Friday, August 31, 2012

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Things are very crazy right now and blogging is being neglected. Here is a quick thought:

How much do we really trust God?

How would our life change if we did it completely?

The Lord himself will go before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forget you. Don't be afraid and don't worry.

-Deuteronomy 31:8

Boom. This truth might change my day. Or life.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

"I Am Strong"

This summer was normal great. Nothing fantastic has happened. No vacations or exciting camps.

It was HOT. We've kept busy. Life is continuing. But something has clicked- whether it be me or a particular age in my children or an family attitude or a mixture of everything, Life seems to have gotten a tad bit easier.

There is a light of hope that we may be able to get out of survival mode soon.

God uses my work to remind me that I am capable of organization and multiple complex thoughts at once. Maybe I can restore order.

God uses people to open my eyes to possibilities out of mundane. Maybe our schedule can become more mama friendly.

God also simply puts circumstances in our favor. And wonderful help. Maybe it will be fun to see how this will play out.

As I reflected on my hope, I was saddened by the last nine years. I feel as though I was just simply surviving. Did I not try hard enough? Was I lazy? Did I not listen to God and obey? How many blessings did I miss out on?

But my God did not condemn me. He simply said, "You prepared your children for another season. That is what you were to do."

Reading a book aloud instead of cleaning.
Allowing imperfectly folded towels, courtesy of pre-schoolers.
Creating incredible art and cooking messes.
Spending hours teaching kids how to get along, how to respect their parents, how to be responsible, and how to persevere.
Stimulating brain development by playing with an infant, nursing, or just holding her rubbing her head.
Answering life questions.
Instilling the reality that they are loved, they are important, and they are secure.
And teaching and modeling the love of Christ.

This all takes work and time, and you may not see the results immediately. But moms, you are still the smart college student. You are still the efficient career person. You are still the beauty that stole your husband's heart. You are still the incredible artist, or accountant, or secretary, or whatever you were in your former responsibilities. You are still fun. You have not changed, but your circumstances have and I believe motherhood is above human capability. We all need intervention- whether it be your mother-in-law, a maid, or simply supernatural, we need help.

It stretches us, and it pushes us into a humble realization that life is hard. But it's okay, that is right where God wants us, so we can witness a greater purpose.

God has taught me that the self defeating talk is sin. Self pity, complaints, and fear are sin. It is sin because it is listening to lies that hinder God's best. And the best weapon is His word. I know about God's word, I know what is says, but very little is hidden in my heart. (I use my concordance much too often). So God has challenged me to memorize scripture that will help accomplish whatever purpose I have at this time.

I'm inviting you to accept this challenge as well. Let's start with an easy one.

Joel 3:10b
Let the weak say I am strong.

Say it every day, and say it when you feel weak. Teach it to your children. Believe it. You may look weak, but the eyes only tell part of the story. Tell them they are wrong. Let the weak say "I am strong".

What are the verses that encourage you? Share them in the comments or e-mail.

Friday, August 10, 2012

How I'm Blessed

I've been working at my job a lot lately. My work is such an incredible blessing to me, and has been for almost 12 years.

And another fantastic thing- my children have turned a page in their life where they really are helpful, and I feel really good about leaving them at home with a tired daddy.

But yesterday I came home to a crying 3 year old...crying because he spilled his bowl of chocolate chips in his room, three fighting girls, and tired and frustrated daddy. I wanted to complain about how everyone else ruined my day that had gone well up until this point- but the spirit stopped me.

I said good-bye to Daddy, who was probably happy to have somewhere to go, separated the kids, hugged them, and firmly told them not to leave their room while I tried to fix my Internet woes.

I took a lot of deep breaths and even flashed some kinda fake smiles. It wasn't long until all had settled down.

God has really been on to me about not feeling sorry for myself. Not only is it unpleasant for everyone around me, but it is death to my joy. I have been so very guilty of this. I mean, really. Being paid to analyze menus to comply with a tiny bit ridiculous school lunch regs is no big deal. I do it, I get paid, and I get a little break from the usual, I go home. Life goes on.

And comforting tired and upset kids? Hey, it's my job. And I love those kids.

Not having a working Internet for a few days? This was a tough one.

