Friday, January 30, 2009

Speak, Lord

Our Bible Study lesson last week was about the importance of faith. This week we dealt with having faith when we have "what ifs". You know, what if I lose my job; what if my child gets sick, what if I have cancer, what if ...

I asked what are some signs that we're trying to handle "what if" situations on our own without God. Kristi said when the situation is all we think about. It's constantly on our mind. I realized immediately that I needed to hear her answer because I had a what if situation that had possessed me. Obsessed is a good word to describe my state of mind this week.

Of course, I came home from Bible study and immediately repented to God and got back on track--NOT! I have wasted almost an entire week of my life. I did the bare minimum homeschooling, dishes washed, and fed my family, that's it. It has been the most unproductive week ever. I had been exercising every day-not this week. I didn't even spend much time being quiet with Jesus. My prayer time was more of a list than a communion.

I didn't even pray about this obsession until yesterday afternoon. I don't really understand... See I've given this to God before and well, I just don't understand how it comes back up. I didn't really care very much about the outcome, I just couldn't (wouldn't) function without knowing how this would turn out.

So this morning, having realized that I missed relying on God, again. I opened My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers to January 30 and found God's amazing grace. Mr. Chambers says:
God never speaks to us in startling ways,but in ways that are easy to misunderstand, and we say, "I wonder if that is God's voice?" Isaiah said that the Lord spake to him "with a strong hand," that is, by the pressure of circumstances. Nothing touches our lives but it is God Himself speaking. Do we discern His hand or only mere occurrence?

This week I only discerned mere occurrence. But check out what Mr. Chambers says in the next chapter...

Get into the habit of saying, "Speak, Lord," and life will become a romance. Every time circumstances press, say, "Speak, Lord"; make time to listen. Chastening is more than a means of discipline, it is meant to get me to the place of saying, "Speak, Lord." ...As we listen, our ear gets acute, and, like Jesus, we shall hear God all the time.

Chastening is more than a means of discipline!!! See, I was really annoyed that this issue had come up again. I didn't understand why in the world it would, after I really had given it to the Lord. He's teaching me to listen. How amazingly good of God to have this devotion for me on this day when I needed to hear it. It boggles my mind how Bible study, my life and this lesson all pulled together in His perfect timing. There can be no doubt--He loves me so very much and cares about all of the circumstances in my life. He was not waiting to condemn me, but to gently teach me.

He loves you just the same. He cares about whatever you are going through right now. He's waiting for you to ask, "Speak, Lord."

We're off to hear Micca Campbell tonight (Aunt Alice Faye, Mom, Sarah and I.) I'm really looking forward to it.

I'm also looking forward to meeting Gabriel Patrick! I sure hope he arrives in time for me to see him before I have to go tonight!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Blogging on my mind

I sure dropped the ball on this last week. But I posted in my mind frequently. Here's the recap:

Thursday: After two days with no homeschool because we had snow, (Of course, we took off of homeschool. My kids would've mutineed if I'd made them do school instead of play in the snow for the first time in 5 years!!!) the boys and I found it very difficult to get in the groove. "Please, Mom can't we wait a few more minutes..." And since I wasn't really in the mood I'd say, "Oh, just a few more minutes, but we are doing school today!"

We did do our school work, but it would've been a much better day if we'd gotten up and gotten right on it.

Friday: In my Bible time I was reading in Genesis about Jacob. I was reading how he agreed to work for seven years to be able to marry Rachel. This verse jumped off the page at me: "So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her." Genesis 29:20

Boy, wouldn't it be great if I loved Rex that well. Or if I loved my kids that well. Or if I loved my church that well. Or if I loved my Jesus that well. The truth is sometimes (often) I take my eyes off Jesus and

I focus on:
my dishpan hands, the mountain of laundry that I knock down for what seems like just moments before it regrows, the unrelenting task of raising children for God's glory and how often I fall short, how long it's been since I've been to an adult Sunday School class, how I'll never measure up.

Instead of:
the many opportunities to bless my husband by caring for our home, that children are a gift from God and my years to raise them are short and will end soon, the privilege of sharing Jesus with young eyes, that God's grace is sufficient for me.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

I think I'll save my thoughts on Saturday for tomorrow's post.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Matter of Faith

"Let me do it by myself, Mommy," At these words from my youngest, I moved my pointer finger away from the words on the page in his reading book. "No," he grabbed my finger and put it under the next word, "leave that there, just don't help me." When we got to the next page, he said the same thing, "Still don't help me. I want to do it myself."

I was glad Timothy couldn't see the slightly amused smile on my face. Nothing had changed from the moment he began to the moment he asked me not to help him to the moment he said keep not helping me. We were still snuggled on the couch, my finger still moved from word to word waiting for him to read it. The only change was in his perception. He had moved from having faith in me to having faith in himself.

I want to move from having faith in myself to having faith in God. It may not look very different to the rest of the world whether I'm operating out of faith in my own abilities or out of a heart of faith. But the outcome is so very different. When I walk in faith, I can rest in knowing that my heavenly Father is providing for my every need. When I walk in faith, God is glorified. When I walk in faith, I produce fruit.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My sweet young'uns are going to make me nuts. They can't help it. I can't help it. That's just the way it is.

