Posted by: amyedwards | March 24, 2010

Do as I say … Not as I do

This morning, I received a phone call from a parent of a child in Noah’s class.  This child and Noah are best buddies, but it appears that they have exchanged a few cross words and some name-calling lately.  The parent was more than gracious about it and basically just wanted to make me aware of it before things get any worse.  Apparently there are some jealousy issues between the 3 best friends where 2 gang up on 1.  Each of the 3 have taken their turn being the victim, but feelings are still hurt.  To sum it up, they are acting like little girls!  Anyway, the parents are now all aware of what is happening and have all agreed to handle it appropriately.

Later today I went to the school to try and fly a kite with Colby’s class.  When I entered his classroom, three different adults felt the need to greet me with statements like, “Why is Noah in the principal’s office?”  or “What did Noah do this time?” or “Did you see Noah?”  Apparently, the school got involved and decided to talk to the boys about the problems their jealousy conflicts were creating for the classroom.  I can completely understand that.  After all, the school office had no idea that the parents had already discussed things and would get it under control.  My greeting was what ate at me all afternoon!  The more I thought about it, the more irritated I became.  And I’ll stop now before I get worked up again:)

I have been trying to decide how best to handle this situation with Noah when he gets home today.  Because he was guilty of saying unkind things and calling names, I had decided that he would spend a few minutes studying/writing “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.”  While I was repeating the verse to myself while trying to find where it is located, the Holy Spirit spoke to me and showed me that maybe I need to spend a few minutes studying/writing this scripture too.

Noah’s words may not have been pleasing to the Lord, but my mediation on the situation isn’t either.  Seems we’ll both be disciplined this afternoon!

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Posted by: amyedwards | March 22, 2010

Sunday Stirrings – Plunder

Sunday Stirrings

A few weeks ago in my quiet time, I studied Luke 11:14 -23 – specifically verses 21 and 22. “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his estate, his possessions are secure. But when one stronger than he attacks and overpowers him, he takes from him all his weapons he trusted in, and divides up his plunder.” The parallel is that Satan is the strong man and God is the One who is stronger, ultimately victorious, and divides up the plunder.

The question was asked, “How has Satan stolen from you and intended to harm you?” “What plunder did you receive from that when God was victorious?”  Given that I was studying this particular lesson on the week of my 15th wedding anniversary, I knew the answer to both of these questions immediately.

My marriage has not always been as wonderful as it is today.  It had a rocky start and some really tough times early on.  There was a point when we admitted to one another that we never should have gotten married – that we were not part of God’s perfect will for our lives.  We liked each other and even loved each other, but not as God intended for us to.  There were numerous times that Satan sought to kill, steal and destroy us individually and as a couple.  Only by God’s grace, some marriage counseling, family, and a commitment to our vows did we survive during those first few years.  But survival doesn’t necessarily equal happiness.  Fortunately, as time passed, we matured.  We grew closer to one another and thought we were happy.  Life seemed to be pretty good.  It was around this time that we went through fertility problems for three-and-a-half long years!  Our issues were labeled “unexplained infertility” but God knew His explanation and thru many tears, He revealed it to us.  I believe it was originally a consequence to sin and then His sovereignty and perfect timing.  When we thought our marriage was strong enough for children, He knew better.  We needed to endure together the stress that came with infertility.  Trust me, it was hard!  That kind of stress, emotions, and hormones brought about a whole new level of problems in our marriage.  But it also eventually brought about a full dependence on God.  We survived those difficult years and in God’s perfect timing, after our full surrender, He blessed us with children.

Probably from the years of 2001 to 2007, we seemed pretty happy.  We had our ups and downs, but we seemed to be in a good spot.  It was in 2007 that my relationship with the Lord began to grow.  As I grew closer to the Lord, I realized my marriage wasn’t all that it needed to be.  During a series by our pastor on “Besetting Sins” and a simultaneous study by Beth Moore called “Breaking Free”, I came to realize that there were things that I had not forgiven my husband for.  Things that happened before we even married!  But I also recognized that there were things I had not forgiven myself for.  I had asked God’s forgiveness for past mistakes, and I knew He had forgiven me.  But I had not forgiven myself.  I survived under a blanket of guilt but it weighed me down.  I came home that night and told Chanch that I forgave him.  I asked his forgiveness for my inadequacies, and he forgave me.  But even harder than that, I forgave myself.  I told Satan that I would no longer allow him to use my past as a weapon against me.  He would no longer have the freedom to guilt me with forgiven sins.  My chains were gone!

