Friday, April 18, 2014

No everyone liked Jesus...


I am in a situation where I have some people that aren’t very fond of me right now.  The more that I try to impress them, the more they seem to dislike me.  I have turned them off to my personality in some way, shape, or form and I have really been struggling with that.  I know that not everyone likes Christians, however, the reason for their dislike does not seem to have anything to do with the fact I am a Christian. 
Last night my children had a “sleep over” with each other.  At 3:00am, said sleep over was finished however, both children still wanted to sleep with someone, so for the sake of sanity and sleep, my husband and I divided and conquered.  Around 4am, as I lie there in my daughter’s bed listening to WBGL, the local Christian station, it occurred to me, Jesus WAS, and still is, perfect and guess what, not everyone liked Him. 
Some welcomed Jesus, and then one person said something and the crowd turned against Him.  Jesus was perfect, yet He was crucified…  Not to say that I am perfect, or could ever be anything close to perfect, however, I see the people jealous of Jesus, I see their own insecurities coming out thinking, “that can’t be the Christ, He is supposed to be a King”. 
Think about it – if you are in a situation where people may not like you- not everyone liked Jesus.  He did what was right; He was perfect, and not everyone like him.  Now the reason that the other people don’t like me has to do with something that I did unintentionally, however, it gives me hope that it is okay to have not everyone like you all the time.  It gives me hope that the people that do like me are the people that I want to be around.  I think that we should continue to strive to be like Jesus, however, if people do not like us in that quest, that is more on them than it is on me. 
Read the Easter story today – read it from John 12-20 – what an awesome story!!!!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Refiners Fire


Currently I am in a Diagnostics class for the Counseling Program I am in.  My eyes have been opened to the reality of mental disorders that are out there!  I see diagnoses in many people, including myself.  There is a problem that I see with diagnosing someone with a mild case of anything.  I have seen it happen and I have watched a diagnosis given to someone, take over his or her life.  A diagnosis is an explanation or a generalization so that other medical or counseling professionals are able to assist that individual, they are not given to be an excuse. 
            “It isn’t my fault I went out and got drunk, I have Alcohol Use Disorder”
“It isn’t my fault that I do poorly in school, I have Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder”
“Depression runs in my family, so that explains why I am sad all the time.”
It is easy to give into a Diagnosis, to agree with it, to see what you have in common with that diagnosis; it is easy to then identify with that “disorder” and to use it to define who you are and what you do.
The disorder can define you, destroy you or develop you into a different person.  The hardest part is letting it develop you. 
That is where my struggle is right now- I don’t have a particular diagnosis, but I am struggling with some things in life that need to be changed and I could let that destroy me or define who I am going to be, however, I am trying to choose to let it develop me.  I know that god has a person in mind that He wants me to be, I just have to let it happen and work through it.  It is not fun going through a fire, but how does the silversmith know that the silver is refined enough?  He can see His reflection in it. 
I am trying to go through the fires of this year, I have not gone through with grace or with comfort or with peace, but I am definitely going through them.  I know that if I don’t let the bad stuff come out, the silver won’t be ready for much longer than it is taking now. 

Psalm 66:10
For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

It has been a while...

          Well folks, It has been a long while since I last posted.  I could give you plenty of good reasons for me to not have been posting.  1) I am in a majorly intense graduate program that is physically, emotionally and mentally demanding.  2) I am working part time as well as in a practicum to pay for said graduate program.  3) ...  My list could go on and on about why I haven't been blogging and posting but here is the honest truth- I haven't been posting because I haven't been spending time and getting right with God.
I used this blog to get right with God a couple times a week before, if not daily.  Now, I haven't even given it a second thought.  How easy is it to get bogged down with life and so busy that we forget what is really important?  How easy is it to say, I will start reading my Bible again, TOMORROW. 
           I used to think that when I worked at a church, my walk with God would be amazing because I have to go to him to glorify him, but here I am, doing my practicum at a church, and my walk is failing miserably. 
There have been times this semester where I wanted to throw in the towel.  Emotionally, this semester is killing me, however, instead of saying, "I need God", I found myself saying, "I need wine" (which I rarely actually partook of). I could talk the talk of champions, but was not walking the walk laid out for me.
          I am ashamed of my life this semester.  It has been selfish, sinful and just all around bad... but the good news is that Easter is coming and that reminds me that no matter what I have done, Jesus paid it all!

