Still processing…

Tuesday March 10, 2020 I sat down and updated all of our calendars to include all of our spring sports and extracurricular activities. With a home as full and busy as ours this was a HUGE task, varsity soccer, JV track, advanced/travel soccer for our 8 year old and soccer academy for our 4 year old. Color coded, updated our kitchen calendar, online calendar and my personal planner calendar, it was a FULL schedule! By the end of the following week everything was cancelled, postponed and everything was unknown. It was the week our calendar cleared. Every Sunday I sit down and update our weekly post it calendar so everyone knows what and where they need to be each day… and it’s just all of a sudden blank….a week I will never forget.

We are currently 6 weeks into social distancing on account of or compliments of the Covid-19 virus pandemic. The effects this has had on our world as we know it is hard to even process. Churches forced to close. Playgrounds shut down and taped off, no movie theaters, clothing stores, malls, everything is just at a standstill and waiting. Complete chaos at times to get groceries and cleaning supplies. These past several weeks have been scary, frustrating at times, overwhelming, confusing. We long for and anticipate returning to the days of playing with friends, cheering on the kids as they play their sports, so many things we took for granted. When we are able to go back to all of these things I hope we can value and cherish this on another level. Some days it’s hard not to feel like or fear that nothing will ever really be the same again.

Above everything else that has happened we miss our fellowship with our church family. We have online streaming of our Wednesday bible study and Sunday school and Sunday worship however when you have a house with littles that normally go to the nursery, sitting down to participate in these live events is near impossible and it’s just not the same. Eye contact, hand shakes, hugs, spending time with our fellow believers is devastating to have taken away. It’s like a gaping hole in our week that grows with each week we don’t have time with our church family.

Aside from all of the negatives and downfalls of this social distancing time there have been some positives and praises. So we keep our focus on the positive and find things each day to look forward to and be thankful for.

We keep our hearts and minds on the Lord during this time.

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,”
‭‭James‬ ‭1:2‬ ‭NASB
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We will find comfort knowing the God is sovereign and ultimately in control.

“For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”
‭‭Colossians‬ ‭1:16-17‬ ‭NASB
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We will remain strong and grow in our faith in the Lord.

“For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “B UT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.””
‭‭Romans‬ ‭1:17‬ ‭NASB‬‬

This week.

Each Sunday evening after all the housework is done, meals planned and prepped, little ones in bed that’s when I I sit down and plan out our week.

This week as I take on this task I am flooded with emotions, thinking about everything that is happening this week.

There is only one way we will survive this week…. by the power of prayer and finding our strength, courage and peace in the Lord. The thought of having to face this week by my own strength is at the very least devastating.

Here are some of the verses I have studied this evening as I prepare my heart and mind for the week ahead.

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” ‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:16-18‬ ‭

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” James‬ ‭1:12‬ ‭

“For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name.” Psalms‬ ‭33:21‬ ‭

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” Psalms‬ ‭56:3‬ ‭

“I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”” Psalms‬ ‭91:2‬ ‭

“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 ‭

So whatever this week holds, however everything goes I can trust that God is in absolute control. All of this is in His power and will ultimately be for His glory. While we cannot and do not understand the ‘why’ of our trials right now we can find comfort and peace knowing the God is in control. His mighty and sovereign reign.

So this week when the enemy attacks me; fear and worry starts creeping in, I will look to the Lord, use these verses I wrote on notecards to keep with me so I can read them over and over. I will strive to be diligent and constant in prayer. No matter what the outcome of this week, we must remember to rejoice always!

Memories

What once was but not longer is.

Each day I check into Facebook and pop over to my memories for that particular day. I love these sweet reminders, the sweet smiles and happy moments with my husband and our little ones and these sweet moments in time! Oh I cherish these treasures! There are days I will post something just so I will have it pop up into my memories one day!

However there are some days as I get to the bottom of my memories from many years ago and my first instinct is to cringe. Memories I wish could be unremembered. Time in my life before my heart was transformed into a follower of Christ.

Listening to a John MacArthur sermon recently I wrote down these things that stuck out to me…

Purging of the heart

Manifest in a transformed life

Salvation is marked by changed life

I can see that what I need to do is change my initial thoughts when I see these old memories to one of thankfulness rather than wishing they could be erased. I can utilize these memories to see the changes in my life and how my heart has been purging over the years and seeing my transformation. How awesome is that!

Even memories from just a few years ago after I had truly been saved I can still see where I have grown in my walk with the Lord and how he continues to change my heart and my life.

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” ‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:15‬

I look forward to seeing this transformation continue as each day, week, month and year I continue to grow with my walk with Christ. I know I have so so far to go and I am excited to see what plans God has in our family’s lives.

So I will continue to check out my Facebook memories each day and use them to see the ongoing transformation of my changes life and the purging of my heart!

 (un) prepared.       (Un) positively. (un) joyful.

It’s seems like just when I think I have things a little figured out, small handle on the chaos of our busy blended adventurous life there’s another bump in the road.

