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!

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Heavy duty stuff

Lessons from Sunday school the few past couple of weeks keeps jumping through my mind. Over and over and over….the words and lessons speaking to my heart mind and soul. Words that are hard to hear but must be absorbed. Things that need to be heard again. And again. And again…..  Reminders to push and direct me. To keep me going forward on the narrow path and not sliding backwards downhill in spiritual cruise control as so well said by our pastor during the sermon this past weekend!

—> ARE YOU TRUSTING THE LORD THE WAY HE CALLS US TO???        I’m not, I am guilty of anxiety and worry….

—> WHEN YOU WAKE IN THE MORNING WHAT IS YOUR FIRST THOUGHT? Is it focused on the Lord?…     mine isn’t its normal grumbling about being tired and not wanting to get up and start another busy day

Beware!

‘Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning’ Luke 12:35. ‘And he said to them “take care and be in your guard against all covetousness for ones life does not consist of the abundance of his possessions’. Luke 12:15

I need to remain in prayer and study of God’s word to be able to beware and prepared for the trials of this world.  The days/weeks I am more obedient with this there is a noticeable difference.  There are so many idols in our lives that it is easy to slip into not making this a habit and a priority in my routine.

Have no fear!

“”I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!” Luke‬ 12:4-5

To truly trust the Lord and live fearlessly in Him, I need to be with Him, I cannot do this if I am not studying His word, meditating and learning His word and alive in my prayer life with Him.

Do not worry, do not be anxious!

And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?” ‭‭Luke‬ ‭12:22-26‬

Who am I to question God and His plan with my worry and anxious heart???  But yet I do.  This is truly my greatest struggle and something I am actively working towards.  In the heat of the moment when fear hits the ceiling and physically overpowered by anxiety is when it is most challenging, again I need to continue to improve in my bible study and prayers to move closer to the Lord and farther from living with constant anxiety.

Be ready!

“”Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”” Luke‬ ‭12:35-36, 40‬

I need to be ready with God’s words constantly in my mind and heart.  I need to be on constant and frequent fellowship with Christ to stay ready, if His word is in my heart and mind then that is what will come out.  If sinful and evil is allowed to be entertained in my mind and heart then that is what will come out.  We must stay in God’s word and know it so intimately that we can distinguish false teaching.    Application of scripture in life may change but the truth of it will remain the same.

Christ must come first!

“”And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.” Luke‬ ‭12:8-10‬

I need to rest in the Holy Spirit, putting Christ above all else, first in and above all things in this world and the Holy spirit will be there leading me, convicting me when needed, and preparing me for His return one day.

I am so very thankful for God’s truth, for God’s mercy and grace upon me and my life.  I am so thankful to be in this Sunday school class where I am being challenged, spiritually fed and convicted.  I am so thankful for my salvation in Christ. My heart is so happy to be moving forward in my walk, learning and growing along side sisters and brothers in Christ.  I am so VERY THANKFUL for HEAVY DUTY STUFF to be laid on my mind and heart on Sunday mornings ❤

Rising to the challenge

We had a heck of an evening.  One of those disaster after disaster days when you question whether or not you have done anything right as a mother.   

After several minor sibling problems and other behavior issues brewing amongst several of our children.  Our daughter especially presented us with quite the challenge as her preteen attitiude took rude and disrespectful to an entirely new level.  There have been moments of this attitude here and there but this evening her attitude exploded and crossed many lines.

I will not go into all of the details but reached a point a line was crossed and enough was enough.  It was not quite 6 pm when this situation peaked.  As an immediate consequence her youth activities at church were taken away and she was sent to bed without dinner.  And to bed without being allowed to complete her homework for the evening.  If you know Emily you know that not being allowed to do her homework is devastating.  

All this being done with discussion and further consequences to be given tomorrow.  These are the moments when parenting is at its hardest and most challenging.  Respond don’t react.  Don’t overreact.  I am human, I struggle in the heat of the moment with this concept, but today this situation I kept it together.  Calm face, no raised voices. Success, no yelling or arguing she put herself to bed.  Deep breath and I have time to collect my thoughts and prepare to sit down and discuss this with her tomorrow.  

Several hours later after I chopped up some fresh veggies for salad I slipped into Emily’s room to slip the carrot peels and lettuce heads to her bunnies.  I startled her out of her sleep as I was slipping back out of the room.  Half asleep, eyes closed and she says quietly to me “Mom I love you”.  That’s it, drifts back off to sleep.  

No pleading for getting up out of bed, no justifying her behavior, no apologizing, begging, arguing, just a sweet simple ‘mom I love you’.  

This is the first thought she had when she woke up.  Not angry with me for holding her accountable.  Not trying to get out of consequences.  Just that she loves me.  Oh despite her many flaws I love this girl’s heart.  This sweet heart melting moment does not change her consequences the following day.  She is still held accountable for her words, actions and behaviors.  


But as I lay drifting off to sleep I wonder what if that’s how I responded to God.  When I am dealing with the consequences of my own sin, facing the mess I have created trying to do things in my own strength and not turning to God.  Instead of rationalizing, justifying, complaining and worrying about the discussions of tomorrow.   To just stop and rest and tell the Lord I love Him.  Laying in bed after a day of trials and storms and just say “God I love You.”  How peaceful, simple.  

“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”  ‭‭1 John‬ ‭4:16‬ ‭


Thank you sweet friend

This week a much needed reminder appeared on my desk the other morning.  It has been a challenging few months and weeks and days.  Taking things day by day, moment by moment.  I came into work and this beautiful figureine was sitting there waiting for me.

It really took my breath away.  And then I picked it up and read the inscription.





‘Help me heal

And use my gifts

As you command

With gentle hands’


     What a treasure this gift this is.

