Sunday, September 11, 2016

To begin again

Like a newly walking baby, so goes our walk in Christ.
Sometimes we run to Our Father; sometimes we fall
and wait for Him to pick us up.

I won't lie folks, it's been a rough couple of weeks.  Last time I wrote I was frustrated with my plans changing, and I had great plans ya'll; they were the stuff of legend.  But they changed, they're still changing; I have to let God pick me up, and I fell hard.  I won't go into details, but think weeping in the bathroom intermittently coughing so hard I gagged, snot going everywhere, hard.  But sometimes, sometimes that's where Our Father has to lets us be so that we know our great need for Him.  Sometimes we have to look up and see our own pride in pushing forward, trying to get it all done, the boxes checked, in order that we can repent and let Him lift us from the miry clay.

In Exodus 33, God promises His people that He will go with them and He will give them rest.  Rest...  Rest beloved.  In the NASB, the word 'rest' is found 292 times, according to blueletterbible.org.  Think about that for a moment.  We, as a society, are so busy doing our works, some are even very good works, that we lose sight of the fact that resting was so important to God, that the word can be found 292 times.  Heck, it's even one of the Ten Commandments.  Why do we lose sight of that?

I am also convinced that it's not just physical rest God wants us to take, but spiritual.  Jesus said in Matthew 11:29, "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."  Rest for our souls...  To be gentle and humble in heart...

Can you imagine how much less you would hurt another human being, one of God's creatures, one of your children, yourself, if we were gentle, humble in heart?  I cannot tell you how many times I have hurt one of my children's hearts' simply because I was in a hurry; I just wanted to get something done.  Or I didn't feel well, or I was tired, or..or..or... you get the idea.  To be gentle, to rest in Him.  To know that He will gives us peace beyond understanding (Philippians 4:7).  To begin again.  To stop pushing forward when everything is saying stop, when He is saying stop.  We have an enemy ya'll, an enemy that will keep us so worked up we can't hear the soft still voice of Our Father.  An enemy that doesn't want you to hear the soft, still voice of the Father.  Our enemy knows that if he can separate us from God's voice, if he can make us feel alone, we will give in to the temptation to despair.  Now mind, I'm not talking about sadness, or even depression, but despair.  Despair says there's no hope, no point, and you actually start to believe it.  

Join me in resting in Him.  Join me in learning to be gentle and humble in heart; pride tells you you're not doing enough, humility says it doesn't matter.  Join me to begin again, to let Your Father pick you up.  When I was younger I thought I made God unhappy when He had to pick me up, again (and again).  But now I know He is smiling.  He's so happy to have me home, to have you home; He is the Good Shepherd gone after the 1 lost sheep.  Oh what a celebration there is in Heaven when the lost sheep comes home.

Monday, August 22, 2016

When plans change

I like plans.  They don't need to be specific plans, just a general 'hey, around this time, this is going to happen.'  Incidentally my children thrive on specific plans so that has been a struggle for me, but that's a post for another time.  Also incidentally, I think my husband rebels against all plans when he's at home, because his work outside of the home requires a lot of planning; but I love him anyway ;)

Anywho...plans.  My plans have seemed to be changing a lot lately and I don't like it.  It feels as though God, who is far wiser than I am, has decided to tweak me.  I don't like that either.  It's annoying, it's frustrating, it hurts my flesh, my pride, my sense of control.  Why does my Lord, in his infinite wisdom feel the need to change my plans on such a consistent basis?
"For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives."  Hebrews 12:6 NASB
"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials..." James 1:2

I don't know about you, but that's not very encouraging.  We as believers like to gloss over the hard stuff, but the Bible is full of hard stuff.  It's also full of the love story God has for us, but a lot of hard stuff too.  I don't know why life can't just happen the way I plan more often; heck, I'd be happy with 60% of the time, but that's just life.  Perhaps I'm being "driven and tossed by the wind" (James 1:6) but...I don't know.

Maybe I'm just being ungrateful.  Yes, finances are tight, but we have a regular paycheck.  Yes, my kids make me crazy sometimes, but consider the picture of the the little boy from Syria in the back of the ambulance.  Yes, there's a lot of housework that hasn't got done, but we have a home to live in.

I don't know, I guess I'm just whining.  I'm frustrated because all the things I wanted done this summer didn't happen and it's time for school to start again.  School was supposed to start today as a matter of fact, but we all got really sick these past few days and I can still hear my pulse in my ears.  I'll leave you with this:  "Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him."  James 1:12
The moon over the water at sunset

Friday, August 19, 2016

Why we need to be filled with the Spirit of God

One of the old hymns sings to Our Father, "I need thee every hour, every hour I need thee" and oh how true that is.  As a believer, it is easy to fall into the trap of only seeking God in the moment you need Him; but what about the moments a need isn't immediately in front of you?  I don't know about you, but my record of seeking the Lord on a regular basis is spotty at best and how I react to stress certainly shows it.

On a bad day life can come at me from every angle; waking up to someone having an accident in bed, a baby that wants to eat now, and the dishes I was too tired to do at 9 o'clock the night before.  Throw in a moody (almost)teen who wants to argue, first thing in the morning, about whether or not he should be able to play video games all day or how he needs a smart phone because some of his friends do, and a moody threenager who needs you to wipe her butt, and the day certainly starts with a bang.

Now I'm sure there are practical things that can be done to help with this mess, getting over the being tired and making sure I wake up to a clean kitchen, or simply making sure I'm up before the kids so it's not coming at me the moment my feet hit the floor.  But if I'm not taking time to be with the Lord, none of the practical stuff matters.

The perfect example of this is my nine-year-old's desire to embroider a pillowcase.  I'm constantly encouraging (sometimes forcefully) my kids to find things to do that are not screens, so when we were at Hobby Lobby getting stuff for the upcoming school year, she asked if I would get her some iron-on patterns and embroidery floss so she could.  Of course I said yes and the game was on.  Now anyone who knows my daughter knows that she has one of the most beautiful, generous hearts you could ever want in a friend, but patient she is not.  Once we got everything ready, she started her project.  It didn't take long before a stitch didn't happen the way she planned and all the marbles were thrown from the basket.  Now, on a bad day, I would have lost my marbles as well and we would have ended up angry with each other.  But on this day, the Spirit of the Lord was upon me and I was able to talk her down.  The marbles became projectiles a few more times before she finally said (not me, her) "I think I need a break because I'm getting too upset."  The reason this is a cause of celebration for me is because this is my child that will insist on continuing in whatever endeavor she's working on, even when things obviously aren't working.  So for her to put it away by herself is a big deal, momentous even.

I won't lie, when it was all said and done I was spent!  There was an actual feeling of depletion in my chest.  I should have taken a moment to 'recharge' and spent more time with God, but....  The day ended with a mom's night out so it all worked out ;)

I do want to say, I am by no means saying that God is some kind of genie able to conjure patience and a good temper at will.  And there are certainly days where I do have my quiet time and the day comes crashing around my ears.  But to fill the cups of our children, our husbands, our friends, we must first be filled with the Holy Spirit ourselves.

"I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me
and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me
you can do nothing...
These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you,
and that your joy may be made full."
John 15:5, 11 NASB
My joy