Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Love & War

   The words Love & War conjure a myriad of images in most minds.  They certainly do in mine.  So, when I saw that John and Staci Eldredge had written a book by that name, my interest peaked.  Then, I’ll admit, when I saw that it was about marriage, I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to venture in to read it.  I mean, I’ve been married a long time and have read a lot of books and articles on the topic over the years.  Not that I  believe my marriage is perfect or couldn’t use some occasional encouragement – but really – after awhile – I figured I had heard it all.  However, something just kept nudging me to just give it a shot.  If I didn’t like it – it could go into the bin of ½ read books I gave up on.
     So, the book arrived in the mail and I was semi-excited about reading it.  The biggest selling point to me was that it was written by the Eldredges.  John’s book Waking the Dead had been extremely impacting so I was open to seeing what insight they might have to offer.
     On our 26th anniversary, just one month &; one day before our son was getting married, I began reading.  I don’t believe the timing was coincidental.  Especially when I read that they had been married 26 years when the book was written. 
     Transparency is a trait that always draws me into a book.  When the proclamation that marriage is hard and how it is embarrassing to admit that – I totally understood and opened myself up to pay attention to what was on the pages.  I was appreciative that this book solidified what those us who have been married longer than a nano-second know - marriage isn’t just about the romantic warm fuzzies that too many weddings and predictably sappy movies are made out of.   Marriage is indeed war.  Not a war with each other – but a war that we have to agree at the outset that we are willing to enter into with and for each other.  It is ordained by God and therefore disliked by satan.  Far too often, this realization doesn’t hit until well after the ceremony of bliss and the euphoria of the honeymoon has worn off and all the little annoyances you thought you could put up are larger than life.  We too often forget that each person enters into the marriage bond, not just with all their glorious – can’t live without – qualities – but with all their brokenness, too.  It is as one of the chapter subtitles stated “Romance meets Reality”.
     Yes, this book dealt with the blatant honesty of issues in hearts and marriages, it also offered some tremendous reminders:
    “We are entrusted with their hopes and dreams, their wounds, and their fears.”
    “Being married costs you everything.”
And, it offered wise counsel, from the heart of two people who admittedly went to the brink of divorce more than once.
   “  “Jesus said, “ Love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12).  This is a love story, after all.  And what does learning to love look like?  Well, for one thing, it looks like compassion for your spouses’ brokenness while choosing to turn from your own self-protective style of relating.”
    I especially appreciated this small line, tucked somewhere mid-way through the book, “The secret of happiness is this: God is the love you are longing for.”  Well said.   Marriage – another person - was never intended to fill the places only God can.  The truth is, if we have that place filled by God, then he can lead us into a very exciting adventure with our spouse and with the family that God has ordained.
The writers admitted that if they were pressed to choose their “top three things that would help your marriage,” they would come down to the following list:
1.         Find life in God
2.         Deal with your brokenness.
3.         Learn to shut down the spiritual attacks that come against your marriage.
Wise counsel indeed.
   This book is great.  If your marriage is struggling and you are walking through hard times or know someone who is - its worth reading.  It solidified in me things I already knew and showed me somethings I hadn't seen before.  Bottom line is this -  the enemy of our souls would love to destroy the marriage that God ordained – but greater than that God is FOR us!  It is war, but it is a war worth fighting with God’s love.  After 26+ years of marriage – I am glad Cameron is the one with me on this adventure!  
   For my son, Grant and his lovely bride Nichole - with God's help this can be a tremendous and beautiful adventure through good and bad.  Know that we are there alongside you, but most important God is FOR you.
   For my daughter, Amanda and my young friends who have yet to embark on this marriage journey – I want to encourage them to truly hear God before they go down this lifelong path.  No compromise.  If there are red flags in a relationship – don’t assume they will ‘work themselves out.’ Have the courage to heed the warning signs and get out before you say  “I Do”.  You know what those checks in your spirit feel like –this is not the time to ignore them!   By the same token, when God’s mate for you comes into your life – you will both know and be willing to love unconditionally, grow a family with, be in community with, help each other reach the God-given potential inside, and fight for each other in the natural and especially in the spiritual...Just Sayin….

