So I had to chuckle yesterday as I was checking the boys room. They had been told to do some clean up and I was peeking in to see how they did. I glanced over by the boys clothes drawers and Micah's was hanging open. Inside his underwear and jammie drawer were what he would obviously consider his most prized possessions! I saw his lightsaber, new pop gun, a few stickers from his ER visit, and a few other trinkets amongst his clothes (NO WONDER the clothes never seem to fit in the drawer properly!).
In a family it's evident that some property is communal and some has a rightful owner. The older the kids get the more they desire that sense of ownership and they are becoming more territorial. Somehow, Micah knew that the best place to hide his treasures was in his underwear drawer! I mean, how funny is that?! Isn't that where we all have a little something hidden? What woman doesn't have some jewelry, cash, trinket, love letter, or something else of significance tucked away for safe keeping? And how many of us make that place our dresser drawers?!
While I initially chuckled, God also gave me a glimpse into how we so often hold the things dear to us, CLOSE. We get possessive and protective over what we consider OURS. Whether that is our money, our time, something tangible, our talents, our families, sports, habits, secrets, insecurities, pain, or even what we give in ministry. We're born with this inate sense that says "if you don't protect yourself or your things they will be destroyed". It can also, too often, hold us back from doing for God what he planned for you and I. If we hide the things God has blessesd us with, how can it benefit His kingdom? How can it encourage someone else?
Micah doesn't have any fun with his lightsaber while it's sitting next to his dinasour underwear. He has the most fun when his brothers grab their lightsabers and they can dual, chase, run, and play together. When we (you and I) choose to allow our gifts/time/money/abilities/talents to be used for God we acknowledge that we have to put it out there. There's an element of trust there that says, "Okay, Lord... here I go and I'm trusting you to use this". And the Lord never fails to amaze me! When we get to come together and move toward a common goal together, each of us giving different things to achieve that goal, God works all the details out!
How's your drawer? Are you holding on to all the things you consider dear? Tucking them away for "another day" or not allowing someone to see your strengths or weaknesses? Are you holding back something that God could use for His glory? ASK him.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
So I had to chuckle yesterday as I was checking the boys room. They had been told to do some clean up and I was peeking in to see how they did. I glanced over by the boys clothes drawers and Micah's was hanging open. Inside his underwear and jammie drawer were what he would obviously consider his most prized possessions! I saw his lightsaber, new pop gun, a few stickers from his ER visit, and a few other trinkets amongst his clothes (NO WONDER the clothes never seem to fit in the drawer properly!).
Posted by just me at 9:34 AM
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
I've got a heavy heart this morning. You know that feeling when something lingers in your mind? The way you feel a bit sick to your stomach - almost like those nervous butterflies, except there isn't any way to know when they'll go away since there isn't any ONE event to get through to make them go away. Ick.
It's making writing more difficult to say the least. But in my ever pushing desire to be "real" here in webland - I decided it's okay to not look "together"! ha ha If you knew me in real life you'd already know that I'm not - so this is for all my cyber friends! :)
Here's something I've been chewing on the last few days. A good friend asked a group of us what the word "repent" meant. Naturally, initially my mind when flying to what I think most of us would think - saying sorry, feeling contrite, telling Jesus you'll never do "X" again - giving up something, "turning away from", etc. And while none of those are exactly wrong they weren't summing up and encompassing the word's "purpose"/meaning.
Come to find out repent has a strong tie to the word "agenda"! Trust me, it does make sense!! I googled it this morning and here's what I got from wikipedia.
"In Biblical Hebrew, the idea of repentance is represented by two verbs: שוב shuv (to return) and נחם nicham (to feel sorrow). In the New Testament, the word translated as 'repentance' is the Greek word μετάνοια (metanoia), "after/behind one's mind", which is a compound word of the preposition 'meta' (after, with), and the verb 'noeo' (to perceive, to think, the result of perceiving or observing). In this compound word the preposition combines the two meanings of time and change, which may be denoted by 'after' and 'different'; so that the whole compound means: 'to think differently after'. Metanoia is therefore primarily an after-thought, different from the former thought; a change of mind accompanied by regret and change of conduct, "change of mind and heart", or, "change of consciousness"."
WOAH! You mean in the process of repenting it actually means I take after or change my thoughts/direction/whathaveyou?! Who knew that the word repent had slightly different (and yet profoundly different impacts) meanings b/w the OT and the NT?! Assuming some of my readers HAVE to be smarter than me I'll give a few of the benefit of the doubt... but I'm guessing (And hoping) that some of you were like myself and didn't know!
So, lets talk about it. We're all guilty of having a natural bent to what our own flesh wants. It's that sin nature that we're literally born with! When we wake up in the morning we think about our day - about our schedule - about how we want to accomplish what WE need done for the day. We even call it our "agenda"... our schedule or our plans. It's often driving, full of details that some days leave wiggle room and other days leave little breathing room.
Besides the "physical" agenda we talk about - there's can be an "agenda" that is in our hearts. What motivates me? What gives me direction and who's direction is it? Where do I find validation? Who am I seeing validation from? Who am I hoping to please? Is it self seeking? If it self serving? Will it benefit ME or push me ahead? Is it to climb a ladder or gain power? Is it because something makes me uncomfortable? Or perhaps I'm happy with things and want to maintain and stay safe? Play the same song and dance to just keep things even keel. Maybe my agenda is to be seen; to be noticed; to gain recognition....or perhaps it's to remain invisible... to hide behind someone or something.... agenda's can be as varied as you and I are different.
The thing about agenda's is that they can be difficult to decipher. We can hold them tight - close to ourselves - and choose who we share them with.... and yet tell tale signs I think pop up along the way - giving away our agenda... dropping hints and small glimpses.
Our agendas CAN get given away by our actions and words! It's rather like the act of "bearing fruit" that the Bible talks about. A life centered in Christ and seeking HIS HOLY agenda is going to have "results" (bear fruit) and a domino affect. Our actions and words DO impact others - what we do and say IS important.
And I'll say it with lots of honesty - I'm in a re-evaluating mode in re: to my agenda. I'm doing my best to ask myself some hard questions. It can be painful...and who likes pain?! No one I know.
What I want to do is wake up - and instead of instantly thinking of my "to-do's" for the day think to what God would like my "to-do's" to look like that day. I want to ask him to direct my heart and my thoughts to the way his heart beats and they way his thoughts flow. Is there someone I need to call to encourage? Is there someone He wants me to befriend? Am I being the mom that blesses HIS name? Do my children get a picture of Jesus when they see me throughout the day? Am I eager to love on them and be with them - encouraging them to come to me - or do I shrug them aside when I'm tired or in the middle of something (like this post for example).
I'm asking that you join me in prayer. That I would see HIS agenda and that I would let go of mine - as ever changing and fluxing as it is.
This post seems rather flailing to me - must be the random thoughts bouncing around in my head...
Posted by just me at 7:39 AM
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
It is hot today! So of course the kiddie pool came out and was filled for the kids. I watered desperately thirsty plants and flowers and then started to play around with the hose. Fanning it around the yard, squirting the kids, making arches of water for them to run under and through. I started seeing big fat droplets of water and small tiny droplets of water falling at the same rate and impacting the grass, ground, or bodies that didn't manage to dodge the droplets. It was beautiful. It got me to thinking...
I know it might seem like a huge stretch...but go along with me for the ride anyway, ok?
