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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Waiting on Jesus.




Dearest friends of Gomer,

  The Lord be with you. I am still working away on this old house. As you can see, I finally finished the dining room floor. As soon as the bead board is on the ceiling with the crown moulding and all the little details are finished out, I will put a few more heavy duty coats of top coat on it. What joy it brings my spirit to walk through here and not see an ugly old dirty room. We're dining in luxury, y'all. The table Stephen made for us looks just exquisite...and did you notice those chairs. What a tale this room could weave. So many people have come together to make this a reality. It truly is staggering to see how Jesus knit hearts together to make it happen. *Somebody send some eyelet cloth napkins.

Of course, it has been an eventful week here. We hit a feral hog and smashed up our car. I just have a peace about it. I am waiting to see what Jesus is going to do. Do you ever think that God is about to do something and He wants a wider audience? Perhaps, this all happened so that people would be looking at what is going on with us. I have been wondering what God is up to quite frankly. We are looking at some deadlines towards paying off our house with no real hope in sight, our income isn't meeting our budget needs, and now my husband's car is smashed up. I'm just being honest with you. We are in need of seeing God move in a big way for us. I am trying to be vulnerable and share these things so that when God answers us, you can all bless and praise Him. May your own faith be strengthened. I am hanging my hope on the fact that we are all going to see something spectacular. 

love y'all.


Monday, October 28, 2013

Talk to me, Abba.

All we have heard about since we moved to Caldwell County is about feral hogs out of control. There are apparently millions of them. They can run 30 miles per hour. These hogs are not native to North America and have no natural predators. We can think Christopher Columbus for bringing them over. Every time I see the signs to watch out for them on 130, I think of the guys in the movie Wild Hogs darting into the road. 


We left home in our van Friday afternoon to visit a friend, and the engine kept stalling as we drove. This is not a normal occurrence. It did it about 12 times so we returned home and switched cars. 

After having dinner with friends, we started back home, and were less than a mile away when Denbigh felt God impress upon him that he was about to hit a hog. 30 seconds later, I look up and there are three in the road. The one we killed was the length of the front of our car. It's easily 300 pounds. 

We should have flipped and rolled into a concrete culvert, but it felt as though something picked up the back of our car and gently set it on the side of the road. 

The front of our van is much shorter than our car. There is no telling what would have happened if we had been driving it and hit the hog. We've driven the van since and it drives fine, no engine stalling. What made it act up so that we would switch cars?

How we got the Honda Accord:  Around 2005, I prayed for two full years for God to provide us with a car suitable for a family. A man who had been out of work for months showed up at my house and told me that he felt like God wanted him to give his Honda Accord to me. It's the same story with our van. As our family grew, I asked Jesus for a ride that would hold all of our girls. Someone gave it to us. Both the van and sedan were the same year, color, and make of car. (Honda Accord and Honda Oddessey). I think God was just being really clear that he was doing it...even though they came through human hands. He gives and He takes away. Blessed be His name. 

We have been thanking the Lord for protecting us. I am sure that He will redeem this loss. As I was going through a few things from the car, I came across this note from Synda from over a year ago. He will provide for all of our needs in Christ Jesus. 

Robert Griffin III by Ted Kluck

I am not a huge football fan, but I love people. I love stories. I so enjoy the passion and camaraderie. I thought this would be more like Drew Brees' book. It was a story to be involved in and stats and facts mingled in. I was smitten with Drew's story. This book was nothing like that. I basically read 160 pages of stats about the game of football. It wasn't even so much about Robert. Basically, I just read some guy's run down of the history of football and how RG3 played in to that. 

If you are a sports loving male, you might like this. I just didn't learn one thing about Robert Griffin the third that I didn't know already. I didn't know that much to begin with. I'll pass this on the my mom. She's a die hard Baylor fan, but I'm afraid she might be bored too. 

This book was graciously provided for review by Thomas Nelson Publishers.


Friday, October 25, 2013

The Christian Remodeler's Conference.

It's been one of those crazy weeks, y'all. I mean, the kind that make you need to check the cupboard for chocolate and call on Jesus to affirm your call to motherhood. I'm partly joking, but it has been crazy around here. My husband was attending the Austin Stone's Worship Leader Conference. He loved that. Maybe I'll let him do a guest post. The man is always running off to fancy retreats and such while I'm here raising kids and stripping paint. I told him I was headed to a Christian Remodeler's conference. He thought that must be a small niche and wondered who would be attending with me. I informed him that it was just me and the conference was going to be held in Hawaii. 

