Friday, December 14, 2012


I cried today. Uncontrollably. Unashamedly. I hugged my children tighter, thankful to have been able to welcome them home. I prayed for a lot of people that I don't know. I prayed for families, for children, for parents, for teachers, for a community.

I witnessed many responses to this tragic event. Some are looking for answers in stricter laws, some don't know where to look, some are turning to God, others are blaming God.

It's one of those things where people start to ask those questions - Why would someone do something like this? How could God allow something like this to happen to innocent children?

There is only one answer - Sin.

"Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned--" Romans 5:12

It is for this reason that Christ came to die-

"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

We ask how someone could murder innocent children, but what about the deaths of millions of babies that occur everyday that are encouraged by our society and government? Our society pushes God away and then wonders where He is when tragedy strikes.

We need to be clinging to our Savior. We need to realize the urgency to share Him with others and do so with boldness because we are burdened for their lives and eternity.

Christmas is coming. A celebration of Christ's coming to Earth as a baby. There was a time when He was five years old. He knows what these children went through today. As I think about how desperately people need Him, my celebration this year will be even more heartfelt.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude

This post is a little different than most, because I'm going to get a little crafty with you.

In our house, having the children do chores was starting to become time consuming, burdensome, and a trigger to much irritation and anger. So I stopped forcing them.

Now before you freak out thinking that I'm not teaching them responsibility and so on and so forth, I stopped them for awhile to think about and reevaluate why we were having them do chores and where we had gone wrong or what we had been missing in our teaching.

This month I have been trying to be intentional in thinking about all that I am thankful for, and as a part of that serving my family as a response to my appreciation for having such a blessing. Having stopped the children's chores (well, not completely), naturally, all that work fell back on me, so I was taking the opportunity to have a better attitude myself in doing them.

This made me realize something - we were teaching our children about responsibility, but not gratefulness. That's what was missing. Doing chores is not just about learning to be responsible, it's about being a good steward of the things God has blessed us with. But if I want them to think about taking care of our house and their things as an act of stewardship, I first must teach them to appreciate what they have been given! (That's the light bulb that went on in my head).

What does this mean for chores? Well, I've changed the system. We no longer have "chores" that are assigned to be done. We now have what I call "Thankful Acts". I made up cards with our chores, each has a poem that reminds them to be thankful for what they have and the act that shows appreciation.

There are acts they are all expected to do and then there are others they can choose from. Those that are not chosen, I will do (at least at first) while we continue to teach and encourage them to have attitudes of gratefulness.

One of the great parts about being a parent is that I learn so much in my efforts to teach them. I am so thankful that God laid it on me to take a break from the madness of trying to force them to learn responsibility to realize how much more important it is to teach them to be grateful for God's many blessings and that responsibility is how we show that, and in the process He worked on my attitude about serving my family.

"Whatever you do in word and deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father." - Colossians 3:17

Monday, November 5, 2012

Hurricanes in the Home

Recently, Hurricane Sandy blew through the east coast.

Not long before that a hurricane blew through our home. This hurricane was caused by a cold front of bitterness colliding with a warm front of anger over the deep waters of our marriage relationship.

Waves of emotion crashed down. Tears rained for days. Thundering shouts of anger, lightning strikes of hurtful words.

The storm got so bad, I wanted to evacuate, but eventually decided to ride it out.

Then there was a loss of power.

Well, not really, because the truth is, I never had the power in the first place. (Matt. 6:13)

Thankfully, our power didn't actually go out during the actual storm, because by that point we were already in clean up mode. Literally. My husband is a landscaper, so the storms meant no work for him, so being holed up in our house, we embarked on a major house cleaning project.

This project involved going through every room in our house, clearing out the clutter, cleaning the room and carpets, painting dressers, and while we were at it - washing all the laundry in the entire house.

Now, I LOVE when we do projects together. I'm not really sure my husband is in the love stage when it comes to this. Honestly, I don't blame him, it always ends up in an argument. A big argument.

