Wednesday, August 31, 2011

5 things that save my sanity...

Today was ONE OF THOSE DAYS!!! You know the kind... the it's 8:05am and you wanna turn around and get back in bed cause YOU KNOW it's gonna be rough kind of day. Some days on this journey of Home-schooling are definitely harder than others. The days of school that coincide with teething baby and fussy toddler are the ones that do me in. They get me to thinking maybe I'm not cut out for this.

Today was a EVERYBODY including mommy is just too tired for this day. If baby wasn't crying and screaming momma while he pulled on my pants leg, then 3 year old was throwing himself on the floor in a fit of crying, and then to top it off if neither of them were crying, 7yr old was crying, whining, and throwing a fit about what she had to do. I literally sat on the floor at one point with 3 crying kids wailing around me, thinking WHAT AM I DOING???? It would be so much easier to send my big kids to school. I could take my littles to the park and play and do all the fun stuff I used to do when the bigs when they were little. I could clean my house (which by the way looks like FEMA should be called in). Someone else could be dealing with this 7 year old right now. BUT, I KNOW this is what God has called me to and that everyday is not like this. In fact yesterday my 7 year old was a perfect student. Anyway, back to the point of this post... I KNOW it is God's desire that we are thankful even in hard times, so as I was sitting here reflecting on this day I came up with a list of 5 things I am thankful for even on days like this.

1. I'm thankful PAPER PLATES!!!
2. I'm thankful for my beautiful husband who works from home and can interject some humor in days like this.
3. I'm thankful that on days like this when I know we won't get much learning done anyway, that I can sit on the floor with the bigs and the littles all together and read book after book to entertain them.
4. I'm thankful for dish washers, washing machines and dryers, and ANYTHING else that makes keeping this place going EASIER.
5. BUT the thing I am MOST thankful for on days like this is the UNCONDITIONAL LOVE of my four children, because I AM NOT the perfect mom and Jesus is working this thing out in me. My kids see the worst of me and I am so thankful that they forgive easily and love completely!!!

Lord help me be a better Mommy please in Jesus name!!!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Do's of God.

One thing that has always confused me since becoming a Christian is why people who have not grown up in the church are zealous for Christ while so many of the people who have grown up in church are at best luke warm. This is NOT to say that that applies to everyone either way. It's just an observation.

I was 19 when I gave my life to Christ. I grew with very little Bible knowledge and we never went to church. By the age of 19 I had done many things I was ashamed of. I didn't really know anything about God and everyone around me was doing the same things as me so it wasn't an imposed guilt that I felt. It was something deep inside me that told me the life I was living was wrong. So, when I went to church one night because my mom had recently started going and begged me to go, I was SHOCKED by the message I heard from the pulpit. It was Christmas that night so I was sure I would hear about Jesus in the manger... But, instead the Pastor was talking about John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave his only son, that WHOSOEVER believes in him would not perish but have everlasting life." I had never heard such a thing. I knew God was my Creator and Judge, but not my REDEEMER. Jesus had come to redeem me, to set me free from all my baggage and bondage. NOW that was a message I could use. Like I said I knew God was my Judge, but I had never been told that God had loved me so much that He did something drastic about the situation I was in.

I decided right then and there that ANYTHING God wanted from me in return was perfectly fine, but I COULD NOT live one more moment without HIM. He was my SAVIOR, MY REDEEMER, and even now my FRIEND. What more could a person want? I zealously wanted to please my new Father. Don't get me wrong as a baby christian with no one to really lead the way I screwed up big time lots of times. I was confused and I even left everything behind to go back in the world at one time, but I LOVED GOD. He had been SO GOOD TO ME. I was not disciples in the ways of God.

Which brings me back to my former statement. I couldn't understand why people who had grown up in church would leave the Lord. I "thought" they knew better than I how to serve God and live for him, but what I found was a bunch of joyless drones who did what they "had" to do to get by. So many times I saw people who were just going to church because that's what you do. People my age who grew up in church were leaving in record numbers and trading in the blessedness of following Jesus for the world. I had been there before and I KNEW there was NOTHING out there. WHY were they leaving? Why didn't they love God or see what He had done for them?

I don't know all the answers, but I know some of it is home-life, and some of it perspective. Something else I have learned is too much of the time we Christians focus on the Don'ts of God and NEVER on the DO's of God.

There are over 600 laws in the word of God and everyone of them is for our Good, but the I'm mostly talking about the 10 commandments.

I thought about those 10 laws and wondered what they would look like if they were the 10 Do's of God???

