Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Misery to obtain obedience?

It's a parental tactic. When the boys are finding their happiness in pestering each other, or telling me they are bored - there are things I can do to make them unhappy and want to stop the behavior that is not helping anyone. I can make them walk around serving that brother they pestered and made scream all morning. Or I can get them busy doing things they hate doing - like cleaning sinks and toilets. Putting them in a state of misery causes them to rethink their actions. It's a good thing. And what is really great is, when they know you are good as your word, they will remember that they would much rather find something more useful with their time than complaining or pestering. And it works great - when I do it.

How do I know this?

My heavenly Father does it to me. And it works like a charm....eventually.

Think of the people of Israel. They delayed God's true vision for them by 40 years while he allowed them to suffer in the wilderness. (see Deut. 1). He got mad at them. Fed up with their whining and lack of trust. Seems so familiar.

Thankfully my time in the wilderness has been a wee bit shorter than that. But I see what he is trying to do.

Well over a year ago, I had a vision for my writing, for my artwork and crafts, for my singing, for helping others. I stepped out and gave it a shot...it was half hearted and I got the wheels rolling. But I got lazy. It was easier to look to others to provide employment for me. I did not have to be proactive. I could just do what they told me.

So - I floundered when I took on a job that seemed to be an answer to prayer. I didn't even really apply for it. I called the manager and she put me to work within a couple of days. It turned out to be one of those things I wish I had never done. While I was in that job, I was made miserable. I longed for the days when I was teaching the children, taking care of my own children and serving my husband. My goals were hard to see, my mission to serve totally left at the wayside. All I could put my hand to was what I had to do to keep the job and the bare minimum of taking care of my family. There was no joy in that. I was drained. I was anxious. I was in misery. Depression and listlessness became my constant companions.

This is NOT what God wanted for me. And yet - I am quite sure he allowed me to go there so I could learn.

And he has given me a prophet in my pastor. He will speak truth to me from the pulpit and my heart will quicken when it feels he is talking directly to me. We do not step out to do great things for GOD. We doubt his ability to see our efforts are multiplied to point to him and give him glory. I think it is all up to me. I am so obtuse.

So today - free from the burden of that job - I step out once again. I am committing myself to prayer and seeking. Asking God to give me direction and to make the path clear to me. My goals are: To serve my master, to provide for my family while seeing to their needs. To find my peace and joy in the gifts and talents God has given me. To glorify him in all I say and do.

I will not belittle myself. I will not scoff at things that seem too high to obtain. I will be diligent and not grow weary, but keep God's word as my encouragement and nourishment to grow more like my heavenly Father - so that I can do and complete the work he has set before me. I can be whatever the body of Christ needs for me to be to complete the work in JOY that he would have me do.

Ephesians 4


So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Relief

Last week was a disaster. The more I tried to "handle" the situation, the worse it got. I gave a nod to God and proceeded to handle the situation as I saw fit.

Yeah...that just did NOT work.

Serious disaster. Horrible week. Longing for heaven. Seriously.

But -

I made a bad situation worse. I SAID that I had my head screwed on, and that God was in control. But apparently my need to feel in control and vindicated for my annoyances...was NOT God's best for me. I ate humble pie. And in large doses.

I am not the point. Never have been, never will be.

So I will go back, I will bow my head and praise God for the blessings I count so numerous in my life. My job included. The people I work with VERY much included and praise God - that he loves me enough to cause me to kneel. To understand that this life is not about me. That my day to day situations make me better. Make me stronger and make me more like my merciful and loving Savior.

I...am not wise. I...am not strong....I am not able to finish anything.

But my God can cause me to be wise. He can give me strength. And He can finish the work he has begun in me.

Whenever I get too cocky, I can guarantee that my own "cleverness" will be my downfall. He is to be exalted in all things and success as I see it is not his end goal for me. When I become mean, and start to elbow my way up...I can guarantee you I will fall on my ass. Thank God He loves me enough to give me the relief I truly long for.

It is not up to me. PRAISE GOD!

He is enough. Not this job. Not this house. Not this salary. My sweetness, my efforts, my continuous struggles...will not suffice.

He - my God - and only He. He is sufficient.

2 Corinthians 12:8-10

8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

What a relief.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Reconciled

As you know, I love words. Think they are the greatest invention EVER. So I have a new favorite today. Once again I woke up and asked God to help me with my attitude. To be happy, to be humble, to remember that my goals are not the same as everyone elses. That it is okay to reset my own standards and values not to be in line with normal thinking. I actually love that.

But as I was driving to work I allowed myself to wander into the realm of the "unappreciated". Never a good place to go. Does no one any good whatsoever. Yet there I am wallering in it -  applying it to traffic for Pete's sake. I got in the right lane to turn as traffic started backing up and every car that zipped past me and put their right blinker on to get ahead of me made me angrier. "It's not fair" kept repeating in my head.

And the next thing out of my mouth was I will just have to reconcile myself to not getting ahead in this life. It's just not going to happen because my standards are different. Something that should be good suddenly sounded bad. My competitive nature (very much a worldly thing) was getting the best of me.

Reconcile.

rec·on·cile   /ˈrɛkənˌsaɪl/ Show Spelled [rek-uhn-sahyl] Show IPA verb, -ciled, -cil·ing.


verb (used with object)

1. to cause (a person) to accept or be resigned to something not desired: He was reconciled to his fate.

2. to win over to friendliness; cause to become amicable: to reconcile hostile persons.

3. to compose or settle (a quarrel, dispute, etc.).

4. to bring into agreement or harmony; make compatible or consistent: to reconcile differing statements; to reconcile accounts.

5. to reconsecrate (a desecrated church, cemetery, etc.).

How funny that this word has such a vast mood swing. Basically the same meaning - but the heart of the word can be placed in two different places. To accept something not desired - resigned. Or to bring into harmony - which sounds infinitely happier to me.
 
So I have a choice.
 
This whole thing actually reminded me of Joseph when he was sold into slavery by his brothers. A wicked and horrible happening in the world's eyes. Certainly much worse than what I am presently dealing with in my own life, but never the less...the same thinking can apply. Joseph never gave up. He never turned his back on what he knew to be God's intended use of him. He put his hand to what was before him and he did it well.
 
If Joseph had allowed the first definition to define his attitude, there would have been a fatalistic sadness that could have caused him to just exist in the situation he was in. But because he accepted his fate with gladness and in doing so became better while in his lowly state. He chose to bring it into agreement with his difficult circumstances. There was harmony in the fact that he knew God had placed him there for a purpose.
 
