Tuesday, December 13, 2011

B

I was reading this week about teenagers, since I will have some soon :), and I came across this interesting quote: "Low-control and low-acceptance parents produce teens with a variety of problems, including delinquency and chemical dependency. Parents who are high in control and low in acceptance (authoritarian parents) have children who are socially inadequate and lacking in confidence. Parents who are low in control and high in acceptance (indulgent parents) have teenagers with high impulsivity, low responsibility and low independence. Parents who are high in control and high in acceptance (strict but loving parents) have teenagers who are independent, socially responsible and confident. According to this research, the ideal family is one in which the message children receive from parents is: "We love you, but you must do as we say." ----from Reviving Ophelia by Mary Pipher.

I like the way the different parenting options or styles are described. And of course, I want to shoot for being in the category of "strict but loving parents.' For me, the issue comes down to authority. The kids need to know that they are not the boss. They need to know that mom and dad are in charge. I think each of them will try to have their own way and do their own thing if they are not 'checked' by their parents. There have to be rules. There have to be boundaries. The kids have to have responsibilities. The exact rules, boundaries and responsibilities will be different for every family, but they need to be taught consistently. For me, this has been the hardest thing about being a parent. Being consistent. I am not very good at it. But that's where God's grace comes in. I admit my weakness and fault, and move on, starting another day doing my best to be a 'good enough' parent. And, believing that God will fill in the gaps where I fall short. The parents' job is enormous emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. But we do not have to carry the load alone. I am thankful that I know that God is with me, helping me daily to do the things that I need to do. He is my strength. Daily I need to come to him and find direction and grace for my course. I know that my job is to train up my children to seek and desire Jesus. To love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. I strive (by the strength of the Holy Spirit) to teach them by example.


"We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me." Colossians 1:28-29

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A

Where do you start when you tell a friend about Motherhood? I like the saying that when you give birth to a child, it is like taking your own heart and letting it walk around outside your body! Simultaneous pain and immense joy!!! This little person is part of you, but also separate from you. And you love him. Instantly. Even more than you love your self. Or your sleep. Or your latte. You can't wait to kiss his sweet cheeks. You wonder who he will be, what he will be like. You pray for him. Sing to him. Read him stories. You pour out your life so his fills up. All the things that mattered to you before start to pale in comparison to him and his life.
I think the most important principle to start with, in beginning motherhood, is that this child is a gift from God, on loan to you, for you to love, shape, nurture and point to God. Oh yes, there are many things that motherhood will require of you, but start here. God wants you to know that He loves you. And he loves this baby boy even more than you do! And He chose YOU to be his mommy. All of the characteristics and qualities and talents that he will develop will be nurtured through his relationship with you. Let him see Jesus! Consecrate your life to God each day, so that your life is an act of worship. It is a prayer that your child watches. It is a hymn that he hears. It is a lifestyle that he is immersed in from day one. I can't think of a better blessing than to have parents that love the Lord and seek Him first.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" 1 Corinthians 10:31

I was struck by some good quotes from Oswald Chambers this morning: "Its one thing to go through a crisis grandly, yet quite another to go through every day glorifying God when there is no witness, no limelight, and no one paying even the remotest attention to us." And, "If you are properly devoted to the Lord Jesus, you have reached the lofty height where no one would ever notice you personally. All that is noticed is the power of God coming through you all the time."
The first quote just reminds me of the 'everyday-ness' of living the Christian life. We should be loving Him and serving Him and living for Him all day every day, even when nobody is watching. The best evidence of our faith is living this love out day to day. There are no kudos or rewards. No fanfare. No encouragement on some days. No pat on the back or 'way to go;' only the affirmation of that still, small voice, reminding us that 'this is the way.......walk in it.' Jesus is always with us, and He is noticing the small things we do because we love Him.
And the second, food for thought for those of us who struggle with our identity, comparing ourselves to others, or wanting recognition. It is a reminder that we need to become less as He becomes more. We should want to be known for the love of Christ working in our lives, not for any goodness in us or what we have done. It's all about Jesus. That kind of simplifies the issue of who we are, how we measure up to others or what kind of applause we get for our efforts. If it's all about Jesus, then all that matters is that we are found in Him, and we find ourselves and all of who we are, in Him. If it's all about Jesus, it doesn't matter if we are not as smart, organized, creative, funny, or social as the next person. We won't be comparing ourselves to those around us. We will be living for an audience of One. Only Jesus. And we will find out how He can use our strengths for His glory, and how he can work through our weaknesses so that He might show Himself strong in our lives.
It's all about Jesus.

Monday, November 14, 2011

New Pictures of Oldies but goodies!

I haven't posted pictures in a long time, so I dug some out and got going! Fun to scroll through some of the year's memories. I haven't kept up very well since my car accident in November, but thankfully I am recovering and getting back to normal! What have we been up to? Lots of wonderful things. And sometimes TOO many wonderful things! We are into year 3 of homeschooling, and enjoying all the family time and opportunities to grow and work together. We are loving our Tapestry of the Desert Co-op that we are in for our History studies. Right now we are studying the renaissance and reformation.......great stuff, and I am learning right along with the kids! Jonah and Benjamin are playing basketball this fall, and Amberly is continuing with her horseback riding adventures and is also keeping up with her dance class. Looking forward to more fun family times as the Holidays approach :)
Have a blessed November and December, friends!
Love, Jodi

More fun with the Scotts


We got to visit CA again in September for Amberly's birthday weekend. We went on a 'field trip' to LEGOLAND. Woohoo!!!

Visiting Liz and Laurie in Eastern Washington


I got to go up and visit Liz and Laurie in late August for my Birthday weekend! What a sweet time of catching up! Love these girls!!!!!!

Kiddos at Lincoln Memorial

The Scotts


Our dear Family Friends, Christopher and Pernilla Scott, and their boys, Alexander, Daniel and Jonathan :)

Back to school beach trip!



We got in a last-hurrah beach trip in the beginning of August. We had a wonderful time with the Scott family and enjoyed some cooler S. California weather before we headed back to school!

Amberly's Dance recital



All the grandparents came to watch Amberly dance in June!

Washington D.C. Trip



We took the family to N. Carolina and Washington D.C. this past summer. We had a great time seeing the sights and spending time as a family! This picture is when we were getting ready to board Amtrack from Raliegh to Washington D.C.!

2011 Family Picture


A Happy Photo of all the Meiters, Easter Break

Summer Fun



This was taken outside of our church, sometime in June :)

Easter Break with the Scott Family



We got to have the Scotts out for a visit over Easter. Such a wonderful time with sweet friends!!!

One of our Favorite things!



Amberly loves riding horses. This is a special passion of hers and she gets out on horseback as often as possible!!!

Love this one! Happy Acorn Hunting!



Sweet Benjamin, enjoying some 'nature' finds!

