Saturday, December 31, 2011
I have been pondering much a worshiper's heart and what is inside. What sets apart some people as worshipers who find it easy to rejoice in all life's ups and downs? Where is my heart?
I have been counting gifts as the days pass. I am not necessarily writing them down, but the heart captures them as they float on by.
I have been thinking about the upcoming months as those are the months that are soul dark and I search for Light, but cannot see. Where I must trust and lean on my God who supports and supplies my every need.
I have been convicted that this one life I have been given to live should not be about me (as I so often live it to be). I feel the Lord gently nudging me and prompting me to do this for the year. (Eek--a year of consistency?--oh, help!)
What is this going to look like? I can't give you the details as I am along for the journey as well, the individual steps are illuminated, the whole passage is, as of yet, dark.
But I am excited. I want, no, need to learn to turn everything back into praise to Him. The mundane is holy because I serve Him. The dirty dishes are holy because I feed my family for Him. And that is all good. But God is holy. He is to be my focus this year. Not to look for him in the mundane, but to see him despite the mundane. To acclaim him.
Because of this focus, this place, Heart Reflections will be quiet for a while. I hope friends will join me and if you have a story where you can say 'Bravo!', then please share it with me! Joy is multiplied when shared with friends.
Friday, December 16, 2011
Connected. All my life I have longed for connection. And I have received it. And it has been taken away. But through it all, the One who Sees, is the one with whom I stay connected through it all.
If only I would remember. To remember the Babe who became flesh so I could know him. To remember the grace that connects me to the Father when this life spins and twirls me about and I cannot find the center.
It is the daily 'Good Mornings, Lord' and the mid morning, 'what next, Lord?', and the lunch time crazies when He is the strength that gives me courage to keep on marching. It is in those little daily reminders of His presence that I stay connected to the One who gives me life and breath.
And when I am connected to Him, I am connected, fully, in a way that I cannot describe, to my family and friends.
Connected. This Babe, this God who became Flesh, this Christ crucified, the King resurrected....He is the connection of us all.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
I hear it in the clank of dishes being loaded into the dishwasher.
I hear it in the unsticking of a sock on the sticky spot on the floor, that 'ssshhlunk' that only a sock can make as it unsticks.
I hear it in the wonderment of 'it's already 5?'
I hear it whisper in the chaos of the day. The teaching, the loving, the messes.
Trust. It's one I have long struggled to hold onto. It's the key to successful days at home. It's the key when I do disappoint these loves. It's what goes missing when I lash out that the little one is not moving fast enough and the big one is not catching on quick enough. Trust is what's missing when the mess of everyday life overwhelms. The sticky floors. The floors that I can't remember when I last scrubbed them. The moldy shower curtain that needs replacing and I forget, once again, to buy a new one. The cobwebs on the light fixtures and corners of the rooms.
If trust somehow gets lost, life overwhelms.
'What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?' Romans 8:31-32
God is for me. God is for you. How can trust get lost when we keep this Truth tucked in close to our hearts?
This is my challenge this week. To remember not to fret and worry and be overwhelmed, but to trust what he says. He is for me! To lay my days and my agenda at the altar of His love and say--'I trust you'.
Monday, December 5, 2011
This verse has been on my heart this week. I want a heart to know Him. For He is the reason I live and breathe. This verse is a reminder to slow down and acknowledge the God who created me and you and all we see.
You see, I can get caught in the whirlpool of doing all the right things. The church thing. The devotional thing. The worship thing. But it's not. about. me. and what I do. It's not. These things are good, but it is God who turns my heart towards himself.
And it is true for my children as well. Taking them to church, giving them a Christian education, living the Word before them, talking about Jesus as we sit and lay down and walk along the way. These things are good and necessary in our home, but it is God who turns the children toward His heart and this is what I pray for.
Jesus, the Living Water,
I pray that you would call my heart to your heart. That you would capture my kids' heart. That we would know you. That you would be our God and we would be your people. Yes and Amen.
Blessings be poured down like rain,
Monday, November 28, 2011
I found one the other day. It was darkened and dull with age. I picked it up and tossed it in the drawer for the Sunday School offerings and in that drawer was a bowl full of tarnished, uncared for pennies. Waiting. Languishing.
How long does it take for a penny to tarnish? How long does it take for the bright, shiny coppery finish to wear and collect the grime and dirt of everyday living? I think it all depends on what that penny experiences.
I held that tarnished, dirty penny in my palm and I pondered the fact that I am twelve and a half years into this mothering journey and I have lost the shine of a new penny. My efforts appear to be tossed aside. The idealism has worn thin and I wonder if all my sacrifices have been discarded like the little forlorn penny.
Yet...like a tarnished penny, I can be made shiny again. I need the washing of the word. I need the assurance of Isaiah 52:12 that my God leads me and he is my rear guard. I need to take the time to spend with the One who can wipe the tarnishing of teaching decimals, or forgetting to pay the bills, or pronouns verses possessive nouns away and reveal the shiny heart beating for motherhood beneath.
I believe in mothering, I believe that all my efforts will not be wasted, but it is like walking in the dark, and sometimes it feels really dark and I just want a little glimpse into the future, but my Jesus, he says, 'Jess, take my hand, let me lead you over decimals and english and little boys and squabbling baby girls; just hold my hand and hang on tight and look. at. Me.'
Wherever you are at today in your mothering or teaching, know this: The Lord longs to be gracious to you, he longs to lead you, he longs to hold your hand and walk you through the mines of raising children whose hearts beat for him.
Reach out and Hold. On.
Friday, November 25, 2011
For fun, for love of the sound of words, for play, for delight, for joy and celebration at the art of communication.
For only five short, bold, beautiful minutes. Unscripted and unedited. We just write without worrying if it’s just right or not.
Won’t you join us?
when life is great, it is full, but when life stretches and pulls and tugs and stabs, gratefulness becomes a sacrifice. It becomes a sacrifice because I must lay down my rants and stop my whining and lift my sacrifice of praise to the One who sees.
So when life pulls and stretches like a woman swelling with new life within my heart must swell and nurture grateful thoughts, grateful actions. Gratefulness which is free of comparisons and contrasting my life with my friends' or my neighbors' or my 'wish-they-were-my-friends' bloggers.
Gratefulness reflects God's great full-ness towards this life he has graciously given me to life. Gratefulness = God's greatness. He is mighty, magnificent. He sees. He cares. He knows my words before I do. He holds the world in his hands and I am in his hands and he will. not. let. go. Praise God!
Gratefulness is my heart filled with His Greatness. My heart stretches and swells until it bursts into songs of joy just as my body once swelled and gave birth. It wasn't without it's discomfort and pain, but the joy. Oh the joy. And so it is with gratefulness.
