Daily Reminders

Living Life Uncomfortably

Matthew 14:22-33

My original idea of the perfect comfortable life included, always being happy in my marriage, having two kids, living in the “well to-do” neighborhood community and sending my kids off to a private Christian school. I would raise my kids up knowing Christ and I would be a loving wife and happy homemaker. Well if you can guess, this idea of a perfect life has taken a wild turn. No, my current life does not compare with the perfect comfortable idea I had in mind. It is not perfect and it is not comfortable, BUT it is exactly what the Lord has intended for me to grow spiritually and I’m so thankful because it’s far better than I could have imagined.

None of what I desired was bad. I wanted what I thought was best for me and for my family but God had another plan in mind. He was concerned with my holiness not my happiness and comfort. He wanted to draw me closer to him and for that to happen he called me into uncomfortable places.

I would consider my self a self reliant person. I can do most anything I set my mind to. However, this self dependency goes directly against dependency on God and hindered me from truly experiencing Christ’s power in me. It also shaped my idea of the perfect life because it was the life I could handle. God wanted more for me but that required me to depend on him and it meant I had to step out of the boat and walk in uncomfortable places.

Every time I have left my place of comfort to follow God I have never been put to shame. I have been blessed far greater than I could have imagined.

At times, I battle with God about leaving my comfort zone. I’m afraid I’m going to fail, or I’m afraid I’m going to get hurt, or that I won’t be enough. These are all lies because it isn’t about what we can do but what he can do through us.

If we remain in a comfortable state we become complacent and we start relying on ourselves and our strength to see us through. We end up missing the best for our lives when we choose to sit in the boat because it is safe, it’s familiar, it’s what we can handle.

It’s when we take that step into the uncomfortable places and trust God to do what he said he is going to do that we truly experience life. When we move out of the boat, we will see our faith flourish and bear fruit that was unimaginable.

Has God called you into an uncomfortable place? Are you resisting taking a step out of the boat? Place your trust in him walk where you never imagined you could walk and let him transform your mind and heart and come to know Christ in a whole new way.

Daily Reminders

The Battlefield

Ephesians 6:10-18

Last night was our last night at VBS and it was a night to remember. The sifting process began for me.

My two year old (the red head from the previous post) had a melt down. It was the worst fit I had ever seen out of her. The anger and rage that boiled up through her was frightening. At one point, I had a stool thrown at me. I knew I could not relent. I had to stay firm until she calmed down or what I saw would be the tip of an iceberg. I relied on the Lord’s word to guide me and strengthen me.

Proverbs‬ ‭22:6

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”

Proverbs‬ ‭22:15‬

“Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far away.”

As I battled for her heart, I was battling for my own. I had to push behind the thoughts of what others might think of me or my child. I had to push back the urge to give in. I had to push back the waves of hopelessness that would hit as she would scream at the top of her lungs.

After she calmed down, we emerged from where we were holed up at and sat down. We were both exhausted mentally and emotionally. A friend asked if I was ok and I barely could answer her and tears flooded my eyes.

I cried and prayed the whole way home. This morning, I woke up thankful for God’s faithfulness and I knew I had to write about the battle we must wage against the forces evil that would cause us to give in. However, my morning didn’t go as planned. Everyone woke up early and it left no time to write. Every attempt I made throughout the day was thwarted. Then it hit me as we were getting ready for Parent Night for VBS. My mood had changed. Something was off and I couldn’t figure out what. I started feel irritated for no reason and by the time I was at dinner with my family, I was in a worse mood. I didn’t want to talk and I felt horrible.

When we finally left and heading home, I began to cry. I didn’t understand what was wrong with me. I didn’t understand why I felt that way. I cried and I prayed and the Lord made clear my situation.

I was under a spiritual attack. I was being sifted. I was a threat to satan because of my obedience to the Lord. He attacked me with hopeless feelings and an exhausted mind. BUT with the power of Christ’s name he was moved away from me and peace fell over me, an unexplainable peace.

No, Satan doesn’t want his schemes revealed, he doesn’t want hope to prevail.