Checking out an Acorn



This is from last November up in the Bay Area. We were getting ready to ride Bart into San Francisco. The charm of an acorn!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Choosing what's better

I want to be like Mary. I want to be the one that sits at Jesus' feet and chooses to be with Him rather than being busy about my business. I want to see clearly whether I am serving Him or serving my self. I want to do what is best according to Him, not necessarily what I think seems best. There are so many good things in my path. So many choices. So many opportunities. Where do I go? What do I do? What do I say? When do I go, when do I stay? What is most important?
All of these questions beg to be answered by each of us every day, and the only place we can get these answers is at the foot of the cross. Have you been there? I am on my way!!!!

1 Corinthians 10:23 "Everything is permissible--but not everything is beneficial, "Everything is permissible'--but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.



Luke 10:41 "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

Thursday, September 15, 2011

'Lover of Christ'

In our homeschooling adventure this week, we studied Bernard of Clairvaux, 1090-1153. He was known as 'Lover of Christ.' I wouldn't mind going by that name, would you?

"He who is filled with the love of God," he said, "is easily moved by everything in the Word.."
Let us be teachable, and always ready to read and respond to God's word.


"We must root out our personal will," Bernard told them, "the will that is purely our own, that which is not in tune with the will of God." ---Bernard of Clairvaux

Often, we need to ask God to change our hearts. Change our thoughts. Change our will. And to conform it to His. As we grow and become more spiritually mature, our hearts change. Our minds change. We are transformed. We become more like Jesus. And God answers our prayer when we pray, "not my will, but yours, be done." He takes away our 'old' will, our worldly, earthly, fleshly will; and he gives us his glorious, new, holy and good, pure will.

Bernard is remembered as a lover of Christ. "My God, my love," he often prayed, "how You love me!"

Perhaps his favorite verse in the Bible was Psalm 73:26 "My flesh and my heart may fail, but my God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

He wrote hymns, such as "Jesus Thou Joy of Loving Hearts," and "O Sacred Head Now Wounded."

Jesus, Thou Joy of loving hearts,
Thou Fount of life, Thou Light of men,
From the best bliss which earth imparts
We turn unfilled to Thee again.

Where are we trying to fill up? In order to give and pour into others' lives, we have to be filled with something. Are we coming often to God's word, to be renewed and restored and refilled? We need the word, our food. When we hunger and thirst after righteousness, we are parched when we have not been in the word of God.
To have a holy life, we have to have holy habits. Scripture is a beautiful place to start. It points us to God. It reveals Him. It is his gift of love to us. Are we missing it? Are we lonely, wishing for the perfect friend? He is so close. And He has shared His heart. All we have to do is sit down and ponder His word. He will do the rest!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Give

"Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
Luke 6:38

What holds us back from giving? If we are being nudged by the Holy Spirit to give, and we don't give, then what happens? We lose. There is a blessing in giving. We won't know it at the time, and we won't be motivated by the blessing, but it will come when we give out of obedience. Living for God's pleasure, we will do things that look odd to others. But we have to trust God's leading, obey his direction, and watch to see what He will do!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Bringin' Confession back

I think we need to bring back the lost art of confession. I know that we know we ought to confess our sins, but somehow, we often skip that part of prayer. God told us to confess our sins. He wants to purify us. We need to ask. It takes humility. It takes slowing down and being quiet. Self-evaluation. Prayer. Confession. Repentance. Healing. Oh my goodness, why don't we go to the foot of the cross and be healed, purified and made new? We all need a fresh start and clean slate.
We can start with the prayer of David in 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."


James 5:16
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Glorifying God in the little things

Do you realize how much the little things matter? I was in a bible study a long time ago and we were talking about how we sometimes have to do things "for Jesus," that we really would rather not do. For example, I had a friend whose husband wanted her to wash out baby bottles, wash them again, make sure they were clean and wash them again. It sounded over the top to me, too, but she needed to do it in order to make her husband happy. So she did it. And she called it, "washing bottles for Jesus." There have been many times that I have repeated that in my mind, "doing ____________ for Jesus." And what does that really mean? It means that we are making sacrifices, and dying to ourselves, because we love Him. He asks us to do hard things. He asks us to keep on giving when we don't feel like we have any more to give. Sometimes, our feelings lie. He asks us to work hard when we feel like taking a break. He asks us to love that person that we would rather avoid. He asks us to "go the extra mile" when we are looking at the gas gauge. His ways are so beyond our ways. But I know He's got secrets that he wants to share. He has opportunities to reveal, blessings to unleash, stories to be told. But we miss them when we do it our way. When we are selfish or lazy or greedy. When we think of our desires for power or possessions or pleasure instead of thinking of the interests of others before our own. God has treasures that He is holding for us. He is ready to show us abundance and fullness of life when we are ready to embrace it! But somehow, we are busying ourselves with the things that we think will satisfy. We are looking at the Joneses' again, and running after the 'American dream.' But too often, we go to bed at night, dissatisfied, worried about tomorrow, knowing deep down in our hearts that there has to be something more. And God promises that there is! He has it!
The more that Jesus offers is this: Abide in Him and we will bear much fruit.
The fruits that we will bear are priceless, eternal, incomparable riches. Fruits such as compassion and kindness. Giving of ourselves even when it hurts. Leading others to the well that will never run dry. Living at peace in the present, not worrying about tomorrow. Faith. Trusting God to provide for our needs. Rest. Simple sleep. Waking in the morning with Joy. Working through the days with a light load, because the burden is shared. Hope. Knowing God keeps his promises and all will be well in the end. Love. Agape love that is beyond anything we could conjure up. Love that knows no limits. Love that reflects the heart of God. Love that is flowing out of us only because the Holy Spirit is living in our hearts and producing this love IN us. Amazing love.
We are missing out on SO much when we don't do life His way. Even the little things. Even washing dishes or sweeping floors. Driving to work or making a sandwich. Yes, we can do 'all things' to the glory of God. And thats what He desires.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Don't bump me; I will spill!

