Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Peace...

My mind is full of troubles this morning...  We thought my mom was improving, but that's not the case.  My brother called me last night and said the Doctors don't know what is going on with her and she is getting worse.   It was a shock.  We had been thinking that her troubles would be behind us soon.   This all happened yesterday and the amazing thing is yesterday in my time with the Lord I was in John 14. 

John 14:14 "If you ask any thing in my name, I will do it."

John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you, my peace, I give unto you: not as the world gives peace, give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

Don't you know I needed that last night when I got that phone call.  Jesus KNOWS just what we need.  I need his peace...  Not as the world gives it through food, drink, relationships...  but real lasting peace.  That chapter talks about Jesus preparing a place for us.  Yes we need to know this place is not our home.  We need to be reminded that someday there will be no more dying, no more sickness, no more pain, no more good byes, no more crying...  NO MORE!!!   We need to know that. 

John 14:16 "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you FOREVER."

That Comforter rushed in that hospital room last night, and while we stood and prayed over my mom spoke those words of John 14 to my soul.   That Comforter brought me peace in the midst of my raging storm.  In the middle of my feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.  In the middle of my dark thoughts and worries about the future the Comforter spoke words of peace into my heart and soothed away my fears.


This morning my heart is still heavy...  As I was dwelling again on the future my little one came and climbed in my lap.  He doesn't know anything except me.  If I'm there that's all he needs for peace.  Completely unaware of the worries of the world he sits here with me smiling and playing.  Doing anything to make me laugh with the most radiant, confident smile on his face.  He has me what more could he need or want.  In that moment Jesus reminded me of the child like faith he desires of us.  He reminded me that in Him is perfect peace.  He reminded me that I could smile and rest in His presence.  He reminded me that as long as I have him I have all I need. 

Thank you, Lord for knowing.  You are not a distant, unseen, unfeeling God.  You are here with me now.  You care and before I knew I needed anything you had spoken you're words freshly to my heart.  Thank you!!!!

Friday, January 27, 2012

A time for everything...

"See, I have this day set you over the nations and over kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant." Jer 1:10

It seems that my life has been in disarray since the "holiday season".   Between decorating, gift buying and wrapping,and parties... Undecorating, putting the house back together, reorganizing, and trying to get back to school... then sickness.   I feel like my life is a total wreck...  Not just my house, but my little guys are having discipline issues, I haven't been alone with the hubs since I can't remember when, and my friendships have been put on the back burner...  I was feeling pretty sad for myself, and I emailed my HS group asking if anyone every had these times and if they felt as guilty as I do.  In response I heard several woman say that January has been the same for them. Whew.  Not the only one. 

I began to think about some of the things that this time is teaching me.  At the same time I read the verse above and it's been hanging in my mind for a couple days.  Jeremiah's job was to root out, pull down, destroy and throw down AND then to build and plant....  Yes there are definitely things that need to be rooted out of my life.  I see that now.  Hard times expose those ugly things in my heart that I'm able to hide when everything is going my way.  Paul says we must "lay down wrath, malice, anger..."  Yeah those things need to be pulled down in my life and discomfort exposes this.  Wrong motives that need to be thrown down.  Wrong thinking and blind spots that have to be exposed.  That's what this time has been about for me...  pulling down, rooting out... 

Praise God that He has two parts to this plan though...  A time for building and planting.  I just have to realize that the first part of the plan is equally as important as the second.   You can't plant a new garden until you have gotten rid of last years leftovers.  Digging and tilling come before planting and growing...  I'm thankful that there is a time of building and planting and even though this takes hard work to it just seems more productive.  There will be a time for healing, cleaning, learning, restoring friendships, and spending time with hubs...  And I will savor all that because God has been doing a little work in my heart.

 My ways are not his though...  He is preparing me for a place of perfection and I need to let him expose and destroy these things in my heart that won't fit in there.   Father, I pray that you would have the freedom to do whatever you desire to do in my life.  I know you are completing the work you started in me.  I know you are working everything for my good.  I know you are teaching me the things I need to know.  I am stubborn and stiff-necked person Lord and I thank you that you don't give up trying to teach me your ways... 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

I hate my life, I love my life...

I just read a similar post from my dear friend and Mother in love.  She had told me this story yesterday when I was whining about EVERYTHING in my life.  Of course as she always does and as a faithful friend should she stopped me right in my tracks and said what I really HATE is that everything is not EASY. 

