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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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 ‭


A treasured moment in time.

I am flooded with emotions this week. The last few weeks have certainly been a whirlwind but as I slow down and take in everything that is happening I am overwhelmed with the reality of it all.

Our oldest has turned 14 years old and is graduating 8th grade all in the same week.  Please stop , slow down!  This is too much for this momma’s heart to take in all at once.

Last day of 8th grade😀

 

My letter to you Joshua James on this day, the first day of the rest of your life:

Congratulations my son! You have worked so hard and come so far in your young life already.  I am very proud of everything you have already accomplished and am excited to see what God has planned for you.  You have such a drive and passion that is inspiring to watch you.  Your determination is incredible.  I pray that this continues as you enter high school, this will take you far.

  • When you feel like you are failing and struggling, look to the Lord, He will be with and give you strength and courage.
  • When you achieve goals and great accomplishments, look to the Lord and thank Him.
  • When you feel lost and do not know where you are, look to the Lord, he will guide and direct you.
  • When peer pressure attacks and the world around you is pulling, stand strong and look to the Lord, He will never leave you or forsake you.
  • When you have made a mistake or have a regret, confess to the Lord, He will forgive and He loves you.

You have such a good heart, full of love and compassion. Your faith will be tested over the coming years, the sin of the world all around us is going to pull and call you.  You will be faced with many hard decisions, many challenges in the upcoming season of your life.  You are human and you are young, you will make mistakes along the way.  I pray that when you do it is a learning experience for you and with every mistake you grow closer to the Lord.  Deep down you have such a passion for Jesus and sharing His love with those around you, remember ‘Romans 1:16, I am not ashamed’.  If you remain faithful to the Lord you will be successful in anything you set out to do.

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” ‭‭1 Timothy‬ ‭4:12‬ ‭

I pray as you continue to grow you will use the gifts and talents God has given you.

“Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”                  ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭19:20-21‬

I have been praying for you and I will continue praying for you. I will always be here for you cheering you on.

Joshua always ‘Remember who you are.’

  • You are faithful
  • You are intelligent
  • You are courageous
  • You have a servant’s heart
  • You are determined
  • You are strong
  • You are a beloved warrior of Christ
  • You are adventurous
  • You are compassionate
  • You are generous

You are my first born, you made me a mother. My love for you goes to depths that words cannot adequately describe.  I cherish every moment of your life and I am truly BLESSED to have the awesome privilege of being your mother.  I have loved you unconditionally from the moment I knew you were on your way and I will love you until my last breath.

 

April 29,2017 Nashville TN

Successfully ran his 1st half marathon age 13!!!

1st day of Kindergarten

Passion for soccer since age 3

This smile! 😀😀😀

5th grade chorus

JV cross country during 8th grade

Fall 2016

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

 (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.<—-

From suffering to glory…God’s love and presence are everlasting…

My husband and I each faced many trials, challenges and storms in our lives before God brought us together. It was during these difficult times we were able to truly learn how to surrender our lives and ourselves completely to God. The trials we had faced in our lives before we knew each other had become so hard and unbelievably impossible that you are left no choice but to throw your hands up and hits your knees before God. While during the moment it was so hard at times I didn’t think I would survive.

Now when I am able reflect I can thank God for each difficult time in my life because I can see where He was leading and how much He was actually in control when I felt so powerless. It takes my breath away! God is so GOOD!!! Each trial brought me closer to Him and I can now see my challenges and times of hardships as blessings. Once I truly let go and let God take over and tried to live my life for Him He did amazing things.

I am most thankful for God leading me to my wonderful husband. God brought us together, we were married this past June….. God has blended us into one BIG and wonderful and growing family. Everyday is not perfect or easy going but that makes the great days even better. I am so grateful and thankful for all the wonderful blessings in our lives, if I had not seen such hardships in my past I would not be as humbled and thankful as I am now.

You cannot know good until you have seen the bad. God is so great and MIGHTY and I am thankful that He knows what is best for me and that my life goes according to His plan and not my own….. His plan for my life is so much bigger and better than I could have ever dreamed.

“Lord thank You for knowing what is best for me in my life. Thank You for each difficult time I have had to face and will have to face, Your plan and will in my life is better than what my plan is. Thank You for your everlasting love and presence in my life. I truly don’t deserve Your love grace and mercy yet You love me and have given Your only son for my sins and have given me hope and salvation. I know I continue to fail You everyday, please forgive me for all the ways I sin against You, please continue to provide me with strength, wisdom and guidance. Thank You God for my wonderful husband and our amazing children, thank You for filling our lives with Your amazing blessings. Most of all God I pray that we can keep You at the center of our home and live to bring You honor and glory in all we do, I pray we raise our children to be godly people who live their lives for You. Thank You for the great reminders today of what a blessing it is to face challenges in our lives.
In Jesus name I pray—-Amen”

Psalm 18:30
As for God His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.

Romans 8:28
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

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