Tag Archives: life

Not Forsaking the Assembly

I feel like it’s been forever since my last post.  It also feels like forever since I’ve had a moment to myself.

November came and went, the following is an abbreviated version of last months happenings: First came my daughter’s annual costume (birthday) party, then prepping my hubbie for his 2 1/2 week trip out of the country,  next it was Thanksgiving, then remotely planning my brothers 30th birthday party and today I said goodbye to my last house guest.

Towards the end of this week, I began clamoring for my “closet” time.  I felt like I should have spent more time alone with God,  somehow I wanted to feel guilty for all the time I spent  with others, hosting, laughing, cleaning, dancing, playing games, planning, cooking, staying up late and sleeping in.  Although I didn’t feel wrong in my heart, my mind wanted to hold me captive.

This past week was the most fun, my girlfriend that I grew up with came to stay with me.  She usually comes for a week when my husband is out of town and it’s such a blessing because we have such a great time and it takes my mind off the fact that my best friend is 5,048.2 miles away.

As soon as she left, I spend a few moments alone in the quiet wondering if I had done enough.  I thought, Gosh we had so much fun but was God able to use me?  Usually when she comes we have these 4 hour deep, tear jerking,  life changing conversations and we didn’t have that this time.  Had I failed my friend?  Especially at a time where she’s going through a difficult transition?  Should I have skipped the nightly dance routines in my living room or the $57 sushi “snack” for two that we mistakenly ordered from a menu with no prices?

Oh my goodness, I’ve got to call her now and say something profound!

In the midst of my thoughts I caught a vision of God chuckling at me, but I paid no attention to it and continued to ask Him to give me the right words to say to my friend.  I spent some time reading the Word and then some time in prayer.  Afterwards, I called my friend as she was driving back home.  My time alone with the Lord gave me nothing “profound” to say, so when she answered the phone I began with an apology.  “Hey sis, I’m sorry that I didn’t have much to share with you this week, I asked the Lord to give me the words of encouragement and wisdom to share with you on your journey home, but I got nothing.”

The opposite side of the phone produced a hearty chuckle, one that I’m sure was my friend and God in unison.  She said what are you talking about? I was so encouraged by “this” and “that”…….she began reflecting on the small things I said in passing, the ways that I served her, the joy that she experienced through our silly adventures.  God had given her so much through us just spending time together.  My heart rejoiced.  We talked a little longer and I shared what her presence had done for me as well.

We hung up the phone,  THEN God decides he wants to speak to me (classic God timing)

He said, relationships are very important.  You must never forget that you have an amazing relationship with Me, so you can have an amazing relationship with others.  

He was absolutely right.  Ummm, I guess I didn’t need to say that.  But He showed me, to everything there is a season.  Sometimes we may be have tons of uninterrupted alone time with the Lord and other times, it is time for us to take what we’ve gained from our private time with Him and let it ooze out onto everyone else.

Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,  not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Be Blessed.