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Answered Prayer

This week we witnessed the answer to a prayer that has been prayed for almost 24 years.
     On August 30, 1986, Grant Michael Fisher entered the world as our first born son.   From the time he was very young, we began praying for the young girl who would someday be his wife.  We did know that somewhere she was out there and her life was being formed and fashioned and at the right time their paths would cross and the rest would be history. We didn't know her name, or her face, or where in the world she was - but God did.
      It's been an interesting journey.  I never was one to get close to the girls that Grant dated.   I didn't want to rush the process and never wanted him to hesitate to break a relationship off that he felt was wrong just because the family had gotten too close.  One day a couple years ago, Grant came and basically asked me, "Mom, don't scare this one off."  First of all, I never saw myself as scaring anyone off -- just keeping a comfortable distance.   :-)   However - at that point - I agreed to unfold my arms  and be a bit more 'welcoming'.  Family is a big deal to us.  So, it is crucial that whomever 'signs on' to be with us - gets along with both the McCarn  and Fisher sides of the family.  Grant began bringing this young lady to holiday gatherings. Personable and fun - she fit in beautifully. Over the past two years this young lady became woven into the fabric of our family and into the fiber of our hearts.
      On July 10, 2010 in beautiful outdoor ceremony surrounded by friends and family we proudly and joyfully watched our son marry the girl of his dreams and the girl of our prayers. 
      Brandi Nichole Rose Riley Fisher - Welcome to the family. 

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


“We heard the heartbeat today!” The excitement of the first time mom and dad was evident even through the phone.

So, this leads me to a question.

Have you heard the heartbeat of the potential that is deep within you?

The dream…..the vision…..the hope…..the promise…..

Do not be overwhelmed by the unknown.

Do not doubt. God did not make a mistake.

Rest in Him. Be still.

Listen for the heartbeat and rejoice over the stirring deep within.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I Love Living in the South

I love living in the South.   Let me quickly say, it isn't that I have anything against other parts of these beautiful United States.  I've lived in a few places like Missouri, Texas, Michigan, Indiana and I've travelled to many states and even to other nations.    However, it is Tennessee and the South that has captured me (& Israel, too, but that's another blog).  Where the South is concerned, it's often the little things that just make me sigh and smile.

Sometimes it's overhearing the slow smooth drawl of an elderly woman or a little child putting three or four syllables in a word that should only have two. 

Seasonally, it is the little Green Acres stand that sells plants, fruits and vegetables over on the road about a mile from my house.  It isn't even that I stop by that frequently, but when it's open, something just seems right in my southern world.  I often drive out of my way, just to pass by it and I smile.  Every time.

I enjoy going into a restaurant and getting to order a vegetable plate with pan-fried okra and a big tall bottomless glass of iced tea - and have to clarify if I DON'T want it sweet.  

It is the little things that grab my attention and often my heart. Like a big old slab of wood I saw propped up against a pole.  In big black sloppy hand painted letters it read "cabbage tomatoes cukes" followed by a big 'ol arrow pointing down toward the farmhouse on a road with rows of corn growing on each side.  No doubt - in days to come the word corn would wind up somewhere on that roughhewn sale sign, too. I remember saying out loud when I rode past it - "I love living in the south."  It was somehow endearing.  A sign. Go figure.

I love that we still have towns with city squares.  Not big and flashy like Times Square in New York, but quaint and welcoming.  The kind of place with locally owned speciality shops, antique stores and a fudge or ice cream spot.  It's where you walk in pleasant weather and smile and say hello to people you don't know, but who you feel a kinship to. It's a place you saunter through because for some reason fast walking doesn't quite seem appropriate. If you are really lucky, there's a little bench where you can sit and relax and just soak in the scenery - which typically is filled with big tall oak trees, beautiful flowers, children, families, and retired folks.

