This is not a test…..or is it?

This year 2019 has certainly come in like whirl wind as our family and home endured trials and challenges from about every direction possible. With everything we are facing time is just flying by…And just like that March is almost over….

One of verses I have been studying for this month has been James 1:3.

testing= challenging, requiring considerable effort

Steadfastness=form in brief, adherence, not subject to change, constant

So I can have comfort and peace in knowing that all of these trials we are being challenged and tested by are perfecting me and will help me to be firm and constant in my faith.

So in our whirl wind of tests, trials and challenges that 2019 is bringing to us we will count it all joy.

Staying strong in our faith, staying in God’s word, fervent in prayer.  Blessed in our trials as we are perfected into steadfastness in our faith.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.” 2 Corinthians‬ ‭4:7-12‬ ‭

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Goodbye January

Finding the magical peaceful moment in my day when I can sit down clear headed in a quiet peaceful environment……yep that’s not happening! I may as well go searching for unicorns and leprechauns! Working full time with seven children at home I’m lucky if I can make it in the bathroom for 5 uninterrupted minutes.

I always seem to have the greatest intentions. Over the years I have made several attempts to follow a personal bible reading plan and scripture studies on my own. Some attempts and plans have been more successful than others along the way. But none the less, life, excuses, the busyness, the to do lists, and the exhaustion take over and the struggle to find that magic peaceful moment seems like a lost cause. In past years and attempts I have found myself discouraged and frustrated.

But not this year!!!

These photos show what my 2019 scripture study is looking like this year, it is not pretty but it is wonderful and I am so thankful to have pushed through all the discouragement and barriers and making my scripture study this year grow so much already! Praise God!

 

 

Scripture study in the chaos of our kitchen….

My office space

Some study time in car with our daughter

Studying in hallway/office/sewing&craft area

 

 

 “that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!” Psalms‬ ‭30:12‬

 

 

I have been following devotional I found online and my scripture study and prayer time is taking a priority over the to do list.

It has not been perfect, there have been a few days along the way when my weary exhausted mom brain just had nothing left but to hit the pillow…. when that happens I just pick up the slack and the next day when I sit down I spend some extra time in my scripture study to catch up.  I am giving myself grace and moving on where I have left off.  It is quite impressive how just adjusting my expectations and planning for failure has helped me to be more successful.

Planning for failure has made this more successful!

I am enjoying my scripture study immensely.

I am learning.

I am growing.

This is the plan I have been following.

https://asymphonyofpraise.com/blog/inscribe-the-word-february-scripture-writing-plan-2

It has verses selected for each day. The verses are written out and studied. I am finding how effective writing them out is for me. I am incorporating tools I have been learning in Sunday school as I write out my verses to study scripture. When? Who? What? Why? Where? How?

This year I have taken a new approach and attitude. I’ve stopped waiting for the peace and quiet. I am building moments in my busy day for my study.  So I am putting my intentions and desires into action in between the noise and the chaos. I have prepared my mind and heart to be able to study regardless of what the day is like.  Not having my heart set on the same time, same location and expecting perfect quiet is just not realistic at this season in our lives, I am no longer letting this be a barrier and the results are AWESOME!  So while my study locations are not picture perfect or ideal, they are real life and its working!  I have successfully done every day of January for my scripture study this year!!!

Bring on February 2019!!!

 

 

Link

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 ❤

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

 

 

Hitting RESET

We have had a whirlwind of the last few months in our home and lives.  I have been taking a step back for over a week now as I reset and refocus.  Started with social media fast, haven’t been on Facebook for over a week.  I have had some things, like my runs,  upload directly to Facebook but have not tapped on the app to look at anything or spent anytime online.

This has been quite refreshing to experience to do this.  I would like to say I have taken all the time saved from looking facebook to something productive like memorizing scripture or catching up on reading  but I haven’t.  I have however have been able to catch my breath emotionally, physically and spiritually.  Not so much from the time I would have been looking online but more from refocusing my thoughts and energy.

“Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord who walks in His ways.”  Psalm 128:1

Something that I have been focused on during this time is that God is faithful, He is always with us and He is always in control. He promises to be there and provide peace even in the most distressing circumstances however I must LET GO and surrender to Him to receive His promises. I need to trust in His will over all things in my life not just when I feel like it.

This is a tough one for me sometimes (ok a lot of the times). I am your typical ‘type A’ personality, (some may say even OCD!) As a result this causes me have the natural desire to control things. So the surrendering completely part is where I struggle. 

