I am sure.

It’s rest time right now.  Not much resting is taking place, but just the same, I’m not letting go of the designated time.  As I type, one child is “going on vacation” in her room and the other one is literally bowling!  Oh well.  They have not come out!

Just like rest time that used to be for sleeping and is currently being used to vacation and bowl, our lives do not always go as planned.  I would venture to say that most of the time they do not go as planned.  For better or worse.

So, today I ask.  What are you going to do about it?

Are you going to throw your hands up in the air and give up?  Will you call your bestie and have a crying rant?  Will you let bitterness sink deep down and change the way you act?

All of the options I just listed are normal.  They are responses that are very normal when one is being dictated by fleshly impulses.  But let’s look at it differently.  Let’s challenge ourselves and each other to put off our old selves and our old impulses.

We’re going to take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5) .  We’re going to commit ourselves to Him who judges righteously (1 Peter 2:22-24).  We’re going to live in the Spirit (Ephesians 4:21-23).

I’m writing this blog post because I am in that moment right now.  The moment of deciding how I will respond.  How I will go forth from the situations that just took place.  I am writing a post so I can have accountability in Spirit living and not fleshly impulses.  I am listening to worship music really loudly and committing myself to the Lord.  I do not have it down.  I do not respond perfectly every time.  But today(right now), I am actively choosing…as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Having a godly response internally and externally to any given situation, most likely, will not change your environment immediately.  It will, however, change your perspective and allow God to rule in your heart (Colossians 3:14-16).  God is on His throne and in control whether we acknowledge and respond or not.  But submitting ourselves to Him, will change how we go forth.  How others see the situation.  How others see the God we claim to worship.  We are comforted.

In 2 Corinthians 1:3-5, we find some insight.  Shining some godly light on whatever situation you may find yourself in. Today. As you read this and decide how to respond.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.” 

We are comforted SO THAT…we may be a comfort.  In this passage, our situations are all covered by the phrase “any affliction.”  You have no excuse.  No “have a bad attitude because…” hall-pass.  We are comforted by the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort.  His comfort covers all and the following responsibility covers all.  But don’t worry…the Father knows our comforting skills fall short.  He knows that in our own strength, no one will be covered!  That is why we have a responsibility to comfort WITH what God just used to comfort us.  That makes me so excited.  I do not have to conjure up some false, flowery joy…God not only comforts me, He reveals how to comfort others.  Only Him.  Only through Him and only by Him.  He is in all things and through Him all things hold together (Colossians 1:16-17).  Never do we go it alone.

Our life may not be stable.  But He is never changing.  God is the same yesterday. Today. Forever.  Now that is stability personified!  That is the Father of mercies (Lamentations 3:21-24) and the God of all comfort in action!

My mom was listening to a sermon and shared this insight with me: “Stability is the ability when you’re disturbed or disappointed to quickly return to a calm stable state. It’s the strength to stand or endure any situation and remain calm. One of the best gifts we can give to others and ourselves is stability which comes through making a choice to trust God.”

I pray this resonates with you and teaches you something today.  Not by me, but by God using this moment in your life.  Be sure of what you hope for, Sisters.  Be sure.

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My Son

Things I think you should know now that you’re 3…

1.  If you let others hear your words first and your dinasour growls later…you’re probably going to make a better first impression.

2.  You will not always look adorable in collard shirts and jammie shorts.  Rock the look while you can.  You will need to start wearing outfits that match soon enough (but we can probably save that for preschool).

3.  When you held my hand today, my heart melted but you left my hand feeling pretty sticky.  You need to learn to always wash your hands really well.  Girls think clean hands are hot; it’s not just a mom thing.

4.  Please never ever forget the excitement you experienced when you asked Jesus into your heart…I know I won’t. 

5.  Daddy is teaching you to be respectful towards women and authority.  I know you sit on the time-out steps a lot, but if you learn the lesson now…you will go far.

6.  On that note, please know I can see you move up the steps during time out.  Especially when you giggle.

7.  Your new line is that you start every sentance with “little boys…” and then tell me what you want.  Although it’s not always accurate, you are learning to communicate.  Keep learning.  It’s a good tool to have in that belt of yours.