1. Do KNOW that there is ONE God and WORSHIP HIM.
2. Do realize that no one has ever seen God so we can't compare him to anything we know of.
3. Do call upon the name of the Lord WHEN you need Him and only use His name in Praise.
4. Do Keep the Sabbath holy and set it apart to rest with your family and worship him together.
5. Do Honor your Father and mother and DO live long and be prosperous because of that honor.
6. Do LOVE your neighbor and enemy and see every life as valuable.
7. Do be faithful. "It makes you feel better to do the right thing."
8. Do work hard and provide for your family. "It makes you feel better to do the right thing."
9. Do ALWAYS tell the truth. It makes you feel better to tell the truth.
10. Do be thankful for everything you have and realize that God is GOOD and He knows exactly what you need. Somethings you want are not good for you.

The big lie has always been that God is not Good, but for those of us who have been dead in our trespasses and sins KNOW that God is Good. Those of us who have lived apart from God and were desperate and lost without him know that HE alone satisfies. We know where we have been and never want to go back there. As for our own children who we are raising in the faith, we MUST pass on our zealous love for God and focus on the Do's of God. There is so much that we can DO in this christian life it's a shame so many focus on what we can't do.

Capturing hearts....

It's vital to our children to teach them the Laws of God. It's vital to lead them in the paths of righteousness. It's vital to "train our children in the way they should go." We know all that.

BUT, what is equally important is praying for their hearts to remain soft and pliable, so that the Word of God can take root. IF the soil of our children's heart is not soft then all the training in the world will be for naught. We can spend all day everyday training and teaching and end up with children who turn away from everything they have been taught the first chance they get.

As I read the word of God I see over and over how the downfall of a person was a hard heart. It wasn't that they didn't know the truth or that they didn't know the consequences of their actions, they just had hard unrepentant hearts. Starting from the beginning we have all wanted our own way. We desire to fulfill the lust of the flesh. WHY we are so shocked when our children have the same desires is beyond me. My little ones from the earliest ages all wanted things their way. As they have grown and matured they see that having what you want all the time leads to destruction, but that comes from experience and revelation. My one year old doesn't understand this. He just wants what he wants. We are the same way. We figure out along the way that our ways are most of the time not the best way. Then we cry out to God with broken hearts for the mess that we have made in our life and as a good parent he swoops in and saves the day. UNTIL we learn that really the WAYS of God are so much better than our way. So, we begin to live our lives for him because Father knows best and HE IS GOOD. My point is that like us even though they know the truth sometimes they will choose another way. They will fail and disappoint, but if their hearts are soft and pliable they will repent quickly and seek God's face.

The question is how do we keep their hearts soft??? MOST IMPORTANTLY we have to PRAY for this. I think PRAYER is the most effective tool that we have as children of God, sadly though it's the one we overlook. IF we do pray it to whine and cry and fuss about what we need or don't have. BUT, the word promises WHAT we ask will be given. The bible also promises that what we sow in tears we will reap in joy. We shouldn't waste our prayer times on all that selfish whining. We should be crying out to God for the hearts of our children, our families, our neighbors, and our nation. We should be pleading with God to turn our hearts back to him. We must pray for our children's heart to remain soft and pliable so that they can receive the word of God and be equipped to do the will of God.

Next, we have to REJOICE IN THE LORD. I am convinced that the reason so many of our children are leaving the faith is because WE are a joyless people. Rejoicing and worshipping keeps our hearts soft before God and the same is true for our children. My children and I turn the worship music up and dance all around this house praising the Lord. They fall in love with God when they see Mom in love with her Savior. Be thankful for every thing. Loudly praise God for the good things in your life. This makes a huge impact on your children.

Lastly, we have to be gentle with our children. Gently guide and nurture them in the Ways of God. Gently lead them. Don't force them to do the things they should, gently lead them. Be excited about devotional time with them. Show them how much you love the word of God and they will be curious for themselves. Be excited about going to church as a family. Listen to them and answer their questions gently. David says in the psalms that God's gentleness had made him great.

You are the greatest influence on your children. IF you are in love with the Lord and not just serving out of duty then they will love the Lord. IF you are excited about the things of the Lord they will be also. Love the Lord with all of your heart and they will love the Lord also. AND PRAY PRAY PRAY!!! God will answer those tearfilled prayers for your children.

Father we cry out to you. Revive our hearts again. Draw us near to you. Give us the desire to desire you above all things. Help us live for you and help us to love you will all of our hearts. Please capture the hearts of our children and keep their hearts soft before you. In spite of our failures and flaws redeem this generation for your GLORY!!! Thank you!!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

5 WHYS???

1. Why do my children want me to hold their siblings to the full letter of the LAW, but for themselves they BEG FOR MERCY???