This time was different. This time we didn't argue even once. We were patient with each other, encouraging, and when I started to get tired and whiny and wanted to quit - Joshua was comforting and encouraging. He held strong, working day and night to paint dressers, sift through belongings, clean carpets and even helping keep up with the laundry.

It. Was. Amazing.

As much as I hate going through these storms in our relationship (this would not be the first), I love what God does through it. It's not just that we got through a huge project together without arguing (though you have no idea how HUGE that is), that just represents some of the ways God has been working on us.

Oh, and God is doing big things in the heart of my husband who not only endured Hurricane Barbie, but has been lovingly bringing me back to where God wants me.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Work in Progress

To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ...But we should also give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us. Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.
2 Thessalonians 1:11-12; 2:13-17

Background: Paul wrote this to the Thessalonians because of the extreme faith and perseverance they showed when faced with suffering at the hands of unbelievers. 

I read this and think - Wow! Here is an example of what Christianity is all about. That even when faced with trials still we look to God for faith and power and stand firm in His truth. 

My last blog post I wrote about some struggles to do what is right. Since then I have made the choice to do what is right, even though it went against my feelings. But I can tell you that though it didn't make my life perfect, once again, I have peace. There was no peace in setting my heart against God and what He had planned for my life. There is no peace in trying to deny Truth. There IS peace in obedience. 

I am ashamed of the attitude I had and the words that were said. And I am so thankful for a God who forgives! 

This passage above reminds me that I was chosen by God for salvation. He chose me for sanctification - the process of growing to be more like Christ. That road is long and hard, but when we follow that path it brings Him glory.

When I am brought to the end of myself, I can't understand why I thought my plan was better, or that somehow I had more insight into how everything should work out. It seems ridiculous to have been crying out to God, "But it wasn't supposed to be this way! This is what I wanted to happen! This is what you were supposed to do!" As if I understood exactly how this brief moment, that is my life, fit into His eternal plan of Glory. 

And yes, those things I wanted were good things. They were even things that God wants. The problem is I wanted it to happen in MY timing and according to MY plan. This is not how God works. I know this. 

Thankfully, He has provided this wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit that can give me strength, comfort, peace, patience, and even joy as I wait for His timing and follow His plan. Of course, this would be much easier if He could give me a date, or even some idea of what He has in mind...just sayin', it would be nice. 

Until then I will put my trust in Him. I will not give way to worry, fear, and anger, but rather seek comfort and strength in Him alone. At least, I'm working on it. 

Friday, August 31, 2012

A Matter of the Heart

I've been trying to find the words to write this for weeks... I've started and stopped and started over quite a few times. There were times I would think I had it all figured out in my head, but when I got to my computer to write, none of it sounded right anymore. Today, I'm going to give it my best shot.

I've really been wrestling over something. I've been angry, bitter, hurt, outraged, sad, stressed and disappointed.

Why? Well, I could tell you the situation and you may say that my feelings are valid and you would be feeling this way too. It's only normal. And I have tried to justify my feelings and the choices that I want to make based on those feelings. Choices that I know are wrong.

Yup, that's right I said it. I KNOW that I am wrong. The truth is, the situation is not THE problem. Yes, it is a problem, but not THE problem. My feelings are a reaction to the situation, but they are also revealing a much deeper issue.

I'm angry, bitter, hurt, outraged, sad, stressed and disappointed because deep down I'm not trusting God.

I say I believe in God, His promises, and His Word; but I certainly am not acting like it right now. It all comes down to what I really believe. Do I really believe God is good, no matter what happens? Do I really believe God is sovereign over everything, including my life? Do I really believe that His plan is better than mine? Do I really believe that He is for me, not against me? Do I really believe He is the God of grace and mercy? The God of forgiveness? The God of righteousness? or Do I believe that I deserve something better than what I have been given? That the plan I have for my life is much better than God's plan? That I deserve to be treated a certain way?


I know, I know, I KNOW! I know what is true and quite honestly it's why I haven't acted on the choices I feel like making. But knowing doesn't make it easy.

Focusing on my feelings, and the situation has certainly given Satan a stronghold. But God's hold on me is stronger.