I envisioned my life as a water hose. Unhooked to the water source (Christ of course) I'm but an empty vessel without a function. Sure I have a purpose - but unattached to the water I'm ineffective. Hooked to the water source gives purpose and meaning to my hosey-ness (NEW word! ding ding ding!). I all the sudden have something to give. Something to share. Some way to give to those without water. As my heart and will becomes closer to Christs the water pressure increases and I have more to give. The more Christ fills me - the more bursts forth from me.
Uncontainable joy and the ability to stretch and reach far from my boundaries! What a glorious feeling!
Then I was reminded of the problem with hoses! We drag them around with us, they wind up around objects or even themselves and the water pressure becomes less and less. Sometimes the water flow is cut off completely and we're no longer able to be vessels that produce beauty or passion or purpose. Sometimes it's just one lil kink in the line and soon we're back in the flow. Sometimes it requires back tracking, untangling the path we took ourselves down, and making a NEW and more direct path with our hose - so as to open up God's blessings so that He can refill us to brimming.. and one again we can pour out His love and joy, kindness and goodness.
Sin in our lives can kink our hose. It can stop of the flow of Christ through us to the world. We can become so cut off that sometimes we don't even feel his presense in our life.... but just like a hose - once we remove the kink or tangle - His love is there ready to burst forth. That love has just been waiting....the pressure building and eager to be released... gushing, rambunctious, and a driven love... Yup, he loves you that much. So much that he will simply wait for you.... as long as it takes.
Posted by just me at 2:33 PM
Sunday, May 31, 2009
So, how is everyone tonight? It's night here - though likely it'll not be night for you when you read this... regardless... it isn't important! HOW ARE YOU? I like to think that we are having a dialogue somehow - even though it tends to be quite one sided... I do imagine you nodding your head, laughing, or even tearing up as I share about stuff... or challenge you with stuff... or just as God leads your heart to become sensitive. If ever, at any time in my blogging journey, God uses me to bring you closer to Him... what an honor and privilege that would be. All glory to Him!
So, I've asked how you are... and I imagine you saying, "And you? How are YOU tonight?!"
Oh thanks for asking! (I promise I only hear a "few" voices in my head.. most days! HA HA)
Actually... to be honest... it changes from day to day. I know that's normal, so that's why I feel it safe to be honest here. I know many of you are overwhelmed with motherhood and life and marriage and your journey with Christ. And pile on that, the guilt that we can have when we "feel" we shouldn't be overwhelmed with those sorts of things!
Church blessed me today. The worship got into my heart and just resonated and echoed and literally sent me to my knees in worship! It's great when you sit in the front row b/c you have lots of room to just kneel in sweet adoration! Can you imagine kneeling in a pew row! I'd surely smack my forehead on the pew infront of me and surely be stuck there! Ack! What a sweetness to feel the freedom to worship in a style that isn't common at our church and to be blessed without feelings of embarrassment! In all reality, I think few people even realized I was on my knees... which isn't the point anyway! I digress. I even stuck around for the next service and worshipped a 2nd time to the music - this time on my feet tho ;) It makes no difference to my Jesus and I love that. Just like my worship when I'm in despair and my worship when I'm filled with JOY - both mean the world to him. And in all reality the posture of my body is far less important than the posture of my heart. For some, the body posture in worship can get in the way of true heart worship. For others, body posture can sometimes lead their hearts into submission.... don'tcha love how we're all different?! At the heart of it all though.. we're simply called to worship. Love that.
I came home from church feeling still in my heart. After lunch the kids watched a movie and I read from my newest book, "They like Jeus but not the church" by Dan Kimball. What a great book! I'm only on page 80 so far... but God is using his words to challenge me!! I'm excited to read more this evening and more tomorrow!!! As I keep goin, perhaps I'll share some thoughts with you...
Posted by just me at 9:01 PM
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
So, today I've been working in the master bedroom. If your room looks like mine it gets the left over random stuff tossed in on the bed or dresser, while the door gets quickly shut. It gives the perfect impression that the living room is clean; therefore the house is clean. WRONG! HA!
A random old TV is coming out today. A couple random computer boxes of misc. parts and pieces are coming out. A few loads of laundry are coming out (and of course going back in.. clean and folded..ironed...? nah! lets not get TOO crazy!).
IN, went a small bookshelf - to hold the books that have been in a big ole tote. As I took them out I decided it was necessary to purge out some titles. Not because they were bad books.... but because it was time to simplify, and not hold on to books with the "hope" that i'd finish them. Or allow the guilt of "I should be reading 'that' one again" to drive to pick up the book - only to remember why it didn't hold my interest the first time! (wink!) SOOOOOO..... I pulled off about 8 books that I just don't "need" anymore! What a liberating feeling! I'm often full of "someday, i'll use that" or "someday i'll read it", and "someday that will change my life!"... Almost as if I'm in bondage to that book shelf. NO MORE! :) A select few went back up...besides being less to visually look at, it feels "lighter" to my spirit too.
I've not only been doing physical inventory in my home...but working to do it in my heart as well. That's far more painful that chucking a few books out. And yet, in the end the feeling is the same... a lightness to my spirit that confirms that God and I are doing well.
How about you? Are there things in your life that you tell yourself are "good" and yet you feel tied to them by obligation or because it just seems like what you're supposed to do? Or maybe there are poor habits in your life ... or choices that aren't going to lead where God wants to take you... would you be ready to look "that" in the eye and chuck it?
Posted by just me at 1:35 PM
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Ever had those moments? Ok, who am I kidding? Ever had those days/weeks/months?! You'll find yourself not only closing the door to the bathroom off your master bedroom, but also the door to your room as well! As if, 2 closed doors between you and the world that is your life, will make it somehow more manageable for you to breathe......deeply....slowly....purposefully... 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.....
It's kinda been where I've been hiding the last month. Between all the roles that we as women (humans) pile on ourselves I have had moments of complete flailing. Trust me, it hasn't been pretty nor attractive.
In an effort to sort through things God has been taking me on a journey. We're far from kicking off our sandles and calling it a wrap - which trust me, is a comfort because I'm not ready to stay "here" forever!
So, bear with me, if you would... while God and I talk and work through some things. It might look messy. It might not look like your life at all - or you might just wonder how I knew so much about you.
Truth is.. we're all on a journey. I'd welcome it if you'd walk with me.
Posted by just me at 12:55 PM
Monday, April 27, 2009
IT IS A MUST READ, if you're looking for a book to kick back and read with leisure!!! I found myself pulled into the relationship dynamics and really enjoyed the unique perspective it was written from! I can't wait to read the rest of they series now!!! Amy Clipston did an awesome job! Her books can be found on AMAZON and they're on SALE right now! Hurry over and grab one - or two - or ten... share them with friends!!! Check out AMY'S blog if you have a minute as well!!
And to read more reviews of this book click HERE.
(And, again... this is a book that I read and reviewed as part of a blog tour. They sent me the book for free to read in return for a review and some awesome "pass it on" kind of action :) I've already given the book to a friend to read!!! If you want more info on becoming a part of a blog tour then shoot me a msg!)
Posted by just me at 2:15 PM
Friday, April 10, 2009
|Today is Good Friday. Today is the day that Christ took the long walk to surrender his life. It was his day to fulfill prophecy and to fulfill the Father's plan. What an act of sacrifice. Some days the power of the cross hits me more deeply than others. Today is one of those days. |
Looking into my heart I can so easily see the filth, the pride, the sin, the greed, the lust for what others have and I am lacking in, the selfishness, the self centeredness, and the judgemental thoughts I have.... the list goes on and on. I'm brought to tears in amazement that he would take on the cross for me.
And then I am saddened by how easily I forget the road he walked. When I forget the nails that pierced his hands and feet.. the thorns that drew blood to his head... and the spear that bled pure water from his side.