Moms and Dads, parenting is a battlefield. You are fighting for the hearts and the minds of your children. This world, wants your children and it will entice them in every way and will play to every desire of the sinful nature. You must put on your spiritual armor and prepare for battle. The enemy is real and he seeks to find a place to put up a stronghold in your life. My friends – fight. Seek after the Lord and find refuge in him. He will strengthen you and guide you and when the attacks come the Lord will be there and the sword of the Spirit with cut apart the arrows of lies Satan has shot at you. Do not be afraid, be courageous and strong because the Lord almighty will be with you. You are not alone to fight but the God of the universe will fight for you!

Supporting Scripture

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:8-9“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”

Luke‬ ‭22:31-32

““Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.””

Joshua‬ ‭1:9

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.””

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Daily Reminders

Don’t Poke The Bear

Romans 5:15

My 2.5 year old red head has the strongest will I have ever seen. She is sweet as can be, when she chooses to be but she can turn on you and you swear you are battling a bear. Sometimes in the thrall of discipline, it is hard to remember that her strong will was given to her for a reason. The fierce spirit to fight was placed by God.

I had never thought of myself as a strong willed person but looking back through my teen years I tested my mother often. I had a know it all attitude and I was not afraid to show it. I know I pressed her patience and her sanity but she never gave up on me. She never let me get away with my bad attitude. She pressed upon me and directed me and always pointed me to Christ. I remember very vividly something she would always tell me,”I’m not the example you are suppose to look at, it is Jesus.”

During those years all I wanted to do is get out of that house and out from under her rule. Swearing up and down I’m not going to be like this when I’m a mom.

Hahaha!!! I’m exactly like her.

A strong willed woman to parent strong willed children. She was my example. The example of running to God and gaining my strength from him.

What a blessing it is to have a strong willed child. When cultivated and directed to God it is a powerful tool. It won’t let in and it is what will keep coming back to the Lord to be strengthened. It will fight and persevere when times are tough and circumstances seem overwhelming.

This wonderful strong will is from Lord. We are made in His image, the steadfast unchanging God. He is relentless and pursues His people. He never gives up. He holds fast and is the rock the unmoving foundation. How great is the strong will of God!

If you have a strong willed child take hope my friend! That will is a wonderful thing. It is trying and it is hard but you can rely on the strong will of God to guide you in directing and cultivating that beautiful will.

Daily Reminders

Airing The Dirty Laundry

2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:16-21

This morning, I happened to read something that I did not agree with. My initial reaction was not good and thoughts of judgement flooded my mind. Conviction quickly hit my heart. God reminded me of these verses:

Matthew‬ ‭7:1-5‬ ‭

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

After being convicted, I had no desire to write anything for this blog. I especially didn’t want to write about how I was this ugly judgmental person, BUT once again God always directs me to the right path. He brought to mind these verses:

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ 12:9

“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.”

The fact is I’m weak. I don’t always act the way I’m suppose to act and I don’t always do what I’m suppose to do. I mess up a lot and it’s obvious from these posts I write. However, my weaknesses do not define me it’s Christ who defines me. He has made me into a new creation. I will mess up but in my weakness Christ’s power is made perfect.

We all screw up and do things, say things, think things we shouldn’t but it is when we turn from that and trust God we become a witness to others. Following Jesus isn’t about having it all together, it’s realizing we are weak and we need him and letting others see him through us.

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Daily Reminders

Mom Guilt

Yesterday, I was hit with some serious mom guilt. My 4 year old is struggling at VBS, so I wanted to make the extra effort to fill his love tank. His love language is acts of service. I find it a little hard to speak to him in his language, so I went read the section of acts of service in the book, The 5 Love Languages of Children, by Gary Chapman.

As I read it, my heart broke. I had not been showing love to my child the way he receives it. I had missed his pleas for love, when he would ask for help on tasks I knew he could do himself. Instead of helping I would say, “you are a big boy you can do it.” Or “I’m busy right now with the baby, brother can help you.”

I felt terrible and I ugly cried. I asked God to forgive me for not caring for his child the way I should. To forgive me for not loving him the way he loves. My heart was in the pits, broken for what I had done. I resolved then that would do better, BUT as soon as the thought passed my mind God convicted me.

The problem was, I couldn’t love my son perfectly. Even if I tried my very best I would always come up short. God reminded me that it is Him who loves my child, really his child, perfectly. My self reliant can do spirit could not do what only He could do.