I finally feel like I am going to be able to stop and catch my breath and bam the wind gets knocked out of me again.  Whether it’s one big thing that knocks me down or several small at the same time.  It seems to be the inevitable cycle of life in this fallen world.

This week has knocked me down hard, several small blows have taken a toll.  Challenges of parenting intertwined with complications and emotional hurt caused by ‘the other parent and home’.  Little hearts that are hurting and needing guidance and support.  Exhausted parents after minimal sleep carried into difficult and challenging days at work and busy demanding evenings caring for kids and keeping up with housework.

The circumstances and struggle of our day to day during a more demanding week blow by blow has dictated my moods and reactions and knocked away my joy and stole my smile.

Fighting the moment by moment internal spiritual battle.  Distracted and overwhelmed by the circumstances and  powerful emotions that are threatening to take over.  Not one big trial but many small storms.

The enemy never backs down, he is always trying to steal our joy.

I did not do well this week.  I am weak and tired.  I did not have a good attitude or joyful heart.

I can quote you the verses and tell you the ‘church’ answer of how I should have handled it all.  But in the heat of the moment when I’m tired beyond tired, hungry, pulled in 10 directions and feeling very overwhelmed and out of control I do not act or respond the way in my heart know I should.  My sinful selfish self takes over with a toxic negative attitude and responses.

 

This photo sums up how I felt this week!

 

And then it happened…..scrolling casually through my Facebook feed and there is this tiny precious fragile baby who has been born much much too early, strapped to all kinds of tubes and life support machines keeping him alive.  A true miracle to still be alive despite all odds at this point and still facing a lifetime of disability when he does grow stronger.  His parents full of fear and questions but yet living positively and with BOLD FAITH!!!  After considering the pain and worry of his mamas heart suddenly my disaster of a day at my office and tired kids just does not seem that bad anymore.

In this moment…..time stops briefly…

My eyes burning to cry.

My heart mourns and prays for this baby and his family.

My spirit is condemned and my heart convicted.  Tornado of emotions shake me to my core, guilt for being so selfish, awe mixed with a huge surge of thankfulness for my husband and our family and our abundant blessings.

Convicted………guilty……ashamed……..a couple of bad (not ideal) days and I open myself up and allow the enemy to come in and steal my joy, this not the first time I have allowed this and this not only effects me it impacts everyone around me.  I allow the circumstances , being tired, having to wait 10 minutes for a treadmill at the gym, awful day at work, cranky kids drive my mood and actions.  SELFISH!!!  This sweet precious baby and his family are holding on in joyful faith as he fights to stay alive and I’m having a bad (not ideal) day and I cannot be obedient to God in how I respond and act!?!?  


This realization shakes me to my core, my spirit and heart immediately soften and I turn to God.  Not any more, I refuse to let this go on any longer.  This is not who I am or who God created me to be.  

 

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭41:10‬ ‭

I am truly humbled, call out to God confess my transgressions and beg His undeserved forgiveness.

This week will not need end way it started.  The enemy will not have his way with me or my family.

“With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies.” ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭108:13‬

I will be prepared, study and memorize God’s word and truth.

“I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You.” Psalm 119:11

I will be faithful and remain close to the Lord in prayer.

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” ‭‭Colossians‬ ‭4:2‬ ‭

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction,faithful in prayer.”  Romans 12:12

“Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer.” Psalm 61:1

This is not new information or realizations for me like I already said I have known all along what I should be doing, and have actually been doing most of it.  I read God’s word most days, pray daily, I go through the motions.  But the difference is in the heart when I am doing these things.  My heart needs to be God-centered.  If Iam going through the motions but my heart is cold and cut off then my efforts are essentially useless and meaningless, I see the fruit and evidence of this in how I started my week and where my heart was and where my heart is now.


I need to be prepared…. For the ongoing and endless daily battles I will continue to face.  The enemy knows my weaknesses and will continue to use my circumstances and prey on my humanity and try to steal my joy 

 

 

 

“For the Lord takes delight in His people; He crowns the humble with victory.” Psalm 149:4

 

“For the Lord your God is the one who goes its you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” Deuteronomy 20:4

I need to keep a positive heart, mind and spirit in moments and circumstances that are more demanding. I choose God, I choose joy.

” Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.   Let perseverance finish it’s work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”  James 1:2-4

“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth!” Psalm 66:1

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and the your joy may be complete.” John 15:11

“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.” Psalm 94:19

 

—> NOT ANY LONGER!!! satan you lose, God wins, I have victory in Christ and will not sit back and willing allow you to take my joy or delight, God is my source of great happiness, I am truly blessed and will keep my heart and mind focused on the Lord and take delight in His love.<—-

Coffee + Scripture = > STRENGTH and POWER to take on this day!

Some wisdom from God’s word to take on this day and survive the rest of this impossibly long week.

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:2‬ ‭

 Today I am especially thankful for my amazing husband bringing me coffee to start this day! 

 

 
 

The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.  Exodus 14:14

This week’s snow has made each day a challenge balancing childcare and work but we have survived so far.  Thank you Lord for keeping us safe warm and healthy.  Please give us strength courage and wisdom as we take on this day.  And please God no more snow!

 

 Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31