Blessings to you and your family this wonderful, wonderful day,
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
The cycle is complete, or has it just begun? The fields lay quiet; stripped of their fruit. They await the winter snows and spring rains and the spring-time implements ripping the surface open to lay in the seeds for next year's crop. It is the cycle of all growing things. A time of rest. A time of preparing the soil to receive seed. A time of planting. A time of growing. And a time of harvesting only to begin again.
My heart is the soil the Gardner is tilling and amending to prepare His seed. My heart is the field where the harvest will happen. And just like in real soil, there will be pockets of beautiful loamy soil and in others it will be clay-like. Other parts will be sandy where the water flows through and is always dry. Sections may be missing a crucial nutrient for ideal seed growth. The Gardner does what He needs to do the prep the heart soil to receive His seed.
I have sections of my heart that are like this. There is the sandy part of me where the assurances of God's promises flow right on out and those parts are continually parched and dry and I continually need reassuring. Or the section of heart soil that is a bit clay-like. The words of the Lord sit and soak in, but don't drain out as well. This is the section that needs help in giving to others, to serving others. Then there is the heart soil that is perfect for growing. It soaks in and drains out. I take the Words in and breathe them out. In and Out. Over and over. And what remains is a flourishing, beautiful harvest.
'Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is is for the autumn and spring rains. You too. Be patient and stand firm because the Lord's coming is near. Don't grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The judge is standing at the door!' James 5:7-9
This is why grace is the rain we all need to shower on one another. All of our heart-soils are being worked and tilled and prepared for God's seed and some areas of our heart-soils are still weedy and sometimes those weeds spill over into how we treat one another or our speech. Grace is the rain that covers it all and allows those weeds to be pulled more easily. Grace. When we respond with grace we water the heart-soil and the weeds give way to the Lord's gentle tug.
Blessings poured towards you today.
Monday, November 21, 2011
Is the word of the Lord with me? Do I serve God wholeheartedly every day of the week, am I a woman of prayer? This is what I ask myself. I keep hearing the call to go out and be a light in the marketplace, the community and the world, but where is the call to be a light in the Home?
My home needs to be where I shine the brightest, where the light of the six of us shine the light of Jesus into our neighborhoods. But I haven't been hearing that from the pulpit. I hear about the individual shining for Jesus, but aren't we a corporate body? Shouldn't we shine together, encouraging one another in the paths Jesus has called us to? Isn't there some way to combine the two calls--the call to 'go into all the world and preach the gospel' and 'Deut. 6: 4-10?' into one call?
The path. On first glance, it appears as if I am ignoring the call to go out into the world and preach the gospel. It appears that I am hiding my light under the rafters of my home. It appears that following this mothering call is a lesser call than witnessing to strangers. First glances cannot be trusted. But if I look deeper; if I look at the deeper significance of mothering, I find myself viewing motherhood with an outwardly view. A view that reveals that what I am doing by staying in my family is actually reaching out to the world. It is a global attack. Because these four kids are arrows. They are His arrows. I will do my part to prepare them for a life serving Christ and I will place the arrow in the bow and pull the string taut, but it will be God who guides the arrow to its mark.
I want these arrows to fly straight and true. Is there a prophet of the Lord here in this home? Is there one who has the word of the Lord? Or am I expending my evangelistic energies on those outside my home? Am I studying my Bible so I can be prepared to go into all the world, or am I studying it so that I can more effectively share the word of Truth with my kids? These kids are my mission field. Just because they are being raised in the Christian home doesn't automatically mean that they are Christians. They need the gospel life-preached to them on a daily basis.
This is my mission field. Some may be called to a local ministry, or the mission field far from home but the important thing is this: obedience to the call Jesus has placed on my life. I can't be obedient to your call and you can't be obedient to my call. We each are responsible for our own obedience to our own specific call. And I think we need to offer loads of encouragement to each other!
You are doing a great job! Your family is such a blessing. You are changing the world for Christ, one little child at a time. Keep going, you can do it! If you are bogged down by messing up (once again--like me over here), take hold of the grace and forgiveness God extends to you and pass it along.
Monday, November 14, 2011
Psalm 59:9 'Oh my strength I watch for you. Oh God, you are my fortress, my loving God'.
It is so fun to watch my kids watching for company to arrive. They dance from window to window exchanging reports of 'do you see them?' 'nope.' 'do you?'. And on it goes until the long awaited car pulls into the driveway. Then the cries of 'they're here' ring throughout the house. What a lesson I could learn from them! The attentiveness. The awareness. The anticipation.
I am waiting for Someone as well. He is my strength, but I forget to watch for him. I start out with great intentions, but the day just slips by and I realize I forgot to watch for Him. I know He was with me, but did I see Him? Did I take the moments to really see Him? No.
I get caught up in the math facts, the phonics, the history, the lunch making, the discipling, the training, the squabbles of 4 little people playing my string tighter and tighter until....snap!, I break. I lose the anticipation of looking for Him in the mundane of my life. The revolving laundry. The dust bunnies that multiply over night. The empty cookie jars that cry out to be filled every other day. Mundane. If I am not careful, I just look down, to the next thing I need to do and forget to look up and out and around to catch a glimpse of Him.
This is why Ann's message is so timely for today. Life trucks by at alarming speeds and we will miss seeing Him if we do not take the time to watch for Him. To look up and see that corn husk flittering across the road. The red-tailed hawk soaring above his prey. The silky milk-weed seeds floating in mid-air. The rust color of the wild asparagus as the setting sun lights it on fire. The sleepy morning tussle of hair on the little one. The received grace instead of Mama's explosion. The fulness of life in the insistent and constant 'mama, this; mama, that' from four voices at once. But if I can filter through all of life to the watching for Him, I am blessed and I find refuge.
Oh my Strength, I watch for you. You are my refuge, my loving God.
Watch......watch and you will find your Strength.
Friday, November 11, 2011
For only five short, bold, beautiful minutes. Unscripted and unedited. We just write without worrying if it’s just right or not.
Won’t you join us?1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
I seem to always be taken aback by the unexpected hurts and sadness. The heart wrenching disappointments that take me by surprise. The flashes of irritation that seem to come from out of nowhere and somewhere. The unexpected reaction to the child that knows, knows how to push buttons. The surprise that trials really do come and really do happen.
But this....This one thing that I am trying to see: It is the unexpected blessings that slip in and out of the moments of the day. It is the way the sunshine streams in through the window and makes the table glow in the afternoon light. It is the smile in response to my saying 'yes' . It is the peace that comes when I trust in the One who knows all things. It is the way the grasses bend and sway in the afternoon breeze. It is the smell of popcorn and cocoa for an evening snuggled together with books.
