Thursday, April 30, 2015

Junk Food Junkie

I am on a diet...  This is the first time in my life that I have ever restricted what I eat for more than a few days.  It's hard to choose to eat healthy food instead of all the stuff that just tastes so much better.  I mean don't get me wrong I love salad.  No, really I do.  I love veggies, but I LOOOVVVEEEEE Queso.  I mean there is nothing in this world so good as dipping a chip into some melted cheese.  I LOVVVVEEEE everything about Mexican food.  I LOVVVEEE  pasta.  There is so much in this world that really is much tastier than the real, good, nutritious food that I am forcing myself to consume.   It's so hard to resist at times that I just go ahead and indulge.  One major lesson I have learned on this new lifestyle (as "they", you know the experts say),  is that I MUST eat the good healthy stuff before I  really get hungry.  My day needs to start with a good healthy breakfast, something that fills me up and satisfies my hunger...  if not I'm going to go into junk food mode. 

Junk food is my weakness...  chips, crackers, gold fish, the kids fruit snacks.  I'm not picky when it comes to the pure CRAP that I will consume, but junk food never seems to fill me up.  Why is it that we can eat all the junk in the world and NEVER get full?  Junk food has NO nutritional value.  Our bodies break down food and send a signal to our brains that we got what we needed and our brains send a signal that we are full and satisfied.  With junk food we don't get that signal, because we have consumed nothing of any value.  No protein, no vitamins, no minerals.   So, we consume more and even though it tastes good we are NEVER satisfied.  I see this with my children all the time.  They choose a snack that is junk food and come back in 20 minutes still hungry, because the junk didn't fill the need. 

When I start with good for me stuff in the morning I am satisfied and I can resist the temptation to eat CRAP.  When I start with a good, healthy breakfast I am more likely during the day to choose the good stuff all day.  When I begin my day with good, healthy food I feel better and I have more energy, so that motivates me to continue to make good choices.  Real food makes me stronger.  Real food helps my body perform.  I'm not tired and rundown. 

Now apply this to my spiritual life.   When I get up in the morning and start my day with the Bread of Life (Jesus) I walk away satisfied.  I'm full and satisfied.  He's the real deal our souls are hungry for.  We don't know it, but we walk around starving.  We fill ourselves up with all the junk and crap of the world and we wonder why we are never satisfied.  We know we are hungry and thirsty for something and we just consume junk all day long.  Junk that not only doesn't fill us up, but actually causes damage.  Feasting on the Word of God in the morning fills me up and I'm not tempted by the things of this world.  Reading my Bible and praying help me make good decisions for the rest of the day.  I feel stronger.  Instead of walking around all day starving I am filled with the Living Water and the Bread of Life. 

We are built to hunger for something.  Everyday we spend our days looking for something to fill us up and satisfy our souls.  Most of what we look to only makes us more hungry.   Even good things can never fill us up.  We are designed to only be filled up by the real thing and that is God.  When we are filled with him we hunger no more.  We can walk away satisfied and resist all the temptation that is in this world, but we have to start with Him.  Every morning we have to spend time with the ONE our soul longs for.

O, taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusts in Him.  Ps  34:8

O God, you are my God; early will I seek you: my soul thirsts for YOU, my flesh longs for you in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is.  Ps 63:1

Who (GOD) satisfies thy mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.  Ps 103:5

For HE satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.  Ps 107:9

So, today start with God.  Spend some time with HIM.  Let him satisfy you and fill you with HIS goodness and you will hunger no more!!!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Hold You...

About 25 times a day my little guy comes up to me with arms up-stretched and says "Hold boo".  In his little baby language that means pick me up, I don't want to be a big boy right now.   This little guy sticks pretty close to momma.  In fact he is dependent upon me, which makes perfect sense,  I am the one who supplies all of his needs.  There is not much he can do on his own right now and he knows it.  He needs me and most of the time no one else will do.  He wants to be close to momma. 

I need to stop and consider this lesson for myself.  I am completely dependent upon God.   David said in Psalms 23 "The Lord is my Shepherd."  Jesus says "I am the good Shepherd and you are my sheep."  

