Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Awake My Soul

I won't even lie to you. I'm feeling very alive this morning! It's such a good feeling to be back in a place of worship, a place where you're passion is busting from the seams, a place where your heart has been from day one of meeting Jesus. I've learned, that digging yourself deeper into a pit of disappointment isn't going to get you any closer to trying to make a difference for Jesus in this world. It sickens me to know how much time I've wasted on things that are completely out of my control anyway.
Nevertheless, it's good to be back.
These past two days, I've been studying in the Book of Proverbs. For me, it's a tough book and as I read through, every chapter seems to be a harder pill to swallow. I've always heard though, that anything worth doing is never easy. I'm finding though, that my biggest problem isn't reading through these chapters and knowing that I'm a sinner. (A sinner saved by grace, mind you) It's consistency.
(of a person, behavior, or process) unchanging in achievement or effect over a period of time. 
If you find this word in the dictionary, don't worry, you won't find my picture there. Sometimes, I shake my head at my own self because as a Christian, I've been equipped with all the right tools and half the time I don't even use them. I've found myself to be an inconsistent follower of Jesus. Honestly, that's probably the biggest truth I've told myself in a really long time.
It feels good to be honest with myself.
The good news, is that Jesus doesn't beat me up for it. So I'm not going to beat myself up either. Jesus is willing to forgive me and move on to greater things, and so I'm going to do the same. There is so much more that I could continue to write, but I can see my open Bible from of the corner of my eye and it's calling my name.
I'm ready for my soul to awake.
Speak to me, Lord. I'm your's. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Ever After: Life Lessons in my Castle of Chaos

Once upon a time...
All the good fairy tales begin this way. It's four words that all of us girls, of all ages love to hear. I remember as a kid, reading all of the best fairy tale stories, which soon turned into timeless and classic movies. Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White. At the end, all of these princesses found their prince charming and got the beautiful castle that we all dream about.

The perfect man and the perfect home. Dreamy sigh...

As an adult, I still sometimes find myself in dreamland. I've often been referred to as a dreamer. I personally love being called that. Who doesn't want to see a "Prince Charming" kind of love, "Knight in Shining Armor" goodness, and "heart melting" chilvary in our marriages? A happily ever after? I've even found myself, trying to pull off what I see in the movies, with my very own Prince Charming. ( I've been told by one of our mutual friends that I didn't marry the prince, I married the frog down by the creek bank. In his defense, most southern prince charming's are indeed found by the creek bank. ) I love to watch all the "chick flicks", and read all of the romantic books. I'm a total sap for the Lifetime Movie Network, and the Hallmark Channel. My thought is this: somebody thought it up and made it a movie, so why can't it be real? Why can't life really be like the movies and the books?

Fairy tale: a made-up story usually designed to mislead. (Vicki Courtney)

As good as it all sounds, fairy tales and sappy movies only sugar coat what reality really is. They fail to see all the "in between" life lessons and experiences that happen after the fairy tale wedding and the honey moon.

These kinds of thoughts, and more, is what I'll be dealing with and studying during the next six weeks in my newest Bible study by Vicki Courtney. It's called, "Ever After: life lessons learned in my castle of chaos."

It's so funny, because I had seen this particular study in the Bible book store about a week ago. I had it in my hands, but I quickly put it back on the shelf because I found a book that I liked better. Just the other day, I was on my way back to the bookstore, to get another study that I had found online. When I got there, they were completely sold out of the study that I was so excited to start. Disappointed, I roamed around the bookstore a little more, and guess what I found myself face to face with? You got it. "Ever After". I looked over it again, and put it back on the shelf. As I continued to walk around, I began to feel a little more strongly that this was the study for me. My heart said to go back and get it. So I did.

You see, that's why God is in control and not me. He knew what I wanted, and what I needed. Unfortunately, what I wanted was not in His plans for me at the moment. So I can only conclude that whatever is in this study, is something that God needs me to know, right now.

That's why I trust Him.
He knows what's best for us, right? Right.
So here I go...