These are the unexpected moments that I miss but am trying so hard to capture. This is what I want to be taken surprise by. The unexpected love gifts from the One who created me and all that is in it.
May your weekend be filled with Light and Love,
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
It is so easy for my purpose to get lost along the way of living life. Marriage is a lot harder in reality than in thought. Raising children is enough to cause gray hair or hair loss, depending on how frustrated I am! Living this life well requires me to have a defined purpose.
I have realized that my desire is to be the best wife I can be to 'deere' hubs, and the best mom and teacher to my four little 'deeres' and to serve God in my church and community. However, underlying these ideals needs to be a purpose that can carry me through the tough days.
My purpose is two words: Follow Christ. Sink into that thought. When my only purpose is to Follow Christ, it takes everything else I need to do--being a wife, mom, teacher, church member, community member and brings clarity and perspective and gives me motivation on those days when I want to run away because life is so hard.
Knowing that my purpose is to follow Christ, I will then listen for His direction in my marriage, mothering, teaching, and serving. By focusing on Christ, and what He desires, I release myself from a lot of pressure to keep up with my roles. Because my purpose is to Follow Christ.
1. Do you ever get overwhelmed by all the different roles you play?
2. How does having a purpose help you stay focused and motivated?
How would having only one purpose: To Follow Christ; change how you view all your roles?
Monday, November 7, 2011
My weaknesses have value. Yes. My inconsistencies, my impatience, my laziness, my 'down days' have value. They have value because they cause me to be fervent in prayer. They have value because they cause me to know God's comfort, His grace, and His power. For that reason alone I can be thankful for my weaknesses.
My weaknesses have other values as well. God is attracted to a humble spirit. He draws close to me when I am broken and contrite in spirit. My weaknesses are used for His glory not only because he is strong when I am weak, but because my weaknesses bring me to a point of humility and when I am humbled He flows in me and through me.
Sometimes I think, we as women, believe that there is something wrong with us if a 'weakness' shows up repeatedly in our life, but that may be the very thing God is using to show His strength in our lives. So instead of beating ourselves up over our weaknesses, couldn't we let God's grace fill the weaknesses so that He might be glorified?
1.What are 'weaknesses' that seem to show themselves frequently in your life?
2.What is your response to those weaknesses?
3.Do you beat yourself up or wonder if you will ever 'conquer' this?
Instead of despairing over the weakness, could you place it in God's hands and let Him fill you with grace in this area? Ask Him how He can be glorified through this weakness.
May you enjoy His blessings today,
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Once I have been still, I need to satisfy my soul with the Living Water and Bread.
We, as women, can become a one-woman show. Racing our kids here and there. Pursuing personal fulfillment. Trying to be the 'perfect' woman, or the Proverbs 31 women. Have you ever seen the trick of a plate balancing on a pole and to keep it there, the person needs to keep spinning the pole and then they add another and another? Well, that is how it can be for a woman. We need to keep all the plates spinning. And yet, many times, we are still unfulfilled and not satisfied so we had another spinning plate thinking that will satisfy this longing in our hearts, but it doesn't so we add another plate and on it goes. We are left with the question: 'What more must we do?'
Just one thing. Come to Jesus. Really, you might be thinking, one more thing to do? 'I have enough on my to-do list' may be running through your mind. But this one thing that looks as though it is just one more thing to do is, in reality, the most satisfying, restful thing you can do. It is a phenomenon that our finite minds fail to fully comprehend, but it works. It is in Jesus that we find what truly satisfies.
Have you tried filling this 'longing' in your heart with things other than a relationship with Jesus?
Take Jesus off the 'to-do' list and make Him what satisfies you.
Monday, October 31, 2011
It is true that I have been set free. Jesus has set me free to live fully for him. I can be like the bird let loose from her cage and soar high and free or I can be like the bird who sits and stares at the open door of her cage to scared to venture out into the great unknown.
I have been both.
My cage is fear of rejection wound round the fear of failure, because if I fail, I am rejected. This fear leads to insecurity, which leads to distrust, which in turn, builds this cage tight round about me. Jesus is the door to that cage and he has flung the door wide open and beckons me to come out and soar with him.
Some days I do.
Some days I don't.
It's the days that I stay in my cage that brings me a strange sense of comfort, the fear is what I know, but it also brings with it a sense that I have lost something very important. I have lost the freedom that Jesus provides. So I edge closer to the door of the cage and peer out, 'will he lift me up once again? Will he be there?' skitters through my heart.
I close me eyes, spread my arms wide and step out of the cage and fly.
This journey we are on--it is full of twists and turns as unique as each one of us. But one thing we all share is our heart's journey toward the Father's. At times, we get stuck in a cage, but I believe that the Lord longs for us to open our arms, take that leap of faith, and trust Him to carry us through. And it doesn't have to be a 'big' thing like taking a missions trip, or starting a new job, but it could be just the soul release to smile more or play more or trust more while going about your already full day.
God has called you to follow Him throughout your tasks as a woman, wife, mother, or teacher. Fly free in those areas. Listen for His voice calling you and follow.
Are you stuck in a cage?
What are the bars of your cage made of?
Identify your cage--look at the open door and step out and let the One who Saves lift you up.
Friday, October 28, 2011
The word real is in there somewhere. To be relevant while being real. To take the bad days and the good days and weave them into a relevant life. A relevant life where I am honest about the struggles and taking these words the float through this heart of mine and work them into words and then live them.
Relevently living this life. To take the ideals and live up to them. To write for where I am at, not for where I was or will be, but right here, right now. Encouraging myself that to live relevantly means to let the past lie down--all the accusations and fear that threaten the present--and use the Most Relevant Word to lift me up and carry me through those hard days. To take the Word of Life and live it.
Blessings on you this weekend as you live a Relevant Life.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
'Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.' (Psalm 46:10)
Being still is something I am still learning. I cannot just sit. If I am sitting, I need to be reading a magazine or book or working on a crocheting project or going over school subjects. I am drawn to sit outside, but I can't just sit. Pretty soon I am up, walking around the yard inspecting the raspberries or flower bed or trees. This inability to sit still gets in the way of me being still.
To be still in His presence. To soak up His sweet spirit. To be awed by His power and might. To let the still small voice whisper to my frantic thoughts: 'be still'. He will be exalted. His presence will be made known. Know that He is God. Rest in that truth.