You see, I firmly believe that God gave me my kids for a reason. As in, I'm the right person to help develop their character (with God's help and guidance.) Sometimes, I see that it might have more to do with the fact that they are the right people to develop certain aspects of my character.

It seems that the older I get, the more easily I'm overstimulated by noisiness and fidgeting. For example, one night last week I was cooking hamburger (sizzle, sizzle), the boys were watching tv and talking, Sarah turned on the radio, and was running dish water and she was talking to me.

Sarah's back was to me, and she wasn't talking loudly. Suddenly, I couldn't take one more second of noise. I turned around and hollered, "shut up, shut up, shut up!" Poor kid! It wasn't her fault. I immediately wrapped my arms around and told her I was so very sorry, and I wasn't upset with her. But I thought maybe we needed to turn the radio off, and she needed to talk so I could hear her easily. (Of course, at that point she didn't have anything she wanted to say to me anymore.)

So yesterday my youngest son and I were all snuggled on the couch doing school. He couldn't be still. All morning he had wiggled and wriggled, and my nerves were feeling a little frayed. For about the fifth time I said, "Timothy, please be still!" His answer? "But Mom, I think better when I move!" How can I argue with this? It's so obvious now. He's a kinesthetic learner. He needs to move. AAAAAAGGGHHH!

AND today while my middle son and I were working in the kitchen, the freezer was humming. This noise is thankfully one that I don't usually notice, although it is a little loud. The motor stopped running and Nathan says, "Man, I wish that hadn't gone off. It helps me think."

I'm not sure what character traits God is working on in me; I'm afraid it may have something to do with patience. But I certainly hope not.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Wellspring of Life

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." Proverbs 4:23

All our life, everything that we say and do comes from our heart. So why do we worry so much about the outside? We try to change our behavior, and our children's, without addressing the state of our heart, or our kids' hearts.

I've done it to my kids. "You'd better be on your best behavior in here!" What I really mean is "You'd better not embarass me or make me look bad!"

I'm so glad that God starts with our hearts. I want to focus on my kids' hearts this year, encouraging them to see their behavior in the light of God's word, rather than how their behavior is affecting me. I want to disciple my children.

It isn't just my children's hearts that need attention. Yesterday, I lied to my husband. I couldn't believe it. Where had that come from? To start with, I rationalized this "little white lie". After all, it wasn't completely untrue. So really I had just stretched the truth a little bit. The feeling in my gut told me that I couldn't justify my sin by giving it a more acceptable name. I lied. Period.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The first part of this proverb gives us direction for prevention. "Guard your heart". Obviously, my heart needs a little more guarding. To what have I been exposing my heart? Time in the Word? Time spent seeking God and His will for my life? Time listening to worship music? or Have I been adopting the world's values as my own?

The good news is: almost immediately after I lied to my husband, my heart was heavy. As soon as I saw him, I confessed and apologized and received his forgiveness. I am seeking to be more diligent and purposeful in guarding my heart and my children's hearts this year.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

A New Creature

When I was going to school for elementary education we watched a movie in one of my classes. The story took place in a tribe where men would "purchase" their brides with cows. It was common place to refer to a woman as a "2 cow wife" or a "1 cow wife". The chief of this tribe had a daughter, let's call her Leah (I don't remember her name, it's been almost 20 years!).

The chief feared that no one would ever offer him any cows for this daughter. She was a bit homely, and so shy that when any man came to visit she hid in the treetops. Leah had absolutely nothing to offer a husband. One day Johnny came to the chief and offered him 7 cows for Leah. The chief could hardly believe it. NO ONE had ever given 7 cows for a wife. The villagers could hardly believe it either.

After the wedding ceremony, Johnny took his new bride away in his canoe. They were gone for several months. When Johnny returned he had a different woman with him. Johnny's new woman was beautiful. She obviously took care of her appearance and she had a beautiful smile. She was confident, and happy. While on their honeymoon trip, Johnny had encouraged Leah. He bought her beautiful tortoise shell combs for her "glorious hair". He bought her a mirror that she might see for herself the "beautiful woman who is my wife". He told her that he was the luckiest man in the whole tribe because he was the only man to ever have a 7 cow wife.

Obviously, Johnny's care and confidence building transformed Leah. I hate to confess that at times I've thought if only my husband could love me like that, then I could change. If he loved me that much then I could be the wife he deserves.

On New Year's Eve I was reading The Search for Significance by R. McGee. Actually, I was reading the study guide in the back, where the author had asked that you restate several verses in your own words. One of the verses was, "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death." Romans 8:1&2

Suddenly it hit me!

Jesus is Johnny. I can't expect my husband to be Jesus. Only Jesus can be Jesus! He saw me (and you) and though I was sinful and unworthy and had nothing to offer Him, He paid a great price for me. He offered His very life for me. His blood was shed and He suffered for me. His Word shows me that "Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in me. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full." John 15:9-11 (NASB)

Johnny took Leah away to love her and transform her. Jesus wants me to abide in Him and I will be have His joy.

God's word is the mirror that shows me I am loved and I am changed. 2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!" (AMP)

I am already changed. I have been changed. That which I longed for has already happened.

Dear Lord,
Thank you for the work you've done in my life. Thank you for opening my eyes. I pray that I will yield fully to your will and shaping of my life. My purpose is in You. I will abide in You.