do that are counter cultural matter…a lot. I found the insights on homosexuality interesting and helpful. The illustration that our teens are not meant to just tread water but walk on it and influence others was impactful. Set the bar high! This seminar helped us understand more about the culture our kids are growing up in, and we felt more equipped to help them through conversations, prayer, and setting parameters.”
“So very blessed to be able to attend the seminar! I have shared many amazing (and scary) facts with parents already. I will send many friends to attend in the future! As a parent, the encouragement that Candy shared was amazing. I would have a hard time picking a favorite thing because it was all very helpful and usable information! Loved the “Treading Tips”. Parents definitely want quick, easy, usable tips to put into action.”
I know we have all likely heard it before, but we have certainly thought it…Parenting is hard.
Amidst all of the laundry, the dishes, trips to the grocery store or doctor’s office, sporting events, spelling tests, school plays, and sibling arguments, we are commissioned to raise these little people to be productive members of society who bring honor to the King. We worry about them not fitting in and we worry about them fitting in. We want them to be “different” but we don’t want them to be left out. We want them to be modest, but hip. We want them to be bold, yet submissive.
We want them to be what God has called them to be…and at some point, we feel very responsible to make that happen.
What we must realize is that it is not we ourselves who can accomplish this, but it is the Holy Spirit in us.
“’Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord.” Zechariah 4:6
I can put my finger on the moment that I realized that I am really not in control of my children. That when it all boils down, they make their own choices and there are few things that I can make them do. As parents we present the same deal to our children that God presents to us, “I’ve set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life…” Deuteronomy 30:19. And, oh, how we hope they choose life!
But, have you ever thought about your parenting as your sacrificial worship to the Father? When I began to view my role as a mother as an opportunity to shower my worship upon the Father, it changed my approach almost overnight. I don’t make parental decisions based on trying to control my children anymore. I don’t do things so that my children won’t do anything that will embarrass me. I still struggle and am certainly not operating perfectly in this new knowledge. But, what I can tell say is that now my parenting is about my relationship with the Father. I take very seriously the fact that He has entrusted these amazing people to Brian and me. When we make decisions about the things they can participate in and those they can’t or when we decide the details of curfews or influences in their lives…it is truly about what the Lord would have us do.
That is certainly not easy, because often times, we do things differently than some families we know and that is perfectly fine. But, we do our very best to make decisions that glory the Father and protect our children.
I am not responsible for their choices. But, I am responsible for mine and I don’t want to let peer pressure or my own ego affect my children. I want them to be permanently affected by a Holy God who they seek diligently. That is success in my book.
“Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith. Grace be with you.” 1 Timothy 6:20
I don’t think there is a scripture that more closely represents the prayer I pray for us (parents) each day. The Father has entrusted nothing more precious to us than our children. And I can promise you, if there were ever a day when they needed to be guarded it is now. Some days I am completely overwhelmed and fight fear and anxiety because of the simply evil culture that our children must endure. On other days, I am so grateful to the Lord for allowing me a balcony seat. You know sometimes an overlooking viewpoint allows us a bird’s eye view over the entire situation. When you can see all the parties at work, often times the schemes of the enemy are easy to discern.
Even that statement almost brings a tear to my eye. There was a time when the enemy had to hold his cards close and “play the game” so to speak. He had to be cunning and sneaky so as not to be found out. Today, he mustn’t work nearly as hard. He is blatant, unapologetic, and in our faces. And, if we think he is in our face as adults, it would blow your mind to see what he is throwing at our kids.
Guard what has been entrusted to your care. I won’t go into the list of statistics regarding porn, sex, drugs, drinking, or the lack of faith, conviction and morality this generation experiences. Suffice it to say, as parents, we are obligated to know the temptations our children face, and train them up in the way they should go. Arm them with the armor of God. Teach them of His marvelous works. Equip them to make an impact for the Kingdom. Teach them to guard their hearts. Help them to learn to wield their swords. Because at the end of the day, He entrusted them to us…and His instruction, “guard what I have entrusted to your care.”
I am praying for us all.
I am so thankful for families like yours who are committed to serving a Savior who is thrilling, loving, and gentle. I have been reading a book called Your God Is Too Safe, by Mark Buchanan. In this book, Buchanan reminds us of a quote from the movie “Narnia.” Susan asks if Aslan is safe. The response is, “”Course he isn’t safe. But He’s good.”