Genesis 50:19 - 21
19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.


What a great attitude. So - today - I will again adjust my attitude to be in harmony with what God has placed before me. And I will do it to the best of my ability.

I am reconciled. But harmoniously - for now. And will probably have to do it all over again tomorrow...

As my pastor says, "Preaching the Gospel to myself" - e-ver-y day.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fall

What an amazing weekend. Beautiful weather. Cool nights and temperate days. I got my mums out on the porch and my punkins' put out. My fall wall plaque and flag. The wrought iron Jack O' Lanterns and a stack of apples in a white ruffle bowl on the table.

I love fall. I was looking at the ridge of Oak Mountain and thinking about how these cool nights  bring such beautiful color to to it. I can't wait to sit and enjoy the view as I watch my boy play fall ball.

How blessed I am to be able to count these things as the extra happy's that fill my life.

Psalm 16:5-7
5 LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup;

you make my lot secure.

6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;

surely I have a delightful inheritance.

7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;

even at night my heart instructs me.

My heart instructs me that I have much to be thankful for. I am praying for focus and the ability to accomplish all I need to today. Serving the Lord in all I say and do, loving others well and letting go of what I cannot get accomplished.

Happy Fall Friends!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Extensive

First posted: 9/29/11
WATCH ME

Last year the 5th grade took a field trip to the Space and Rocket Museum in Huntsville. I was privileged to go. I had in my care 3 boys - one of them being mine. We had a wonderful time looking at the exhibits and enjoying the rides. Then came the IMAX movie. I can't even remember the name of it. But it was about the Hubble Telescope and the images it captures. The information and visuals provided in this movie had tears running down my face. I was overwhelmed with emotion and - joy. God using science to reveal himself.

Now - I know - people of "science" will think that is just hooey - emotional, weak minded folks needing an easy explanation to life's hard questions. But that is not it at all. I have been reading about Dark Matter and Dark Energy and it is quite amazing to hear about how God is showing himself through mysteries. Love it.

When I listen to the numbers - 3000 galaxies - just our neighbors, 100 billion galaxies in our universe of what we know that is 47 Billion Light Years huge, My mind feels like it has particlized. It is blown.

That is how BIG God is. Bank on it.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

ruminations

I love the word "ruminations". Something about it feels permissive to let your thoughts grow and morph until they are sure they are ready to become concrete.

From Merriam-Webster.com:

ru·mi·nate verb \ˈrü-mə-ˌnāt\


ru·mi·nat·ed / ru·mi·nat·ing



Definition of RUMINATE

transitive verb

1: to go over in the mind repeatedly and often casually or slowly

2: to chew repeatedly for an extended period

intransitive verb

1: to chew again what has been chewed slightly and swallowed : chew the cud

2: to engage in contemplation : reflect

— ru·mi·na·tion \ˌrü-mə-ˈnā-shən\ noun

— ru·mi·na·tive \ˈrü-mə-ˌnā-tiv\ adjective

— ru·mi·na·tive·ly adverb

— ru·mi·na·tor \-ˌnā-tər\ noun

See ruminate defined for English-language learners »

See ruminate defined for kids »

Examples of RUMINATE

The question got us ruminating on the real value of wealth.

He ruminated over the implications of their decision.

Origin of RUMINATE

Latin ruminatus, past participle of ruminari to chew the cud, muse upon, from rumin-, rumen rumen; perhaps akin to Sanskrit romantha act of chewing the cud

First Known Use: 1533

Related to RUMINATE

Synonyms: chew over, cogitate, consider, contemplate, debate, deliberate, entertain, eye, kick around, meditate, mull (over), perpend, pore (over), question, revolve, ponder, study, think (about or over), turn, weigh, wrestle (with)

That is just pure yummy to me.

All of this to say -

A couple of years ago we went on our usual trek to Tennessee. We stopped at a look out at one point because the boys had to go to the bathroom - and we wanted to stretch our legs. On one of the posts, someone had written, "It was always you".

I loved it. Thought it was so romantic sounding. How sweet to stop and look over the beautiful countryside and proceed to deface property. Really though - the sentiment is quite sweet. And from time to time I still ruminate on the where's the why's and the wheretofor's.

But no matter where , why or wheretofor...the phrase is captivating.

"It was always you"

Life is transient at best.
But there is one thing that promises the stability and solidity of such a phrase as "It was always you".

God

He is the one thing that has always been...and always will be. No matter how insecure and screwy my own life becomes. My one touch stone that will always be is God.

Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. PSALM 90:2


Thank goodness there has always been and always will be Sovreign God. And also for the fact that He uses the unlikely things to prove his power.
 
1 Corinthians 1:27
27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong


I pray he will use me.
 
I have had the same thought in my head the last couple of days. I am trying so hard not to live according to the world's wisdom and what it offers. I am reminded always that God uses the lowly and the humble to show himself great.
 
The best I can ever hope for is to be clay pot. Empty and unimpressive until I am filled with the all-surpassing power of God.
 
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 God’s glory displayed 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. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;

That - to me - is a pretty amazing thing - especially in this day and age.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Conviction

I have been frustrated with my situation for quite some time now. I love my job. But the lack of time to do things I consider "ministry" or "service" has brought me low many times. Today - I was reading some things my cousin posted on Facebook. He is a missionary to China. It suddenly hit me that though I have called my job and new status a mission field, I am not living that way. What a waste of my time in the places I have been over the last year.

Also - I have found that I don't think I am "good enough" anymore. Because of my struggle  with my faith and my continued frustration with no time to accomplish what I think I need to, I feel like I can't do the things I would like. I find myself saying things like, "If only I could get this house clean", or "If only I could get past [whatever]". And basically - I find I am just a stinker. A mess maker. A goof off. And I like it. This is a problem to be sure.

The fact is, I cannot keep that attitude and expect to ever accomplish anything...

Have I written about this before? I am having a dejavu moment. You know I have been convicted about it - I just didn't act on my conviction apparently.

I do long to make a difference where I am. I love that God convicted me in the middle of my backslide - not just of my sin - but of my ability to serve in spite of my fallen condition.

Truly - it is a sign of God's patience and fatherly love to reach out to me in such a state. I asked him to show himself to me and he did. Again.

My heart overflows.

Now - to get started...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

So of course I think I know....

how to do everything right. My decisions, my understanding, my actions - always right on the money.

Of course not.

It's baseball season. I love baseball season.  I love baseball. I love that my boys love baseball.

I am competitive. Very competitive. Way, way, way, WAY too competitive.