For me surrender is an everyday moment to moment challenge. I have to consciously choose to let things go to God, choose joy, choose to be positive. Some days it is so much harder to make these choices and I fail, fail miserably at times when I need Christ the most. Fear, anger, selfishness all these sinful things pull and direct my emotions and I fall guilty of not being thankful in all circumstances, of not honoring God with my love and obedience.

I make the same mistake over and over in different situations and trials, I don’t turn the situation over to God immediately, I hold onto and try to “fix” it myself and oh boy does this backfire! I have to fall flat on my face from trying to do it my way and then I turn to God for help. And yet I do this over and over. During the more difficult struggles I am human, I am weak and the enemy knows this. This is when he strikes, plants doubt and fear in my mind and heart, sin separating me from God. I know that am most weak when I am not as dedicated or intentional with my scripture reading and prayer life and yet at times I will let day to day life take priority, GUILTY!

Now I don’t do this every trial in my life and I’m certainly a work in progress.  I learn from each mistake and each failure.   Every time I fall and He lifts me up and carries me I am closer to Him.  I am not who I was, and will continue to grow in Christ.  Thank the Lord He doesn’t except me to be perfect, He knows I am human and sinful and yet He loves me and He forgives me.  What an AWESOME God we have!

 

So this week while I am refocusing I am renewed and refreshed by these wonderful reminders and truths.

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

“Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm‬ ‭25:4-5‬

God’s forgiveness

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace”. ‭Ephesians‬ ‭1:7‬ ‭

“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:13‬ ‭

God’s grace

“Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.” John‬ ‭1:16‬ ‭
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews‬ ‭4:16‬ ‭

His mercy

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” ‭Matthew‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭

“Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.” Romans‬ ‭9:18‬ ‭

His love

“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.” ‭‭1 John‬ ‭4:9‬ ‭

“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

Capturing the WINS!

Being a mother is one of life’s greatest blessings and I am so grateful to be on this journey. However some days are harder than others, some moments bring heavier challenges. There are days as a parent it feels like one defeat after another with an overwhelming blanket of failure closing in. The day when everything little thing seems to be going wrong, all of the kids are having a rough day and it all bubbles into one disaster filled day. The day that you know the sun is there hiding behind the clouds but you cannot see it or feel it. I don’t think I am alone, I am pretty sure that any parent can relate to what kind of day this is, thankfully these days are few and far between.

‘Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.’ James 1:2

Sometimes it may not be the whole day but just parts of a day that weigh down and burden you with feeling like you have failed in some way and it feels like the sunshine is a million miles away instead of just behind the clouds.

‘He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.’ Job 8:21

To help stay focused on the positive and keep me to be more aware and sensitive to God’s blessing in my life I have been capturing the wins each day. This has helped to break through the clouds and see the sunshine even on the more difficult challenging days. Some days I am not as good with this, I fall to the negative feelings of defeat.

But overall capturing the wins has really been encouraging and quite rewarding.  For several months in my journal I have a space everyday for writing down my ‘WINS’. So as I go through my day I am making a conscious effort of looking for the positive things and then writing them down. Some days I am able to find more wins than others. Some days I struggle to find the wins however I am always able  find something positive to write down.  This has helped keep my heart and mind focused on seeing God’s blessings in my life, small and big.

Some days my wins are as simple as ‘5 minutes of uninterrupted bathroom time’.

A beautiful sunrise on the way in the morning.  

The way our youngest snuggles in my lap to play.

God’s forgiveness.

Sweet note from my loving husband.

As I have been capturing these positive moments and details of my life it has been most rewarding to go back and read the wins from weeks and months ago. My heart and mind are filled with these precious moments in time. Capturing my wins as turned out to be wonderful rays of sunshine in the stormy days.

‘Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.’ Psalm 100:1

‘You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.’ Psalm 30:11

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

Heavenly Father,

I pray to keep my eyes focused on You.  I pray our marriage, our family, our home will keep You in the center of everything.  I pray for your will to be done in our lives, I pray to glorify You especially in our trials and struggles.  Help me to focus on the big and the small blessings in our lives.  I pray to keep my eyes and my heart open to Your blessings and the good being built within our family and home and to not dwell on the negatives or the struggles.  I am human and I make mistakes and fall short all the time, I pray to learn from my mistakes to grow stronger because of them.  I pray for direction and guidance.  Please Father give me courage and strength to be the wife and mother You have created me to be.  Thank you for my family, for blessing me with an amazing husband, for blessing me with the awesome adventure of being a mother.  ~~~In Jesus name, AMEN