How do I know? Because I see my sin for what it is and I'm broken over it. I so desperately want to do what is right in God's eyes, which is not going to be easy. I'm still struggling with my feelings and the current situation. This is only one of many struggles I will go through in life, it's certainly not the first. Each time I will have to make a choice, and I will always choose to live what I believe. Of course, sometimes I have to ask myself, what do I believe? My prayer is that when I am reminded of the truth, that I will act accordingly.

And that is my prayer now, that not only will I do what I know is right, but that I will want to. I need God to give me the "want to" because that is not what my flesh desires. These past few weeks I've had more of an "I know what I want and I want it now" attitude.

Yeah, my heart is pretty ugly right now. Just keepin' it real. This is what I am on my own. Oh, how I desperately need My Savior!

Here is a link to a song that gives a great description of where I am right now

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Best Laid Plans...

I know you all are DYING to know all about our little bundle of joy's entrance into the world. So I'm going to tell you.

Let me start by saying, as much as I was looking forward to having this baby to hold in my arms and finding out if we were having a boy or a girl, I was not looking forward to experiencing any pain during the labor process. I know, I was being a little ridiculous and selfish, but I was actually praying that this labor would be a "piece of cake". I had even told my husband that if it wasn't going extremely easy than I was going to get an epidural. He thought I was being crazy because he knows how much I hate needles and epidurals terrify me.

I kept saying it anyway. In fact, I said it so much, I had pretty much convinced myself that if I had any pain, I should just get the epidural because I was just too tired to deal with any amount of pain.

Contractions started weeks ago. Here and there, some nasty, some more bearable. This last Friday, they were pretty close together and getting worse, so we thought we should go in and just make sure since I was past my due date at this point anyway. Well, we went in and they checked me, had us walk around for an hour and then checked me again. They told us nothing was going on, it was just a false alarm and that I should keep my next appointment, because I was probably going to have to schedule an induction. At this point, and for the last 4 weeks, they told me the baby was head down. Then they sent us home.

Josh and I put the kids to bed and decided to watch a movie together. I was still having pains and contractions, so I reclined on the couch with my heating pads trying to get them to stop. The contractions were finally calming down, but I had some sharp pains in my stomach. After we had been home for two hours, my water broke.

We definitely knew for sure we were in labor this time. So we called the dr. and waited for our sitter to come back and prepared to head to the hospital. I was already exhausted. I started getting anxious about how intense this labor might be and was praying yet again that it would be easy.

At this point, I began diverting my attention to what I knew was going to be my focal point for this labor - a song from one of the Seeds Family Worship cds we got our kids for Easter. These cds are Scripture put to music and a couple weeks before baby was due, we had been listening to this particular song and I just knew it was the one that would stick with me.

"He alone is my rock and my salvation. He is my fortress I will never be shaken." This is Psalm 62:2

The funny part was, since the moment my water broke, I couldn't stop shaking. Focusing on this song was helping me to calm down enough to stop the shaking.

Anyway, we got to the hospital and they put me in a labor and delivery room and told me to get ready so they can check out what's going on, how far along in the process we were and what not. So I did. The midwife came in and checked me and said, "Well, that's interesting. There's a foot in your cervix. I'ld say we have a footling breech and you're going to have a c-section." All I could manage to say was, "When?" She replied, "Right now."

I got scared. I've never had a c-section and I wasn't really sure what to think about having to have one. I kept going back to my focal point. It cleared my head and I began to think about it. I had been saying for a month that I wanted this labor to be pretty much painless. It finally occurred to me, God was answering my prayer. All my talking about getting an epidural had actually prepared me to not be scared when it came down to the fact I actually had to have one. While having surgery was still a little scary, I realized, I wasn't going to be able to feel any pain during this process.

Less than two hours after I got to the hospital the second time, Titus was born. I laid on a table, pretty much half asleep the whole time. Partly enjoying the strangeness of it all.

It was an experience. In fact, it was kind of interesting. Yes, the recovery is a lot more difficult, but it is forcing me to take it easy.