When my husband and I were in college we were playing Pictionary and I totally screamed at him and didn't want him to be my partner anymore because he kept calling what I drew a "poodle" when it was clearly a BUFFALO. Another time some friends bankrupted me in Monopoly and I threw my deeds, my scotty dog and my money at them and walked out of the house. I had to go back and say I was sorry. I quit playing games for a long time because of it.

I am working full time now...with a recruiting campaign, and an audit coming up with my boss out of town. I leave there and go directly to baseball practice or game. Feed on the fly, wash baseball uniforms, go to bed for 5 hours, get up and do it all over again.

 These are not good combinations. They absolutely mean that the goofball that is me on a good day is going to make an ass of herself somehow, someway. Probably multiple times.

And I did. Other people seem to do as much as I do  - they work, they have kids, and manage to be somewhat sane in their actions and reactions. Not me. Always have to embarrass myself somehow...

So my 11YO's baseball team loses. The kids actually play pretty good. But there were a couple of bad decisions. We started out playing well and threw the game away. It made me mad. Really mad.

I felt it coming on. And instead of stopping the downward spiral I wallered in it. WALLERED IN IT. I stomped off after the game so I could compose myself. But not before muttering under my breath (maybe not so much under my breath). I did come back after taking some deep breaths - but I was embarrassed. But it gets more embarrassing.

I am talking to a friend later and he says something about my blog and how cathartic it must be - or something like that - he says I can go home and write down my feelings and delete it - and I am immediately so very, very sorry for my behavior. Not just because I totally got put in my place (whether he meant to do that or not), but because I knew I was going there and I just didn't want to stop it. I wanted to get mad. I wanted people to know it and I indulged. And I allowed myself to forget who I represent. Certainly not me. If it was just me - no biggy.

I write about stuff - mostly about me and God. Goodness knows I am not perfect...if he wanted a perfect child - he would not have created me to be sure. But because I love God and want to please him...I should try harder to find that internal fortitude to be a better sport.

Good grief - I hope I will become someone I would like to be some day. Wise, gracious, kind - self controlled. But at this rate...it ain't going to be any time soon.

Quite honestly I feel further away than I have in a long, long time. Not sure how to fix it...but God help me try.

Monday, March 28, 2011

2 Two Dollar Bills

I had to take the boys to a birthday party yesterday. I had an extra little boy along for the ride. I threw all of my things into my purse and went and grabbed my wallet from my baseball bag and threw some things out of the car to allow my fourth child to get in. We were running late as is the norm and I frantically got the boys in the car and headed to the party. The low fuel light was on - but I was sure it was because we had been parked outside of the garage and it was on a hill. I would get gas on my way back.

I drop the boys off and the gas light has gone off so I decide to wait so I can get back to the house and get some things done before I had to go pick them up again. I get home and do a few things and it seems like no time before I had to get into the car and go get the boys. Half way there - the light comes on again. No biggy, I will just go get them and stop at the gas station on my way back. So, with all four of the boys safely in the car, I stop at the gas station. I grab my purse and start rifling through it to grab my wallet. It's not there. I look again. And again. And again.

I am looking at the gauge and it shows it is BELOW the little line - we are most definitely in the fumes range. I grab the manual to see how much gas is in that reserve - the manual says to go straight to the gas station when the low fuel light comes on. So I have a horrible feeling...I am at the gas station, with no wallet and four boys and wondering who I am going to call to come bring me money. I am praying to the Lord - "Please let me have just missed the wallet" - so I make another perusal of the whole car. And the purse...still - no wallet. "Please Lord - what am I going to do?" As I am grabbing the manual to put it back into the glove box, I see money - in the back of the manual - there are 2 $2 bills. Where did those come from? Why do I have them in the manual? Should I use them? I feel quite sure they were a gift for the twins - and who knows when they got put in there? We have had this car for 11 years...so there is no telling when my typical befuddled state I put them in there - or why I put them in there.  But right now - they were an answer from the Lord. I took my $4 into the gas station and paid. Went back and put 1.17 gallons of gas into the car. The light was gone. As I drove home I told the boys how good the Lord was that he had allowed those 2 $2 bills to be in there. God's provision was a happy little reminder of how much he cares for us.  I got the little boy home - told his mom about it and we both agreed how good God is. I went home and started looking for my wallet.

I could not find it. I retraced my steps. At first pretty calm. The more I looked in all of the places I had been the more frantic I became. I started to panic and pray to the Lord again. "PLEASE LORD" I cry desperately, "...don't let me have put that wallet on top of that car and have driven off. Don't let it be on Highway 280 somewhere being run over again and again." I sit down. I put my head in my hands. And I pray again.

I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me. I look at the phone - I check the phone messages, hoping someone had found it and called me. Nope. Then I get up and make one more calm and consistent search - retracing in my head exactly what I did and how I did it. I walked over to the washing machine and dryer downstairs and see a pile of jackets I had pulled from the car and dropped next to the machine. Peeking out from under one of the jackets was my wallet.

When I had grabbed my wallet from my baseball bag, I had kept it in my hand as I went to remove the excess stuff from the car.  I got the gift card out of my hand and for some reason kept my wallet along with the jackets and miscellaneous items I was getting out of the way. And in my hurry, I dropped my wallet along with the clothes onto the floor next to the washer.

Praise the Lord. Seriously. And I could not STOP crying. I kept thanking the Lord - over and over again. How good are you Lord? Because seriously - in my harried and wacked out brain mode - there is a very good possibility it could have been placed on top of the car and I would have had to call all those places - and remember what all was in that wallet...yikes.

Though honestly - the wallet - though I was freaked out - it is not what amazes me the most. The mystery of the 2 $2 bills is what makes my heart expand.
Zechariah 4:10
“Who dares despise the day of small things, since the seven eyes of the LORD that range throughout the earth will rejoice when they see the chosen capstone (or the plumbline) in the hand of Zerubbabel?”

Zechariah 4:10 says an amazing thing. As a background - the people of Israel are rebuilding the tempel. Zerubbabel is the first leader after the exile from captivity. The vision of Zechariah was to encourage Zerubbabel in his work to complete the temple. He had tried in vain for 16 years to get it completed and Zechariah's dream was to let him know that God saw him. That his eyes (7 meaning "perfect" or complete) range through the earth and SAW his needs. God was aware of what Zerubbabel needed and wanted to encourage him to keep on with the work of the Lord. He sees all things and there is nothing that escapes the eye of the Lord...even my tiny problems.