I enjoy driving past country churches - whether the building is clapboard or brick or aluminum siding or even block. Some people think it's crazy that we have so many churches down here.  I suppose they have a point.  Especially in my county, but I do like seeing the variety of old, new, beat up, sparkling, trucks, vans, cars, and motorcycles parked up close and side by side on a random evening.  I often wish I could just get a peek of what's happening inside.  I guess cause I know in spite of its flaws and imperfections - inside that building - there's folk gathered in there who are community - family who chose to get together.  It's especially sweet when I can put down my window and hear music and praises rolling outside of the church and floating up to heaven.  Additionally, I have to admit I get a kick out of the names of some of these little gathering places, but with so many - I guess they had to get creative after awhile.  

Just this week, flipping channels on my radio on the way to work, I stumbled upon the local award winning country music station. If I stop on this particular station, usually it's because they do have the best traffic reports and around Christmas time they do play hilariously clever songs.  This particular day I stopped because someone was praying.  I mean like seriously praying. I just wasn't used to hearing praying on this particular station. I later discovered that they were promoting a local gathering for the National Day of Prayer.  It was stirring and it was powerful.  The DJs were gracious and obviously moved.  They went from that into playing a beautiful rendition of "God Bless America".  It just made me smile all over myself.  Cause anyway you shake it up - God was using this little pastor to pray over airwaves and into cars, homes and offices and into the lives of people who were just hoping to hear some country music that morning.  Instead, tucked ever so neatly between someone like Rascal Flatts and Carrie Underwood was this heartfelt prayer calling individuals and a nation back to God. I had to wonder if there wasn't some Betty or Bubba who was reminded of what it was like to pray and maybe their hearts were nudged and stirred. Maybe they remembered what it was like to hear their momma or daddy or grandparents pray. Just maybe that prayer made a difference.  Amazing what God can and will use to stop us and turn our eyes back to Him.

There is so much more that warms my heart around these parts. It's not perfect, the good Lord knows we have our troubles and our issues - but it is home. For the privilege of living here I consider myself blessed and grateful.
I do love God and yes,  I do love the South!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Turning of the Hearts

Turning the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers.  We’ve heard a lot about this in the past few years, but this cry for meaningful relationship between generations has escalated in recent months – or maybe I’m just hearing it louder.

I’m currently reading a book by Lisa Bevere called Nurture.   Lisa underscores the need for mothers and mentors and our need to be even more intentional in our pursuit of personal relationships that make a difference.

I’ve been doing a lot of self-examination in this area.  I don’t have answers.  I probably have more questions if anything.  But I do acknowledge that one of the ways that helps to turn my heart is when I intentionally spend time praying for the young adults in my life, and even for those I don’t know.

Recently I attended Empowered21, which was an intergenerational conference that had at its heart, this desire to see the generations coming together.   One morning general session lead by Jack Hayford has come back to my mind several times.  Hayford was joined on stage by two of his grandsons and about 9 other ORU students/grads.   Each one told of one way that they desired the older generation to pray specifically for their generation. 

Here is a basic summary of those Prayer Points:

1)           Spiritual Fathers to BE Fathers (mentors) to them
2)                 Conviction that leads to repentance
3)           Identity of this generation to be found in Christ.
4)                 Preservation of FOCUS in a world that is full of distractions
5)           Not to be deceived
6)           Understanding and revelation
7)           Prayer & unity
8)                 Hear the voice of God
9)           Stand in purity
10                 Relentless love to reach the lost
11                Be light in darkness
12                Righteous examples in all they do
13                No compromise
14                Willingness to pay the cost
15                Holiness and fidelity to the Word.
1                   Strengthening of family (the banishment of spirit of machismo in the Latino world)

What I liked was that the list wasn’t something contrived by a guessing older generation, but rather it came from the hearts of young adults.   As I sat in this session with my 21-year-old daughter Amanda, time and time again, as these points were being mentioned – she was affirming and agreeing with them.  They were tapping into the very things she desires and what many in her generation are longing for. 

It’s time to be intentional in how we pray and build relationships.   How in the world to we do this?  Well, perhaps it starts with telling God we are available and then walking in obedience where He leads and guides.    And we pray.  We pray this list.  A list born in the hearts of a generation who is asking God for spiritual mothers and fathers who will take seriously the cry of their heart.

