Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Gotta know your enemy

Tonight I was out in my garden inspecting everything.  I was so excited because I saw quite a few lady bugs.  Lady bugs are very good for the garden, because they eat the insects that are not good for the garden.   I don't know why, but when I came inside I decided to look up this particular lady bug.  It was yellow with black spots.  Turns out this "lady bug" was no such thing...  This was the infamous Cucumber Beetle.  

The Cucumber Beetle is NOT good for the garden at all.  It eats plants and spreads disease...  For the last few weeks when I have seen them multiply I have been so happy, and yet all the while they were not what I thought they were.  After removing the beetle I inspected my plants and sure enough they had been chowing down on my cucumber and pepper plants...  It's amazing how easily we can be deceived.

Really there was only a very subtle difference between a yellow lady bug and a cucumber beetle...  You really had to be looking to see.  You also had to know what to look for.  They are both yellow with black spots and about the same size.  The real difference was the head of the cucumber beetle was black and the body was oval instead of round.  Everything else was amazingly similar.

This lesson in the garden spoke to me of another enemy.  The Bible says our enemy appears as an angel of light.   Many verses in the Bible talk about this enemies ability to deceive.

Rev 12:9 " And the great dragon was cast our, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which DECEIVED the whole world: he was cast our into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him."

What's interesting to me about that verse is that he was able to deceive the whole world.

The Bible warns us about wolves in sheep's clothing...  Sheep being what the Bible calls God's people...  The wolf appears to look and act like a sheep, but it his hiding his true nature.  Sometimes it can be very hard to know.  The Bible tells us that the Sheep know the Shepherd's voice...  that indicates to me that the Shepherd is not the only one doing the talking.  We have to be very careful in every area of our lives that we are not being deceived.

I remember a time when I was praying about a decision and I was getting 2 different answers and I was very confused.  Both voices were using Scripture and they both sounded so good.  After weeks of getting conflicting messages I cried out to the Lord for relief because I was so confused, and I truly didn't know which answer was right.

Finally, only one voice prevailed and it was in line with the full council of God and I knew my answer, but that was a difficult time.  It took time and patience to wait for the right answer.  We have to be careful about jumping into something...  Have you ever gotten an idea and then just run with it, and later on find out that it was NOT God's will at all, and it caused a lot of heartache.  I have many times.  I'm learning...  you have to know your enemy.  You have to watch out for his schemes and plans.  He appears to be an angel of light.  

Learn from the Cucumber beetle...  Your enemy may be dressed like a friend!!!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

I'd Rather...

At my house we play a game called "Would you rather" and it goes something like this...
Everybody sits around the living room or riding in the car and we ask different people things like "Would you rather walk on burning coals or swim in ice water."  Then the person says what they would rather do and asks another person something like "would you rather eat a bowl full of worms or drink a glass of swamp water?"  Sometimes this game gets really gross and out of control, but it's a lot of fun, and the kids love to come up with crazier, yuckier, weirder questions...  Lately I've had a lot of people asking me a lot of questions about our plans for more children and it made me think of this game.

Tonight as I was rocking my "baby" to sleep all of the conversations of the past few days were swirling in my head and the I'd rathers came to my mind.  He's going to be 2 this week.  This will be the longest that we haven't had a baby since we started having them.  Naturally people want to know if we are finished because they know usually by now I would be pregnant.   The thing is we (Bobby and I) aren't controlling that.  We as a family have been praying for a while for a new baby and longing for the day when that happens for us.  We have decided that the Lord knows what we can handle and we're gonna trust Him about this.   I feel for my sisters who are in very tough positions and are making big sacrifices one way or another on this issue.  Some are deciding it's time to quit...  Believe me I understand.   Some REALLY don't think they can handle another child, but in the hidden places of their heart they long for another one.    Then their are woman who just don't want any more...  I don't know where you are on the spectrum, but this is where I am:

