Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Thoughts

So, it's that time of year again. The holidays are pretty much over, most folks are back to work, school will be starting next week again... life is starting to get back to normal.

And yet, January 1st often marks a grand entrance in our minds. It's like a big official day to kick bad habits, practice and learn NEW habits, get thin, workout, save money... the list goes on. So often, people makes lists of New Year's Resolutions...

While goals are good - they can also give ME a sense of failure. I am a list maker. While lists can be motivating, they can also be debilitating, depending on the pressure or the amount of grandure that's put into them. How realistic are we when we set out with our goals? We get this burst of "drive" and "enthusiasm"... somehow sparked by this new year and by February, the list is burried and half the "goals" forgotten.

Or the ones that seemed lofty to attain seem TOO far away and I give up.

Last year, on my family's blog I said that for 2008 my goal was to simply be a blessing. That was my heart's desire... I pray that I honored the Lord last year in blessing others. It was a far easier "resolution" to fulfill as it wasn't "About me". Reaching out and blessing others seems natural and fits with my heartbeat.

This year, I have some goals, yes. But above all, my desire in 2009 is that above all us, I will praise the Lord, in all things. That I will live and bask and find peace in LIVING in Jesus. Psalm 63:3 (the Message) sums it up beautifully for me. This will be the verse I will hold on to this year. I'd like to memorize it so I can take it wherever I go. What a perfect promise between my Lord and I.

Psalm 63:3
So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open, drinking in your strength and glory. In your generous love, I am really living at last! My lips brim praises like fountains. I bless you every time I take a breath; My arms wave like banners of praise to you.

Oh Jesus, in YOUR presence is where I long to be, and what a promise you've given to me, that you'll never leave me, never turn your face from mine, and never shut your ears from hearing my voice cry out to you. What a comfort to have you as my closest friend. Your love IS generous, so far beyond what i can comprehend, so much greater than my ability to fathom... May my lips speak words that edify and lift others up. May my thoughts be pure and without sin... and when they are, may I be quick to repent... quick to shift my thoughts to you and be filled with your goodness. May my hands and feet be thoughtful and determined. May they walk a path that honors you, choosing deliberately to follow the direction you lead me into. I ask for strength and endurance to stay committed to your calling. May I be driven by your calling and not by my desires. I want to praise you in all things.... good and bad... hardship and abundance and blessings .. in my marriage, in my children, in my friendships, and in my ministry. You are an amazing God, and I love you... more today than yesterday.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

My fingers have been silent...

I haven't written for a few days. Maybe more, I guess, since Christmas was in there a few days, huh? It hasn't been for lack of thoughts. All kinds of things have been floating around in there.. bumping, colliding, smashing, interrupting, confusing, frustrating, surprising, and unexpected.... I suppose all our minds are like that... always working, always running ahead of us... i rather hate it, as I feel I can't keep up most days. And it isn't that my mind or heart is fickle. it's just plain busy and preoccupied and then occupied, and then off track, just as easily as it was "getting on" track. It seems it is the curse of the woman, i suppose.

But, in all seriousness, friends... there is a word that has been rather haunting me lately. i say haunting (and no i don't mean there's a white friendly ghost hovering!)... and in that i mean it just rather lingers in the back of my mind. it nudges me, pokes, nags, inspires, reminds, tortures (ha!), and doesn't leave me be. it's this word "surrender". i haven't really wanted to talk about this word. if 9 letter words were curse words, i'm sure this might qualify. don't get me wrong, surrendering to the Lord is a good thing. some areas in life, are easy to surrender. others, not so much.

i know the Lord has me on a journey of surrendering. while i want to - whole heartedly, with my whole being, my flesh fights and is weak. my mind reasons and rationalizes and tells me what i want to hear. sometimes it is so hard to "hear" through the noise and the clamor.

along with surrender i think of the word trust. trust is vital to the surrender process. it fails w/o it. and then when i realize i'm not surrendering an area over to the Lord, I want to ask myself "WHY am i not trusting that God will handle this?" it makes sense right? perhaps it'll put into perspective for me?

obedience (that word i talked about before) ties into surrender in such an intimate way too. it's all so mingled and meshed and intertwined.

perhaps it all comes down to simply loving Him. loving Him with all that I am. out of that loves come a heart bent towards obedience, a heart bent toward trust as God proves himself faithful.. TIME and TIME again... and a heart bent toward surrendering.... ALL areas of my mind, my heart, my spirit, my flesh, my intentions, my actions, my words, my thoughts... in sweet surrender God fills in the gaps of my soul. Filling me with abundant joy...

Jesus, you know my heart...i want to love you with a passionate and holy love... i want to be "mad" about you... to have you consume me, be the fool for you.... set aside the thoughts that get in the way. set aside the pride and the insecurities. set aside fears and inadequacies. fill me with your love... to the brim... to overflowing.. that your joy can't be contained in me...

I love the song "Pure and Holy Passion". Give it a listen and let me know how it encourages you.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Twas the Night Before Christmas

I heard this a few years back and loved it. I googled it tonight in hopes of finding it... and walah! The internet is the coolest. ENJOY :)

The Night before Christmas for Moms

mombaby It was the night before Christmas, when all thru the abode
Only one creature was stirring, and she was cleaning the commode.
The children were finally sleeping, all snug in their beds,
While visions of Nintendo 64 and Barbie, flipped through their heads.

The dad was snoring in front of the TV,
With a half-constructed bicycle on his knee.
So only the mom heard the reindeer hooves clatter,
Which made her sigh, "Now what's the matter?"

With toilet bowl brush still clutched in her hand,
She descended the stairs, and saw the old man.
He was covered with ashes and soot, which fell with a shrug.
"Oh great," muttered the mom, "Now I have to clean the rug."

"Ho-ho-ho!" cried Santa, "I'm glad you're awake."
"Your gift was especially difficult to make."
"Thanks, Santa, but all I want is some time alone."
"Exactly!" he chuckled, "I've made you a clone."

"A clone?" she asked, "What good is that?
Run along, Santa, I've no time for chit-chat."
The mother's twin. Same hair, same eyes,
Same double chin.

"She'll cook, she'll dust," She'll mop every mess.
You'll relax, take it easy, Watch The Young & the Restless." "Fantastic!" the mom cheered. "My dream come true!
"I'll shop. I'll read., I'll sleep a whole night through! "

From the room above, the youngest began to fret.
"Mommy?! I scared... and I am wet."
The clone replied, "I'm coming, sweetheart."
"Hey," the mom smiled, "She knows her part."

The clone changed the small one, and hummed a tune,
as she bundled the child, in a blanket cocoon.
"You the best mommy ever. " I really love you."
The clone smiled and sighed, "I love you, too."

child The mom frowned and said, "Sorry, Santa, no deal. "
That's my child's love, she's trying to steal."
Smiling wisely Santa said, "To me it is clear, "
Only one loving mother, is needed here."

The mom kissed her child, and tucked her into bed.
"Thank you, Santa, for clearing my head.
I sometimes forget, it won't be very long,
When they'll be too old, for my cradle-song."

The clock on the mantle began to chime.
Santa whispered to the clone, "It works every time."
With the clone by his side Santa said, "Goodnight. Merry Christmas, Mom, You'll be all right."

-Author Unknown

Monday, December 22, 2008

Out of the mouthes of babes

So, today Noah looks to me and says, "Mom, we're having a really good day today because no one has been angry!" It took me slightly off guard, but upon thinking about it, I told him he was right! On both accounts! HA!

It's been a couple weeks now that this has been an area of SPECIFIC work in my heart. There are still moments when I'm failing miserably, but there have been far more moments, as of late, where I have seen myself making better choices! Yeah for God, because it is only his power that is pulling this off. My flesh is still terribly selfish and distracted.