I knew then the only way that I could show love to my son the way God shows his love for me is by allowing Jesus to love him through me. I could not do this on my own. I could not do enough acts of service or what I thought were acts in order for that tank to be filled. No, it is only God who could do that.

The only thing I could do for any of my children would be, to be quiet and still and allow God to work through me. He would have to give me the eyes and ears to see the opportunities to show love at the right time in the right way. I would have to remove anything that distracted me from hearing the Lords voice, whether it was the TV, busyness, or whatever taking my attention. And even in all of that, I had to remember the wonderful grace that covered me and my children would restore all that the locusts had eaten away. I wouldn’t be able to perfectly love them but I could point to the one who does, Jesus.

Whether you are a parent or not, no one can love another perfectly but you can allow Jesus to love them through you when you submit to him.

‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:3-8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.”

Daily Reminders

I’ll Have Another Cup of Coffee Please

Over the last two days I have been praying for the Lords energy to sustain me. It has been tough and will continue to be for the next week as we participate/volunteer at VBS. Yesterday, I woke up feeling awful. I rolled out of bed feeling like I was 90 in a dense fog. I knew there was no way in my power that I was going to be able to produce the amount of energy I needed for that day.

The Lord brought to mind these verses;

Isaiah 40:28-31

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

The part that really stuck out in my mind was those who HOPE in the Lord. What did that even mean? So I took to my dictionary and one of the ways it defined hope was,” to place trust; rely.

So I replaced hope with trust and read the verse again.

“Those who trust in the Lord…” this helped me to understand what God was saying to me. If I trusted him then my strength would be renewed. Now the question was how do I apply it?

The number one thing that will zap my energy the quickest is worry and anticipation. When I am full of anxiety or worried anticipation I become restless and I am totally exhausted, mind and body.

I knew the only way I was going to be able to survive is if I trusted God to bear the fruit. If I tried to take control I was going to fail. If I worried about who was going to help me with my age group I was going to fail. If I worried if the kids would understand the material I was going to fail. If I tried to anticipate the ages so I could plan on more detail I was going to fail. I knew if I didn’t trust God to do what only he can do and bear the fruit in me I was going to fail. I hoped for the energy. I trusted him, the God who never tires, for energy to keep up.

He was faithful to me to do exactly what he said he was going to do. I had the energy to keep up. No caffeine involved that evening either. I actually came home a bit wired because His energy was still flowing.

Whether it’s a week with VBS or just a normal day at home with kids his words still apply. To find the energy we so desire, we must first trust in the Lord to provide and lay down what hinders that trust. For me, trying to anticipate outcomes and worrying hinders my trust for the Lord but when I hand that over he is able to produce beautiful fruit in me. I’m so thankful for a God who never tires and is faithful to provide all I need.

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Daily Reminders

Balancing Plates

Hebrews 12:1-3

I use to do lists to help order all the different tasks I have to do in a day. Without them, my brain feels like a jumbled up mess that can’t put one foot in front of the other. The lists are a great tool, BUT for me it can be the very thing that causes me to lose sight of Jesus in my everyday life.

Yesterday, My to do lists and ultimately my desire for control led me astray. I had 101 things to do and I simply did not have enough time. I got so overwhelmed by my lists and what needed to get done I could not function. The kids looked at me like I was nuts and I explained to them how my brain felt like a plate full of food and I was trying to balance it all but the plate was moving all over the place and I couldn’t. So they gave me some wise advice.

My 6 year old told me,”Why don’t you take some of the food off the plate.” My 4 year old suggested, “that I remain still and silent so I could balance.” I stood there in awe of how God could speak the truth right out of their mouths.

I took their advice and I went to a still and silent place and prayed. I prayed to have better perspective of my tasks and for him to guide the to do list not me and let go of what simply didn’t need to be done.

It was hard to let go and I can’t say I did it perfectly either. I tried to to take control again and fortunately was convicted on the spot; But by the end of the night, I had done more than what I had expected with far more energy than I could have hoped for. Letting go of control and trusting Jesus in your everyday life is really tough. We have our routines and our to do lists and everything that simply has to get done (cooking, cleaning, work, etc) but sometimes these things can get mis-prioritized. When we focus first on Jesus and lay down our lists, He will guide us in getting done what truly needs to get done.