Wow isn't that the truth.  It never ceases to amaze me how content I am with my life when everything is going the way I want it to go.  The opposite is true though when things get a little difficult.  Like sick kids, long days of whining, sleepless nights, a dirty house, hormones, friction in relationships...  When I start to get frustrated then I take it out on my nearest and dearest.... my husband.  What  I'm left with then is running to the closet throwing a fit and telling the Lord just what His faithful servant (tongue in cheek) thinks about all this. 

As the Lord does he listens, comforts, soothes, and strengthens for the next thing.  The other thing he faithfully does is expose the sin in my heart.  This faithful servant is really a prideful and selfish person.  Only happy when life is full of thorn less roses.  Only loving to people who are easy to love.  Only a servant to those who she deems worthy of serving.   This faithful servant hasn't conformed to the image of Christ as much as she would like to think.  This faithful servant has the ability to take every blessing and turn it into a burden.  Like the Israelites I can take the Promise Land and turn into HELL on earth.   Like the Israelites I fancy myself going back to Egypt.  BUT GOD...  comes in and speaks to my heart.  He reassures me that this too shall pass.  He urges me to "not grow weary in well doing, for in due time I shall reap the reward".  He shows me that Love is patient (long-suffering), and kind.  Love endures ALL things.

 How would I know just how good this life is if I didn't have some hard times?  How would I learn to love if he didn't give me some hard cases?  How would I become more patient if nothing ever tried me?  How would I conform to Christ's image if I didn't share in his suffering?

Lord thank you for the good and bad.  Help me to hate my life for the right reasons.  Jesus said for his sake we should hate our lives and die to ourselves, but not because it's too hard...  Help me become a faithful servant who doesn't grumble and complain about everything.  Help me learn to praise when I would open my mouth to gripe!!!  After all I really am too blessed to be this stressed!!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Jeremiah can we talk awhile???

I know weird name for a post.  I have been asked to speak for a ladies bible study get together.  This used to be nothing for me.  I was so young and dumb and confident in myself.  Somewhere along the way on this journey with the Lord I've lost the confidence I once had.  Oh, I know that the Lord will be there and he will speak the words he wants to say, he always does.  WHICH I know is far more important than what I could say.    It's just that in the last year the Lord has done somethings in my life that I know are of him and pleasing to him, but I feel isolated and different. 

OH, how I HATE different.  I didn't know that I hated different until I got there and started sticking out like a sore thumb.  So, I want to retreat and hide away (like a lamp under a bushel).  It's shameful for me to say, but I don't want to share what God has done, because I don't want to pass on this infection of different.  ALAS, that is what God wants us to strive for right???  Different or a better word PECULIAR PEOPLE (1 peter 2:9).  

In trying to find comfort for the illness you've received where do you look?  Your inspiration JESUS and his words are "take comfort the world will hate you, because they first hated me."  WHAT is this what I signed up for?  YES...  because counting my cost leaves me with two options fear God and follow Jesus or fear man and lose my soul.  I can't go back to normal now!!! 

I know this is all very down in the dumps and cryptic.  Sorry about that!  So, today I wish that I could sit down with Jeremiah.  I know He had to feel this way. 

"Before I formed you in the belly I knew you; and before you came forth out of the womb I sanctified you a prophet to the nations."
"Then I said, Ah, Lord God! behold I cannot speak: for I am a child."
"BUT the Lord said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for you shall go to all that I shall send you, and whatever I command you to say you shall speak."
"Be not afraid of their faces: for I AM with you to deliver you, saith the Lord."
"Then the Lord put forth his hand, and touched my mouth.  And the Lord said unto me, BEHOLD, I have put my words in your mouth."

Jeremiah had a hard job to do as prophet for God.  He had to tell the people what God had said and even battle lying prophets who said everything was going to be ok and that judgement was not coming upon the country.  Who would want that job?  Let's not forget though that even if everyone rejected him that didn't change the fact that He was CHOSEN by God and given a message to speak.  I'm sure with a burning fire in his chest and sweaty palms he relayed the message of God.  What did he do when his message was completely ignored and rejected?  I don't know what did Jesus do? 

I want to sit down and talk to him and ask him in the end was the rejection of this world worth it, BUT I know the answer already!!! 

"

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Lessons I've learned on sick days...

AHHHHH... Sick days the bane of every moms existence. The days that stop us right in our tracks. The days that test our endurance. Today is one of those days, but I was thinking about sick days andI realized along the way I have learned ALOT from sick days.

