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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Feeling Sorry For Myself


I have tried to write for the past three days. Every time it ends up into a full blown wah wah story about how sad I am. Yes, I am sad. This last month has been hard. My husband lost his job and my life has changed once again and I hate change. But, I realize that I cannot accomplish my dreams and what I have to by moping. NO MORE FEELING SORRY FOR MYSELF. The fact is - we are not making enough money to pay all the bills without my working...at least 5 days a week...and maybe it will have to be full time...year round...no summers off.

I did not sleep well the last couple of nights. In my wide awakedness I was nudged again and again by my Savior. Up I got the next morning. And I went to my devotional and low and behold, what had sustained me for so long was there in front of me again...

Psalm 55:22
Cast your burden on the LORD, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.


I am always amazed at how the Lord seems to use things that have been written years before to speak to me just when I need it most. It is amazing to me that the morning I needed to be reminded that God wants me to cast my cares on him - he wants to sustain ME - that he places the exact thing in my e-mail devotional that I need to hear. It is such a small thing to have that little devotional each day and yet how HUGE that this message seems to be aimed at me for this moment, at this time in my life.

The thing is, I had been reminding myself daily how blessed we are. I had been daily counting my blessings and thanking God for all we had. When the news came that we had actually been offered a job, I was so thrilled. But when it was so much less than we had made before, I allowed myself to flounder, and fall once again into feeling sorry for myself. But my hope was no longer in the Lord, it was in whatever job my husband had and the salary it provided. This is not the basis of my hope. But for whatever reason...I forgot that.

Isaiah 40:
31 but 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.


I hitched up my britches and thumbed my nose and started over again. I will not allow myself to continue to mourn something that is obviously not meant to be. I had stopped reading my Bible...I had given in to depression and I was soul-sick. But that would be no more...my hope is IN THE LORD! I can run and not grow weary. I can walk and not faint...more than that - I will soar on wings like eagles! (Please read Isaiah 40 - it is such a freeing and uplifting passage - beautiful! wonderful!)

wow.

WOW!

It should be a great testimony to the Lord how he chooses to provide for us. I pray that I will continue to place my hope in him, and not of the things of this world. I ask my friends to pray for me as well.

So - here we go - THE NEXT GREAT ADVENTURE....

I can't imbed it - but if you are interested in hearing really encouraging song...here it is.

TheGreatAdenture - Steven Curtis Chapman
Giddyup!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Peace


I am a Facebooker now. I know, I know...I hear all kinds of things about it - good and bad. But the reason I got on was from urging from a friend and once I got there - well...I found all of my sweet girls from my discipleship groups from the past and caught up with precious highschool friends and it actually has been quite a blessing.

This morning a friend (thank you Tammy) posted that school had started and she was feeling a bit overwhelmed with the craziness of it all. She said she needed to put on some soothing music and look up some scripture about "peace". So I, being the sweet friend (cough) that I am looked up some verses. I was struck with one.

Peace to me seems like something you possess. You either have it or you don't. There are ways to obtain peace but I have never thought of it in the light that Timothy places it.

2 Timothy 2:21-23
21 If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

22 Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.


What I find interesting is the fact that here, peace is something that is pursued. Much like holiness and love.

So, I guess the question is, how do you pursue peace? I suppose an immediate answer, thankfully is in verse 21- If a man cleanses himself from the latter - but what exactly is "the latter"? Backing up to verse 19 and 20 -

19 Nevertheless, 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."
20 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble.


Of course with cleansing - we automatically know that it is probably sin - and those verses confirm it. The Lord does know who are his and we know that in order to belong to the Lord that we must turn away from wickedness. And though we live in the midst of things that are both good and bad - we are to cleanse ourselves from sin and abstain from sin - the best we can. So that we are free to "pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace".

We often discount certain things and feel they are just our burdens to bear. But worry is a sin. And it is one of the things that we have to confess and cleanse ourselves from. Practicing faith - (pursuing it) - is in fact trusting that God can and will take care of the hard things in our lives. Living faithfully now requires trusting moment by moment in the grace and goodness of the Lord. Worry is the opposite of faith and Hebrews 11:6 tells us that "without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."

Finding peace in the midst of this world is indeed difficult. It is easy to take on the worries of things such as school, socialized medicine, losing your job, raising your kids...these things can overwhelm you. But as believers we have the answer to living in peace in troubled times. Pursue righteousness, pursue faith, love and peace.

If you do so - you will find them.
Our salvation brings to us the longings of the good things in this life.

Oh Lord...please change this heart and its errant desires. Give me the desire, strength and focus only you can give so that I may pursue you and what you offer me in righteousness, faith, love and peace. Thank you that you will be able to complete the work that you have begun in me. Let me not forget that!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I am who I am...



I am having a pity party. It doesn't really matter why...I do this occasionally and it could be over something as simple as not getting the last ice cream sandwich.

I can struggle with my weight, with my financial abilities, with my keeping house, with how well I raise my children...any number of things that I get my personal identity from and it doesn't matter...not one hill of beans. My identity does not come from those things. My identity should come from one thing first. I AM A CHILD OF GOD.

My successes and my failures will pale in comparison to how well I lived before my loving heavenly Father. That is my most important task. And I long to do it well. But I cannot go about it as I do everything else in this life of mine.

I read somewhere that people that tend to be successful are self-disciplined. Well - there you go. I am so not. But the fact is - I have it. I HAVE IT.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.


Somebody want to tell me where I am hiding that self-discipline?

Well of course the more we practice it the stronger it gets. Just like anything. And it is like anything else. One good habit tends to cause other ones.

My problem is I am always wanting the end result - but do not want to pay the price.

Ephesians 5
1 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people.



So if my goal is to be like Christ then of course I have to be willing to sacrifice my desires in order to gain contentment. Because really - I have no clue what God's best for me is. The only way I can live in contentment and self-discipline is to trust God and to sacrifice those things that I cling to daily - my selfish desires - whatever.

I have talked about this before - but I have to give myself a pep talk every so often to get back on the right track. What does sacrificing my desires look like? I am so thoroughly selfish - it seems impossible to hope that I am capable. But I am.

Daily -

Colossians 3:15-17

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.



Start the day with Christ, dwelling in his Word, ask him for guidance and do my best to remember that I am indeed his child and that if my confidence and joy is not coming from him that I will indeed flounder and feel sorry for myself.