Since that time, I seriously can’t begin to tell you the changes that took place in my marriage.  We are truly happy now!  We don’t always see eye to eye, but we’ve learned how to fight!  We love each other more than anything, and even better – we are best friends.  There is no one I would rather spend time with than my sweet husband.  And I know he feels the same!  We have 3 beautiful children and 15 years of marriage behind us.  We are both closer in our individual walks with the Lord than we had ever been, and we encourage each other to grow closer.  And the man who once regretted marrying me just gave me his mother’s wedding set as a renewed commitment of his love for me.

Satan intended evil against me.  And I gave him plenty of footholds (weapons) with which to do it.  But, “Greater is HE that is in me than he that is in the world.”  My God was victorious and He not only brought me freedom, He blessed me with the plunder!

Visit Jodi at Fruit Inspection for more Sunday Stirrings and feel free to share what God is teaching you.

Posted by: amyedwards | March 16, 2010

More than Diamonds

The wedding ring is a symbol of unity with, love for and commitment to your spouse.  It is a representation of  love that has no beginning and no end, a circle of trust.  Gold, silver, platinum or titanium matters not.  Big, little, diamonds, or solid band  makes no difference – the sentiment remains the same.

Numerous times within my 15 year marriage, Chanch has discussed the option of getting me a new wedding ring.  I must admit, my answer wavered.  I mean, what girl doesn’t like new diamonds?  But I’m also very sentimental.  There’s something about that first wedding ring.  Maybe it isn’t as big as some of my friends’ rings, but it represents where we were and what he could afford when he first asked me to marry him.  It carries memories with it.

On the night of our 15th anniversary, we were at a romantic dinner, listening to the band play quiet love songs.  Just before dessert, Chanch asked me if I wanted to slow dance with him.  I recognized the song as “Looks Like We Made It” by Barry Manilow and commented on how appropriate that song was for our night.  Little did I know Chanch had previously arranged it all with the band.  At the close of the song, Chanch went down on one knee, held out a ring box, and proceeded to ask me, “If you were able to do it all over, would you marry me again?”  I, of course, was crying and replied, “Yes, a million times over.”  We kissed and the entire restaurant broke out in applause.  He asked me to open the box and inside was a beautiful diamond wedding ring.  I was so enamored by everything happening, that I didn’t notice it’s significance.  He then told me that my new ring was his mother’s wedding ring.  Now, I was squalling!  I slipped the ring onto my finger, replacing my original ring, and spent the rest of the evening wondering how I could be so blessed.

This ring is so much more than diamonds to me.  It represents, first and foremost, what every wedding ring represents.  But, it also represents a renewed commitment from a husband who loves and trusts me enough to entrust me with such a special family heirloom.  It represents a family that I was blessed beyond measure to marry into and their love for me in honoring me with this privilege.  This gift to me represents what must have been an obvious love that I had for my mother-in-law and she had for me, as her own daughter (Melissa) said she knew her mom would want me to have it.  How blessed I am that Melissa has one of her favored rings too, and was willing to offer Chanch this one rather than leaving it in a jewelry box not to be enjoyed.  Finally, it represents a lady, my late mother-in-law, that I loved and still love more than anyone will ever know.  I still miss her every day.  Her love and commitment to her family was obvious and they continue to carry her beautiful legacy.  I’m so fortunate to be a part of it!

I am so thankful that the man of my dreams understands me.  I could take off my original wedding set and replace it with the new one because of the sentiment it holds.  Hopefully Chanch will be able to give my original to Addilyn one day as a promise ring of her commitment to not remove it until God sends her His perfect one.

And I will wear my new one for the remainder of my lifetime, remembering all that is represents.