Oh the havoc that my girls did wreak this week. It began with them deciding to take up jumping on the bed. Those girls broke their metal bed frame and gouged out the wood floor that I spent sixty or seventy hours refinishing. It ended with upset tummies, a head wound, and fifty fire ant bites. Thankfully, Denbigh returned refreshed by Jesus and made every bit of the crazy worth it. Just when I was telling Jesus to send help because I had reached my emotional threshold, my sweet two-year-old crawled into my lap and touched her nose to mine. All was right with the world. What is it about toddler noses? 

Keep hanging on, dear moms. I'm praying for you. Come to my conference. love y'all.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Don't Give Up.

During a typical day, I slowly run 4 miles, make four paintings, remodel, homeschool, make meals, and play outside. I never stop moving and I never get it all done. I'm thankful for my morning walk/runs. I get to hash out a lot of things with Jesus. If I had not had those brief moments to begin my day, I think I would have given up on this project and many other things by now. One of the main things I hear whispered in my ear every morning is, "Don't give up." So, I keep moving forward. I keep pressing in to Jesus. I know firsthand that this life doesn't guarantee ease to us, but I can't imagine attempting it without Christ. Most of the time, I honor commitments and press forward simply because I promised him. 

This has been a hard road. There is no part of me in control of any of this house (or any thing else for that matter). I have been hurt, frustrated, and embarrassed. I just want a place to put things away. I want things to be normal. I want to be able to set my baby on the floor downstairs. I can't. I have to be strategic about every single thing I get done here. It's work. This week, I have been stripping some dental moulding in the foyer, finished sanding the dining room floor, and rehung a swing. 

I spent a hundred hours scraping the cracks of a set of hundred year old windows. If you want to know about the lengths that God goes to in his restorative efforts, come sit by me. Grab a tiny metal toothbrush and scrub. Repeat every day for over a month. Clean up the mess you made cleaning the window. Repeat. Jesus doesn't leave anything unturned. He does not leave us or those we love with old paint in the cracks. He does the full work. He doesn't waste the moments we sat around covered in dingy toxic paint. He uses that to display his beauty in the finished product of you. When people saw the strip of old floor next to the area of new floor in the dining room, they were astonished. That would have never happened if the old floor hadn't been the old floor. It's not an old floor anymore. Press on. Don't give up. Keep moving forward. When I was about three quarters of the way through, I wanted to break up with those windows. The hurt and pain that we walk through here that makes us feel so lonely is a catalyst. 
My soul is satisfied in Christ.





Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Grace of One Life.

Years ago, some of the most fabulous people I have ever met walked through the doors of our church. They had ended up in the area after Katrina had destroyed much of New Orleans where they lived. I would later find out that Janea wasn't expected to live when she was born. She required a liver transplant. When they were in the Superdome after Katrina was bearing down, God provided a miraculous escape for them to get to a hospital. My dear friend Tina would lose her precious mother in that storm. There, they stood in the entryway of my church. Refugees from a storm, but held tight by the hand of God.

I'm telling you all of this because I was graced with the opportunity to attend Janea's sweet sixteen Masquerade ball on Saturday. Never has a birthday party been more of a depiction of the grace and power of God to me. Right from the get go, Semaj, Janea's dad, reminded the guests to keep their minds on the main thing. That thing was to give God the glory. Another girl that she had met while getting her liver transplant at 2 months old was also at the party. She was also alive and vibrant.

When Semaj introduced the honorable Janea, he did so with these words, "When Janea was born, the doctors told my lovely wife that she would not live twenty-four hours, but how many of y'all know that the devil is a liar. To God be the glory."

Sweet, beautiful friend, You are a gift to us all. Your spirit radiates the grace of God.
Happy 16th birthday.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Talk to me, Abba.

Jesus is good, dear friends. I was reading the other day about how we often find healing when we reach out to others who are hurting. It's the idea behind Isaiah's words when he tells us that if we give up what we have to sustain our own lives to meet the needs of the afflicted then our own light will rise in the darkness. That's sweet grace.

I often will write or send a note to someone and when they respond, I go back and read what I wrote. Half of the time I don't remember what I wrote because I believe the whole thing was a gentle whisper of the Holy Spirit. I find that most beautiful, wonderful, healing ideas truly originated from His pen. I just caught the wave. So often, when I read back, I see that I had not only written to that person, I had also written to myself. 

Isaiah 58:10 (I love the Amplified version) 

Friday, October 18, 2013

He Wanted to Drink It.