Why can't I just do this? I pray again - God help me!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Normal

I haven't posted in TWO MONTHS. But creatively, I have been sapped. Just don't have the gumption to get on here and even be partly interesting. Not that I have any idea at this point if I really am interesting or not. I guess it is enough just to be writing out my thoughts and putting myself out there for accountability's sake.

This summer has been busy. I like the lazy days of summer and I have not seen those yet. I was talking to Ginny - a friend from church yesterday and she said exactly what I was thinking. "I use to say,"things will get back to normal soon", and then I would wonder what normal was, normal would not happen". So funny. I thought I was the only one that had an idea of what "normal" was and couldn't seem to find it. Frustrating in a way. But I wonder if that is my fault. I have some ideal of what a normal life should look like and I am so beyond that point I have forgotten that even in the midst of that time - it was not "normal".

Can I make "normal"? I should be able to control our schedule shouldn't I? Is "normal" a state of mind? Do I allow my life to gallop wildly out of control? Of course this is an overstatement. It is not wildly out of control...it just feels like it. But I should be able to control some of that shouldn't I? Surely?

For instance: My day was suppose to be cleaning the house (a quick blessing of the house if you will) and then on to the library, back for lunch then possibly a swim in the pool down the street. Walking my husband out this morning I see as he drives away a puddle of dark liquid. I run down and find it is oil...lots of it. I run up my mountain of a driveway, call him on his cell and tell him to bring the stationwagon back. So now, I get to go to the car place with three kids. Not the way it is suppose to be! wah.

But, on the bright side, I did see the oil and I can take it and get it fixed before there is more damage. This is good. Do I want to praise God for it? Honestly, and I know this just proves me to be so flawed and ugly - but I am truly flawed and ugly...NO...I am not thankful. Can I choose to be? Yes. I can choose to let go of this rebellious knot of resentment over my spoiled day and be thankful that more money and time will not be poured into my car. Letting it go and making a choice. ahhh. So hard. But once the decision is made to do so...it is so right. I am relaxed and at ease...whereas before I was tense and angry. There are practical as well as spiritual reasons to let go of the anger I had.

What if this is normal? And I daresay it probably - very likely, is. Where did my ideal day come from anyway? Did I actually have a time in my life where things flowed smoothly and it seemed idyllic? Did I just make it up in my head and label that what normal should be? Cause that is NOT what the Bible says.

John 16:33
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."



I am promised trouble. I do believe that I have made up what I think normal should be and I pine for it. This cannot be healthy. It is not spiritually sanctioned.

Matthew 6:
Treasures in Heaven
19"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
22"The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 23But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

24"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.

Do Not Worry
25"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.


I am not living spiritually in this world. I am living worldly. My goals truly do lean toward what makes me happy and what is easiest for me and my family. And that is not where my joy or my peace will be found. My treasures, my stores are to be laid up in heaven. My desires should not be for this world but for the world that is to come. Because I am an alien in this world. (that brings me to more ponderings that I will touch on later...Christians truly should know what it feels like to be a minority - in my mind we have not had that experience...but it is coming fast)

So, normal should be a battle field - where I am daily putting on the armour of God and fighting the good fight. No wonder I am so unhappy all the time. I am trying to live a life that is not yet to be. I am told so.

Ephesians 6:
The Armor of God
10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
19Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.


We are up to our eyeballs in evil...we should be living every day like that.

Normal...my normal - is today. It is warring and fighting the good fight. Thank God he gives me days that are glimpses of what my "ideal normal" will be. These days give me the ability to go on.

Ah. So thankful for the Word of God. My compass. My true North...without it I would flounder for sure.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ow!

My boys are playing kid pitch baseball this year for the first time. Last year the machine pitched to them and it was the same speed, and went to the same place every time...so they had the timing down. They could truly hit the ball well.

This year, it's a different story. These little pitchers are amazing. They get up there and do their wind up and get that ball in there. Well, most of the time. Okay - at least 50% of the time. There are the wild pitches and some of them come right at the poor batters head, or arm or back or groin (they have to wear cups this year)....and it hurts.

It has caused a bit of fear to come into the game. There are those that seem to be naturally able to handle pain and they get right up in the batters box and deal. They don't get hit that much apparently. One of the twins is like that. J. gets up there and he hits the ball...seemingly fearless. I can't remember if he has been hit by the ball yet or not...that makes me think he hasn't - since, surely I would remember.

S. has been hit a record number of times. The most on our team. I am full of fear myself when he gets up to bat...and I am not the one in harms way. He has developed a fear that keeps him from wanting to be in the game at all. He will claim a headache, or a sore throat or a stomach ache, trying to avoid hitting. We have put our foot down (and it makes me sad) and told him he is on the team and he needs to overcome his fear...but doggone it - the next time he gets up there he gets pegged again.

But let me tell you about bravery. He gets up to bat and sure enough one is flung in there and hits him on the shoulder then glances off his shoulder and hits him in the chin - right in between the chin strap and the face mask. He goes down in a heap. Coach runs over, picks him up checks him out, encourages him and my little man gets on base and manages to steal two and slide home. Then next bat gets up there and swings the bat, and hits the ball. Wow. The common thing after you get pegged is to pray for a walk. So most of the kids that are scared of the ball stand there and watch it go by. So for S to get in there and swing - well...it is a small victory in and of itself.



Next game. He gets up to bat and WHAM! Right in the same place as the previous game...thankfully this time it did not hit his face...but it smacked the already bruised and sore part of his arm - he goes down. Coach again runs over, picks him up, encourages him and he goes to first and manages to bring it home. I am sure his next time up to bat that he is going to watch the ball go by praying for that walk. But no, my brave boy gets up in the batters box and swings away. Hits a pop fly to the second baseman....but to my eyes it was a home run...a small victory for my sweet boy. I could not have been more proud.

My eyes are full of tears as I write this. My little boy is not loving baseball right now. He loves the game but it has been hard for him lately. His fear almost consumes him sometimes. But with encouragement from his Dad and me and from his coaches he manages to pull it together and succeed. What a beautiful picture.


I see that God has given us this same thing. We live a life of fear at times. We struggle through countless difficult situations. And it makes us scared. What next? How will I manage? I don't think I can go through this again. I am sure you have thought of these things at least once.

Hebrews 10:25

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

The fellowship of believers...yes Church on Sunday - this allows us to be encouraged. To hear the Word and be encouraged at how we all struggle. How we find victory and success and can bear each others burdens.

