Wholehearted Desire ❤️

Like splashing cold water on my face or waking up to an obscenely loud alarm clock, or maybe even being submerged into a dunk tank.  That is how I feel right now.  Eyes and heart wide open, an overwhelming sense of spiritual humility.  Wake up! Alarms are sounding it is time to wake up and RISE!  

 

The condition of the mind or living with  the feeling of being ‘satisfied’ or ‘gratified’ leads to a condition of ‘forgetting God’.  So easily we can fall into the routine of our day to day  and allow the busyness of life take over.  

Going through the motions, going to church, reading your bible even praying, but then you are not actively pursuing God with your whole heart, then that is all it is; going through the motions.

  

 

While I can report that I have successfully read the entire bible it was cover to cover; unfortunately I admit this was more for the satisfaction of being able to say I read it rather than truly learning God’s word.  I certainly feel like I was not focused in my reading process at that moment in time; it was more of going through the motions and not so much learning and loving God’s word.

For the last year I have been following a chronological reading plan to read through the Bible in a year, I’m not sure I have even made it halfway yet.  While I have not been disciplined enough to keep up with this daily but I am taking my time and not rushing through it.   I will read the outlined verses and go to the study bible for additional information.  I am taking time to review information for each chapter that I come to in an effort to deepen my understanding.  I will then later listen to them on my audio bible to follow up and reinforce what have already I read.

This week my scripture reading has led me through part of 1Chronicles and Psalm 119. This week I find myself paused and rereading parts of Psalm 119 and then reading it again.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord. Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart—”. Psalm‬ ‭119:1-2‬ ‭

Those who walk according to His law and seek Him with all their heart are not blessed because they will have an easy and luxurious life with worldly desires fulfilled.  In fact quite the opposite, they will likely have many trials and attacks from the enemy as the seek the Lord and follow His ways.  Those who follow His laws and seek Him with their whole heart will be blessed in their relationship with Him, with joy in His love and salvation despite their circumstances and trials.

 

Some of the important reminders that I am taking away from this weeks scripture reading and study is this….

I must know God, everyday and night, grow in my relationship with Him, no ‘just going through the motions.’

Obedience- must be obedient to God’s law because I love Him and want to please Him, not because it ‘I have to’ or it is what is expected.  —–>Psalm 119:7-9 I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws.

Memory- I need to continue to actively commit His word and truth to memory so that I can always recall His works.  I am doing this but I could be putting more energy and effort and approaching this ‘wholeheartedly’.  Meditate and study His word, EVERY DAY with true desire. —–>Psalm 119:11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

Distinguish ALL BLESSINGS as flowing from God’s grace.  There are so many of His gifts and blessings we take for granted everyday.  Continue ‘counting my wins’ each day and be more intentional in giving that glory for God, thankful to Him for all things. —–>Psalm 119:18 Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.

Trust God, walk in His ways not my own, surrender, less of me more of Him. —–>Psalm 119:37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.

Each day choose GOD, choose to love Him, to learn and follow His laws, find my delight in Him and not the circumstances of my moments. —–>Psalm 119:44 I will always obey your law, for ever and ever.

Be confident in waiting for God, his timing, He is in control, do not fear for the evil of man for God is faithful, His mercy endures always, keep my faith in Him, he will not forsake me. —->Psalm 119:50 My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.

I have power over sin with the strength of the Lord, wholeheartedly place my petitions and needs to Him and He will direct my steps.  —–>Psalm 199:133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.

His Word and law is essential not optional to truly surrender to Him, the Word of God is WONDERFUL.

—–>Psalm 119:137 Your laws are righteous Lord, and your laws are right.

 

Victory in Christ, I have victory in Christ on the good days and the bad days, I will actively seek and serve Him with my ‘whole heart’.  What an awesome reminder the scripture has brought me this week. 

“Where one man reads the Bible a hundred read you and me.”       Dwight L. Moody

 

 

Don’t worry….. Pray to God

Our Wednesday evenings at church I spend in the 3-5 year old room during Teamkid. This week had a great message for the kids and so simple and has really stuck with me….

“DON’T WORRY….PRAY TO GOD.” The children’s simplified translation of Philippians 4:6. What a great message for all of us.

When you are afraid- Don’t worry, pray to God!
When you are mad- Don’t worry, pray to God!
When you are upset- Don’t worry, pray to God!
WHen you are happy- Don’t worry, pray to God!
When you are lonely- Don’t worry, pray to God!

