Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Best Birthday Present of All Time

My husband and I have birthdays in December 8 days apart.  As you can imagine, our birthdays sometimes get combined with Christmas celebrations or downplayed in the busy season.  Which actually, is totally fine.  We are both approaching a new decade milestone and don't mind if the birthday gets overlooked in the hub bub of Christmas.

As I was discussing with my husband his list of needs and wants, he came up with the most brilliant idea of all time.  "How about the kids with you parents for a whole weekend?  No money spent on their part and pure bliss for us." Uh, yes.  Why didn't I think of that?

Thankfully, I have a mother that has a heart for service and a step dad that is laid back and agreeable to most anything.  Even to four kids invading his home Friday evening through Sunday afternoon.  Pretty agreeable, huh?  He'll have them collect an endless supply of black walnuts that litter their property and rake leaves and pick up rocks and move them to another location.  And, he'll pay them for their efforts.  Mom will bake cookies, set-up movie nights, and allow them to jump in the raked leaves.  Memory making will abound.

Mario and I on the other hand feel like we have been given the moon on a velvet cord.  How can we possibly make the most of our time? Go out of town on our very tiny budget or stay home and work on projects that are crowding our closets and attics?  Sleep late and go out for brunch or get up early and eat at Bill Smith's Cafe with the regulars? Oh, the opportunities are endless.  What a gift we have been given.

Speaking of gifts, what could be better than the gift of our time? Time does not influence our Christmas gift budgets but does influence those we serve.  Time given to others leaves a lasting impression on our own hearts.  Time donated teaches our children the value of "others first, self second".  Time offered is a gift that can be reopened again and again as the recipient of your sacrifice relives it in his mind. 

And greatest of all, time we give of ourselves to benefit others and nothing of ourselves, glorifies God. And what else should we be doing other than glorifying Him that created time and everything in it, around it, and through it?

Thank you Mom and Avery for giving your time for The Best Birthday Present of All Time.  Time with my husband.  Alone.

Yippy Skippy!

Saturday, July 07, 2012

A Man Leaves

A man slings his pack over his left shoulder, smiles and waves.  He says goodbye with an already-homesick look on his face.  He tosses his camo bags in the truck and composes himself as he turns for a last look at me, the house, his home.  It's not my husband leaving.  He's my son.



My son was returning to Afghanistan.  No longer as a young man with mature ideals one moment only to react with teenage-type silliness the next.  No, he was to return to war different than the last time he left our home.  He had become an Adult with a capital A. 

His two week visit home was a gift from God for my husband and I.  The Lord gave us the opportunity to see firsthand the man He was making out of our son.  The son we had spent countless nights praying over.  The son we had threatened within an inch of his life during his high school days.  The son that pretended to have vomiting attacks at bedtime seeking an extra dose of attention.  The son that drove us bananas with his constant challenging of the rules.  The son that made us question whether having more children was a sensible idea. 


God had been busy in my child's life.  He used the Army to instill discipline and a desire to lead.  The Lord used a disciplinary issue to reinforce perseverance.  He used two tours in Afghanistan to mature, strengthen, mold, and shape my boy into a leader, a man who can think on his own, and person with goals and drive.



It is a relief to his dad and I that in spite of our parenting, God had our son's character and moral development under control.  In spite of our human mistakes and misguided efforts, God's plan is prevailing in our son's life.  Regardless of our failings, God held our boy/man in the palm of His hand, never to be released.

Thank you, Lord, for your faithfulness to my child.






Psalm 136:12 with a strong hand and an outstretched arm, for his loyal love endures

Monday, June 11, 2012

Disappointment Redeemed

I'm so disappointed in you.

A knife pierced my 12 year old heart.  My mother had the power to reduce my foolishness with only that phrase. With only a disproving look and those quietly spoken words, I was reduced to shame.  Couldn't she have just spanked me and gotten it over with? A quick kapow to the bum would have been less painful than the "disappointment speech".

As a parent to a young adult, I too, know what it is to be disappointed in my child's decisions.  I understand how it hurts to hear of his wayward choices that he calls fun.  I know the burden of carrying my child's disappointing choices so close to my heart they almost become my own.

