Giving in—>NOT giving up!

I am giving in on a certain area of my life. I have come to a point and I realize I just need to let go of certain expectations, unrealistic expectations I continually place on myself. I feel like I have been in a constant battle with myself that I keep losing and this only leads to feeling frustrated and disappointed. Day after day I have this unrealistic idea that I am going to magically put this 30-60 minutes in my day where I might get this incredible quiet time and I can sit down and spend time in God’s word and have personal prayer time. Every time I plan for this to happen and it doesn’t happen I become discouraged and frustrated. It feels like this magic window of time doesn’t happen…. EVER and if it does I am so completely and utterly exhausted that my mind shuts down after just a few moments and while my heart desires the quiet time my brain fails and I end up falling asleep.

This is what I have come to terms with…. This is my season of BUSY

So while I am going through this season of busy I just need to accept that I won’t have extended periods of quiet time to feel close to God. BUT THIS IS OK! I have discovered that I don’t need extended periods of quiet time to feel close to Him! I have learned that can still feel close to God and still have time with Him even on the busiest of busy days! I just need to be creative in centering my day on Him and make sure I am keeping Him as the focus and not the opposite and not just ‘fitting Him’ into my day.

  
This is my season of busy, our children our young and my husband and I work full time, we are blessed with 6 children, we have my mother living with us and I am still keeping up with breastfeeding the youngest exclusively and we are active at church and play sports and we exercise regularly and frequently bottom line is —>we are a BUSY family. One day later in my life when I am in a season when things are not so busy and when our sweet little ones are no longer at home I know I will look back and miss these moments so I need to stop with my unrealistic expectations of sitting down for structured quiet time and regroup with a more realistic game plan.

After some careful reflection and consideration on my last few months I feel like overall I have done a pretty good job of balancing the busy and maintaining my spiritual time as a whole. Some days are better than others and they are moments spread through each day but I do feel like I have improved and can sit back and reflectively observe where I can do better.

There is ALWAYS going to be room to improve and grow. Now I am far from having this figured out but I feel like I am moving in the right direction and I am walking closer the Lord each day.

So far these are the areas where I have improved and feel I have made progress-

-devotions with the children, especially in the mornings, I have tried several things the last few years, making them read scripture out loud, having them read our family devotional and however I approached it seemed to at one point cause argument, conflict and grumbling and after a hectic morning to get everyone in the car this was very discouraging to me so what I have been doing is not making any of them read anything, when we stop in the morning before anyone gets out I take up our family devotional and I read it to them, no arguing or complaining, if they listen and get something from it GREAT! If not then that is their choice, and most days I am walking away with something from the devotion we read. They have even started asking questions on occasion and actually seem to be enjoying this, since I stepped back and made it less forced and gave them the choice to listen and participate it is going much better. Now there are days that we are running late or time just does not allow and we don’t read but more mornings than not we are doing this—>making progress!

 

-Weekly scripture- I have been selecting a verse each week for my own personal study and memorization, I write it in my journal, put it in scripture typer and put it on note cards and post it notes to help. I have not been completely faithful each week with memorizing but have been studying them, but I have memorized more scripture this year than I have in the past, I really feel like the methods I have been using have been helping me bury God’s word in my heart —>making progress!

-when I do find that have a few moments instead of instantly opening my Facebook app to see what is going on in social media I have been opening my bible app, scripture typer, devotionals and christian books.  I have actually finished reading a couple of books this year which I find a HUGE accomplishment for me.  Being more intentional and purposeful with these golden spare moments through my day has definately helped me keep my heart, mind and focus on the Lord—> making progress!

– one of the things I have started including in my daily journal is a praise and specific thank You lifted up to the Lord for something in my day.  So that even on the days when I don’t have time to write as many of my prayers and thoughts as I would like I have been dedicated in journaling thanksgiving.  It is already so awesome to go back and remember exactly the way my heart felt in these moments.  It has helped my heart to be more thankful each day—> making progress!