If we could just follow this simple command how much simpler could things be for us? To let go and trust God, He is in control, everything is according to His plan and His purpose. I know and have experienced that He knows what is best, I have learned time and time again His way is SO MUCH better than my way, so why do I spend so much time worrying about things I have no control over??? When I simply just need to follow the advice we gave our little ones this week…Don’t Worry, Pray to God.

This topic was approached from another direction in my ladies group on Tuesday evening, the chapters we study focused on fear and anxiety and goes down the road of identifying worry as a sin, which is a hard fact to ponder and realize. It is so easy to worry and let this worry, turn to fear and lead to us sinning. When we worry we are questioning God, we are not trusting Him when we do this. If we had complete trust and solid faith that He will always provide and be there for us then we wouldn’t need to even consider worrying. But we cannot do this, we are sinners and human and we need God in every area of our lives, hearts and souls. It is not possible to not worry, we are not built this way but we do need to work on obeying God’s commands to us, if we are working everyday to keep in constant communication with God, constant prayer, through every situation, always stay focused on Him and let Him be the center of everything then it will come more naturally to follow the advice and let go of worry and pray to God first and always.

Message for this week is heard loud and clear—-“DON’T WORRY—PRAY TO GOD!!!”

Philippians 4:6-7
Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayers and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Matthew 6:25-27
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

Matthew 6:34
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.

“Lord thank You for this great reminder this week, I pray for strength, guidance and wisdom to take and apply this to my life. Your words are so clear to me this morning please help me keep this sweet and simple reminder in all areas of my life. Help me to be humble before You. Daily I am faced with challenges, please help to always come to You first, I pray to live out these words and to not worry and always come to You in prayer and supplication. Let the great truth in Your words and Promises continue speaking to me and guiding me. Thank You for all You have blessed me with in this life, thank You for having Your plan be so much better than my own. In Jesus Name- Amen”

 

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Shame on me….time to refocus and CHOOSE JOY!

In our home my husband and I both work full time, we blessed with 5 animated, active, industrious and busy children; the daily routines and responsibilities are usually layered with elements of commotion and chaos. Since school began 3 and a half weeks ago, football and cheer practice and games in full swing and activities at church on top of keeping up with meals and house work, it feels like we are trying to fit into 24 hours what should take us 36 hours to complete, always rushing and never having enough time in the day to balance all of our responsibilities to the best of our ability.

I am so incredibly blessed, my life is full of answered prayers- God is good all the time! I am a mother to 5 amazing children, a wife, football and cheer mom, I work full time as a nurse practitioner, volunteer at the free clinic 1-2 times a month, women’s group a church, helping with the preschool class at church on Wednesday evenings, community group with church family on Sunday evenings…and last but certainly not least a follower of Christ. Of all of my duties and responsibilities—–being a follower of Christ is by far the most important but yet I have been allowing the hustle and bustle of our routine take over and giving only what’s left from my overstuffed and exhausting day to my relationship with Christ…..that’s not the example I want to set for our children. I want my energy and focus to go first to Christ. How can I teach my children how to live a Christ centered life if I cannot set an example for them to follow in?

The sermon today was quite convicting for me and has moved me to want to be more bold, dedicated and determined in my example of Christ to my children, I am being convicted in a big way and feeling very led to step up to fill the role God has called me to be in. I wouldn’t be here in this place of my life if God did not think I could handle all this. He made me for this, He knew what I was going to be capable of, He knows what I could handle, and this is not a mistake. God does not make mistakes. Yes, this season in my life is so full it is almost busting at the seams and while it all feels so overwhelming to the point I want to scream and cry at times, but I just need to stop take a time out and need to look at it in a different way. How AWESOME that God has given me such huge responsibility, what and honor and blessing that He made me to have all of this in my life! I need to step up and carry these responsibilities for what they are, a blessing directly from GOD, not a burden or stress or too much for me to handle, He wouldn’t have me here if He didn’t equip me to carry out these responsibilities.

I want our kids to look to me and feel Christ’s love and see my joy in Him. Unfortunately this is not the example I have been showing these past few weeks. I have allowed the day to day routine, stress and the extreme busy in our lives overcome me and dictate my moods and steal my joy. Shame on me! Our kids for the past three weeks have looked to me and have the impression of stressed and busy means you need to be rushed, short-tempered and grumpy after a long hard day. That’s it!!!! I refuse to let all of the blessings of this life stress me out and dictate my emotional forefront and allow the circumstance of my stressful day steal my joy in the Lord. I want my children to look at me on the busiest and most stressful days and see not just a smile on my face but see joy and feel Christ like love.