Being a parent is such hard work. It seems that I'm having to think twice or three times about things because I'm running the possible scenario's of every situation... just hoping I will be prepared and not taken off guard! I like to be prepared. I like to feel in control and I like to be on top of things. Most times things go wrong is because I'm under prepared and i'm OVERLY distracted by my unpreparedness.. did ya follow that?!

Sometimes though, in trying to over plan and over prepare we are left UNDER appreciating the moments of the day. The moments where our kids WANT to spend time with us, the moments we could have spent reading or playing or talking or just BEING.

True confession of my day today.

It was about 6 pm. We'd all eaten dinner by this point. Carissa asked me, "Mommy, what would you like to do with me?"

Answer (and I cringe and tear up even as I think about my words back to her).

"Nothing Carissa, I need to get these dishes unloaded and reloaded.. and I need to get the clam chowder going for our party tomorrow, and i need to get a few more things cleaned up... so nothing right now..mommy's just too busy.... "

Even after I said those words, inwardly I was smacking myself around. Lecturing myself as to how ridiculous the words out of my mouth were, how her little heart must have just been smarting with sadness. Here, her mommy was just telling her she was too busy to "be" with her in that moment.

Now of course, there are times when we have to be the grown up, and we have jobs and duties to do. It isn't healthy for us to cater to our kids last whim or desire either. We weren't meant to be their source of entertainment. However, at that moment... all of the things I listed to my daughter COULD have waited. Or at the very least, I could have spoken to her in a kinder way. There should have been compromise at the very least.

Instead, she went about cleaning up her room as she was told. She read books like she was told, and she was tucked in, prayed with, and smooched. And the night was over.

There wasn't any reading together tonight. There wasn't any girl talk on her bed. There wasn't any whispers of excitement about our day tomorrow when family comes over to celebrate Christmas. There weren't any secret words shared or tickle moments.... it was just me... in a hurry, rushing through the evening, my mind preoccupied with my "to-do's" and running through tomorrow's day, hour by hour.

Today I got my package I had ordered a few weeks ago. In it is a book called "Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God" (by Mary E. Demuth). I read through the first short devotional tonight. Oddly enough (or rather PLANNED by God....) it was about listening... what we so often let our ears here... and how much we can miss...when our ears are tuned to the wrong voices.

Here's an excerpt:

"But to listen well we have to make a choice. To have a new ear, we have to blot out other distractions that pepper us all day long. The seemingly important things- the things that assail from left and right, from above and beneath - are like tiny insidious monsters, pulling us in directions we never intended to go. They have loud voices, disguised in ringing telephones, ding donging door bells, blaring televisions, static-loving radios................It's really not their fault. I have to learn to turn things off, to not clutter my life with so much noise. I can't hear the important things if the unimportant clamor minute by minute for my attention. 'This is what the Soveriegn Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: In Repentence and rest is your salvation, and quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. Isaiah 30:15'

If I disdain repentace, rest, quietness, and trust, I will not hear what God wants me to hear. I will be tossed here and there by noise, neglecting the cries of my children or stifling the cry of my heart to be quiet before Jesus. Many times the noise I refuse to quiet is my own, coming from deep inside me. Its voice utters words like 'should,' 'you'd better,' or 'so you can cross that off your list.' When i listen to these voices, i am more apt ot snap at my children's innocent needs or miss a friend's nonverbal plea for a listening ear."

Yeah, that applied to me today. Here's my prayer for today.. join me, will ya.

Oh Jesus, my choices today didn't reflect an ear that was listening to you; and as result i lost an opportunity to listen to my daughter. My heart was hardened and my mind was busy elsewhere. Forgive me, please... and open my ears to hear her. And to hear more than just her words, but to hear her heart too. soften my heart, fill me with just enuf of your love each day to share and give to my family and friends. Thank you for always leaning your ear my way... for always waiting for my whisper, my cry, my shout, my love. I love you... Amen.

Friday, December 19, 2008


So, this week I picked up an old devotional I got a couple years ago. I had started it and gotten through the first couple chapters and then for whatever reason, quit. I have about 10 studies on my book shelf, much like this one. Some I've bought, some were gifts, ALL are unfinished. I'm not sure when starting something and NOT finishing it came to be such a regular part of my life. Regular and even, dare I say, acceptable? I used to be a much more disciplined and organized self.

The particular study I picked up was "Becoming a Woman of Excellence" by Cynthia Heald. A few years back it had been a Mother's Day gift from our church. I'm sure I took it home that day, popped it open and eagerly started it, just knowing I would do this study and be much more the wiser and obviously, by the title, i'd have become an EXCELLENT woman. Yes, I'm easily excited and just thumbing through the book made me smile. But, I digress.

It's obvious I didn't get far ... as i had picked it up and was in the middle of an unfinished chapter. And yet, I had to smile... because the verses and the thoughts posed to me were applicable to ME, at that VERY moment :) Love that God. (And to you satan, i refuse the guilt trip for not finishing. God was just holding that page for me til I was ready to read it and needing to hear it! so there!)

Chapter 5 is called "Exemplified by Obedience".
Key Verse:
Philippians 2:13 "For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose."

Hmm... here's what Cynthia wrote:
"Obedience is submission, habitually yielding to authority. If we have surrendered our lives to God, then it will be natural to want to yield to His authority, to obey His commands and to please Him by living His way. But obedience is not forced; it is motivated by a heart of love."

WOAH! Maybe read that again. Or again? Especially the last line hit me up side the head. "Obedience is not forced; it is motivated by a heart of love."

As a mom to 4 young children, the word obedience immediately makes me think of parenting and getting my kids to do what i say, when i say it, the way i want it done, in the timely fashion I'd like it done, and definately with the attitude that shows respect, love, thoughtfulness, kindness, yadda yadda yadda....

And then I hear that "And what about you, daughter?............... Have you followed through on calling that friend I prompted you to call? ..............What about actively blessing your family with a servant heart? ..................Or what about handing over the control on that area of your life you're still desperately holding on to?.............. I'm waiting........still here..........."

Has it ever occurred to you that the Lord doesn't yell at you? Never do you get belittling tones, sarcastic inferrences, the disapproving eyebrow, or the slow sad nod of the head from side to side.

How often do I send messages to my kids that imply nothing but disappointment? Trust me, an area I'm WORKING on!

So, back to the idea of obedience being motivated out of love. Brainstorm with me, will you? How can we model this for our kids. We all know they WATCH us and DO what we do far more often than doing what we "SAY" they should be doing. Why do you think we get so horrified when they do something embarassing?! Because we KNOW where they learned it! (Maybe I'll tell the story about my whisk and chipped paint on the wall another day!)

So, while we can talk to them about wanting to obey as a way to show our love to the Lord... how can we SHOW them obedience with the right motivation? Don't get me wrong.. dialogue is important! Huge, infact. BUT..... actions speak louder than words, yes? So often their motivation is simply to avoid discipline... but we never get to their hearts when simply dealing with the surface actions/choices they make.

SO.. hit me with some ideas.. lets talk about it! I have some of my own ideas but i do all the talking here.... surely my readers have something to say. Here's your chance!!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

deceived with our eyes open

I don't even know how to put to "screen" (paper sounds better, but who am i kidding? i can type WAY faster than i can pen my thoughts...) my thoughts tonight. Organizing would require lists, and topics and brainstorming... when really my mind is just sort of full of things to say.  

How many times have we walked into a room full of people and felt alone.  I have.

How often do we feel like other mom's have it together?  I do... frequently.