Now of course - I know that my finding those $2 bills is a simple thing. But to me - it was no accident. I reached for the manual out of a need to find out how much gas I had left in hopes to get those kids back to a place where we were not waiting on the side of the road. But God didn't just have information for me - he had provision. He was aware of my need and he provided for it.

AND he let that wallet be in a wonderful place. On the floor of my laundry.

Awesome. Our God is an AWESOME God.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

God is so good...

Once again - I don't know why I am surprised but he brings what I need to hear right when I need to hear it. It has been a great week in spite of my struggle with my dip this time. And I know it is because my Father is carrying me. But I have made such an effort to turn my eyes away from me and to Him. His reward is always a physical reminder that he cares - some way - some how. I read this in my David Jeremiah devotional for yesterday....

Wednesday, March 23



Calm and Quiet


Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with his mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.


Psalm 131:2


Recommended Reading


Psalm 23:1-3






According to medical researchers at Duke University, there is a "vicious cycle" involving insomnia, anxiety, and depression.* It's sort of a "which came first: the chicken or the egg?" scenario. Perhaps it's the one that presents first, but once the cycle starts it doesn't matter. Anxiety might cause insomnia, which might result in depression, which might lead to greater anxiety ...and the cycle continues as the symptoms feed off one another.


There are plenty of good reasons to be anxious, depressed, and sleepless in today's world. But Christians have promises from God that should alleviate all three symptoms--promises that God rules over all the earth and knows the beginning from the end of history. Our task is to do what the psalmist David did: He didn't worry about "great matters" or things "too profound" for him. Instead, he "calmed and quieted" his soul like a "weaned child" at rest in its mother's lap--peaceful and quiet (Psalm 131:1-2).


God's job is to guide the world. Your job is to "be anxious for nothing" (Philippians 4:6), to rest in the Father's promises.
 
I have been in this vicious cycle on and off for over a year now. It is good to know that I am not just making it all up...sometimes I feel that I do! But I will have to preach the Gospel to myself - everyday. How good is God that he reminds me that I need him!
 
I am truly blessed.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I am weary...

Matthew 11:27-29 (New International Version, ©2011)
27 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Hebrews 12:2-4 (New International Version, ©2011)
2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. 4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.

Isaiah 40: (New International Version, ©2011)
28 Do you not know?


Have you not heard?

The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
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.


1 Timothy 6:11-13 (New International Version, ©2011)
Final Charge to Timothy
11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.

I am tired. I want all of this to be over. Fighting is hard. There is no way I can get up every morning and do what I am supposed to do. It is going to take someone other than me. Lord - you must be my help this day and every day.

Give me Strength..increase my power to overcome. Let me have victory over my tired mind, body and soul.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

St. Paddy's Day

St. Patrick's Day is usually a non-event in our house. We might wear green to avoid being pinched - but other than that - nothing. This year I was inspired by friends to try some new things. I thought it would be fun to make an event of it. So - I made Colcannon - I will post the recipe for you. It is mashed potatoes with lots of butter and cabbage and ham (corned beef would have been even better) - It was delicious. We had brown bread with it (I bought it - thought about making it like another friend - but just didn't have the gumption) and I did some research on St. Patrick and read it to the boys. It was really quite interesting. And it made the day a lot of fun. It helped that it was during Spring Break and the boys were home. And what made it especially fun was that Grandmother and Papa were with us (my mom and dad)...adding to the festivities.

Here's the link about St. Patrick http://www.history.com/topics/who-was-saint-patrick

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tylers-ultimate/colcannon-recipe/index.html

I think I am going to try harder to make special days of non-event days. It was really fun and not really that much work at all. It added something to a day that would have otherwise been just another day for us.

I guess the saying is true - you get out of something what you put into it...in this case even the slightest effort made for a fun day!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Worship...

I sent the boys off to baseball practice. Me and the doggies stayed home. I was thinking about vacuuming and dusting. Thought I might mop the kitchen floor. But - I had to check Facebook and see what my buds were up to...

I managed to stumble across "The Dad Life" by COTM. Here it is for you...




 Andy Chrisman is the worship leader there. So it stands to reason that his singles were popping up as well as 4Him vids.

I just got lost -



One after the other - I listened and had the best time worshipping.
So what if the house is still a mess...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Spiritual Boot Camp...

The fact is - this life keeps delivering trouble as promised. My first reaction - EVERY time - is defeat...I have to take time to size up all of the hooey happenings and then I react in faith.

I hate to say it - but maybe God has got me in boot camp. Maybe he keeps giving me chances to react correctly FIRST and I keep missing the mark. So he brings around the opportunity again. To be honest - I want my first reaction to be wonder. Wonder at what God is doing that will bring the next blessing.

This is how I wish it had happened yesterday:

Man from car place: "Mrs. Smith?"

Me: "Yes?"

Man from the car place: "Your car is going to cost $2000 to repair and we don't think we can find the parts for it since Oldsmobile is no longer in business."

Me: Awesome! No problem...I will come pick it up first thing in the morning and I can't wait to see what's going to happen next! God is going to use this in some way - what an adventure!"

But no, I had the quivery voice and the what are we going to do thing wailing in my head.

We are not going to do anything. God is though.

So - my prayer for the next thing is - Please Lord - let me react in faith, in expectation of a work you are doing whether physically, spiritually - mentally - whatever. I want to be ready for whatever - good or bad - by proving my faith is sound in God's ability to bring me through any situation.

Proverbs 24:16 
16 for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.

I will not be one of the wicked that falls when bad things happen.

But I will -

James 1:
 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

Lord give me presence of mind and strengthen me through your HolySpirit to do this and do it well.

Pinwheels


So my next fun project has been pinwheels. I made puppets and pinwheels for all of my friends babies for the twins first birthday party. I don't know why. I just did. They were actually pretty cute. It was a lot of fun - but of course the twinks didn't remember it at all. I have determined that those 1 year old birthday parties are for the parents...I used longer dowel rods which worked better than these pinwheels I make from pencils...but I like the idea of being able to use the pencil once your tired of the pinwheel. If you make your square smaller - it will be fine. You will need: Scissors, Construction paper (oragami paper works too and has pretty designs) Markers, Pencil (brand new not sharpened) Straight pins, beads, needle nose plyers/wire cutters.

 Cut a square



Cut Diagonal from each corner to about 2 inches from the middle

Decorate the edges - It can just be simple...