After sitting down with my amazing husband and reflecting on how we have handled the last 3 weeks with our children, we have identified the areas that we are lacking, where we need to make some changes and we came up with a plan of how we can work together as Christian parents to better lead our children by our own example.

#1-One area that my husband and I have done well in, is starting our day together reading scripture and in prayer. We get up early every morning, and over a cup of coffee we sit in bed, read scripture, discuss if anything spoke to us from our reading and pray before we begin our day. This is all wonderful except that during this time all the kids are fast asleep in bed and don’t even realize we are doing this. They should see us reading our bibles regularly; we need to lead by example. We will continue with our morning’s devotional time, this is important for us to start out day with the Lord and quiet time together. To be the example so our kids can see us reading our scripture we will take 10 minutes at the end of the day after whatever activities the evening kept us busy with and sit on the couch and read while they are getting ready for bed, so they will see us doing this.
#2-Our oldest three are in the car for at least 20-30 minutes to and from school each day. During our morning ride in I am going to have them each take turns reading out loud from the bible. Reading the bible is not something that they are going to ‘choose’ to do on their own and not likely something they will want to do but it is so important to instill this in them. It will be something we start with small, I am going to start at the beginning and have them work their way through the bible, only require them to read 3-5 verses each. I will be working on making this a priority with them during our morning routine and setting this example for them.
#3-We are going to work together to keep the stress, schedules, on the go, chaos each day brings us from taking our joy, to be able to smile and support each other through the most trying and difficult days, so our children can see the joy of the Lord through us.

I choose joy….the joy of the Lord is my strength

I choose to live in God’s presence.
James 1:2 ‘Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith produces perseverance’

I choose joy on the days when everything feels like it is falling apart, when all 5 children are acting out, all I want to do is cry and start the day over while there are endless things to be done to survive our day….I will still choose JOY
Philippians 4:4-5 ‘Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: REJOICE! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.’
I will grow in my joy when my children can see Christ in me.
I choose Joy…
Hebrews 12:2 ‘fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfector of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.’
I choose to find joy in my life praising God

“Heavenly Father,
You are so awesome and so mighty! Thank You for all of Your grace and mercy in our lives. Thank You for loving us unconditionally. Thank You for your blessings. Thank You for sending Your son to suffer for our sins. We do not worthy of all that You have given us, yet our lives our full of undeserved blessing, Thank You for always providing for us, thank You for answering prayers even if the answer is no, for being with us and equipping us to live in this sinful world. Thank You for Your word and direction on how to live our lives and serve You.
You know my heart, please forgive me for not seeking you first, for letting the details of our busy lives overtake my time with You. I confess my weakness in being overcome by stress and circumstance. I need You Lord, my strength comes from only You, I cannot do any of this on my own, without You I am powerless. Lord please give me power to be the woman You created me to be, I pray if my words or actions begin to step out of Your will please give me guidance to fall back into Your will.
I come to You today in surrender, I seek Your wisdom and strength as a mother, to live my life with a joyful heart always, whatever the circumstance of my day I pray to have a joyful heart in You Lord. I ask for wisdom and guidance in all my roles and responsibilities, please lead me and guide. I pray to always keep You center in all that we do.
I pray our children grow to know You, to serve You and love You, that our example in their lives lays down the foundation for their faith, they grow into godly people and they can go out into this world as an example of Your love and share You with those around them.
I pray for Your protection over my children, protect them physically, emotionally and spiritually.
In Jesus name I pray- AMEN”

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Letting go…finding complete surrender during difficult times

” If you look for the bad in people expecting to find it you surely will”  Abraham Lincoln

That quote really strikes me deep this morning.  I have been caught in a growing struggle over the last few weeks.  I am facing some unconventional parenting challenges and this has really been especially difficult for me.  These challenges have really left me looking for the bad in my kids and overlooking to good, how true this quote really is.  Shame on me!

After being with their father for 3 weeks of summer my children come home confused and corrupted.  How can I teach them right from wrong when they go spend time with their other parent and learn that wrong is right?  Where are the articles, books and advice columns on facing this challenge!  This puts a whole new spin on parenting and I feel like I am failing. 