Don't bump me; I will spill! Have you ever had a day when you felt like that? You have so many things piled up on your heart and mind that your body threatens to overflow with tears? Sometimes we let things pile up on the table of our hearts and we don't realize that we are about to burst! We think that we can handle the struggle of the day-to-day. We think that we are capable of managing a few more things. We think that we can do more, get more, and be more without hitting a breaking point.
We are wrong. Life usually requires more of us than we are able to handle in our own strength. We do our best to be our best, but at the end of the day, it's not enough. We are striving and straining out of strength from the wrong source. Often we feel we can accomplish our tasks with our own stamina. We decide that we can meet our goals with our own willpower and enthusiasm. Other times, we rely on friends or family members or church leaders to inspire us to do what we think we have to do. We keep ourselves busy and run around like a little rat on his spinning wheel, not realizing that we are not really getting anywhere! When we make our plans and use our resources to accomplish our purposes, we end up empty. Many things that we write into our agenda are just that, OUR plans. We go about our days, trying to do whats good and right, but end up missing God's mission for our lives.
God wants us to know Him and enjoy Him. He wants us to seek Him and find Him. He wants to bring us joy, showing Himself strong when we are weak. This past fall, life threw me a curve ball in the form of a car accident. I struggled to continue to "do life" in constant pain. I experienced pain and suffering that I wouldn't wish on anyone. And I was disappointed. I couldn't get through the day in my own strength. I couldn't even get through the day propelled by others' prayers and well-wishes. In Jesus, I found my only hope and source of unfailing strength. Jesus was my Comforter in my dark night. There were many times when no words could bring me help or peace. Only Jesus. Knowing that He would be with me and help me even when I was all alone. Trusting that God had a purpose for this suffering and that He would fulfill his promises to me. He taught me true joy in the midst of constant pain. He fleshed out James 1:2-4 for me: 'Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.' He explained to me this path of joy. He revealed to me that HE is my Joy. He was the reason that I could have joy in the midst of unrelieved pain. The circumstance of pain brought me to His side. I was close to Him and He was close to me. I learned to 'abide.' I learned to 'rest' in Him. His path was peace. It was the road that Job walked,'though he slay me, yet will I hope in him...' Job 13:15.
I believe that God allowed me to experience this trial because He wanted me to go deeper with Him. He was bringing me joy through the storm. He was making beauty out of ashes. He was doing His thing in my life! He was preparing me with the message that He wants shared: Jesus is all we need! He is the friend that will never fail. He is the only one who will never let us down. And life isn't about things. Or getting things done. Or money. Or having a lot of fun or friends or the perfect marriage or spotless home. It's not even about raising great kids and being spiritually mature. It's about relationship with Jesus. It's about walking with Him and knowing that He is the Giver and Sustainer of life. That He is the Good Shepherd and in coming to Him, we will find rest in this busy land. And that He is waiting for us to enjoy Him here and now until we can be with Him forever!
'I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.' John 16:33

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"and I will give you rest" Matthew 11:28

I have found that there are layers to ordering life. Layers to organizing. Layers to prioritizing. Layers and layers and layers. I was reminded this week to put first things first. Let me explain:
As I was reading a beautiful book; Devotions for Home school Moms, I came across a counter-cultural comment on education: "I really believed that getting the right curriculum, organizing my school area efficiently, and setting up a workable schedule would be all I would need to be successful.....the error in my thinking became obvious. The Bible is the foundational curriculum for us, and all other material is supplemental in the training of our children.....I am in no way sufficient to home school my children by myself. There isn't enough preparation, books, time, or anything that could change my insufficiency. No matter how prepared I am, I cannot do this myself! (Every) day requires our reliance on God, not on ourselves. Bad days especially demand the perspective and guidance only our loving Father can offer us."

Of course I started this home school year with planning. I purchased and perused curriculum in all my 'free' time this summer. I set up our school room with new bookshelves, organized subject bins, new binders and timelines and note cards and all the supplies we would need. Then I made charts. One for each child and Big ones for the walls, so that they could see and remember their schedule for each day. My plans and schedules are not foolproof and still take patience and grace on my part daily. And I don't have patience and grace to offer each day! Unless, I go daily to the feet of Jesus to be filled with all those good things that I will need to pour out throughout the day! I need daily, sometimes hourly, reminders to put my focus on Jesus, and live my life for his kingdom and his glory, in HIS strength.

Recently I read about the sabbath. Rest is a current theme for my year! One part that encouraged my heart, was the 'rest' beginning at sundown. I like this because I am a night owl, and I love to stay up late reading, journaling, reading more, studying, reading, preparing for the next school day, and spending time setting my gaze in the right direction. Then comes sleep. Then work. I like the rhythm of this day: time with Jesus, sleep, work. Then I am coming to my work refreshed, recharged, and ready! I often sneak away for a minute here or there to again focus my mind and heart on the things that are important to Jesus' heart. And, often, throughout our day we need to stop to pray....for help with reading, for focus during history, for God's love to help us get along with one another. He is our source of help every day!

And, of course, since I have been convicted on this topic of rest, I see and hear and read something on rest continually! Do you receive the Proverbs 31 blog? Check out the August 22 post: Planning to Rest.
And, also, Oswald Chambers had deep, challenging comments on the subject (on Aug 20th!):
"Whenever anything begins to disintegrate your life with Jesus Christ, turn to Him at once, asking Him to re-establish your rest. Never allow anything to remain in your life that is causing the unrest. Think of every detail of your life that is causing the disintegration as something to fight against, not as something you should allow to remain. Ask the Lord to put awareness of Himself in you, and your self-awareness will disappear. Then He will be your all in all. Beware of allowing your self-awareness to continue, because slowly but surely it will awaken self pity......Jesus says, "Come to Me...and I will give you rest," that is, Christ-awareness will take the place of self-awareness. Whenever Jesus comes, He establishes rest"
So set your mind on Him, and let your praise begin.......and the glory of the Lord will fill your place!!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Door in the Wall

Sir Peter kept Robin's hand in his and spoke directly to him. "Each of us has his place in the world," he said. "If we cannot serve in one way, there is always another. If we do what we are able, a door always opens to something else."

For the past couple of weeks, I have been enjoying a book with my boys; The Door in the Wall, by Marguerite de Angeli. We came across this passage that I just had to share. I believe that each person has a desire for purpose. We all want to know what we are here for. We want to know why we were made. What are we to do? I love how the comment in this passage suggests that we are here to serve. We are here to be a blessing to the world in one way or another. We should be searching out the gift that we have to offer.

Young Robin, in this book, was bred to be a knight. However, struck by illness, he lost the use of his legs. I am sure he had doubts about his future, and a crisis of identity. Now what?
I think we all find ourselves in this place throughout our lives. Somehow, our 'plan' for what we should be or do does not always pan out like we had anticipated. We don't end up where we thought we would be (at 20, 30, 40.....). This can be discouraging if we don't break out of that preconceived idea that we need to fit that mold that we thought we would! Sometimes, we just have to move on and embrace the next thing. We need to trust God to lead us when we don't know what's up ahead. And that's the beauty of it! He is with us, and He is before us, and He is behind us! Nothing has surprised Him about our journey. We are right where He knew we would be!
However, we have a choice. We can either choose to walk with Him, or forge our own path. In actuality, the two may not look so different on the outside. But there is a world of difference to the traveller. As we walk through this world, we are either living in our own strength, striving to 'make it' or 'leave our mark.' The good life of man that I see displayed in the Bible is one of a different passion. The life of abiding in Christ. Living in daily fellowship with God so that all you say and do is filtered through the lens of His Word. It is more about giving life away, than finding identity. It is about bringing glory to God without thought for self, or recognition. It is about living radically for the kingdom of God while in the midst of this worldly kingdom. The only hope for living this sort of life, is to be filled with God's Holy Spirit daily. Daily receiving strength from above to do whatever is in your path. This means, that wherever we are, whatever we are doing, we can be bringing praise and glory to God IF we are accomplishing our work in dependence on HIM!
I love the ways of God. It is true that when we do what we are able to do, God will open the door to more. He has big plans for you! Are you moving in the direction that God has shown you? Are you depending on Him for the day to day journey? Are you asking for Him to be strong in you so that you can accomplish great things for Him?

"Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work---this is a gift of God. He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart." Ecclesiastes 5:19-20

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Homeschooling



I like this happy SMILE! We have been back to school for 3 weeks now already! We are getting back in to the swing of things. Mom is getting more organized and we are enjoying our days together. This year, we have added a bunch of zoo trips to sketch and paint animals for our Zoology class! We are still doing Tapestry of the Desert Co-op for our History (and so much more!!!)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Thorn in the Flesh

"To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassing great revelations, there was given to me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:7-10


Have you ever wondered about this 'thorn in the flesh?' I know I have. I won't venture to guess what this 'thorn' was in Paul's life; I will leave that to the theologians. But I do know that God gave us these scriptures because they relate to us! He wanted us to know that this can happen. There can be something that He allows in our lives to keep us humble. To keep us dependent on Him. To remind us of our weakness and our need for His strength. All good things, right? But a thorn!
But isn't THE goal of the Christian life to be one with Jesus? To live In Him? To Abide? To Remain? To be conformed to the image of the Son, Transformed to be like Him in righteousness and holiness? And if this is the goal, why wouldn't we be thrilled beyond all get out that God would give us something (a thorn) that would cause us to press into Him? Why wouldn't we be overflowing with thanksgiving for the struggle He has placed in our lives that really leads us to a deeper knowledge of Him?
It might be pain, or a relationship, or mental illness, or deep loss. Any number of ills that plague so many of us. A thorn.
But can we, like Paul, be thankful for it, this weakness? Boast in it, even? 'For when I am weak, then I am strong."
I think this may be the key to Joy and Contentment. It leads us to the scripture in James:

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
James 1:2

Consider trials JOY? Makes us wonder about James, doesn't it? However, it seems that Paul agrees. And many other writers in the Bible. It seems that the perspective that we should have, is that God allows hard things, sometimes REALLY hard things, in our lives, to make us stronger spiritually IN HIS STRENGTH. The storms of life, the trials, the 'thorns', all bring us to our knees and remind us of our need for the Holy Spirit's residence in our hearts. With Him, we can do all things. Without Him, we waste away. This is the mystery of the Christian life: Christ in us! When He is living His life in us, we are strong. We are faithful, and joyful and thankful. We praise Him and point others to Him. We do all this even when we have a thorn, or are in the middle of a storm. We even praise him for the storm, because we trust Him and we know that He is growing us through the hardships that He allows into our lives.

Rise up and Praise Him! And even thank Him for that 'thorn' today. He loves us. He doesn't leave us alone with our trouble. No! He takes it upon Himself and shares our burden, and then He gives us the peace that can only be had because of his presence.

Thank you, God!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Good Ol' Oswald

Reading Oswald Chambers and had to share:
The Bewildering Call of God "....and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished.' ...But they understood none of these things...." Luke 18:31, 34

God called Jesus Christ to what seemed absolute disaster. And Jesus Christ called His disciples to see Him put to death, leading every one of them to the place where their hearts were broken. His life was an absolute failure from every standpoint except God's. But what seemed to be failure from man's standpoint was a triumph from God's standpoint, because God's purpose is never the same as man's purpose.
The bewildering call of God comes into our lives as well. The call of God can never be understood absolutely or explained externally; it is a call that can only be perceived and understood internally by our true inner-nature. The call of God is like the call of the sea-no one hears it except the person who has the nature of the sea in him. What God calls us to cannot be definitely stated, because His call is simply to be His friend to accomplish His own purposes. Our real test is in truly believing that God knows what He desires. The things that happen do not happen by chance--they happen entirely by the decree of God. God is sovereignly working out His own purposes.
If we are in fellowship and oneness with God and recognize that He is taking us into His purposes, then we will no longer strive to find out what His purposes are. As we grow in the Christian life, it becomes simpler to us, because we are less inclined to say, "I wonder why God allowed this or that?" And we begin to see that the compelling purpose of God lies behind everything in life, and that God is divinely shaping us into oneness with that purpose. A Christian is someone who trusts in the knowledge and the wisdom of God, not in his own abilities. If we have a purpose of our own, it destroys the simplicity and the calm, relaxed pace which should be characteristic of the children of God.

Monday, July 11, 2011

three amigos


at the base of the Lincoln Memorial

wear sunglasses

air and space museum



This is the wright brother's plane reconstructed. Great to see!

Our morning at National Zoo

Pandamania

video

Another sweet surprise, a visit to see Panda! The zoo is located a few miles away from downtown D.C., so we wouldn't have seen it if we hadn't 'accidentally' ended up staying right next to it!!! We explored around the zoo a bit, but mostly enjoyed their special panda exhibit. He was munching on something. Just fun to see one in real life!!!

Glory to God



We could have never planned the adventure that unfolded. We happened upon so many things that were not in our itinerary. God blessed us left and right, showing himself to be right with us, the one orchestrating our visit to the east coast. One surprise was the National Cathedral. We shared with our kids how the builders designed and created the structure as an act of worship! They carefully detailed the spires and beams to the glory of God. It was a great reminder at the beginning of our trip, to look UP. The old cathedrals point to God, as their creators intended. They are beautiful markers of faith, church history, and hope for our returning Savior.

Family-only time


One of my favorite things about family vacation was the kids playing together. They did a lot of things together and bonded as three. So often, at home, we play with friends and get distracted by our own ideas and projects that we don't play enough just the five of us. Vacation was a fun motivation to include more "family-only" time in our schedule at home. While our policy at home will still always be, "the more the merrier," I am going to try to be proactive at planning family nights and excursions that are just for our clan :).

the train



An exciting adventure was had by all! We boarded Amtrack in Raliegh, heading for Washington D.C., heading for a visit to our capitol. Our journey was just like life. Full, fast-moving, entertaining. Yet there was still a touch of apprehension at the unknown. We maneuvered through Union Station, and made our way by taxi to the Omni Shoreham hotel. Unbeknownst to us, we were staying in a beautiful place, the hotel where they celebrate the President's ball! We enjoyed the pool and spa, and walked up to National Cathedral to catch the fireworks. And that was just day one!!!!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Thanks Dad!

Today I gave grace and mercy. Grace, being giving something that somebody didn't deserve. And mercy, being that certain somebody not getting what they DID deserve (a whippin'). Grace and Mercy. Big words. Even bigger in family relationships. Where would I be if I hadn't received the same undeserved loving kindness and pardons for all my shortcomings growing up in my families' home? Sure, we were rough and tumble. Lots of messes (and headaches for the adults, I'm sure). Never a dull moment raising a family! There is not much new under the sun. It still looks and feels pretty much the same as it did 30 years ago, when I was the 6 year old! Somehow, by an act of divine mercy and amazing grace, I am thrilled to be in this bit of time to love on my children and plant seeds of hope and big 'God-sized' dreams in their hearts! He created each one of us for this amazing purpose. And, God has continued to pour out his Grace and Mercy over this generation, and it's seeping into the next, praise God!
What are we doing right? Its gotta always be about Jesus! It is the Christ who holds us all together and gives us joy through our pains and hurts and worries. He give us help. He has given us each other! What a beautiful thing we have! A Family! And this is where authenticity takes off her overcoat and sits down to chat with us about the REAL DEAL. Its all about His grace! Sanctification, growing spiritually, Loving the body of Christ, pouring forth grace and mercy, and being glorified, looking forward to being competed and fully understanding the blessings of grace and mercy.
So many years ago when I was a little girl, I know that I would go about my business and feel that it was all important; I was self-focused and lost in the la-la land of finding the best guy to date in High School. Oh, and wasn't that the blessed roller coaster ride of a relationship? Awesome while it lasted, then done. And gone. No more relationship. Just pain. And I came Home to heal. Home to get help. Home to re-vamp, re-structure, re-plan, re-new. Home to be shown grace and given mercy. God uses people to give us His good stuff! Amazing God. (and Amazing Dad and Mom!!)