Jesus says (and this is not quoted from the Bible), "I know you are a sinner, I know you fail daily and I know that you can never be perfect, but that is why I AM.  That is why I AM the perfect sacrifice." 

Friday, we will celebrate the sacrifice Jesus made, Sunday we will celebrate that the sacrifice was not in vain - that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, but he rose from the grave to save!!!!

Hebrews 10:14
14 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

I encourage you to read Hebrews 10: 1-18  -you can do so here 

Know that no matter how terrible your last, however long has been, Christ redeems!!!

HE IS RISEN- HE IS RISEN INDEED!


Friday, August 16, 2013

The Blessed Life- in Marriage


Our church is doing a series called “The Blessed Life”.  It is about how you end up living a blessed life by giving your first and your best to God, and then your life is blessed.  By choosing to have a heart for the Lord, even when times are rough and seeing the blessings that God pours out of you.  One of the main things they have been hammering home is that you don’t give your best to have your life be blessed, you do it because your heart is wanting more of God and naturally, His blessings flow from that.  In simpler terms, you do not give to get. 

I have had multiple people talk to me this week about marital struggles.  I have seen eyes rolled at husbands and heard of wives being just down right mean to their husbands and yelling at them over phone conversations.  Today is my 10th wedding anniversary.  YAY!  My husband and I do not see eye to eye on everything, but we try. I can honestly say this is the happiest I have ever been in my marriage and I look forward to saying this again next year and the year after.

A few years back, probably around 6 and then again around 3 years back, I was struggling with our marriage.  I felt un-loved, under-appreciated and I felt like I put all the effort into the marriage.  It was pretty rough on me and there were so many times that I thought the D word would just be easier.  I kept looking at what I was doing and what I was putting into the marriage and expecting to get the same out of it.  I was not giving with my heart- I was giving to get. 

Subconsciously, I think we all do that in some aspects of our life.  We are trained from a young age that if you pay for something, you should have it work and be good quality.  So if I am paying with my time, my marriage should be a good quality and it should be everything that I dreamt of growing up.  Marriage shouldn’t be hard- right?  If you are truly in love with this person and they really love you it should be easy- right?  That isn’t always the case. 

If we give to God’s kingdom just to get blessings from God, is that the right frame of mind to be doing that?  If we give our time and effort to our marriage just to feel how we want that person to make us feel is that the right frame of mind to be doing that?  When I was struggling, I read that book about the different languages of love.  I would get SO mad because I would work really hard to show my husband his love language, but I would get nothing in return.  I would put all this effort into doing what would show him I loved him and he wouldn’t even try to show me he loved me.  I was hanging around divorced women and other couples that were happily married and thinking the grass is always greener….

As our amazing pastors have been preaching about “The Blessed Life”, I have been thinking a lot about peoples’ marriages.  You can’t give just to get.  It is when you start giving with a good heart that your life becomes blessed.  God chooses to love us, even when we are un-loveable.  God chooses to show us love in ways that we might not like, but He always knows what will ultimately show us love. 

Maybe your spouse is un-loveable right now.  Maybe you are feeling dejected, hated, taken advantage of…  My encouragement to you is it gets better with effort!  You can try what I ended up doing a few years back and I am so incredibly glad that I did.  I started to REALLY love my husband.  I started to show him love when I felt he didn’t deserve it.  I started to show him grace when I felt like hurting him.  I started to see him how God sees us.  I started to see the ways that He shows love to us, and then I started to feel loved. 

I had a heart change.  I loved not to be loved but that is ultimately what came out of it.  I loved because I made a promise to love.  I loved because love was a choice.  I loved because God loved me first.  I chose to see that I couldn’t change the way that he acted, but I could change the way that I reacted to his actions.  I couldn’t change the fact that I wasn’t being shown love in the ways that I wanted to be shown love, but I could choose to see the ways that he was showing me love. 