 

2016—>So as days turn to weeks and weeks to months I am making progress and maximizing my spiritual growth even in the busiest of busy days when I feel like my head is spinning and I want to submit to being completely overwhlemed.  I am working on keeping my mind, heart and focus on the Lord.  Some days I stumble and start to lose focus but we have such an Awesome and Forgiving God who shows such AMAZING GRACE!

So I am not rolling over and submitting to the busy, I’m not giving up, far from it, in giving in and moving forward with this wonderfully blessed season of busy.  Determined to continue to grow in my relationship with Christ and to be the best witness I can for our children and those around us.  

Thank You Father for this season of BUSY, for blessing us abundantly!

  

 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭1:3‬ ‭

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Say it isn’t so….

God is doing things in my heart and life right now.  I’m trying to get out of my own way and let Him take over completely.  This is a daily, moment by moment struggle for me to give up control over things and let Him take them from me.

I have been deliberately reading different news articles and have even flipped over to the news radio channel on Sirius XM while driving to work the other day.  I am opening my eyes and ears and exploring what is going on in our nation and world.  I am so tempted to step back and block it all out.  I want to scream and cry at the same time.  There are so many horrific and unimaginable things going on.  My heart is broken and my spirit is sad.  HOW?  WHY?  I just don’t understand, I cannot wrap my brain around just how fallen and sinful and ugly this world and society have become.  There is so much I don’t even know where or how to begin praying for all of this.

Of all the terrible news, events and politics out there right now the one topic that digs deep into my heart is abortion.  The horrific act of cutting a child out of a mothers womb and killing it is sickening and barbaric.  I read about one woman in particular who is in her 50’s, past child bearing years and she has had one pregnancy in her life and she aborted that child.  I feel so much anger and sadness when I read this that I almost cannot even think clearly.  I feel blinded by the emotions this evokes in me.  She had this wonderful gift of life from God and she chose to kill it!?!?!  I think of the small, innocent baby who had his life taken away by the one person meant to protect him and love him unconditionally.  My own sinful instinct is to be angry towards this woman, to hate her and judge her for this awful thing she has done.  But I am wrong and am struggling with how to handle these powerful emotions I experience.

God tells us to forgive and to love one another.

I am so blinded by my own emotion I fail to see her for who she is, she is a beloved child of God just like I am.  She is a sinner as am I.  Jesus died for her sins the same as for mine.  I need to work on my own heart and learn how to reach out to someone like that in love and offer support and forgiveness and not lash out in anger and condemn them.  That is not my job, God is the only one in a position to judge and one day we will all stand before Him. Her sin is no worse than mine.  It is difficult to admit and recognize this.  The human in me wants to place a hierarchy on the sins we commit and point fingers and throw around blame.  I have to acknowledge that there is no difference in the severity, a sin is sin.  I beg His forgiveness and seek His mercy and grace everyday why should do I not turn around and extend that same forgiveness and mercy to others?  I should do this and I don’t ——>I fail God everyday.

“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself.  I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:18

Abortion is wrong, it is evil,  it is murder of our most helpless and innocent. Recently during a counter culture study I learned that 1.6 babies are murdered every single SECOND in this country!   Those individuals who perform abortions, promote abortions and have had abortions need our love mercy and forgiveness——>they need our PRAYERS!

If we reach out to them with the love of Christ rather than lashing out in anger then maybe we can bring them to know Christ.

Let me be the light on the hill shining the love of Christ for others.

Now that my eyes are being open to the world around me I can recognize why I have sheltered myself and stayed protected in my bubble. Seeing and knowing the things that are going on in the world around me is painful and I know that I cannot stop it or fix it alone.  I feel I am powerless and helpless to the pain and suffering, feeling this way is difficult.  I admit my initial feeling is defeat but am beginning to feel EMPOWERED.  I see clearly now that I need to start on my knees.  I should not feel powerless when I have a Mighty God standing with me and for me.