I remember in the beginning when I was a new mom with 2 small children that sick days and sleepless nights would almost undo me. I read an email the other day about how we always pray for good days when what we really need are a few hard days. Days that makes us stronger and teach up patience. I remember how 2 days of sickness and whining and vomit would make me cry and whine myself. I remember thinking is this ever gonna end. It's so funny to me how I literally fell apart. I hated taking care of sick whiny kids... I'm sorry that's just how I felt.

I used to hate that I couldn't get off the couch because they just wanted to be held. I would feel guilty that the house was a wreck and that I couldn't meet everyone's needs. I would just sit and look around and think about everything I could or should be doing. I would lose my patience (that I didn't have enough of anyway) with everyone and everything. I felt like a victim or that I was being punished in some way... Part of that punishment mentality had nothing to do with sick day it was other stuff that God had to work out of me (more on that later). Anyway, the point is I HATED SICK DAYS for a long time.

After a while though I started to see some changes in myself. I remember when I was 8 months pregnant with #4 and everybody in the house got sick. My oldest and I got the worst of it and we couldn't eat or drink anything for 2 days and we were up all night for 2 nights. I was trying to take care of her at the same time I was so sick, and it was hard, but God gave me the strength I needed to do what I needed to do. I was so proud of myself after that. I saw how far I had come from when I first started. Isn't that what hard times are all about?! Teaching us how to endure difficulty.

Although it's still not my favorite thing I can now embrace the interruption of a sick day. I know it's only going to last a few days. I can embrace the opportunity to sit on the couch with one of my babies and spend that time with them. I realize that God hasn't allowed me to be home JUST for home-schooling, but for sick days too. I know that being here patiently and kindly taking care of them when they are sick is just as important as teaching them to read and write.

This time it's the baby who is sick and I have been so blessed to watch as my older two have stepped up to help out. They are making breakfast and lunch. They are playing with their brother and keeping him occupied. They are asking what they can do to help me out. My children are learning how to serve and isn't that one of the most important things to learn as Christians, that it's not all about you, but how you can serve those around you (even mom). My son said today "I will do anything for you, because you always do things for me."

Sick days are not fun. Sick days wear on any moms nerves, but there is a lot to be learned from the hard days in this life. Sick days also make you appreciate the good days like you didn't before. Rest assured as a mom sick days will come and they will be hard. Sick days don't have to break you though... They can teach you so much along the way. I'm definitely thankful for the lessons I've learned from sick days...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

In my hand, that I walked by, and one I sat by...

It's been a few days since I stopped and smelled the roses... Sometimes things are just too busy, and as a result I'm WAY behind, but I'm back to reflect on God's gifts of grace. Day 9 of the Joy dare.
A gift in my hand...
There is no greater gift in this life to me than the one I can hold in my hand and hide in my heart. God's word. A love letter from the Creator to the creation, does that even make sense. Because our human, finite minds could not comprehend such a God He had to write it down. I love God's word for so many reasons. It gives me comfort when I hurt, guidance when I'm lost. God's word gives me boldness when I'm scared. God's word gives me a glimpse of a God SO great that my mind has nothing to compare Him to. I love the Bible because the 4 gospels show me who my Savior is and why He is worthy of Praise and Worship. The Bible tells me about where I came from and where I'm going, my purpose and His plan. I love the Bible.
A gift I walked by...
I couldn't really think of anything that I walked by today, but I was thankful to walk through a clean kitchen tonight one that I didn't have to cook in. We were invited to the in-laws house for burgers... YUM. This is a double gift. I don't have to cook or clean and I get to spend time with some of my favorite people. I have been very blessed with the family have married into. They are not only my family, but my friends and I love to be with them.
A gift I sat with...
After dinner we sat and played games and laughed. I know I mentioned before that my honey is a funny guy. Well, he came by that naturally and when his family gets together there is never a dull moment. I'm thankful for the pure enjoyment that God allows us to have. I think this is what heaven will be like... family having fun together!!!
I praise the Lord for the wonderful things in life that bring me so much enjoyment. I am blessed to live in a country where we can read God's word freely. I am blessed to be married to the most wonderful guy in the world and to be loved by his family. I am blessed to love my in-loves and have such a good time when I am with them. God is good to me!!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

3 evidences of Grace.

The Joy dare for day 8 was something about a reflection, shadow, and light. This one was too much of a challenge for me because creativity and thinking out of the box are not my strong points. I'm more of black and white, get to point type of person. Although I can seriously appreciate those who have a vision. The other thing is I'm not very good with a camera. I don't have time to catch any reflections or shadows. So, with all that being said, my realist mind came up with my own three things today. Three times that I received a grace from God's Hand.