How regularly do we "diss" ourselves, put ourselves down, reject the beauty in us, and only see the flaws that stare at us blatantly in the face?  Daily.

How often do we put on our smile of disguise, to hide the pain? Too often.

And how often do we busy ourselves so that we can find importance in "doing" so that we don't have to be vulnerable in being SERVED? More often that you probably think.

It's easy to buy into the lie that we are infact the only one NOT normal. The ONLY one not measuring up, the ONLY one that isn't meeting her potential in EVERY aspect of her life.   

Picture this with me...The master of lies, satan, seems to lurk in the shadows of my mind.  When my mind is focused and my heart is in line with Christ, my mind and heart are full of HIS light. I'm walking in the SONLIGHT, so to speak :)  Then, something will happen, a fight with your husband, a hard day with the kids, an emabarassing moment infront of other people, a failure at work, or a hiccup in a friendship... and like a lion prowling, satan springs into action... throwing personal insults at you, filling your mind with negativity about others, filling your heart with self doubt, pecking away at your self esteem, whittling away at your faith.. urging you to turn from truth and seek after self fulfillment.  "Who needs them anyway," he whispers.... "you'll never fit in there anyway...." he snears..... 

And you believe it.  We all have.  How do you think anger happens?  Isn't it so often a result of hurt, feelings of inadequacy, over compensating for a feeling of loss?  

Scripture tells us to think on that which is pure, holy, upright, good, and eternal. That above we guard our hearts from all evil.   We must cling to what we know to be TRUTH... to the words that God speaks to us in His word... to the fact that we are his chosen beloved.  His rare, priceless beauty, His shining gem, his FOREVER love...

We're human. Our focus will slip to self, when we KNOW it should be on HIM.  What's important is that we shift quickly back to HIS face.  Practice, practice, practice and prepare prepare prepare.  It doesn't feel natural to rebuke evil or sin.  We are BY nature, sinful. We come by it as naturally as we breathe.  What God calls us to do though is to shed the darkness and to walk in HIS Light.  We have to walk daily with him to start to reflect His light.   His power lives in us.  We have the power to rebuke the lies of satan. We have the power to open our eyes where we are so easily deceived and to reject the lies we so easily believe.  In the power of Christ, we cast light on the shadows where he lurks. There can be no room for him, where there is light. 

Our job is to inwardly be shining our light around the corners of our heart and minds. De-cobweb those corners, sweep out your heart, dust off  your mind.... Invite the presence of God into every nook and cranny of your being.   Are you surrendering EVERY aspect?  

And after we've done that, be an open book. Don't put up those facades that show the world you're "good" and "put together" and "fulfilling all worldly expectations".  Be real. Be honest. Be vulnerable. Let other see you, your cobwebbed corners and all.  We've all got issues.  Don't buy into the lie that you're alone in your problems. WE all have problems. None too great for God, and none too secret or "bad" to be untold to a friend. Trust. TRUST... TRUST... 

Isolation is where satan wants us; don't be paralyzed by it. Instead, reach out for the closest hand, grab it, and ask them to hold on with you.  You can do it.  WE can do it. Lets go.

(okay, maybe i should have made the lists and brainstorming webs and outlines... this feels random and sketchy... but it's what was on my heart and it's what my fingers went with, so it's what you get! HA!) 

Monday, December 15, 2008

abundantly blessed

This season I am feeling extremely blessed.  While I have moments of near insanity, they are nearly almost always followed by intense emotions of gratitude and thankfulness.  I've been praying that God would open my eyes to the hurting and I've been praying that He would break my heart and show me ways that I could love others and show others His love.  

As I wrote a while back, this Christmas season, for me, has been one where I've been working to keep my heart focused on the gift of Jesus and in teaching my kids about the beauty of giving and not being self focused.    And it's also been about seeing the beauty of the season through their young enchanted eyes.  The way the little things like twinkle lights bring such smiles and "oohhhs and ahhhs" to their lips.  It's such a good reminder to me... find joy in the little things!!!

This week we've had an incredible cold snap. Temperatures have been SO cold. It had seemed that winter was eluding us for a while.  I can't say that anymore! With single digit degrees at night and the ice and frozen inch of snow on the ground have really gotten my heart moving.  Saturday night we were on the way home from a Christmas party where we'd had the joy of being with friends.  We ate incredible food and fellowshipped and chased our kids around.  Good times, right?  

It was SO cold and I was snug in our car as my husband was driving us home.  I felt my hands... they were warm... my feet snug in my sturdy shoes.  My children, with full tummies and cozy jammies on... talking about how they can't wait for Christmas.  Theire coats weren't even on when we got in the car becuase we'd warmed it up before we got in it. Their winter coats lay at their feet.  Wow.  What a picture of "enough" .  What a picture of "wealth" and "abundance".

The wind was really blowing too and my thoughts instantly went to the homeless people in our town.  We have a larg population of homeless people and I immediately envisioned mothers and children huddling together; doing their best to be warm. And here we sat, in a warm car, coats not even ON ... completely oblivious to the the affects of the winter night on so many unknown faces on the street.

We got home and I walked into our warm and cozy home.  After the kids were in bed, I started loading up a bag of groceries to take to the food drive at church.  My husband asked what I was doing; I told him and he watched me another minute.

Then he asked me, "Are you okay?"


"What's wrong?"

I hesitated and then went on, "I just feel so overwhelmed with what we have. I feel lucky, blessed, guilty, thankful, and helpless all at the same time.  I mean, I'm thankful for our home and what God has blessed us with... but at the same time, I feel so guilty for having a nice home, when so many our there are suffering on nights like tonight."

"What would you do different or what are you going to do about it?" he asked me.

I let that sort of sit on my mind overnight. I woke up thinking about it and knew I needed to be obedient. God is still sort of showing me what the picture is that HE has in mind.  But I am excited to do what He's asking.  To be Servant Hands to those that He loves.

Over the course of the last 2 days I've had some dialogue with my children about those less fortunate than us.  I want them to not only just "know" it to be true.. I want them to SEE it to be true.  At their young ages, I am not sure how that is to look exactly... but I'm confident that God will show me. 

As I am obedient, would you please be praying that God would be directing my mind and my choices.  That He would lead me to the right people at the right time.

Thanks.. and i WILL keep you posted as to what HIS grand plan is... :)

Friday, December 12, 2008

from grouchy to glorifying

Isn't there a saying (or is it fact?) out there about the brain being the most powerful muscle in the body? I was thinking about this when I was in my state of grouchiness this morning. I was irritated about being tired (hello, who chose to go to bed late?!), and frustrated that the kids weren't moving faster with the morning routine (not that *I* was!). This morning, my husband was watching me, in one of my lil mood and he was just trying to hold back the smile. I'm sure i looked much like one of my kids. You know, when we see them making an idiot out of themselves and we're trying to hold back the laughter at theire ridiculous antics. And if they'd just STOP, take a deep breath, and start over; it's surely be more effective. He was good to not point out obviously what a complete fool I was making of myself. As he left for work, I was still pouting inwardly and he looked at me and said, "no pity parties today!".... Hmph.

While even THAT phrase, at first got to me, I realized he was right. Why not just choose to start over!? Let all the little stupid annoyances go. It wasn't like they were affecting anyone else. It wasn't as if anyone else was bothered. And life would keep going. :)

I needed to run some errands this morning and they went well; well, as well as they CAN with the hoodlums in tow. I think some dialogue about shopping with children with you will have to wait for another post. I'm not sure my brain has the stamina to relive it as I recount various store stories with my children. Exhausting. Who needs a gym membership? Just take preschoolers to Fred Meyer or Costco. By the end of the trip, you are certain you'll never step foot back into those sliding doors w/o a warning automatically going off and an announcement coming over the loud speaker that says, "Warning, warning... wild, uncontrolled children that like to touch, run, and tackle each other are entering the store. Continue browsing at your own risk."

