Monday, October 27, 2008
God has consistently rewarded and encouraged my efforts to be faithful in this. I see changes. When I stop and look at my life and the lives of my husband and my children, there are definite changes. My boys love for us to pray for them. It is an amazing thing to instill the love of going before the Lord for protection, blessing and needs, to find ways to be grateful and to praise God for the things he is and how he blesses. It becomes evident that it is a necessity...not just a luxury.
There is no way to explain how I manage to get them up at 6:00am, and getting dressed, breakfast, chores done and our time with God - and out of the house by 6:50am. It is supernatural and has become a necessity for us.
I have heard this over and over again and I feel that it is definitely the hand of God on us when we bring our needs to him, ask him to direct and bless our activities that day and proceed to accomplish whatever it is that is set before us...even when interrupted - we are accomplishing the will of God. It is exciting. It is assuring and it is fulfilling. Our God loves us and wants us to succeed at what we do....
11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Joshua 1:8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
1 Chronicles 22:13 Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the LORD gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged.
The thing to remember is that it is our hearts that are changed. Not necessarily the circumstances. When we pray that God will help us each day and when we are in the Word - seeking the wisdom that is found there - we have the tools to accomplish whatever the Lords will is. It cannot be our will that we seek - but his. And his will for our lives is infinitely better than anything we can plan for ourselves. And when I do not seek him I cannot find my focus and things are not right. I believe this is as much about my mindset as anything. It is not that God refuses to bless because he has blessed my efforts in spite of me and my unfaithfulness - but the things I do are not as joyful...there is less purpose and I seem to stumble on my own sins much more without seeking him in what I do.
When you are planning your day, make sure that you bring it all before the Lord. Ask him to bless what you do and to allow you to be satisfied with what you get done and what you don't get done. Be thankful for the interruptions that happen - they are sometimes God's way of revealing his direction for you.
I feel that I do see the supernatural hand of God in my life when I do this. To be honest I am coming to see that I cannot live on this earth without him. He is my strength. He is my reason for being here. There is no other way I can survive without the grace and love of my heavenly Father.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
But God has given us an extended family. The body of Christ is all around us. I have a tendency to cut myself off from these dear folks. Not on purpose. My depression tends to make me a loner and the fact that I am working, writing, taking care of the house and kids - well - it is so much - taking time to fellowship and finding accountability is hard. Next to impossible.
Living rightly is difficult if not impossible without the help of our fellow believers though. I was telling a friend of mine today that sometimes we as Moms are embarrassed to ask for help or to talk about our problems because we feel we are the only ones. You are not alone.
First of all - we as believers have our heavenly Father here with us all the time. He is our heavenly Father. We are his daughters. He wants us to depend on him, to cast our cares on him and to enjoy his company.
10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
6 If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
This is the great thing about being in the family of God. When we walk in the light that God has given us, then we also have fellowship with other believers. We can share our hardships and know that we are indeed not alone. It is a compass of mine - and I see that I am going through a period where I seem to be struggling with my fellowship - I need to look harder at where I am failing.
2 Corinthians 4:6-8
6 For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness,"made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair
I love this verse. God has given us the light to shine in our hearts. And we carry it in this earthly vessel the body - so that when we struggle - we do not despair. How encouraging is that? Talk about a warm fuzzy! So it is good to share our burdens with fellow believers. It is good to be transparent and talk of our struggles. Others have been there and they can help us along...we can do the same. We are to bear our sisters burdens! It is good to know that I am not the only one that struggles. It is good to know that I am not alone in my journey here on earth...I have family!
What a blessing to be in the family of God!
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
My favorite is when they talk about the "F" word. One day one of them came home and said his brother said the "F" word at school. I almost had a heart attack. "What word was that?" I calmly TRIED to ask. In a whisper he told me his brother said "fart". I was relieved. Honestly, a mild word compared to what I was thinking. But do I want them to say the word fart? Ehhhhhhh, not really. But they are boys and so I try to tell them to be aware of where they are using it. I take time in the car on our way somewhere to talk about when it is okay to be a "boy" and when they need to be above reproach with their words and their actions.
Is this wrong? Should I tell them to strive to be above reproach everyday in both word and deed? I cannot begin to tell you what a clamor that sets up on the not so goody-goody side of me. I have my reasons for not wanting to be a goody goody. I have had ample opportunity as a flawed person who lets my flaws be known to share the love of God, and his faithfulness - even to someone like me. And I have an inherent distrust of people that are just really, really nice. Now I know - this is my problem. There really are people that are so kind that they seem too good to be true. It takes me a while though. And those are actually the people I want to be like, when I grow up.
