Deep Breaths

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Note:  I know that not all of my readers are moms, but I need to take this mom moment anyway.

Today was a day, okay?!?!  Busy, like most days, but as I was texting with one of my sister-Frans earlier tonight, I described myself as an introvert living in an extroverted situation, daily.

I am a stay at home mom.

I prayed for this.  Which in itself is an irony because I was the girl who never wanted children.  I mean, never.  I thought that this would cause problems in my marriage because Huni wanted children the minute we said “I do” but I said, “Boy, NO!”  So he waited, patiently, as God worked on my heart and then gave it desires for beautiful babies.  Then God filled those desires twice over.  And when we discovered that we were preggers with the first, then got her in our arms, I knew immediately that I wanted to be like the Levite woman and hide her away (Exodus 1:2).  So, I prayed that the Lord would bless us financially so that I could stay home and care for my new baby girl.  I worked part time and kept praying.  Months passed and my belly became swollen once more with yet another sweet surprise and my prayers became more urgent and intense as I felt that my best was compromised because I gave a percentage of it away everyday when I went off to educate other people’s children.  And He did it.  He gave Huni a job through which He chooses to bless us with income that allows me to spend my days with my baby girls.

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Each week, I face hard days.  But each day, I enjoy sweet moments.  Every few hours, I have to repent.  But every second, if I pause to receive it, grace abounds.  I see myself and the lack of patience, gentleness and understanding with which I parent.  I mourn over not being able to get it right.   I crave alone time and give way to self entitlement so that at the end of the day when the girls are sleeping, I can selfishly say, this is finally MY time, please just let me have MY time (but sometimes I don’t say it that nicely).  Instead of reflecting on the joy and love I felt as the Levite woman, I become the garden woman, tempted by the crafty serpent to slap God’s hand away by looking to what I cannot have, ungrateful for all that presently I have (Genesis 3).  And so, combined with legitimate fatigue of the mind and body, my emotions weigh and sway to the ebb and flow of condemnation, to gratefulness, to discouragement about the outcome of today, to hope for a better outcome tomorrow.  But, God’s grace abounds.

Tonight I had a good talk with another of my sweeeeet sister-Frans.  We laughed.  I felt a little lighter after a hectic day and found, through my twitter feed, this little video here:  A New Perspective For Moms from Elevation Church on Vimeo.  It felt like God’s gracious reminder to me that satan loves to use our weaknesses to distract us and cause us to take our eyes off of the One who can make us strong.  Oh, that I would train myself to fix my eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2).

To all moms (and all of you who hope to be moms, or know a mom, or have ever had a mom . . .):  Everyday is Mother’s Day.  Happy Mother’s Day to you.  My goal is to see myself more through God’s eyes, not my expectations and failings.  Will you join me?  As a wife, mom, daughter, granddaughter, sister, Fran, cousin . . . I won’t get it right every time.  But there is grace and God is good.  And in His grace and goodness, He will deal with me, and perfect me, and cover me so that He can receive the glory from every part of me.  Love you ladies!!  Through Christ, WE GOT THIS!!!  (Philippians 4:13)

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Not This Time

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“But then I remember something that fills me with hope.  The Lord’s kindness never fails!  If He had not been merciful, we would have been destroyed.  The Lord can always be trusted to show mercy each morning.  Deep in my heart I say, ‘The Lord is all I need, I can depend on Him.’  The Lord is kind to everyone who trusts and obeys Him.  It is good for us to wait patiently for the Lord to save us.”

I needed to be reminded of my memory verse this morning.  Such a good verse to have memorized.  In the face of all sorts of changes: job loss, doing ministry, walking by faith, doing something scary that you know the Lord told you to do but you still feel a little scared to jump out there and do it, seemingly incessantly irritating and frustrating moments in my day, being kind in very mean situations and relentless people, disappointing times and disappointing people, teenage pregnancy, drug abuse, addiction, death.  SO many opportunities to despair.  OR

Then I remember something that fills me hope.  The Lord’s KINDNESS NEVER FAILS!  If He had not been merciful, we would have been destroyed.  The Lord can ALWAYS be trusted to show MERCY EACH MORNING.  Deep in my heart I say, ‘The Lord is all I need.  I CAN DEPEND ON HIM.’  The Lord is kind to everyone who trusts and obeys Him.  It is GOOD for us to wait patiently for the Lord to save us.

Playtime is over.  As Dr. Crawford Loritts said,”We’ve got to go beyond the cliches of our faith, beyond inspirational talks, and live in the book.” This walk . . . this walk is not a game.  I have a real enemy who always shows up to play hard, as if He has a great chance at winning.  But not this time.  I take a deep breath.  Say it as many times as I need to.  Squeeze my eyes tight, clench my fists together and command my mind and my heart to receive it.  Everything, yes, EVERYTHING is going to be all right (that’s right, ALL RIGHT).  This is but a moment that satan tried to use to scare me, distract me and steal my faith.  But not this time. Because . . .

Then I remember something that fills me with hope.  The Lord’s kindness never fails!  If He had not been merciful, we would have been destroyed.  The Lord can always be trusted to show mercy each morning.  Deep in my heart I say, ‘The Lord is all I need.  I can depend on Him.’  The Lord is kind to everyone who trusts and obeys Him.  It is good for us to wait patiently for the Lord to save us.  ~Lamentations 3:21-26 (CEV)

Amen.

