Deuteronomy 6:5-9

"You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

My life is an offering...

It seems the Mangum family is not getting much relief these days. If I've been neglecting your email, text, or phone call I'm sorry. From my mom's cancer, to my decision to step down from my position with CC, Martie's nerve issues, Tabitha's Madelung Deformity (wrist issues), my own health scare, school planning, relaunching a church, and today Taylor's fall down the stairs, we've been pretty busy. 

I don't want pity. I hope by this post you see God's grace and mercy. I pray by our testimony, our joy, our hope, our faith that you too may find peace. 

I want to be honest. I have cried, I've been frustrated, I've questioned.... However, it seems with each new trial, my faith grows stronger. I'm sure that's what James is talking about in 1:2-3, "Count it all joy my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness." 

Early on I was convinced the Lord was calling me to just sit at His feet. It has been the prayer of my Christian life to be more like Mary (Luke 10:38-42). For the first time in a long time, I can say that I've yearned to meet with Jesus daily, not out of habit or duty, but out of love and dependence. The fire that I had so early on has been re lit. I've been reminded of the urgency of the gospel to those around me. He's shown me how much He loves me. (As if dying for me wasn't enough) Oh, He's so patient. 

Martie and I have also been reminded of the realities of spiritual warfare. Ironically he is preaching through Ephesians. The last couple sermons have been specifically on 6:10-20. Verse 12 has been fresh in my mind, "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." There is a war going on. We forget so quickly. John 10:10, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." The promise comes from our Shepherd (vs. 11), He came to give us life! 

So often we welcome the blessings and condemn the trials. Job's own wife challenges him to "Curse God and die" (Job 2:9) However, if we believe what we say we believe, then Romans 5:2-6 is good news to us. "Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."

Last week, I received my first mammogram. With my family history, the doctor thought it would be a good idea. Friday afternoon, the imaging office called and requested I come back for more pictures. These new images would be taken at the Cancer Center at Duke. Easy enough, I'm very familiar with those offices. We had all weekend to think about the possibilities. I knew there was something God wanted me to know, and to share through all this. I prayed, and I requested prayer. I can honestly say, His Spirit gave me strength, confidence, and joy. I have not been afraid. Today, we went to get the imaging. The radiologist explained that I have a mass, and they want to figure out what it is and get a plan. After the second mammogram, they decided to do an ultrasound. 

While waiting in the room by myself, I felt a little anxiety rising. I started to sing (out loud), My Life is an Offering. I couldn't remember all the words, so I just started singing, "God you are good, and your mercy endureth forever...." Peace, overwhelming peace. 

I wrote in my journal just days before: 
"Lord, I do not understand completely what's going on, but I trust You! God you are sovereign. You know the plan. Use me how you will, but You will have to equip me. I am weak. My faith is little. But I'm willing to be used by you. My life is yours. I want to be faithful to you more than I want health."

The doctor then called Martie and I back for the ultrasound. There it was, the mass. My stomach sank. After he finished the measurements, he called in a second doctor. She walked in and said, "So, do we have a cyst?" Yes! It's clear, There's NO cancerous tumor in my breast. 

I echo the words of Paul in Philippians 1:18-21, "What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."

If you are a brother or sister in Christ I challenge you to fall to your knees, worship Him, run hard after Him. If you've never trusted Christ as your Savior, I plead with you to trust Him. Turn from trusting in yourself, your deeds, this world.... He is the only one who can save. It doesn't matter what you've done, He already knows. He loved you so much that He was willing to die for those things. Three days later He rose from the grave and conquered death. By putting our complete faith in Him, we can live. There's no greater joy and peace that comes with that surrender. 

Thank you for reading. I will leave you with a link to the song I was singing today in the doctor's office. Below the link are the words. 


This life is an altar 

Where I want to offer 
My soul and my mind and strength 
Cleansed by Your mercy to live a life worthy 
Of the One Who called my name 



Jesus, be glorified 
Jesus, be magnified 
Let me be a pleasing sacrifice 
Jesus, be glorified 
Jesus, be magnified 
Here on the altar 
My life is an offering 



How could I not love You? 
You authored my rescue 
Raised me up, from death to life 
Your Spirit is in me, revealing Your glory 
Oh what joy as I give my life 



I choose to lose my life, Lord 
And find it in You 




Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Other big news, and an even bigger God...