And then off to private Christian college, giving it one more try (Grace, mercy). Somehow I knew I could do it. I could overcome my grief and depression and come out with a passion and a purpose..........to share in the grace-giving and mercy-giving party of people who are bringing life to the world!!! I am here because many were praying for me. Family. Old friends. New friends. Concerned dorm leaders. Student ministry encouragement, God's grace and mercy. So now I look back and I am thankful. I am thankful for it all! Isn't that what it's supposed to be? "Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will in Christ Jesus?"

There were many times when I needed to step back (in defeat, hurting, sad) and turn again to Jesus, to renew me and show me what His grace looks like in the real parameters of my life! And, you have been watching, Dad. I know you have seen it. You have had centerstage tickets, and some back-stage passes too, to see the real work of the Holy Spirit doing His transformation on my heart. I don't suppose it would be easy to let a young woman pass through the fire; no, I assume it takes amazing restraint and courage and trust, in order to wait for God's responses to her behavior and get in line with the Big Guy to know how to react, respond and relate in this relationship. I understand your Daddy role a little more every year. As I am now a mommy and I know what my life is like, I observe what it would have been like for you and I am empathetic! Raising a family is hard work. It means grace and mercy day in and day out. If it doesn't kill us first, it will sanctify us.
So, here's my clever thank you, an ode to fathers day, may you be blessed as you look this way!
Daddy said I am a princess
so I must stand pretty and tall
Daddy told me to read the good books
so I know this world and its people
Daddy told me to participate in church, youth group and young life
now I have many ministries of my own
Daddy prays for me and is still always looking for ways to bless our family (mercy).
Dad worked hard and was a wonderful example of how we ought to do our duties.
He also knew when it was down time and relaxed to the hilt!
He showed us some of the world, face to face, and put as many opportunities in front of us as we could take! Looking back, I don't think we did a lot wrong. It was just the road that we have all been on! It is strikingly fast-paced, and bombarded by other people's needs floating over into our pile of to-do lists. The daily grind, you called it. Good word for it. Just something you gotta do. Every day.
Oh, how I wanna embrace it. cherish it. savor it and eat it up! This day, today, is quickly coming upon tomorrow, and we can never get a minute back. We need to follow our fathers before us and get up and get the job done! We need to be on our mission of grace and mercy, pointing each downtrodden one to the cross.

Thank you for teaching me how to walk with Jesus. Thank you for helping me grow. Thank you for supporting and encouraging my dreams. Thank you for helping me when you can. Thank you for your kind words, and for taking pride in the work I do for the Lord. Taking pride in Jesus, thankful (and relieved, I'm sure) that He is working in me!
I can only hope as much. To have my child love me and praise me at the city gates, when I am older and have more time to sit at the city gates (hehehe), I would be beaming to hear my children rise and call me blessed. Maybe someday.
But today it's my turn! If there were a ribbon or a pin or even a trophy, I would give you bunches! Your unconditional love has been the foundation in my life that God has used to raise me up, change me, help me, make me new, and then use me for His kingdom purposes! For this, I am eternally grateful! Thanks for all of your hard work, grace, and mercy! I love you Dad! Happy Fathers Day!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Priorities

I found a cute work book called "A Mother's Manual for Summer Survival," by Kathy Peel and Joy Mahaffey. I am excited to use some of their ideas for planning our summer days. There are great monthly/weekly and daily organizers. My favorite is a planning sheet for 'summertime developmental objectives.' I will fill in objectives and a game plan for growth in 4 areas: intellectual, physical, spiritual and social-emotional.
I am also planning on making our own daily summer accountability record. I want to pick a few habits that we hope to establish as essentials to daily life. I am thinking of making it simple, so that it could stick! For example: devotional time, chores, reading. The summer is full of fun opportunities and possibilities, but I don't want to take advantage of all the great stuff to the detriment of the 'greater.'
Priorities. I guess they don't take a break in summertime!

Bowling Today

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Where is your devotion?

Life comes at us fast. We make choices every day that reveal our heart's first love. How are we spending our time? What are we spending our money to buy? Who are we spending time with? Where are we going? What are we thinking about? What do we worry about?
All of those things are an indication of the object of our devotion. Are we living each day in a posture of devotion to God? Are we processing the events of our lives through the lens of God's word? Are we thinking of Him each day, as we plan our schedule and start checking off our to-do lists? Have we checked in with God and asked HIm what is on His agenda for us to do today?
And what is most important in our lives today? Are we keeping the main thing the main thing? So often we do get preoccupied with important things to the detriment of the most important thing!
For example, I relate this to our homeschooling adventure. I am striving to have a God-focused agenda for our school days. I am praying to see all of my kids love God with all of their heart, soul, mind and strength. And to love others as they love themselves. And to become fishers of men. And to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with their God. To be a good friend. To help those who are hurting. To give to the poor. To serve the body of Christ. To reach out into the world and make a difference for the next generation in every land! These are lofty goals. And, I believe, godly goals. And along the way, as I teach them to follow Jesus, I hope they will learn to read, write and work math problems. I hope they will embrace all that we read of history as HIS story. I hope they capture the perspective of the Creator as we study all that He has made. And I hope they will appreciate all of the gifts that God has bestowed upon man as we appreciate art and music.
So often, the important things (learning to read) can drown out the more important things (learning to love). My desire is to see the atmosphere of our home, the routines of our daily life, and the relationships we have with one another, all come together to culminate in people who are truly Christ-followers.
Our worldly culture tells us otherwise. Weekly I have to drown out the opinions of the majority in order to hear the God who is near. He whispers the reminder, softly, gently, and with love: "Seek first my kingdom and my righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you as well." And so I rest.