8.  You ran outside to catch Daddy yesterday morning because we forgot to pray before he left for work.  Please keep doing that even when you’re big.  Always pray with your family.

9.  You made sure your sister had her snack today when you got yours.  It is your way of starting to “take care of her”  and look out for others around you.  I’m proud of you.  Even though you’re younger, I want you to always take care of her.  You protect the ones you love no matter what; God will provide the courage and strength. 

10.  You are learning to wipe the seat after you go to the bathroom.  Seriously.  You are going to be one well-trained catch when you grow up and leave home.  Count on it!

11.  Your desire to open the door for everyone is admirable.  However, you may want to avoid screaming “it’s my turn” and pushing everybody out of the way to get to do it first.  Gentlemen do it quietly.

12.  Keep eating oatmeal like it’s going out of style.  It’s good for you to really like a food that is cheap and good for your cholesterol.  That will also serve you well when you move out…or in a few years when we cannot afford to keep feeding you at the rate you like to eat!

13.  You are super excited to go to VBS and Cubbies this year.  We pray you are always excited to learn about God and that you participate in every opportunity to do so.  Cheerful participation is a good thing to learn.

14.  Thank you for understanding my rule of “picking your nose is a bathroom activity” and obeying it.  You will stand out from your peers positively amongst adults if you remember it.

15.  You continually teach me.  I hope you always teach with your actions for God’s glory.  “Command and teach these things. Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.” 1 Timothy 4:11-13. 

I love you Aaron Joshua.  You are God’s little boy but I am so glad He put you in our family.

Love, Mommy

You are Beyond Big Enough

It happens again; I feel myself shrinking

Into myself

Trying to escape that overwhelming feeling

Yet, it lingers before following

No matter what I do, it finds me

Like a parent playing hide and seek with a young child

Closing my eyes does not make this child invisible

Squeezing my eyes to achieve darkness does not erase daylight

 

Just as I feel like no one will find me

YOU gather me up

I experience new strength

As you speak life over me

Your truth expands me out of shrinking

You are beyond big enough for me

 

You have watched my running, my tossings

You know the deeds behind my tears

My tears that pour forth until there is no more

The desert dryness that cracks my heart in misunderstanding

My foes that outnumber the rewards they search for

 

My acute awareness of my own small being

I cannot slay the giants

I have no great power to free the innocent

I do not bring the guilty to justice

Nor can I be a savior to the destitute

My eyes look upon the injustices with fear

Uncertain if truth will ever be upon this earth

 

None of this surprises you

It reaches your ears

but does not make you quiver

or cause you to release your throne

You are God and You do as You please

You are beyond big enough

 

You will question those confident in their answers

Bring to their knees those with earthly knowledge

They have no understanding

In the courts of the Most High

Their voices will sound ignorant in front of You

Justification will come to you empty

And You will sentance their eternity

Those who lean on human security

 

You are beyond big enough

You who hung the heavens

and decided the days of a man

All authority is Yours

Jealous is your heart for the affections of Your created

No one stands before You without Your permission

No one is your equal

 

Yet, in Your power

Your heart is kind

Holy are Your deeds

Your righteousness and compassions are unending

God of the universe

You know where I am

I entrust myself to You

For You are beyond big enough

 

Save me, O God

Do no forsake those who call Your name

Open my eyes

Remind me that You know

You know the happenings of Your children

Nothing goes unnoticed by the King

You are beyond big enough

 

The day will come

Everyone will know

of Your greatness

No longer will man question

or believe in their own ways

You will bring the self righteous to their own

and rescue Your children

 

The miracle will be unseen until Your perfect moment

You do not delay

Come quickly

May You not tarry

Our hope is in you

Give us the strength to wait in perfect obedience

You, O God, are beyond big enough

I Know I am Not.

When I think about accomplishments or things that could have filled my time, I can ponder up a sizeable  list.  In the quietness of my own heart, there are things that swirl around if I give in.  IF I had…IF this had not happened…IF this had been different…do you notice the trend?  Giving in to discontentment or even thoughts of unfulfilled dreams will always be a dangerous, slippery slope of  moving away from where God has us.  Who God has made us to be.