Friday, March 7, 2014

Safe In His Arms

Sometimes at night, one or both of my daughters will find themselves calling out to me. I answer them, to which they usually reply, "never mind" and then they drift right back off to dreamland. For the longest time, I wondered why in the world they would do that, and often times I would find myself in a state of complete irritation, because my only answer was that they were doing it for pure aggravation. One night, it dawned on me that they weren't doing it out of aggravation. They were doing it because they simply wanted to know that I was close. They wanted to feel safe, and secure while they slept. If you're a parent, then I'm sure you can imagine, or relate to at one point or another in your journey of parenthood, to the feeling of guilt that had overwhelmed me, and had quickly overtaken my body. I had, for the longest time, silently accused my precious little darlings of "aggravation" assault in the first degree. 
After emotionally beating myself up, and begging the very merciful and forgiving Man upstairs to forgive my horrid thoughts, I have never allowed myself to venture down the road of irritation again. I happily answer each and every time they call. 
The more I think about it though, the more I find myself  relating to their need for comfort and security. Just as they need it from me, I need it from Jesus. Thankfully, His thoughts don't venture down the road of irritation, and He doesn't accuse me of "aggravation" assault in the first degree. He lovingly answers every single time that I call. It doesn't matter what time of the day or night it is, he's always there when I need him. During hard times, when the battle is raging. During moments of praise, and happy times. It's a never ending act of love and affection on His part.
In these last few days, I've had to come to terms with the reality of high blood pressure. I've actively avoided it for years, even though in the back of my mind I've always known that it runs in my family and it will probably be a very real issue in my life. That realization finally came face to face with me, by way of a very sweet ER doctor who said that I should have been on blood pressure medication yesterday. He didn't give me much of a choice as he tossed two pills down my throat, in order to lower my BP that was rising at a very rapid pace. After happily being sedated by pain medication as well, for the very bad headache I was having, I remember being upset with the nurse because he only sedated me and didn't knock me out. Ya know, that was simply for the birds. The least they could do was knock me out, and let me sleep in peace for a while. I was completely okay with the idea of having a mini vacation away from life, right there in the hospital. 
While under sedation, I had a moment where I was feeling a little scared by the whole ordeal, and I found myself in major communications with God. I was in need of comfort and security. I needed reassurance that I would be okay. In the back of my mind I knew I would be, but I needed to know that He was there. We talked for a few minutes and I was okay after that. I was able to calmly rest during the remainder of my stay.
As I think back on these things, it makes me thankful. Thankful that I'm still here to answer my kids when they call out to me at night. Thankful that God guides the hands and minds of the good doctors. Thankful that no matter what life dishes out at me, I have someone to call upon when I'm in need of comfort and reassurance. His name is Jesus.
So let life rage on. We have a comforter, and a great physician. We have a  man who can calm the rage. Isn't it good to know that we can be safe in His arms?

Love in Jesus Christ.