Posted by: amyedwards | March 10, 2010

The Homestead Resort – Hot Springs, Virginia

In celebration of our 15th wedding anniversary, Chanch and I were blessed to get to spend some time together at a resort in Hot Springs, Virginia.  The Homestead was established in 1766 and is known for it’s beautiful, old architecture.  I must admit, we were both a little uneasy about what we might be getting into.  We are self-admittedly a bit spoiled.  As un-often as the two of us spend the night away from home, we tend to “do it up” right when we get the chance.  But, hey, if it is good enough to be visited by many different United States presidents ranging from George Washington to Bill Clinton, it’s definitely good enough for the Edwards!  The thing that attracted us the most to The Homestead was the numerous activities they offer on resort property.  We both like to stay busy going and doing but won’t refuse a day at the spa if it’s available.  This place had it all!

We arrived on Wednesday afternoon around 3:30 after a six hour drive from Atlanta.  The place was huge and absolutely beautiful.  I’ve always been a fan of big columns and the lobby (Grand Hall) here had it’s fair share.

To our surprise, the resort had graciously upgraded us to a Junior Suite.  We were so impressed at the time. but soon realized we were just about the only people staying at the resort until the weekend, so I guess they figured “Why not?”.  We unpacked our things, rested for a short bit, took a quick self-guided tour of the main building, then headed to the bowling alley so Chanch could show off!  After bowling, we got dressed and headed to dinner at the Tavern for some great river trout.

Thursday was our actual anniversary date.  We took this day to enjoy some relaxation in the spa.  The corridor leading to the spa was beautiful and set the tone for what was to come.  We enjoyed the total body package starting with an herb infused bath with natural hot spring water and ending with a pedicure.  Of course, a body massage was somewhere in between.  After our treatments and lunch, we went for a relaxing dip in the heated indoor pool.  What a pool it was and a bit intimidating when you are the only people in it!

We took a quick nap and got ready for a nice, romantic dinner together at the Dining Hall.  A live band played romantic music and the food was great!  Chanch had a surprise  waiting for me there, but that story is reserved for a whole other post to come.

Friday morning was our day outside.  We headed to the ski slopes and spent numerous hours going up and down the slopes.  Some downs were more graceful than others, but we had a fabulous time.  There were maybe 15 other people there, so I wasn’t a danger to anyone else.  Chanch even got me to go all the way up one time – but only once!  I much preferred the mid-station drop off!  We finished skiing and headed to the snow-mobiles for an hour’s worth of fantastic fun!  We each got our own snowmobile and had a blast racing each other, doing donuts, and jumping hills.  I told our guide that I might be a girl, but I don’t drive like one!  We headed back to the room and got dressed for a late dinner.  This time we ate at the 1766 Grille.  Wow!  The food was unforgettable.  Seriously, it was that good!

Saturday morning, after breakfast, we headed to the shooting range for our first round of  skeet shooting.  I say our first round because we ended up shooting on three different occasions because I enjoyed it so much.  It was quite the challenge, and I was determined to beat it!  Even after three times, I came nowhere close.  In fact, the instructor told me to stick to raising kids!  Oh well, I still had a blast shooting – even if I didn’t hit the targets.

After that first round of skeet, we headed back to the ski slopes but this time for some snow tubing.  We started out on two separate tubes, but before it was over we were on one together which made for some great laughs and wonderful memories.  For some reason, when I was on a tube by myself I kept slowing down and sometimes even stopping before I was down the lane.  The workers there said I needed to evenly distribute my weight on the tube.  I wanted to ask them if they had taken a good look at my body – no even distribution there!  Once we weighted down the tube with me and Chanch, it was smooth sailing and so much fun!