Isaiah 43:1-3
1 But now, this is what the LORD says—
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the LORD, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
Cush and Seba in your stead.

I encourage you to fight your fear through prayer, through the Word, through accountability in the Church on Sunday mornings and finding a friend who is willing to come along side of you...no matter how boring you feel your fear is to them...and get in the batters box for pete's sake! Swing away! Keep living the life you have been given. The hard things we deal with do make us better, they create depth and empathy and such great character. They make us more like our heavenly Father. And this is, afterall, one of our true rewards.

Do Not Fear.



Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Sloth

Isn't that an ugly word? Sloth. It sounds bad. Disinclination to to action or labor; spiritual apathy or inactivity. That is what the definition of this word is. Yikes. And I daresay that one can spill over and cause the other. I hate that word. And I have done my best not to attach it to myself. But I fear that I am slothful. It makes my stomach flip to SEE that written out.

Proverbs 19
14 House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD.
15 Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger.


I do believe my present struggle with my house is slothfulness. It is possible that I have been spiritually apathetic and that it has infected other areas of my life. I can see this happening. And I believe it is a very real danger and one that is hard to recover from once you have allowed yourself to lapse into it.

But there are ways to avoid it. We can be vigilant to guard our hearts and homes from this nasty thing.

Hebrews 6:12

We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.

Through accountability, staying in the Word of God, and through diligence to guard yourself from slipping into it. Ask God for spiritual perception and conviction for when you feel you are falling into that pattern of slothfulness. I do believe that Moms - especially stay at home Moms have a tendency to be more susceptible to this.

The reason is our jobs are pretty much all things that get undone...and they get undone pretty quickly. Making the bed, washing the dishes, vacuuming the floors, cleaning the bathroom...you do it, ten minutes later someone has missed the toilet or spilled all over what was sparkly clean. It is wearing and it is unending. This can cause us to lose heart. Then we seek escape and many times we seek escape into what is easiest. Facebook or television. It is my weakness. Anything to turn off the thoughts that cause us to feel hopeless.

The problem here is not with Facebook (computer time in general) or the television. It is in managing that time. There are only so many hours in a day. Giving yourself 30 minutes to watch a television show you enjoy, or to play on the computer is not a problem. It is when you put the kids on the bus and proceed to stay there in front of the computer or television all day (yes, shamefully enough I have done this). Then you are cranky when the kids come home because you haven't accomplished what you should and you find yourself throwing up excuses to your husband as to why they house is not in better shape, then you have guilt, rationalization and the next day you find yourself doing it all over again to escape your frustrations. It is a bad cycle and Satan loves it. He is gleeful when we find ourselves caught in it.

Identify your problem then proceed to take back control of your time. Give it to God. Do whatever helps you accomplish what you need to. Find ways to get your children to help in the processes of keeping your house clean. Make a list, whether mental or on paper ( a must for me - my mental doesn't work so well) and ask God to help you accomplish what you need to and not worry about the rest. Pray for diligence and self-contol not to give in to the desire to throw up your hands and become lost in the attractive mindless calling of the television or computer.

Proverbs 31

17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.


Philippians 4:6-8

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.

We have been given what we need to succeed at our jobs. And being a Mom and housewife is a noble job...as difficult as it is, it can be done. But it is important that we call upon the Lord and guard our hearts. Once we have fallen into bad habits, it is hard to get out of them...so when you feel yourself slipping, find a friend, ask for prayer, go to the Word, look for encouragement - you will find the help you need. It is a precious promise.

God bless you Moms. You (We) can do it!

Love,
Your Official Cheering Section

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Whew! Sports are Good Character Builders


I know many Moms are sports moms. You carry your child to practices and to games and you do your best to teach them to be good sports, to play with all their hearts and to be part of a team. It is great for them. They learn so much!

But let me just say that I am the one who is getting the education. There have been many times this year that I have had to ask God to guard my mouth and to make me gracious. It has been one of the hardest things to be happy when we have gotten the pants beaten off of us. It is so good for me! But it is so hard. During the game I am asking God to help them, help them, HELP THEM! But when the ball is popped up and it's the last out and we are one run down...I feel major disappointment...then I feel my pride prickling and have to start asking God to help me, help me, HELP ME.

The only thing that I can say is that I am so thankful that God has been so good to help me see my need for him in the midst of all of these games. He has given me kind words and genuine enjoyment of games even when we have lost. This is a major milestone for me.

The fact is, I want my boys to be having fun playing the game. I want them to be kind, and generous of heart and encouraging even in the midst of losing - and if I can't be that, then what hope have I of them being that way.

Galatians 5:22-24

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.

2 Peter 1:5-7

5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;

6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;

7 and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.

I love that I am placed in situations that will work these things out in me. Goodness knows I do not have them on my own. But being put in situations where I have to rely on God to bring these out in me is good practice - and practicing these wonderful traits are good for me, they are good for my children to see in me and their Daddy.


I am thankful - I know character is hard to come by. But thank the Lord he cares enough to work it out in me and my children.

Here's a new possibility

One of the babies at work loves nap mats. She did not have one. But every morning she would get out someone elses mat and roll it up and roll it out, place her little doggy lovingly in it and cover it up. Then roll it back up and out again. In passing I said it would not be hard to make and I offered to make it. I do this sometimes...before I think things through. I did it with french braiding too...I told my cousin I could do it - even though I had never done it before, then I proceeded to do it. It is bizarre...but there it is...I kind of KNOW how to do it - sort of - kind of - well there are a few detours and sometimes it turns out okay....this is one of those times.

I went and bought the cutest pink material with big brown polka dots. Then I picked out the softest brown fleece. I moved over to the ribbon and found pink and brown striped grosgrain and then found the batting to fill it -thick soft stuff that would be comfortable and wear well.

Then one day I decided to grab the bull by the horns. That would be this past Sunday afternoon. I had tried a couple of times before but ended up tearing out seams and being just not very motivated. But Sunday - well - it was all there, clarity of thought, desire to do it and the time. I only had to redirect myself a few times before I finally came up with this:






























I was quite pleased. Come to find out people pay up to and maybe at times more than $60 for these little mats. wow.

Maybe this is what I can do.