For the record, my beloved husband just wanted to drink all of the water. I told him to remember that where there is no vision the people perish. He just laughed at me and kept stealing the water from my stash. Imagine the fun we would have missed out on if he had succeeded with his hi jinks. 
See y'all Monday. Keep praying for my mom. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

It Was the Second Annual.

If you love a good Southern picnic, sweet tea brimming from Mason jars, and witty banter by the bucket, you would have loved to be here Saturday. We had the best little fish fry you could sink your teeth into. I am already looking forward to our Centennial celebration next year. I have pinned so many ideas to Pinterest that you would think I was getting married. This is going to be the stuff of Steel Magnolias, people.

Let's just go ahead and make the special announcement. Britton wrote me back. She said they would come next year. You may want to go ahead and purchase your tickets. We now tout celebrity guests.

We really did have a great day of light-hearted fun. My heart was full as I saw so many people that I love enjoying good food and each other. Children played on our tree and swang from our rope swings. Frisbees were tossed and guitars were played. It was a perfect day for making memories. We don't have these kinds of days near enough in our society any more. Mark your calendars for next October. Step back into the days of Hank Williams and celebrate the good Lord with us.

Other Happenings
Miss Lulu sold enough of her art to purchase some chickens for World Vision.
 My man sold an enormous amount of pie.
 I sold a large amount of art work.
 Our small town has a parade each year that any one can get in. Seriously, bring your friends and walk the three streets of Fentress. 
 Stephen, my brother from another mother (and father for that matter) came and cooked fish all day. Andy did too. Who does that? I should send them a water bottle with my face on it. Truly, I am really grateful. I cannot imagine trying to do this without the love and support of this family. 
*Stephen also made the dining room table.
 We had a little under a hundred people show up throughout the course of the day. It was wonderful. It's hard doing what we do. We deal with a lot of rejection and hurt as we try to love on people. If people are wrestling with God through issues, they are going to do the same with us. On top of that, the project that we have taken on is so daunting and overwhelming. It takes a certain type of crazy to buy and old mansion and restore it. Then, we have buckets of people who are willing to sacrifice their Saturday to come listen to music and eat fish in our yard in the middle of nowhere. I am so touched and grateful for all of you. Your generosity is a glimpse into the heart of Jesus to us. Thank you. There's just something about having all the people you love in one spot together. 
 Here's a note that was left to us on the giant Jenga pieces. We also received one from Britton and Jeff. I think it was a forgery. It said, "Thanks for all the fish. love, Britton and Jeff"
Thank you for your love and support (and your humor). We loved every minute of it. Keep praying for us to pay this place off. We raised enough money to house and feed lots of people over the next year. Thank you kindly! Love y'all.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

An Open Letter to Britton and Jeff

Dearest Britton and Jeff,

years ago, I lost two of my brothers to the disease of alcohol. When my brother Mike died, I did several things to deal with the grief I felt. Of course, I turned to the Lord and examined every aspect of my life. I also took up photography and watched a light-hearted movie entitled Elizabethtown. The main character in the story is dealing with a death himself. In that silly movie is a random wedding going on in the hotel. Chuck and Cindy: the Wedding. Last year, by the sweet humor of God, my husband became the worship pastor at a new church. Our pastor's name is Chuck and his wife's name is Sandy. You can read about that story here: Chuck and Cindy: the Jesus Version. I write all of this for you to see this little funny theme I have going with God.

 Fast forward to June of 2013. A group from Farwell, Texas shows up with several cases of water with your faces on them. You can only imagine how this made my day. I began asking all of our guests if they would prefer Aquafina or Britton and Jeff when I served them beverages. We took your water with us as we served and led worship all over Texas. A couple of your bottles even accompanied us on a 10 state road trip. We toasted to/with you on the beach at the Outer Banks. I decided to keep the bulk back and serve it at our yearly fish fry fundraiser for our ministry, Gomer's House. I wanted all the people we love to have the joy of drinking Britton and Jeff water. It was a huge hit. People have jokingly asked that we get you here for next year to emcee the day. It's our house's 100 yr anniversary. It seems that we have turned you into liquid celebrity of sorts. Think about coming next year.