the Good News

Ok, so I realize this might not be real news to many of us. But it has been revealed to me slowly after many years of relationships and people-watching, analyzing, processing their 'stuff.' Nobody has it all together. No one has the perfect life. The perfect spouse, parents, siblings, children, in-laws. They don't have the perfect neighborhood (no matter how fun, and friendly and wonderful it looks; nope, it's not perfect.) They don't have the perfect relationships. Mommy and Daddy are not really Barbie and Ken in real life. They are mostly more like Fred and Wilma or Lucy and Ricky. But not edited for family television. Most people have interactions in their home that they would like to rewind every day! Don't you? I do. For sure. Take back that look. Change that tone of voice. Not say more than needed to be said. Not to have yelled, threatened, freaked out crazy-mom style........Yes, many opportunities present themselves daily in which we show our true colors. What we are really like when the Pastor isn't over for dinner or the church friends aren't watching you 'discipline' your unruly children........Many opportunities to fall into sin and selfishness in our relationship with our spouse. Forgetting that we are called to put the other first. Forgetting we are commanded to love in relationship like Christ loves the Church! Forgetting that God ordained this marriage and we are HIS chosen vessels that He wants to use to accomplish His purposes on this earth! That's big stuff! But that's the good stuff! The bad news is, nobody is perfect. The good news is..............(drumroll please~~~~~~~~~~) WE HAVE A SAVIOR! We know a guy who can change everything. He can change us into the people he has planned for us to be. Don't get me wrong, we still might not look or act or think perfectly, but we will be in the process of becoming the kind of person that God wants us to be! We can seek to honor God in all of the interactions throughout our wildly busy days. Waking up. Getting up. That can even be hard for some of us! Taking care of our loved ones. Loving them well. For this, we must get down on our knees and ask for that supernatural infusion of holy grace-love-kindness good-stuff that will enable us to 'spill' love, hope, peace, goodness, faithfulness, self-control, when life tips us forward and back or we get bumped real hard. What oozes out of you when Life hits you hard? It's good to know we have a friend that will always be there for us. He never leaves. He is always fateful. He loves us enough to inspire our hearts to WANT to change. To WANT to be holy. To WANT to be kind in the face of meanness, to WANT to turn the other cheek, walk the extra mile, take the worst spot or get to go last. He changes us when we stop looking at one another (and how perfectly perfect every piece of their life SEEMS to be) and LOOK TO JESUS for the picture of what perfect is! He is the goal. He is the prize. Why we live, laugh, love, work, play, learn, move, grow. He is all we need and he is all the inspiration we need to stop comparing ourselves and our lives to others and to commit to building up others in the body of Christ and loving them in their 'imperfections,' and also to keep hitting the ground with our knees, asking Jesus to change us, make us new, make us like Him so that we can do this LIFE His way! Because in the end, it's what HE thinks of our lives that matters!

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Real Deal

What does authenticity look like in our day and age?
What does it look like to live in abandon to Jesus Christ in May, 2011?
I think the real deal of life is finding out these answers. And we find freedom when we know what we are living for. Lets flesh this out a little bit. Jesus says to seek Him first. In all things. Not to worry. About anything. Not food. Not drink. Not clothes. Let alone laundry, vacation plans, relationships, sleep, money, weather. Nada. He wants us to bring it all to Him. And Seek Him first. Consider Him before we start to fret about whatever is on our plate today. Then, after we have put our problems in proper perspective, to go on with what we need to do, in freshness with renewed hope and joy. Because we can do anything by the power of His Sprit He gave us. As we seek to walk with Him in this relationship of faith, we grow daily through the exercise of depending on Him, submitting to Him, listening to Him, obeying Him. This is the abandon.
We leave self and our fleshly, worldly, temporal desires and we go to Jesus. We exchange our 'poor reflection' for the real deal. We are still being made into that beautiful person that God created us to be. We are changing from glory to glory to better reflect our Jesus to the world. But we cannot change if we are not submitting to God on a daily basis. We cannot change if we are living in our own strength, conquering our troubles with our own ingenuity. No, He has far better plans for us. When we depend on Him, we are free. We can enjoy whatever He brings our way, because we are with Him. We can do ANYTHING when He is with us. And we can't do anything (God-glorifying, of eternal worth) without Him. Let us seek Him today and ask Him to help us let go of our worries and instead, lean into Him, resting, trusting, knowing that nothing that comes our way is out of His control.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Tethered to Jesus

"Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth." Psalm 124:8

Do you need help? I do. And I know many others that do right now. Healing from pain. Recovery from illness. Restoration of energy. Renewing of mind. Cleansing of heart. Newness of spirit. Hope for tomorrow. Rest for weary ones. Encouragement for the downtrodden. Patience for the ones at the end of their fuse. We need Jesus. Yes, Help is in His NAME. JESUS. Come and help us.
Jesus is with us through all of our days. He is our help. Why don't we remember to ask Him to meet us in our moments of need? Even if the solution is slow in coming, Jesus brings peace when He meets us in our moment. He gives us new courage to face the next moment. And that's all we have to do. Face the next moment, holding the hand of Jesus. We can face anything when we are tethered to Him! Can we not?
Each day can throw new things our way. Sometimes we are startled and unprepared. The best way to respond is to take it to the One who Knows. The One who is There. Jesus. He knew the moment would happen before it happened. He is always before us, every step of the way. He knows our need before we ask. What do you need to ask Him for today? He is already making a way.

Remember the old hymn, 'oh what needs we often forfeit, oh what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry, everything to God in prayer."

Don't carry your burden alone today. Jesus is offering His shoulder. Why would you refuse?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Naked with Candy

We had a special guest speaker, Jill Baughan, for our Spring Event yesterday. She shared a very engaging lesson on the importance of seeing and savoring the moments that are in front of us each day! She titled her message, "Naked with Candy." Yes, let me explain!!! She encouraged us to seize the moment and take it for what it is worth. Pay attention to little moments. Be like a child, embracing each moment. She defined Naked: Free to be who you were created to be. And, Candy: anything that is sweet in your life today. Seize the moment and celebrate it! Be in the world, present and in awe....paying attention to what's in front of us. (For example, admiring the sunset, appreciating the neighbor's lawn, taking time to 'smell the roses.') Talk about the sweet things in your life, give them voice! This makes our experiences deeper and more real. Or, write it out......journal, email, text........write a letter ~ anything to share your candy!
She also encouraged us to celebrate moments. She suggested that we be generous with our compliments to others and about others. And, even putting our words on paper so that friends can cherish them forever! Another fun suggestion was to 'shoot it out!' meaning, to take pictures of moments a lot more and share them! For example, keep a photo diary; each day a photo of something good in my life. Take pictures of your day.....something good that happens even on the challenging days. Little things, like a license plate that says "Pray Big." Agree with a friend to take pics of your day and share them back and forth. Take fun pictures and put them in a prominent place, display them, put them in albums! We need to make these memories of moments concrete!

God is giving me moments today--(am I going to be too busy or too sad to enjoy them?)

Naked with Candy: Being free enough to celebrate whats on your table today!!