I am always amazed at how God blesses the efforts to serve others. Even in such a small thing as helping little A. in getting her own nap mat. It was a huge encouragement for me...to see how God gave me the insite to be able to make it. But also to see her happy and rollng and unrolling her new nap mat. I have two orders already. God is SO very, very good!

Ephesians 3:19-21

19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,

21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Oh, These Techno-Time-Wasters

Our Pastor said something yesterday that has my mind coming back to it over and over again. He was talking about Daniel and how faithful he was to fast and pray. And that in these days fasting may very well take on a different form. Fasting from T.V., fasting from the computer, those are probably the two main ones. They are my "keep me from thinking" tools, and when I get overwhelmed I go to them....a lot.

It has been a long time since I have been able to peg exactly what it is I want to do that sounds like fun to me. Nothing really pings these days. It could be depression, it could be being too busy, I lean toward the depression thing. As I have said before - it seems to leave my world a washed out, useless place to be some days. It is a constant battle, and whether it is from chemical issues or whether it is physical - either way it is a spiritual battle for me. I have learned to push through it and do what I can. I am always happier when I have put aside that seeming inability to get happy about things and do it anyway. But I have dropped the housework. This won't work. Must find a way to do both my little projects and the housework.

But listening to my pastor yesterday it occurred to me that he was right. I do need to be praying more...turning off my brain less. You would think that was a given. But escaping my thoughts is sometimes just survival mode. Praying should be my survival mode. I have turned to something that probably just exacerbates the situation instead of giving me strength and helping me look past myself to other needs.

There are things that I would like to do. I want to sit in the window seat of my living room and drink tea and read and pray. I want to work on my scripture memory bracelets. I want to start my soup nights up and keep them going. I want to have people over to my house and hear what they are up to. So many things that sound like fun to me...but I have bogged down in the techno-time-wasters.

So...today - I am fasting and praying. I am keeping the television off and I will be avoiding the computer. I pray that it will be the beginning of changes that will ripple out and touch others as well. I want to be an active well-loved daughter of God and not a passive one.

Jude 1

20 But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.

21 Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Work in Progress

I am out of a job in three weeks (less than three technically). So, I am trying to get something in place for the fall. I have tried to find something at a couple of schools. BUT - I cannot tell you how my heart longs for Pajama Mama to take off...in some way - some form. I am looking for flexibility and decent money. My friend Susan and I have talked about starting to clean houses together. If we could get a couple three days a week - well...it might make it worth my while.

And as you can see, I have revamped the old blog. Trying desperately to give myself a shot in the arm. I have passed on the book for now. I am in the process of seeking to find a better place for the whole package. There are so many things I want to do with this idea. Work for stay at home moms, encouragement, and enough money to allow us to do some of our other ministry ideas...not to mention college for the kids. Is that too much to ask?

Ephesians 3:

16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,

17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,

18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,

19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,

21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.


Paul is encouraging the Ephesians in the Lord and in those last few verses he is telling them to expect more than they can ask or imagine. The Lord blesses above and beyond spiritually. And he takes care of our physical needs as well.

I do believe that my desire to help myself and other mom's find a way to be able to work flexible hours out of the home while caring for their children is a solid goal. I believe that encouraging other mom's like me is actually one of my callings. I feel this whole endeavor is well worth the effort so I will continue on in my dream...my longing to see it succeed. The money to send my children to college, and to see that money overflow into other ministries is my vision.

It is so like me...I am a work in progress as well. There are days where I feel I have a handle on it all and that I am soaring and moving forward as I should. Then somehow, I get snagged on something and lose momentum and plummet. It is, I know, a recurring theme in my life. I expect it is for most moms. But, I know this:

Philippians 2:13,14

13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

14 Do everything without complaining or arguing,

and this:

Philippians 1: 5,6

5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now,

6 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.


So I will keep on trying...I will not give up.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Not Everybody is a Soccer Mom

Wow. I have a high standard placed before me in some of these moms I see. They do everything. I was sitting next to a woman at the ball-park yesterday and she said, "I have to get my 4 year old over to the other field then my 13 year old to soccer. I will be back a little late to pick up Bobby, are you going to be here?" "I can wait for you", I said and then proceeded to hear how much they have going on. How constant it is. I am amazed. And she said she THRIVES on it. Wow.......Wow.

Her metabolism must be flying all the time. She has energy to burn and I am sitting there with my crawling metabolism thinking, "How?" How does she do it? I am amazed at these self motivated women who seem to go from dawn until dusk at the speed of light - and enjoy it. Some people are like that.

I - am not.

I like to consider myself, as you well know, a Pajama Mama. I like a laid back pace. The furious scurrying around that I see all around me just seems to make me angry. I holler when under pressure and I don't like to holler. It is a waste of my energy. And my kids quit listening to me when I get like that. I see the shades go down on the eyes and the invisible ear plugs come out when I start the whole screaming thing. It is not conducive to getting them to do squat.

And I guess my other question is - is this a soccer mom's own doing or does she feel compelled by society to have her kids up to their eyeballs in stuff? There is where I feel the problem is. But there is certainly a tension there. The balance between having my child ready to live well in this world and overexposing them to death because we feel pressure to have them be all they can be. Where is that line and how can I find it?

I certainly don't want my children to lack for anything. But there has to be a line drawn
somewhere - if for no other reason than my own sanity.

Psalm 37:4-6
4 Delight yourself in the LORD

and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the LORD;

trust in him and he will do this:
6 He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,

the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.


ahhhhh....soothing - that is some good stuff. My job number one - is - to DELIGHT myself in the Lord.

He will give me the desires of my heart - does this mean I will be a svelte middle aged soccer mom able to leap buildings in a single bound? No...not at all..though many times in my worldly thought processes I wish that is what it meant. It means that God will give me the desires that I need to pursue and will make me successful in doing his will. Well...I don't care what anybody says, that is exciting.

I am to commit my way to the Lord and trust in him and he will make my righteousness shine like the dawn and the justice of my cause, like the noon day sun. My cause being the reason I exist? To glorify him? To glorify him through submitting to my husband and raising my children in the way of the Lord.

Proverbs 3:5,6
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways acknowledge him,

and he will make your paths straight.

There is one thing I can trust in - and that is the Lord. And if I am trusting in him, and searching his face and heart daily - then I can trust that he will give me the understanding to be where and what I need to be for my children. And he will give me the ability to do it. There is no way I can be sure unless I understand that.