I would rather have 10 more than never have another baby to hold.
I would rather have a 1000 more sleepless nights walking the floors with a crying baby than to sleep another night in peace.
I would rather live in a tent filled completely full than to have an empty nest.
I would rather be nursing for the next 10years straight (that would make me 45 if you're wondering) than to never nurse again.
I would rather cry everyday, because raising children is such a difficult task, than to have an easy life.
I would rather have 10 more children, than have another vacation.
I would rather dress in rags, than be designer clothes if that meant I had could never have another baby.
I would rather have the volume at the highest decibel of screaming and laughter from a full and happy house, than have quiet and peace.
I would rather be having a baby every two years, than not have another one.
I would rather teach 10 more children; please and thank you, Jesus loves me, and how to read, than have time to discover who I am again... 
I would rather have 10 more just like Caleb, than to never have another.

I think you get my point.  I have "those days" all the time.  Earlier today Andrew cried for at least 2 hours and of course I started crying too.  It's not easy.  I was thinking about the baby stage and how hard it can be.  Then the ones when you're teaching them to walk and you have to follow them everywhere.  Then the two's when you lose your sweet angel and they become a tyrant. The 3's and 4's all the way up to the 20's there is something hard and challenging, but they are so worth it.  I would rather have 15 children than be done right now.   I'm praying that the Lord will send us an angel through adoption.  To me this life has nothing to offer without the blessing of new life...  Children are a blessing from the Lord and the only thing worth investing in!!!  Some days I don't "feel" that way, but I know that passes and that the Bible is true... Children are a blessing, a gift, and a reward.   So, NO I'm not done... Lord willing!!!

Monday, May 14, 2012

From Devoted to Diva...

"Five Habits Every Mom Should Break" was the name of an article I read recently written by a well meaning Mom I'm sure.  It had some pretty good tips, but the very last one really frustrated me.  #5 Stop Putting Yourself Last...   I don't know if this article was written by a christian so I will give her a break, but the problem I have is that I hear statements like that ALL THE TIME from everywhere, and most of the time I hear it coming from me...  It sounds so good...  They always start out with the ego rub... 

"You work so hard doing so much for everyone else."
"If you focus on you and put yourself first you will have more to give to your family."
"You need ME TIME." 

The problem you ask???  Isn't it true?  Won't we be happier, better, more loving Mothers IF we spend time on ourselves and take a break?  Isn't this idea of ME TIME a good one?

Well, I guess it might be for you...  BUT, I have found that ME TIME can become a monster!!!  It takes 5 minutes to change me from a Devoted mom and wife, to a DIVA.  You know what Diva's do...   Everyone has to serve them.  They want things their way.  The world revolves around the Diva.  She becomes the most important person.   Who said one person in the family should be most important? 

Me time starts so innocently, but sooner than later Me time becomes a commanding force demanding that you have Me time more and more.  Like a drug that changes your personality and demands that you seek more and more for a high.  Anyone who gets in the way of Me time becomes the enemy.  Husbands and children become burdens to bear instead of the blessings they were intended to be.  Pretty soon you would do ANYTHING to get away from them for a while. 

I know what you're thinking right about now.  You think I am saying you should never ever do anything for yourself.  You're thinking I think we should Cinderella's never going to the ball.   I'm not.  I'm saying seeking Me time for the sake of Me is so very dangerous.  I'm saying that you can go to the gym if you want (to be healthy).  I'm saying you can read a good book if you want to.   I'm saying you can go shopping with the girls to be with them.  I'm saying go on a date with the hubs.  I'm saying if Grandma calls and wants to pick up the kids and let you have a break DO IT!!!   Just Don't get in the mind set THAT YOU MUST HAVE ME TIME!!!   Don't PUT YOURSELF FIRST!!!  It's a dangerous game.  If EVERYONE is putting themselves first what is the eventual consequence...  No one is looking out for the well-being of the family!!!  And Ladies that IS our calling.

Our Example is Christ and what did He do?  He laid down His life and He said "He that finds his life shall lose it: and he that looses his life shall find it."  He said Die to yourself.  He said love others more than yourself and LOVE is ONLY an action.  Love puts others before themselves.  That is why this idea is so dangerous because it opposite from what the Bible demands.   Ours IS A LIFE of SERVICE!!!  We are made in the image of God... givers of life in every way.  We are a picture of the Holy Spirit in our home and His very definition is Helper and Comforter ever present and available to us. 