As I look at this whole process from before baby was due to now, I can see how God has been looking out for me. He heard me cry out and he answered me. (Psalm 120:1 - "In my trouble I cried to the Lord and He answered me.")

I had been crying out to the Lord for a while now, that I needed a rest. He heard my cry and I want to share with you all the ways He answered that for me.

  •  Earlier this year, it was determined that I would not be able to go out to California for my summer classes because of when the baby was due. 
  • After that first point, I planned to take a class at home, but that also did not work out for financial reasons.
  • During the summer, our schedule is usually jammed packed with swimming lessons, safety town and other fun activities. This year the schedule just was not working out for us, so we did not sign up for anything and have just been enjoying a relaxing summer together as a family.
  • Josh usually goes back to work the day after I come home from the hospital, and I was not wanting that to happen this year. After having the c-section, he couldn't go back to work right away, so I get to enjoy him over this holiday weekend : )
  • There are some things that I committed to doing, even though I knew I probably shouldn't, that now I had to step away from, with much relief. 
It's not easy for me to take a break from the activity of life to just rest and enjoy the little things, but I knew that's what I needed, and God knew too, because despite me trying to ignore it, He made sure it happened. 

While recovery is taking longer than usual, I am recovering well. And I'm thankful that my God hears me and He answers me and He knows my needs even more than I do. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Timing is Everything

As most of you know, I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of our sixth child. Today is our due date (June 26th), but so far no progress.

I have been trying to be patient. It's not easy.

I am trying to remind myself that God's timing is better than mine. Also hard to do when I have plans and things I want to do. BUT I am determined to rest in HIS timing and not be so wrapped up in mine.

Ecclesiastes 31:1-14 has been a huge help in this:

1There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
2a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
6a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
9What does the worker gain from his toil? 10I have seen the burden God has laid on men. 11He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. 13That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God. 14I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him.

So often we want everything to happen in our time. Then there's those who tell us, "Good things come to those who wait". I've been doing a lot of waiting lately, and in that process I've had a lot of time to think about waiting. What I think that saying leaves out is that it's not just waiting that brings good things, it's how we wait and what we are waiting for. If I'm going to wait for something, it should be because I am waiting on God's timing. While I'm waiting, I should be resting in the Lord, trusting that His timing is perfect and is for the best. 

My flesh tells me to be impatient and anxious. My spirit tells me to patiently rest in the Lord. 

I already know that there is much blessing in store - I am waiting on the arrival of a child! My children have been huge blessings in my life, and that's part of why I'm getting impatient - I am so excited to welcome this child into the world and into our lives. However, I also know that whatever plans I have do not compare to God's plan. He knows everything from beginning to end, while I am limited in my sight. 

To trust in God is my resolve. Pray for me.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

It's Not Fair!

This week's lesson from a four year old. 

Earlier this week, we were having a snack and my daughters were upset that I would not let them have more. They expressed their feelings by whining, "That's not fair!" My four year old, Jade, replied to their whining, "The only thing that is not fair is that Jesus had to die on the cross." 

Wow. That was way more profound than what I was going to say, which was something along the lines of "Too bad." or "Life's not fair." 

I was glad she replied first, because then we got to talk about why that is the only thing that is not fair, and it became a reminder for the whole family for the rest of the week. Any time someone said, "It's not fair!" We reminded them what really wasn't fair. 

It made me think about all the things I act like are not fair in my life. Maybe I don't cross my arms and stomp my foot and whine "It's not fair!" But I might still act like it's not fair by not responding to every circumstance in life with worship and praise to the Creator, the One who was willing to die to take on my sin so that I can have renewed life. 

Sometimes I need to take a lesson from a four year old. That's ok, cuz I love that they can teach me and remind me just as I teach them. It certainly has a way of keeping this girl humbled. Thank you Lord, for such wonderful blessings!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Bed of Roses

Sometimes things just aren't the way we want them to be. Nothing is going right and we wonder where God is in the midst of it all. After all, the Christian life is not a bed of roses.