No, I am no soccer mom - but being a self proclaimed pajama mama is no crowning achievement either. My hope lies in trusting in my Lord and Savior and clinging to his Word for all I am worth.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Well, No Wonder

I am not a perfectionist. I am not a slave to my conscience either. I am not obsessive compulsive. I am. I exist. I do. For others. And that is not as altruistic as it sounds.

What am I talking about? I have realized lately that my people pleasing has become ridiculous. I do believe that it is what has made me start emotional eating. I do believe it started when I was a wee child and that if I don't get my mind straight about it that I will weigh 400lbs before long.

For some reason I have noticed that if someone says it, I feel compelled to do it. It is not my conscience, it is not my own conviction, it is to please that person. I do it with my husband all the time. He says, " I would like to see this bathroom look a little more adult for guests one day". I decide he meant tomorrow, so I take down all the ducks and sand and repaint and a couple of weeks later we have a nice bathroom - good enough for guests. This is not an issue with my husband - this is an issue with me. When someone says it, I feel compelled to do it. But I am seeking something and it is not truly to make them happy. On the surface it may seem that way...but there is something much more deep and sinful driving it.

I remember doing it with my parents as well. My mindset was, "If my parents are happy, then all is right with the world". The problem with that is that I would hide things from them...because I did not want to disappoint. I would do my best to please them and as long as they were happy I was happy. There was a lot of sneaking about being done, because I did not want to dissappoint - I hid a report card one time, tried to forge it, I lied about where friends took me sometimes...this is not good. I know that now. Actually - I knew it then, the need to keep them happy was so huge that I squelched my conscience and rationalized my wrong behavior. Of course I got caught. But my thinking was so skewed, I just did my best to avoid actually giving correct information as long as possible.

What I failed to factor in is whether it was pleasing to God or not. Maybe I am the only one who operates under the people pleasing premise. It seems to me that it was not something I said out loud or really understood I was doing...it was this underlying feeling that I had. Now, I do things because I want people to be happy with ME. I want them to think well of ME. I want them to be amazed and so thankful for ME. Narcissism. Closet Narcissism. It is disguised as doing for others but it is done to make myself happy. To make me necessary. To lift me up. Nauseating. Really, when you think about it, it is.

What I need to do is rewire this brain...and actually it wouldn't be me that does it. I am calling on the Holy Spirit to change my mindset. To place my longings instead of serving myself to serving and please my Heavenly Father. And by putting my sights on things above (as I have been talking about so much lately - see Colossians 3) that God would allow the things I need to do to truly serve others well, filter through his hands - so that I am not so overwhelmed. I also need to run to HIM when I am overwhelmed and not the refrigerator.

It is ever so much simpler than I make it out to be. When I read scripture and see how far short I fall...I am so discouraged and overwhelmed by what I have to do to get myself to that place. But there again, I am working on the notion that it is me who will have to do it -and that is impossible. I cannot be this person I want to be, the person I see in scripture. What I can be is a well-loved daughter of Christ. I can set my mind on my Father daily, and I can take each day as it comes with the promise that he will meet my needs and enable me to do whatever it is he would have me do.

2Corinthians 9:8
8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

2 Timothy 1:6-8
6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

These are things he has been revealing to me over the last few days. I have all I need...I can do his will....I just have walk carefully so that I do not blur the lines...Praying, reading Scripture - everyday - is how I can walk rightly. I am obviously a hard-headed, well loved daughter of Christ....though it may be simple in theory it is so very hard for me to do!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Silence is Golden

Look at what I just read:

The human heart has hidden treasures,
In secret kept, in silence sealed;
The thoughts, the hopes, the dreams, the pleasures,
Whose charms were broken if revealed.
Charlotte Bronte

Oh my....silence is not one of my more prominent attributes. I am one of those people that if it is in my head, it's out of my mouth. This is not who I want to be. It just is what it is. And I struggle - mightily with it. Because it is just like so many things - I try to defend it and then in the light of God's Word - can't. Oh goodness, so many of my natural attributes seem to be things I have to change. Is it just me? I also think out loud. I like to talk it out....which is unfortunate for whoever finds themselves around me when I am thinking. Oh me. Again.

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


Proverbs 31
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,

and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household

and does not eat the bread of idleness.

When I am discouraged by my own "pet" faults - "pet" meaning things I am constantly making excuses for that I should be working on diligently - but instead make excuses for. I need something to go to for encouragement. Something that will help me be strong and see my faults for what they are and to weed them out.

2 Timothy 1:6-8
6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.


I have a spirit of power, of love and of SELF-DISCIPLINE. This has to help so many of us that struggle with any number of things. I need this tatooed on my hand to be sure. It is not so much that talking is a bad thing. It ridding my mind of the things that don't matter and only allowing the larger truths - that are more valuable to remain and to be shared at the appropriate moment. I am not saying that I have to crack down on myself to the point where I am obsessed with my talking - but I do want to practice the self-discipline that has been given to me by my Heavenly Father.

I am still thinking this one through. I will have to get back with you if I ever come to a conclusion!

Is This Really Worship?

I truly got up this morning exhausted. My 42 year old bones were screaming at me to stay in the bed. But it is a day of worship and we will get there, one way or another. I just wish it wasn't always so hard. So I roll out of bed slowly and trudge downstairs. Kiss the boys that are up and turn the lights on, wonder what we are going to eat, hear my husband ask if he has a dress shirt ready (NO), wonder where I put the khaki pants that were on top of that pile of laundry in the den (I DON'T KNOW) - all while making coffee.

Breakfast somehow gets made and eaten, clothes are donned, everyone is clean if not wrinkle free and I am the one left upstairs trying madly to get dressed. I get in the car huffy. Not pleased. My mind is SO not set on things above. So much to confess before I take Communion. Ugh...

Sundays are hard days for me. Especially now in the middle of baseball season. We were at the park 6 1/2 hours yesterday. I didn't have the gumption to iron everything and get it all ready on Saturday. But quite honestly, it doesn't seem to matter how prepared I am - something always seems to happen to knock my attitude askew on Sunday mornings. How can I prevent this?

Deep breathing exercises? Yoga? Ha...kidding. I do need to find a way to keep that attitude appropriate. It is not a good example to be so sour on my way to church every Sunday. Something must be done.