Don't misunderstand me.  My son is A-mazing.  He defends my, and your, freedom on a daily basis.  He sees the positive in his adventures in Afghanistan.  He can crack jokes about the amount of sand found in every crack and crevice of his body.  He can laugh and make light of his accomplishments in the military.  He is funny, energetic, a dreamer, a sweet big brother.

He's also 23.  He is a Christian.  A young Christian.  His spiritual growth has been slow since the age of 16.  He has a servant's heart but doesn't quite know whom he is serving.  Military advancement?  Education? Business owner?  Endless opportunities.

The last few times he had been home for R and R, I was disappointed.  I had expected to see a man.  And I did.  I saw a strong, confident, able-bodied man.  But not necessarily a man of God.  My gentle urgings and then later, bold conversations, did nothing to produce the behavior I thought I should be seeing.  You see, I had an image of who I thought my child should be.  The actuality didn't match up.  Nope, not at all.

I was frustrated and in all honesty, became a little distant in my disappointment.  Instead of continuing to pray on his behalf I refused to talk to God about the situation.  Rather than gently reproach him I began to dread our conversations.  I withheld much from a son who needed and asked for little.

Can you the parallel? 

I am a sad and sickly sinner.  I continuously disappoint my Father with my foolish choices and unwise decisions.  His heart aches over my disregard of Him.  He is angered by my unrepentant sin.  He knows the beautiful creation He has made me to be and I fall short.  On a minute by minute basis, I fall short.

But oh! What a gracious and loving Father I have.  For he never denies me His presence.  He never gives me the treatment I deserve.  He never withholds what I need.  He is an A-mazing God full of mercy, forgiveness, love, joy.  Did I mention mercy?  Lots of mercy and grace for all that I am not.  He welcomes me home every time I turn to Him.  He embraces me even when I disappoint Him.  My God loves me beyond where I've been.

And my son and I?  God has graciously given me a glimpse of my sin.  And He has graciously given me a glimpse of the man he is creating in my son.  And He has graciously given me a new attitude, ability, and desire to love my boy right now.  Right where he is today with a measure of mercy, love, and grace that can only come from Him.

His grace flows abundantly.

Niki



Saturday, May 05, 2012

BFF . . . For Real

Frisco Bible has an amazing couple leading the youth, Kris and Amy Keith.  Amy invited me to be a part of a get together for teen girls from my church called "Junk Food and Jesus".  It was an opportunity for junior high and high school girls to indulge in some yummy food while listening in on how God is working or has worked in "older" womens' lives. 

So here's the first thing . . . I'm now considered an "older" woman.  Sigh.  Weep.  Tears.  I never thought it would happen to me.  Alas.

And the second thing?  I am totally enjoying being around these godly young women!  What an encouragement for me as a mother of five children to see our Lord evident in their lives.  Parenting along with the Holy Spirit works!

The topic, shared by Heather, was about friendships - the Best Friend Forever kind.  She talked about her struggles early on in life in making and keeping a BFF.  Her difficulty in friendship continued throughout high school, college, and early adulthood. Friendship after friendship ended much to her disappointment and sadness.  She went on to talk about how she came to understand the one True Friend, Jesus, never left her, disappointed her, or rejected her.  He is her BFF. 

Like Heather, I have suffered some disappointments in friendships.  Most of those disappointments were due to my own inflated expectations of others through no fault of their own.  Quality time with friends is one of my favorite things.  There is nothing better than being silly and talking deep and serious with a like-minded friend.  My end of the friendship seemed needier than the other half and would end in my overly-sensitive hurt feelings.

I've also made the mistake of jumping into a friendship with both feet and eyes closed.  So wrapped up in the excitement of a new "bestie" that I missed the warning signs of "Unhealthy Road Ahead".  I allowed my self-worth, joy, and near existence to be placed on the shoulders of someone who didn't want or need the extra weight of me.  Can you see where this is heading?  To follow the road analogy, I crashed head first into a barricade of disappointment and reality.

You see, God would not have me place my all-n-all in anyone or anything other than Him.  And that is exactly what I had done.  He used my choice of friend before Father as an opportunity to gently correct me.  The blinders were removed from my eyes and He allowed me to see my friend as human.  As fallible.  Undeserving of my devotion and worship.  It was not  an exercise in criticism toward her.  It was a command to place my worship at the feet of His throne, to offer only Him the praise of my lips, to seek to please only Him in word, thought, and deed.