We found out my mom has breast cancer on Wednesday, June 3. By Friday, June 5 Martie and I made the decision that I would quit directing our homeschool community, Classical Conversations. Our family has been involved with CC for going on 9 years and I've directed most of those years. This was a very difficult decision for us. I want to be available to care and serve my mom in this next year. The only way I can be available to my family and my mom is to cut out any extra activities. I talked with my area manager on Saturday and told her our decision. Although sad, she was extremely supportive.

On Sunday, June 7 Martie confessed that he's had something going on physically. A strange tingling sensation that started in his neck and traveled around to his right side of the head and face. Along with the tingling, he was also experiencing some numbing. With the recent loss of a friend from a stroke, I was concerned. He agreed to go to the doctor the next day.

Monday, June 8, I sent the email to our community. I let them know of our decision to leave CC. Martie and I then headed to his doctor's appointment at 10:00 am. The doctor did his full exam and then ordered an MRI. Martie then took me to my mom's house so I could attend her doctor's appointment at 1:00. Fortunately, my in laws watched our children all day.

The next day, I took Martie to get his MRI. That was non eventful, just a long day sitting in Duke Regional's Outpatient Services. The day after that, on Wednesday I took my mother back to the exact place to get two different tests. We then went shopping for a wig. By Wednesday night, I was exhausted.

Thursday was wonderful and refreshing! Some sweet friends from church took our children for the day. I dropped them off at 10 in the morning. They played with Lego's, dress up clothes, went to the pool, and ate dinner. I was able to have breakfast with my husband, get caught up on house work, and even rest a bit. Martie and I picked them up at 6:00 pm.

Friday, Martie and I headed back to the doctor to follow up. His numbness had spread and now covered his body. He had not lost any balance, his speech was fine, and he still had strength. The MRI was clear, and the doctor was/is stumped. He then gave us a referral to a neurologist.

That same day, I received a phone call. After I sent our CC community the email that we would not be returning, several families got together and raised enough money to pay for my children to still be enrolled in the program! Although I would not be directing, we will still be with the people that encourage us each week. My children's lives will not be disrupted, as much, from all the change. This is a huge blessing!

I say all this to give you a glimpse into what's been going on in our lives. I ask you to continue to pray for us. Life is hard right now, but God is better! He has given us multiple friends and family who have stepped up, watched our children, text us, prayed for us... He has provided for us. I'm reminded of Proverbs 16:9 "The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps." Before we officially quit CC, I remember crying out to the Lord, "Show me... Direct me... Tell me...." I wanted direction, clear direction. He never spoke audibly, but I knew He wanted me to trust Him. In the end, I fearfully obeyed, He provided. He established our steps.

We still don't know what's going on with Martie. He's still having the numbness, it's not constant, but it's coming and going. We'll see the neurologist next month, unless something changes.

My mom chose a treatment plan. She'll start chemo. next  Monday. It will be a 4 drug cocktail to fight this aggressive Her2 positive cancer. My brother an his family will be here, and I'm excited to see them.

This has been a much better week. We only have one day of appointments. I've been able to catch up on housework and just be home with my kiddos. I can truly feel the prayers of many. God's grace is sustaining us. Thank you to everyone who has prayed, served, given...


Psalm 16
Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
    I have no good apart from you.”
As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
    in whom is all my delight.
The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply;
    their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
    or take their names on my lips.
The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
    you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
    in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me;
    because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
    my flesh also dwells secure.
10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
    or let your holy one see corruption.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
    in your presence there is fullness of joy;
    at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

3 dreaded words...

It is cancer.

Silence.

Gulp.

Breathe

Grab your notebook and pen, listen, write down everything he is saying.