Anyway.. another day :)

Back to my point... As I was driving home.... I started to think of my blessings and my heart really started to feel a sense of extreme gratitude for God's gifts. The grouchies from this morning a complete thing of the past. When I chose to put my mind on the things of Christ, the things of the world had to take a step back. Praise God for that.

I want to live in a season of gratitude. Where i'm continually reminded by his goodness. Not because he gives me things.... but simply revel in HIS greatness. Gratitude for the cross and His blood. Gratitude for the communion that I get to have with the Father - gratitude for the promise of life eternal and gratitude for his faithfulness to my sinful self. Undeserved mercy and grace. Amazing.

I'm gonna work on the lettin' the little stuff go.... and concentrate on the moments that DO.... to simply Pour my energy into glorifying not grouchifying! :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Just another tidbit

Okay, so I wrote last night... and then headed to bed shortly after. I always end up still mulling my thoughts, even after I've written... and often more things come to mind... (remember how I had to come back and visit seasons again? and i'm still not promising you won't see THAT word again! ha!).

So, I continued to think about expectations vs. anticipation. And here's another thought to chew on.

How often do our expectations come with hidden agenda's? Mine do. When I build up a person or situation with (especially UNSPOKEN) expectations it's often about "how the situation is going to benefit me" or "what" that person is going to do for/with me. Often it's me expecting or wanting someone to say or do something that gives me a boost... something that gives me a sense of pride. It's the same way with my relationship with God... don't we often come to the Lord in a panic or in frustration because we've done "what he asked" and now our expectations aren't being met. Isn't He slacking on his end of the bargain? This surely wasn't what WE thought we were in for! Isn't it like our flesh to think of ME ME ME ME...

So.. here's again, where in MY mind... eagerly anticipating is different. Here's my simple definition. Eagerly anticipating is waiting for the unexpected and trusting that the end result is God's perfect plan. Not to say every situation smells like roses! We know better than to think that - but to know that through every valley, God can take us to the mountain top on the other side. There's no hidden agenda. It's simply flying by the seat of our pants, every day, waiting to see what will happen. Again... it points back to surrendering .... maybe that will be a topic for another post.... For now.. motherhood calls..I just had to get this down this morning so my mind could move on (wink!).

EAgerly Anticipating!!!!!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Here's a thought

Let's talk about expectations. Oohhh... did any of you feel tempted to quit reading?? Maybe you cringed inwardly or allowed yourself to groan outloud. Yes, my friends... expectations. If we were honest with ourselves, how many of us would say we set HIGH, UNttainable expectations for, NOT only ourselves, but for EVERYONE else around us? How often do we set ourselves up for disappointment and failure...not to mention how damaging this can be to relationships in our lives. SO often, it's those unspoken expectations too are never met; which leave us feeling empty, unloved, unpersued, and unimportant to a loved one. Or how about that sense of personal failure, never measuring up, constantly striving for something we'll never be.

Is this ringing true for anyone?

So, here's a concept I heard not long ago. It was this. Instead of having expectations set in place...... it called us to "eagerly anticipate". Hmmm..doesn't that sound better, even? :) I think it's a process of re-framing our thoughts... refocusing our attention and settling in for what could be a wait, but with a heart of anticipation as we know God always answers. I know they seem so close in wording... and i do think it's a fine line b/w the "expectantcy" and the "anticipating"... even when i looked them up in the dictionary their definitions even used the other word in it's definition. Language wise, they are practically the same in meaning and in the way you would use them.. nearly interchangable in nature.

However, it could just be me.... BUT... i hear a different connotation in them. Because of failed expectations, I think that very word; "expectation"... can have a negative connotation to it. With it comes a sense of "uncertainty" of what's to come... a realization that your wants/desires/ and hopes may never come to fruition. Disappointment seems to lurk behind expectant hopes.

As a people, though; I think we are by nature hopeful. We, by nature, long to see the best, hope for the best, and plan and dream for what seems out of reach. God gave in us, the unique ability to dream and to have visions of what could be... Perhaps that's why the phrase "Eagerly anticipate" rings so sweetly to my ears. It sounds as if I am in a state of being hopeful in a manner that is excited... in a way that shows childlike awe as I wait to see what it is that God wants to show me, unfold to me, surprise me with. It somehow holds less promise of disappointment. And it holds on to the promise that in TIME God's dream that HE placed in me, WILL come to fruition.

In my mind the timeline for eagerly anticipating seems imminent and yet long lasting... no time barriers...just waiting and wondering and accepting... It surely requires a better trained set of ears for listening and sitting with the Lord. I envision whispers of reassurance and encouragement from the Holy Spirit... "hold on daughter... great things are in store... the Father can't wait to see your face... His plan is good and it is eternal... it is beyond your dreams... just hang in there.. you're doing fine... ". It seems personal and intimate....just what i'm longing to share with my Savior.

Will you eagerly anticipate with me? Lets wake hopeful of what God can and will do in our hearts, in our marriages, in our children's lives, in our friendships, in our finances, in our quiet times, in our ministries, in our churches, in our thought lives, in our motives, in our words, in our actions, and in every area of our life that we have yet to surrender to Him...

Eagerly anticipating together... what could be better?

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Wow, what a week it has been! It's been a week of challenge but also a week where I really feel that I've done some growing. You'll be happy to know that i tweaked the "i'm good" response at church today, to the friends that asked how I was doing. Some got more information than others; but I THINK I only said, "i'm good" to about 3 people instead of 10!! :) I'm good generally came out - and then I quickly followed it with some tidbit. Obviously, depending on how well I knew the person depended on the kind of info i blurted out... BUT... it felt good to not feel that I was hiding or putting on a face for the crowd. So, should you ask me how i am.. and i reply with a "i'm good", make eye contact with me and ask, "how good?" (wink!) don't let me get off with that kind of answer!

Today was the kids program at church - 3 of my 4 got to sing in our 3 services. What a kick! They did great and were completely enamoured with the idea of being on "mommy's stage". they are used to seeing me singing on stage Sunday mornings when they get to church with daddy. Carissa talked about getting to sing on "mommy's stage" for weeks! She was adorable today up there... "C'mon ring those bells... light the Christmas tree...." Sweet sweet sweet.

Micah proceeded to be all that a boy COULD be... yawned, turned around, tried to sit down, pointed at himself on the projector screen, and even picked his nose and ate it... yes, what a proud moment that was. I even got a picture on a girlfriends camera of the finger in the mouth. Hey, if it keeps the girls away when he's 16 years old... it'll be well worth it! HAHA!

After we got home we sat down to eat lunch. From time to time, instead of praying for the meal, we'll say "Lets be thankful!". This means we go around the table and say what we're thankful for and then we start eating. Carissa wanted to go first; "I'm thankful for the beautiful day we have today (mind you she says this EVERY time but i never tire of it!), and for getting to sing songs to Jesus on stage today." Awww..... :)

I'm determined to make the little moments count this holiday season. Holidays are often a mixed bag for me. Internally I create a grand set of moments... and then it often feels anti-climactic.... I get these ideas and never follow through, etc. I'm determined to start traditions with OUR family. Before we had kids - and even when we first started having kids, it felt like we were still trying to fit in to everyone else's idea of what Christmas should be. This year, it's about our family and our plans.

I'm determined to keep my focus on the birth of Jesus. While it's beautiful to give and receive at Christmas; I want to be ever vigilent to keep my children thinking of WHY we celebrate. It's so easy for them to see Christmas as a time to GET GET GET and WANT WANT WANT.