Or is it?

I don't know about yours, but my bed still has some thorns in it and every once in a while I roll into a big patch of them. In my stubbornness, I would rather let them remain stuck to me than deal with the pain of having them pulled out - even if it means healing.

For those of you who just got lost in that analogy, let me explain. Choosing to follow God is wonderful in so many ways (a bed of roses) in that God gives us comfort and we are surrounded by the wonderful fragrance of His grace. However, there are still some tough times we have to endure (the thorns).

We can choose to be bitter and unforgiving during those times, or even just have a bad attitude. If we choose that, it is like allowing the thorn to stay stuck in the flesh, eventually causing infection - just like how our bad attitudes will effect our relationships with those around us. Possibly even "infecting" others.

Or we can allow the painful, yet healing process of having the thorns pulled out of our flesh. This happens when we allow God to work in us in those areas that are already quite painful.

This week I had a choice to make - was I going to allow bitterness and unforgiveness fester, or was I going to let go of my stubbornness and begin the healing process? Unfortunately, for a while, I was choosing the former. But staying angry is exhausting! Besides, even though it hurts a little to let go of my stubborn pride, I would much rather watch things heal. I don't like being a mean bitter person anyway. I'm going to roll back over into my petals now, very carefully.

Honey, I'm sorry, sometimes I'm a stubborn jerk and am not willing to extend forgiveness, even though I often need it. I do forgive you. Will you please forgive me?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Weary With Pain, Joyful in Heart

I am weary. This pregnancy has been far more painful than any other, even without having to deal with sciatic nerve pain. The pain I am experiencing now, I have been told there is nothing I can do about it. It won't go away until I have the baby, and my due date is still 8 weeks away.

The pain keeps me from sleeping well. I wake up more tired than when I went to sleep. Even getting in bed is difficult and I end most days in tears (which is not like me at all). Last night, my husband said he thinks I had an anxiety attack in my sleep the way I was breathing and kicking. I'm glad I don't remember that.

Just so you know this post is not just a big complaint. Although, let's be real  - that IS exactly what I am tempted to do all day, every day.

But instead, I find myself thinking about what I can be doing to help my husband to be able to rest more when he gets home from work. And trying to make sure my children's needs are met and what fun things I can do for/with them as well. (Yes, I do realize I just started two sentences with a conjunction - for those of you grammar junkies like me.) Planning and preparation for opportunities to minister to and serve others, and staff appreciation plans for the girls' school.

I could wallow in my pain and feeling sorry for myself and truth be told, some days I do.

A couple weeks ago, I reminded myself of a passage in Scripture in the funniest way actually. We were talking about what you shouldn't say to someone who is grieving and I thought of this passage. What is so funny about it is that it is exactly what has reminded me to have joy and hope through my pain.

Rom. 8:18 - "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that is to be revealed to us."

This verse is just part of a passage that speaks about the suffering we will endure as children of God, but that we can look forward to the coming glory of Christ's return and even now, we have strength through the help of the Holy Spirit and hope in knowing that all things work together for those who are His. This verse reminds me of all that.

Eight weeks may seem like a long time to have to deal with this pain and exhaustion, but even if it lasted for the rest of my life, that is short-term compared to eternity.

It WILL end. There is hope in knowing that it WILL end.

I also have found a lot of comfort in this song "Count it All Joy" by Shannon Wexelberg. Here are the lyrics, I hope it will give hope and comfort to anyone else who is going through a time of suffering as well:

Blessed is the one 
for the sake of the Son 
who stands through the fire and the flood 
he will receive a reward from the King 
a crown for a victory won 

so let's make a choice 
to stand up and rejoice 
steadfast whatever may come 
to stand and believe 
that the Lord will complete 
the wonderful work He's begun 

Count it all joy 
When we face many trials 
When we suffer for righteousness sake 

Count it all joy 
For like gold in the fire 
Every test is refining our faith 

Count it all joy 
Count it all joy 

Blessed is the one 
who says Gods will be done 
running the race faithfully 
his feet are sure 
finding strength to endure 
keeping his eyes on the King 

he's not tossed like the waves of the sea 
and strong winds continue to blow 
so let us trust 
let us hope and believe 
as our faith continues to grow 