Take a listen to the following song, if you would. It's by Francesa Bastistelli.
Click the play arrow (remember to press pause on the playlist)
They lyrics are posted below so you can read along.
Praying you're as blessed as I have been this morning.
Time In Between - Francesca Battistelli
"Time In Between" Lyrics
|by Francesca Battistelli | from the album My Paper Heart|
You were there when your Father said
Let there be light
You obeyed when He whispered
Son, You have to leave tonight
To spend nine months in a mothers womb
Three days in a borrowed tomb
But it’s the time in between
That brings me to my knees
Knowing you came for me
And all that I can't be
I'm amazed, so amazed
And I thank You for the time in between
Don't take much for this crazy world
To rob me of my peace
And the enemy of my soul
Says You’re holding out on me
So I stand here lifting empty hands
For you to fill me up again
But it’s the time in between
That I fall down to my knees
Waiting on what You'll bring
And the things that I can't see
I know my song’s incomplete
Still I'll sing in the time in between
So many ways
Your love has saved the day
And I'm grateful for them all
But it’s the time in between
The middle of two thieves
That says everything
It’s the reason I believe
I'm amazed, so amazed
And I thank you for the time in between
Oh Lord, I thank you for the time in between
Posted by just me at 10:47 AM
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Okay, so I'm still not done with the book. BUT, a few things have stood out to me. The biggest so far has led me to ask myself the following question: Does technology SERVE me or do I serve technology?
Strange question, you say?
Well, yes it is. But let me explain a little bit. Hipps speaks about how often we get confused by technology... and that often we start to find our identity in forms of technology, instead of simply seeing technology as an extension of ourselves. Some examples he gives:
"The telephone extends and amplifies the voice and the ear. Eyeglasses extend the focusing ability of the eye. Weapons, such as guns or knives, are extensions of our teeth and our fists. Smoke detectors extend our sense of smell and also amplify our feelings of security. Even a method of organizing information, such as an outline, is a meduim because it extends the mind's ability to comprehend and recall complex topics."
Hipp's goes on to say, "When we fail to perceive that the things we create are extensions of ourselves, the created things take on god-like characteristics and we become their servants."
So, maybe that seems extreme huh?
Hmm.. maybe, maybe not. What's generally one of the first things I do in the morning? I turn on my computer. I check my email. I leave not only my email but also my facebook account, and another web bulletin board that I frequent, up in different tabls all day long. I walk by and check in almost everytime I walk by my computer. What's the last thing I do before going to bed? I check ONE last time... for new mail, new posts, a new thread to comment on. Sometimes, I'll be thinking about my interactions on the computer than I think about my interactions with people "in real life" (IRL). When I allow my mind and my thoughts to get overly consumed with the computer and my TIME starts being overly wasted on the internet - how is that using the computer for my benefit. At that point, it's no longer just an extension of my senses... it's become a god. It's become a passion. It's become and obsession. It's become "who" I am. It's tearing me away from my wife and mom responsibilites.
So the computer's evil?! OF COURSE not! :)
It's in how we view it. It's in how we balance it. It's in HOW we see ourselves. It's personal to each of us - and will be different for each of us. Just another way we're all unique.
But a great reminder for ME. I want technology to serve ME and the gifts God's given me...(medians of writing, developing relationships etc). I do not want to feel enslaved to technology and feed the monster of self gratification. Once again - it's NOT about me. It's about HIM.
Got any thoughts on this? Are you in control of your position with technology in your world? What would be the median you're struggling with?
Posted by just me at 9:08 PM
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
While I've always admired the beauty of cherry blossoms, they hold new meaning to me now. I've been a reader of the blog "Bring the Rain" for over a year now. When I joined Angie on her blog I immediately loved her and felt connected to her! She's got that ability to reach beyond the computer monitor and grab your hearts and just pull you close to hers! Really! If you haven't spent any length of time on her blog you are really missing out!
Anyway... today, April 7th, would have been Audrey's 1st birthday. For weeks I've been looking for flowering cherry trees all over the valley. It just "so happens" that I got to the grocery this morning without my money OR the list!! GROAN! So, I had to turn around and go home. I went a different route home, HOPING and praying God would show me the perfect tree! And, HE DID!!!! I drove by a tree/plant nursery and there was ONE lil tree just waiting for it's photo op! :) I went home, grabbed my money, list, AND the camera and drove back to the nursery. I unloaded the 3 kids and snapped a few pictures!
Happy Birthday Audrey! I know you're sittin' on His lap today soakin' in HIS Love and having a really amazing day! And just so ya know, everytime I see a flowering cherry tree I think of you and your mommy!!!
Posted by just me at 2:11 PM
Monday, April 6, 2009
SO, I thought I'd throw out a little bit of basic info on the book that I'm reading.
"Flickering Pixels", by Shane Hipps. You can review or buy it on Amazon here.
Just so you know, for transparency sake, the book was sent to me, free of charge for my willingness to participate in the blog tour! What a great way to read some new stuff and to get the word out about a great new book!! Win win situation if ya ask me :)
You can also find LOTS of info about Shane Hipps at his own personal website.
I'm hoping to post some thoughts tomorrow... :)
Posted by just me at 10:00 PM
Sunday, April 5, 2009
reflections in the pane
whisper of the wind again
leaves and branches
to and fro
memories of a time long ago
from cold yesterdays
bright beauty revealed
Posted by just me at 10:58 PM
What a week it's been. If I ever thought I was a sympathetic mommy, this week definitely proves me wrong. So, my hubby and I got a way for a weekend not long ago. We were eager to get home to our kids as we really missed them; though we relished the moments we had alone as well!
Upon returning home, I started to come down with a nasty cold going around. Previously to going on our trip I had been sick and then dealt with 5th's disease's ugly rash and joint pain. No fun, let me tell you! Since coming home, my cold has gotten worse, my 22 month old little guy has run fever, leaked snot all over me, and has as of today started rashing out (5th's). My oldest spiked a fever this morning of 103. His temperature waxed and waned throughout the day and sent him to bed at 7 pm (due to his own request) with 103.5. Thankfully, just 30 minutes ago he came out, drenched in sweat and in need of a drink. Thank you Jesus! Hopefully in the morning he'll still be fever free.
With 2 other kiddo's here at home... I'm just waiting for them to turn up sick here in the next few days. It WAS going to a be a pretty busy week - but God may be clearing my schedule! Sometimes plan B is better than plan A!
While dealing with sick kids and being sick myself, I have found myself speaking to my kids in such an ugly manner. Sarcasm has returned and the tone of disappointment, frustration, and irritation has reared their ugly heads too. I hate it when I allow myself to stoop so low as to speak that way to my children. It's like I can hear what I'm saying and almost "watch" myself in 3rd person when a tirade comes on... and yet the words continue to spew. Where's that duct tape when it's needed?! I sure needed it today. :(
Inspite of the ugly in me, my kids seek me out, knowing the good that's in my heart... they still want me to play with them, hold them, meet their needs. They still long for my touch and my encouragement and they are eager to please and seek my approval. What a humbling thing. To know you've just been nothing but awful - and to have your child's small arms come up, wrap around your waist and say "I love you, mommy." OIY!
"Thank you Father for the way you shape a child's heart. Let me NOT take their unconditional love for granted. GUARD my mouth and my actions tomorrow, Father. I want to only use my words for building up and for loving my family. And thank you too, Lord.. for loving me inspite of my "ugly". For seeing the good in me when sometimes all I project is impure. I am so undeserving of your grace... and yet you extend it... so undeserving of your presense...and yet you come... so undeserving of the sacrifice of your son...and yet to sent him anyway... i am thankful. so desperately thankful ..."