Within being still in his presence also forces me to confront the feelings that busy-ness covers. Sometimes I have to let those awful feelings flow through you to get to the other side. Those feelings of worthlessness, inadequacy, sadness, or anger. Ignoring them, pretending they don't exist only makes them more insistent in breaking out. When I slow down enough to be still, I need to let the feelings come--give them a name, experience them and then show them the door of Truth. Do I have this mastered? Not at all, but I am learning.
I fall prey to the idea that if my feelings are wrong, then I must not/cannot give them a voice. But it is in letting these feelings have their say, while coming back at them with the Word of Truth, that I find freedom. Freedom from what my assumptions of what a good Christian girl should say and feel and do.
'But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.' (Psalm 131:1-2) This is something I must do. It is up to me to still my own soul. I must choose to be still and quiet, resting in my Lord. Leaning back into Him, looking into His face with all the trust of a child. Knowing that despite my rolling feelings He is God--exalted above the nations. He will be made known.
Be still. Know that He is God.
1. Do you try and deny your negative feelings?
2. What happens when you do?
Next time the feelings are roiling and boiling inside of you, will you try and give them a voice and then a name and come at them with the Truth of Scripture?
Monday, October 24, 2011
I am a woman against the tide of four because I am tasked with the charge of raising and taming these four children I have been blessed with, but I am dealing with not just innocent children, but five natural, sinful natures (mine included) all vying for top position. It is exhausting.
I am a woman against the tide of culture because I am seeking to raise and train these four blessings in the path the Lord is leading us down and it is contrary to popular culture.
And time, it keeps going by faster and faster. The days begin and end before I can even catch my breath. All the relationship building I want to do....is it even happening? I have less than ten years with my oldest child and just over a decade with my youngest. I can't keep up with time.
Recently, I became overwhelmed by the tides. It started out innocently enough, just dealing with life's ups and downs, but it quickly spiraled into a battle between what I was feeling and what I know to be True. I believe that our feelings need to be recognized and dealt with, but they cannot be relied on for Truth.
I was questioning my ability to mother: was I really making a difference? Is all this sacrifice really worth it? Do they even hear me when I speak? I was looking at my ideals and realizing just how far away I was from them. Am I even capable of being the kind of mother I dream of being?
Then God spoke. He said, 'if you want to be like Christ, then empty yourself and become a servant.' Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves'. (Philippians 2:3-7)
This slammed into me. I saw my pity party for what it really was--pride. I wanted to be noticed. I wanted to appreciated. I wanted to be heralded as this great motivator.I wanted my family to rise up and call me blessed. I wanted my efforts to be applauded.
It's not about me. All that God has blessed me with, all that he has given me, all the opportunities to bring him glory....it's not about what I can do or what I am good at. It is my heart. My heart needs to be emptied of myself and I need to be a servant. I need to check my motives through His filter.
But how does that help us when we are beaten down? What about when we are exhausted? What do we do, when we know all the 'right' answers and yet our feelings fail us every time?
I hope to share what I have learned and am still learning to put into practice. Speaking God's Truth. Learning discipline. Humility. Understanding prudence. Weaving it all together while still trying to figure it out. Sharing it with others--my gift to you.
May God's blessings be upon our journey,
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
'Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell. Then will I go to the altar of my God, to God, my joy and my delight.' Psalm 43:3-4
May your morning bring you His light and His truth. May you joy and delight in the one who guides. He will turn the darkness to light, I know. Times of darkness creep in and overwhelm, but there is always Light. This amazing sunrise took my breath away and filled me with awe for the Artist Creator. In it, he showed me himself: his beauty and his faithfulness for the sun always rises. May you reach out and spend time at the altar, where you will find joy and delight.
Monday, October 17, 2011
I used my words for death instead of life. The words that came spewing out of my mouth were bullets which not only wounded the one to whom they were directed, but also the other hearts within hearing.
So often the tongue is a whip and This. must. stop. How can I expect to teach Life into their hearts and minds if my words bring death? But what is it about words that kill? Where do these words come from? Is my heart and mind so black and depraved that God's light is far from me?
My mind is where the words form before they become. So it is my mind which needs the Spirit's control--not my tongue. And yet if my heart is not under the Holy Spirit's influence then my mind cannot be either.
Heart. Mind. Tongue. First one, then the other, until, finally, the tongue is bridled. My words are an indicator of the state of my heart. This is why the Lord calls us to have a undivided heart (Psalm 86:11) and for our minds to be renewed (Romans 12:1).
I need to wash everything by his word and by his grace. 'For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sward, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing is all creation is hid from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.' (Hebrews 4:12-13) So every thought that flitters through this mind, good or bad, must be held up to the standard of the Word. And I cannot pretend that I didn't just think 'that thought'. The One who sees all things really does 'see' all things--even those thoughts we wouldn't want anyone to see.
Yet, I am not left with this seemingly impossible struggle. Hebrews 4:14-16 goes on to say: 'therefore, (I love therefores!) since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.'
Can I get an amen?!
First, hold onto your faith. Do you believe Jesus is leading you, guiding you, helping you build your house? Then hold onto that faith! Don't waver. Don't sway. Hold on. Walk in faith. Secondly,
walk boldly up to that glorious throne of grace and lay it all there. Before those death words come pouring out, stop!, boldly go to the throne of grace and find the grace you need for the moment. It is there, waiting for you to receive. To receive grace and life-giving words. Words to encourage and teach. Words to speak life and love into hearts and minds.
When I rain word bullets down, I know that there is forgiveness and I also know there is grace. I have experienced days when my words brought life and when also they brought life. But I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my High Priest is waiting to intercede for me and to offer me grace.
For you, too.
Friday, October 14, 2011
Catch. I hold my hands out hoping my heart will catch those grace moments in each day.
Today I caught the message that my God is all sufficient for my heart needs. Today, I caught the much needed phone call from the precious one who is no longer a daily part of my life.
Today, I caught the boy and held him close when he climbed over his chair during reading class to squeeze me and tell me how he loves me and I am the 'best'.
Has my heart caught the grace that my God gently rains down like manna? I hold out my hands and open my heart to receive--and me, the girl, who cringes when a ball is tossed at me, knowing that I. will. miss. But, not today. Today I caught each grace moment and held it close to the heart.
Catch. Catch this: The One who loves, the One who sees is raining down grace. Are you standing waiting, ready to catch the manna?
Blessings on your weekend,
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
This is the call I hear:
'Remember these things, O Jacob, for you are my servant, O Israel. I have made you, I will not forget you. I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you. Sing for joy, O heavens, for the Lord has done this; shout aloud, O earth beneath. Burst into song, you mountains, you forests and all your trees, for the Lord has redeemed Jacob, he displays his glory in Israel.' Isaiah 44:21-23
Can you hear him calling you? Let his forgiveness sweep over you and through you. Let him sweep away your sins like the morning mist. Will you respond?