Take Your Medicine

It’s Sunday night, a night of bittersweets. . .

Most of us have enjoyed a beautiful day alone or with family and friends . . .the house is quieting down, lovers may be cuddling up for a movie, friends may be finishing up conversations . . .preparations for the next day have been made . . .or not.  No matter how we feel about it or how we’ve decided to address it, we have all realized by now that tomorrow is Monday.

Seems like most of us dread Mondays.  Lord knows I’ve had some times where I was downright depressed about Mondays.  I’m not even joking.

But, Frans, I’m trying something new that I wanted to get you in on.  I just discovered that I have a drug that I can take that’ll help me deal with Mondays, Tuesdays, Bluesdays and all the other days too.  Check this out:

20 My son, give attention to my words;
Incline your ear to my sayings.
21 Do not let them depart from your sight;
Keep them in the midst of your heart.
22 For they are life to those who find them
And health to all their body. (Proverbs 4:20-22, NASB)

So, are you trying to tell me that reading the word brings me health and life?  Oh yes, chile.  Yes, I am.

No matter what Monday holds for you, or any day for that matter, you can face it with joy, confidence, security, and love by taking your medicine.  Read the word of God, listen to scripture, write it down, memorize His words, soak them in!  Soak them up!  The thing is, unlike any other medication, there is no danger involved in overdosing.  Try and see.  Put the word of God on everything you are facing.  He is so worth it.  You can take Him at His word.  His word is His bond.  He is trustworthy and His word works for our lives, NOW!

19 “God is not a man, that He should lie,
Nor a son of man, that He should repent;
Has He said, and will He not do it?
Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? (Numbers 23:19 NASB)

Not sure what Monday holds for you but you don’t have to bow to it.  You serve a very big God who has put His spirit in you and left His word for you to wield as a mighty sword to combat Satan, call him out as the liar that he is, take over your day and be victorious in all of the things that He will put your hands to!

So, which verse or set of verses will you look up tonight?  All the power you need lies within you through the holy spirit and can be activated by encouraging your faith through the word of God.

Take some time to get into the word then stand up and shout with a voice of triumph, “bring it on Monday!!!”

Wednesdays with Beth: Taking Your Treasure Back pts. 1 & 2

Frans!!!  It’s been too long!  And I have missed sharing with you in this space.  It’s been encouraging to hear from you, encouraging me by sharing that you’ve missed the posts.  Totally unexpected.  Totally sweet.  I’m so totally grateful and so totally humbled.  I have so much to share and share I will, but for now, I want to get us caught up on the latest installments of Beth Moore’s newest series on Life Today called Taking Your Treasure Back. Here’s part one and part two.   Enjoy!!

Loving the Word

Pondering this today:

 1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. ~Romans 12:1-2 (The Message Translation)

Joining the Sunday Community

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)10 and find out what pleases the Lord.

11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible,14 for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said:

“Wake up, O sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

15 Be very careful, then, how you live —not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. 19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  ~Ephesians 5: 8-20

Linked up with the Sunday Community today over at Jumping Tandem for a Sunday of encouragement through the word of God.  Check it out.

Abide . . .

Pulling from one of my favorite authors/Christ followers/women of God today: Ann Voskamp.

Abide.  Because it’s never about your capabilities.  When you’re in covenant with Christ, it’s His responsibility to cover your cracks, to be all your competency and completeness.  Inabilities, in Christ are made all sufficient, just right abilities.  Abandon worries–wholly abide. ~Ann Voskamp

This woman is amazing.  For reals.  She is using her writing as ministry and has delivered me right into the hands of the Father where I can receive true and ultimate deliverance.  Her writing is a ministry that gets result for God, drawing people to God.  She has written a book called One Thousand Gifts, a book that I read from cover to cover and am looking forward to reading again and it is the  inspiration for my “My One Thousand” page on this here little blog.  She blogs at http://www.aholyexperience.com/ daily and if by chance you do not get a new post, the archives are enough to keep you for a few weeks!  When I click away from that site, I am encouraged, challenged and excited.  When you have a moment, drop by.  It will not be a waste of time.

So.  How do you abide?  This week I am choosing to abide through scripture memory.   Huni and I have a huge decision in front of us, a decision to follow Christ wholeheartedly with true abandon in a way that we have never done before.  While I know that there is no way that we can turn and look the other way, it is still quite a decision to face because with it comes all of the ways that I am still challenged in the level of trust I have in God and how much I believe Him, not just believe in Him, but actually believe Him.  So I’m abiding by meditating on Scripture.  This one:

“Those who cling to worthless idols
forfeit the grace that could be theirs. (Jonah 2:8 NIV)

This verse may not strike your fancy but in my space of abiding, every time I look at it (I have it taped to my microwave because I spend most of my day in the kitchen) I’m stilled and my mind is checked and renewed and I move deeper into that trust place.  And when the hum of the day provides the soundtrack to my busy-ness and eases my mind back into self-reliance and self-trust, I walk past that verse again and again my mind has to submit to the truth of the word of God, another opportunity to believe Him.  Another chance to ditch my comfort idol and thrust myself into the will of God knowing that what He offers is so much greater than this pithy comfort I cling onto.  And bit by bit, this HUGE, CrAzY idea is becoming more and more right and necessary.

So.  How do you abide?