Our children's minister said to me one time that Sunday mornings is spiritual warfare for parents. Satan doesn't want us to receive a blessing at church. He would love nothing more than for me to be sitting in the middle of wiggly children fuming over how hard my life is and how I can't focus because my children cannot find a comfortable position, or manage to drop their pen, then their Bible and poke me in the eye while trying to get little arms around my neck. But I bet it is difficult for most people, it's not just me - I hope. Whether we have kids or not...Satan can find anything for us to be focused on rather than worship.

So...how do we thwart his plan?

Colossians 3
1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.


How do I do this? How do I not sweat the small stuff that is of this world? How do I put all these things to death? It overwhelms me just to think about it. Because of course - just like my housework - I want to do it ALL RIGHT NOW! No wonder I'm overwhelmed...

Colossians 3
12 Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.


It looks like I am going to have to physically shake myself out of my funk. On Sunday mornings I am going to have to be intentional about getting up and "letting the peace of Christ rule within me". I will count my blessings. I will sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. I will proactively seek the face of God on Sunday mornings...doing my best to deal with whatever "fiery darts" Satan throws at me. I guess I will have to pull out the big guns and zing him with a verse or two.

Being prepared to fight the good fight is probably half the battle. And everything gets easier with practice...I will just practice my faith each Sunday, trusting that in time, it WILL become my first nature...NOT my second nature.

Afterall...I have what I need.

2 Corinthians 9:7-9
7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
9 As it is written:
"He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever."

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Continuing Argument

I woke up this morning arguing with myself. It has been going on now for a couple of hours. I do my best. I try hard. I work hard. And still I am tired, I am unhappy... I, I, I, I, I. There is another side to my argument - but it is weak and I don't want to listen to it. Lalalalalalala. You know exactly what I am doing.

I - it is such a hang-up for me...myself. When trying to get past myself, it is next to impossible because I have such a vested interest in my own happiness. But I am learning - I hope - I see glimpses of a supremely happier me - but it gets obscured by my worldly wants and needs.

But once again - the Bible has the timeless answer to settle the argument between I and myself.

Colossians 3
Rules for Holy Living

1Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
5Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.
7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
12Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.


When my tendency is to say again to God, " I am doing it right - BLESS ME". His answer to me is. "You have not set your mind on things above, your loves are still here in this world, you are still laboring under your own power toward your own goals. Put your trust in me, not in yourself, find joy in the things you can't see not in earthly things."

Proverbs 3:1-6
1 My son, do not forget my teaching,
but keep my commands in your heart,
2 for they will prolong your life many years

and bring you prosperity.
3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you;

bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 Then you will win favor and a good name

in the sight of God and man.
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart

and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways acknowledge him,

and he will make your paths straight.

It is a moment by moment turning of my thoughts to Christ.

Matthew 16:24-25
24Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.


There it is. My reason for giving up my life. I can see that it is tough. Taking up my cross is essentially dying to myself and it is HARD! God give me strength!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Hope

I love Spring. It makes my unkept yard beautiful. I love seeing the splaying branches of the dogwoods up front popping with flowers. It is a new beginning after a cold, brown Winter. This gives me a hope. A reprieve from dark days and chilly winds. A hope for warm, sunny days - and I get to be home with the kids.

Hope is a wonderful thing. It can get us through some rough times. When we have a hope of being able to slog through whatever struggle we are going through...we have a spark that encourages us to make it through.

There is such a thing as false hope though.

How do we differentiate between these two things....how do we know a hope is sure?

Romans 8
22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

There is no need to hope for what we can already see. We hope for the things that we do not yet have, cannot hold, are unable to obtain in the present. There are many people that promise us wonderful things - money, happiness, friends, confidence if we will just buy this, do this, be this...these promises are everywhere you look. But these things are truly empty things promised by those who are just like the false prophets of the Old Testament.


Jeremiah 23:15-17
15 Therefore, this is what the LORD Almighty says concerning the prophets:

"I will make them eat bitter food
and drink poisoned water,
because from the prophets of Jerusalem
ungodliness has spread throughout the land."
16 This is what the LORD Almighty says:

"Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you;
they fill you with false hopes.
They speak visions from their own minds,
not from the mouth of the LORD.
17 They keep saying to those who despise me,

'The LORD says: You will have peace.'
And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts
they say, 'No harm will come to you.'

I think we can safely say that God does not want us to listen to the "false prophets" of this age either. He wants us to rely on Him. When we place our hope in things of this world, we are promised to be disappointed. This world is an empty place when our hope is not in the Lord. The secure job, the nice car, the big houses, being able to go on nice vacations...all of these things mean nothing. If our hopes are not securely placed in Christ, they mean nothing.

Romans 5
1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, HOPE. 5And HOPE does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Psalm 25:2-4
2 in you I trust, O my God.
Do not let me be put to shame,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.

3 No one whose hope is in you
will ever be put to shame,
but they will be put to shame
who are treacherous without excuse.

4 Show me your ways, O LORD,
teach me your paths;

Psalm 43:4-5

4 Then will I go to the altar of God,
to God, my joy and my delight.
I will praise you with the harp,
O God, my God.

5 Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God


Put your hope in Christ alone. You will not be disappointed.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

How Many Times Do I Have to Tell You?

Today, I was getting a snack for the boys after school. I was trying to be a good mama and make some sugar cookies (trust me - they are refrigerator dough cookies) with little chocolate kisses in the middle of each one. One of the boys came up and asked if he could have a kiss...I told him to wait because I wasn't sure how many I had left. I am not kidding when I say he came back less then 60 seconds later and asked again - I was still unwrapping and sticking the kisses in the middle of the cookies. I turned to him and said very loudly, "HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU THAT YOU NEED TO WAIT UNTIL I AM DONE".

yep

It was a bright, shining moment for motherhood.

But as I finished up the cookies I was thinking that God probably feels the same way. I know I have to be told by him many more times than one. Thankfully my God is gracious and slow to anger. But what does this say about me?

Proverbs 23:18-20
18 There is surely a future hope for you,
and your hope will not be cut off.
19 Listen, my son, and be wise,

and keep your heart on the right path.

James 1:19
My dear brothers, take note of this:
Everyone should be quick to listen,
slow to speak and slow to become angry

Listen to wisdom, and once you hear it, apply it, and practice it. So there is hope for me to be wise.

I am a babbler. I love to talk. The problem is I am not wise because of it. I pray that God will teach me to hold my tongue and listen more than babble. I will be a wiser woman for it.