Hmmm. When I grow up? Well I supppose it is possible that I am hanging on to my worldly nature much too tightly.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
1 Peter 4:11
If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 3:9-11
9Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
10For, "Whoever would love life
and see good days
must keep his tongue from evil
and his lips from deceitful speech.
11He must turn from evil and do good;
he must seek peace and pursue it.
There are so many more warnings about our tongues. And quite honestly I struggle with mine. And the problem is my heart -
But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man 'unclean.'
Well - that is truly convicting.
What it comes down to is am I truly living the Word of God? I use my excuses about not wanting to offend people by being too good, but quite honestly - do I think by holding tight to that worldly behavior that I am actually serving the Lord well?
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
I am failing when I do not consider my mouth and its effect on others. And I am wrong when I do not try to curb my language and teach my children the same thing....
8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
I am not judgemental person. If anyone struggles with their stance before the Lord, it is me. I am a people pleaser, I love this world too much and I secretly enjoy being worldly. It makes me sick to openly admit this...but in my thinking it is the first step in becoming closer to God. And that is my ultimate goal. If I set my heart on pleasing the Lord and my mind and heart are set on this, then I have no doubt my language will follow. This is what I will teach the boys.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Once again I find myself, tense, cranky and frantically trying to meet all of the obligations I have committed to. Why do I do this? Why is it that I cannot seem to find a good balance of what I should take on and what I should not? More often than not the relationships that are more important to me are the ones that suffer. My time with God usually finds a way to get sacrificed. I skimp on my children and my husband and I am unhappy and cranky with them because they become one more thing for me to do. This should never happen. God and my family are my first priority.
So how do I help out without becoming too deep in obligations outside of my home?
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is.
Do you know that in my search of the Word to back up my feelings on my busy-ness I never found caution in being too busy. But rather saw many times admonition to not be idle.
4 Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
1 Timothy 5:12-14
12 Thus they bring judgment on themselves, because they have broken their first pledge. 13 Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to. 14 So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander.
So - I do believe that being busy is a good thing. The definition for being busy is: full of activity. I do think that I can take on too much and not be good at the things that should be my priority. But I must be wise and choose carefully what I am called to be busy in. I am a believer, I love God and will serve him making my time with him is a priority.
I am married to a wonderful man who I love and love to serve, he is important to me and I will not set aside my time for him. I have three beautiful boys that I can't imagine being without. I have such a short time with them during the day. I need to set it aside for them. I have precious friends that God has given me, some that I have known long, others that are newer. I can find time to spend with them occasionally - it has gotten harder in the last few years. But I can find ways. I have a Church that I worship with and enjoy fellowship with as well. I must find ways to serve the body. I am called to and have made a commitment to do so.
That is a lot. My only protection from over-committing is bringing each thing that comes my way before the Lord and asking him for wisdom to accept or not to accept. I try to make a list prioritizing things in the morning and pray that God will help me get done what I need to and not worry about the rest. I don't think it hurts to ask your husband to help you make the decision either. Andy will many times tell me that I should not take on something that I have been asked to. He leaves it up to me though, and when I have been foolish enough to do it anyway, I have always been sorry. Just goes to show - I need to listen to him!
My motives for taking on things should always be questioned as well. Saying yes, because I want to look like a servant or I am happy that somebody needs me, are not good reasons.
I have to take into account what is important to me. Find ways to get the things done I have to - so that the time I spend with my kids when they get home from school and Andy when he gets home from work is a good time.
In trying to find ways to wiggle out of my busy-ness though, I have found that it is indeed a blessing to work, to be full of activity - the catch is to make sure it is something that lines up with God's Word.
Look how lovely this scripture is:
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
How light my heart is after reading that.
I encourage all who read to find a way to keep yourselves away from idleness, to keep busy but to be wise in your choices. It is a neverending effort in my experience, but I believe it is well worth it!
Friday, October 17, 2008
When I don't have my glasses on my skin looks so smooth and well...I am quite satisfied with it. But I can't really SEE. When I have my glasses on, I want to fix it. It is not as nice as I thought it was. Because I CAN see.
This can be so easily translated to what I have been talking about lately. God has been making me so aware of my need of him. I am constantly reminded of my weakness and his strength. Of my incompleteness and his wholeness. And he is the only way that I can be made whole.
The Word is my set of reading glasses. It allows me to see who I am before the Lord and it convicts and causes me to want to be whole. To strive to be closer and more like Jesus.
