November 25, 2013

August 4, 2013

Teeny Tiny

I taught a teeny tiny Sunday School class this morning. Six pairs of ears heard the Word. Six faces laughed at my corny jokes. As we discussed David and Goliath, I regretted not finding a sling shot for them to examine. We did discuss some deeper issues today with these seasoned, elementary school aged theologians. 

Today, we explored the courage David needed to face a giant; that courage came from two experiences. The first experience had been on the (sheep herding) job training: fighting a lion and a bear to protect his flock. The other was a deep down spiritual reaction to the taunts of the 9 foot tall Philistine. I Samuel 16 & 17 reveal that David was motivated to act when Goliath defied God. When the Most High was mocked, David knew he must take action.

My class can tell you that the power of God in David defeated Goliath. But I am praying for them to also know that the power of God can banish a spirit of fear when they lie down at night. I am praying for them to feel the boldness of the Holy Spirit when God's enemies mock Him or marginalize His people. May this teeny tiny class remain just a stone's throw from God's power throughout their lives!

2 Corinthians 4:7 | I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Philippians 1:6 | He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. 

May 8, 2013

Caught Up

I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? Psalm 121:1

For the first time in many months (maybe years!), I can say that I have one day's worth of plans for today. Am I actually caught up? Hmmm. The tension in my chest is gone. Did I forget something? The scattered brain has returned to its normal level. Is this possible? The laundry hampers are half full instead of overflowing. Well well.

We started this school year in early August. Therefore, we are in the home stretch now. As we complete sports seasons and school productions and AP tests, I have a spring in my step that can only come after a semester of "Oops,we over scheduled this family but now we can see summer just around corner."

This morning I sat on the sofa and drank coffee and talked to the kids. We casually chatted while I sipped. Not gulped. Just sipped. I learned some things about the my middle and my youngest. I wanted to document this day. I am thankful for it. It is rare and precious to say that I feel calm and caught up. 

There is a perspective that I gain on these days to sustain me through the immediacy and panicky, triple booked, overwhelmed feeling of our normal routine. I choose to enjoy this day. My very good God is paving an abundant life for me here. (John 10:10) I can walk on His highway and embrace His righteousness, or I can run wild in this demanding temporary world.

I just remembered that I need to email Charlotte's piano teacher. Then, I will be totally caught up.

Lift up your eyes to the heavens, look at the earth beneath; the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment and its inhabitants die like flies. But my salvation will last forever, my righteousness will never fail. Isaiah 51:6

April 19, 2013


The number 40 has Biblical significance. The Israelite clan nibbled manna for 40 years, relying on the cloud by day and the fire by night. Jesus weathered 40 days of praying and fasting in the wilderness. Noah, Mrs. Noah, their sons and daughters in law endured 40 days and nights of rain.

When Dan, my swell husband, hit 40 a few years back, our friend Robyn wrote "Welcome to the Promised Land" on his birthday card. That sentiment stuck with me, anticipating my own fourth decade celebration. My mom has always listed her 40s as her favorite years. I have been hopeful and happy about this milestone. Maybe something wonderful is waiting for me. 

What happens in a span of 40 years that is so significant? We often set five and 10 year goals for our personal and professional lives. At the 40 year mark, what have I accomplished? 

The first two decades on Earth (ages 0-20) were solely about learning and growing. I was learning how to be a God pleaser, pursuing my education, and growing physically into a young adult. Paul reminded me that
When I was a childI talked like a childI thought like a childI reasoned like childWhen I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. I Corinthians 13:11

The following verse is playing in my mind today. I hear that smooth professional British gentleman that provides the audio for the YouVersion Bible App as he recites Paul's words again. These words best summarize my life from ages 20-40.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
- Philippians 4:12

My 20s were filled with struggles with contentment. I was striving or grieving in relationships. I was sensitive when I needed to be strong; I was stubborn when I needed understanding. God did not abandon me to my uneven walk. I kept seeking, and he safely delivered me into my 30s. The third decade was peppered with seasons of peace and seasons of noise. I met my goals: marry a smart, strong, witty, and kind husband and have three kids together. Done and done. So, how about that quality of life? Well, I must say that life is rich and sweet here in my world. (Note to self: do not blog on days when you want to scream and run away from home.) 

At 10, I was a fifth grade Pharisee.
At 20, I was engaged to Dan and focusing on my senior year at Auburn.
At 30, the Lord gave me a ministry assignment now known as Devoted Living.
At 40 . . .