We met a couple from Virginia while we were snow tubing.  There names were Jay and Stacy and we enjoyed talking with them.  Turned out they were in the room right next to us, and they had dinner reservations at the 1766 Grille that night at 8:30 too.  Ironically, we were seated right next to each other so we spent the evening chatting across tables and enjoying their company.  We invited them to join us at our table for dessert, but we weren’t sure the timing would work out.  It didn’t.  They were finished with their meal before we even got our salads.  I’m sure that was a relief for Jay, because little did we know, he had it worked out with the staff to bring Stacy an engagement ring with her dessert!  Such a sweet moment to witness!  He told us later that he was squirming to figure out how he was going to tell her they couldn’t sit with us for dessert!  They stuck around for us to finish, and then we headed out for the guys to play a few games of pool while Stacy and I chatted it up.  I love meeting people, and it is so rare that you meet people you just click with immediately.  She wasn’t prepared with a camera for their big engagement night, so I took plenty with mine and we’ve exchanged e-mail addresses.  We’re looking forward to keeping in touch.

So it’s Sunday, and we’re heading home now.  I’m so excited to see my kids.  This has been the longest I’ve been away from them.  I missed them like crazy, but can’t even explain how much fun we had.  There is no one I would rather spend time with than my best friend, my husband.  I’ll save more of that for my other post!

I can’t say enough good things about The Homestead!  It was such a beautiful place nestled in the mountain and a great place to create some wonderful memories.  Among the activities we enjoyed, there is also ice skating, fishing, horseback riding, hiking, rifle range, carriage rides, golf, tennis, and a movie theater with two movies showing nightly.  We never left the resort and had no reason to have our car while we were there.  A complimentary shuttle takes you anywhere you want to go.  And we heard rumor that they are in the process of purchasing dune buggies now for fun when the snow isn’t around and putting in some water slides to the outdoor pool.

We definitely plan on returning in the future and look forward to taking our kids there!

Posted by: amyedwards | February 26, 2010

The proof is in the pictures!

I’ve lived in Georgia most all of my life.  Snow doesn’t come often to the South.  Or, I should say, snow that we can really enjoy!  So when it comes, most Georgians aren’t prepared for it!  That’s why schools close (before the snow even starts); grocery stores sell out of bread and milk; and moms and dads start googling how to make a homemade sled!

I typically don’t get out and enjoy the snow for any extended amount of time.  My kids are usually over it within 15 minutes of getting in it and that’s after I’ve spent 30 minutes getting them all bundled up!  And for the 1-2 inches we might get, frankly it’s just not worth it!  We build a snowman, take a picture, call it quits, and head inside for hot chocolate and the fire.  But this year was different.  This was no light snow!  We’re talking 5 inches or more at my house.  And it was good snow!  Not packed enough for building a good snowman, but perfect for some homemade snow cream and sledding down the vacant house’s hill!  Who would have ever thought that a pink air mattress could be so much fun?

Posted by: amyedwards | February 16, 2010

Sunday Stirrings – Hope and Change

Sunday Stirrings

Did you cringe when you read the title?  Sorry, I couldn’t resist!  Seriously speaking though, I couldn’t think of a more fitting title for this week’s Sunday Stirring.  This past Sunday my pastor talked about making changes within your family.  His sermon seemed to be geared primarily toward the husband/father in the home, but the Holy Spirit was speaking to me about the changes I need to make as a wife and mother.

Here’s the ugly truth:  I am a mess!  I can’t begin to tell you how much self-discipline I lack.  I’m so unorganized and get frazzled with myself all the time.  With the lack of self-discipline and unorganization also comes procrastination.  It’s ridiculous really, and I’m embarrassed to speak of it now.  Last week, I was so busy on Thursday getting ready for Friday’s Valentine’s parties that I totally forgot about Addilyn’s gymnastic class.  And I didn’t even realize it until dinner time that evening.  Hello???  Oh, here’s one – my sister turned 40 (sorry, Shelly) the other day, and at her party I handed her a $20 bill and a bag of her favorite candy.  No card, no gift bag, etc.  Sad, isn’t it?  And there are plenty of other stories where that comes from.  If I planned enough to actually go to the doctor, they could probably make me a walking billboard for some sort of medicine!  You think I jest?  Really, I don’t.

I mentioned in my last post that one of the sins I seem to confess daily along with lack of self-control is yelling at my kids.  Wanna guess where a lot of my rantings begin?  That’s right – my lack of discipline.  We’re running late, I’m on the phone or FB, the house is a mess, the kids are not disciplined, etc.