Not to suddenly switch gears but i do want you to know i'm excited to do some book reviewing this week! SO... stay tuned.... for my thoughts on "FLICKERING PIXELS" by Shane Hipps.
Posted by just me at 10:22 PM
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Be sure to continue to check MckMama's blog and continue to fall at our Father's feet and ask for His kind mercy!! MckMama states in her latest blog entry that she's in "survival mode"... and you can hear how incredibly tired she is. I don't pretend to REALLY understand what's up with lil Stellan's heart - but you can HEAR MckMama's heartbeat through her words and I know you won't be able to read her posts and not feel connected to her and wanna just grab her cute face through the screen and love on her! So go check it out.
Also, I'm reading a new book to do a review and participate in another blog tour. I'm excited to really dive into this book! I've tip toed along through the first few chapters and I am eager to really get into it. Between a sick hubby and now feeling cruddy myself, reading usually sends me off to lala land! But... I really hope to gain something out of this book - :) It's called "Flickering Pixels" and I guarantee MORE is to come! By the way, should you want to participate in a "blog tour" it consists of signing up, having a book be sent to you (FREE!), READ the book, write up your thoughts and share them on your blog, share and talk about the book everywhere you can (twitter, facebook, blog, email, bulletin board communities, IN REAL LIFE.. that's always an option! HA!), write up reviews on Amazon or the like. It's fun! :) You get to read new stuff and feel like a part of the process in promoting GOOD stuff! So, if you're interested leave a comment and I can direct you to a blog tour coordinator.
Spring Break. Ok, I know this post is crazy spacy all over the place. It's just I feel the need to catch up on a few things and so it's rather random. My apologies. It's spring break and my hubby and oldest son are home! Can I just say... it's been awesome! Probably one of THE BEST break times we've had as a family so far. Granted the hubbers an I were gone for 3 days... ha ha ha ... We were able to run off for a few nights together and leave the 4 kids, cat and dog HOME with my wonderful mother in law! Oh, what a blessing! But we came home a day early b/c we missed our kids and our comfy bed! HA! It's bad when sleeping in your OWN bed trumps an additional night away ALONE with the HOT hubster! hee hee hee... We got home late and were so excited to see our kids faces when they came into our room - fully expecting to find Grandma in our bed and it was US... their faces were PRICELESS! (HUGE SILLY GRIN!)
Yawn. it's nearly midnight. I'm truly losing it to even be up this late. I've had a migraine most of the day - along with sinus pressure, stuffed up nose, and sore glands/throat! Time to hit the sack! 'Night all! :)
Posted by just me at 11:32 PM
Thursday, March 26, 2009
To the right in my side bar you will see a box with an adorable lil guy in it! His name is Stellan! He is the son of a fellow Blogger that many of you may know as MckMama! Please visit her blog My Charming Kids to learn more about Stellan and the incredible journey God has brought their family through!! And please leave comments of encouragement and prayer if you feel led!!!
Posted by just me at 4:41 PM
To say it's been quiet here in blog land would be an understatement! And it really isn't even because life's been all that busy! I've not made it a priority and not been asking the Lord what he'd like to me talk about. I plan to change that soon!
Honestly, I think in my effort to keep this blog all about God - I somehow put unnecessary pressure on myself to make sure that every word I wrote would somehow impart some lil tidbit of wisdom - sent directly from the Father through "lil ole me". Ahem, cough cough.. nothin' like a lil pride, eh? Oh pride is a ruthless and destructive weed! I think in every attempt to be honest and open and vulnerable - there lurks that desire for affirmation. I don't think that "desire to please" is BAD. I think looking for it in the wrong PLACES is bad! We were made for relationships by God... and hand in hand with relationships comes building one another up!! God wants us to seek HIS affirmation... and NO one elses! So, I will be seeking to find MINE in him!
It rather makes me think of the new puppy we got last week. Hooper is about 8 weeks old and is EAGER to please! But it takes him focus. He is so easily distracted by the kids, or a new scent - the next door neighbor dogs, the windchime outside, and that crusty cheerio that was missed by the broom this morning! And yet, deep within Hooper is a desire to be trained. A desire to be molded into a good dog. A desire to PLEASE and find praise from him master! And it isn't because Hooper wants to put himself above his master or on equal ground with his master. It's because Hooper wants a loving relationship with his master. A relationship with boudaries, trust, comraderie, companionship, and LOVE!
Isn't that the kind of relationship you want with YOUR Father? I know I do. It's a process though! All too often, I'm a hyper distracted daughter - easily swayed and influenced by the words, actions, opinions and ideas of others ... when all I should be doing is keeping my eyes on my Master... waiting for His direction, staying close by His side, walking with Him and enjoying our friendship.
So here's to a NEW DAY :)
Posted by just me at 12:59 PM
Monday, March 16, 2009
I think I'm actually late in getting on the ball with my review of this book! ACK! My sincere apologies to Mary and her staff. When I first got my book "Daisy Chain" in the mail I eagerly opened it and started reading it that day. It quickly had me HOOKED! Being the mother of 4 kids, I had to put it down and finding time to pick it back up has been challenging. But, I am happy to say I'm most of the way through the book!! It is good - though I often found my eyes swimming across the page - but I am sure that's due to the timing of my reading (ur.. uh.. 11 pm?!) and NOT the ability of the author!!
I got this link from a friend. So watch it and then go buy, borrow, or check out "Daisy Chain" from the library!
Posted by just me at 8:32 AM
Thursday, March 5, 2009
God put it on my heart to blog today. It was one of those nudges you feel, and yet you feel a little unprepared to follow through. You know, where you feel like you should say something, do something, etc. and yet the words certainly aren't there and you feel completely inadequate to do the job. And yet your compelled to obey.
So I said, okay Lord.
I asked him where to go in scripture and he sent me to James, chapter 1.
Uh, you sure Lord? This is heavy stuff.
Just do it, daughter.
James 1 (The Message)
vs 2-4 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, NOT deficient in any way.
I like the phrase "faith-life". To me it gives a picture of action... living, moving, choices, and the day to day "grind" that life can sometimes be. Our faith-life is lived outloud every day - sometimes we forget, sometimes it's muffled, sometimes it's speaking loudly .... and not always in forms of integrity. Under life's "muck" I think we can often default to a "norm" or to a habit or to what's familiar. When it comes RIGHT down to it, how you respond in moments of crisis and challenges is reflective of your walk with the Lord. That isn't to say that freaking out, having moments of panic, or doubt makes us less of a Christ follower. But if we lock ourselves into a mindset that isn't honoring, a mindset that doesn't allow God to show himself to us - AND to those watching... then we've shown that deep down.. we aren't willing to TRUST in Him.
How often when a situation comes up that makes us uncomfortable; do we wrack our brains and quickly try to come up with a way out, a solution, an answer. How often are we on the phone within minutes, seeking advice, guidance or just a "listening ear"? When was the last time we got blind sited and said, "Ok Lord, this isn't fun... but I'm sure there's an ultimate purpose and I'm sure you are going to work this out for your good - you do promise that to me - and i'm trusting to believe it. I think we PRAY that God removes our circumstances, we PRAY that he delivers us, heals us, fixes us - or those hurting us... when really i think we should be be praying...STRENGTHEN me through this, give me joy through this, USE this, stay close to me through this, give me peace through this, and help me to see "this" for what it is and be hopeful for the time that it's over. Don't you think that would change our prayer lives significantly? Asking God to walk us through the hard times instead of magically plucking us OUT of those hard times.