Still a baby...
From before I can remember I knew one day I would have a big family. When Bobby and I were dating and we talked about children he was shocked to find out that I wanted a lot of children, but he was convinced that I was the woman God had chosen for him (poor guy). I knew though that if it was God's will it would happen. At the time though I didn't know anything about what the Bible actually said about children. Sadly I just assumed He didn't care one way or another, because when I looked around the Church I didn't see many people who wanted very many. I saw a lot of people who had a couple children. Almost like they had a couple pairs of shoes or 2 designer purses. Something told me that contraception was not for us and that any life that God gave us was up to Him. After 2 little ones in 2 1/2 years I thought we better talk about where we were headed. I mean the Bible does say without a vision the people perish. Bobby and I were NOT on the same page and I really couldn't understand WHY God had given me this conviction that I couldn't shake if He was not gonna give it to Bobby too. After much prayer, a few years, and two more sons we had the conversation again. I had to know where we were going... God had radically changed my husbands convictions and he was now ready to accept any child that God gave us as a gift. SO, I naturally assumed we would get pregnant right away. I'm not like a lot of woman. I LOVE pregnancy, I LOVE babies (even the ones that keep me up at night), I LOVE ones, twos, threes (maybe not), just kidding, but I haven't found an age yet that I wasn't thoroughly in love with. I want a full house. I want a busy house. I'll take it all. My little guy is now 20months old and everyone is saying "when are you going to announce", "we're waiting to hear you're pregnant". All the while people all around me are getting pregnant and having babies all the time. I just knew it would be us before now. BUT, GOD is again teaching Angela a lesson. HE is in control. The GRACE for me is that my little guy is still such a little guy. He is so lovable and huggable. He just wants to sit in my lap and love on me so much. He is jealous of the dogs when I give them attention. He just LOVES mom and loves being with me. I don't know if that is why we are not pregnant yet or if God just made him extra dependent because He knew that I need that. Either way God knows my heart and that I need that. Caleb the son before him was NEVER like that. They were actually less than 2 years apart and He NEVER wants to hug and kiss. He has always been ready to be a big kid. He has always been independent. It never ceases to AMAZE me how God knows us and gives us what we need.
Laughter is the best medicine...
I've mentioned before that my husband is funny. His sense of humor is one of the major things that attracted me to him (not to mention he is extremely handsome ;-). He always has a slight grin on his face that makes you think he's thinking something naughty. I love that about him... Anyway, back to grace... Ok today I was trying to explain to Jo my 7 yr old that you can't start a sentence with "because", and you can't say "um" 3 times when your making a complete sentence. After I got frustrated with her lack of focus and she got frustrated with my lack of teaching skills in comes "knight in Sooners hat" aka Dad. He explains very effectively with a humorous example why and how you answer a question with a complete sentence. He always does that. He just knows how to diffuse a situation with a witty antidote... I love that man for that. I love the Lord for giving me such a beautiful and amazing husband... that is GRACE!!!
Dreams and visions...
After we had been married for a few months I was really starting to get the itch... You know the one "The baby itch". One night I had a vivid dream that I was driving down the road and I looked in the back seat and there was a little girl. My little girl and we were going on a girl's day. We were talking and laughing. I was struck by how intense I wanted that to be true. I missed out on that kind of relationship with my mom (who died when I was 2). The crazy thing is that I was pregnant with a little girl and didn't know it. I forgot all about that dream until tonight. I was walking up to Jordan and all the sudden that vision came back to my mind and I knew that she was that girl. The girl of my dreams. I knew that God was giving me what I had missed out on as a young girl... God is so Good to me.
This dare to find 3 evidences of God's grace each day are really opening my eyes to how intimately my God shows His love for me. Healing this heart one grace at a time!!!

Remind me again...