After a while of me choosing to see how he loved me and choosing to love him, I started to feel loved.  I started to see his appreciation.  I started to see him doing the dishes as not an affront to my housekeeping skills (which are really lacking!), but as a thoughtful gesture.  As I started seeing his love to me- the way that I saw him and our lives together changed.  I was a happier person.  I didn’t love because I wanted something out of it or a warm fuzzy feeling (although that is what I get now when I see my husband even after 10 years!), I was loving because I wanted to love.  I was giving my best and I can say that I have an extremely blessed life.  God has blessed my life so much!

I am not saying that I have it all figured out and that it is going to be all smooth sailing from now on.  We have been married 10 years and in the grand scheme of things, that isn't a huge deal.  I just know that I am so happy and want to share with you a way to be happy too.  Last night, I came home after an interesting night.  It was past my kids’ bedtime and the lights were off in the house.  I was pretty tiered.  My kids and husband came out of the dark corner and surprised me and told me happy anniversary.  I was given a beautiful necklace and earring set and some other cute little things.  I love presents, but we don’t usually do gifts, so this was amazing!  I truly am living a blessed married life and a blessed life in general. 

God can make it better.  Choose to love how God loves us, unconditionally. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Parenting Predicament


Really fast, before I start, MY BOOK IS OUT NOW!!!  The Whisper in the Waterfall is available at these sites: the physical copy here, https://www.createspace.com/4360794; and the e-version here, http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DZ1EV42 .  I am very excited about this…  Now onto my thoughts… 

There is so much we are not supposed to say to our children anymore.  We can’t call our daughters princesses because it establishes a male dominated society.  We can’t say, “hurry up” to our children because it makes them think that we don’t have time for them.  We can’t tell them that we look fat because they will have a negative body image. We can’t let our kids read certain books, or play with certain toys because we want them to “be themselves”.  We can’t call a paper bag lunch a “brown bag lunch” because it is racist.  We can’t yell at our children in public, even when they are being 100% bad.  We can’t spank our children.  Society is always telling that we can’t do all these things…. 

Don’t get me wrong, I agree with the idea and thought process behind all these things.  (I still call my daughters princesses though ;-)  ) It is just hard sometimes.  You read all these blogs and statements posted by different people and you get overwhelmed.  You look at pinterest and all these amazing ideas people have. I actually get frustrated and wonder how I turned out the way that I turned out.  Obviously the people reading and posting these blogs are the people that are going to be spending time and trying to be the best parent they can be and the people that are not reading them, couldn’t care less and their kids are going to do what they are going to do no matter what. 

My parents are amazing people.  They did the best that they could do raising us, and frankly, I think they did a pretty good job (not to toot my own heart).  They raised me to be a self-thinker, to be God fearing, to be a princess, to do the best that I could at everything that I can do.  The founding Fathers, all the major leaders and great people in this world were raised by parents also and guess what… They did all this WITHOUT THE INTERNET!!!  That’s right people.  Parents have been parenting and doing a good job of it before blogs were invented and before everyone had an opinion on EVERYTHING.  Many of the very best parents in the whole world followed some great advice- they followed the Bible. 

So here it is people, the parenting advice that has been around for the ages:

Proverbs 22

V1: A good name is to be more desired than great wealth.  Favor is better than silver and gold.
                        Do not let your name and the name of your family be tarnished. 
V2: The rich and the poor have a common bond; The Lord is the maker of them all.
                        You aren’t better than anyone else, the Lord created everyone and everything
V3: The prudent sees the evil and hides himself, but the naïve go on and are punished for it.
                        YOU ARE NOT PERFECT!  Admit it!  Let your kids and your friends see that.
V4: The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, honor and life. 
                        Be humble.  Fear God and honor your life.
V5: Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse; He who guards himself will be far from them.
Guard your heart.  Guard your children’s hearts, guard what you expose yourself to.
V6:  Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it!
Self-explanatory.

I don’t know if your kids are the same as mine, but they reflect EVERYTHING that I do and say.  Whether I do things right or wrong, they are going to grow up and have to make their own decisions.  Our job isn’t to shield them from everything, but to prepare them to make the right decisions when push comes to shove. 