Verse 4 says, Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, NOT deficient in any way.
WOW. Let the pain mature you, shape you, develop you.... and in turn you will NOT be deficient or lacking in anything. When I listen to people speak about the rough times in their lives, I sit in awe when they go on to say, "and i wouldn't have had it any other way!". There's always a reflection about how if they hadn't been brought thru the trials, they wouldn't be the person they are today - they wouldn't have the faith, the love, the intimacy with God, the trusting and whole hearted abandonment to HIS will.... I love it. And I want what they have... but a little voice in me sometimes whispers, "but i want that without all that pain they went through Lord... just give me the goods without the other stuff". Surely I'm not alone in that. :)
Verse 12 goes along with that, and I'll close soon, I promise.
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 peace, that reassurance, that JOY.... it's from sticking it out. For being loyally in love with God.. In love through every up and down, no matter WHAT is going on in life. I pray that I can find the strength to ask God to just walk with me through life's next big hurdle... and that I not just beg away that he remove me and hurry up the process. But that my heart would be ready to be molded as circumstances come.
Posted by just me at 12:46 PM
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
So yesterday was this breath of fresh air! The sun was up and doing his job... sending us all that vitamin D and making the world seem bright and happy. My bedroom is on the north/westish side of the house so the sun rise never directly streams through my windows...something I love about mornings :) and something that keeps my room oh so cool in the summer .. love it.
So, the sunshine makes me happy. I was productive and got lots of housey type work done yesterday and yet felt relaxed and at peace. I decided that after the baby's nap (i'm calling him a baby UNTIL he's 2 yo! I just have to, he's my last one!) we'd take a walk to the nearby park. I texted with my hubby and he said he and Noah would would meet us there after school. What a perfect afternoon. I tell you, I even wore capri's and flip-flops! The flip flops were the only regret! In the shade at the park they started to freeeeze!
I just Love the sunshine - though I can't say i LOVE it HOT.. A nice 75 is just perfect, with a light breeze, nothing too wild, just here and there a light breeze. Perfect. T-shirt weather, pony tails, and sunglasses. A good book, a glass of ice tea (sun-tea all the way baby!) and kids laughter as they run crazy in the backyard! awww....
I'm so nostalgic for such weather as it's bee a long enough winter for me. I have been thankful at the absense of snow - we really haven't had that much over long period's of time...OH thank you Jesus! But the cold foggy days did seem to drag on, day after day, as if threatening to never go away.
I think so often we find ourselves in a spiritual fog as well. Things get cloudy. We don't look to the "SON" and things seem fuzzy, cold, dark, lonely, uncomfortable, and it's easy for us to hole up and "wait for spring". As if one day our relationship with God will morph into this thing of beauty and growth. Ever find yourself in that place? I have. We know life's better with the SON, we know things make sense, things seem easier to handle, life seems to have purpose, and our minds seem clearer... and yet our human inclination can so often be doom and gloom... and our eyes and expectations become at war with our heart and we lose the battle. We lose the nerve or the drive to just STAY IN TH SONLIGHT.
Life gets busy - life changes. Refer back to all the "season" posts I had. God knows and expects our life to go through it's transitions. The only thing he asks and hopes and longs for is that we keep Him with us at all times. That we turn to him, ask him to open our eyes, to "turn the light" on for us, and to be our forever, faithful, fearless friend and Father.
The sun brings out the best in my mood.
And the SON brings out the best in my heart.
Posted by just me at 12:04 PM
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Before I settle in for a night's sleep (I was going to say "long" nights sleep... but let's face it, it's NEVER long!) I usually grab a book and read a chapter or two. Right now I'm reading "Ordinary MOM Extraordinary GOD" by Mary DeMuth. http://www.amazon.com/Ordinary-Mom-Extraordinary-God-Encouragement/dp/0736915001
It's full of short, easy to read chapters... yet packed with powerful words that get your heart thinking at the end of the day. The other night I read her chapter titled "The Secret of Secrets". Mary, writes about how secrets are often intimate details, saved for the closest few in your life. Often secrets are shared between no more than 2 people. They are private, intimate conversations that include vulnerability and honesty.
Mary went on to talk about 4 aspects of secrets. I'll briefly summarize them b/c they really made me go .. "Hmmm".
1. God confides in those who fear him.
Not the kind of fear that makes us quake in our boots, immobilized by terror. But the kind of the fear that causes us to stop, revere, be in awe of, and respect! I picked a key phrase from her passage and it was this; "It's important to choose intimacy with Him over busyness." Which means, if it means leaving dishes overnight, or NOT working out this afternoon, or saying "no" to what would only be an obligation and not a joy to do.... DO it. God delights in our presence and he cares most about the condition of our hearts. And if our hearts are not beating as one with His... there's WAY too much chance for us to wander.
2. God's secrets are His delight.
Do you know what delights His heart? Really know? Or just "think" you know from what you've learned about God all these years?! Do you really know His heart. I know I'm still getting to know His heart. I want to feel directly how his heart feels. I want to embrace the joy, feel the sorrow ... truly have my "eyes" opened and discover his delights. To do this, I can't simply "check -in" ever so briefly and then "check out" and "check OFF" my "God time" for the day. God isn't something to be crossed off my list, "yup, got time with the Big Man in, now i'm good til tomorrow...". No way. That is false intimacy.
3. God see's in secret.
God sees the condition of our heart. Psalm 139:23-24 "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." I have this posted in my kitchen. I long to keep my heart pure and in a way that pleases HIM. Daily I fail and then start over. I easily judge or condemn in my heart.. my actions not necessarily following, but my heart is not always in a place that shows respect for someone, which in turn shows a lack of respect for God. If I'm holding on to a grudge or having feelings that dishonor HIM, He can't come to me in an intimate manner and share His delight or His joy. If my heart is full of filth - there's no room for Him. Daily, sometimes moment to moment, I have to ask Him to clean and purge from my heart the things that don't belong. And then HE has room to come in, fill me up and just "BE"!
4. God rewards secret things.
OH, how he finds pleasure in the secret things that honor Him. How He loves a heart that doesn't flaunt or do it's "goodness" for applause. He see's all things and when a heart,set on LOVING him and Loving people, silently acts in amazing ways... His heart nearly explodes. I'm sure of it. The sacrificial acts of motherhood bring JOY to His heart. The world rarely see's... even some close to us don't often "get it" or understand... and yet God see's every boo-boo kissed, every meal cooked, ever diaper changed, every hug and smooch, and story read. He see's the mother that puts her needs to the back burner to provide, to love, to GIVE to her family and HE SEE'S it...
After I read this chapter the other night, I wrote down some questions for myself.
1. Does God save secret joys to whisper to me? When was the last time I heard one?
2. Do I give him TIME to reveal His heart?
3. Do I have the integrity of a woman bent on loving and obeying the Lord?
AND my challenge to myself: BE still and listen. LISTEN. Write down His secret JOY when he reveals it to me.
Posted by just me at 3:08 PM
Saturday, February 7, 2009
i've lost 40 sticks of butter.
you heard me.
40 sticks of butter... or otherwise known as 10 pounds.
i've been noticing and acknowledging in my personal life the times that I would turn to food for entertainment, comfort, companionship, BOREDOM, etc.
HABIT.. that's another one. I caught myself countless times this last month with the urge to grab, nibble, lick, sneak, or stuff my face with food. Sometimes, the moment that the temptation was there would take me by surprise - other times I'd see it up on the horizon and be anticipating it as it drew near... all the while pep talking myself and preparing myself to make the right choice.