 Take one corner and bring it up to the middle for all four sections...
Secure in the middle with a straight pin...
 Put a bead for a spacer on the backside of the pinwheel...
Stick the pin through the eraser part of the pencil. Then you will want to take your needle nose plyers/wire cutters, and clip that end off - make sure you leave plenty of room for the pinwheel to be able to go around...just clip off the sharp point (IMPORTANT: do this inside a box so that the end won't flip into the air and onto the floor so that you can't find it and then finally do - at a later date - in a bare foot )

And there you have your happy, little pinwheel! Easy to do and a lot of fun! And REALLY cute...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Decision

It happens every day. Every moment of every day. We make decisions to move forward and do what we need to. To get out of the bed and get about our work. To eat that piece of candy or not to (especially around Valentines - we KNOW we are going to have to put on that bathing suit in a few months - but it's CHOCOLATE...) So we make the decision...probably hundreds a day.

The decisions I make can either bless or curse me. Some blessings are easy and fairly mild - some have a bigger effect and can be exciting. Same with the curse... it can be shrugged off or it can crush.

Every once in a while I have to make a decision. I used to think I did not have control over this decision. I thought it just happened to me and that I had to work through it and do the best that I could in the circumstances. I am starting to believe that I was wrong.

There have been times where I was overwhelmed and would fall into a depression. Meaning I would go to bed and stay there. For days. I could not cope with whatever was at hand. I simply threw up my hands and gave in to the idea that whatever was going on was more than I could handle and I would retreat from life. My excuse was a generic "I don't feel well". My husband pegged it many times but I ignored him and stayed there in the bed until I felt I could re-engage.

I have since come to the conclusion that I made a decision to give in to my depression. Do I think this is what happens to everyone who has this problem? I cannot speak for them. I know there are chemical imbalances that cause problems for people - but in my case - it is absolutely a decision I make. Knowing my personality as I do - the manic part of me is happy and industrious and when something comes along and tears down my house of cards I hit the skids and fall into the abyss. It's a personality thing. But I don't think I have to fall into the abyss.

My example: Last week we closed on the refinancing of our house. It gave us two months to use the mortgage for whatever we chose to. I was so excited, because it was going to relieve my heart and mind on things we needed to do that had just been hanging over me for months. So when smoke started billowing into the van yesterday at lunch - yes - I said IN THE VAN - and out from under the hood....I was so sad. I cried. My plans had been thwarted and as I made dinner last night I HEARD MYSELF SAY (of course it was in my head) "I don't know why I even try". I went to bed at 9:00PM with no intention of getting up again the next day. My spirit was tired. My heart was heavy. I made a decision to give in. I had a passing moment of "God may be using this...", but at that point I just wanted to sleep.

In the early dawn hours as I laid awake listening to Biscuit hum in her sleep, I realized that I could make the decision to trust God. To tell him my fears. To place this burden of the van on him (because that van is also a blessing) and trust that he would get us through this. At least we had the extra money to pay for whatever the problem is. And honestly - I had transportation. My mother-in-law called and told me I could use the truck. Which is a blessing - because I could use it to haul some stuff to Hannah Home and such...so really - there was no reason for me to be sad, or overcome by that spirit of depression. Though I wanted to. So, I asked God to help me be strong, to trust him in this situation and to help me to do what he needed me to do in this day. I rolled out of bed and moved forward. I decided I wanted to write it down because I need to be held accountable in this.

I remember reading in My Utmost For His Highest many years ago something that has stuck with me - I found it online (what a treasure!) http://www.myutmost.org/04/0416.html
"....don't say - "I'll do it"; do it! Take yourself by the scruff of the neck and shake off your incarnate laziness. Laziness is always seen in cravings for the high hour; we talk about working up to a time on the mount. We have to learn to live in the grey day according to what we saw on the mount."

I thought of this in the wee hours and feel it fits this situation amazingly well. So - I am "taking myself by the scruff of the neck and shaking off" - in this case - my incarnate selfishness. I will learn to live in the gray day according to the vision God has given me in the moment of enlightenment.

So this day I am making the decision not to do what the people of Israel did in Jeremiah 7:
....22 For when I brought your ancestors out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices, 23 but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you. 24 But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward.

I decided to walk in the Spirit. To wake up and to heed God's prompting to trust him in this. To live in joy this day for my salvation is sure and I have everything I need. My children have everything they need. It is wrong of me to want to give up for such a little thing...but so easy to do.

But God's gift of the Word...
Galations 5
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, 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 flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

God is good. Once again - I am satisfied. The decision to trust God instead of giving in is a blessed one. If something goes against my plans again - and it will - I pray that I continue to make the decision to look to God rather than giving in to my own selfish indulgences. It is useless. I would much rather walk with the Spirit and have my time here accomplish something...giving in to self pity is worthless. Praise God that he has given me a way out...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Kicking and Screaming or Gracefully....

I don't know. I go back and forth.

The other day I had my glasses on and happened to be in really good light and looked down at my feet. AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH! Holy cow. I needed a pedicure. In the worst way.

What was appalling was not so much that I couldn't SEE how bad my feet were, but that they were that bad. they never used to be this difficult to maintain. Oh! It makes me angry. And then as I was reminded of something from my past.

I used to do nails and pedicures in college. I worked at a day spa for a friend of mine's mom. It was fun. Sort of - I really sucked at it and never found my groove there. But I LOVED the nail polish and the fella that cut hair there did an amazing job - AND - he was hilarious. That made it all worth while.

One day I was taking care of an older woman's feet. This woman could have been 42 and I would have considered her old at the time. I was 24. I let their feet soak in a vibrating bath for about 10 minutes before I started the pedicure. As I lifted those feet from the bath and saw the task before me - I was horrified. Inside my head was screaming NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! But - thankfully I had rubber gloves - like surgeon's gloves - I can do anything in surgeons gloves and I set to get those feet back in pristine condition...in the end...they were a better version of themselves. But dang. They needed that pedicure. And that is putting it nicely.

Now here I am - the old fart - in the same boat. Makes me so mad I could spit nails. I DON'T WANT TO BE OLD. As I did the pedicure I was thinking, "this can never happen again - I will never let my feet go like that EVER again. I will fight against the effects of time with every fiber of my being. I WILL continue to color my hair and use ROC with retinol to reduce the signs of aging. I will tan those legs to disguise the spider veins and vericose veins that occured during the child bearing years."

Well - it's just exhausting. It truly an uphill battle!