I am nowhere close to perfect.  My kids are nowhere close to perfect (as was witnessed on our huge shopping excursion yesterday).  The only thing that is perfect in my life is my God.  For centuries mothers and fathers have been raising their children up to the best of their ability.  Just do what you can do, don’t stress over all the political correctness and the worry about if your status on the social media is just perfect.  Remember this, 9 times out of 10, right after someone posts something amazing their child does, the kid goes and does something that makes them want to pull their hair out. 

My kids stress me out daily.  These are the Biblical virtues to pray for your children to have in their lives. I really liked this that my friend shared with me.  This isn’t some mother’s idea of a perfect parenting solution, it isn’t telling you what not to do, it is just saying, these are biblical virtues that you can pray for your children and yourself.  http://www.raisinggodlychildren.org/2012/03/31-biblical-virtues-to-pray-for-your.html 

I have been really stressed out by my kids lately.  Stressed to tears!  My friends encouraged me last Thursday at Life Group and it went something similar to this… For those out there doing the best that they can do, you are amazing; no one else could raise your children any better than you currently are.  God gave them to you and you are doing exactly what you need to be doing to get through the season of life that you are in. 

I want to add to this.  God gave your children to YOU- He didn’t give them to the pastor; He didn’t give them to your best friend; He didn’t give them to the person posting picture after picture of how wonderful their children are or even when their kids end up tearing their house apart, they can still say how much they love their kids and love being their parent.  God gave them to YOU.  He knew your personality, He knew your life situation, He knew exactly what you were like and your life situation BEFORE He gave you these kids. 

Psalm 139:13-14 “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

So when you look at your kids and can’t handle them, or when you look at yourself in the mirror and say, WHY?!?!?  Why, God, did you give me these kids?  Why did you make me a parent?  Did you REALLY know what you were doing?  Just know; you are not alone.  Just do your best and God will BLESS the rest, even if your best seems really really stinky compared to wonder parent. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Funky Feelings...


I will admit it; yesterday I was in a funk.  I was slipping into a “hermit” mood that I get in every so often.  The, I just want to stay home, not talk to anyone but my best friend and my husband and sit and read a book, eat ice cream and not worry about social norms.  It was getting bad.  It was a rainy and stormy day, which contributed to my mood and I was contented to sit and be nasty.  Fortunately, we had a pre-arranged life group scheduled.  Usually our life group meets on Thursdays and not Wednesdays, but we were combining with 2 other life groups.  We were supposed to be meeting at a park.  It had been raining ALL day, a park just didn’t seem like a good idea.  At 4 something, we got the message that instead, we were just going to meet at the church due to the weather.  Feeling a little better about that, we dressed nicely, got in the car and headed out towards church.  2 minutes into our trip we got the call that the weather was “behind” us and we were going to go to the park after all. 

I was not a happy person.  If my parents’ hadn’t instilled in me the concept of commitments when I was younger, I would have just threw in the towel and called it a night.  We still had to get to Walmart and get salad dressing for one of the two salads that I had to make (really I volunteered to make, but by this time, my attitude was really not great!).  We turned the car around so we could grab junk clothes for the kids.  Ran in, grabbed them and headed towards the park with my obligatory stop at the store first.  We got there and I was not in a good mood.  Puddles were EVERYWHERE, my kids wanted to go run and jump in them and we didn’t want them to get dirty. 

I plastered on a very transparently fake smile and muddled through getting them changed, my food out and ready to eat and getting my kiddos food to eat.  While in line, one of the men who I had spoken to before and knew that I could speak Spanish, started talking to me in that language and my mood brightened a bit.  I love Spanish and very rarely have a chance to practice it and usually feel very intimidated, but he is a high school teacher, so he is used to terrible, butchered Spanish being spoken.  We sat down with them and two of the members of my life group and my funk was lifting.  That was until I had to take my child to the bathroom.