All of this has really brought much joy to my heart. Beyond that, as I walked by your faces each day, I began to feel the gentle nudge of the Holy Spirit to pray for you. I have been. I have been praying for you every day for months. I thought you should know that. Jesus is good. He somehow gets hundreds of your water bottles into the hands of a woman who lives 10 hours from where they were bottled, a woman that He called to pray for you. I thought you should know how much He thinks of you and loves you. May His grace and healing wash over you all the more. ...and thanks for the water!

with love from your fan down south,
Stephanie Cherry

If anyone else would like me to pray for them, please send a case of water bottles with your face on it.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Wounded by God's People by Anne Graham Lotz

When I saw this book title pop up in the queue for review, I sat and stared at it for a while. This is a pain I know. This is the reason that we opened the doors of Gomer's House. Our heart is to help those we come into contact with heal from the pain inflicted by others in ministry and church. It is a beautiful thing to walk out of pain into forgiveness. This book gives a true picture of what that looks like.

I cried through some of these pages. Reading someone else's story about rejection and pain at the hands of God's people gives the quiet hurt inside of me some validity. What I feel is real. What happened is real. Anne felt it too. I think we all need to know that it is valid. Then we need to deal with it as graciously as possible. This is a guidebook to dealing with your hurt. I think every Christian should read this book.

Anne's handling of the story of Hagar, the servant of Sarah and Abraham, was nothing short of brilliant. Inside this story we see a clear picture of God's chosen people treating someone badly. It is done both passively and aggressively. It happens over and over. She shows that there is a time to submit to that authority to exhibit submission to God and show His grace. Then we see the time later when they are told to walk away. Buy this book.

I cans ay I have had my fair share of dealing with this sort of thing. I have seen some outlandish behavior in church staffs. I have been taken completely aback by the words and actions of Christian family and extended family. This helped me to have a vision for what to do with these situations. How can I be the fragrance of Christ to those who wound me? Buy this book.






Thursday, October 10, 2013

Come One, Come All.

First, let me remind you that we have a annual fundraiser this weekend. There will be food, art, and music galore. As your party gift, we are giving away bottles of Britton and Jeff water. As I shared on Facebook, I have no idea who they are, but that doesn't diminish the thrill. This water was donated to us by a church. Set your taser to stun because this is going to be quite the day. We are handing out witty banter by the bucket, you know.

My dear husband has been leading worship for a clergy retreat all week. That means that I had to put the last 12 boards of my floor on pause. I am counting it as a sacrifice in the service of the Lord. The Bishop owes me one. (That's a little Anglican humor for you.) Next week, I'll finish that floor.

Right now, my Etsy shop has been flooded with orders. Bless the Lord, y'all. Things are getting done. I'm thankful for donations and sales to help us refinish this old mansion. Say a little prayer for us. We would love to pay this house off. There is only $150,000 more to go. God, move that mountain.

If you could, please stop by for a few minutes on Saturday. The sacrifice of your time is such a gift and an encouragement to us. I cannot put into words h ow thankful we are for those of you who minister to us as we minister to others. Much love to you all. See you Saturday. The parade starts at 10 and the fish will be frying at 11. Love y'all.

Get your tickets at gomershouse.org

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Come To My House.


I am in the home stretch of this room, y'all. I have logged a few hundred hours in here. I have one quarter of the floor left to do. The windows are coming along as well. I was hoping to be done with the floor by now, but there are many variables with small children. It's like they say, "Lord willing and the creek don't rise." It rises. It rises with an army of tiny blonde girls. She (the floor) is gorgeous though. Come see her.

I've also been in the studio every day creating and selling on my Etsy store. Come by Gomer on October 12th and see what new things I have in the studio. Remember that time I made $12,000 in art and God turned it into a new kitchen. Now, also, a dining room. You go ahead, Jesus. Thank You.

Please consider coming to our fish fry on October 12th. We will also have other food there besides fish. We will even have peanut butter and jelly around if your kids need a sandwich. There will be wonderful live music, art, pie, and witty banter by the bucket. You won't want to miss it. We will have tea and water. Bring any other drinks you may like. 

Get your tickets here: gomershouse.org


Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Talk to me, Abba.

Every time I go through the process of prayer and writing out a talk for a particular group, God reminds  and encourages my spirit in so many ways. Even as a youth, I would realize that when I shared something with someone else, I was given a greater grasp on the subject myself. Sometimes, I would come to complete clarity when I was delivering the actual talk. 

This past week was no exception. As I spoke to a group of women in Brownwood, I found my own heart encouraged and challenged. Jesus reminded my heart of who I am in Him. What a humble gift it is to be given the opportunity to share our story. Then the Holy Spirit revives our heart with reminders of the the things He has done to give us our testimony. Share your heart.

"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden;"
Matthew 5:14