Forgiven by grace,
Sunday, October 9, 2011
I have rested in this verse in my years of mothering. I started out mothering with ideals and fear of the unknown, but this verse has brought me great comfort when I felt as though I were wandering in the dark (and some days still do). I rest in the knowledge that Jesus is carrying my children and leading me to his 'best' for them and me. I trust that as I pour my heart and soul into the souls of these four precious ones, that He is carrying them close to his heart and will finish the work.
'The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.' Proverbs 14:1
It is in Proverbs that I learn the wisdom in having a plan for my family. Being prepared, having a direction protects my family from being swept up into the cultural storm with no anchor to hold us to the One who leads and guides. God's word is my blueprint for building my family, but if I fill my mind with principles and philosophies contrary to God's word, I will be tearing down my family with my own hands. To build without a plan invites failure. Who has seen those little old farmhouses with rooms tacked on here and there? Hand raising over here! Those homes served a purpose, but were left without forethought and planning and the result was a home that could not withstand the test of time. My heart's desire is to build a home to withstand time and be a blessing to those whose lives we touch. God's word has the plan. Am I following the plan?
'By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.' Proverbs 24:3-4
Beauty within my home is important to me. I love playing with colors and textures and putting it all together to create a cozy, 'come sit with me' kind of feel. But God is continually bringing these verses to mind and showing me that I can create all the cozy spaces I want, but without Him, it is cold. God's word is where wisdom is found, and it is the blueprints for my home. Understanding is the Holy Spirit's inspiration and it is through the Holy Spirit that I can follow the blueprints. Knowledge is application and how God's principles and word will apply to our specific and individual family.
As you journey along this mothering road, take encouragement from God's word. He is leading you. He is carrying your children. He has a plan for your home. He desires to fill you with wisdom, understanding and knowledge. He will hold your hand and guide you. He will never, ever leave you to flounder on your own. He is journeying with you. Take his hand and let him lead.
Friday, September 30, 2011
Guidelines:1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
Friends are those with whom I can be transparent as glass, but know I will not break. Friends can become the family I long for. Friends are true gifts waiting to be opened, but one must be willing to see the gift.
Often, we can become fearful of hurt, especially if we've been hurt before and forget to look for the gift of friends around us. God gives us friends. He knows we need friends. He asks us to trust him to bring the ones with whom we can share our innermost hurts and joys with. He asks us to open our hearts up to the gift of friends and be the friend we long to have.
Reach out. Uplift. Encourage. Extend grace. See the gift of friends. Open the gift of friends. Trust enough to be transparent. Love enough to extend grace. Embrace the gift.
Thank-you, Friends for prayers and you!!
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Friday, August 26, 2011
This older hand, which once held mine, is holding my baby's. This hand belongs to the one who brought me such security and love as I grew up wondering who I was and where I belonged.
She is now older. She reached her 90th birthday last fall and I wonder just how many more she will have. These older hands--what have they seen in this life? The wrinkles. The veins. Both testify to a life lived well.
It is a reminder to me to love well with these hands of mine. Will my children see love in my hands when one day they see my hands grown older? Will I look at my older hands and instead of seeing stubby fingers and wide palms, will I see the hands that baked cookies, taught children how to write, and loved them well?
....five minute fridays with The Gypsey Mama...the challenge to write for five minutes on one topic, no editing, no back tracking, just write.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
I had never mowed a lawn in my life until I got married. I had no idea how to run a lawn mower. My deere hubby gave me a quick lesson (and I do mean quick) and off I went. Believe me when I tell you I ran into trees and got a piece of wire fence wound round the blades. As the years passed (and every year for a few years I needed a refresher course on how to run the crazy thing), I got a little better at mowing. I am not the detail girl, Mr. Deere is, but I get most of it done. Let me explain what most is--we live on 5 acres and I mow around the house and three buildings and all the trees in our quickly growing grove.
I mow a lot.
Anyway, I noticed a phenomenon, not only can I not mow in a straight line, but I have company that joins me each time I mow.
They are pesky little creatures. First one begins swooping about my head, then another and another until I have at least half a dozen flying about me. They can be a little distracting, especially for a girl who cannot mow in a straight line. (I've tried, truly I have....)
Those barn swallows are beautiful little creatures. They have an indigo back and a creamy underside and a cute little forked tail. But they distract and startle me from my mowing. Imagine mowing, and having a nice little quiet time, and then this bird swoops two feet in front of you! while you're moving forward!
So, I have learned to ignore those things and keep looking ahead, to keep looking at my goal.
'Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame' Isaiah 50:7.
This is what I need to do in everything. I need to set my face like flint before the Lord. I need to focus on Him, not on the distractions around. When those distractions come that tempt me to leave the path the Lord has laid out for me to walk, I remember the barn swallows and the mower and how I don't look at the birds, but I keep following the mowers swath. I know the birds are there, just as I know the distractions are there. The feelings of inadequacy, the fear, the comparisons, but I choose to focus on my Lord.
Set your face like flint on your goals and ignore those pesky birds!
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Monday, August 22, 2011
‘He loves me, He loves me not. He loves me, He loves me not’. The refrain repeats as petals flutter to the ground, hoping that the last petal will be ‘He loves me’, but knowing the outcome is as random as the number of petals on the daisy and that the answer can change from flower to flower.
Uncertainly certain am I of God’s love for me....
This is a dichotomy of the war which rages within my heart and mind. My mind knows and believes that the God of the universe loves me unreservedly, but my heart. My treacherous heart whispers to me otherwise and whips the heart and bruises the heart until it is unwilling to unfurl and receive the love He freely gives..........read the rest here.
Blessings to you today,
Friday, August 19, 2011
A new seventh grader, fourth grader, first grader, and one along for the ride. A new years lies open before me. A new purpose of teaching and training these gifts from the Lord above.
Beyond the surface newness of books and schedules is the new path the Lord is leading us down. It is listening for His voice in my ear saying, 'this is the way, walk in it.'
It is the newness of the dawn as we set out on a journey of living and loving and learning together with Him.
New years always bring joy and trepidation, but mostly they bring a chance to grow in new faith and trust in the One who holds my every moment within His hands. this may be our eighth year of schooling at home and sometime I think I have it all under control, but each year brings me a newer knowledge that our times and days are truly in His hands and I long to hear the Voice that matters most.
I love the start of new school years, not for the books, although, they are great, but for the new opportunities to walk in His ways.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
As a mother I am in a unique position. I have been entrusted with four little hearts and minds. What will I do with them? Will I follow God's word in teaching them? Will I cover them with grace and love? What will their legacy be?