The wind is blowing today. As I look outside and see the trees blowing in the wind and everything that is not anchored in the ground blowing away, I wish I was one of those trees. I wish that the wind could come and sweep away all my worries and just leave me standing tall. Ever have one of those days when you can't seem to shake the heavies. When you feel like the world is revolving on your shoulders? Some days the weight of responsibility seems too much to bear.
In the midst of all these thoughts the story of the woman at the well came to my mind. Shamefully when I think of that story sometimes and the words that Jesus spoke I roll my eyes and think "yeah right, never thirst again". What is it about us humans that we think life should be trouble free? For me troubles are the very thing that make me run to Jesus. When things are good, when the sun is shining without the cold and wind, I forget about Jesus. Not outwardly. No I still do the right things, but it's just become routine. But, when my heart is troubled then I remember my God. Reminds me of the Israelites. Always forgetting God until troubles come.
Never thirst again... Did Jesus mean that we would never have longing in our soul? No. Did Jesus say we would never yearn? No. When I was having all these thoughts God's Spirit rushed in and spoke to my heart. The other words of Jesus... "We will have trouble in this life." We will have anxious thoughts and we will doubt. Sometimes we will be lonely and scared. Sometimes we will face giants that threaten to destroy us. We have an enemy seeking to devour us. No there is no end the trouble we will face in this life...
Never thirst again. The Lord spoke to me of thirst. You can die of thirst, but there are definitely warning signs before you kill over. Your mouth gets dry first. So, what do you do? Do you just sit there? NO. What about eating something salty? NO. Do you stand at the faucet and stared at it until your thirst goes away? Or do you walk away and just hope that this blasted thirst will just go away if you try not to think about it. Then what happens... you start to have "hunger" pains that you don't realize are from thirst. So, you eat something and realize your even more thirsty than before. After a while you get a headache and then you start to feel light headed and fatigued... After a few days you're so weak you don't even want to raise your head. Eventually thirst can lead death.
It's humorous to me right now as I get this mental image of my spiritual life. Never thirst again... Yes we have the living water, yes he meets our needs, no we don't have to go to something over and over again to quench that thirst, but we have to ABIDE. Jesus said "I am the Vine, you are the branches. If a man ABIDE in me, and I in Him, he will bear much fruit." But we have to abide. W have to live in the Spirit and walk in the Spirit. We have to turn the faucet on.
As if to illustrate this point Jordan just walked up to me and said "Do you have a drink somewhere" and I handed her my drink... The End. Thirst Quenched.
Are you thirsty? Do you roll your eyes when you think about never thirsting again? Do you have sin in your life that separates you from the one who can satisfy you? Have you slipped away and run to other things to satisfy that longing? Do you think boy I sure am thirsty I wish that water would just get on me? Have you just given up and walked away from the faucet? Go back and turn it on and stick your head in. Get a big drink. Jesus can satisfy. We don't have to thirst again, but we have to drink in that living water. I promise you that water is still flowing!
Lord, I am thirsty. I feel dry and brittle. I need that life giving flow. I confess that I have slipped away AGAIN. Draw me to that living water again. I hear the sound of a waterfall in the distance lead me there once again I've lost my way. Thank you that you are the living water and that you will satisfy this thirsty soul once again.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

In a bag, in my fridge, and in my heart...




Day 6 of the joy dare... Thanks Sharity and Gayla for the encouragement!!!
In a bag...
After much meditation I FINALLY realized that NOTHING could beat out the gift in a bag that I received from my wonderful brother in love Jason... 3 pairs of fuzzy socks. Soft, comfortable, and extremely cute. Fuzzy socks are not only fun, but fashionable. Just like Jason himself!!!
In my fridge...
This took NO thought... OF COURSE Creamer is the thing in my fridge that brings me the most joy. When you have 2 little ones that get up before the sun breaks on the horizon you NEED something to look forward to. When I hear the words "the light is on outside", I wake up looking forward to a great cup of coffee!!!
In my heart...
Today when all my children ate the oatmeal I had made without complaining I was really happy, but when they each said "thanks mom for making us good food" I was filled with joy. Especially because I know that oatmeal is the last thing they want to see on the breakfast table... It's moments like that that make you stop and think I am doing something right. Thank you, Jesus for helping me along the way to not do the easy thing. Thank you, Lord for showing me in small moments like this that the dedication to train them up in the best possible way (for YOU) is going to pay off someday. Please direct their hearts to worship you and love others as they love themselves!!!!
That's a wrap for day 6... Again I praise God for the small things in life that bring great JOY and for this challenge to really pay attention to the gifts you give!!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Day 5 of the Joy dare.