I understand that they will be exposed to things of the world and negative influences through their peers at school and in various situations outside my home, and I am prepared to fight those battles.  But when I look at the situation of my children going into their other parents home and are being taught and shown the opposite of the values and morals I am working to instill it feels like a losing battle and I don’t stand a chance.  Where are the self-help books on raising your kids to know Christ and stay in Christ while learning how to be a bully with a potty mouth and how to not believe in God while spending time with their other parent! 

Of course they love their other parent and look up to their father, that’s natural, they want to do and say things that please their father, so they are being taught to please him they should have a potty mouth and treat people disrespectfully and how fun it is to be sinful and live only for yourself at the same time being criticized and ridiculed for believing in God.

I just feel so stuck, I see all of these negative things coming from my kids and have been so focused on ‘undoing’ what has been done.  But that is proven to be wasted time and effort.  I need to regroup and focus on the positive and what I can do, focus on what power and influence I do have and trust God to fight the battle for me.  I realize I have been hanging on…. have not been able to truly let go of this and give it to God.  I know that I need to trust Him, He knows whats best for my kids and He has a plan for me and for them.  I have been praying over my kids but I have been fighting to keep control and have NOT truly surrendered this to God.  This is so much easier said than done to give up control….Lord give me strength.

Today I need to a reminder that God is in control.  God gave me the privilege of being their mother and stepmother because He made me and knows what I am capable of so obviously He has equipped me and will continue to do so to be the best mother and stepmother I can be for our children. 

1- PRAY-PRAY-PRAY and then PRAY some more, constantly be in prayer for over children, constant communication with God.

2-Instill God’s love and law in their hearts, bury it deep, so that when they are being submerged into worldly ways and sins whether it is with the influence of their other parent or kids at school, God’s love and law will be written in their hearts.  God has control over the rest, it is my role to teach them and plants the seeds deep within them.

3- Reenforce in them with my unconditional love, I don’t want them to think my love is conditional, I will strive for them to know that I will love them no matter what they do or say, my love is unwavering and forever and I will forgive them just as God forgives me, I will love them by example, I will strive to be an example of Christ’s love in how I show my love to our children.

4-Do my best to gently and firmly correct their negative behavior, feedback and attitude without dwelling on it.  Try and focus on the positive attitudes, rewarding the good behaviors.

5- More consistent and intentional family devotion and prayer, continue to instill God’s words and love into their hearts.

6- PRAY-PRAY-PRAY and then PRAY some more, constantly be in prayer for over children, constant communication with God.

7-When I start to feel defeated, like giving up, discouraged and like I am failing as a mother, to stop and remind myself, this is not my battle, this is God’s He is fighting it for me, I need to trust Him, GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME, ALL THE TIME GOD IS GOOD!!!!  He is there in every situation, He will always be with my children, when I am feeling discouraged I need to remind my self to let go and trust in God, one of my favorite verses is a great reminder of this- “Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

8-Don’t dwell on my past mistakes or failures, move on and learn from them, stop criticizing myself and stay positive.

9- Concentrate on where we do have influence over my children, in our home and conversation and activities, let God’s love and light shine bright enough in our home and hearts that it outshines the darkness they encounter everywhere else.

I feel like the Lord’s Prayer is very appropriate and fitting today…

“Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,

The power, and the glory,

For ever and ever.

Amen.”</

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Above ALL else- love, trust & honor the Lord your God- he is #1

Exodus 20:2
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”

Commandment #1- I am the Lord your God, there is one God and He comes first, we must trust and fear God, love Him above ALL things.

I have really been challenged by this commandment this week.  I feel like my mind is  running laps around this commandment and after each lap I end finding fault in myself and what I am doing wrong.  I am having to stop myself from criticizing myself for all the ways I am not adhering to this incredibly important law of God.  I keep envisioning myself in such a negative light.  I was being filled with frustration and disappointment with these thoughts.

So instead of focusing on all the ways I am not successfully following this super significant commandment I am going to concentrate on a various ways I can revise and modify my heart, mind, soul and actions to be more intentionally obedient to God’s law.  Some small steps I can take to trust and love God above all things, to strengthen my relationship with Him and work towards keeping God # 1 in my life and my family’s life.  To work on transforming myself from inside to outside to be an example to my children on how to be obedient to commandment # 1.