My prayer is that their legacy is a Godly heritage. That they would worship Him with abandon in all they do. That the Word of God would be the most important voice in their head. This is my prayer.
Oh--but for grace, this is not the legacy I would leave them. I am bound by selfishness that requires a daily removal. I am impatient. I snap. My tone doesn't always match my words.
Do I ever make it through the day without needing to apologize? Do I actually apologize when I need to? No, not always. Is this the legacy I want to leave? Absolutely not!
What can we do? Fall into the arms of grace and trust Him to take our feeble offerings and let Him work it out for His purposes.
Let's rest in His arms and stop condemning ourselves for our mistakes, but let's humble ourselves before the Lord, admit our weakness and seek forgiveness from the One who forgave first. Then let our children see us humble ourselves before them and do the same before them.
If our children see us modeling God's word, then His instructions will be a garland for their heads and His teaching a beautiful chain about their necks.
And that is the legacy I desire most for my children.
Monday, August 15, 2011
A sacrifice requires something of me. It costs something. At times I enjoy giving the sacrifice, but when my will crosses with the Lord's will, then it becomes something different entirely. It becomes hard. It becomes painful. It becomes costly.
My spiritual father, my pastor for the last 16 years is heeding the call of God to move his ministry, and I am grieving, not because I don't want God's will, but because my will is crossing His. The Lord has given me deep peace and a vision for the future, but that does not dispel the sorrow.
I want to see the Lord in all I do and in all that happens. I want to see Him in my marriage, my mothering, my teaching, and my church. What is the one thing that prepares the way so that I may see Him?It is in sacrificing thank offerings.
How does one go about this sacrifice? How do we offer up thanksgiving when the heart already feels sacrificed?
By simply thanking Him for the simple things of this life:
*love a husband
*sound spiritual teaching
*the moon glowing through a haze of clouds
*a new school year
May your Monday be filled with the offerings of thanks for the simple things He gives. May you turn it into worship as you love and teach your children. May the sacrifice be a pleasing pain, knowing that you are honoring the one who gives all things. May you see Him as your thanksgiving prepares the way.
Saturday, August 6, 2011
.....Just a little note, I have been writing for a Woman's Retreat I am speaking at this fall, (the deadline is looming), this is an excerpt from one of the talks I plan on giving. I hope as you prepare for the new school year that you listen for the Voice that matters and follow His plan.......
Is the Lord trustworthy? A resounding yes! But to get to that trust we must experience belief and submission first. It is a belief that he loves us with an unending, everlasting love. It is a belief that the only way we can be saved is by His grace through the blood shed on the cross for us. It is an accepting of the gift of life—eternal life. But what happens if life feels more like a consuming fire or a raging sea. What then? Does God change? Do your beliefs in Him change? It shouldn’t. But somehow, we will compare our circumstances with who God is, but he is so far above our circumstances for His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts, his understanding no one can fathom. He can do far above what we can fathom or imagine. He is bigger than my greatest dream or my deepest fear.
Take a look at Mary. What the angel told her would change her life. She would carry a stigma. Under Jewish law she could justifiably be stoned. Joseph, her betrothed, could issue a divorce. Yet, she calmly accepted the Lord’s plan. What we could learn from her. How many times does God use a seemingly awful situation for His kingdom purposes. He sees the entire tapestry of our world and we see only a tiny piece of thread. Quite possibly the thing that is causing you the most pain and heartache could be the thing the Lord is using to work out something amazing for His glory in your life.
Resting in his arms is a choice you make. Will you fix your eyes like flint before the Lord or will you be distracted by the circumstances? Will you allow His word to be a lamp for your feet and a light for your path or will you listen to your friends, or Dr. Phil, or Oprah? God’s word is true. It is trustworthy. What does Luke 1:45 say? ‘Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.’
Blessings to you this weekend,
Friday, July 29, 2011
To still worship despite heart break.
To still offer thanksgiving when there seemingly is none.
To willingly walk through the fire because you know He is with you.
Still. Still it hurts. Still the tears seep out the corner of the eyes, sobs beg to erupt, but can't because one must still live, still meet the needs of the little ones who call me mama.
Still I know He cares. I know that if I still say that God is in control then i must still trust him because He who trusts in Him is like Mt. Zion which cannot be shaken. Still. To be still and let the waves of anguish roll over and over and over, to let the emotions roil and boil and be still and let it come. My God is an all consuming fire and I want the fire and I want the refining, but oh, to be still and let Him work......
Still......Still........ Still............. Be still. Find the beauty in the fire. Worship the one who loves me still. He carries me through to the other side. Still I love Him. Still I wait. Still.
Monday, July 18, 2011
My ponderings of late have been how absolutely amazingly creative is our God. And how if I only open my eyes to see, I see so much. Like the other night, I am lying in bed, watching the moon dance with the clouds. The following morning, I fumble around to turn off the alarm, groan, but as my eyes slowly open, the first sight I see are pristine clouds scudding across a brilliant blue sky. I am instantly awake, awed at my Creator.
During the course of the day, I pray that He would cause His wonders to be remembered, that during the squabbles of children I would see the blessings. Because it is impossible to ponder anything if we haven't taken the time to see.
As I struggle to live a life that ponders the works of the Lord, I find myself needing to be more aware of what is happening in the moments of the day because that is when my life is lived. Moment by moment. Minute by minute. Second by second. And if I cannot remember the works of the Lord then am I taking the time to see and ponder?
Yet, my Lord is gracious and compassionate. He knows my yesterdays, my todays, and my tomorrows. And if He knows, and I forget, then I will ask that He would graciously remind my heart of His works.
As you move throughout your day, loving on your littles and not so littles, may you ponder the works of the Lord. I pray you would find the little things to delight in.
Here are a few of mine:
* moon dance with the clouds
* toad hopping across the driveway
* lightning bugs
* feeling acclimated to the humidity (its only taken me 16 years!)
* french press coffee -yum
* kids running through sprinkler
Monday, July 11, 2011
Thomas a Kempis
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Freedom. It is what our country was founded on. It is what is in danger of being lost. I could get caught up in the fear of the future for our country. But I remember. I remember that my first loyalty is to Jesus Christ. My first priority is to love Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and body. My second priority is to love others like myself.
It is in loving Him that I am on this path of motherhood. I was asked once, 'what about all your dreams and the things you said you wanted to do?' At the time, the answer was a simple one....'this is what Christ has laid out for me to do and I will follow.' Over time and laundry, and dirt, and pigs, and messes inside our hearts and inside the four walls of home that answer has grown into something more.