I found it harder this last month to make the time for pure "communion" with Christ. I found my heart and mind focused on my desire to be successful in my quest for losing weight and becoming physically healthy. Should I have to exam myself.. i'd need to say my heart health probably slid a little this month.
Why does it have to be so difficult? Fleshly thoughts and attitudes come natural and have that way of "justifying" themselves... all the while God is gently calling me to take the high road.. to look to Him, to find satisfaction, completion, and peace in HIM in all circumstances.
and yet...the beauty of the moments of tempation was when HE gave me the strength to walk away from the food that would momentarily satisfy me. And everytime I stayed strong, He rewarded me on the scales. He rewarded my effort to look to HIM, to recognize the times when I'd have previously unconsciously looked away from His will and sought out after my own.
I guess in retrospect, I felt like the last month was a bit lonely in my dialogue with my Father, and yet, I think he was just walking with me, lending His hand for the moments when my foot was close to faltering.
What an amazing daddy.. that he'd be faithful. That he'd be forever patient and that he'd find joy in HELPING me through the choices I have to make everyday.
And to some, they may seem insignificant in magnitude. But when HE gives me strength to turn away from food, I get excited... b/c to me it shows His power at work. It shows HIS strength in my weakness.
Posted by just me at 1:18 PM
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Hi everybody.... it's been about a week or so since I sat down to jot some thoughts down. Honestly, it's been a week of distractions and I'm afraid my heart hasn't been as intentional on listening to the spirit. But God was faithful to me and did not remain silent. Amazing that He pursues me, while my mind and heart can find other things to dwell on.
So, here's the deal. Right now I'm in a serious season in my personal life. I'm in a season of retaking back my health; in the sense of wanting to be the healthiest person that I can be. At first I was thinking of this purely in the physical sense as in losing weight, toning up, and being thin. As long as I can remember my weight has been something that lingers in the back of mind and seems present in every situation and place. I know it affects how I carry myself, my self esteem and my interactions with others. After being on lots and lots of diets and strugging with this my whole life, it's become quite obvious that it's more than a physical issue! Duh, right?! :)
Well, last week I sort of hit that "place" (i think it's this elusive place.. different for every person!) where i said, "ENOUGH". So mentally the last week I have been focusing on my eating and making better choices, trying to get a few days of exercise and asking HIM to show me my bad habits and to help me get to the bottom of them. I asked God to be my partner on this ride. i KNOW I will fail miserably without Him.
HOWEVER, I'm frustrated because I put so much effort mentally and physically into that area of my life - I allowed my one on one time with the Lord to become lacking. I let my thoughts go to, "I hope when i stand on the scales I see results" instead of "man, Jesus, what are you gonna show me today!?"
I was sitting here at the computer yesterday and it hit me. We've got to exercise all areas of our lives. We've got physical muscles that have to be moved and toned. It involves repetition, determination, consistency, increasing the poundage as your muscles grow stronger, and feeding your body what it needs best to function at 100%.
Our spiritual muscles have to be stretched too!!! Sometimes God allows circumstances that show us NEW muscles that we didn't know existed (our bodies have felt that before too!!!!!!!!!!!!). We're given opportunities to repeat and repeat and again, repeat things so that we can become stronger in our convictions, stronger in our beliefs, and stronger in our faith. Without determination and consistency it's easy to be lax, to become apathetic and to become "luke warm" in our approach to God. In order to NOT allow those things to happen, I HAVE to be feeding on His word, pumping in His views of me. Believing it when HE tells me that I am His prize, that I am his JOY, that He finds me beautiful. I have to hold on to His hand on the journey. He's rooting for me. And not because He'll love me more on the other side of it. But because He gets the joy of running with me and becuase He wants the best for me.
So, while I've been a tad silent... God has not. And I've been reluctant to share - because it puts me in a SERIOUS place of vulnerability. But, accountability and honesty are KEY in this process and with God, I will succeed. And I can't wait to give him some AWESOME glory!
Posted by just me at 10:42 PM
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
The last few days have been rougher in the mommy department. Honestly, things have probably been rougher in the communication department with my husband as well. And come to think of it, my connection with God sort of hit a busy signal (on MY end, NOT His!).
The common denominator?
Hmmm... when life starts getting overwhelmed and relationships start to feel strained and things just aren't running as smoothly as normal or expected, we often start the blame game right? Pass the buck off to somebody else who dropped the ball, or blame our choices/actions/reactions to circumstances. If so'n'so hadn't done "____" then I wouldn't have been so defensive, or angry, or combative, or short tempered. I wonder if God ever watches me and wonders, "Will she ever get it?!"
So, when I get in this funk - I'm not sure what else to call it but that. It's a season of "offness" where nothing seems "right". It's not always a long period of time - though some times last longer than others. Anyway, when I'm in this funk, I often have LITTLE patience and generally want to be left alone. I don't want things to be asked of me, I don't want to be criticized (hey, who does?!), or reminded of what I'm lacking. I don't want to be touched, malled, hugged, or called ("mommy, moomy, moooom, mom, mama.....") a hundred times.
This week my 20 month old was fussing and came to my leg while I was in the kitchen. The grabbing at my pant leg, the moanful wails started, and his intention were fully expressed. He wanted up and he wanted UP right away. I think I sort of shook my leg - as if he was a dog at my feet that i could shoo away and rather sternly said, "No Joey!". Which insued MORE tears, more wails and only intensified grabbing and mauling of my leg. I could feel the frustration building up in me. "I just want to be left alone!" was all I could think.
And then I heard it inside...soft...but firm in it's intent, "Do I hold you at arms length?"
"Lord, c'mon. You know you have more patience than me. You can handle me when I come to you. I'm human. I can get irritated."
"Excuses then are your fallback?"
It was painful. I was holding my son at arms length. I wasn't letting him in. I was dismissing him, too deep in my own pit of wallowment (my new word of the day! HA!) I was choosing to be cold and to react in a way that hurt my son. Ouch.
I got a glimpse, once again of God's amazing LOVE. It continues to surprise me how God is showing himself to me as I walk through the journey of motherhood. He never hold his heart back from me. What a promise of safety and security.
Recently I've come across a newer artist and I've been listening to her album on the web. Her name is Francesca Battistelli and I think she's awesome. If you go to her website http://www.francescamusic.com/ you can llisten to her WHOLE album!! It's full of great songs... but one that I find running through my head (and i'm sure it's NOT coincidence!) is "It's Your Life".
"It's Your Life" Lyrics by Francesca Battistelli | from the album My Paper Heart
This is the moment
It’s on the line
Which way you gonna fall?
In the middle between
Wrong and right
But you know after all
It’s your life
What you gonna do?
The world is watching you
Every day the choices you make
Say what you are and who
Your heart beats for
It’s an open door
It’s your life
Are you who you always said you would be?
With a sinking feeling in your chest
Always waiting for someone else to fix you
Tell me when did you forget
To live the way that you believe
This is your opportunity
To let your life be one that lights the way
What a reminder to me... the world is watching, yes... but even MORE so, God is watching. And not because He's out to get me, but because he LOVES me and cares about the choices I make. And even more, He's patiently waiting for me to invite Him in and help ME in making decisions that honor HIM and His name.
What's God whispering to you these days?? Got something to share? I'd love to hear from you!!!
Posted by just me at 1:27 PM
Monday, January 19, 2009
It was less than 2 months ago that I started writing my thoughts here on my blog. It's been an amazing place for me to just ramble and "think". My friendship with Jesus has grown and my understanding of HIM and His love has deepened. What a precious gift to me.