After a time of intense discipline, not feeling sorry for myself has gotten a little easier. And I have to say from experience- Moms, the worst thing you can do indulge in self pity. You can talk to God about your frustrations and then expect Him to do something about it. AND THEN- ask Him to show you something beautiful. He will. That is exactly what he's hoping you'll ask for. Look for it.

Then go bless your family, and rest in knowing that God is working something wonderful in you, just where you are.

Here is some encouragement from some of the people I admire:

Today's devotion from Oswald Chambers. Click here to read the entire devotion.
"Look at God’s incredible waste of His saints, according to the world’s judgment. God seems to plant His saints in the most useless places. And then we say, “God intends for me to be here because I am so useful to Him.” Yet Jesus never measured His life by how or where He was of the greatest use. God places His saints where they will bring the most glory to Him, and we are totally incapable of judging where that may be."

Today, I must share a few happy things.

1. The very day we started school- a year of learning focused on different countries and cultures, I got some of the most happy mail I can imagine from BOTH of our sponsored children.

 Okay this girl belongs in our family- and/or we have the same frequency of thoughts. A painting of the Ethiopian flag and an animal...I'm guessing a hyena? Exactly what I would have suggested as a painting for our family. Learning directly from the source. Rebka- you'll never know how you've blessed me!

I am wanting to visit Thailand something fierce- so I thought we could invest in it. Compassion sent an entire booklet just on this particular child, whose birthday is right after mine. In detail, it said where he lived and what his life is like- from what his chores are to what he eats to how he does in school. And he loves soccer. It indicated that he may be Hmong, a people group that I ache for. I love his stern face. He reminds me of Sook. I bet he has a great smile.

What a first day of school. We love you, Rebka and Si.

2. Rain. Never have a loved rain so much. Today as Max jumped in a huge puddle in the grocery store parking lot, all I could do is laugh. This picture wasn't today, but this is how much we love rain! We love the rainbows, too...

3. My husband cleans carpets for money, yet we have the nastiest carpet in town. I know I'm to blame. I have had so much self- pity over this darn carpet. But when I came home from work the other day, he had mowed whatever lawn we still have and cleaned the carpet. Now, it is still nasty. However, a little nasty looks fantastic compared to horrific nasty. I am so thankful for him and that my carpet is not as nasty as it was.

4. I love it that my girls put away all of my groceries while I fixed the computer....again. All of them- and made supper. Yay for older kids.

5. Today, Summer said, "This is so fun!" during multiplication drill time. ????? Okay, I'll take it. Bless you, Summer. The way God works in home school is so exciting. Even in my stubborn child's heart.

Self pity stinks. God's blessings abound.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

House of Grace

The Bible talks about the mysteries of God. Sounds so...unattainable at first read. I was thrilled, however, when I realized that much of what God teaches are mysteries because our natural mind does not think like God's. In fact, the way God thinks is usually opposite of how I think in the natural. It is attainable, however, when we learn to look at the world through his perspective.

When we watch how God works through our life experiences, the common theme is how off we are, yet His great love remains.

Man cannot draw out a road map of how to live the perfect life. It can only come through the faith that God knows what is best for us. However, there is obedience, humility, perseverance, patience, and certain action involved as well. And these things are all mixed up in a mysterious jumble with love as an umbrella over all.

I reflected this last week over how I can encourage my children to do their best for God in any situation. I was reminded that criticism hinders creativity and induces fear, often times.

Yet, a standard needs to be set. We should strive for perfection without being perfectionists. So hard.

One mystery that pays many times over is grace. Undeserved favor.

I want my house to be a house of grace. This is one way to pave a life experience that opens the path for Christ to show himself. Not just grace to my own children, but as a part of life.

Show grace to other children.
Show grace to my spouse.
Show grace to neighbors and friends.
Show grace to our leaders.
Show grace to our church.
Show grace to our enemies.
Show grace to those that don't agree with us.
Show grace to family members.
Show grace to your first grade teacher that said you weren't smart.
Show grace to those that belittle you.
Show grace to yourself.

God knows, there are so many times that I have been the one in need of grace, and there are times that I was misunderstood- even with good intentions.There are those that don't understand my circumstances. I have been judged, but I also have received grace that I can't comprehend. I thank God for those that have given it to me.

Thank God for grace.