Friday, December 13, 2013

A Deeper Walk With God

Lately, I'm finding out that I'm not truly satisfied with where things stand in my relationship with the Lord. I long to grow nearer to Him, and I have purposely and actively made the choice to do something about it. If you know me, then you know what a stickler I am for change. This kind of change though, or as I like to call it, a spiritual reconstruction is a good thing. As a matter of fact, it's probably one of the most important and vital kind of changes that I will ever make. Truthfully, I won't actually be making the important changes. Yes, I will be taking on an active part in the whole process, but I'm not the Potter or the Master Builder. I am simply the clay. The clay that He will continue to mold into a beautiful, willing vessel. A vessel that is pleasing to Him, my King. My job is to willingly put myself into His hands and let Him work as only He can do.
"But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make." -Jeremiah 18:4 (NASB)
I am so thankful for what He has already done in my life, up to this point. He has loved me with an unconditional and everlasting love. He has loved me faithfully, tenderly, and with such patience and gentleness. God has carried me through some pretty tough times in my life. As I reflect on those times now, I realize that back then, I wondered where He was and why He was allowing these tough times to happen and linger in my life. As I grow and allow Him to re-make me, my heart is starting to truly understand that He had always been there. He had never forsaken me or left my side. Not even for a second. Deep down I had always known it, but it had been buried so deep, until God had to go way down and bring it back up into the light. As far as the circumstances, I believe that there is a divine purpose for them and I know something beautiful will come from my pain. Something uplifting and glorifying in His honor. 
...For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you."-Hebrews 13:5 (NKJV)
As I continue on this journey for truth, and strive for a deeper walk with my Lord, I pray that you will whisper my name in your prayers. I pray that you will find it in your hearts to bare with me as I try to be still and listen for His guidance in my life. Changes will come, so know that I am not crazy or spontaneously unsure. Know that I am doing my very best to be in His obedient will, because I love Him and I want to be SOLD OUT.
Until He calls me home.
Love in Jesus Christ.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Sponges and Opportunities

All this week, I've tried extra hard to commit to staying on track with the Bible study that I'm doing. I don't mean just going through the motions, I mean really engaging myself in prayer and meditation.
I'll be honest. As silly as this may sound, I have constantly referred to myself as a sponge instead of a Bible student.  Yes, a sponge. Sponges soak in the water and it stays there until you squeeze it out. I want to soak in every little bit that God's word has to offer and I want to keep it in my heart and in my mind, until God guides me on how to release it and use it in the way that I live. Ways that are pleasing and acceptable to him. If that makes sense. What's weird to me though, about the whole sponge concept is the fact that my first thought is ALWAYS SpongeBob square pants! Don't worry, I'm shaking my head too. It's simply a symptom of having children. Just so you know, anyone who doesn't want to slap that thought right out of my head is doing me a great injustice.
I'm just saying.
Anyway, back to my thoughts at hand. This week, God has brought to my attention, some really important lessons, that through my daily ventures I have failed to see on my own. There is one realization that has grabbed my attention. I realized that I have been living with a great God given opportunity, and I have failed to take full advantage of it.
Who does that?!
I'm a homemaker. A stay at home mom. My husband and I together, have decided that for now, my place should be at home so that I can be involved in every aspect of our children's lives without having to work time with them, around a work schedule. Don't get me wrong, I so admire women who work a full time job and raise a family. One day I will probably venture back out into the world of working outside the home, but for now I feel like my most important job lies at home. As a homemaker, I have a little more time on my hands than most, so almost everyday this week, all this spare time has run through my head. How am I spending my time? Am I using it wisely? Is God pleased with how I'm using it? All of these questions have raced through my head at least once this week, and then it dawns on me. I started to wonder if there has been a specific reason this whole time, for why my husband and I chose for me to work inside the home verses outside.
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) says, " For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." 
This whole time, I have been wasting precious time and opportunity with the Lord. Here, he has blessed me and put me in a position where I have more time than most to soak in His word and grow as a humble servant for Him! What if he purposely put me in this position in order to mold me and ready me for a greater purpose in the future?!
And here I am, foolishly wasting it! I am so thankful that He is tender and patient, as He so lovingly puts up with my "Whew! That went right above this child's head!" personality. So now that it's been brought to my attention, and I've been handed the reigns, I have to decide what to do with it. Since I was ten years old, there has been nothing that I've wanted more in this world than to serve Jesus with my whole heart. To make a difference in this world as He works thru me. I have such a passion for Him and there has always been something inside of me that wants to yell as loudly as I can, for all to hear about this great love I have inside of me. Ya know, maybe that's why I love to blog, and why I love to be on every social network available. Maybe God has something to say thru me, but He's waiting on my actions to match my passion. He may not have anything greater for me to do other than grow, as I raise my family to be humble servants for Him, but whatever His plans are I need Him to know that I am a willing vessel, and I choose to put aside childish things and get to work because time is a wasting.  
Hello... What am I waiting for? There is work to be done.