My Sweet Lord has been patient and loving over my grieving of the end of the friendship.  He has proven o'er and o'er that He is my eternal Best Friend.  Hebrews 13:5b says " . . . for He has said, 'I will never leave you and I will never abandon you''.  Relationships are given and taken away for many reasons.  No matter how many earthly BFFs God has blessed me with, I can be certain of a relationship with Him.  Even if my best friend contact list is as dry as the Sahara, I am assured of His desire for an eternal kinship with me.  Why else would He give His Son as a sacrifice for my sins so that I may live in His palace where time does not end?

Thank you Lord, for your friendship.


P.S. - More to come on friendships, relational growth, and His gift of friends.  I  must be a slow learner for His lessons are never ending!

Be blessed,
Niki

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

No More "I" Word

Sitting through a long meeting, my mind begins to drift.  Unfortunately, this is not uncommon for me.  Sitting still and sitting quietly still is not a task I've mastered.  I'm 38 years old.  See . . . I'm drifting here, too. 

Anyway, as I half listen I look around at a room full of women.  There's talk of this and that and I can only focus on things hidden beneath the service.  What is Lady A covering beneath her nervous laughter?  What is Gal B hiding behind her chewed-upon bottom lip?  Can Friend C twiddle her thumbs even faster to control her hidden-issues?

You see, I am extra sensitive to others' attempt at pushing some sort of unwelcome hang-up behind a smile or laugh.  For I have been a master craftsman at hiding anything related to the "I-word".  You know the word. 

Insecurity.

Merriman Webster defines insecure as 1.not confident or sure, 2.deficient in assurance : beset by fear and anxiety.

I define insecurity as a fear of being known or seen for the real me.  An act of compensating for insecurity is what Pastor Chip Ingram calls "image management" (Living on the Edge, p12).  It is an attempt at sealing the perceived imperfections with either strong reactions (anger, power) or weak reactions (shy, wall-flower).  It can be based on fear or shame.  Even denial.

We all have some sort of insecurity.  It can be guilt baggage from a not-so-glorious past or fear of acceptance.  Or in my case, "Will they notice the size of the junk in my trunk before they notice the size of my heart?".

Listen.  Romans 12:3 tells us "For by grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but think of yourself with sober judgement, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you". 

Sober assessment or discernment requires us to take a sound, accurate judgment of who God created us to be and how He created us.  We have to come to understand that He created us with a specific purpose to be filled in a unique way.  Regardless of our human limitations related to our emotional junk, our Lord knows us.  And He still loves us in spite of that intimate knowledge.  We protect ourselves from allowing others to see the cracks and fissures but He sees them.  He has a plan for them!

King David wrote in Psalm 139:1-5:
O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.  You know when I sit down or stand up.  You know my every thought when far away.  You chart the path ahead of me and tell me where to stop and rest.  Every moment you know where I am.  You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord.  You both precede me and follow me.  You place your hand of blessing on my head.

Doesn't that warm your heart?  It puts a few things in perspective. He knows my every thought, word, and action before it occurs to me.  His presence is everywhere and never apart from me.  Never ever ever.  How can that not banish my preoccupations with being included or excluded from a particular group of friends?  How can it not quell an almost insatiable desire not to be singled out in a crowd?

He created us and placed His character in each of us.  We must have the same respect for ourselves as God has for us.  In that same Psalm, verses 17-18 say:

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God!  They are innumerable!  I can't even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!  And when I wake up in the morning, you are still with me!

On the days that I allow my insecurities to rise up and take over, I read over a list of "I-statements" drawn from Romans 8 and Ephesians 1.  Listed below are a few of my favorite reminders.

  1. I belong to Jesus Christ.
  2. I am free from sin by the power of the life-giving Spirit through Christ Jesus.
  3. I have right standing with Jesus.
  4. I am victorious through Him.
  5. I am inseparable from Him.
  6. I am holy and without fault in His eyes.
  7. I was chosen by God.
  8. I have life and peace through the Holy Spirit.
  9. I am loved by Him.
  10. I have a new body and a new name waiting for me.
Usually, these I-statements snap me back into reality.  Remembering, regardless of any real or perceived imperfections, I am a child of the King.  Amen.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Put Your Clothes On!