Sheep are funny creatures... God's word never says anything in vain.  He calls us sheep for a reason.  Sheep are completely dependent on the Shepherd for everything.   Sheep need the Shepherd for many reasons; they can't find food or water on their own, they can't protect themselves, they can't bathe themselves,  and they have a tendency to stray.  

If God calls us sheep and himself a shepherd he is telling us something about ourselves and about Him.  We need the Shepherd. 

Psalms 23

The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.

God provides all I need.

He makes me lie down in green pastures: he leads me by still waters.

The Shepherd has to lead the sheep to nice, soft, green places of rest.   He also leads the sheep to the places in the stream that are shallow and slow running so the sheep don't get pulled in.  Sheep are the only animal who don't have a sense that leads them to water.  Jesus is the Living Water that satisfies our soul.

He restores my soul: he leads me in the paths of righteousness for his names sake.

God leads us in the right ways.  Sheep have no sense of direction.  He refreshes the sheep.  There is no animal so prone to wander away and then not able to find their way back.  It's the Shepherd who has to find the sheep and bring them back to the fold. 

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for YOU  are WITH ME; your rod and your staff they comfort me.

The sheep know they can trust in the Shepherd for protection no matter what they walk through because he will defend them with his rod and his staff.  He will lead the way through the valley and fend off the attacks that come against the sheep.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. 

The Sheep know that they can trust the Shepherd to feed them from His generous bounty.  They know that He provides so well that their cup will run over and they will have some to share. 

Surely goodness and loving kindness shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Instinctively, the sheep know they can trust the shepherd for everything they need and that he will provide and protect the sheep because He is GOOD and LOVING and KIND.  

The main theme of my life right now is that God wants me to recognize my dependence on Him.  I need to see that apart from Him I can do nothing.  Sometimes my life gets so hard and I run to Him and say "Hold you"...  thinking that my weakness is a problem, but I'm starting to realize that in my weakness HE is strong.  He wants me to run to him.  He wants me to take refuge in him and find all I need in Him. 

Like my lil guy needs me and I know he can't do anything without me...  God knows and that's the way he designed it.  One day that little boy will grow up and think he doesn't need momma.  He will be able to do some things on his own and he will begin to rely on Himself and become independent, but he will still get lost, he will still go astray, he will still need me...  and I will go find him.    Just like God comes to find me when I stray away 1000 times a day. 

I pray that I would begin to really understand how much my dependence is really a gift to me.   It brings me back to the ONE who supplies all I need.  My Good Shepherd.  HOLD BOO.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Something Bigger...

I'm sitting hear with a lap full of blessings (that's what the Bible calls them anyway), feeling really sorry for myself.  Is this what my life amounts to?  Whiny 4yr olds and fussy babies, laundry, dishes, school?  I remember dreaming up my future life and it had all the players, but it was much more fun than this.  I forgot to dream all the hard stuff.   So, now I spend my days dreaming up bigger things.  Surely there is something amazing out there I need to be doing.  Something that would be more glamorous and fulfilling than this.  

"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto GOOD WORKS, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them."  Eph 2:10

Doesn't that sound EXCITING???  God planned out GOOD WORKS for us to do before we were even born.  Fill me in God what is it I'm supposed to be doing???  Preaching, teaching, going to Africa?  What Big thing can I do for you?  Surely you don't want me to waste my life on cleaning and cooking...  I mean can that be serving God?

Then I read something like this.  Paul is writing to Timothy about the treatment of widows in the church and this little verse jumps out at me...

"Well reported of for GOOD WORKS;  if she has brought up children, if she has looked after strangers, if she has washed the saint's feet, if she has relieved the afflicted, if she has diligently followed every GOOD WORK."  I Tim 5:10

HOLD UP...  There's nothing in there about Going to Africa to do big things.   Some are called to GO and some are called to stay.   I just happen to be in that group of stay here and be obedient to do what God has called me to do. 

To be honest, there is an intense struggle in my soul between my will and God's will.  Somewhere along the way I have lost the joy of motherhood and I want to jump ship and sail for another destination...  Like Jonah.   I love my children (most of the time) lol, but I NEVER dreamed this would be this hard.  I feel like my life is being wasted away dealing with the mundane and I crave something BIGGER.  