The other night I was blog browsing some familiar blogs to me and then saw a link to a blog I'd been recommended to read. It was http://www.aholyexperience.com/ (Ann Voskamp). I read a few posts on her page and was looking around and saw the High Calling Blogs badge in the side bar. Out of curiosity I clicked it!
Wow, what a great idea! High Calling Blogs is an amazing site (that I'm still learning to navigate!) that encourages bloggers with like Faith to share and network and encourage each other. A true community! Surely, this was a place I could fit in!
As a new "public" blogger I often feel like my blog is just sort of out there floating around in cyber space. I never know who is reading (unless they comment) or who God is touching with the words He gives to me. I am also keenly aware that my writing is simple and has a lot of room for growth - in style, technique, depth, grammatically, and the list goes on. I want to find a balance in having a blog that is done with enough quality that it is not distracting with flaws, yet has it's fullest potential met in glorifying God.
So, I joined High Calling Blogs! (http://www.highcallingblogs.com/) I am so excited to make some new friends and LEARN LEARN LEARN. And humbly hoping that God can use me in the big world of cyberspace.
Posted by just me at 7:52 AM
Saturday, January 17, 2009
I saw this video tonight and found it amazing. It speaks for itself, so for tonight, I'll be silent.
(be sure to hit pause on the music to the right before pushing the play arrow in the video)
Posted by just me at 11:27 PM
Friday, January 16, 2009
So, being direct has never been something I've been gifted at being. Should I want something you'll often find me, setting the stage, giving the background, defending my request that hasn't even been "requested" yet! Ask my husband. It drives him crazy.
It could sound something like this (me speaking to Eric, my husband).
"So, remember back when I told you about Lucy and the thing she was going through with the kids and how it was affecting her job? And then she had this other thing happen in her extended family. Well, now her husband had this work thing, which then meant she had to miss this fun thing, which now means that the time she and I had set up to meet can't happen. She's really upset and disappointed and I really think that she needs a friend right now and it's been on my heart to reach out to her.... It's just so sad. I've been praying for her and hoping I'd have a chance to encourage her."
(blah blah blah ad nauseum......is that the right word? hmm... spell check doesn't like it!)
Then he looks me and says, "So you should hang out. Call her, get together."
ME (*feeling satisfied and a lil sheepish that my ploy worked*), "Really? Thank you, that'd be great. I mean, I just think that she could use a friend and it's been a while since we got to have a heart to heart w/o kids running around or talking on the phone w/o having to deal with the madness of the kids running around like maniacs...." blah blah blah
TO which he says, "All you had to do was ASK!"
That's just ONE example of the countless ways I can figure out to delay "asking" in hopes that my husband will just "figure it out". It's a LOUSY way to communicate and it's equally unfair to both parties! Not only does it put him in the position of trying to "Read b/w the lines" (of which MOST men will tell you themselves, they are LOUSY at it!!!). They weren't made to read our minds, they weren't meant to have to decript our messages. And honestly, as women we send them such tremendous mixed signals, that even if they COULD read our minds, can you imagine the mental breakdowns they'd have, trying to keep up with us?! LOL Just look at that last sentence! Women, probably followed me, men, perhaps not! hee hee
I am striving to have more boldness in my requests to my husband! When I need to run out in the evening for something, after a hard day with the kids, I just ask. When I have a ministry obligation, I run it by him, directly. Instead of giving the 6 different reasons I need to be there, I just say, "Hey, I'm needed _________ and will that work okay with our schedule? It'd mean you'd need to cover the kids and do bedtime." To which, I kid you not - - 90% of the time, it's not a problem! He appreciates my more direct approach and doesn't feel manipulated into saying yes. I haven't fed him the "emotional sale". I'll still often want to explain the why even after the "go ahead" has been given... which, sometimes he still looks at me with this, "It's FINE, I already said YES" kind of look. LOL Isn't it just like us women, to wanna have the details and give the details! (*NOT* always a good thing as it can so easily lead to gossip and "chatter" but that's another topic for another day!! :) )
In the same way, God doesn't want us tip toeing around our requests to him either! And yet, we do - don't we? I know I do. I will speak in vague terms and not be specific in my prayers.
Matthew 7 says to be DIRECT with God. Out of the Message again (matthew 7:7-11)
"Don't bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn't a cat and mouse, hide and seek game we're in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn't think of such a thing. You're at least decent to your own children. So don't you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?"
So, why do we NOT ask for exactly what we want?
~shame that we're asking for things we WANT and not things we NEED?
~fear that he won't give us what we want?
~perhaps fear that he WILL give us what we want - and then we have to live with the consequences - whether those good or bad
~lack of depth to the relationship. We see Him like our drive thru "Go to guy". I'd like wisdom, with a side of mercy, and i'll take some everlasting life .... oh and can you biggee that too for an extra $10 bucks that I'll throw in next week's offering plate!?!"
~distractions - life's so busy we're lucky if we get a "hey God" in all day, let alone lay it out on the table what our needs are.
~assuming he just KNOWS already and what's the point in saying it all. (and yet he DOES. we were MADE to be in relationship with HIM. he desires our conversation and our affection in a deep, incredible way - unfathomable to me.. yet true! he wants to HEAR our cries and comfort us.... to meet us right where we're at, broken, joyful, thankful, in despair, wanting.....it's TRUE he KNOWS our thoughts... but to have a relationship work, takes 2 sides putting in the effort! I think we all know that when our relationship with the Lord is lacking, it's not b/c he's stepped away. we have.)
~the assumption we can just handle it on our own (yeah? how's that goin' for ya?! LOL)
God WANTS us to lay it all on the line. TO boldly come to him with our requests. To not approach him un with uncertainty and fear. Ephesians 3:12 says we can boldly come before HIM with CONFIDENCE! In the Message it uses this phrase "When we trust in him, we're free to say whatever needs to be said...." When we fully TRUST Him to give us what is BEST for us, we can ask with all kinds of freedom. Knowing He has our best in mind, KNOWING He will supply.... and with WHAT we need, WHEN we need it.
Like Matthew 7 said, we'd never intentionally with hold goodness from our children out of evil intentions. We want their happiness, yes. But most of all we want their safety, their lives to be blessed, their hearts to be soft toward the Lord and their spirits to be giving and loving. Sure, we can't/don't always give them what they WANT. But we see the big picture. We see how 2 steps down the path, that choice would be destructive.
God sees the whole picture. Trust in today's "frame" and know that it's a snapshot on the adventure and that as each day unfolds, so does HIS marvelous plan for our lives. And ASK to your hearts content for the things that you desire. In the process, examine your heart and your motives and then truly just lay it out there before him. He will answer - one way or another. And when he does... TRUST it.
SO... in a practical way - how am I praying specifically these days?
Here are a few to get your brainstorming on how you can to.
1. God would give me good deals at the grocery store on the needs and that at the end of the month, I would have left over in my grocery budget.
2. I am praying for my husband, in very specific ways - a soft heart for the Lord, integrity at work, a joyful spirit with his co-workers, a playfulness with the kids, understanding for me (his crazy wife!), and more...
3. For my children: that they would be hungry for the Lord, be eager to learn and soak up stories and think about how it applies to their lives. That they would be selfless - NOT selfish. That God would grow them individually and that they would committ to following Him and using their lives for His glory.
4. For myself: that I will continue to earnestly seek Him. Ask him His opinion, be silent and listen for his answer. that my friendship with the Father would grow and deepen, rooting itself in a love that can never be shaken or moved. That i would be SLOW to anger.... and quick to LISTEN to my family. That i can bless my husband and honor him infront of my kids. That they would see a united team. And that I keep myself open to whatever path God would call me down.