This happened Wednesday, June 3. Exactly. I sat in a tiny room, more like a closet, with my sister, my mom, her fiance, a doctor, and a nurse. After those words, it was pretty much a blur. I remember scribbling all the big words, we asked for the pathology report, and tried to hold back the tears. Within a few minutes, we had the news. Mom has Invasive Adenocarcinoma (Ductal), breast cancer.

This is not the club I wanted to join.

We've been here before...both my grandmothers, both Martie's grandmothers...

But not with our own parents. We're too young. Our parents are too young.

Nonetheless, this is our new reality. It's been almost 2 weeks since the diagnosis. It's becoming more real. After sitting through multiple doctors appointments and numerous tests, our life has been forever changed.

To lessen the heartbreak would be injustice. To pretend that I was not afraid would be a lie. I was broken. I am scared. I've fallen to my knees, literally, numerous times.

Why???

I do believe strongly that God does not like disease. He doesn't like sickness, hunger, war, or DEATH!

This is not the way He designed it. It is good for us to grieve these bad things. However, the Bible tells us He will use "ALL things for the good of those who love and who are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28 

I also know that  we are to "Count it all joy when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness." James 1:2-3

I'm reminded in Romans 12:12 to "Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer."

This cancer has changed things, no doubt. BUT, it has caused me to pray more, love Him more, and trust Him more. He is God, He is all powerful, He is sovereign. There is no other! I will praise Him. Each morning I will command my soul to bless the Lord, even when my body doesn't feel like it.

Jesus, loved us so much that while we were sinners, Christ came and died for us. Therefore it is my pleasure, as His daughter, to be an imitator of God, "And walk in love, and as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us." Ephesians 5:1-2

We will get through this, for sure. The goal now is to bring Him most glory through it all.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Duggar Drama

I know how controversial this topic is right now. It's certainly one that makes everyone squirm in their seats. It's provoking anger, generating feelings of sadness, and reminding some of their own abuse. I am not writing to add to this debate, not to separate friends, not to cause anger, or sadness. It is my sincere prayer that you would read this blog and try to suppress any immediate defenses that are ready to leap out of your chest.

I will start by saying the same thing that most people are saying. Josh Duggar's actions were wrong! There is nothing anyone can say that can try to even slightly justify his actions. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! His decisions not only affected the rest of his life, but the life of his wife, his children, his parents, and the victims. He, just as all of us, has a conscious. At some point his conscious told him what he was doing was wrong. He ignored that, and made the decisions to violate others. 

I don't know the full details of what happened after that. I can't say what his parents did was right, what the sheriff said was the best, how everyone responded in the days after were acceptable. That's not what this post is about. 

At some point Josh confessed to his parents his actions. He asked for forgiveness, was dealt some consequences, and started "Living for the Lord." 

*Deep Breath*

"That DOESN'T make sense!" I get that. I don't expect it to make sense. The gospel, which is the good news of Jesus, DOESN'T make sense. The bible says it is "Foolishness" to some people. Let me explain. God created people, people to worship Him, live for Him. People made and are making the decision to turn away from God and seek after their own desires. Those desires have led to murder, abuse, slander, adultery, drunkenness... We all have sought after things like money, popularity, beauty... If we were honest, and I hope we all can be. We know the deep dark secrets of our hearts. Admittedly, they're wicked! You don't need to sit and think long before you realize that your thoughts and your actions have not always been honoring. (To God, or anyone else)

See, we are guilty. We are guilty of the things I listed above. If you're not guilty of any of those then maybe your guilty of not loving God more than anything else. Because God is Holy, Perfect, without any wrong, we've been separated from Him. In order for us to have a sweet reunion with Him, there had to be a sacrifice. The crazy part is this... He (God/Jesus)  LOVES us, that in spite of us, He was willing to come and live on this earth. He lived perfectly, to show us how we were/are supposed to live. Although He lived without sin, the people accused Him. Eventually, Jesus was brought before the people and they had a choice, set Him free or crucify Him. He was then killed on a cross and buried in a tomb.