Could it be I've missed something though?  Actually yes.  I've bought into the lie that being a mother isn't really important and that anyone can do this GOOD WORK.   I've let the enemy steal my GOOD WORK.  I've missed that to God bringing up my children is a GOOD WORK.  I've missed that I can do BIG things for God in a my space.  

When I see that bringing up my children and welcoming people into my home and serving others IS a GOOD WORK I get excited again.  This does matter.  This is something BIG.   I could spend the rest of my life trying to do big things for God every day OR I could be obedient in the the things that He has given me to do.  God is PLEASED with OBEDIENCE...  It is better to obey than to sacrifice.  I Samuel 15:22

The other day I was reading the story of Cain and Abel to my 6 yr old for school...  Cain brought the sacrifice that he wanted to bring to God, but it wasn't what God required.  God did not accept his sacrifice and told him to do what was right and God would accept it.   I think God is telling me that same thing.   Do what I have called you to do.  Do it with joy and gladness.  Do it with all of your heart.

Col. 3:23-24 "And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.  Knowing that of the Lord you shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ."

I have to keep in mind every minute of the day that I am right where God has me and that I am serving Him.   I am serving the Lord right here.   God has given me a ministry that flows out of being a mother and wife.  He has called me to GOOD WORKS that flow out of my home.  All of a sudden being a mother excites me again...  Now I remember that every kiss and cuddle, every bend down and listen, every moment I spend serving my family is  a moment of obedience to my God.  I'm not missing out on bigger things I am right in the middle of them.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

So Far...

"Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer (Stone of help), saying, 'The Lord has helped us to this point."  1 Sam 7:12

When you read the Old Testament you see that Israel was always being attacked by various enemies.  In this passage it's the Philistines and they come against Israel thinking they are going to be an easy target.  The children of Israel hear about the impending attack and they are afraid.  They go to Samuel and say pray to God to save us out of the hands of the Philistines.  

Gods answer "... the Lord thundered  with a  great thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and confused them; and they were overcome by Israel."

One thing is true in the life...  there's going to be trouble.   Job says "man that is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble."  A lot of times it feels like we are just going from one trouble to the next. 

There is good news for those of us who know God though...  Paul said "For in it God's righteousness is revealed from faith to faith: the righteous shall live by faith." Rom 1:17.   God reveals his faithfulness through our troubles.  He is trying to teach us dependence upon him so our troubles are really just opportunities to learn to trust and lean on God. 

"Consider it a great joy when you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance." James 1:2-3

Our trials, problems, troubles are really just chances to flex our faith muscles and grow our trust and dependence upon God.  Each time we see God work through a tough situation we can say with Samuel that this situation looks bad, BUT GOD HAS BEEN WITH ME SO FAR.

We can say with David "The Lord is my Rock, my fortress, my deliverer; My God is my Rock, in whom I take refuge."  Psalm 18.  David's life was full of trouble, but he learned a valuable lesson early on...  run to the Rock.  He took shelter in God and waited for His help. 

One of my biggest mistakes in life is to believe that if I follow God things will be easy and everything will go well.  It has caused me a lot of confusion through the years.  This lie caused me to not trust God or to feel like he didn't really care.  When I started to see how often these hard things pushed me toward God I realized that they were actually good things, because they taught me not to rely on my limited abilities, but to trust in God.  He has shown me that he will not allow me to rely on myself too long because that is really shifting sand.  When I have to run to the Rock that's when I'm really safe from harm, even if that's in the midst of an enemy attack. 

Now I can say with Samuel I don't know what is going to come out of this current situation, BUT GOD HAS BEEN MY HELP SO FAR.   He has never left me or forsaken me.  He has never left me to fight alone.  He has been my Rock, my Fortress, My Deliverer.  I'm learning to run to Him and wait to see what He is going to do. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Good and Evil...

"And the Lord called to unto Adam, and said unto him, Where are you?" Gen 3:9

Adam was hiding.  He had sinned and now he was hiding.  Up until this point he knew everything good and now he knew evil.  He was ashamed.  I totally get all that.  I've been there and I've done that.  Shame, fear, hiding... 

This morning though I got a little better understanding of God the Father.   I hadn't seen Andrew in a few minutes and he was really quiet.  I had a feeling that he was somewhere on my phone.  As we all know smart phones can be good or evil.  There is so much out there that little people can stumble onto so innocently.  So, we have made rules about using them.   Usually Andrew would be jamming out to music or looking through pictures and videos. 