I’ve known it for years.  Confessed it consistently for the past year.  But I did very little to bring about a difference.  Sunday, I heard the Holy Spirit telling me it was time for change.  It’s going to take more than just admitting I have the problem.  More than confessing it and saying I want to do better.  I have to put my words into action.  So I started this week with a daily list of things to get done.  I’m planning out my week and resisting my weaknesses.  It’s a start and so far so good.

So where does hope come into the story?  I have a lot to work on and it is not going to be easy.  We’re talking about 36 years of past and some of it generational sin.  But, now my hope is in the Lord.  I’ve tried to do better before, but it was in my own strength.  My relationship with the Lord was not what it should have been then.  Now, the Holy Spirit leads me.  He is my strength and my Redeemer.  He alone can bring lasting change.

Posted by: amyedwards | February 9, 2010

Sunday Stirrings – Confession is good for the Soul

Sunday Stirrings

Okay, so it has been a couple of weeks since I last posted how God is speaking to me, but that’s not because He has failed to speak.  In fact, it’s just the opposite.  He has had plenty to say.  And some of it hasn’t been too easy to hear.  But, hey, I asked for it!  A couple of weeks ago during my study time, I fell under conviction realizing I’m always asking forgiveness for the same sins.  You know . . . yelling at my kids, lack of self-discipline (maybe those two go hand-in-hand), etc.  You really don’t need to read all of my dirt!  Funny thing, I wasn’t so much convicted (this time) that I continually have to confess those sins.  Not that it makes it any better, but those are things I have always struggled with and bad habits have been formed as a result.  Those are my die to daily sins!  Yes, it’s still sin and I have to confess it, but the Lord knows my heart.

Instead, the Lord began speaking to me about the sins I don’t confess while I’m busy confessing my daily ones.  Better yet, not just sins I’m failing to confess, but sins I don’t even recognize.  God has been doing an amazing work in my life over the past few months, and He wants to do so much more.  But the problem is there is too much of me in the way.  I am so full of myself that I’m crowding the Holy Spirit’s work in my life.  He wants to fill me, but I need to make some room.

The last couple of weeks I have been asking God to search me, know me, and reveal any wicked way in me.  There has been plenty to reveal and a lot to take in.  And because I’m hard-headed, He has decided to reveal it thus far thru various circumstances, rather than the sweetness of His Word.

I’m still praying and I’m still listening!  Best of all though, I’m confessing!

For more Sunday Stirrings, visit Jodi at Fruit Inspection and join in the experience!

Posted by: amyedwards | January 19, 2010

Sunday Stirrings – Desperate

Sunday Stirrings

This week, one of my daily study times focused on Jairus and his desperation for Jesus.  The text is Luke 8:40-42, 49-56.  Here was a father with his dying daughter.  He was desperate for the healing touch that could only come from Jesus.  The question was asked, “When have you been desperate for Jesus’ help?”  What has the power to bring you to your knees, pleading?

I must say, it doesn’t happen often enough in my own life.  I’m, of course, grateful for God’s provision for my family, the fact that we aren’t suffering with poor health, death, finances, marital problems, etc. right now.  But am I not called to be desperate for Him anyway?  Are we, as Christians, not told to bear one another’s burdens?  I’ve been desperate for Jesus for my own needs before – plenty of times including marital problems, finances, infertility, death, and His guidance.  I think those times just come naturally and aren’t necessarily always Spirit-led.

I can only think of one time before this week that I was truly desperate for the needs of another.  It was several months back that my heart was so burdened for a friend that the Holy Spirit would not allow me to sleep.  I was lying in my bed, listening to my husband snore, with tears for my friend rolling down my cheeks.  I tried praying, but peace (sleep) would not come.  My heart was so heavy and I knew that the Spirit was prompting me to get up and pray.  I tried sitting in my chair in the family room, but still, no peace.  It wasn’t until I got on my knees and earnestly prayed the details of the situation that peace for that evening came.  Just as Jairus fell on his knees before Jesus, I too learned that desperation and humility go hand in hand.