I loved this morning as I was reading Genesis 18 the story of the 3 angels visiting Abraham.  One of the visitors was Christ Himself and when He showed up Abraham begged him to stay and be refreshed at their tent...  Then Abraham runs in the tent to find Sarah and tells her to prepare a meal for the UNEXPECTED visitors...  He said "Make ready QUICKLY three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth."  then Abraham goes out and prepared the meat. 

Since this whole idea of ME TIME was on my mind it struck that I'm so glad Sarah wasn't out getting her nails done when Jesus came along.  I'm glad she wasn't out putting herself first because she would have missed out on a HUGE blessing.  THE LORD came to visit her and she was there in her tent ready and willing to throw together a meal.  She was there HELPING Abraham which I am SURE he was so very glad and thankful for his wife at that moment.   Sarah was hidden away in her tent, but she was precisely where Jesus wanted her to be.  Then she got the greatest news of all she was going to bear a son.  What a blessing, better than any ME TIME!!! 

So, Lord PLEASE help me become the Devoted wife and mother you want me to be and STOP striving to be a DIVA.  YOU know what is best and you have your reasons I know.  Help me lay my life down and take up my cross.  Help me live as a living sacrifice for you!!!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Because... that's why!!!

This morning I was sitting on the couch and Isaiah (6) came over to sit on my lap.  We were getting a good snuggle in when Caleb(3) climbed up and tried to push his brother out of my lap.  I told Caleb I'm having a snuggle with Isaiah, "remember this morning in your room when we had a snuggle, now it's Bubba's turn."   It took 2 seconds for this to turn into a fight... They started pushing and name calling...  Isaiah tells Caleb "Well, you make the WORST oatmeal."  I really don't know where that came from, but they were going back and forth.  Right in the middle of this God brought home the verse I had read this morning...

"But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; THAT YOU SHOULD SHOW FORTH THE PRAISES OF HIM WHO HAS CALLED YOU OUT OF DARKNESS INTO HIS MARVELOUS LIGHT:"  I Peter 2:9.

The thing is I struggle alot with being different...  I always think why do I have to do it this way, they (whoever they are at the minute) don't have to do it this way.  Why can't I be like them?  But, as I was watching this spectacle unfold today the Spirit spoke to my heart...  Just like I expect more from Isaiah and I want him to do things differently God expects me to do things differently.  The whole time they were arguing I was telling Isaiah to use "honey words"...   Proverbs 16:24 says "Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones."  He knows exactly what I mean when I say that because he has been trained (not very well I guess),  that we should use honey words to build people up not insults...  But, right in that moment I saw what God was saying in I Peter 2:9...  If we do things God's way we will be showing the difference or better yet the training and instruction that we have received which brings PRAISE to HIM who has brought us out of darkness (the old ways of doing things). 

If we do things God's way it brings HIM praise because His ways are better than our ways and we didn't do things that way before.  If Isaiah had listened to me he would have ended the argument and shown that Momma's ways are better than his ways.  If Isaiah would have been different than his younger brother and heeded instruction he could have been an example to Caleb of HOW TO ACT...

I know that's a lot to expect of a 6yr old, but it really showed me ME!!!  It showed me that if I would do things God's way and be different I could SHOW FORTH THE PRAISES OF HIM...  WHO HAS CALLED ME OUT OF DARKNESS INTO HIS MARVELOUS LIGHT.  If I lived what I was taught I could reveal God to others.  I could show that HIS WAYS are better than my ways.   We have the Word of God to instruct us in this life.  One major reason God has given his word is to reveal himself, his nature and to have a people who SHOW FORTH HIS WAYS!!!   So, like the title of this post...  Because we want to show forth His ways...  that's WHY we have to be different.  We have been called out, set apart, we are a peculiar people who do things differently so that we can reveal the ways of a Holy God.   No matter what it is God's way has always worked out better for me than my own ways...