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Bacon Cheeseburger Please

As a mother my responsibility to my kids is to love, clothe, feed and house them.  I do this constantly. Most of the the time they don’t even realize it or thank me.  I hear “Thanks for dinner mom”,  on nights  when I make Orange Chicken and Tater tots.  I didn’t get any rave reviews last week when I made Potato Soup.  I’m the “best mom ever” when I bring home ice cream, or let them go to a friends house.  But if I said, hey today were not going anywhere or doing anything fun I’m just gonna sit around and hug and love you guys all day.  I’m sure it would be dubbed the worst day ever.
I make sacrifices to feed my children a certain way, a few weeks ago, I bought sockeye salmon the stuff is not cheap but it’s so good for you.  The kids had testing in school so I was trying to load them up on Omega 3’s and EFA’s like it would immediately go to their brain and make them smarter.  They did not like it, I could have bought some processed chicken wings from Walmart and they would have been in heaven.  Again they were clueless to the purpose of dinner that night.  Honestly, I understand that they like chicken wings better than Salmon.  But it hurts when they turn their nose up to something that I worked hard to provide them for their own benefit.  I don’t expect them to start doing cartwheels at the sight of salmon but I want them to  at least understand that when I put something on the table that they don’t particularly like it’s for a purpose.
I try not to take it personal. I know my kids love me, but they’re kids.  Do we love God?  Sure, but we’re kids too.  Ok fine, grown ups with a jacked up human nature.
God is a good God, he actually wants to please us …he does not want to withhold good things from us and everything He does in our lives He has a purpose for it.  But sometimes it’s hard to see that.  We want a bacon cheeseburger and God gives us a salad with no croutons.
Instead of trying to find the benefit in what He’s doing, we complain.
Why can’t we just say I don’t like Salad but if that’s what you want me to have I’m going to  trust you and eat it until you choose to give me a bacon burger.  I’d like to take it a step further and say……you know what even if I never get that bacon burger, you’re still amazing and if you think this Salad is what I need, then salad is enough for me.
Psalms 84:11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory:no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. (KJV)

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Stay Connected

Our responsibility as believers is to Abide (to stay or remain) in Christ and allow His word to Abide in us.  I’m so glad Jesus used illustrations and parables when he taught because I tend to be a visual learner.  In John 15: 1-11 Jesus talks about how He is the vine and we are the branches.  “He who abides in Me and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” When speaking of trees, vines and branches, it only makes sense that when the branch is connected to the tree it will produce, thrive and grow.  When a branch is disconnected from a vine it will eventually shrivel up and die.

Makes perfect sense in Nature.

Makes perfect sense in Parable Land.

I’ll even go as far as to say that it makes sense when we think in terms of Eternity.

But how much sense does it make on a subtle level?

What sparked this post was a T-shirt a lady was wearing at the gym.  I was sitting down doing lat pull downs and I felt kinda BLAH, like I was just going through the motions.  I couldn’t quite figure out the feeling.  Soon after, a lady passed by me wearing a pink tattered racer back tee that said, Abide in Me on the front.

One of those moments where you stop and think, God are you trying to tell me something?

This was around 9:15 a.m., my entire day began to flash before my eyes.  It started at 5:00 a.m. with me pressing snooze 3 times and trying to get a last snuggle in with my husband before he and my oldest daughter set off for her 5th grade trip to Tybee Island.  I dropped them off at 6:00 a.m., came back home and got my other 2 children ready to meet the school bus @ 7:00 a.m. Last but not least I had to deal with wardrobe malfunctions from a 3 year old  who said her socks were too slouchy and her shirt was and yes I quote, “not her style”.  8:20 a.m. we are off to the gym and almost an hour later I’m sitting there thinking…..

I’ve been up for 4 hours and I feel….. disconnected.

Now I did pray with my daughter before she left and my prayer was honest and sincere, but I believe I stopped at Amen.

I am in no way suggesting that I should have prayed a longer prayer.   What I am suggesting is that sometimes we can pray, or worship or whatever we do to connect with God and when we’re done we get off our knees and get on to our day.  Subconsciously, we leave God and His Presence right there until we come back to that spot next time.

Abiding in Him is so much more of a heart position than it is a check list type action.

To me Abiding is when my thoughts are linked to His Words.  It’s when the constant noise in my head is shut off and I’m in the moment enjoying life.  It’s when I feel like I’m not alone. Abiding for me is when I go through my day and I’m sure that somehow everything will fall in line. It’s when I laugh at something that should have made me upset and when I feel beautiful without a single compliment.

Abiding in Him produces much fruit, not only in our lives but in the lives of those around us.  Read John 15.  Discover all over again how much we need to stay connected.

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Is your heart longing?

” All of creation longs for the Creator”

This is something I say all the time.  I’m not sure if that’s my original quote or if I’ve heard it or read it somewhere and it’s stuck in my subconscious.  Either way its something I believe to be true.  I’ve always been intrigued by those adoption or switched at birth stories that make national news every once in a while.  The children in these cases always talk about how they longed to find their birth parents.  In the cases where the children did not know that they were in the wrong family, they mention things like: “I always felt different” or “something inside me knew I was not complete”.