Sign me up.  

Friday, April 2, 2010


I’ve always thought of myself as someone who really doesn’t particularly like change.  Now, I’m realizing that isn’t necessarily the case.

Just the word “Change” stirs all sorts of things in our minds.  A friend of mine recently posted as her facebook status that she was “Contemplating Change”.  Amazing the number of conversations and questions it initiated.   What is it about that word or concept that gets the mind to spinning?  Change. What kind of change?  Little change or big change?  Would someone dare to break out of the status quo?  Is this necessary?  How will the end result affect – or dare I say challenge me?!

Change has always intimidated me a bit.  What if I step out and it ends up being a leap into failure?  What if……..what if……..(pathetic.)

It’s not like I have a lot of first hand examples of changes that ended up making things worse rather than better.  (Hair escapades excluded.)

Something inside me sort of awoke to this reality tonight.  I think I might like change.  Okay, maybe not ALL change, but if the truth be told – my Heavenly Father likes change and I like the difference He can bring!

It started when I began to consider what He had done in me and in the lives of those I love:
            Death to Life; Depression to Joy; Turmoil to Peace;
            Weariness to Rest; Stress to Calm;
            Despondency to Hope; Bondage to Freedom;
            Brokenness to Wholeness; Unbelief to Faith

Time, space, nor my vocabulary, can adequately articulate or contain ALL the transformation that He embraces and brings. 

So – while I may find change challenging and often something that takes a bit of getting used to – the end result – when it is brought by His hand is nothing short of amazing.

It’s Spring…….I have a feeling change is in the air! 

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Can You Hear Them?


I was sitting in a large ballroom during a conference halfway listening to the speaker. Then it happened. Suddenly. Without warning. It was a moment suspended in time. The speaker and those listening moved on. I was stuck. Stuck on a quote, a mere statistic – a statistic that I’m not entirely sure how it even fit with the topic. To me, however, it marked a defining moment. The glimpses, the moments, the flashes – had all culminated into a full on envelopment. I had been inexplicably faced and confronted with a challenge from the heart of God. I had a choice. Ignore it. Walk away. Or – take up this mantle. Not a mantle that would merely be draped up on my shoulders from time to time – this was something that would literally be wrapped in and around my entire being. My response? Well, after the wellspring of unintentional weeping ceased – I simply whispered, “Yes”. Not to a person. A “Yes” to God, knowing that with my affirmative answer, I was in for a lifetime of challenge and pressing that would hopefully result in moments of joy.

So, what is it? It is a heart for the children of ministers. (Pks for lack of a better and more encompassing term.) Primarily, it is a heart for PKs 18 and older.
It is a call to pray for adult children of ministers to step into the fullness of their calling and gifting. It is a call to believe for the return of the prodigals, but also for an awakening among those who have grown complacent or discouraged in their walk. Sounds simple. It, however, comes with a weight that presses in to my heart and my soul and my being.

I have struggled, perhaps wrestled is a more accurate term, for a number of years with what to do with this call. I am still challenged by the ‘what’. In the meantime, I am doing what I know to do. Pray. Believe. Trust. Encourage. Walk out this call. Go through every open door that the Lord sets in front of me that will have the potential of pointing one more of my fellow PKs to the heart of our Father.

I firmly believe that revival is coming to this people group. When it does, I’m not sure the church world as we know it, will know what has hit. They will come. They will come with a renewed passion for Jesus. They will come with an understanding of the heart of Father God. They will come endued with power from the Holy Spirit. Those who already are in relationship with God – will go deeper and become stronger. Those who have walked away from HIM – will have their world turned upside down by a God who loves them with a relentless love and passion. He is in pursuit of them & He is NOT giving up. So – Watch & See & Listen - FOR I hear the distant thunder of a throng of multitudes upon multitudes of children (young & old) of missionaries, pastors, evangelists, prophets, apostles, teachers, worship leaders coming to take their place in the Body of Christ. Can you hear them?  Can you SEE them?