Count it all joy 
When we face many trials 
When we suffer for righteousness sake 

Count it all joy 
For like gold in the fire 
Every test is refining our faith 

Count it all joy 
Count it all joy 

For God has not promised 
a path that is not marked with pain 
but He has promised 
the joy of His presence 
for those who will trust in His name 

Count it all joy 
When we face many trials 
When we suffer for righteousness sake 

Count it all joy 
For like gold in the fire 
Every test is refining our faith 

Count it all joy 
When we face many trials 
When we suffer for righteousness sake 

Count it all joy 
For like gold in the fire 
Every test is refining our faith 

Count it all joy 
Count it all joy 
Count it all joy 
Count it all joy 

Oh, we count it all joy

Monday, April 9, 2012

Remind Me...

Yesterday, was Easter Sunday. I love Easter. I love to think about why we celebrate Easter. But this year was different. I had a horrible morning - kids woke up arguing and that tipped the barrel on the stress that had been building up. I argued with Josh, yelled at the kids, cried repeatedly, and to top it all off - I was having a lot of pain in my hips when walking, standing, sitting - pretty much anything. It was NOT how I wanted to start such a wonderful holiday celebration.

We went to church and I couldn't talk to anyone without starting to cry, so I avoided eye contact as much as possible. I wanted to be there, but the pain - physical and emotional was just overwhelming.

The sermon was great, but it was a song that we sung at the end that really hit me hard. Some of the lyrics are (this is not all of the song, and I did skip some):

"... In the loneliest places, when I can't remember what grace is,
Tell me, once again, who I am to You, who I am to You.
Tell me, lest I forget, who I am to You, I belong to You....
If I'm Your beloved, help me believe it..."

I really needed to be reminded that I belong to Christ. He died because He loves me and with His blood He bought me back, out of the bondage of sin, and took me as His own. He calls me His beloved.

Every person I know will let me down at some point. There is not a single person on this earth that I can fully trust not to ever let me down.

BUT, God will never let me down. He always acts in my best interest. He will always love me no matter what, and even better, He will not allow me to stay in those places when I am at my lowest. I am His and He loves me. In His love, He will work in my life to make me the person He has called me to be.

I needed to be reminded of this, so I could remember what I had been so excited to celebrate in the first place, but had let other things distract me from that celebration. My God gave His life for me, because of His love for me, but that's not all, He is alive! He is the One True Living God and He calls me His beloved.

Oh thank you Lord for Your everlasting love!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

It's SPRING!!!!

I LOVE spring! And for those of us who live in Northeast Ohio it has been a great start to spring this year. There are so many things to love about spring and I don't just mean the weather. What I love most about spring are the vivid pictures that remind me of God's promises and His Word.

This is the time of year we come across caterpillars that will turn into butterflies - reminder of 2 Corinthians 5:15 - "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come."

The days are getting longer and what better way to spend them than to do what Psalm 113:3 says, "From the rising of the sun to its setting the name of the Lord is to be praised."

And what is more significant about spring than the coming of new life? From flowers beginning to grow to baby animals being born, new life is everywhere.

This brings me to my absolute FAVORITE thing about spring - celebrating EASTER!!!! I think it is wonderful that this time of celebration of Christ's resurrection from death to life, that brings us the opportunity for new life, comes at a time of year where new life is all around us to remind us of this very thing! God is awesome - just sayin' Here are some Scriptures that come to mind as I think about this:
Romans 6:4 - "Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life."  John 1:4 says, "In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men." John 6:33 - "For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world."

I love spring, because I love how even nature cooperates to tell the story of Christ's death and resurrection and the newness of life that brings for those who put their trust in Him.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Being a Trophy Wife

"Trophy wife" is generally an expression used to refer to a physically attractive female who is regarded as a status symbol for the husband. 