All of us have had broken hearts, but also many blessings and many longings. Life is a mixture of longing and abundance. We all wish some things were different, and we all have many things to be soooo thankful for! Sadness and sorrow are a part of life. JOY and sorrow walk side by side together through life---we just gotta learn to pull from the JOY!!!
Ecclesiastes 3 states that there is a time for everything....mourning to dancing. Even in hard times there are stellar moments when we are in Christ~there is always joy in that deep relationship with Him. It's time to resurrect it and pay attention! Think about your childhood, where you are today, and where God wants you to go in the future......Listen to your life and see it for the mystery that it is! All moments are key moments and Life itself is grace!!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Paper Mess

Whenever I tell someone I am homeschooling our 3 children they respond in these ways: "oh, you must be very organized," and "you must have sooo much patience" or something of the sort. The honest answer is no and nope. But I believe God has a plan. I think that sometimes (often) He calls us to do things that we cannot do on our own strength so that we fully depend on HIM to do it through us. In this way, when things go well, God is glorified all around, because we know that it is nothing other than a miracle that we accomplished something only God could do!
Yesterday I had a blistering homeschooling "moment." On the way out to read our history book in the refreshing spring weather, I (and my full binder of history curriculum) was soaked by a bucket of water. An accident. I understand. But huge bummer. Huge setback. Instead of reading our History, we were blow-drying and ironing our work. HMMM? God has a plan in THIS? Yep. I would bet on it. And sometimes I wonder if God and my children are homeschooling me more than I am homeschooling them? Its a daily test of my trust in God's power and presence and peace. And He is strong. And He is here. And all is well. Wet papers don't matter for eternity. Relationships do. So mommy said she was sorry for her tantrum over wet History, and we moved on with drying our curriculum; and I spent some time putting them in page protectors (what a novel idea!), as the kids happily moved on to working on their science projects, researching sea animals, building volcano's, and designing paper airplanes. A reminder that forgiveness heals and the sooner the better. Isn't it true that the one who does not forgive is the one who suffers most? I am glad I am re-learning that lesson. So all is good with the paper mess. The crinkly papers will stand as a reminder to remember people over task. And they shall stand the test of time (page protected) and I can use them again in 4 years when we repeat this era of history in our homeschooling, when I am a much-more-organized and super-patient mother!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Fellowship of Sharing in His Suffering

Philippians 3:10 "that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to his death, if by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead."


I have been suffering from pain for months as a result of a car accident in November. From Doctors to Chiropractors to Physical therapy and massage, I have been around the block to deal with this pain. Even a myopractor. Who has ever even heard of a myppractor? Anyway, after so much "help," I was recently re-injured from a therapy session of traction and sent into MAJOR pain! It was worse than anything I have ever experienced. I couldn't lift my head to sit up in bed without agonizing pain. After two trips to ER, a doctor visit and then an outpatient surgical procedure and over a week in bed, I was on the way to recovery. It has been slow going, but I am getting better. As I have been dealing with pain for months, I have been helped so much by modern medicine. However, I had a exasperating experience at the doctor's office yesterday. It was unbelievable. I went in for a refill for my meds and MY OH MY did I get WAY more than that! I was treated like a druggie or drug dealer. The "substitute doctor" went on to insult me left and right. She insinuated that I was taking too many pills (or maybe even selling them?????) She commented that she would only see these prescribed meds in my urine sample, right? REALLY! What does she think I am doing, smoking pot or snorting coke? Or just popping pain pills left and right? I have NO idea. WHO knows what she was thinking!!! She also hinted that she thought I might be making up this pain to GET pills. Unbelievable! ME??? Like I said, she doesn't know me at all. I tried to be patient, and be patient some more. But then I broke down. Enough arguing with the Doctor. ENOUGH! Somehow the nurse straightened things out and the Doctor came back into the room backpedaling. "I am sorry if I offended you in any way." "WHAT???" Yeah, lady, BIG TIME. I continued to be kind in the face of misunderstanding. She totally changed her tune, gave me my script and sent me on my way. Talk about insult to injury. I have not been able to get the encounter out of my mind! I have NEVER been treated this way before. For the first time, I felt what it must be like to be persecuted. I was tested and tried and treated as guilty of a crime before there was any trial! I can't help but relate my pain and suffering and false accusation to what we recently remembered in the death of Christ. He suffered beyond anything I could ever relate to or comprehend. And He had the knowledge and power to retaliate, but He did not open his mouth. "But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed." Isaiah 53:5
For some reason, in God's great goodness, He chose to allow me to experience this test of pain and suffering and even false accusation. I can only guess at His wisdom in this. But doesn't say in the Bible somewhere that we become like him in His death? And we should take up His cross, dying to ourselves and follow Him? Yeah, here it is: "knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin....Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:6-11. And, Galatians 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." Also, Matthew 10:38 "And he who does not take his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me."
There is something to be said about going through a trial with the strength of the Lord. There is joy in the midst of suffering. There is hope in affliction. There is peace, knowing that God has done away with evil and sin once and for all, and HE WINS. In the end, there will be no tears. And I will be with Him in the end. This life here and now is just a teeny tiny bit of the journey. And the trials make us stronger if we trust in Him. They sanctify us, if we look for Him in our times of need. They purify us from our sin to make us holy like Jesus. They sharpen us so that we will be able to be strong warriors, clothed with the armor of God and ready to fight the enemy. We have to trust in Him that He will not allow us to experience anything that He will not use for our good and for His glory. He can redeem any situation and use it for his purposes. He loves us. He has our best interest in mind. He knows that it is best for us to be challenged in this life so that we will be changed and we will be conformed to His likeness. I am thankful that I do not have to walk this road alone. I couldn't do it. I need to be totally dependent on Him. And I think that's His point exactly.
And as for forgiving the doctor? Thats for a later post.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Just do it

Have you ever had the feeling that God was asking you to do something? And maybe just waited to see if He really meant it?? I think that if we live in readiness, then we will be able to move when he says move, or go when he says go, or wait when he says wait! We just need to be ready in a posture and attitude willing to surrender to him and his will no matter what the personal cost to us. Pouring out our lives for others, that is the model we received from our Savior. What is He calling you to do?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I am not talking about baskets, chocolates and eggs.....

Or bunnies or picnics or even gigantic church services. I am talking about your heart. Easter-time should be a season of preparing ourselves to embrace Jesus. His life. His ministry. His words. His death. His resurrection! It is a time of reflection. Evaluation. Confession. Restoration. Redirection. We need to realign our wills with Gods will so that we can say with Jesus, "not my will, but yours be done." so often I think we hit cruise control, spiritually speaking, and we forget to stop and consider the magnitude of what God has done for us. We get lazy and forget our resolve to do what Jesus would do, say what Jesus would say, go where Jesus would go.........we forget to be his hands and his feet and to remain intimately connected to the body. We lose our focus on Him; then we lose our purpose. We start to find worth and fulfillment in temporal things-a yummy dinner, a clean home (as if that ever happens here!), or career success, our vacation plans or our checkbook.....or even how many friends we have on facebook! Easter is a blessed reminder in our year that we have been given new life. Jesus' life! We have been given new power-the power of the holy spirit who is living in me! Let's take a look at where we are. Things all peachy in your spiritual life lately? Or maybe they feel 'a little off,' but you feel that conviction rising up in you to embrace a new day today, walking with Jesus! know it has to happen to everyone during certain times. In April we can find loads of distractions, and little time to step aside and fellowship with our heavenly father. I think He is up to something! I think He gets our attention in different ways through our lives so that we will wake up out of our 'happy little worldly home' fog, and step into the bright light of His presence and ask Him to search our hearts, What will he find? When we look at our lives He looks with us. Not surprised by anything he sees. Do we dare take him there? Show him the beauties and also the uglies? Do we really want to see our inner selves as he sees us? Then much is required. He calls for surrender to his lordship.....meaning you get off the throne in your life.....see and embrace and enjoy the Savior and that will lead you to fulfilling your life's calling! Oh yes, this takes work. Being done with sin is a hard thing to do, especially if they have become bad habits, or all of our other sweet Christian mommies do this so it must be fine, justifying treasuring up some sin in our hearts that Jesus really wants us to get rid of, and find freedom, and experience true joy that comes from that continual community with the Lord Jesus. Has knowing Jesus changed your life? What has he called you to? Are you where you are supposed to be or is God gonna grab your sweet hand and put you on the path that is best for you!