Well, it's been a busy day so I'm just now sitting down to reflect on the small things that bring me joy. Today I'm actually doing the 5th day.
Day 5... Something Old, New, and Blue.
Day 5 was a little harder for me. I had to put some thought in it, but when I did I came up with some things that made me stop and really thank the Lord for.
Something old...
A wine decanter and glasses that were my real mother's. Someone saved a few very special and valuable things for me. My mother died when I was about 2. I don't really know a lot about her even though some have tried to give me insight. I think in my heart that we are very much alike, even if it doesn't look like it on the outside. I know we both love my crazy Father, and that's saying something. (hee hee) for those who know my Papi. When I look at this gift it never fails to draw me closer to the one who gave me life. Even if I don't know her I KNOW her and I feel her and that's why this something old is very special to me. She left a deep impression of her love in my heart and for that I am forever thankful.
Something new...
I had to think about this one hard as well too, but when I figured it out I was SURE this is the one new thing that brings me joy!!! MY NEW COMPUTER!!! My old piece of junk was on it's last toe. I came down to get on it one day it would not even turn on. I hadn't been able to use my "lap-top" on my actual lab for 2 years because it had to be plugged up somewhere. Even with high-speed Internet I thought I was using dial-up. Most of the websites I wanted to go to my computer would not connect to. Needless to say It was time to have a funeral service for my dear old computer. That day after I had resolved myself to not having a computer for a while my computer fairy Jen came in and handed me a box with you guessed it a BRAND NEW COMPUTER. OHMYGOONESS I couldn't believe how wonderful this was a new computer what a blessing!!! Thank you Aunt Jen.
Something blue...
Another hard one and another good one!!! I was sitting in my "blue" bathroom trying to be inspired. Blue is my favorite color this shouldn't be hard and there are some beautiful candle holders and other decorations, but nothing that really brought me any joy... And then I looked up and saw the most precious thing that I have that is blue. A picture drawn by my little princess when she was 5. A picture on blue paper. A picture of the two of us playing in wildflowers. I have it framed in a beautiful frame and put it in a special place because I never want anything to happen to and I knew this is my something blue.
These are my special things something old, new and blue. After a moment of reflecting on each one I give praise to my Heavenly Father for the little things that mean so much!!! Each one a reminder of the blessing in my life and the love he's has bestowed on one so unworthy!!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Joy Dare Cont.

The Joy Dare day 3 is three things overheard.
Being woken up at 6am by my little guy saying "da, da... hot dog, hot dog, hot dog, dog." How can you be mad when you hear something so sweet...
When I asked my 3 yr old for a piece of his candy and he said "You can't have candy, you're an adult." Isn't it so true that you wait your whole life to grow-up and do what you want to do only to find out that you can't just do what you want to.
The last thing that I have overheard that brought joy to my heart was my 6 and 7 year old reading the 95th psalm. "O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods." This one is double joyful for me because they are reading God's word for themselves AND because I taught them how to read. I am so thankful that God allows me to be home and that I am able to teach them and be with them all throughout the day. I never have to miss anything wonderful that they do.
The 4th day of the Joy dare was... Something I'm reading, making, or seeing.
Something that I am reading that brings me joy is "The Smart Puppy" it's a dog training book. We just got two puppies for Christmas and I posted something on FB about getting tired of cleaning up poo. One of the ladies at my church responded with advice about dog training and then in a few days we received a book in the mail from Amazon. I thought that was so sweet of her to take the time out to do that for me. Lord knows all a homeschooling mom of 4 needs is to take on the job of training 2 dogs, but now I am armed with some good sound advice... Thank you Darla!!!
Something I am making I'm ashamed to say is my 3yr old's baby book. This brings me a mixture of joy and pain though. Going back and thinking about my warrior has been so bittersweet. My favorite memory of him was when he was first born and we was wide awake and looking around at everything. I could not believe how alert he was. He didn't fall asleep that night until he had been up 6 hours straight. I KNEW then that we were in trouble and I was right. He has been the hardest child along the way, but his sweet moments are the best...
Something I'm seeing... This is a gift that was given to me by my mother in love... It's a "Blessing box" and she wrote a blessing letter to go inside it. When I look at the box I'm reminded of the wonderful friendship that we have. When I need someone to talk to who I know will listen, but still tell me the truth (in love) she is the one. We refer to each other as Ruth and Naomi. We are sojourners in the life and I'm so thankful for our friendship!!!
Well, that wraps up day 3 and 4. I'm trying to get caught up so that I will be on the right day, but I know you're ready for a break... I sure am. Gotta get to work!!!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Catching up on Joy...

Since I came by the Joy dare on the 7 day I decided today I would go back and do the first 6.

Day 1 of the Joy Dare: 3 things about myself I'm thankful for.

The first thing that came to my mind to be thankful for was the faith that God has given me to believe his word. The Bible talks about hearts that are receptive to the message of the Gospel and those that are not. Although this is not a result of anything I have done I am so very thankful that when the Spirit called and continues to call upon my heart it softens and turns to the call. I am thankful that God has given me the faith to believe in Him for my salvation, but also for the faith to believe that His word is the only Truth.