     This statute on this day 

     at this moment 

     was God’s perfect timing.  

I walked into work with the weight of the world, all of the trials our family is facing in this season of busyness and then the night before we had received news of a loved one who had passed away.  This morning  I was struggling and walked in to work this morning see this statue.  

During a time when I would be sitting down and diving into another busy day without a second thought I stopped as this quiet reminder caused me to pause and start my day in silent prayer.

“Hear my prayer, LORD; listen to my cry for mercy.”  ‭Psalm‬ ‭86:6‬ 

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

What a sweet and precious reminder to me that I need to be carrying the presence of Jesus and not the weight of our trials and circumstances.  

I can rest knowing that God is in control of this crazy stressful fallen world.  I need to continually place my trust and faith in Him, He will not leave me or forsake me.  Even in the most challenging of our trials when I am blinded by my own emotions and sin He is there, steady and strong.  

In all things I need to be going first to the Lord in prayer, even in my work and caring for my patients.  Not trying to take control and carry all this on my own but I need to stay in continual prayer.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians‬ ‭4:6‬ ‭

On my desk is where this statue will remain to remind me day after day.  From the bottom of my heart thank you sweet friend for your thoughtful gift.

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

 

 

Synchronizing Our Summer Chaos

So summers in our home are a true juggling act, this summer is keeping us on our toes for sure. We balance varying summer visitation schedules, with camps, trying to squeeze in family camping trips, play days, on top of the schedule of full time working parents and Noah’s school breaks and afternoons which need to keep from disturbing his routine or having obstacles or disaster with having the other children home. We are truly being forced to take this day by day and week by week. We need to stay flexible and ready to adjust schedules moment to moment as well.

With that being said I had been working on trying to find a way incorporate our older three to have some form of scripture study or devotion without making it too complicated or arduous.

We are not ashamed to admit we are the ‘mean parents’; we make our children do workbooks over the summer to keep their brains from melting and losing what they have learned during the previous school year.

Earlier this year we had also initiated a reading program with them that we are continuing into the summer.  They are required to read one book a month of our (mine or my husband’s) choosing and then they have brief summary to complete on the book they read and keep a reading log.  To make this fun we did add in level of competition, so they are allowed to read more than one a month and at the end of the year the most books read and the most pages read will receive a prize.

In previous summers they have been given their workbooks and list of chores each morning to complete and required to read for 30 minutes a day, all before playing outside or video games or whatever they choose to spend their day doing. This summer we have changed things up, some days they are given 2 or 3 workbook pages that I have selected and pulled out for them, they are still given their chores each day and expected to keep up with their reading.  They have not been given any time frame or restrictions to do this in their own timing during the day.  Letting them build on their time management skills.

This summer with less emphasis on the workbooks we have added in scripture cards. We have never told the kids they must do these cards.  There are no consequences for not doing them however we have not had to worry about that because they have done them each and every day(except one;).  They have not once complained or grumbled about the scripture cards, they have actually seemed to be enjoying them.  They have complained and grumbled along the way about the chores and despise the workbook pages (well the boys hate them) but not one word of complaint about the scripture.  It seems to be an effective way to get them into their bible each day over the summer!

The first few cards we left went down the Romans road, we had some very good follow up discussion with them in the evenings the days they did these cards. We were actually making them think!  Parenting win!

A few of the first cards we did.

The cards are left for each one of them on the counter next to their list of chores.  Some days they put more effort and thought into but I count this as a HUGE success.  We have our preteen and teen children willingly reading and highlighting in their bibles everyday.


I have thoroughly enjoyed coming home from work each day and seeing their bibles on the table and picking up the cards they have left and reading what they wrote.  Some of the cards they keep tucked away in their own bible but some get left behind and I have been collecting them.

To try and mix things up yesterday I skipped the scripture cards and left them this bible treasure hunt.

While this treasure hunt did not go quite as I had hoped, there was some arguing and disagreeing between them during this but overall I think they enjoyed.  They had to look up a verse and figure out what keyword in the verse indicated where their next clue would be.  Example of this- ‘Matthew 7:8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.’  And the next clue would be on a door in the house.  They eventually got to their prize which consisted of some treats and water balloons.  I came straight home from work yesterday and we immediately set up and had a water fight in the yard.

 

I do find it at times easy to become discouraged when our efforts or plans do not go quite as expected.  My husband is always very good at reminding me of the positives when I feel like we are failing in one way or another.  Truly it seems like some days we take one step forward and three steps backwards.

The enemy works hard to interfere in our lives with discouragement and negative thoughts.  Satan is constantly attacking our families and homes.  As parents we need to stay in constant prayer and be on guard.  Continue to study and pour the word of God in our homes and show our children God’s love not only in our instruction to them but on the way we live or lives.  Our example in their lives will be the most powerful witness we have.
And we must pray pray pray over our children.  

‘Be alert and of sober mind, your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.’  1Peter5:8



Heavenly Father, thank You so much for blessing us with a home full of children!  What an awesome and big responsibility to raise these children in today’s world.  I pray for continued strength and courage as their mother.  I pray for wisdom in our teaching and the way we live our lives.  I pray that their hearts will be open and absorb all we are trying to teach them, I pray for their salvation that they truly know you Lord, that they will live their lives to serve You and glorify You in all they do.  I pray that I stay alert and sober minded that my walk with You would grow each day and to rise up in prayer, to be confident and comforted in knowing You are in control. I pray You cover our lives in Your protection.  In Jesus name~Amen


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


“May those who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word. I know, Lord, that your laws are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me. May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant. Let your compassion come to me that I may live, for your law is my delight.”‭‭. Psalm‬ ‭119:74-77‬ ‭


  

 (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.<—-