Go make yourself a list. :)
Posted by just me at 12:47 PM
Saturday, January 10, 2009
A few days ago, I picked up my Bible and the page had fallen open to Matthew 6 (The Message). I'd read it months ago, and had even highlighted some verses that had touched me. And yet, my eyes were seeing the words with a renewed interest. In verse 19 Jesus is warning against storing up our treasures on earth... and advising to "stockpile" treasures in Heaven. I thought about the idea of treasures for a while and even asked some friends what they thought "our Heavenly treasures" were. It was good food for thought.
But, those were not the verses that really hit me, this time.
Those verses started at verse 25:
If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don't fuss about what's on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.... (vs 30)... If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers - most of which are never even seen - don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with "getting" so you can respond to God's "giving". People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep you life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. GIVE your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.
Right before this passage Jesus is telling his disciples that they can only worship one god. If they love one, they'll have to hate the other, two can not coincide! Loving God and loving money or material matters won't work. And then he goes on to say that if we pick Christ... or focus will shift from all those worldly things! Our minds will not be set on where we think we're failing from the worlds perspective. Our God is a GOD of provisions and faithfulness. A God of making and keeping promises to us. A God of love.
I love the phrase where he says the birds live "careless in the care of God". WOW. Can you even wrap your mind around that?! How often do we go through our day and have anxiety pop up. Worries about this and that and big stuff and petty stuff?! Countless! How is it that we can so quickly forget who's arms are carrying us?!
The other word choice in The Message, that i just LOVED, b/c it gives me such a visual, is when it says that we are to "steep" our lives in God. It gives me this picture of a tea bag. It's like Christ is the tea bag and I'm this cup of water. We all know the longer the tea bag is IN the water, the stronger the tea right? Steeping takes time and conditions generally have to be right. Most tea bags "steep" better in hot water. Don't ask me why because Science wasn't my thing in high school! But it completely relates to our Christian walks as well. When we are HOT for God. When we are passionate and walking with Him daily, living in surrender, living a life desperate to please HIS heart, His spirit comes in and starts to steep in our souls. Starts to fill us up, starts to mature and deepen our desire and our intimacy with the Father!!! It's soothing, it's inviting, it's comfort and it's home.
And then "something" happens. Perhaps it's hard times. Perhaps it's a failed relationship, a loss of job, a loss of a loved one, a recurring habit, anger, depression, you fill in the blank. Our eyes shift.. with a blink we can find ourselves distracted... somehow the world can seem like it has the answers or looks inviting to human desires.
Gradually, the hotness turns to warmth... which quickly fades to a coolness that seems distant from the Father.
Go back with me to the cup of water. Imagine now, that the water is cool. The tea bag enters the water, at first sort of floating on top, gradually filling with water and sinking into the cup. With the absence of the heat, the tea doesn't spread into the water with the intensity, speed, or strength that it did in the hot water. It's potency and strength fails to match that of the hot cup! And it's due to the conditions!
SO is the Spirit in our hearts. When we become cool or aloof to the spirit, the power He has in our lives diminishes! Christ is still present! He promises to never leave us. But when our hearts are distracted and have wandered from His, our hearts and souls can NOT be filled with the Spirit. We can't walk in HIS fullness, we can't bask in HIS presence with the same peace, and we can not reach and meet His highest calling on our lives.
Check out a definition I found of the word "steep". Apply my crazy tea bag philosophy... reflect and think. Ask God to open your eyes.
steep 2 (stp)
Where are you in the steeping process?
Posted by just me at 10:30 PM
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Why are you trying to earn grace
Why are you crying
Let me lift up your face
Just don't turn away
Why are you looking for love
Why are you still searching as if I'm not enough
To where will you go child
Tell me where will you run
To where will you run
And I'll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don't fight
These hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you
Look at these hands and my side
They swallowed the grave on that night
When I drank the world's sin
So I could carry you in
And give you life
I want to give you life
Cause I, I love you
I want you to know
That I, I love you
I'll never let you go
Posted by just me at 11:21 AM
This morning I thought I'd make biscuits since we just got a new "honey bear" and the kids love biscuits and honey. I was up and around with plenty of time. Moment's later, Carissa was by my side, step stool pulled over the counter asking what I was doing and could she help.
(Now, all of us mom's can probably agree, that it's far easier to cook and bake alone. It gets done faster and not to mention with LESS mess!)
But I said, "Sure."
I got the ingredients and the mixing bowl out. She was eager to help dump and stir. She only got a little bit of flour out of the bowl! :) When it came time to roll out the dough she was insistent upon taking the rolling pin on by herself.
I knew she couldn't do it herself. She didn't have the leverage, the muscle strength, or the experience needed to get the job done. I watched her struggle and push the rolling pin.... often going over the same chunk of rolled dough because it was the smoothest path in front of her. To get to the thicker dough would mean asking for help, it would mean she'd not be successful on her own. I let her try for a minute or two, and then asked if she'd like to do it together. My hands took the outside of the rolling pin handles and applied more pressure was we rolled the dough out. With our hands together, we shaped and smoothed, and created the shape we needed. We then used a cup and cut out our round biscuits, popped them in the oven and then enjoyed them with butter and honey. Yum.
In the minute or two that I watched her struggle on her own with the dough, God came me a glimpse through his eyes. Together he and I will start something, but then all too soon, I'll feel confidence in myself and I'll slip His hands off of mine, and tackle the job myself. It sometimes feels easy at first, but then things get tough. I muddle through, making a mess, repeating old habits or attitudes because they are the easiest or most natural to my human nature. Choosing to work on the harder areas in my life would mean asking for help and it would sure mean admitting that I had failed on my own. And in the middle of my "doing it myself" a sense of lonliness starts to creep in. And then I hear it, "I'm still here, sweetie. I'd love to help, let's finish this together!"
And eagerly, I ask His hands to join mine again... working together we're a team that can't be messed with. He turns my mess into beauty, he transforms my mistakes and failings into opportunities to show his grace, mercy, love, and power.
I'm glad I said "yes" to Carissa this morning and grateful for the glimpse of "me" through God's eyes.
Posted by just me at 10:35 AM
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Mirror mirror on the wall.... how often do we look to the mirror (or others?!) to reflect back to us what we desire to see? How often do we look at ourselves, with critical eyes and result with frowns of disappointment or discontentment?
Happens all the time here.
Over the years, I have gone through phases of placing scriptures or thoughts on my mirror. It's the perfect place to put thoughts or verses to ponder. Right now the following verse is printed out on some paper and taped to my mirror.
Psalm 19:13 (The Message)I LOVE THIS LORD! What an awesome way to start my day with you! Wipe it clean Lord, lets start this day TOGETHER, fresh. And keep me from those stupid sins, that get in the way of our fellowship, that get in the way of YOU shining through me, that don't make YOU look good, Lord. My heart has been washed clean, scrubbed into every nook and cranny, not one speck of blackness remains... all by Your blood. These are my thoughts, my meditations, my ponderings... May they be fit for your presence, may they be honoring to your name, and may you accept them as my offering of praise.... as i lift them to you in worship, this very day!
Clean the slate, God, so we can start the day fresh!
Keep me from stupid sins, from thinking I can take over your work;
Then I can start this day sun-washed, scrubbed clean of the grime of sin.
These are the words in my mouth;
These are what I chew on and pray.
Accept them when I place them on the morning alter,
O God, my Alter-Rock, God, Priest of my My Alter-Rock.
Put something POSITIVE on your mirror today! Don't look to the visual to give you merit. Use the WORD of God to speak straight talk to your heart.
Posted by just me at 9:53 PM