This morning I came into my room and looked around.  When I didn't see him I called his name after a few seconds he popped up from the other side of my bed and handed the phone to me.  He looked nervous so I asked him what he was doing.  He said "looking at pictures".  I knew if that was true he wouldn't be acting like he had been doing something wrong so I asked if he was looking at Pinterest. 

Andrew LOVES animals.  He really likes getting on Pinterest and looking at baby animals, but we have a rule (for his safety) that he is only allowed to look on the internet with myself or his older sister so that we can make sure there is nothing inappropriate that he would see.   The internet can be such an amazing good and useful tool, but it can also be very dangerous.  Little people can stumble onto pages with images that they can never unsee.  Things that can have very damaging effects.  As his mother I know that and understand that and try to protect them from all of that, but as a child he doesn't really understand.  He does however know the rule.  He broke the rule. 

God had a rule and Adam and Eve didn't really understand the rule because they didn't know what God knew.   God knew that if they broke that rule they could never undo the damage.   So, when God went walking in the garden looking for them and they were hiding God knew.    When I came looking for Andrew and I saw his face I knew.  It made me very sad for him.  It made me sad that he lied to me.  It made me sad and worried for what he could have seen if he pushed one wrong button.

In that moment I realized what God feels like every time we choose our own way.  He knows where our way is going to end up.  He tries to warn and protect us from what we don't understand.  He is sad when we choose to ignore his warning.  He knows it is only going to hurt us to choose to disobey.  We think it's harmless.  We thing no big deal, but God knows that "there is a way that seems right to men, but the end leads to DEATH."  The consequences of sin is death.   As a Father though that breaks his heart.  

When God sent His Son Jesus to die for our sin we can see clearly how much he loves us and how desperate he is to make us right with him again.   Right there in the garden He set his plan in motion.   While they were scared, hiding and blaming...  God was loving, forgiving, and setting His redemption plan in motion.  That's what a Father does.

I wasn't angry with Andrew.  I was sad.  My heart was hurting... because I know that he is going to choose his own way a lot.  I know he is going to ignore my rules (set up for his protection) and choose his own way and some of those choices are going to hurt him.   I'm sad because he doesn't trust me that I know better than he does...  and in that way I can relate to God the Father and how he feels when we choose our own way.  

Monday, April 20, 2015

We can only be friends if...

Today my friend and I were at the park and her 4 year old son had a melt down.  She did what she could do, then she came over to me visibly shaken and I just hugged her.  I know how she was feeling.  I know at the moment she was wishing that I had not been there to witness that part of her life.  She was frustrated and embarrassed...  and I understand.  I am there a lot.  I don't always know what to do when my 4 year old is having a melt down and sometimes the situation gets out of control.  Those are the moments I don't want people to see.  So, our natural instinct is to hide those things or not get to close to each other because if I let you in you might see that I don't have it all together.  But we can ONLY be friends if my 4 year old can have a bad day in front of you.

I decided that I am going to have friends...  but, to do that I'm going to have to let go of being a perfectionist.  I want to open the door wide and say come in when you come by unexpected.  I want to let you past the fairly presentable Entry way, all the way into the kitchen, with food stuck to the table, dishes in the sink and trash running over.  I need to let you see me have PMS.  I need to be able to stink around you because I haven't had 5 min to jump in the shower.  I need us to be real if you are going to be my friend.

I talked to a sweet friend the other day that just had her 5th baby and I asked her "how's it going?" She said fine and shared the good stuff with me and then she said "I'm really having a hard time with my 4 year old."  I said yeah they are hard and there are moments that I can't stand mine.  She smiled and said "thanks for saying that."  Look I know how hard this is.  I need to be able to tell you the truth if we are going to be friends.

I let a friend down this weekend and I had to ask for forgiveness.  It was painful to see how my actions hurt my friend, but you know I'm going to do that sometimes.  I'm gonna let you down.  I need to be able to do that if we are going to be friends. 