The second thing about myself that I am thankful for is the realization that people are the way they are because of the experiences they have had in this life. Even though sometimes I get frustrated with people I try to look past what they are doing to the why of what they are doing. I heard a long time ago that people respond to life out of hurts that they have experienced in the past. Being able to look past actions to the heart of the person gives you the ability to love them when you may not like what they do.

The third thing that about myself that I am thankful for is my willingness to accept each child as a blessing from God. Even if I may not always think this is the right time or that we can't handle any more I know that God is Sovereign and He knows what He is doing. I know that each child He has brought into our life has blessed us and grown us in ways that nothing else could. We are better people because of the small people that God has given us. No matter what He knows better than we do of what we can handle.

Each one of these things are not something that I have done or come by naturally, but they are the things that I love about myself that God has done in my life in the last 15 years since I became a follower of Christ. They are a result of God's transforming power in my life and I am so thankful that God is completing the work that he started in me so long ago. I'm thankful for the power of God's word to transform a life into something beautiful!!!

The 2nd day of the dare was a gift outside, inside, and on a plate.

Something that always brings me joy outside is a tree. Trees are so amazing to me. When I go on a walk with my children I always look around and I can't help, but be overwhelmed by God's wisdom and imagination. To think that the Great Oak comes from a tiny seed. Trees amaze me because there are so many different kinds. Big trees, small trees, thin leaves, fat leaves, or even bristles. Some bear fruit and some nuts. Some flower and some have cones. Trees are one of those things that lead me to praise God for his creation because no matter where you are you can see them and study their differences.

The thing that brings me joy inside my house is my bedroom. It's a sanctuary, a quiet place, a beautiful place. This is the place I can go away and get quiet and feel the presence of God. No matter what craziness I have experienced throughout the day I know that when I enter that place I can pray and reflect and just chill. It's also a beautiful place because it represents the place where husband and wife can be together uninterrupted.

Right now the thing on a plate that brings me joy is black bean and corn salsa. I know that's probably strange, but that's the thing right now it could change at any time. I like it though because it full of good stuff and I don't feel guilty about eating it. YUM!!! I love that God made food for our body, but he also made it to be enjoyed.

Well, that's the 1st 2 days of the Joy dare and I have to take a break to do other stuff so that's where I will end for now!!! I hope the small things that I wrote will inspire you to find things that bring you joy and make you thankful!!!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Taking the joy dare!!!

I have been longing to be more joyful and I was inspired when I came by this post... Joy is a habit we have to cultivate. A habit must replaced with a new habit. I have the habit of complaining and being less than content so that habit must be replaced with a habit of praise and thanks....

Today being the 7th: 3 graces from people I love.

1. The unconditional love of my daughter who told me last night that I am the best mom ever and she would never want another mom. I know I'm not, but I am so thankful for her love because I have been hard on her and she is the oldest. I didn't really have a clue about being a mother, and most the time still don't, but she loves me anyway. She has taught me how to love more deeply.

2. My husband's sense of humor. He makes me smile when I want to cry and laugh when I would rather be mad. He interjects silliness into any situation. He helps me to see the brighter side of any situation. I'm thankful that He knows how to make me laugh!

3. My Mom's acceptance of hard situations. She has been dealing with lung cancer for the last year and no matter what she had to go through she just did it. She took the punches as they came and did it with so much grace. I respect her so much for fighting this thing and growing so much as a person in the face of the hardships.

These are the 3 people, but there are so many things about so many people that I could choose. I am thankful for all the amazing people that God has so lovingly placed in my life. Once I started looking there was something amazing about every person I know!!! Usually I'm talking about what I don't like... What a change in perspective.

Friday, January 6, 2012

If you love me...