That's why Jesus came. Not only did He model to us the way to live, He died a perfect death so that we can have fellowship with our God, and He rose from the grave. If Jesus had not risen on the third day, He would be like anyone else. But He rose! He conquered death! Because He is alive, we also get to live. If we have faith in Him, trust in His death and resurrection, ask for His forgiveness, turn from ourselves and to Him, we too can be saved from our wrongdoings. 

So why do Christians continue to sin? Why is this world so broken? Why is the name of Jesus being rubbed in the dirt. Well, those are some deep and packed questions. I'll give a short answer... sin still exists. He has promised that He will return one day. Eventually things will be how He once desired them to be. Right now there is a war going on here. It is a war for our souls. Those who don't currently believe, the enemy (Satan and the demonic forces) want you right there, in disbelief. He wants those who do believe to lose hope, to sin, to kill us, to steal our hearts... 

Jesus knew this war would exist. When He rose from the grave, He did not go away to leave us as orphans. He sent us a helper, the Holy Spirit. As believers in Christ, His Spirit lives in us. He convicts us, guides us, and comforts... 

Can someone who commits murder be forgiven and be transformed? Absolutely! I believe that. He saved me! He changed me! He gave me new desires! I also have to forgive. Just as Jesus forgives, believers are challenged to forgive. 

I am praying for the Duggar family, and yes even Josh. I am praying that he was truly sorry. I am praying that he has truly been changed. I am praying the victims can have peace and forgiveness. I don't expect that to make sense to everyone. What I am asking you to do is seek God, go to Him with your frustrations, ask Him to help you understand. The enemy would use this to keep people angry, hate Christians, question God. But God will use this to bring people to Himself. He will get the glory. He uses the brokenness of this world to help us see our need for Him. 


1 Corinthians 2:1-5 "And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God."

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Thoughts on people leaving the church...

Martie read a blog recently titled, "Dear Church Here's Why People Are REALLY Leaving You". Below is his response to the blog. 

Mixed thoughts on this one. Some good things to ponder.

1--Sunday morning productions, we can't do a better job than the world at entertainment nor should we try. The Sunday gathering should be about worshiping, equipping the saints to serve, building the people up until they reach Christlikeness. 

2--Speaking a different tongue. Again some of it needs to be cut out, but we need to teach Biblical truth, but take the time to teach those who don't understand. I agree the building too often is the focus, but we also don't need to lose sight of the purpose of the building. It is not the temple, but special in that we should leverage the building/property/resources for the kingdom. The Church (people) are missionaries sent to Declare/Preach and Display/Live/Love. 

3--Lousy battles, I couldn't agree more. 

4--Love...This part frustrated me, the person wants love without of the "spiritual riff-raff". We wouldn't know love without the "Spiritual Riff-Raff" (Gospel) The Spiritual Riff-Raff is what motivates our Love. Is our love perfect...NO! We too are struggling like you who are leaving...we too want our lives to be about us...we too don't feel like we have the energy or the drive to deal with other people's drama, but that is what we are committed to doing regardless of how bent and broken our efforts may be. 

You say you want us to hear you before we debate you. The problem is you are not talking and if you do talk you are not speaking the truth. Most of the people who leave church won't be honest about their thoughts and feelings when they do talk. Most often it is the same language, "its not you its me". They won't allow others to ask pressing question and most often rather flee unannounced and unnoticed. 

In conclusion, it breaks my heart that many are leaving churches. I certainly have had to deal with a great deal of departures in my 10 years of ministry. I have wept many tears over many people and most of them never knew it. Break-ups hurt both parties. I wish I could tell you many stories of reconciliation, but typically when people have made up their mind to leave there is little chance they will return. At the heart of the issue is you will never love the church and be satisfied in the church until you are in love with Jesus and satisfied with Him. Soon after you will grow to love what He loves, which is His Church. You will love like Jesus, unwilling to leave and forsake His Church regardless of their constant battles with sin and Satan. Your first step to reconciliation is just like ours. Humbling ourselves, asking God to forgive us for being to self-centered, seeking to know and love Jesus with all we are and praying He would unite us in His Body, the Church.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Give thanks!