This is so true about our King. He will ask us to do things that scare us to death, that push us to the edge of who we think we are, that we never dreamed we would try…but He knows that He has placed eternity in our hearts, that we desire more, that we want to see Him move, and that those things which scare us are the very things that make the hair on the backs of our necks stand up! Maybe safe is our enemy – let’s ask God for a thrilling ride through this life…fact is, we are safe when we ride with Him!
If you would give me the privilege, I would like to pray over you and your families in much the same fashion I as I do in my office each morning…
“How awesome are your ways, O God. I thank you for each of these families who journey with us. I thank you, God, that you have much to teach us and that you gave sweet nuggets to each of our children, all their own. God, I now ask that you would go with them. I thank you, Lord, that your Word tells us that you go before and behind them, that you give your angels charge over them, that you hide them under your wing. Lord, we feel so hemmed in and protected. I thank you, Lord. God, I ask that you would cover them all with your full armor. Give them, Lord, a helmet of salvation to remind them what you have done for them, that we are a people who needed a Savior. Lord, thank you for a belt of truth that will bring them balance and stability as they step out into your purpose. God, I thank you for a huge shield of faith that will protect them from every fiery dart of the enemy. God, I ask that when the enemy sees them, all he would see is their giant shield of faith, and that he would be reminded of the mighty God that we serve. Lord, I thank you for the sword of the Spirit, your Word, that is our weapon…I thank you for your truth. Lord, we do not shrink back – we press forward. We want to continue to take ground for your Kingdom and we will not fear. Lord, I pray for favor and influence over each of these families. They are the head and not the tail; they are leaders with a mission: to draw people to you.
How we love you, Father, and how we love the children you have given to us. God, I ask you that we would make good use of the time you have given us with them. Remind us to number our days and help us to take each one of them seriously. Lord, protect them, guide them, and thrill them.
Lord, I will never be able to thank you for all that you are to me. Only you and I know, Father, the many steps we have walked together…but your faithfulness and your truth are life to me. Lord, thank you for all that lies ahead. Oh, how I love you! In the name of your precious Son and my Great King, Jesus…Amen!”
All my love,
Through the ministry of CareNet, we have a good handle on the pulse of the culture. Our children are exposed to things many of us did not know until well into adulthood. Our teens face peer pressure unmatched in previous generations. Our families are under attack and fighting to maintain ground as they stand for the values established in the Word. The world is lost, hurting, and starving…not only physically, but spiritually. It can be overwhelming. It can invoke fear…fear for the lost and hurting, but fear for our own children and families as well.
This overwhelming fear can make one feel like heading off to a far away cave, can’t it? I was in that vein of thought when the Lord reminded me of Elijah. Elijah had just proven God true and mighty to the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel when Jezebel declared that she would kill him. Fear. Elijah ran and hid in a cave.
The Lord came to Elijah and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” The Word tells us…the Almighty spoke those words in a “gentle whisper”.
We have the privilege to minister to “cave dwelling” women, teens and families each new day. The fear of the out of control, unknown of their situations has sent them running to hide. Brings tears to my eyes to recount in my mind the many times I have heard that gentle whisper… “There is a better way.” “I will never leave you or forsake you.” “I will draw you to the wilderness to love you.” “You are Mine.” And then watched as those gentle words pierced the heart of a hurting beloved child of the Most High with power, in an instance making crooked places straight.
Funny to me that in our fear and uncertainty, it is a gentle whisper that we truly need. Only He can speak in a whisper and bring life to dead things. Only He can enter the scene in a manger on a silent night, and change eternity for all generations. Only He can calm our fears and charge us to do great exploits for the Kingdom. Only He…
I’m sorry for the inconvenience, but this event has been cancelled. We will let you know when the fall Women’s Retreat will be! I hope you can come!
Please join us!
Sunday, July 23rd 2-8pm
CareNet Center City, 1501 S Taylor Street
$25, Study materials, snacks, & dinner included.
We will explore God’s truth through Christine Caine’s “Undaunted” with videos and discussion. Don’t miss this one-day study as we “dare to do what God calls us to do.”
I’d love to see you there,