Recently we read one of children's favorite stories, The Emperor's New Clothes. My kids think it is unimaginable that anyone would actually believe to be wearing clothes while prancing through the streets of the town for all the world to see in only their skivvies. His pride draped around his shoulders masquerading as wisdom.

Wasn't he cold? Didn't he notice the shocked and embarrassed faces of the townspeople and his court? WHAT was he thinking?!

After putting the book away, the Holy Spirit convicted me of my own unimaginable prideful practice. Every morning when I rise, I go through a mental checklist of all there is to accomplish that day. And because I am a list-maker, those items get put in order of priority. The usual things like laundry, dishes, piano practice, schooling, Bible study, and exercise (last on the priority list, I'm ashamed to say) are placed and ready to be tackled.

Sounds good to be so organized and on top of things, right? Well, those things are all well and good IF I am doing them under and through the power of our Lord. To be honest though, I tend to get ahead of myself and plan MY day MY way. Bible study and quiet time are not slotted until 2:00 p.m. so I'll address the Lord then.

Can you believe the audacity of that sin?! My pride and selfishness masquerading as efficiency and organization.

I go about my business and plan on my own power. And any of us know the result of that effort, right? Lost tempers and a complaining spirit. An unkind voice and impatient attitude. Sin piled atop of sin.

However, there are days that I actually slow down a bit and greet the Lord first thing. I take a moment to lay all that day holds at His feet and ask Him what,when, and how I should accomplish all that lies ahead of me. I ask Him for His plan His way. I ask for His guidance and direction for every detail ahead.

He never fails me. He clothes me with patience and kindness that can only come from Him. He increases my faith in Him and my understanding of His truth and promises. He gives me opportunity to tell others (usually my own children) of His great love. He wraps me in a cloak of joyful preparedness that I could never wear on my own accord.

On the days when things begin to slip out of control and slide into craziness, I picture myself as that crazy emperor. Crazy enough to parade around the halls of my home and community without the covering of his daily dose of grace and mercy.

Then, I dash to my "closet" and ask the Lord to help me get my clothes on! He's always waiting with His merciful garment.

Proverbs 4:11-13
4:11 I will guide you in the way of wisdom and I will lead you in upright paths. 4:12 When you walk, your steps will not be hampered, and when you run, you will not stumble.4:13 Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; protect it, because it is your life.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Duct Tape Sometimes Required

Image Detail

This past weekend I witnessed my husband reveling in teenage memories.  We were visiting his parents in El Paso and I secretly set up a dinner with his best friend since 1st grade.  Unbeknownst to Mario, we headed out for dinner to meet "B" and his wife.  Unbeknowst to me, B contacted the third of the Three Amigos, "G" and asked him to join us.

There was much man-hugging, back slapping, and boyish grins as we arrived.  Mario had the best smile!  We all settled in over dinner to relive some of the "best" times of their lives. 

Boy-oh-boy the stories!  Adolescent ignorance paired with lots of free time and daring personalities created life-long memories of what not to do.  Some of which were down right miraculous that anyone survived - a.22 , a VW, and sand dunes!

As I listened over the next several hours of their stories and experiences, a thought struck me.  None of these 40-something men sounded ashamed or regretful of their past.  They laughed and pointed and guffawed like it was yesterday.  None of the details were glossed over or left out.  No embarrassing situations were left hidden.  Much was disclosed and without shame.

As Mario and I drove away, I told him what had occurred to my over-analytical brain. 

"None of you sounded ashamed of all you did" said amazed-me.

"Why should we?  It's over.  It's the past.  What could we do about any of it now?  You learn from it and go on.  Why hang on to it?" said my amazing husband.

Wow.  Here is an example of someone who has fully surrendered the old him and has allowed God to make a new creation in him.  The old Mario is passed away and the new has been made through a relationship with Jesus. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says,

So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away look, what is new  has come!