3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.
I desire to be mature and complete. I will continue to view myself in light of God's Word and to ask him for strength and wisdom. It is the only way I will attain what Christ has set before me.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Work is necessary. And to be honest, it is a blessing. I love my house looking clean and smelling clean. There is nothing so satisfying as looking around and being happy with what I have accomplished. My problem is - there are so many other things that have to be done as well. So I start getting frustrated when what I just did gets undone. UGH...it can really make me cranky (understatement of the year).
But it is good to remember that God created us to be creative and to work with our hands.
1 Thessalonians 4:11
Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Of course the accomodations there in Albania were not what I thought they would be. We are so blessed here in America but we have no clue. The bathroom was a square tiled area. it had a hole in the middle with two rectangular places for your feet on either side...this is how you went to the bathroom. Squat. Though not what I was used to - it was fine. The shower was positioned above that hole. So you took a bath where you pottied. The water was in a resevoir above the sink. The water came on twice a day. 2:00am and 2:00pm - stayed on for an hour. They had to fill buckets and tubs for what they would need the rest of the day during those times. When you took a shower it was cold...I had to quit shaving my legs because I always had chill bumps - and it hurt to shave. I would say we did what we could to stay clean, though they were certainly short and sweet showers we took. We thought we were getting clean. Let's just say we were doing the best we could.
After a few weeks it was time to come home. We had a layover in Zurich, Switzerland. We stayed in a hotel there and when I got to my room, I went immediately into the bathroom and got my shower. I was amazed. The amount of black dirt coming off of me was unbelievable. I was filthy. I soaped up and scrubbed and when I finally got out I felt truly clean. And I had non-hairy legs... which felt very strange at first!
I thought I was clean. But a hard shower in Zurich proved me to be wrong. There was dirt I could not see and I was not as clean as I could be.
In light of God's Word I am not as clean as I could be. There are things I do that I do not confess. Oh I think I am doing well...sometimes. But when faced with the word of God and the spiritual understanding and conviction that comes from it, I can see that I am not.
9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? 10 "I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve."
2 Timothy 2:19
19Nevertheless, God's solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: "The Lord knows those who are his," and, "Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness."
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
We know we are to confess our sins to stay right before the Lord. A contrite heart and repentant spirit is pleasing to the Lord. Confessing our sin is an integral part of a healthy heart. It keeps us close and dependent on God and this is where we want to be as his children. I pray that God will give me much sorrow when I sin.
2 Corinthians 7:10
10Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.
I desire to be faithful to stay in the Word and to be in prayer. It is the only way I will be aware of my spiritual climate. And I do feel in these times it is most important. I want to be ready for whatever comes.
Come along side me friends. Let's hold up the Light so that we and all who are around us can see our desperate need of Christ and the Gospel.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
I am having a garage sell in early November to make a little money to help with Christmas. So I am in the process of getting all of that organized and in order. I am having to really cheer myself on though. I get bogged pretty quickly. My intentions are good. I just seem to get overwhelmed with all of my "great ideas".
I am sorting. I have my quilting stuff in a bag ready to go with me wherever. Or if I get the munchies...I grab my bag and start sewing. This is actually quite a good outlet for me. Now I just have to find a way to make exercising something I want to do. Music helps...but not that much! I would appreciate any ideas you have that will help me.
So - basically, I am in the midst of coming up with a plan. I am also prepping the kids. Making sure they remember what the meaning of each holiday is and how we prepare and what we are planning for each. This seems to help them form right expectations. That is a big thing in my book. I have found the reason for disappointment with them is my failure to prepare them well.
I am about to go sit and read to my G-baby. My big boys are at Scouts this morning and I want some cuddle time with my baby - who assures me he is no baby - he is in kindergarten. OH - is squeezed my heart. Just another reality of life though. Must use this time to my advantage!
God bless whatever plans you have today. I hope you all have a happy weekend!
Friday, October 3, 2008
Also I met a lady that suggested I write for the Alabama Baptist. Not big money. But they are looking for people who are willing to report on specific things. I am pretty sure I could do that.
But this show. A party really. I am going to set up and have my t-shirts, caps and some of my quilted pillows (this is new). I am also trying to come up with some calendars and memory cards for moms. These are new extenstions of what I long to do to help out moms who are like me and to continue to find ways to bring in money for college for the boys. Anything that will give my husband peace.
I am excited again and am looking forward to the party. I will post more details about it as soon as I get them.