I am always convicted when I read Proverbs 31 (what woman is not?) specifically verse 26

26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

This is what I long for. But too many times I hear myself asking God something I have already been told, but have forgotten because of my busy-ness and self involvement. I sometimes think that my constant talk is from nervousness....but I don't want that to be a cop-out. It is WHAT I am talking about that is telling. Myself. Ugh.

Titus 2:7-9
7 In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8 and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.


As an "older" woman (I know - it almost hurts to say that) my goal should be to listen more and instruct wisely. I have been through the, "look at me, look at me" stage and should have moved on by now for pete's sake. The only way to show soundness of speech is to have wisdom and wisdom comes from listening to wise counsel and putting it into practice.

Another thought is - maybe my children need to see this in me so that I can be a better example of how it looks. Convicting.

James 1:4-6
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. 6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

Monday, March 16, 2009

It's a Problem

I have been sick a lot this winter. I have managed to catch every bug that came through. Bronchitus, that turned into right lung infection, two stomach viruses the flu...pretty much from November until March. Miserable really. I also know that I am struggling mightily with my depression again. Not the deep black hole that I saw last year - but a general lethargy that is pervasive throughout my life. I am not pleased with myself or with my life. I want to know why.

The Word of God has been good for me. But I do not stay in it as I ought. I do better some times than others - which is normal...but I have not allowed it to be my strength - I am sure that is the biggest problem. Because I am so doggone determined to help myself and to be everything I want to be, I manage to exhaust myself in the process of trying to do it all by myself.

The struggle I find is that I really don't believe that God loves me. I can't imagine why he would think I am a trophy he is proud of - I try hard to wrap my head around it but it just doesn't seem to compute. I do believe it is why I am constantly trying my best to impress and do it on my own. Is it that I want to be proud of myself so he can be proud of me? Maybe? Of course this has caused me to be so self involved that I have managed to cut myself off from most people even. I no longer feel the fellowship of the body of Christ.

My goals for my household, my children, my husband, have consumed me and then overwhelmed me. The things I used to love, like writing, singing and drawing - well...there is no interest there. I have become so burdened by my desire to keep order in my life that I would rather veg in front of the computer playing games or watching TV so I won't think about it. I know there is so much else I need to be doing ...and so comes the depression - the lethargy, which has led to a kind of spiritual paralysis.


2 Chronicles 7:
1 When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple. 2 The priests could not enter the temple of the LORD because the glory of the LORD filled it. 3 When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the LORD above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the LORD, saying,

"He is good;
his love endures forever."

Solomon had taken on the task of building the temple, after David could not. He dedicated it to the Lord with thousands of burnt offerings. His desire was to glorify the Lord in all he did. I understand that God is calling the nation to repentance - I am sure much as he desired the nation of Israel to seek his face and repent of their sins - he is desiring it for us (United States and any nation on Earth now) as well. Judgement came in the form of pestilence and famine. I understand that this repentance must come from a conviction of heart of each individual...

2 Chronicles 7:13-15
13 "When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.


I see this pestilence and famine in my own life. I long to be free from it. I desire to humble myself before the Lord and to be healed.

Psalm 32
1 Blessed is he
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
2 Blessed is the man

whose sin the LORD does not count against him
and in whose spirit is no deceit.
3 When I kept silent,

my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night

your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was sapped
as in the heat of summer.
Selah



Some how - some way I have got to come to a mental AND heart realization of my need for Christ. I am going on my face today and pouring my inability to do what I so long to do, to please the Lord in my own strength. I am not capable. I have been living in a desert...in the midst of so much blessing and favor shown to me in spite of my sorry state. How good is the Lord. He would bless in spite of my misery. My misery being all of my own doing.

The only thing I know to do is to start in square one. Come before the Lord, claim his WORD and seek to make it priority in my life. Instead of making my own way - which I am so apt to do, to actually - ACTUALLY seek his face and to know his heart so that it makes a difference in my life - in what I choose to pursue - in serving my family and others.

Psalm 32

5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you
and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, "I will confess
my transgressions to the LORD "—
and you forgave
the guilt of my sin.
Selah
6 Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you

while you may be found;
surely when the mighty waters rise,
they will not reach him.
7 You are my hiding place;

you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.
Selah
8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;

I will counsel you and watch over you.
9 Do not be like the horse or the mule,

which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
or they will not come to you.
10 Many are the woes of the wicked,

but the LORD's unfailing love
surrounds the man who trusts in him.
11 Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous;

sing, all you who are upright in heart!

Here is where I know I will find the solace and relief I am now longing for. I pray that God will allow me to remember that my strength is not my own - and that my pride in my own accomplishments means nothing to him. It is my dependence on HIM that he is seeking. He sees me as the person who has already attained this because of his son's sacrifice for me. My prayer is that I will live it out daily. My struggle is exhausting at times...but I am so very tired of taking the reigns back and trying to take control...for it leads me to this dreary place every time.

Lord give me a heart that depends on you - one that will lean heavily on you for my support and accomplishments. I am so tired of failing. I am so tired.

Psalm 121
A song of ascents. 1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—

where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the LORD,

the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—

he who watches over you will not slumber;

Praise GOD!

Friday, February 20, 2009

You've Gotta Read This

http://proverbs31devotions.blogspot.com/

This is one of my favorite devotional places...and today's makes so much sense to me. I had been telling God when I woke up at 5:00am again - that I was hurting and tired. My baby came and got in bed with us and as I wrapped my arms around him I was comforted. I am so thankful for my family.

I rolled out of bed once again and grabbed my Bible...I went to Proverbs 31 devotionals and the Word of God comforted me even more. This life, as vain as it seems sometimes, has a purpose...and that purpose is to ready me for eternity. I know that I am not ready yet...but OHHHHHH how I want to be!

2 Corinthians 4:

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; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

13 It is written: "I believed; therefore I have spoken."With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Strength That Becomes MY Strength

Psalm 59:16-17

16 But I will sing of your strength,
in the morning I will sing of your love;
for you are my fortress,
my refuge in times of trouble.
17 O my Strength, I sing praise to you;

you, O God, are my fortress, my loving God.

I woke up weak this morning. My mental capacities are depleted, even my bones feel tired. I had no direction...felt blase' about everything. I woke up at 5:16AM. I laid there looking into the blackness and tried to shut off the mind and find that warm fuzzy place that is between waking and sleeping. Couldn't find it.