Easter is coming, are you ready?

Friday, April 8, 2011

What is your NET?

Today I was reading the gospel of Matthew with my kids. You know the story. The guys had been out fishing all day. They caught nothing. They were super tired. Jesus comes by and says to "throw the nets in again" and they are like, "SAY WHAT???" (again, Jodi version). And of course, then comes the miracle. They obey Him, throw their nets back into the 'empty' water, and they can barely raise them into the boat, they are full to overflowing with fish that were not there before.
This story makes me wonder. What is Jesus asking me to do that I am resisting, and telling Him, "SAY WHAT???" And have I obeyed and watched for the miracle? Have you? I can't help but think of what I am missing by telling Jesus, "nope, there are no fish here...." and not stopping to consider that He might know something I don't know (duh). It also reminds me of the prayer of Jabez. Remember him?
In 1 Chronicles 4:10, we read:"And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that Thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that Thine hand might be with me, and that Thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested."
I wonder what grief and pain we face because we don't believe Jesus and obey Him? I wonder what blessings we are missing because we are not asking? In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, "Ask, and it shall be given; Seek, and you shall find." Are we asking? Are we seeking? Or have we relied too much on our own understanding and given up on Jesus' (divine) suggestions? To fish here. Again? Let's obey. Let's ask. Let's seek. And then, lets share and celebrate the miracles He WILL bring forth!



Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Making Mosaics

I attended our women's ministry retreat last weekend. We talked about how God is making a mosaic with our life. He is using the beauties of the lightness and the beauties of the darkness to come together to be a work of art. I want to take that thought one step further. If we are moms, and most of us are, we know that we are fellow-workers with God in making more beautiful mosaics! I have three mosaic beauties that I am privileged to be co-laboring on with God. I watch as they grow, make choices, take on attitudes and opinions, experience joy, sorrow, pain. And I see it. God is doing something in their little lives. He is in the details. He cares about the boo boo that needs to be kissed. He notices the wonderful job she did on her presentation. He sees the frustration at being the littlest. None of this slips past God's heart. And, as an added bonus, these small human treasures have Moms who consider it an honor to be working with the Master Craftsman on His greatest creation of all time~a beautiful, God-loving, God-glorifying human being!
So what do we contribute? We can make the darks darker or lighter. We can help them see the light through their tears. We can bring comfort while they are waiting, tired, longing for Home, where there will be no more pain. We can speak truth into their lives when they are afraid. When they don't know which way to go, we can share our wisdom and guide them to the good road. We can live a bright and beautiful mosaic of our own so that they are attracted to the way of life that we have chosen. Then we can model the attitudes and actions that have gotten us to a place of reflective beauty. And, we can let them see us when we hurt. We can let them watch us in our struggle and pain. Allow them to see us crawl to Jesus and beg of Him for relief, yet all with the understanding that above all, YOUR WILL BE DONE. How we handle trials speaks loudly of our faith. Do we cling to Jesus. Do we continue to relate in prayer? And Worship? And Fellowship? In order to lead a child to the abundant life, we must be a-livin' in it ourselves! Are we indeed abiding? Living daily in his presence. Delighting in His word, his truth. Sharing our faith with those who do not know Him. Being filled with the Fruit of the Spirit and carrying the Armor of God? Are we fully equipped to live in this world and raise up our children to become beautiful mosaics of God's continued faithfulness from generation to generation?

Monday, April 4, 2011

That'll be the day!!!

Psalm 17:15
"And I-in righteousness I will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness."

Are we living for that day? It could be sooner than we think. Are we living in righteousness so that we will be prepared to see Jesus face to face? Are we walking with Him day to day, ready to meet Him at any turn? We should be. Our lives should be lived in readiness, so that if he appears (like in a twinkling of an eye!) we are blessed to see Him and He is blessed to receive us!!!
So often I think we forget what Jesus was trying to say when he was explaining how He wants us to treat one another. Do you remember the sheep and the goats? "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.....The king will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'"
I believe that He was giving us an example of how we should love one another. This is a follow up to the greatest commandment, 'Love God AND love one another' (jodi version). My hypothesis is that we can love God BY loving one another well. This puts skin on those commands to feed the hungry and thirsty, to clothe those who are needy and to give help to the hurting. We all most likely have many 'one another's' in our lives. That means we have many many opportunities to 'love Jesus' by loving well those whom He has placed in our paths. He is watching. He sees when we love in His way with His strength. And He smiles. He enjoys us when we are enjoying serving Him (by cleaning the dirty hands of a three year old, or giving someone your last apple you were saving for yourself, or sharing your favorite pair of boots, or taking care of someone who is sick for days on end........). May God give us the strength to love others like Jesus did, and let Jesus love others through us, using our hands and feet, our treasures and resources. For in fact, they all belong to Him, anyhow. Oh, how we should delight when we recognize that we are partnering with God in the mission of Jesus Christ to bring men to know Him and love Him and therefore share in joy and expectant living; always looking forward to His coming!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

life today

How about focusing on the day's itty bitty joys instead of its sorrows? How 'bout making some fun mud pies with the mud the world flings at ya? Let's give it a shot.
The breeze today felt beachy and the temperature was perfect. The grass was smooth and soft on bare feet. Friends gathered to talk about love, life, Jesus. Big kids helped little kids. Hot Yummy pizza. Playing with arts and crafts to create mini mosaic masterpieces. Baseball. Dance. Jr. High Youth group. Balloons from the dollar store. Homemade chocolate chip cookies. When you put it like that, the day doesn't look so bad after all, does it?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Growing in Joy (some more)

I have a feeling that God is up to something under the surface in my heart. He is growing Joy. Not the joy from some warm fuzzy feeling, or the joy from a happy sunny day, or the joy from a child's laughter or the joy of a new born babe. Nope. This joy is different. It is like a fullness and assurance of hope. It is the presence of Jesus with me. It is his hug to me, his gentle encouragement, his reminder of undying love. It is Him being my comfort in pain. Him giving me rest. Him lighting my path, guiding my steps. It is Him walking with me. Him sharing my hurt, bearing my burden. Him fellowshipping with me. No, I am not worthy. But somehow, in his heart of hearts, God made a way. Jesus. He came to me. He remains. He will forever be. He is life. He is the fullness. He is the Joy. And He is MINE. Beloved, do you know Him?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Advice for the New Bride

I have a dear friend that is getting married next month and I would like to gather some pearls of wisdom if anybody would like to share what God has taught them through their marriage.

Let's do a popcorn discussion and share on a few topics :)

I will give it a go: What was the one thing that you struggled with early on in your marriage? How have you grown past that struggle?