But then there are these amazing moments of clarity and peace - where I actually feel that I am finally embracing the idea of where I am right now. The fact that I am in fact becoming older. I am by no means old. Though I lack the freshness of my 20's - even my 30's - there is a sage wisdom (not in huge amounts mind you) that I have gained over the years that I didn't have then. I think there will come a point where I cross over totally - and become totally okay with my older skin and worn feet. As long as  my heart stays young and tender - I think I will - eventually - grow old gracefully. And this makes me smile.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

He says not to....but I still do...I am SO like my kids.

But many people do apparently. I looked up the phrase "How many times does the Bible say Do Not Fear?" What was amazing was not just the varied answers (several said 365 times - 1 for each day of the year) but how many other people were looking for that same answer. Whether the 365 times is true or not....

We are afraid. We want comfort - so we are Googling it.

I was actually just trying to get a grip on why we fear, and why God felt he needed to reassure us as much as he does. Because - I am afraid. There are days where I don't even really know what I am afraid of. My head and my heart are telling me there is nothing to fear, and yet there is a faint aroma of fear that lingers...yesterday was one of those days.

I woke up unsettled. Did my Bible reading and devotional, went to work, came home, cooked dinner cleaned up and felt this haunting - All. Day. Long.

I listened to the news yesterday morning for the first time in a very long time - it was scary. With Egypt in chaos and now Jordan - I was immediately assaulted with fear. We close on the refinancing of our house next week. I am scared. Something might go wrong, what if it is more than we think, should we ave done this in the first place? Then there was some really nasty, rainy weather, I was a nervous wreck all the way home. Physically exhausted when I got home from the tight gripping of the wheel and tense defensive driving I had to do in that 5:00 rush hour. Yuck. What punctuated it all was when I was tucking my youngest into bed and he told me he was scared. I asked him of what and he said he was scared a robber was going to come into our house. I reassured him the best I could...but at that time, I did not even give him the best reassurance I could have. My own perplexity at my fear had me spouting common sensical phrases that seemed to work at the time and I threw out - God will take care of us. I know he will and yet - I still struggled so much yesterday. How can I relate this to my child?

I looked up the phrase "do not be afraid" on Biblegateway.com. I have not had time to research it all but it is said over and over and over again.

John 14 is when Jesus is preparing his disciples for his leaving. In the chapter before he has predicted Judas' betraying and told his beloved Peter that he would deny him three times (out of fear). So now he is laying down his words of comfort for the men who followed him more closely than anyone else while he had his ministry here on earth.

John 14
25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Peace I leave with you - Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. What wonderful phrases. And our Advocate - the Holy Spirit will teach and remind when needed of all these things Jesus said. He left us with The Comforter. The believer's own baby blanket. When things are scary - we need to remember we have The Comforter.

I am well acquainted with fear. 2009 and 2010 brought things that I feared very much. There are other things that are even scarier to me. I think the fact that I saw some of my top 10 fears come to pass causes that fear to try to settle and become a part of my existence. BUT - what I also saw in the midst of those scary things is how God brought us through. How he held us up. And how we are still here and thriving - even happily in spite of the scary things....and it bears me up.

In John 16 - Jesus is still trying to comfort his disciples and prepare them for his death - I believe strongly that he left these words with his disciples and that they penned them because he wanted us - also his disciples - to have these same comforting words.

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 love this verse. First of all because God is warning us that this world is going to be trouble. We see it every day. But he reassures us of his peace - we CAN have it. In the midst of the trouble - he is promising us peace and that we have a sure hope - in the fact that HE HAS OVERCOME THE WORLD (and its trouble).

Wow.

Read 2 Corinthians 5:4-21
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2 Corinthians+5:4-&version=NIV

Sunday, January 30, 2011

This Ain't a Man Cave...

The past few weeks I have worked very hard to turn my living room - a place that is often a wasted space - into a place that is my space. A place for me to read, to sit and drink tea with friends and a place to escape testosterone when it becomes too much for me. It happens. I don't mind testosterone as a rule...just need to escape it every once in a while.
We have a den. It has a huge television and the Wii and X-Box with a nice big couch and leather chair and ottoman. It is named correctly - a den. For the men. I do not mind the men coming into my more feminine space - as long as they understand that they are on my turf. And if there is a chick flick on my more sensible sized telly - they should LEAVE IT ALONE. I'm just sayin'.

What I love about my little room is that there are things that are special to me. My piano, the chairs my Mom and I refinished together (still not quite done). The corner cabinet and pitcher and ewer that were my grandmother's, my desk when I was a little girl. My husbands grandparents 100 year old table, a rocking chair I finished for him before we were married, my framed cathedral quilt squares my childhood neighbor taught me to make that I framed, or the picture my 9th grade Sunday School teacher painted for me when I had the twins, an antique library table I found for a steal at a garage sale as well as my antique baby bed side rail I use for my magazine rack. My boys pictures and silhouettes and even a book case that was mine in college, given to me from my boss when I worked at Blue Cross and Blue Shield. It was the boys bedside table for years. I recouped it and it has all the things they wrote on it - I decided I liked it too much with their scribblings from years gone by than I would if I wiped it all out and refinished it. Everything in the room makes me smile when I think about the story behind it.






I think that is the way a house should be decorated. Not with just pretty stuff. But stuff that means something to you. That moves you in some way. When I sit in my little living room I am truly at home. I think every mama should have such a place.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My reading...what a blessing.

http://www.davidjeremiah.org/

My husband and I have been dealing with money issues - the lack thereof to be specific. Since he lost his job last year, we have been put in a position of "monetary constriction". It has been scary at times but overall freeing. I have seen how God takes care of us when we trust him. I have seen him keep me closer. Charles Stanley was saying one of the biggest blessings of hardships is that it keeps us dependent on our heavenly Father.

So when I read this this morning, I had to share it. I love the picture it presents and the idea that our "open" hands not only allow us to give - but receive. A great read to start out my Tuesday!

Open Hands


And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive."


Acts 20:35b

Recommended Reading

2 Cor. 9:10-11



Try this object lesson with a child. Have him hold out both hands, palms open, and put a nickel in each palm. Tell him to close his fists tight and keep them closed no matter what you say. Now tell him you're very poor and need some money. Can you have his two coins? No--he's holding them tightly. Then tell him you're very rich and would like to give him two quarters to replace his two nickels. Can you replace his nickels with quarters? No--he's still holding tight.

Even a child can see what adults sometimes fail to recognize: A closed hand misses two blessings in life. A closed hand cannot enjoy the blessing of giving to others who are in need, nor can a closed hand receive blessings God may want to bestow. The best posture in life is to live with open hands and to view ourselves as channels of God's blessings. He gives to us not only to meet our needs, but to give us the opportunity to learn to give as Christ gave--fully, generously, and unconditionally.