So, I rolled out of bed and came downstairs. My first thought (unfortunately) was to go and check e-mails. But something within me (my dear Savior's prompting by the Holy Spirit) told me to get my Bible. I thought about my plight. What can this Book offer me to go on this morning?

Strength...I need strength - strength of mind, strength of body, strength of spirit. So in looking up strength, (and there are countless verses about the strength of God) I found several that spoke to my heart.

Psalm 18:31-33

31 For who is God besides the LORD ?
And who is the Rock except our God?
32 It is God who arms me with strength

and makes my way perfect.
33 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;

he enables me to stand on the heights.

Psalm 73:25-26

25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,

but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.

I am exceedingly and abundantly blessed. And what a relief to know that this day does not depend on my strength - because it is insufficient. I am so relieved to know that it is not up to me. The next step I take is in the strength of the Lord and he will bring his will to pass, in spite of me, but more excitingly - through me - with his strength.

I can go wake up my children and trust that I will get done what I need to - for this morning - my eyes are on the Lord and my dependence is on him. What a great place to be.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Safe Haven

So...a couple of weeks ago, I was laying on the couch because I was sick. The boys were in school, my husband was at work and I was taking advantage of it by resting. I had the phone next to me and it rang and I picked it up and said, "Hello". No one answered...but I could hear someone - so I said..."HELLOOOO" again. Then I said..." I can hear you" and he answered back. This man told me he had followed me home and wanted to meet me. Of course I sputtered out that I was having the call traced and calling the police, and he hung up.

I did call the police, I did TRY to have the call traced to no avail. The police told me they would patrol the neighborhood. They said to keep my cell phone with me at all times and to be aware of who was behind me and around me even when I was driving. I should not let the kids wander about on their own but there was nothing more they could do to find this person since the number could not be traced.

Let me just say that the shows on TV have totally portrayed the wrong thing. Believe it or not, not every call can be traced. Apparently if the persons phone company allows them to block information about themselves then it will not be revealed to your phone company. This is shocking to me...but it is what it is. I will have to live without knowing who this fellow is.

My world was rocked for a few days. I felt exposed and incredibly scared. I was worried about who, why and how. There was no safe place. Until I came upon the Word of God...it is the Word that I have claimed in my times of fear before as well...but it is amazing the power it has to still my racing mind and give me peace:

Psalm 46
1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
Selah

4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
7 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Selah

8 Come and see the works of the LORD,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear,
he burns the shields with fire.
10 "Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth."
11 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Selah

My God is an awesome God - in his hands I place my life and all that happens to it. My trust on Him is stayed.

I will be vigilant. I will keep my eyes open. But I will not be scared. I will not allow fear to rule my life.

1 Peter 3:
13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened." 15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,

I am indeed, blessed.

Hopelessly Overwhelmed or am I?

Hopelessness - especially these days is easy to fall into. I feel it too...and overwhelmed. I don't know how I make it to the next moment sometimes, much less getting to the next moment well - in a godly manner. With all the kids do and my husband busy at work...finances, my job, wanting to accomplish some of my own personal desires (book) and then there is housework...and (ugh) laundry...I get bogged. I end up doing nothing. I am doing my best not to be there though.

2 Peter 3:13-15
13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. 14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 15 Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him


This tells me to look forward to a new heaven and a new earth and to keep myself all repented up - here I will find peace.

Philippians 2:13
for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

2 Thessalonians 1:11

With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith.

These are good for me today. They make me realize that I have the power to accomplish whatever God sets before me...that's loving my husband well, meeting my children's needs, the laundry and this book - if it is what God would have for me! This certainly dispels the hopelessness. Just on to the next thing with the thought in mind that God has given me the ability to get done what he wills. The rest can wait.

Hard to remember that in the midst of this life - it is just so....daily. But giving in to despair of never accomplishing what I see for myself is overwhelming. So, my best bet is to do the next thing in the light that is given for that moment...then on to the next...this takes intentionality. And intentionality is something we have to practice.

2 Corinthians 4:
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

This is SUCH a relief!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Significance

It seems that we all have a need to be significant. It's been written about and talked about incessantly. I would bet you could look it up on the internet and get some form of significance hits by the thousands. Meaning, worth, significance - IMPORTANCE - we all want to feel like we matter. It is why people seek after power, money, and fame. We want to be remembered.


There are so many levels of this desire. It is just that some are more greedy than others when it comes to wanting to be known- remembered. There are those who long to be known through the ages...sometimes it is for noble purposes...sometimes not so much. But it is still the same desire - to make a mark on this world. There are some who just want to have their legacy live on through their children through what they teach.


But so many live in this world feeling that no one cares. So many lonely, unaccounted for people that live their lives wanting to be significant but not knowing how. They do not know how to make their life meaningful....granted, there are probably those who do NOT care, or they get to the point where they give up on the possibility. But I think for the most part - there is something in everyone that longs to have meaning - they want to be remembered and to feel like they have worth.


I need to be reminded - we all need to be reminded that even if I did not have family and friends and I only had the love of my heavenly Father, I would be fine. Even if I did not feel that my family and friends appreciated me for who I am, for what I do, I know that my heavenly Father looks on me as worthy. Truly useful and important to his kingdom. How do I know this?

Ephesians 1:4-6

4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

We were chosen - then adopted as children...he wanted us. He created us. We are his creation.

Genesis 5:1&2
This is the written account of Adam's line. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. 2 He created them male and female and blessed them. And when they were created, he called them man


He created us in his image even. He provides for us - in every way.

Matthew 6
25"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life
?
28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own



1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

He does not want us to fret or worry. We are truly loved!

As a mother and wife, there are certainly days where I feel unappreciated. And there are certainly days where I do not appreciate how blessed I am. But if I can remember that I am a child of God CHOSEN before the creation of the world and that he has promised to take care of me - then I can know where my true significance lies. If I can wake up in the morning and determine in my heart to serve and glorify my Father in whatever I do, then I can make the smallest of efforts mean something important.

This is a wonderful message to share with those around us. We all need to be reminded how very precious we are to God and that we are well loved. It will keep us from feeling sorry for ourselves and hopefully cause us to count ourselves blessed.

And the Word of God gives us this important reminder - there are so many more verses that give us such wonderful encouragement. How blessed is the body of Christ - his Church - is loved and cared for well indeed!