I am to make disciples to send out into a society unseen. My role is greater than chief laundress, baker, chef, secretary, disciplinarian. I am a society changer. And so are you.
However, that vision can easily become clouded in the day to day grind of work and discouragement and wondering if I really am influencing these precious children for Christ. Will they grow up to love Him with all their hearts, souls, and minds? Will they be worshipers in spirit and in truth? Will they be willing to sacrifice everything for the call that the Lord places on their hearts? Will they be society changers? I can get burdened with the wonderings. I lose sight of this vision because what is before me daily is mess. My own mess. My kids' mess. And not just the mess of toys, clothes, and clutter, but the mess of sin and the battle we are in.
In this moment I remember that He holds lambs close to His heart and gently leads those who have young (Isaiah 40:11). So not only am I being lead, but He is holding my dear ones close to His heart. I also remember that I need a plan...because a wise women builds her house, but the foolish one tears hers down (Proverbs 14:1), but it cannot be my plan, it must be the Lord's. I find the plan in Proverbs 24:3-4, where I learn that my house is built on wisdom, and it is established through understanding, and it is filled with beauty through knowledge.
So, how can I be free of the daily grind? How can you? By running in the path of His commands because He has set your heart free (Psalm 119:32). So despite feeling weighted down by all the tasks that need completing and the relationships that need cultivating, we can run in the paths He has laid out because He has set our hearts free.
So when you want to be free—trust in Him and run in His commands!
Monday, June 20, 2011
....continued and concluded.......
'As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah and they were defeated,' 2 Chronicles 20:22.
As they were singing and praising, the Lord moved and defeated the enemies. But the men of Judah didn't know it was happening until they came to the place that overlooked the vast army and saw that the enemies were no more.
The power of praise is amazing. But, we often don't see that power until after we have started praising. It's a little backwards....shouldn't we first see the power of God and then praise? But this is where faith comes in, that, at times, an elusive, necessary component to living out our faith. Praise precedes blessings. Faith, then praise.
2 Chronicles 20:25-30 tells how Jehoshaphat and the people plundered the enemies and brought back so many valuable articles. Isn't it also true that after I go through a time of difficulty, I gain so much more? I grow in my walk with Christ, which is so much more priceless than anything else.
What a beautiful circle.
But, again, how does this apply to my life, my position that I am in? How can I practically apply the principle in my daily life? Will that involve recording things I am thankful for? What disciplines will this involve? Because it does take discipline to change a habit or a pattern of thought. And, do I even possess the ability to be this disciplined? But wait, here I am back at the beginning. “I do not know what to do...I am helpless....my eyes are on you.'
How will I keep my eyes on Him?
What impressed me most on this passage of scripture is the power of worship. How worship breaks down strongholds and allows God's mighty power to surge through to victory. How I long for victory every day in my life and how I realize how worship plays such a powerful part in that victory.
I pray you go before the Lord with your hands lifted and your eyes raised with these words in your heart....'I do not know what to do...I am helpless....my eyes are on you' and you respond when he says...'Worship!' and then be amazed at what He does and walk in faith if you see no evidence of the power of worship. Remember, the Israelites didn't know that their enemy was being annihilated while they were worshiping.
Thank-you for journeying with me through 2 Chronicles!
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
......continued from last week......
A place to be comes to mind when I think of position. The places where I am at are simple. I am a wife, mother, and teacher. But I think this question really is—where am I to stand spiritually?
Let's go back to 2 Chronicles. After the People heard from the Lord they bowed down and worshiped. That is a position. Bowing low. Then some of them stood and praised the Lord in a very loud voice. This is also a position. Praise and Worship. Humility. Exaltation.
Early the next morning the troops gathered to fight this battle that was not theirs. Jehoshaphat encouraged the Israelites with these words: 'Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful'. (2 Chronicles 20:20) I learn from this that God will uphold me if I have faith in Him. And I will be successful if I have faith in his prophets, which tells me to believe the Words that come from his Word.
Jehoshaphat also does something rather unusual. He appoints men to sing to the Lord and to praise Him for the splendor of his holiness at the head of the army. And they are specifically to say: 'Give thanks to the Lord, His love endures forever' So...it is 'thankfulness' that precedes the battle. Thankfulness must go ahead of my position. They were marching into battle—that was their position, but preceding their position were men appointed to give thanks.
One can speculate why this was done. One could say that it was done to offer morale to the troops, but I think it was in response to what the Lord has said to them the previous day.
One cannot stay in a physically bowed position all day and one cannot stand in one spot praising the Lord of heaven, But one can speak thanks as you go about your day. But behind their thanksgiving was the faith and belief that God would do as he said. They heard from God. They believed God. They thanked God.
Now each time I open my bible I can choose to hear God's voice and each time I hear from Him, I can choose to believe Him as well. Thanksgiving is a choice as well.
What will thanksgiving look like in my position? My position as wife, mother, and teacher? How will it be manifested in my life?
......to be continued......
Thursday, June 9, 2011
....continued from last week....
It is hard to name those enemies. It is easier to place all the blame on myself. 'I am weak. I am undisciplined'. But, do you see what that does? It contributes to my sense of despair. It keeps me on the hamster wheel of never, ever being good enough. Of never, ever feeling like I have the victory. My head tells me that there must be others like me out there. There must be more women who struggle, but we put on such a 'happy' face and off we go. Trying to stay one step ahead of those voices, one step ahead of being overtaken.
But something happens. Pretty soon you get to a place where there is no where else to go. I can fall into the swirling vortex or turn and stand with my eyes before the Lord lifting up my voice, throwing up my hands, admitting that I can do no more.
It was in that moment that Jehoshaphat and the Israelites heard God's voice.
2 Chronicles 20: 15-17, 'He said, Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's. Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the desert of Jeruel. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged. Go out and face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.'
If I believe the the Lord speaks to me through His word, then I can hear him saying to me: 'don't be afraid, don't be discouraged, yes the army is vast but it is my battle. Take up your positions, stand firm, and watch me deliver you. Don't be afraid, don't be discouraged, face this battle, and I will be with you'.
I find it oddly reassuring that he says the enemy is vast. It is reassuring in the fact that if affirms that he really does see. Because frankly, the army feels very vast.
The question that rises to the surface of my heart is: 'what is my position to be? Where do I need to be positioned in order to stand?'
....continuing the journey through 2 Chronicles 20....
Blessings upon you,
Friday, June 3, 2011
.....the journey continues......
2 Chronicles 20:13, 'All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the Lord.'
So. I am here. Standing. Waiting. But of course this has to be a progressive standing and waiting because I have my duties before me. Who will make breakfast? Who will teach minds and mold hearts? Who will love and serve my husband? Who will pay the bills? Who will shop for groceries? Who will.....?