While coming out of the bathroom, I looked over to the large puddle to my right.  The “puddle” would be better described as a mini lake.  It was easily 50 yards in diameter and at least 2 feet deep in the middle and had the lovely color of poop.  Wading through said puddle was my youngest child and her best friend.  Taking a deep breath and attempting to remember what it was like to be a kid, I silently congratulated myself on bringing extra clothes for them and went to finish my food.  ALL the kids from both life groups soon joined them in the puddle and it ended up being a free-swimming hole that was the perfect size for all the kids.  Every child had to be stripped down before getting into the car that night!

After dinner, I was able to talk about my passion and future with a fantastic couple and then I saw it…  The sand volleyball court was filling up with players.  I was wearing jeans and a tight fitting t-shirt with one of those “hip skirts” under that extends your t-shirt to be longer.  Not dressed to play, I thought for about 2 seconds before excusing myself from the conversation and racing to the court.  Volleyball is my FAVORITE sport to play EVER!  I love it.  The sand was wet, sludgey and gross in some spots, but that didn’t matter.  I rolled up my jeans, threw off my shoes and joined in.  It was as if the minute my shoes came off, I took the funk off with them.  The funk was gone, I was in the zone and playing and had a BLAST!  Now, I am so glad that I went.  I could play volleyball at least 3 times a week. 

Sometimes we just don’t feel like doing things, it is easier to stay in our own depression and in our own “funk”.  Usually that funk then leads us deeper and deeper into depression and leads us into despair when really things aren’t as bad as they seem.  It is our own selfish desires to self-pity ourselves and not go out into the world.  “Woe is me…” BUT… when we experience life the way God intended us to, not alone but with friends and getting into the world, life gets better.  In Acts 27, Paul went to his friends for encouragement and uplifting.  Paul was imprisoned, he could have had a terrible attitude, but his attitude was almost always brightened by friends. 

Philippians 1: 3-11
    3I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all,5in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.6For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.7For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me.8For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus.9And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment,10so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; 11 having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Thank God for Noah!


I have slacked.  I’ll admit it; I have been LAZY…  The past few weeks I have been avoiding working on my book, not necessarily because I want to, more due to hitting a wall.  My best friend was being a doll and listening to me read the book out loud to ensure I had the cadence right and it was good for me to be able to catch the umpteen type-os still so prevalent in my story.  The first day we hammered it out- we read 50 pages in one day!  I loved sharing my story and she loved hearing it.  We planned to meet the next day to hammer out some more of the book but she ended up getting sick!  Poor thing!  The sickness lasted a whole week and so the book sat, we both just wanted her to get better!  We met on Monday to work through it, but between kids and life, only 10 pages were read.  Last night, Tuesday, we had a plan: I would go over and stick around after a home party she was having and read it after she put the kiddos to bed.  At 12:00pm my headache started…  By 7 (while at her house) it was in full swing.  After almost puking from the pain, I left at 7:30, without reading her my story. 

Have you ever had the best intentions to do something and then life got in the way?  Life has a way of doing that sometimes.  Often, we look at it like we just aren’t supposed to do what we are doing.  Have you ever felt called to do something and then were unable to do it as quickly as you wanted because you got distracted, sick, bored or whatever? 

I think of the story of Noah.  I really do like that story, other than the fact that I can’t stand being on a boat because I will get so sick!  The story of Noah is really neat.  The story is also extremely condensed.  This is a long period of time in this guy’s life.  He started this project because God told him to.  He had this great plan and all this motivation to do it.  I wonder if he faltered in his work ethic.  I wonder if he said, “today, I am just not going to work on the boat and have a me day”, then that day turned into a week and then into a month and he finally got back into the swing of things.  Everyone was watching him.  I am sure so many people thought that he was beyond crazy.  This old man- rugged, graying, aging daily, 500 plus years old- and he was building a boat in the middle of his land.  A boat?!?!?  Did he ever question his sanity or just let life get in the way? 

Ulitmately he finished his project God gave him to do.  Ultimately I will too, just not in time for my self-presented deadline.  Praise God that He gave us examples like Noah in the Bible to look at and see that we aren’t crazy to follow God, we aren’t too old to follow God and we aren’t alone in following what the Lord has commanded.  So today, I am going to try to work a little on my book.  I am going to take things one step at a time and work from there in hopes that life doesn’t get too out of control to allow me to finish soon.  Thanks for your patience.