In my own life, I grew up with an abusive dad.  I was removed from him around age 7 and have not seen him since.  Almost 26 years later my heart still longs for him in many ways.  It’s weird but I believe it’s only natural.

This principle applies even in nature.  Penguins for example are born in very large groups yet they never get “switched at birth” and they can always find their mama.

What about a more classic example, “Are you my Mother?” The story where a hatching bird can’t find his mother and goes around asking an irritated cow, dog, hen and kitten if they are his mother.   When the animals refuse him, he gets desperate and asks a plane, boat and power shovel….”Are you my mother?”

Crazy huh?  But it goes to show that humans, animals, and illustrated characters will do whatever it takes to find the one that created them.

The bird in P.D. Eastman’s story may seem in need of a psych evaluation after asking things that look nothing like him, if they were his mother.  Now the airplane, OK maybe I can see the resemblance. But the cow? C’mon that’s a stretch.

Genesis 1:26 says we were made in His image.  Everyone. Not just a few of us.  So we are ALL longing for God, our Heaven Father whether we acknowledge Him or not.

Much like the skinny, half baked bird…We often search after things that don’t resemble us or reflect our Heavenly Father. How many times do we desire to find temporary comfort in the arms of another person, a financial increase, or perhaps an addiction?

When we’re lost, or simply confused about our life, it’s natural to search…But eventually it’s time to come home.

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.                                                                                                             Jeremiah 29:11-14

 

Additional Scriptures:

Matthew 11:28

Galatians 3:26

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No Escape

Psalm 139:7-16 is such a beautiful passage.  Today I’m marveling in the fact that I literally can not escape God.  He knew me before I knew myself and His plans for us are sure.  Be encouraged…

Where can I go from your Spirit?

Where can I flee from your presence?

If I go up to the heavens, you are there;

if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,

if I settle on the far side of the sea,

even there your hand will guide me,

your right hand will hold me fast.

If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me

and the light become night around me,”

even the darkness will not be dark to you;

the night will shine like the day,

for darkness is as light to you.

For you created my inmost being;

you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful,

I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you

when I was made in the secret place.

When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

your eyes saw my unformed body.

All the days ordained for me

were written in your book

before one of them came to be.

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Trick or Treat?

For most today is Halloween, at my house it’s hump day.  A regular boring Wednesday, no candy, no costumes, no compromises.

As a family we have chosen not to celebrate Halloween.  Fear, even in its most subtle forms will never be welcomed in our home.  And we’ve been through enough to know that the spirit realm is real and evil is not something to be played with.

My husband and I have 4 children 10 and under (My, that sounds better than the times I used to say 4 children 6 and under).  For the most part my children understand the choices we make and why we make them.  My oldest has always done a very good job of leading the younger children.  Tonight was a little different,  it started around 3:00 she asked, “are we doing anything fun tonight?”  I didn’t quite pick up on her question until I was making dinner and she came in and asked, “did you celebrate Halloween when you were a kid?” “was it fun?” Now, I was aware of what was on her heart.  I answered honestly, “Yes I celebrated Halloween as a child and yes it was fun.”

I went on to tell her the funny things I dressed up as, the time I went to a haunted house and almost peed my pants because I could smell the gas from the chainsaw.  I told her how my mom would drive us to the “rich” part of town so that we could rack up on the King-Sized Snickers.

I also told her about the time my girlfriend and I spent hours decorating sheets of paper with bible scriptures on them to pass out instead of candy.  Even my mom thought I was weird! I was 16 when I had my first conviction about Halloween. I don’t know what sparked it, but I was convinced that everyone who came to my door that night was going to leave believing in Jesus.  The next morning we woke up and saw, I’m sure what was 90% of our lovely scriptures thrown on the grass or lining the streets with rest of the candy wrapper litter.