Therein lies the trouble. I would love to do nothing more than but stand before the Lord and wait. But I can't stand still. I am a busy wife and mother and teacher. So this 'standing before the Lord' needs to be in the heart. How do I harness my heart's worries and cares to be still and wait? Could it be through continually throwing up my hands and crying out, I am powerless! I do not know what to do! My eyes are upon you--. And then doing the next thing that needs to be done. My physical self is meeting needs, but my inner self is standing empty and my heart's eyes are focused upon him.
As I go through my day I am keenly aware of just how fragile my mind and heart is. I am keenly aware of how insipidly the enemy has made a way into my head and heart. But I am also keenly aware of how big my God is. And how if I just wait, he will reveal himself to me.
So this is my mystery. The standing still, while moving. It is a mystery I embrace.
....more to come.....
Blessings in Christ,
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
.....continuing through my journey of 2 Chronicles 20......
The second half of Jehoshaphat prayer states his position and problem. He names his enemies and the problem is that they are trying to push the Israelite's out of the promised land. The land that God gave them.
I may not be dealing with physical enemies, but my enemies are just as real and they are just as pushy----they are trying to push me out of the inheritance God my Father has for me. My inheritance as His child. My access to His grace and strength.
Fear, doubt, apathy. These are my enemies' names. These have crossed the boundary lines and are encroaching on my 'pleasant places'. I feel as though I have been pushed to a precipice and one more push will send me into a whirling vortex of which I will never escape.
So I, too, stand before the Lord and state, 'I have no power to face this attacking enemy. I do not know what to do, but my eyes are upon you.'
This is where I am. At the edge of something scary. I do not know what to do or where to go. I am powerless. I can either give up and give in or stand with my eyes upon the One who holds all power in his hands.
Fear. Fear. Fear. Fear of what people think. Fear of disappointing people. Fear of my family not turning out the way I pray for. Fear of rejection, which ties into disappointing people. Fear of not being worthwhile. Fear that once people see the real me they will run as far away as possible. Fear that I am a fake. Fear that I have the wrong motives. Fear that my dreams will not be full-filled. Fear. It rules my thoughts and my actions. It whispers to me during the night and it haunts me during the day. This is the enemy I contend with.
Fear robs me of joy. Fear robs me of worship. Fear robs me of an intimate relationship with my husband, my children, and my God. My enemies name is fear.
I know that God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of love and power (2 Tim 1:7). However, this enemy has grown out of proportion and it is time to throw up my hands and cry to my Savior, 'I can't do this, I don't know what to do, I am powerless against this, My eyes are on you.'
So I wait. I wait with my eyes focused on my Jesus. And as I go throughout the day, I look to Him.
And it is time. It is time to take up the battle position and for that I wait upon the Lord. Waiting for His guidance. It it time for this enemy to be conquered once and for all. I am so weary of being pushed around and the enemy gaining ground. It is time for it to be defeated.
2 Chronicles 20:12....'I do not know what to do, my eyes are fixed on you.'
....to be continued....
Friday, May 27, 2011
....continued from 'Journey to Joy'.....
2 Chronicles 20: 12, 'We have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.'
I can identify with Jehoshaphat and the children of Israel. They had very real physical enemies, but my invisible enemies are just as real. It feels just as vast. The fear rises to attack. The bitterness encroaches upon my boundaries. The weariness insipidly wears down my defenses. I am powerless to stop any of them. What can I do? I can come and stand before the Lord, admit my weakness and proclaim His power.
I could leave my prayer at that. By stating my weakness and impotence and keeping my eyes on the Lord. But how? How do I keep my eyes on Him? How? When my enemies are so vast and destruction seems imminent. I believe the clue to this possibility is found in verses 6-9. These verses remind Jehoshaphat and the people of Israel of WHO God is. It is a great reminder of how Big and Great and Able is our God.
What does Jehoshaphat state at the beginning of his prayer? He states the following: He is Lord, He is God of our Father's, He is in heaven, He rules all, Power and Might are in his hand, No one can withstand against him, covenant full-filler, a friend, and I am welcomed into His presence, He hears, and he saves. Now, I do not think the Lord himself needed to be reminded of His attributes, but I think the people did. And so do I.
God is my Lord. He is my father. He is in heaven. He does rule all. He does hold Power and Might in his hand. Nothing can withstand against him. He fulfills promises, He is my friend. I can come to him and not be ashamed. He hears my cry, and he saves me. I have no power to withstand this army against me and I don't know what to do, but my eyes are upon Him. My life-giver. My rescuer. The all-powerful one.
Living this life well requires me to stand before him with eyes upon him relinquishing all I desire to control and admitting my weakness and impotence outside of him. It involves making the decision to be conscience of him in every breath I take, in every sight I see, and in every move I make.
...continued next week...
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
I find myself, here, at a crisis point. The crisis is within. It is a crisis of faith, of marriage, of mothering. It is a weariness of feeling like all I am doing is climbing an uphill battle. It is a loss of joy. It is a questioning of all God has done, is doing, and will do.
So. coupled with the fact that I have absolutely nothing of a crisis in my circumstances I feel immensely guilty for feeling empty. For feeling like something is missing. For feeling like I want something more than what I have been given.
I have so many blessings to be thankful for, but they get swallowed up in the black hole of my emptiness. I tried writing 'one thousand gifts', however, it has become just another bandwagon for me to jump upon and if there is a bandwagon to be on....I jump off. What does this say about my personality? Does it reveal some deep, dark, secret rebellion that 'I will not be like anyone else?'. But really, what if, thankfulness is the key; and I am missing out on something great that God has for me in my refusal to stay on that bandwagon?
Yet, I don't want it (writing thanks for gifts) to be just another thing to do because it is the right thing to do. My life is so filled up with doing the right things. In fact, what happened to the law of 'if you act, feelings will follow?' because sure as the sky is blue and the grass is green, it isn't happening for me. I have been doing the 'right' things for so long I don't know if I would recognize doing them for the pure joy. And oh, how I want that joy. The joy of worship. The joy of serving. The joy of loving my husband and children. Joy. I want that more than anything.
So where will that lead me? Do I continue to flounder in the mire and muck of obligation? How can one search for joy while one is still needing to fill the responsibilities of wife, mother, church go-er, teacher, laundress, secretary, financial accountant? How? Because doing all the 'right' things, responding the 'right' way is NOT working for me. I feel a swell of bitterness and resentment rising and it scares the life out of me because those two things are life-stealers. And I want to live. Live fully. Live with joy. Live the dream that God has graciously full-filled.
........to be continued
blessings to you,