If we are going to be friends I need to know that I can show you all my ugly and you are ok with that.  I need you to know that you can show me and I'm ok with that.  I need you to not apologize for being human.  I will stop too.  I need you to not run around frantically trying to pick up the house...  I don't care.  I love you and I want to be your friend.  I need you to not always say the right thing or always know all the right answers.  I need you to cry when I cry.  I need you to laugh when I laugh.  I need you to understand that it's not always a walk in the park being friends with me, but it will be worth it. 

Friendship is costly and priceless, but it's almost heavenly when we let go of the image we want other people to see.  It's beautiful when I can be completely me and you can be you.  It's amazing when a friend forgives you or walks through a death with you.  It's  extra-ordinary when they love you on your worst day. 

We can only truly be friends if our kids can be brats in front of each other, if our houses can be messy, and if we can have bad moments that require forgiveness...   We can only be friends if we rejoice with eachother over the good stuff and cheer each other on, but I'm committed to that kind of friendship!!!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Fearless Friday-Never Enough...

Moses said, "Please, Lord, send someone else." Ex 4.

Once again I'm going to urge you to go read the whole thing for yourself..  I am only going to use this one verse and apply it to my life, but the story is amazing.  Seeing how God interacted with this man is incredible.  READ IT!!!

I am a Homeschool mom.  I know when you read my writing you probably think that's not a great idea for my children...  They are still young so don't be too afraid.  I know I'm not a writer.  Really I'm just a person who has been relentlessly pursued by God for the past...  well since forever.  I was 19 when I heard the Gospel (that Jesus came to save us) for the first time.  I was a complete mess of a person who couldn't resist the wooing of  God, and I'm still being wooed everyday.  I am prone to stray, but His love and grace draws me back everyday. 

I remember being pregnant with my first child and I knew I wanted to teach her at home.  I prayed for 5 years about this and one month before kindergarten started my husband and I decided that this is what we were going to do.  I was ecstatic.  By this point, I had 3 young children, kindergarten had gone pretty well and I foolishly thought this would be EASY.  I LOVED teaching K...  and then 1st grade hit.  What a difference a year made.  My daughter went from loving school to hating it.  We fought everyday.  Our relationship was a hard one even without school. 

All I ever wanted in the world was to be a wife and a mother...  since my childhood was not ideal I wanted to be SUPER MOM and I really believed it was going to be EASY.  I wanted a big family.  I thought that was going to be EASY.  

Today I fantasize about sending my children to school everyday.  I dream about what my life would be like IF the school age children were at school all day.  Today I fantasize about what life will be like without a baby, a toddler, a 4 yr old.  I long for the days when little people are not pulling at my legs screaming to go outside while I cook dinner, because this is the opposite of easy and glamorous. 

So, when I read about God calling Moses to go do this big job of  delivering his people from Egypt I TOTALLY get what Moses is feeling.   NOW that I know what I have gotten myself into I am saying with Moses...  send someone else.  Choose someone else. 

I LOVE God's response to Moses.  "And He (God) said, CERTAINLY I will GO WITH YOU." Ex 3:12...  My reasons for homeschooling have changed through the years and I know this is what God has called me to do, BUT God's reasons have not changed and he has shown me why He chose this path for ME.  He has been teaching me dependency all this time.  You see I needed to be humbled.  I was self-confident and I didn't rely on God daily.   Since I didn't rely on Him daily I became FULL of fear that I WAS NOT the person for this job.  I let fear paralyze me because I was sure I was going to mess all this up...  BUT, along the way the Lord has shown me that I needed to learn to depend on him and this is the way he has taught me.  On my own I will never be enough to do such a big job...  But HE IS GOING WITH ME.  His grace IS enough for me.  His strength is made perfect IN my weakness.  When He speaks those words to me my fear of failure melts away and my courage is renewed to face another day. 

I know you can relate.  Maybe you don't homeschool...  maybe it's a hard marriage.  God is enough.  Maybe it's a rebellious teenager.  God is enough.  Maybe it's your job.  God is enough.  I don't know what your hard thing is, but I do know that God wants us to realize that He is enough and He will go with us!!!

I hope you have a FEALESS FRIDAY knowing that God is ENOUGH!!!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

He Comes Down...

"And the Lord said, I have surely SEEN the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have HEARD their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I KNOW their sorrows; AND I AM COME DOWN TO DELIVER THEM..." Ex 3:7-8

First of all, drop this and go read Exodus 3 for yourself...  then come back and have a Hallelujah meeting with me...