After careful consideration here is what I have come up with;

First- I am going to make it intentional to start my day with the Lord. I have asked my amazing husband to join me in this effort, we are going to wake up 30 minutes early each morning and share in prayer, reading scripture and devotionals together. I will work diligently to start every day putting God 1st.

Second- will be a fast from Facebook for two weeks, I will start this on Sunday July 20, 2014, I will refrain from using Facebook. And to take this effort further anytime I would be reaching to a device to look on Facebook I will stop and spend a few minutes in prayer, I will be replacing all of the minutes of Facebook time with minutes given to God. After this two weeks I will be much more restricted with the time I give to Facebook and more intentional with minutes in prayer and with God. I have asked my incredible husband to join me in this step as well.

Third- I will make more of an effort and be more intentional in prayer time with my children outside of mealtime blessing and bedtime prayer, work to find the best way way can establish a time each day for family devotions.

 

John 3:30     “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you.”

Proverbs 16:3   “Commit your works to the Lord, And your thoughts will be established.”

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“Heavenly Father,

Thank You for this wonderful day.  Thank You for so many blessings, most of all my family, for Matt my amazing husband, for blessing me with the honor of being a mother and a stepmother.  You are so AWESOME!  Thank You for Your mercy and grace on our lives, thank You for the sacrifice of Your son for our Sin.  We are so undeserving yet Your love and blessing pour into our lives.

I come to you tonight and pray for strength, wisdom and guidance.  Please lead Matt and I as a couple and as parents.  I pray we above all else keep You in the center of all we do.  If our actions or words do not please You or honor You please let us stop, I pray each day brings us closer to You.

In Jesus Name ~ Amen.”

 

 

From this day forward…

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Two weeks ago tomorrow Matt and I joined our lives and our children’s lives in the presence of God, our friends and family we took our vows and entered the covenant to love and cherish each other forever. We began this chapter of our lives with our eyes wide open, we are fully aware that with combining our 5 kids into one family under one roof there will be challenging days and many trials we must face. We know that this will not be easy but we are not looking for easy. God brought Matt and I together for a reason and we have the assurance of God’s love and promises. We will do our best to keep God in the center of our love, the center of our family and home, He will lead us and guide us, God is going to equip us and prepare us to handle and survive and rejoice all of life’s trials and blessings. God is bigger than any problem we will ever have.

Proverbs 16:3
Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.

Psalm 16:8
I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

The last two weeks has been wonderful and exciting and so busy as we have all moved under one roof. The kids are settling in and adjusting well but it has not been without chaos. Overall everything has going quite smoothly no major conflicts or drama, kids have really adjusted well so far, not one child has been complaining about having to make any changes. I am very proud of each and everyone of our children and how well they have been doing.

All is well as we have settled into our little summer routine, Matt and I go off to work everyday and the kids stay at home with their Uncle Raymond. Noah is off to summer school during the day. I am already looking forward to our family dinnertime conversation each day. The other night at dinner we went around the table giving the kids turns to name the 10 commandments in order and then we discussed each commandment and what it meant to follow it. What a great reminder this meal time talk was for all of us.

This step of our journey finds us focusing on the 10 commandments and laying a solid foundation in all of their little hearts. Reflecting on these I see how I have really been neglecting this with our children. It is our responsibility and duty as parents to teach them the commandments and show them how to follow the commandments everyday.

Deuteronomy 11:18-21
“Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”

If we as parents can successfully teach the commandments to our children, place them in their minds and hearts, then as they grow and walk farther and farther from our home they will have them in their heart, we lay the foundation and plant the seeds and pray to God that the Holy Spirit guides them and grows them into faithful followers of Christ.

“Heavenly Father,

Thank you so much for joining our families to unite as one with You in the center leading and guiding us. You are so great and mighty. Thank You for Your love and grace in our lives. Please give Matt and I strength, wisdom and courage to be the parents You made us to be. We are not here at this point in our lives by accident or chance, this is Your will and You have a purpose and plan for us.

Please give Matt and I the words, knowledge and patience we need to continue to lay the foundation of Your commandments in the hearts of our children. I pray Your protection over all of them, over Joshua, Tyler, Emily, Noah and Richard, protect their bodies, minds, souls and hearts. I pray for their salvation that they keep You in their heart and grow to be godly people and those around them can see the light of Your love through them.

In Jesus name I pray ~ Amen”