My hubby has clearly "allowed" Jesus to carry burden of those long-past sins and is able to spend his energy and time looking forward to what God has planned and intended for him.  Frankly, this is something I struggle with.  It's not a matter of questioning my salvation.  For I know and believe what Romans 8:38-39 tells me:

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor demons, nor the present or the future, nor any powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The forgetting is the difficult task.  It's similar to when you say something that's on the border of being ugly or tacky.  You can ask and receive forgiveness from the one you spoke against.  But, the words and their intentions are not so easily forgotten.  The moment I trusted Jesus as my soul-carrier, all-and-all, and Savior, he took my ugly sin-ridden past and waded it in a giant ball.  They were thrown as far as the east is from the west never to be seen again. He has forgotten them.  

Since becoming a new creation myself, painful memories have dimmed and details have gone gray.  Occasionally, things flash across my mind like a bad movie.  Ewww.  Then, I make a conscious decision to wrap that memory up in a box, duct tape it together, and lay it at Jesus's feet. 

Done and over.  Thank you, Lord.

As far as the eastern horizon is from the west, so he removes the guilt of our rebellious actions from us. Psalm 103:12

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sit Down Martha!

My recently turned three-year-old is decidedly a big boy.  He no longer wants sippy cups (less to wash!) or help with his hair and clothes.  He wants to be a big kid like his siblings.  He has even started enjoying Bible story time before bed.  Because of his enthusiasm for story-time with the other kids, we have put aside our Bible geared for older kiddos and have pulled out the My First Bible Stories.  He loves to talk about the pictures (especially the snakes and fiery furnace) and listens as we read.  It is such a blessing to hear the older kids retell the stories to their littlest brother.

Last week, we read the story of Martha and Mary.  This particular version of the story was very clear that Martha's tone of voice was less than appealing and even boarded on the nagging and complaining side.  And this was not complaining with thanksgiving but just plain ol' feeling sorry for herself complaining.  Martha whined about all of her work and lack of help.  I retold the story with an exaggerated whine-and-cheese voice to really drive the point home.

We discussed how Martha was so busy whining, and doing, and complaining, and being busy with busyness, that she missed the pleasure of the Lord.  The pleasure of His smile.  His voice.  His comforting hand on the top of her head.  His joy at seeing her at His feet.  She missed it.

I asked the kids how Mary might have felt, how Martha might have felt, and most importantly, how Jesus might have felt.  Their replies included: sad, lonely, frustrated, confused.  One of the kids thought Mary would feel satisfied because she would get to share in Martha's good meal AND have Jesus all to herself. 

Can anyone guess which of my children had that point of view?!

That same child says to my tired, haggard, and patience-worn-thin-face, "Mom?  You're just like Martha.  Always busy.  Always ordering us around for school.  Chores this.  Chores that.  Frustrated face here and frustrated voice there."

Whoa.  Who asked for this conviction?  From a 7 year old at 8:30 p.m.?

Another traitor, a.k.a my oldest daughter, pipes up, "Yeah, Mom, how come you never just sit?".

More conviction.  Is this how they see me?  Frustrated and whining about laundry, dishes, school, and all the other normal household stresses?  Rushing here and there to complete a task with a grim line for a mouth? 

"Did you leave your smile in your pocket, Mom" asks the 5 year old sweetheart.  "No, darling.  I'm just busy.  And thinking.  And busy thinking."

Is that what I want them to see in their mind's eye when I'm thought of?  Is that what I want to teach as expected behavior?

Obviously, no.  And, I will extend myself a little grace here.  My personality is "Martha" all the way.  I do things now and process them later.  I find joy and fulfillment in serving others, doing for others, and ending a day with a crossed-off list.  It's when the list was never touched or even written down that I become frustrated!

Moving forward . . . the Lord's use of a children's Bible story and my boldly spoken children to touch my heart was heard and felt.  I've made a conscious effort to ask the Lord to clearly indicate where I need to stop and notice.  Notice Him in the details of my day.  Notice Him in the rare quiet fellowship of my children and even in their rambunctious laughter.  To notice Him in the mess, the mess, the mess. 

I am also asking Him to show me how He values me as a Martha and how to grow me more Mary-like.  And I am ever so more thankful that He uses my children to convict me.  Over and over again.  Who knew God gave me children to keep me humble?!