I really don't know where to start or what to say that could be better than the Word itself, but I'm so excited I have to try... 

The children of Israel had become slaves in Egypt...  They had been there for 400 years.  Their  horrible situation drove them to cry out to God to set them free.   I know me and by this point I would believe a few things about God:

1.  He isn't real.
2.  He doesn't hear or care.
3.  He doesn't keep his promises.

BUT, at the appointed time (because God ALWAYS has an appointed time), God went to find His man, His deliverer.  This story is really too good for me to sum up so I really hope that you will go read Exodus for yourself.  Moses was God's man.  He's has  a really cool story in EX 1-3 (go read it).  Moses was a murderer.   I mean he looked this way and that way to see if anyone was around and he killed an Egyptian and ran off in the desert.  He ends up in Midian and marries a nice girl, they settle down, have littles and he becomes a shepherd.  The Bible says he was content with His new life, but God had plans for Moses.

One day Moses is out with the sheep and he sees a bush burning, but not consumed so he goes a little closer to investigate.   The God of the universe meets Moses in this place and tells him that He has a plan and Moses is His man.  

I fall in love with God every time I read this story.  The God who made all things, this all-powerful, amazing God, who speaks and planets appear, who makes man out of dust, COMES DOWN.  He comes down.

These people were content to stay right there in Egypt until things got hard.  Just like us.  We are content without God until he allows some painful things in our lives that makes us cry out to Him.   There is purpose in our pain.  They cried out to God because they were hurting and GOD CAME DOWN.

He came down and he told Moses, I have heard their cries, I have seen their pain and I know their sorrows and I am going to deliver them.  He has done that for us as well...  He sent JESUS because he sees, He hears, He knows, and He delivers.   The bible says "He sent His Word and it healed them of all of their diseases."  and "He (JESUS) is the WORD made flesh.

We do not serve a God that is deaf to our cries or blind to our pain.  We serve a God who comes down and delivers.  We serve a God who says I will be their God and they will be my people and I will wipe every tear from their eyes.  We serve a God who has a plan and an appointed time.  We serve a God called:

 "The Father of mercies and the God of ALL comfort; Who comforts us in ALL of our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in ANY trouble, by the comfort that we ourselves are comforted of God."

Take that in for a minute...  God comforts us so that we can comfort those who are hurting.   Our pain has a purpose and we can say to someone else He sees, He hears, He knows and He COMES DOWN.  The Bible says that "God is NEAR to the brokenhearted".  

Our God is not like other gods.  He comes to us and comforts us.  He sooths our fears.  He calms our storms.  He walks on water to get to us.  He loves us.  He has a plan.  He is for us and He is with us. 

All I can say is "Behold the Lamb of God."  HE CAME DOWN!!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Hate'n Life

"Therefore I hated life..."  Solomon, King of Israel.

I used to read the Bible as an emotionless book until I went through a time in my life where I had some real strong emotions.  I don't know where it came from, but a couple years ago a tidal wave of unhappiness flooded my soul.  Like King Solomon I had it all.  I had a great life, a loving husband, 4 children, enough money in the bank, a nice house, friends...  I could go on, but you get it.  IF happiness was based on circumstances you would look at my life and say WHAT could you possibly be depressed about.  

King Solomon had it ALL.  He was blessed by God in every area of his life.  In his own words "and whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not my heart from any pleasure..." Ecc 2:10.   But just 7 verses later he says "I hated life."  If Solomon could suffer from what looks to me like depression than I think it's safe to say we can to.  It's real.  It hurts.  You are not alone.

In fact as I read God's Word now I see many men and woman suffering from sadness:

Elijah-"...and he requested for himself that he might die." I Kings 19:4
David- Psalms is filled with painful pleas to God as well as Praise.
Job- no he didn't curse God, but He was in AGONY.
Hannah- broken over not being able to have a baby.
Jonah- "Therefore now, O Lord, I  beg you to take my life from me; for it is better  for me to die than to live." Jonah 4:3

If anyone was going to suffer from sadness I would think Paul would.  Paul went through a lot of hard circumstances, but this is Paul's advice... "Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS." 

Solomon says, "He has made everything beautiful in HIS time: also he has set ETERNITY in their heart..."  