One thing that always catches my attention is that in order to fulfill these faux accomplishments, I have to remove my current realities.  Satan never allows things to co-exist.  Satan’s plan is always on the opposite path from God’s.  When starting down that path, it usually feels great.  I do not know your distractors, but mine are always public attention, appreciation, someone thinking (or just saying) that I am amazing.  I know, it does not take much.  I really like attention.  But, before you quietly judge and stop reading…because that is not your distractor, I want you to be honest with yourself.  Something popped up in your mind.  There is a temptation that Satan knows he can nail in your life. every. single. time. 

If you will ever accept God’s peace that surpasses understanding and live in the joy He offers, you have to be honest about your distractors.  When I am fully aware and fully willing to give up my distractors, God moves.  He works in my heart and brings me to live fully in the place He has me. 

And before you think that it’s not worth it, just hear something else.  God often has a divine way of using the parts of our personality that gives into our distractors for HIS GLORY.  The part of me that likes being in front of people CAN BE USED FOR GLORY rather than self-satisfying distractors.  God is the One who made me.  Satan tries to use parts of me to lead me astray, but God provides a more satisfying path if (in His strength) I choose to obey.

This blog for instance, is focused on design and family…but lately, it’s been more family because I have not had time to design.  I could make more time for it.  I could pursue contracts and really jump-start my “business” but that would involve putting my kids to the side.  And, right now, my main job is being mom.  Most of mothering, does not involve a lot of accomplishing, appreciation, or people telling you that you’re amazing.  Mothering is all about sacrificing for the greater good and it is really hard to accomplish anything if you are not fully tapped into God’s power supply.  Unlike design or event coordinating, excellent mothering does not come naturally.  It does not usually leave me feeling really good about myself…it leaves me desperate for God.  Completely dependant on Him to lead me.  To forgive me.  To realize I am not.  More of Him…A LOT LESS of me.

Wow…that is probably why He gave me kids.  A lot less of me and greater amounts of Him.  That sounds like His redemptive plan to me.  That sounds like being molded by the potter (Isaiah 29, 64, Romans 9), if I have ever heard it.  And I need to hear it. every. single. day.

A really great example of this lesson is also found in John 3.  John the Baptist, who is Jesus’ cousin, is talking to disciples about exalting Jesus.  You can read the whole story, but the point is this (vs 30) “He must increase, I must decrease.”  John the Baptist had his own disciples.  He was older than Jesus.  He could have been very bitter about being overshadowed.  But instead, he submitted and celebrated his role in the Kingdom.  He proclaimed who Jesus was.  He exalted Jesus.  He thrived in the role he was given.  His whole life’s mission can be found in John 1:35-37 “The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples,and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”  The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.”

As John stood with his disciples, He proclaimed who Jesus was and the disciples followed Jesus.  John obeyed and it was not about him.  He did his job and the disciples followed another…

I know I am not a famous designer.  I know I am not in high demand.  But that is okay.  Instead, in this season, my calling is far greater.  I get to proclaim who Jesus is to the next generation.  I will sacrifice in hopes that they experience the love of Jesus from their heads, landing and rooting in their hearts, and finally propelling their sweet little feet towards Jesus.  I want to call out to my children “Behold, the Lamb of God!” and I earnestly pray that they hear this and follow Jesus.

We may wear different “hats” during different seasons.  But I really hope you are understanding my heart.  Whatever your role is, wherever God has you right now…choose to forsake your distractors and follow Jesus.

Jesus tells us very clearly this difference between Satan’s (the distractor) path and His path…”The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10). 

Even if dreams and accomplishments have changed from what we thought they would be, don’t we all just really want an abundant life?  Don’t we all just want to feel like we are truly doing what we are supposed to be doing?  Turn and follow Jesus.  Choose to live the abundant life.  He may have a different path, but His way will give you life. 

If you already have a personal relationship with Jesus, don’t let the Distractor (Satan) steal from you by planting lies in your head.  And when he tries, because he will, give your thoughts back to Jesus and do not entertain your distractions.  Pray for God to show you His plan and walk in obedience.

Now I am off to fill a glass of water, do some laundry, and practice what I share!  I pray “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you (Numbers 6:23-25).” 

Anna