Prayerfully hold out both open hands in front of you and present them to the Lord for Him to take from them or give to them as He pleases.

Our heavenly father never takes anything from His children unless He means to give them something better.


George Muller
 
 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Now..... WHO's hard to love?

I live my life most days like it is mine. Like my husband and children are duties along with all of the other things I "have" to do. Thankfully I enjoy them. It is a blessing that just is - I love people. People are amazing. Especially my family - and for the most part God has given me the ability to love genuinely and with little effort, most people. Of course there are a couple that come along that are hard to love. I can say that because I am one of those people that make it tough. I believe that I am a difficult friend. So when my counterparts come along - it throws me. I see myself in them and I do not like them. I can love them. I can understand them. But  - wow - it's hard to love them well.

I would say in the past year, God has given me a true glimpse at who I am. It has changed my perspective. Little by little I see things that I did not see before. I am not a lovely person. This was a gift given to me by God. And I know it sounds bizarre, but the gift is, finally understanding that there is no good thing in me - apart from God.
What is so great about this gift is - it gives me humility- and it is hard to look down on others when I see how very sorry I am.  It has allowed me to see that my standard for my friends is high. Very high. I was a slave to that standard myself. And I expected it of my friends. So - when they failed me - I pulled away. Not in a "I am mad at you and never speaking to you again" way. It was a very subtle withholding of my love from them. I did not call. I did not fellowship.

What an egotistical, and nauseating way to live my life. God has called me to a much more satisfying and blessed life than that. I never saw it. I thought I was the best friend EVER. I would have bent over backwards for these folks. And when they failed me, when my standards were not met, I felt betrayed - BY THEM. So in my hurt - I distanced myself. I did this when I was younger as well. But it was not so subtle. It was the ever so clever "You are not my friend anymore" said directly to the face. And I meant it. So - as I got a little older, I saw the error of my ways and fixed what I thought my problem was. You cannot give up on your friends. So I stayed friends with them. I just quit investing myself emotionally into them. Because it hurt when I was let down. See? No change really. Just more of the same. Me. Controlling "my" life. And that is not friendship. Nor is it what God has called me to do.

So - when God gave me a glimpse of myself. I was grossed out. Truly repelled by who I was when I tried to take control. My instincts, my attitude, my abilities - mean nothing when they are not sifted through the loving and capable hands of my heavenly Father - WHO has made me in HIS image. And has given me gifts that will serve me well as the daughter of a King. And there is the dicotomy again - I am unlovely on my own - but made in the image of Christ - apart from him - I am nothing. With him I am lovely.

The gift of humility that was given also gave me a genuine gratitude. God loves me - in spite of my unlovableness. As I am. Oh - he sees the ugly alright. And he loves me anyway. Amazing. I saw how I stomped across people in my desire to be noticed and thought well of - he saw that too and was so sad. I saw how my pursuits each day were for myself alone.  My closet narcissim knew no bounds: the meals I made and took to people - the Sunday School class I taught - when I would sing. It was to glorify myself. To make me feel better about who I was.

When all along, I was so much more than I realized. I still struggle with my selfishness. I forget how ugly I really am. But still God opens my eyes every so often, he still gives me those glimpses and it brings me up short. When I see these things about myself...my loving, heavenly Father opens his arms and bids me come to him - and I do. I linger there...I see the gifts of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and faithfulness. The freedom to live as his child and to enjoy these gifts in full.

How blessed am I?

I am trying to re-engage. To find the place that God wants me to serve. But for the right reasons. Not to please others so I can feel good about myself. But questioning where would God have me be? It's not easy. I feel that people think that I am doing nothing right now. But I cannot worry about what they think. That is part of that "me monster" (thanks Brian Regan) that I cannot stand to see come out. But I know that he will direct me and that he is using me - in the raising of my children as image bearers of their heavenly Father. And he has given me a vast calling on my daily life, in every person I speak to and every task I put my hand to."Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters" Colossians 3:23



Galatians 5:

13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, 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 flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

To Slog or To SOAR.

I've been slogging through life again for the past week.

Slogging - transitive verb: To PLOD (one's way) perseveringly especially against difficulty.

I didn't think it was a word. I thought I made it up - it is what I FELT like I was doing. But - there it is - in Webster's online dictionary. Apparently someone else has been slogging too.

It's almost like an onomatopoeia.

Anyway - I have managed to get myself back into a blue streak and have become overwhelmed with my little life. A couple of weeks ago - it was so big and expansive and it was exciting and amazing and then this last week has been plodding. slogging.

Apparently this is my natural tendency. To fly off into the stratosphere and then to plummet to the depths. It's exhausting. But does it have to be? Can I not somehow skip the very lows? Or at least dip a little less lower? Or is this what I have to expect now?

I have also found that there is a direct connection to my lows with sin. And seperation. Which to a Kingdom minded person translates to falling away from Christ. Not in a apostasaic (that one is NOT in the dictionary) way, but in what I have come to find is a natural cycle with me. A drawing near and falling away pattern that I would like to see less of the falling away happen. I trust that it can be done.

I happen to be exhausted by life right now. The getting up and hitting the ground running every day and not stopping until bedtime is too much for me. The continued pressure of feeling the need to redeem the time - making every moment count - wears on me, and I find I hear the whisper of the serpent very well when I get tired. And I am still not doing some of the things that I want to. And because of my dissatisfaction, the serpents voice is loud and clear.

To be honest, there is no simple solution to this. I have backed up and started over in my mind in pretty much every direction I can and I always find myself back to being overwhelmed. But this is me. Trying to fix it. On my own.

I woke up this morning to grab the bull by the horns, to make a plan and to act on it. I carefully routed and re-routed and found that I cannot do it. Not alone.

Is there a simple solution? One that does not end up with me feeling like I am being pinched in that place where all the stress balls up at the base of my neck?
I read Isaiah 40. Apparently my over-whelm-ed-ness is just a sight problem. I am not seeing clearly. I have placed my sights on my circumstances once again. I am not focusing on the hills from whence comes my help.

Once I read Isaiah 40 there was an immediate and physical release of a very real tension on my part. I breathed a sigh of relief. I have a very real God. And my God is BIG. He holds my life and the lives of all in his hands. He is a good God, a loving father, an attentive shepherd. He will give me rest. He will renew my strength so that I will no longer slog - but SOAR. And that is that. How sweet it is!

Isaiah 40


Comfort for God’s People

1 Comfort, comfort my people,

says your God.