My daughter is getting to the point where things have to be real to and for her.  I can’t say, “Halloween’s Bad” like I can to my 3 year old and that be the end of it.  She’s dealing with feeling left out, missing out and wanting to experience what the masses and even some of her close christian friends are experiencing.  I understand that and it was written all over her face.

After we talked she walked away and I could tell our talk had not satisfied her.  Sure enough a few minutes later I heard a soft whimpering in the stairway.

I found her and held her. I said I want you to have fun, it hurts my heart that you may not have the opportunity to do some of the things I did as a child, but I am responsible to God for you and this is how I believe God wants our family to live.  We are set apart from certain things.  I held her a little tighter but I could tell she was still not convinced, I let her go and told her to ask God to reveal His plan to her.  She wiped her eyes and agreed.

The night went on like normal, we ate dinner, laughed and talked like we always do.  At bed time my husband requires that the kids read a chapter of Proverbs and do sit ups and push ups.  I told you in yesterday’s post, Running the Race he was a fitness guru!

Right around 8:30 the kids all rushed downstairs eager to share with us what they learned.  My 6 year old summed it up like this, “if you go left you’re wrong, if you go right you’re wrong.  If you make a U- Turn you might be ok just as long as you stay straight!”  I wanted to laugh so hard because I was wondering how he came to that conclusion.  It was so cute but I dare not insult him with laughter because he was serious about this revelation.  Everyone had a turn to share, I finally asked, “Umm, where exactly were you guys reading from?”  My oldest daughter brought clarity to it all.  She read Proverbs 4:25-27 from her Student Bible:

25 Let your eyes look directly forward,
and your gaze be straight before you.
26 Ponder the path of your feet;
then all your ways will be sure.
27 Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
turn your foot away from evil.

She went on to explain that she has look straight ahead and think about the path that her is own path. Not the path of anyone else.  She understands why we don’t celebrate Halloween and she said now she believes she knows what God wants her to do.

Thank you Lord! You are a better parent than I could ever be.  My daughter was content, and I could not have given her that if I tried. What real a”KING-sized” treat. I was touched by her words and understanding and I pray you are too.

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Is God Enough?

God himself is not enough for us, it’s sad but it’s true.  A few months ago I was stepping out of the shower, why that’s important to mention I don’t know..I guess because God usually speaks to me in the shower.  Anyway he said if you were locked in a dark janitors closet for the rest of your life would I be enough?  (In this dark closet somehow I knew I could still use the bathroom and eat and stuff, so I was alive) but the first thoughts I had were what I needed: light, fresh air, hugs, guacamole, activities, human interaction, cozy socks, etc.  I wanted to say no.  I still want to say no.  I didn’t answer that immediately but God knew what I was thinking.  He said why? Why am I alone not enough?  I was embarrassed.

Of course God’s not planning to lock me in a janitors closet, at least I hope he’s not.  But if for some reason I found myself in that situation or a more realistic one like dealing with a sickness or suffering a loss, would God be enough for me?

How often do we look at this limited view of life: our circle, our friends, and compare ourselves? How often do we let what’s advertised define what we should have, instead of realizing that by simply being alive we are blessed?

I need God to be enough for me, no matter what I’m going through, but it’s not anything that He can do.
He already is, already was and always will be enough.
It’s something that I must continue to understand.
I’m reminded of Moses and the time he asked God how should he introduce Him to the children of Israel.  God said, “I AM WHO I AM” (because it’s in all caps I think God was shouting, 🙂 ) God said, “tell the children of Israel I AM has sent me to you.”  I don’t know what Moses was thinking at that time, but my first thought is I AM? what kind of name is that?  I AM..what?
That’s just it though.  No more needs to be said.
I AM {any and everything that you will ever need}
{Insert:} Healer, Provider, Comforter, Helper, Protector……the list goes on and on
Be encouraged today, God is more than Enough.
Check out Moses’ story in the book of Exodus.  Reference mentioned comes from Exodus 3:14

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