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”  ‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:31

“I can do all this through Christ who gives me STRENGTH.”Philippians 4:13

 

All we need to do is cry out to Him!

He is mighty and holy and powerful!


Father, You are so wonderful and mighty.  Thank You for all You have done and continue doing.  Thank You for Your mercy, grace and love.  Thank You for sending Your son.  In my own humanity I cannot change the evil that surrounds us.  I ask and pray for the power of the HOLY SPIRIT to fill me and work through me.  You know the compassion and conviction in my heart, recharge my spirit and body to serve You effectively.  Empower me to help and heal in whatever way You call me to do.  Lord let me bring glory to You in all that I do.  Please grant me strength, courage and wisdom.  I pray for clarity and discernment in when to speak and what words to say.  I pray for this fallen world, please God give me the audacity to shine the light of Your love to those around me.  I pray that this country works effectively and successfully to put an end to abortion, I pray to You, Father I cry out to You for all the pregnant women and unborn babies, let them live!  I pray that if there is something I can do to even save one of these precious lives that I will be led by You in my words and actions without hesitation.  ~In Jesus Name~ AMEN

popping my B-U-B-B-L-E ——>guilt…confession…truth…

A conversation frequently starts between me and my husband with him asking me “have you heard…?” Which is normally silly and redundant because we both know that there is is 99.9% chance that I have not yet heard whatever it is he is getting ready to ask me about.  For the most part I am clueless to local and national news, politics, and world happenings.  I have placed myself into a safe but very blind bubble.

We live in what is considered a ‘rural area’ and I work in a very rural community.  I listen to the Christian station on satellite radio in the car, this station has no news or commercials.   We do not have cable in our home to watch the news or any local stations.  Basically if someone does not tell me about something in person or it is not on my Facebook newsfeed I don’t hear about it.  For the most part when things do pop up on my Facebook newsfeed that I want to ignore it is quite easy to just scroll by it without paying much attention.

I like my bubble, it is nice and safe in it and I feel protected.  If I don’t have to read about it or hear about it then it is not happening.  I rather prefer not having my heart broken daily over the disturbing news stories our fallen society provides day after day.  It is my way of shielding my eyes, ears, mind and heart from the evil and sadness that unfold day after day.

Well despite my struggle, even with kicking and fighting my bubble has been popped, a few weeks ago it was stuck with a tiny hole that grows each day. I am now seeing the error in my ways…sitting idly by and ignoring all the evil and sin surrounding us and consuming our society makes me just as guilty as participating.

If I sit by and ignore all the bad, wrong and unjust, immoral events and circumstances am I not as guilty as the ones participating and causing?  Burying my head in the sand while our society and world celebrate and glorify sin makes me just as responsible!!!  I am SO GUILTY!
The truth is I cannot handle the feelings that reality and the news invoke in me.

I have been so selfish and ignorant keeping up the protective walls of my bubble.

 

I guess the pin that started poking holes in my bubble is all of the planned parent and abortion news.  This stirs something inside of me, emotions that I can not even begin to describe they are so strong and powerful and quite honestly these emotions terrify me.  This has always been such a difficult and sensitive topic for me to listen to and talk about, I feel so passionately for the lives of our unborn children that it is a challenging topic for me.  I have read quite a few articles and news stories about this but I have not been able to bring myself to watch the videos.  I am absolutely petrified to watch them, I know without a doubt that they will break my heart and bring up such traumatic emotions that I honestly do not know if I can handle it.  Deep down I know I need to be able to get to the point of being able to watch them, I need to embrace these emotions, learn how to control and direct them and use them take action.  I have no idea what, but something I know there has got to be something I can do.  Until God opens that door for me I need to draw near to Him.  I need to be crying out to Him and asking His strength, courage and guidance.

At the very least, I can pray.  This is doing something, I can start to do something by opening my heart, eyes, ears and mind and taking it all to my Heavenly Father.  I need to start taking responsibility in making myself aware of what is going on.  Open my eyes and ears and work on being more informed and knowledgeable.