God has set eternity in our heart...  We can never be completely satisfied with the temporal.  We can never be completely satisfied apart from God.  Our hearts are longing for God, but we try to fill that longing with people, places and things.  We try to build kingdoms here that won't last and we begin to realize just like Solomon that it's all vanity.  It's all vexation, so we become SAD, until like Solomon or Paul we realize that God alone can satisfy us and that we must at times force ourselves to REJOICE IN HIM.  We must turn our hearts to Him and to eternity. 

I still suffer from bouts of depression, but they don't last as long because God reminds me that this place is not my home and that ONE DAY I will be with Him and He will be with me.  One day.  NOT NOW, but One Day and I can Rejoice in the Lord.   I can remember and rejoice.  I know now WHY I'm not completely fulfilled on earth.  It's ok and It's normal for us to be longing for something.   We just have to remember what it is that we are really longing for...  HOME. 

I know some people are suffering terribly and this may seem like a very simple-minded answer and to be truthful I don't know the depths of your despair.  I know it's not that easy and I'm definitely not trying to say snap out of it...  Before I suffered my own depression I would have said that.  I can now say that I am thankful for the dark time I went through because it has caused me to have some measure of compassion, but I think in the Christian community this is something we try to ignore or dismiss and we shouldn't.    If you are hurting I get that it is real.  Find someone to talk to.  Find someone who will point you to Jesus...  The Bible says "He sent His WORD and it healed them of all of their diseases."  His Word is POWERFUL and it can change you life. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

It's not your imagination...

Life is HARD...

It's a common thread running through all my conversations with females lately...  Life is HARD.   After that evaluation is the question "Is it supposed to be this hard?" 

Marriage is hard
Children are hard
Friendships are hard
SAHM is hard
WM is hard
Homeschool is hard
School is hard
Diet is hard
Exercise is hard

Holding is all together is hard, and we all ask the ???, and then we think I must be doing something wrong if it's this hard.  The truth is it's just hard.  I will be the first to admit that I'm not doing it perfectly or even well, but I think even if I did everything "right" it would still be hard.  I'm also beginning to see that HARD CAN BE GOOD.  Gasp.  Yes I said that. 

Although my life is exactly the one I asked God for, it is  hard.  I really should have paid attention in 8th grade when I was jamming out to Poison, they knew:

Every Rose has it's thorns
Just like every night has it's dawn,
Just like every cowboy has his sad, sad song
Every Rose has it's thorns...

Now that's some wisdom right there Poison.  I appreciate them breaking it down for me.  Every good thing has something hard, but when we focus on the hard thing It makes life hardER.  When our focus is on how hard marriage is we miss out on the beauty that is Two becoming One Flesh.  When we focus on how hard raising children is we miss out on the beauty that is being a Mother. 

We can always find something to complain about.  We can always be bogged down, overwhelmed, and unhappy...  OR we could look at the Rose.  We can ponder the beauty in our situations.  We can practice a heart of gratitude. 

We can also be thankful in all things.  If you have a relationship with God you can know that the hard things are FOR YOUR GOOD.   We are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do the good works that He before ordained for us to do.  He is working on us.  He has a goal and that goal is to conform us to the image of His son Jesus...  and that my friends is a very difficult task.  We are naturally selfish people, but God wants a people who reflect His heart.  We can see the heart of God through Jesus His son.  He reveals God to the world and we are supposed to reflect that.  So, God uses all the hard stuff in our lives to mold, shape, prune, refine us until we reflect Christ and that is more often than not done through hardship and suffering.  

The awesome thing is that God is for us.  God is with us.  God is going to redeem all things and He makes all things new.    It's hard because we are imperfect and that's not going to change.  It's hard because we want everything to be easy.  It's hard because most of the time we only ever change through hardship.  It's hard because if it wasn't we would rely on ourselves and not depend on God.  It's hard because God wants us to seek him.  It's hard because we would NEVER appreciate anything that came easy.

It's also BEAUTIFUL.  This life is beautiful.   If we can accept that it is hard and that's ok then we really begin to have joy and peace.    We can rejoice in the Lord no matter what.  We can filled with wonder and praise because we know that there is purpose in our pain.  It's not wasted and that makes it all worth it.