I love those comics "Love Is." According to the comic Love is a lot of things... Love is... spending time together, love is going out for a pizza when she's too tired to cook. One of my favorites is love is... cooking his favorite dish when you are on a diet. Another good one is love is... our new baby.
The theme of most of those comics is love is putting the other person first. The Bible says the same thing. Love IS an action and love always puts the other person first. I Cor 13 tells us that Love is patient and kind, love does not envy or boast... love believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. The Bible also says that "love covers a multitude of sins". Love is a decision to put another person above ourselves even when that person is our enemy or has hurt us in some way. Love is sometimes... HARD.
BUT, my thoughts today really aren't about how I can love others... My thoughts today center around Jesus. He said Love for him is... obedience. Jesus said "IF you love me you will follow my commands." In the past I have deceived myself into thinking that I love God when according to HIS word I clearly do not. When there is known sin in my life I am being disobedient, therefore I can not according to God's word truly love him. OUCH. If I believe God's word to be the only truth and that my heart is deceitful above all things then I have to agree with what God's word says. I do not truly love God. I love myself and my sin.
This is where I am going to be very honest... It's painful for me to do so, but this blog is the place where I think through thoughts that are running amuck in my head. MY sin is PRIDE. I think I am better than other people and I will preach the glories of myself to anyone who will listen. BUT, to be so great I have to run other people down. My sin is GOSSIP and JUDGEMENT. I HATE this one the most, because it exposes the true nature of my self exalted heart. My sin is dishonoring my husband and complaining about my children (or the work). My sin is lack of faith in my finances. My sin is doing things my way because I don't trust the Lord and I don't want to wait on him. These are just some of my sins, but they reveal alot about my heart.
After reflecting on this the past few days I see that I do not truly love God. I do not keep the commands of Christ so I do not truly love him. So, my "resolution" not for the year, but for the rest of my days on earth to show Jesus that I do love him. I am going to take a serious look at each one of these sins and ask for forgiveness. I am going to beg God to show me how to repent of these things and not continue to do them. I am going to ask the Lord to prick my heart every time I commit sin against him, because it is my desire to prove my love to Christ. He proved his love for me when He gave all that he had for my salvation, so that He could restore fellowship with me. Isn't that the most amazing thing that HE wants fellowship with me... Well, that's a whole other post.
Lord, it is my desire to show you this year that I do love you. I pray that you will be increased in my heart and that I will decrease. I pray that my "works" will prove my love!!!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

One Week...

Well, it's the end of the first week of 2012 and already it's been a long year...
My mom who had been diagnosed with stage four lung cancer last year battled through it this last year and was declared cancer free in September. This week she was admitted into ICU because she had pneumonia and we were told that she has a hole in her lung, where half has been removed, that has not healed. This hole the Dr. said could be the result of more cancer. After a lifetime it felt like we received the wonderful news that my mom is still cancer free. Praise the Lord. However, she will need surgery to repair the hole in her lung.
Isn't it amazing how slowly time can creep by when you are waiting for news. I feel like half of the year has gone by already waiting on this news. The truth though is that it's been one week, thankfully Lord willing I will be able to enjoy the rest of this year watching my mom recover and gain strength after her surgery. One more day, week, or year is a blessing, but the struggle of this week has made me long for home more and more. I long for that day when we will be in heaven with Our God and we will be his people. I can't wait for the no mores, no more tears, no more pain... I can't wait for all the good. Mostly I can't wait to see Him face to face. The one who will wipe away our tears. The One who gave His life for me. The One who longed for fellowship with me so much that He would stop at nothing to make sure I was there with HIM.
This One Week has made me long for You more than ever.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A kid at a carnival...

Last night when I was laying in bed thinking about the last year an image came to my mind that reveals a lot about my relationship with the Lord. In the last year I have had times when I was really close to the Lord and some times when I was so far away that I couldn't see or hear him.
Like a kid at a carnival sometimes I have been holding my Father's hand and walking right beside him going where ever He lead me. Other times I have run ahead not able to wait for what was up ahead. Then there were times I would lag behind not wanting to leave some area when He said it was time.
There have been times when I just stood still overwhelmed by all the sights and sounds around me. Even some times when I longed to do the things that other people were doing... At those times I resented having a Father that was so diligent about my welfare. Times when like a child I didn't want to be told no.
But, at the end of the long day like a child running to catch up to Daddy, grabbing his hand and walking close feeling his love and knowing that no matter what He knew what was best and would never withhold any "really" good thing from me. Knowing that if He said no it was because of His great love for me. Filled with peace and joy to be going home with Daddy leaving everything behind and knowing that the carnival was smoke and mirrors, an illusion of grandeur and nothing more.
This year I have been close to You, Lord at moments... and this year I have strayed so far away. There have been times when you had to search the crowds to find me, but You always did. I have stood still refusing to move, but you held your ground and waited patiently for me to follow. You have carried me when I was too tired to walk. You have given me good things and fun times, but always reminded me this place is not my home. I have been ungrateful and selfish. I have pouted and whined. You have been faithful and true. Thank you for loving me through it all.
I pray that this year I will learn to follow closer to You. I pray that I will trust You no matter what I see or hear. I pray that I will learn to follow your lead. 2012 Happy New Year!!!!