In light of that, we've scaled the buying back. Not that we were EVER extravagant; but mentally I think always felt like what i had to give my kids wasn't "enuf"... this year, my attitude is different and it is such a peaceful feeling.

In honor of Christmas here are a few questions for ya. PLEASE leave an answer in the comments! I'd love to hear your answers!

What is your.....
-favorite Christmas Carol
-favorite Christmas food
-favorite Christmas tradition
-most special memory from childhood

and HOW do you keep Christ the center of Christmas.. for you or/and your children!?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Easier said than done

It's time to get honest. My heart and flesh are conflicted. Remember how I said the other day, that I figured I'd be in for a few rough days at home? That, in my efforts to honor the Lord, that there'd be "opportunities" for me to practice and such? Yah well. There have been plenty and I have failed quite miserably. While it'd be easy to keep posting and act like I'm dealing with my "season" in a spiritual manner... it'd be nothing but a smoke screen and my conscious can't handle that (Thank You Holy Spirit!).

So, my heart is so passionate about loving Jesus. That passion is literally growing every day! I'm eager to read the Word, I'm eager to be reflective and silent in His presence... I am more and more eager to talk to Him daily. This is exciting for me as for a while I felt like I was in a bit of a desert. It didn't seem like a LOT was soaking in. When it did, it seemed temporary and I felt parched soon after. God is faithful and He never walked away, never stopped loving me, and for whatever reason, His voice is close to my heart again and I am ever so thankful.

BUT, my flesh.... oh, my sinful flesh...

I struggle with anger. There I said it.

Lots of you who know me "in real life" MIGHT be surprised by that. When you see me I'm happy, funny, telling stories on my kids, laughing at life... But behind the closed doors of my house (or my CAR! why DO they act like maniacs in the car?!), I admit that a different woman sometimes comes out. It's nothing I am proud of. This morning, in tears I apologized to my oldest son. It seems that he and I are a lot alike in temperment. He's emotional, dramatic, quick to frustration, sensitive, and easily hurt.

His heart is huge (he gets that from me too!!!) and he loves people, he's creative and energetic (that MUST be from his daddy!), and SOOOO smart! I am proud of him, SO proud of him..... and yet.... the two of us can butt heads on a bad day that make me fear for the days he's a teenager!

As he and I were engaged in a battle of words today, inwardly I was telling myself to just STOP talking! The ridiculousness of the conversation was comedic and sad at the same time. Here I was engaged in a conversation with my 6 (almost 7) year old son that was going no where. It was one of the talks that no matter what I said, he'd find a way to dramatize it; which would further irritate me, I'd scold him for over reacting or making assumptions that were NOT even brought up; which would then send him into tears and he'd start spouting off how naughty he was, and how stupid he was and how he'll never get to do anything fun anymore, and he'll never play the Wii again, and mommy doesn't love him......... blah blah blah... it could go on for minutes if i let it. At this point, I should walk away... well, actually, i SHOULD have walked away LONG before this! By now, i'm furious. I'm demanding he LOOK at me, telling him to "knock it off", speaking to him in tones that I'd never speak to a friend in.

And then this comes out of my mouth, "Would you talk to your teacher this way? Would you talk to your friends at school this way!? Do you ever show them this amount of anger or disrespect?"

"No," he says.

I reply to him, "Then you do NOT act that way at home. You will not speak to me or your dad or your brothers and sister that way! You will treat us with the same respect and love you treat other adults at school and your friends there. Your friends will come and go but your family is FOREVER! Do you hear me?!"

"Hhmmm... do YOU hear me, child?" whispers the Spirit. "DO you talk to your friends like you speak to your family? Do you raise your voice, use sarcasm, or get angry over little things? Do you show your true colors infront of strangers? Do you openly show disapproval and frustration or regret? Can you hear what you're saying? Have you modeled the behavior you are so desiring in him? Think about it.... get back to me on it...."

Tears immediately welled up in my eyes. I looked into his angry eyes this morning and a wave of such emotion flooded my heart. My poor baby... he carries so much around - and he shouldn't need to. He reacts according to me. He follows MY lead. And I let him down... over and over and over. I'm short tempered... easily frustrated and i am WRONG, dead WRONG to let my emotions control me.

I told him that we needed to pray. He was slightly resistant but he curled up in my lap. I asked forgiveness of the Lord and I prayed for my son and I. I prayed that God would make me a better mom, that He would help me with my anger and my reactions.... I asked that He would help him have a good day at school, and that his words and actions would be pleasing to Jesus' heart.

The rest of the morning went better. He hugged and kissed me when I dropped him off at school today - even OUTSIDE the car, where people can see!! :) HEE HEE!!!

Later in the day, I was doing some Christmas shopping and I had the radio on. The lead singer from the band Building 429 came on. His opening line was, "I used to have a problem with anger." Yes, I laughed outloud!

He went on to read Proverbs 15:1 "A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare." Thank you Jesus... such confirmation of what you're doing in my heart...such constant reminders and words to encourage me...

Thank You Jesus, for this season you have me in. This season, where I am more and more aware of how I am allowing my emotions to control my behavior. It's ugly. Thank you for opening my eyes and convicting my spirit. It's hard to admit. I don't want others to think less of me... but even more Jesus, I hate to imagine your face as you watch me treat your children w/o respect, w/o unconditional love, and in a manner than does nothing but teach them how NOT to love others. Set angels at the doorway of my mouth if you have to; send extra measures of patience and grace that i might extend it to my kids. Create in me a new set of eyes, that allow me to see situations as teachable moments, and not as a chance to "set them straight". Thank you for your word that continually reminds me of your faithfulness and love.

Create in me a clean heart, O God
and renew a right spirit withing me
Create in me a clean heart, O God
and renew a right spirit within me

Cast me not away from thy presence Oh Lord
and take not thy Holy Spirit from me
Restore unto me, the joy of thy salvation
and renew a right spirit within me.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Whatever You're Doing by Sanctus Real

I've been loving this song lately. I'm working on getting it added to my playlist. In the meantime, you can always go to youtube and listen to it. Give these lyrics a read.

It's time for healing time to move on
It's time to fix what's been broken too long
Time make right what has been wrong
It's time to find my way to where I belong
There's a wave that's crashing over me
And all I can do is surrender

Whatever You're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but somehow there's peace
It's hard to surrender to what I can't see
but I'm giving in to something Heavenly

Time for a milestone
Time to begin again
Reevaluate who I really am
Am I doing everything to follow Your will
Or just climbing aimlessly over these hills
So show me what it is You want from me
I give everything I surrender...


Time to face up
Clean this old house
Time to breathe in and let everything out
That I've wanted to say for so many years
Time to release all my held back tears

Whatever You're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but I believe
You're up to something bigger than me
Larger than life something Heavenly

Whatever You're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but now I can see
This something bigger than me
Larger than life something Heavenly
Something Heavenly

It's time to face up
Clean this old house
Time breathe in and let everything out

Now What?

So, I think I warned you that I was still thinking about the idea of seasons and how they affect us. Over the last day and a half, thoughts have kept popping in and I've been mulling and pondering. So, lets dive in :)

Okay, so we each find ourselves in a season. No matter the season, God never intends for us to stay in that season forever. We weren't created to simply BE one way or EXPERIENCE one kind of season. I think the passage in Ecclesiastes was pretty obvious about that! ( Granted, some seasons can last a LONG time, just ask the Israelites as they wandered the desert for 40 years! )

For the sake of ease, lets choose a difficult season in life. I won't pick a specific "situation" as i REALLY don't want anyone reading this to feel it's in any way directed at them! I have friends in all kinds of seasons.. and regardless of YOUR season, the same thoughts apply that I want to share. So, there's my disclaimer!