I don’t think it coincidental that the study of Jairus and our small group’s study of Jonah Chapter 2 (Jonah’s prayer of desperation) were both this week.  Our family was contacted by another family in need of a desperate touch from Jesus.  The circumstances are somewhat strange.  I wouldn’t necessarily call them friends or just acquaintances, but we know them.  To maintain their privacy, I won’t go into details.  But I will say, their world has been turned upside down – marriage, jobs, church, schooling, etc.  They are a beautiful Christian family that I have always respected from a distance.   Now, I respect them a little more up close and personal.  They are in need of restoration, forgiveness, provision and wisdom.  Satan has wreaked havoc in their lives through bad choices, but they are more than conquerors!

My heart is heavy for them.  There is little I can do for them now, but pray.  So tonight, I may be on my knees.  If not, tomorrow will be a day of fasting.

For more Sunday Stirrings, please visit Jodi at Fruit Inspection.

Posted by: amyedwards | January 11, 2010

Happy 8th Birthday, Noah!

Dear Noah,

I can’t believe eight years have come and gone since we first prayed and thanked God for your arrival.  We had no idea at that time just how blessed we were to have you.  You bring something so wonderful to our family and to say we love you seems inadequate.  You were then and are now an answer to our prayers.

Noah, you are so special!  God has an amazing plan for your life.  He made you the sweet, caring, stubborn, strong-willed, affectionate, nurturing little boy that you are.  His plans for you are higher that your own plans – and even those of Mommy and Daddy.  Allow Him to mold you into exactly who He has made you to be.  Stay humble and obedient before Him and He will do what is more amazing than anything I could ever ask or think.

I love you, buddy and I’m praying every day for you.  I am so blessed to have been chosen to raise you!

Happy Birthday,

Mom

Posted by: amyedwards | January 10, 2010

Sunday Stirrings – My Teacher

Sunday Stirrings

A couple of weeks ago during my study time (there is a 3 yr. old reason why I don’t call it quiet time), I had one of those aaah- haaa moments that I’m not sure the writer intended for me to necessarily have for what I was actually studying on that day.  Let me explain:

The title of the devotion was “Talking to Ourselves” out of Beth Moore’s “Jesus, The One and Only” study.  The text was from Luke 7: 39-48 where Jesus is dining at the home of a Pharisee.  A certain sinful woman came in and began to wash the feet of Jesus with her tears and dry them with her hair.  Verse 39 reads:  “When the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “This man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what kind of woman this is who is touching Him — that she is a sinner.”  If you continue reading you’ll see that Jesus immediately rebuked him for his thoughts, showing us that He holds us accountable for the things we say to ourselves.  OUCH!!!  That is what I was supposed to get, and I got it too!

But . . .

The first question asked was basically how different would things be if our thoughts were able to be heard.  Of course, my immediate response was shame filled because I know I still have so much work to do in the area of my thought life.  But the second part of my answer was that it would somewhat make it easier — you know, if you were rebuked and therefore “taught” each time it happened.  Immediately, the Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, “HELLO????  That is why I am here!  I am your rebuker.  I’ve come to teach you.  I’m also within you to comfort you, heal you.  I’ve come to do all sorts of things in you and for you.”

I began realizing that I could so clearly hear the Spirit speaking to me then – teaching me – because I was prepared to hear from Him.  I had confessed sin and asked Him to be present with me.  I was in a state of worship.  I don’t always hear the Holy Spirit’s nudgings (or for that matter, His downright screams), because I’m not prepared to hear Him.  I’ve quenched the Spirit throughout my day, and my own voice (even the one in my head) is louder than His.

So I’m making a conscious effort to be still and know that He is God.  To confess sin throughout my day and ask the Holy Spirit to be ever-present – rebuking and teaching.  And now I’m reading “Forgotten God” by Francis Chan to give me a better understanding of the role the Holy Spirit longs to play in my life – if only I let Him.

For more “Sunday Stirrings” each week or to share your own, visit Jodi at Fruit Inspection.  I can’t wait to read what the Holy Spirit is teaching you!

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