2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,

and proclaim to her

that her hard service has been completed,

that her sin has been paid for,

that she has received from the LORD’s hand

double for all her sins.

3 A voice of one calling:

“In the wilderness prepare

the way for the LORD;

make straight in the desert

a highway for our God.

4 Every valley shall be raised up,

every mountain and hill made low;

the rough ground shall become level,

the rugged places a plain.

5 And the glory of the LORD will be revealed,

and all people will see it together.

For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”



6 A voice says, “Cry out.”

And I said, “What shall I cry?”



“All people are like grass,

and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field.

7 The grass withers and the flowers fall,

because the breath of the LORD blows on them.

Surely the people are grass.

8 The grass withers and the flowers fall,

but the word of our God endures forever.”



9 You who bring good news to Zion,

go up on a high mountain.

You who bring good news to Jerusalem,

lift up your voice with a shout,

lift it up, do not be afraid;

say to the towns of Judah,

“Here is your God!”

10 See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power,

and he rules with a mighty arm.

See, his reward is with him,

and his recompense accompanies him.

11 He tends his flock like a shepherd:

He gathers the lambs in his arms

and carries them close to his heart;

he gently leads those that have young.



12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,

or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?

Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket,

or weighed the mountains on the scales

and the hills in a balance?

13 Who can fathom the Spirit of the LORD,

or instruct the LORD as his counselor?

14 Whom did the LORD consult to enlighten him,

and who taught him the right way?

Who was it that taught him knowledge,

or showed him the path of understanding?



15 Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket;

they are regarded as dust on the scales;

he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust.

16 Lebanon is not sufficient for altar fires,

nor its animals enough for burnt offerings.

17 Before him all the nations are as nothing;

they are regarded by him as worthless

and less than nothing.



18 With whom, then, will you compare God?

To what image will you liken him?

19 As for an idol, a metalworker casts it,

and a goldsmith overlays it with gold

and fashions silver chains for it.

20 A person too poor to present such an offering

selects wood that will not rot;

they look for a skilled worker

to set up an idol that will not topple.



21 Do you not know?

Have you not heard?

Has it not been told you from the beginning?

Have you not understood since the earth was founded?

22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,

and its people are like grasshoppers.

He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,

and spreads them out like a tent to live in.

23 He brings princes to naught

and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.

24 No sooner are they planted,

no sooner are they sown,

no sooner do they take root in the ground,

than he blows on them and they wither,

and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.



25 “To whom will you compare me?

Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.

26 Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:

Who created all these?

He who brings out the starry host one by one

and calls forth each of them by name.

Because of his great power and mighty strength,

not one of them is missing.



27 Why do you complain, Jacob?

Why do you say, Israel,

“My way is hidden from the LORD;

my cause is disregarded by my God”?

28 Do you not know?

Have you not heard?

The LORD is the everlasting God,

the Creator of the ends of the earth.

He will not grow tired or weary,

and his understanding no one can fathom.

29 He gives strength to the weary

and increases the power of the weak.

30 Even youths grow tired and weary,

and young men stumble and fall;

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.

Monday, January 3, 2011

You Must Read This...I love it - Signs of Life

http://www.turningpointonline.org/site/R/?i=TT6dhv6WUs6OgEEkBhRtNg..



Pop Stars


You will know them by their fruits...by their fruits you will know them.

Matthew 7:16, 20

Recommended Reading

Matthew 7:15-20



How hot was it last summer? According to the newspapers, it was so hot in the southern United States that a farmer in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, reported that his corn popped on the stalk. A Hardin County farmer also claimed that some of the ears among his rows of corn started popping in the intense heat. He sent photos of the burst kernels to specialists who said such a phenomenon is possible, though rare. Talk about signs of life! Can you imagine walking through a cornfield and hearing popping sounds all around you?

When we walk among the rows of Christians at church, are there any signs of life? When you look in the mirror as the day begins, are there any bursts of joy and claps of praise? When things get hot, is there an explosion of trust in God and kindness toward others?

As followers of Christ, there should be "signs" that we are alive in Him. When Jesus said, "By their fruits you will know them," He was telling us that Christianity must be fruitful. Are you bursting with joy today?

The time is short, and we must not only work while it is day; we must bear fruit while it is the season for fruit.

A. J. Gordon

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Casting Crowns - Who am I?

Starting Over?

There is something about a new year that causes folks to want to start all over again. Their expectations for the coming year are bright and shiny and hopeful. They are going to lose weight, read more, spend more time with loved ones, work harder to become organized. I absolutely get it. I am usually on that band wagon with all my shiny new expectations as well.

But of course, after a few weeks or months (if I'm lucky)  - the shiny is worn off. So the last couple of years, I have more or less backed off on the resolutions. It seems to be setting myself up for failure. This is a defeatest attitude though. It is wrong.

 I have determined that this year I will start over every day. I will rise from my bed, bless the Lord and ask for his blessings and start every day new. I somehow like the idea that I can begin again every day - even moment by  moment if I need to.

My thinking goes like this: I have a tendency to throw my hands in the air and give up when I have a huge goal and I miss it. Such as dieting - if I have a moment of weakness and eat a brownie that has been offered me, my thinking tends to be - "Well I screwed up", and I eat like a failure the rest of the day - or week. Can't do that. That's flabby behavior. And flabby behavior makes for a flabby body. That carries over to every other thing I put my hand to as well. Work. Home. Play. Kingdom.

I think what excited me today is the idea that I have a chance moment by moment to begin again. I will not be able to see my goals made each year. Not even each day sometimes.  But by deciding moment by moment to live faithfully, I expect that I will be further along in a year than I could have ever been by setting my huge list of New Year's Resolutions and doing my normal "give up".

Hebrews 12:1-3 (New International Version, ©2010)

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

I do not want to lose heart. I want to run the race faithfully. I am full of hope for this year. I pray that in all things that I will be faithful. That I will set my mind on things above and remember that my steps are moment by moment - and by doing them one at a time that I will indeed see change in myself that resembles my heavenly Father. I want to show hospitality more consistently, to accomplish more in my home, and in my job, I want to love my co-workers better and succeed not only in that but doing my job well. I want to see the creativity God gave me accomplished. I want to love my husband better, and to live more faithfully before my children.

I lay it before you all - that I will be accountable in my endeavors.

I love the idea that when I end my day and wake up to a new day - that I will see God's mercies - every day. Amazing. Encouraging. Blessed.

Lamentations 3:22-24 (New International Version, ©2010)


22 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”