O Christ, do not give me tasks equal to my powers,
but give me powers equal to my tasks,
for I want to be stretched by things too great for me.
I want to grow through the greatness of my tasks,
but I shall need your help for the growing.
E. Stanley Jones

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Love Actually

February! It's the month of love. Spring flowers began to peek up through the ground. Diamond dynasties and card companies create in our heads visions of ginormous rocks on a band, heart-shaped chocolates, and sappy but heart-felt sentiments from our loved ones. Our expectations of a over-the-top romantic Valentine's Day increase with each passing day.

As a teenager, Valentine's Day was the best day all year. Boys could buy their sweethearts a single rose and have it secretly delivered during the middle of Algebra II or Chemistry. All the girls would gush excitedly while secretly hoping their own beau would have their flower delivered during the next period. Please, oh please!

As I've gotten older, I tell my husband not to spend money on flowers and candy. I don't even need a card. Just let me sleep late. For a week. Serve our kids breakfast so I can linger in the shower. Alone and without an audience. Acts of service make my heart melt. If he does the dishes on a whim, my knees turn to jelly and I hear imaginary love birds chirping in my ear.

This February, a sweet friend challenged her Facebook friends to 14 Days of Valentines. It's a two week commitment to pray specifically for your husband. It's an encouragement to leave him small notes or gifts on a daily basis to completely fill up his love tank. I am completely charged by the challenge. In fact, since Weekend to Remember last year I have been praying very specifically for my husband. Below, are a few ways I am praying for him.
  • He acknowledges Jesus as the leader of his life by following and obeying Him, and relying on the Holy Spirit all day, every day (1Cor 16:13-14).
  • He take responsibility as the leader of his family, courageously leading me and our children (Eph 5:23).
  • He be a man of prayer, continuously in communication with the Lord so that he'll live and walk by His Spirit (1 Thess 5:17, Gal 5:25).
  • He have friendships with godly men that would "stir up one another to love and good works" (Hebrews 10:24).
  • He be shielded by God in mind, heart, and body, and be guarded from the evil one (Psalm 28:7, 2 Thess 3:3).
Sometimes, it's really hard to pray for my husband rather than about him (read here - complain about him). So, I become selfish and find one or two things to thank the Lord for regarding the man He gave me and call it "Done". Oh but don't worry. Those are the days the Holy Spirit wakes me at 3:00 a.m. with a conviction to pray for him.

And pray, I do. And will continue to do. And I even ask the Lord to prompt my sweet hubby to do a few more dishes and a little more laundry.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Texas True?

Field of bluebonnet flowers
I had the pleasure of chatting with a new friend while watching my daughter's basketball practice.  We clicked right away.  She was generally interested and listened without over talking and hogging the conversation.  We talked of our dear, sweet husbands and darling children.  She asked about our decision to home school vs. private vs. public.  I asked her about her move from Kentucky and if she liked Texas.  It was really nice!

After 45 minutes of surface talk I asked her to tell me about the day she became a Christian.  What was it like for her and how had God been working in her life since then.  It was great to hear a mature sister in Christ tell me about her relationship with Him.

She then, with a close-to-my-heart boldness, asked me:

"So. . . are you a real Christian or just a Texas Christian?  I mean, it sounds like you are a real Christian from our conversation but you just never know around here!"

Do what?  Huh?  Say Again?

To be honest, this isn't the first time I've heard comments about the culture of Christianity in our area of the country.  In the south, we have such a relaxed atmosphere about church, praying, bible reading, and following the Lord.  Most everyone I know goes to some kind of church on Saturday nights or Sunday mornings.  It comes right after the Friday night happy hour and before the Sunday afternoon Cowboy game.  It's a box that is checked off of our many things to-do on our day of rest.

Thankfully, we had a few minutes left of basketball practice to talk about what she meant by a "real"  Christian.  I assured her that my everyday surrender to the Lord is real.  And difficult.  And never-ending.  I mentioned my need to seek His will for my day as I stand half-awake in the shower.  I told her of the many times a day that I bend my knee begging for His grace and mercy keeping me from accidentally locking my children in a closet.  I was able to retell of His redeeming work in my life - past, present, and yet to come. 

So, yes, I'm a Texas Christian.  A redeemed, forgiven, loved, cherished, and saved Texas Christian!