When I enter a particularly difficult season, my first instinct is usually panic, fear, guilt... and usually if not always CRYING.... and then I got about preparing myself mentally for the worst to come.

I play the what if game, I play out various scenario's of how to remove myself from the uncomfortable season. I start to wallow. I start to talk to my friends. I start to feel alone. I start to FEEL far from God. (notice all the EMOTIONAL responses!!! ack!)

My attitude goes to pot, my children start wondering why I am so snippy, why I'm so short, and why my joy is lacking. They don't say it in as many words as they're young, but they'll say things like, "Mommy, are you still angry?".... Talk about a blow to the gutt!

Communication at this point with my husband is hit and miss. I start making assumptions of this thoughts, I put upon him, in my mind, what i am guessing his intentions or meaning is behind what he says or does... And I can tell you, almost every time, i'm FAR from accurate. I start using my emotions to interpret his actions! Boy, is that dangerous!

After my initial self centered pity party, a friend will smack me up side the head (in a LOVING way of course!) and remind me that God's in control. Remind me that God is good, and point me to the WORD. So, that's where I go. I wish I could say I go there first. Though i CAN say, that in the last year, God has been pointing back to his Word more and more frequently at the beginning of a season than ever before. I think this comes more and more w/ me surrendering control and realizing, "Hello, i CAN not fix this on my own!"

So, what DOES the word say we're to do when trouble comes our way?!

Here's what James 1 says... (Message)
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.
Pardon me?! A gift? Aren't those wrapped in bright colored paper and meant to be offerings of love and affection? Aren't gifts meant to bring joy and satisfaction? I'm supposed to look at my tests and challenges and EMBRACE it? Be grateful for it? Notice too, it says FROM ALL sides! Sometimes seasons start to feel like they are piling and multiplying... and even THEN I should welcome them?

You know that under pressure, your faith-life if forced into the open and shows its true colors.
Ahh... yes... where DO i turn when i'm feeling that pressure? how do my actions show God where my trust lies? How do my words and actions reflect my heart?

So, don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do it's work so you become mature and well developed, not deficient in any way.
Um, isn't our first reaction when in a crummy season, to think of the FASTEST way to get out of it?! How can we fix it? What can we do with the set of circumstances we are in to eliminate the discomfort and simply RUN AWAY from it? Not to mention how we often act like if we don't acknowledge the situation it'll just magically discenegrate and we'll be left NOT having to deal with it. But, no, God is actually saying.. DON'T try to get out so quickly. I don't think He's asking us to settle in for the LONG haul.. But I think HE wants us to embrace our hardships, being fully confident in HIS ability to carry us through it and then being aware and open READY and WILLING to be shaped and molded how He would desire.

I think we've all been through rough times and when we come out the other side, we all say, we're so much strong, we're closer to God, and we feel better equipped for the next storm.... we have been tested and found faithful... The fire never "feels" good. it's not "pleasant" but the end result is beauty!

So, you're in a season. Make the most of it. Pray continually, seek the wisdom of godly people, reach and and ACCEPT help, don't hide your season, be vulnerable, and be asking God to prepare you for each new step along the way. Embrace the hard times as you KNOW God is faithful. Rejoice in the good times, as you marvel and TELL of his great love for you and continue to GROW in HIS love, so that when the next season comes that is difficult; you'll be prepared and ready and confident in HIM.

James 1:12 says: Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is LIFE and MORE LIFE.

That's who I want to be.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Seasons.... and not the 4 that we know so well....

Today, the thought of seasons has been mulling through my mind. And, no... I don't mean Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. If you ask me, those seasons are much easier to prepare for, deal with, endure, and eagerly anticipate the next one to come around! After all, we generally know the climate to expect, the precipitation (or lack there of), what kinds of clothing to wear, what kinds of activities to participate in during that given season, and we all know WHEN that season is "over". Thanks to all the "solstices" we have exact "days" even for when a season starts and ends... Sure, sometimes mothernature throws in a late this or an early that... but for the most part it is consistent, expected, and we know the routine...

Ecclesiastes 3 gives a LONG list of seasons...
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

Wow. That's a lot of seasons, don't you think? Life is hard, life is good, and life is FULL of periods of time where we get in a "place" that just holds us for a while... In God's time, we inch out (or sometimes leap) and start a new "Season".

God created us to be dynamic, enthusiastic, complex people. And each one of us, is just that... we hold depth, and breadth, and intricacies that often only our Maker sees. You know, the thoughts and dreams you keep to yourself, the silent hopes you don't share, for fear of appearing silly or stupid or even worse being called a dreamer or fool. How about the people you want to meet or get to know better, but you feel you have nothing to offer, nothing to give, nothing to contribute to... That, my friend is a season that I call "fear". It's a season where we're always holding back, where we're always being just slightly (or sometimes HUGELY) less than the person we were created to be.

All to often, we somehow start to buy into that season of fear and we allow it to become our place of normalcy. We accept the lies and untruths and we adjust our dreams/hopes/desires accordingly. We downsize internally and we settle for less than our potential.

Here's my challenge to you... close your eyes (when you're done reading of course!) and remember back... back when you had BIG BIG dreams... when you had BIG ridiculously huge aspirations... remember the thrill, the excitement... the shiver or that tingle... the heart rate that would pump and the sparkle in your eye.... God GIVES us those for a reason! Sure, not every wild concocted dream will become reality... but you'd never know which ones would be CLOSE to a reality if you never tried, never pursued, never followed through and never sought God's thoughts on the matter! The God of the universe, who put your frame together, KNOWS you, more intimately than another other breathing being... and He sees you at your full potential... I think if we could just get a glimpse of ourselves thru HIS eyes, some of us would be unrecognizable..... are ya following me, here??

Okay, not to totally squash that beautiful flow up there... but something else is just picking at me and I have to get it down and I know i'm getting long... I told you I would never promise to be short!

Here's the hard part... we're all in different seasons from each other. The beauty of nature's seasons is that we all share and embark thru the same weather... we can all partake in the same activities, look the same, act the same, and expect the same...

Not so with real life... I have friends in life who are in seasons of mourning; seasons of grief; seasons of denial; seasons of joy; seasons of illness; seasons of healing; seasons of being too buys; seasons of growth; seasons of peace; seasons of letting go; seasons of anticipation; seasons of hiding; seasons of giving; seasons of accepting; seasons of vulnerabitlity; seasons of change; seasons of trauma; seasons of drama; seasons of pain; seasons of fear; seasons of intimacy with their Savior; seasons of worship; seasons of awe; seasons of waiting..... and the list goes on!

And... the really tricky thing about our "inner" season is that we can HIDE it really really really well.... from most people! So, we often go through our day to day interactions with others, shoving our "season" down so that others only see what we want them to see.. so that others see only the glimpse of them that we feel is acceptable... so that we appear to have it together, so that we appear to be something that deep down we're really not! GUILTY as charged here, ever so many times! How many times have we greeted a friend or acquaintance at the store, at church, when dropping kids off or picking them up, on the phone, where EVER ... and someone asks you how you're doing and you say.... "GOOD!" Never mind that your husband just lost his job, never mind that your marriage is crumbling, never mind your child has walked away from God, never mind your battling an illness , never mind your anxious about finances, never mind you're mad at God stuff he allowed happen in your past, never mind... never mind... never mind.... We throw in the "Good" answer to speed up the small talk, all the while not making eye contact so that we can resume or hasty retreat...

But if you're like me, and you've DONE THIS VERY THING.. you walk away feeling even a tiny bit more empty than you did moments before... part of you is sad, that the person didn't see through you.. part of you is sad you didn't have the gutts to show you're real heart... part of you is regretful for missing a chance for encouragement and a big part of you feels invisible...