Because Scripture commands me to give thanks in all situations, I am choosing to do just that. The kids might be sick, I might still be in my pj's, the laundry still needs to be folded...

But...I am thankful today for:
  1. New TV that we received as a gift for Christmas.
  2. Amazon Prime account that allows us to rent movies anytime we want.
  3. A husband who appreciates me, and knows when I need a break.
  4. Warm showers in a locked bathroom.
  5. Emergency chocolate that I've hidden in my room. (and forgot about)
  6. Warm blankets- another Christmas gift
  7. Dinner brought to us by friends.
  8. A 20 oz. coke that was in the bag with dinner, just because my friends know me. 
  9. Store bought bread, peanut butter, and jelly
  10. Family and friends who will genuinely and lovingly pray for us at any time.
  11. Friends who are willing to take on my role in other areas of my life, so I can take care of my family. 
  12. Viruses, yes I'm thankful for viruses. Although my kids are pretty miserable, whiny, and needy it could be worse. They only have a virus, it's not a disease and they will be better....eventually. And on the bright side, it's building up their immune systems. 
Psalm 13:5, NIV I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation
Nehemiah 8:10b, ESV And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.
Psalm 28:7, NLT The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.
1 Thessalonians 16-18, NIV Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Romans 12:12, ESV Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
1 Thessalonians 5:17, NLT Never Stop Praying.
Philippians 4:4, ESV Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Years!

Each year I contemplate New Years Resolutions. The best I've found were written by Jonathan Edwards in 1723

I love goals. I happen to love lists. My lists love lists. It just fits so nicely with my ESFJ personality. The problem is, I tend to put more on myself (and others) than what's reality. I add "weights" to my life." 

For a while I've felt so heavy. Like each day was just harder and harder. I realized that I was looking more and more forward to bedtime than I was rising in the morning. In my journal I wrote, "My run has gotten heavy. It's like I'm running with weights. More things, more responsibilities, more lists... I feel like I'm carrying about 500 lbs. right now, and my race has stopped." 

I was sitting in Starbucks the other day, and read from Hebrews.

Hebrews 12:1-2 "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,  looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."


I realized that there was a separation between weights and sin. Both can entangle. But weights could be good things, sin is definitely not. I started wrestling with the text, and ended up listening to two of John Piper's sermons on the text

Then I made a list. (laugh now) Actually I made two lists. I made a list of "Weights" in my life and sins that cling closely to me. What I noticed is the things that I labeled "Weights" could be summarized as "Life," or the race itself. Is it possible that my race/life could be a weight that prohibited me from running well? 

Yes! I'm trying to do so many good great things, things that glorify God and bring Him honor, but I'm trying to do them in my own strength! I've realized over and over again that I am not as strong as I like to think I am.  Truth is, I'm weak. The reality is, I can do NOTHING, on my own or in my own strength. That's why my race has come to a screeching halt.

Weights are not bad, actually they make you stronger. As a Christian, I'm not supposed to carry those weights. It is my job to lay down, grab onto Jesus by the cloak, weep at His knees, trust in His steps, and FOLLOW! He leads, He carries, I obey. 

1 Timothy 6:11-12 "But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you mad the good confession in the presence of many witnesses."

Scriptures like that have the potential to weigh me down more. I see commands I want to obey. 1 Timothy 6:11-12 sound like great New Year's Resolutions if you ask me.  BUT, it is IMPOSSIBLE for me to please God on my own. I can not obey His scriptures and commands perfectly. Only He was able to come to this earth and live perfectly, die perfectly, and lead perfectly. 

The story that I most relate to in the Bible is the story of Mary and Martha. Martha was "distracted" or "busy about so many things." Mary, "Sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching." Jesus' reply to Martha when she grumbled to Him was profound. Honestly, it was painful. 

Luke 10:41-42 "Martha, Martha you are anxious and troubled about many things, but ONE thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her."

This year I resolve to run hard with my eyes on Jesus and sit at His feet and listen to His Words. 

The rest will be carried for me. He will get the glory. The victory is His. The joy is mine!