 

“Then when the time is right He will open a door for me to be able to do something, until then I will pray.”

 

Over the next several weeks I will work at slowly removing the shield of my bubble.  Little by little taking it down and exploring everything that is going on in my state, nation and world.  When I read and listen to these news stories I will open my heart and pray for each situation that I can.  I will lay it all at the feet of Jesus and let Him lead me.  Jesus is the only one with the power to save us all, so I will turn to Him.

“Lord, I come before You with so much in my heart tonight.  Father please forgive me for being so selfish and ignorant that I have ignored and neglected the suffering of Your children all around me.  God I ask you to work in my heart and soften me and make me more self-less and compassionate to all those around me.  Help me to move past my bubble and take on what is happening in our sad and sinful world.  I pray for strength and courage as I open my eyes and become more aware of the fallen state of our world right now.  Please guide me and lead me to be the follower of Christ You have made me to be.  Father I am weak and You are strong, please strengthen me.  I pray the the passion and emotion I feel when I learn more about the news and politics driving our fallen society doesn’t cripple me but move me to take action to help.  I pray to be a better example of Your love and sacrifice.  I pray to be a light in our world of dark and to shine the light of Your Love to all those around me.  Father let me rise up and face this challenge.  I pray I can bring You glory in all I do.  Thank You for blessing me and my family so abundantly.  Thank You for Your love and mercy, thank You for sending Your son to die for our sins, Thank You Father for Your Grace.  In Jesus name Amen.”

 

 

“Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.”  ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭2:11-17‬ ‭NIV‬

 

Man up

It’s been a few weeks since I have sat down to write. I intend on doing this at least once a week and often find that the tooth picks that are supporting 50lb pieces of skin that some refer to as eyelids, seem to snap and I fall quickly to sleep. There just aren’t enough hours in the day.
Just a week ago my wonderful wife truly humbled me with her amazing writing on my birthday. As I reflect back on the past year and see all that God has done and continues to do in my life I am in awe.
He has given me the most incredible gift in Ingrid. A strong and beautiful woman inside and out, an amazing mother and wonderful wife. I have never seen such an incredible sacrificial love as she has shown me. She is such a great example of Gods love to me and our kids. She inspires me to want to be the man, husband and father that God has called me to be.
Ingrid from the bottom of my heart thank you for your love.
Daily I feel and see why God has put such a calling on fathers. I see the challenge of raising and training kids, making my wife my top priority and juggling the responsibilities of day to day life. It is crucial during these times to step up and be a man.
Just this past week at football practice I have seen the call to “be a man” issued to boys learning this sport. It’s issued in a way that promotes only strong athletic ability and the means to tackle or out run another player. It reminds me of how our world views being a man. Simply to just be strong, out perform or please others.
Oh how I pray that I can show and impress on our kids that being a man is so much more than being able to poke out your chest, lift more weight or run faster than another. To teach them that gentleness is not weakness and that it takes much more strength to do what is right in Gods eyes than in mans.
Paul said this “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. (‭Galatians‬ ‭1‬:‭10‬ NIV)”
It takes truly being a man to stand up against the “world” and do what is pleasing to God. This is a great calling that I have as a Dad and Husband and Servant of Christ.
I must be a man for my wife, putting her needs above mine and showing her love, grace, praying for her and serving her. I must be a man for our kids by showing them love, teaching them Gods ways and correcting them in love when they need it.
Almost any man can walk tall and throw his weight around or be confrontational but this man desires to lead by example and to love with Gods example bringing my family closer to Christ.
Thank you God for this great calling. Please walk with me and guide me as I attempt to be a man for You and my family.
“Thank you for wonderful children and for such an incredible wife. Thank you for the opportunity to show your love to them. I pray you will give me wisdom and correct me when I am wrong. Help me to be strong and courageous and to trust in your promises (Joshua 1:9)
Thank you Lord for being my Heavenly Father who loves me
Amen”