2. Why is it that my little guys favorite thing to do throwing things in any body of water... toilet, bath tub, pool???

3. Why do my big kids talk about scary things right before bed and then cry because they scared themselves???

4. Why do they want the opposite of what I have chosen for them JUST because I chose it??? EX. today there were 2 pairs of underwear in my 3yr olds drawer. I pulled one out and he said no I want the red ones??? WHY, JUST BECAUSE I CHOSE IT!!!

5. Why do they GRIPE AT ME ALL DAY ABOUT EVERYTHING I DO and then cry if I happen to leave them home with Dad for 2hrs for 1 night in a month???

No matter how many WHYS I could come up with or things that drive me loopy I am so thankful for each one of them. I don't know what I did to entertain myself before they came along. I look forward to the time of day each day when it's just me and dad on the couch laughing about the crazy antics of the day. I'm so blessed to have 4 wonderful, silly, specially made, God-given, make me shake my head, children. Life would be so boring without all the WHYS???

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What do you need today???

Did you know the Word has it???

Psalms 19:7 "The law of the Lord is perfect converting the soul..." That word converted means to restore. Whether you need to be restored for the first time or for the 100th time God's word can do that. God's word can restore you to a right relationship with God. Since my heart is deceitfully wicked I need to be restored all the time.

v7 "the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple." Do you need wisdom? I don't know about you, but I do. I need wisdom, because I am learning that my ways are so far from God's way. After I have been restored to HIM then his word gives me wisdom and insight and understanding. God's word and his wisdom are the only ones that we can really trust.

v8 "The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart..." Do you need rejoicing today? Look to the word of God. His word gives us comfort in times of stress, mourning, or fear. Do you need reassurance of the future? Look to the word of God. Are you sad? OR do you just need the Joy of the Lord? Look to the word of God.

v8"...the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes." The word of God is a light to our path and a lamp to our feet. I don't know about you, but I NEED to know what to do next. I need the security of knowing that I'm going God's way. God's word can lead us.

v9 "The fear of the Lord is clean enduring forever." The word of God can bring us to a place of respect and awe of God and that fear will bring us to a place of repentance and we will be clean and pure before God.

v9 "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether." We can trust the word of God, because He is good and true and righteous. We can trust God and His word. That gives me comfort because people will let you down. People have agendas, but God is HOLY.

v10-11 "More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much find gold: sweeter than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is your servant warned: and in keeping them there IS GREAT REWARD." God's word is more valuable and satisfying than ANYTHING we could desire. The WORD of God will bless and reward the person who applies it.

I NEED the word of God for wisdom, direction, comfort, peace, reassurance of the future. I need to know what to do and I need to be reminded that this place is not my home. I need to be reminded of what my purpose is. Sometimes I just need to know that God sees me and every time I open the word of God he speaks to me to let me know He does see me, AND HE will never leave me or forsake me. He has a plan for my life that sometimes includes suffering and pain, but ALWAYS leads to righteousness and that not only is He preparing a place for me, but He is preparing me for a place. I need the word of God to conform me to the image of Jesus. I need the word of God to help me not love this world and want to fit in here. God's word has EVERYTHING I need.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Good Advice.

Today on my FB feed I read this from Above Rubies and it really made me stop and think:

"It can be so easy to get caught up in the parental role, above every other role! After all, we are our children's advocates, and they are the most dependant people on us, often unable to do much on their own, especially when they are young. Is your husband feeling a tad neglected? Take some time today to make sure you are also being a loving wife, as well as an excellent mother. I know I need to! Love Michelle"

This statement made me take a minute to ponder is my husband "feeling" neglected? I can assure you my definition of neglected and his would be different. So, how is he feeling? I didn't ask him. But, so much of the time it's just me and the kids. Honey is working and doing church stuff so it's easy to get used to focusing on the kids and leaving him to himself. This statement reminded me that I am not just a mom, but a wife. A wife first and foremost. I cannot forget to nurture this relationship on a regular basis.

The wonderful thing that I learned a long time ago is that it doesn't take too much to make a man happy and in love with his wife. The honeymoon doesn't have to end after kids, it just takes effort. It's all about putting the other person first which is what we are supposed to be doing anyway. You cannot neglect someone you are putting above yourself.

I pray that I will remember what a precious gift my husband is and cherish every moment that we have together. I pray that I will treat him the way he deserves to be treated!!!