February 27, 2013


I have been accused of being a Pollyanna, an unwavering optimist, and even a Little Miss Sunshine. But these were all cases of mistaken identity. It really was a misunderstanding. I am actually a misunderstood realist. 

I hold a high standard for my kids to maintain a good attitude about life.
On the outside, it may seem like I expect them to be fake, that they are not allowed to be upset or disappointed. That's not the case. I do, however, want them to grasp every single day how good they have it. When the enemy of their soul tries to steal their perspective, I get involved. I am even a bit impatient with long "poor me" speeches.

The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6:45

They have a blessed life. They are spoiled. Yes, I said it. I admit that these little Crawford kids are spoiled. I love spoiling them. But I also am intolerant of any attitude of entitlement. I am impatient with pity parties. I immediately respond with, "Don't you know how blessed you are?" I often say, "Well, let's scale back until your perspective returns. You have a great life. You have lost sight of that today." I have learned that my empty words start to sound believable. I will buy into my own bad press. On the other hand, my words of thankfulness fight away those temptations. 

When they were younger, crying Crawford kids were sent to their rooms to cry it out. Similar to the idea of removing a crying baby from a movie theater or a meeting. It was the considerate thing to do for the rest of the family. But as the kids are getting older, they cry or stomp their feet over odd things. I often think, "Really? This is your heartbreak." I know that many kids live in the present tense and only the present tense. But it is our job to offer perspective. I remember the past, and I am praying about their future. I must communicate that to them. They cannot let the enemy push their raft downstream without their permission.

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6

My kids are not expected to be perfect. But they can expect to hear God's Word on all occasions, including times of pouting. 

I do expect smiles. I do expect gratitude.
Not all of the time of course.

Our world still has grief and stress.
Our world is under attack from the enemy.
When real threats occur, we cry and pray and cry some more.
I do live in the real world. 

But because of the generosity of my parents,
the unselfishness of my husband, and
the goodness of God, 
my real world is a blessed world.
I am thankful for it.
I smile a lot. 

February 8, 2013

Sweethearts Since 1992

When I plan for the future,
When I dream of my past,
You are there beside me.
It's your love that will last.

When I squeeze your hand at night,
When we're finally through with chores,
Your heart is really my heart.
I can't tell the difference anymore.

When we're laughing at the days ahead
Or the crazy today that began and fled. . .

When we just need a few minutes
To complete that thought or sentence. . .

I am thankful it's you beside me.
Your heart is really my heart.
I can't tell the difference anymore.

Happy 21st Valentine's Day, Dan!

I love you a lot,
Leigh Ann

January 12, 2013

Confession of an 'Out of Work' Encourager

Waiting on the Lord is a Biblical concept. I have waited many times throughout this journey in the Spirit. A few times, I have even waited well;  filled with patience, brimming with words of faith, exuding confidence in the King of Kings to bring justice to my situation.

    Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

But this week, I was convicted of making Him wait on me. He was waiting for me to seek Him. He was waiting for me to sit still. He was waiting for me to listen. He was waiting to fill my cup. 

Two conversations with hurting friends led me to realize that I was not where I needed to be. I was overwhelmed by diseases and treatments and not able to deliver the aches of my friends directly to the Healer for them. I was clogging up the pipeline instead of working as an experienced encourager. God was ready, but I was not.

Ten years ago, the Lord called my name and assigned me to a ministry of encouragement. I wanted to fully understand what that meant. After seeking and studying, I learned that I was not allowed to say empty words to cheer people up and tickle their ears. I would not see people walk in freedom or deliverance that way. I would feel better, but they would not be stronger. Encouragement ministry was not about me feeling like I helped. It was about the power of God communicated to believers; to go into battle beside them.

The Lord led me to dig into God's Word and speak only His Words into hurting hearts. As a talker and a communicator, that was difficult. I could write some powerful, inspirational speeches, but they were empty without the Holy Spirit backing them. My words were temporary band aids. My best encouragement evaporated before it could refresh.

An experienced encourager is not new at this lifelong battle with the enemy. If I am an out of work encourager, I must have called in an excuse one too many times. He offers me everything I need to stay close and to hear His voice, but I confess that I have missed appointments with God's plan to work through me. I feel queasy when I pull away from Him and realize that He has been waiting on me. 

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6

He can and always will send His message of freedom. He can and will work around me if I don't want the job. Therefore, I have rerouted to His presence. He was there, waiting on me to resume work.  He has called me to pepper my conversations, my prayers, my parenting, and my unspoken thoughts with God's Word. 

So, Friends, how can the Holy Spirit encourage you today? I just work here.