So, we've go to TALK to one another. We've got to LISTEN to one another. We've got to SEEK each other out. We've got to FOLLOW through with those nudges from the spirit that says, "Call so'n'so"... Just obey! Just do it. It's uncomfortable, yes. It's scary, yes... But who cares?! The last time someone said to me, "You know, God put you on my heart and I wanted to check in with you and see how you were doing..." I literally teared up instantaneously! It wasn't someone i knew REALLY well, but the bond that we now have is amazing...

As a mom, I often feel locked into my season of being a mommy! It's hard to switch gears into being a friend, being a wife, being a daughter, being a ..... you name what it is for you... And, honestly, there are days when i WOULD rather give my attention to being in the season of "Friendship" and "ME" than being a "mommy". Here's the season I'm struggling in right now... It's finding JOY and contentment in being a mom to my kids. Ouch, that hurts just saying it. Don't get me wrong, I love and adore my kids... But i'm getting lost in the day to day and not building a firm foundation to grow upon in further years. I'm in a rush throughout my day to get to the next thing. It's like a mental checklist. I've found myself begrudging the little things... and not using those little things to be teachable moments... but rather using them to fuel my frustration and sense of entitlement.

I've been long winded. I've felt a little bit skitzofrenic in my thoughts tonight.. jumping here to there and back... but it's how my crazy brain works! Not to mention It's nearly 11 pm :)

Thanks friends for reading... I'm so excited to just write and i'm ever so encouraged by your posts to let me know I'm not alone.

I still have more season thoughts rattling around... but those will have to wait...

I'll close with this...
Ps: 73:23-26
Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but GOD is the strength of my heart and my portion forever!


now go close your eyes and go back to a time you drempt big... feel free to share comments :)

Monday, December 1, 2008

whispers and giggles

One night last week, after the boys were tucked in to bed, I crawled into bed with Carissa to have a few minutes of girl time. She wanted to talk about our Grandma's and Papa's, so we first went through her list.. she'd say something she liked about him/her... then she asked me about my grandparents... I spoke about my mom's mom and dad and then went on to tell her that my Dad's parents have both died. She had a momentary pause and she said, "Well, what DID you like about them..." I went on to share and then she said, "Will their bodies look the same in heaven as they did here?" Quite a mind on her for a 4 year old, don't you think?? :) So we talked about roads and parties and what kind of fun activities we might do in heaven.... and we went on to list our favorite songs.... which then lead to SINGING our favorite songs... After about 20 minutes I finally left the room! She was very pleased and as I said goodnight she said, "This was the best and I wanna do it every night!" to which I said, "This was fun... but I don't know about EVERY night!!!"

So, tonight she asked me again to come "talk about things" as I was tucking her in. I told her I'd be back after helping tuck in the boys. That mission accomplished, I came and crawled onto her twin size bed (which is VERY comfortable mind you!) and snuggled in.

"Lets talk about our best friends. Who is your BEEEESSSTTT friend mommy?"

"Auntie Jani is one of my BEEEESSTTT friends", I said.

"Laura's mine... OH and EmmaDean ...." (which yes, she isn't just EMMA.. she's EMMA DEAN! everytime! Even when we lived with Dean's for 2 weeks... it was "emmadeaannnn....)

She then went on to ask me who else was my best friend... I went on to say Daddy... to which she giggled, put her hands to her face, and said, "Mommy, he's your husband!" (said in almost a whisper!) I said, "Well, yes he is, but he can still be my bestfriend!" The thought seemed almost too hard to contain w/o laughter as she threw her head back and laugh! LOL Makes me wonder if we don't let her see the "friendship" side enuf, of if it's is pure hilarity for her to think a BOY and a GIRL could be bestfriends!?! hmmm..

We were winding down the night as I was praying for her... That her heart would continue to grow in Jesus and that she'd long to follow and obey Him and that she'd make choices that pleased His heart....along with the generic, please give good dreams and no scary/naughty dreams.... Sweet times with my only daughter... I so want to cherish these memories. When we sit alone and "talk about things" as she calls it, she comes up with these amazing thoughts and I wonder how i lose sight of her creativy the other millions of moments we share...

You get what you ask for!

Man oh man. I wasn't even out of bed this morning before I felt the inner battle starting for the day. I went to bed last night, with a plan for my morning, the alarm would go off, i would hop out of bed, iron Eric's shirt for work (don't worry, this is a rare occurrence so don't think i'm anything to aspire to!), get Noah through the shower and the kids through breakfast, fix Eric's lunch, and do it all while having a heart of JOY. Sounds perfect, huh?

Enter stage.. Carissa at 5:45 am... "I want to get up...when will it be morning... I have to pee... I want a drink... will you tuck me back in... I'm not tired...." I'm knowing my alarm is due to go off in about a half hour and I so want to get the last few precious winks of sleep. I guide her through the routine of potty and drinks and tucking back in and try to not engage in eye contact or verbal conversation as I really am pretending I'm still snug in my warm bed...soon I am back under my covers... ahhh sleep... just a few more minutes....

Enter stage... Noah at 6:24 (by the way, my alarm SHOULD have gone off at 6:20 but low and behold I hadn't actually turned it ON after setting the time... I should have been thanking the Lord for getting me up as I'd planned.......).... He'd had an accident and was drenched... he AND his bed... *big sigh* as my feet hit the floor and i shuffle to the bedroom, still pretending it's night and completely planning to send his behinder back to bed... We go thru the necessary steps to get him back to bed and i walk back to bed... slip under the covers and lay there... Oh, and I forgot to mention Micah followed Noah into our room at 6:24 am. When I asked Noah if he'd woken Micah up on purpose he said, "YES, b/c i was scared!" OH the thoughts that went thru my mind... but i DID manage to hold my tongue. Perhaps and angel was sitting on it.

As i crawled back into bed I mumbled to Eric, "Well, good thing he didn't shower last night because that would have just been a waste." ACK, as soon as I said it i knew it was ugly. It wasn't necessary, it wasn't purposeful and it certainly didn't start my day out living regret free...

Throughout the day, as I've been ever so conscious of my thoughts and words, I've repeatedly had to seek the Lord's face for strength and patience. It seems that Micah has literally lost thousands of brain cells during the night, because surely the behavior he's exhibiting today is just so THOUGHTLESS and done on such impulse. It doesn't hurt for me to remember he IS only 3 years old... :)

I honestly think, that I'm in for a few rough days here at home. I think that there will be all kinds of opportunities for me to slip into old habits, plenty of chances for me to spew words that don't build up or edify... and as I go through my day, my constant prayer is "guard my heart and guard my lips"...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Yearning to live without regret

So, it's obvious by the date on the 1st post here on my blog that I never went anywhere with this thing. Everyday I see it in my list of favorites and it gently calls me to come write, but for months i squelched that whisper with busy-ness! I just plain decided that I had better things to do. Some days that was true - being a mom requires a lot of time and attention... but lots of other days i just simply pretended I didn't see the link or feel that inner nudge to get crackin' on the keyboard and write something.

For me, writing is a very freeing thing. I often feel like so much creativity is bottled up inside of me and that in my day to day life, it all to often gets smashed down and is nearly unrecognizable under the duties of dishes, diapers, housework, and being a mommy and wife. My imagination loves to run wild and often i feel like i have SO many things going on in my mind, that i can't get any ONE thing down in it's entirety - especially before some need surely needs answering.

My prayer is that I will be more consistent in coming here. I'd like to post and share about what I'm learning, what i'm struggling with, what i'm having victory in, what God's opening my eyes to, etc. I'd love some friends in the journey. I'd love to know i'm not alone in my craziness too!

I think it's a great accountability tool too. For me to come and write. To get my thoughts down and to give me time to process. I think more clearly with my fingers than with my mouth sometimes. And often I can say more pointed and direct and consise thoughts when writing. Not that I won't be long winded. I'll never promise to be short and to the point!

So, off we go on my first THOUGHT for this last day in November! (We won't even talk about how fast this year has flown by!)

I am yearning to live w/o regret! Yearning as in, WANTING and desiring and KNOWING I've not come anywhere near achieveing it! I think, every day I get part way through my day and i just wish i could have a "do-over". You know, rewind back to before you yelled, or before you had the sarcastic remark to your husband, or before you had that negative thought about a family member or friend, or before you realize your husband is walking in the door and your house is a mess and dinner's not started. Yup, those days.

I want to be purposeful. Hmm.. that could be a whole 'nother post... ha! By that, I want to say and do things that have meaning. That hold water. That have lasting affects. I want to love deeper and purer and stronger. I want to see the good in people where my first instinct might be to see their flaws. I want to be hands and feet that carry the hurting and bear up the weight of those who are exhausted. But here's where things start to go haywire in my mind... Honestly, i'm gonna be real, cuz what do I have to lose, really?! Nothing! I am convinced that so many of you have to be like me! Lie to me if you're not! HAHA!

I get so overwhelmed some days with all the GOOD things I want to do, that I sit back and do NOTHING. Yup, i admit it. I "THINK" of countless things to do to reach out, to love on, to encourage and then i get sidetracked by life and I forget. Then satan creeps in with his creepy lil whisper and says, "it's too late now..." or " you blew that chance..." or "you're not really the kind of person you want to be".... and i let opportunities slip by. I can only pray that someone else answers and responds to the gentle whisper and that the needs I COULD have met, will be met by another when i don't follow through in obedience. Forgive me Lord.

On a day to day kind of basis, I live with regrets in my mothering. Oh God, how i want be the mother that you've created me to be. Lately, i've found myself saying things to my children and immediately i cringe. I'll say something to them, and it's instantaneous that the Holy Spirit isn't using exactly what i said to them to convict me of an area of sin in my own life. Interesting how he works that way, huh? You often just wanna eat your own foot after you spew out some sort of sarcastic remark or hasty remark. It's not coincidence and it's not some random thought, i'm convinced it is the Spirit inside of me... God's voice to my heart... urging me to make things right and to turn from my sinful attitude.

One thing I am convinced of, and i KNOW to be true - is this. God is good. And He is faithful. He is ever full of love and compassion and what i NEED to do is being calling on HIS love daily. I can't show my kids true unconditional love, and consistent patient love, until i've recieved it from Christ. I can't shower my kids with grace and mercy until I embrace those things from Him. I hold on to my frustration. I hold on to my flaws. I hold on to the things that i feel lacking from my life and soon i bring pain to HIS heart. I start to look down upon his creation (ME!!) and I start to question his plan, b/c it sure doesn't look like beauty to me... and i'm surely mucking it up royally. And then, ever so quietly.... i hear it..."can't you just stop? can't you just listen? can't you hear me? ............ let it go, daughter... let it go.... you are mine... my delight and joy... let it go... draw near to me... give it to me... i am here... waiting....".

WHY is it so hard to surrender; when once i'm there it feels like the safest place to be? I want to stand in surrender. I want to live in surrender. I want to grow as my heart rests surrendered. Wow, what a concept. A restful heart ... fully in surrender to HIS plan.

Romans 12 hit me yesterday as i was reading. I am reading out of the Message right now. i love the fresh perspective and style as it brings to live passages that I've read for many many years.
I can't even call it ironic either, that, that was the passage I would read. God knew what I needed to hear.... read on for some verses...

Romans 12:1-2 (italics thoughts are mine)
So here's what i want you to do, God helping you: (first off, how often do we here commands in the Bible and then get all freaked out b/c we say to ourselves, there's NO way *I* can do that... why do we forget we've got God in our corner?!) Take your everyday, ordinary life - your sleeping, eating, going to work, and walking around life - and place it before God as an offering. (Ok, that's convicting! ).......

Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it (Uh, were you reading the above paragraphs where i admitted i don't do this very well!)

Vs. 9 - Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it. (i think this is definately where "with God's help" comes in. It isn't easy to love everyone. It's EASY to fake loving someone sometimes, don't you think? Especially if they aren't someone in your life a lot? It's easy to not invest, to make nice, and to PRETEND to love them. Here's where I want the LORD to fill me to overflowing.. so that i can truly see those around me with HIS eyes.. so my heart can be broken I can see them with HIS heart!)

VS. 10 Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don't quit in hard times, pray all the harder..... (Love deeply, take chances, be vulnerable, allow others to see your heart, don't allow yourself to be self absorbed, allow others to shine, encourage them to shine, bask in THEIR radiance as they reflect HIS light, stay faithful to the calling of the Lord, see HIM to fill your soul and be your source of JOY. And be ever vigilant to hear his voice, to answer with speed to what the Holy Spirit promts to you do or say.... Hard times will come. Hold fast to the promises that God has given to us... pray and remain in Him... so that He can fill every crevice of my being... after all, the "SAME GOD WHO CONQUERED THE GRAVE LIVES IN ME!" What a powerful TRUE statement. Hillsong has a song out with those words in their lyrics and it is such a beautiful reminder to me....

SO, in that lengthy ramble what sticks out to me most are that i want to live a live w/o regrets and i yearn to be purposeful and listen to the Lord's voice and answer the Holy Spirit's prodding, QUICKLY! After all, what do we teach our kids? "SLOW obediece is .... DISOBEDIENCE". Ouch, huh?

I'd love some feedback. Hit me with your thoughts!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

in the words from a friend ....

i have been working to pray something new...

Bind my heart to your heart
Bind my mind to your mind
Bind my will to your will
Bind my life to your purpose
Loosen in me ......

the desire to please others above you... the nature of being selfish and self centered... seeking out approval and validation from the world... making decisions out of fear...

It's a journey for sure. And I'm no where near the end. God's been working on my heart for the last 5 - 6 months ... Some huge-ish things have been going on in my life and in my heart and some of it is beautifully freeing... some of it is letting go of some denial and allowing my eyes to be opened to some truths that i didn't and still don't want to see... and yet can't ignore. At times I still wanna bury my head in the sand and pretend nothing needs to be dealt with. it hurts. it just plain hurts to think about confrontation or vulnerability...

but God didn't call me to a life of ease and comfort. He didn't die for me, so that I could sit in luxery. He died so we could have communion together... so we could have a relationship.. so we could share that kindred spirit and bask in one another's presence... he died so he could be my comfort and my source of strength and my everything... HE wants to meet my every need.. down to the tiniest detail... and he longs that i trust him with the things that hurt... and he hopes that i'll fall into his arms when life starts to go haywire.... i fail. so miserably some days... i hopelessly fail and leave him waiting.... waiting... and waiting for his beloved to come running to him.... but eventually i do... and when i come.. he's waiting, arms open, head tipped, eyes soft and inviting, his mouth turned in a small smile, and his embrace is SO warm... and then once again i am home... he holds me, speaks softly to my soul, reassures me of his love, reminds me of his faithfulness and invites me to dig deeper into knowing his heart...

will you join me as i continue to dig into my Jesus? as i really hunker down and go for broke? i wanna love him with all of me - giving him every fear, desire, joy, sorrow, and feeling of loss... all of me... the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful....

how are you doin with Jesus? do you know him? do you know the love i'm talking about when i write that he's got soft eyes and inviting arms... do you see him that way?