I strive to be a trophy wife. But not the kind described above. Although for many years, that was the type of trophy wife I sought after being. Over the last five years, and even more pointedly over the last year, God has been speaking to my heart and changing my desire of what type of wife I want to be. I still strive to be a trophy wife, but in a different way.

The kind of trophy wife I want to be is described below:

"An excellent wife is the crown of her husband..." Prov. 12:4a

"...for her worth is far above jewels." Prov. 31:10

"Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised." Prov. 31:30

"Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future. She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and bless her; her husband also, and he praises her, saying: "Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all." Prov. 31:25-29

"to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored." Titus 2:5

Prov. 31:10-31

My point is, I want to be the prize of my husband. Not in a way that is shallow and fading, but in a real way. A way that brings honor to my husband. A way that encourages him and builds him, helping him to be a stronger leader - in our home, in the church, and on his job. In a way that shows him love, real love. In a way that tells him I believe he can do all things through Christ who gives him strength (Phil. 4:13). In a way that changes the atmosphere of our household and affects my community. Sure, I also want to try to be physically attractive to my husband, but even that outward beauty is going to be a reflection of the beauty of my heart.

Let's not forget also, that as the church, we are the bride of Christ. I want to bring my groom, Christ Jesus, honor as well. 

What kind of wife are you? What kind of wife do you want to be?

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Dangerous Mind

Have you ever experienced a time when you could not close your eyes without thinking about something you knew was absolutely wrong to think about? 

I had this experience last night as I laid down to go to sleep. Each time I tried to close my eyes, my mind immediately went to something I knew I should not be thinking about. I'll be honest, usually I end up giving in, but for whatever reason last night was different. 

Quite frankly, I got tired of the same things coming back to my mind that I do not want there and have such a difficult time getting rid of! This time, I was not willing to give up, because I was tired of Satan always winning. So what did I do? I kept my eyes open. 

I kept my eyes open and I prayed, out loud. I prayed that God would fill my mind with truth instead of the lies that were there. Then I spoke Scripture out loud, anything I could think of (at this point, I really didn't care if it fit the context). After quoting a few, for some reason the only other verse I could remember was John 3:16 (probably because that is the verse I am teaching my kids right now and we had just gone over it before they went to bed). 

John 3:16 - "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him, will not perish, but have eternal life." 

I don't know about you, but I cannot think about that verse and not think about Christ's death on the cross. That's exactly what happened last night. I thought about Christ's death on the cross and then I thought about how all the times I give in to those thoughts, those are the things that put Him on the cross. 

Tears came to my eyes as I thought about all the times I've just given in, because I didn't want to fight anymore. How many times have we all given in to sin because the fight is exhausting? But even still... God loves us. He loves us so much in fact, He was willing to allow our sin to be the death of His own Son. Why? Because He is victorious over sin. Satan cannot withstand the battle against God's holiness. 

I didn't even realize until this morning, that as I thought about Christ's death and victory over sin, that thought went away. The desire to give in, went away. I am absolutely positive that it will try to come back. But I have hope that when it does, I will remember that fighting was worth it!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Have I abandoned ship?

Recently in the news there has been reports of the captain of a cruise ship who abandoned his ship as it was sinking; leaving all of the passengers to fend for themselves. New reports have said there is even an audio recording of the captain refusing to get out of his lifeboat to go help passengers.

For the last month, God has really been hitting me about my words. Giving me a desire to be more encouraging in how I speak to my husband and children and just really being mindful of my speech. After much prayer, I began studying the book of Jeremiah in relation to this - I know it seems like an odd choice, but man has God spoken volumes so far, and I'm not even all the way through the book!

Do I have a heart like Jeremiah that says, "Lord I am unqualified" but is still willing to be used?
Or is my heart more like the people of Judah who have turned to their own ways, because the ways of the world seem easier than what God requires of us?
Am I grieved over sin, mine and others, out of a humble heart?
Or has pride calloused me to the depth of what it means to have committed treason against the High King?

Unfortunately, what I have learned is that I have had a lot of pride in my heart. My speech needs a lot of work, because it reflects my heart and, well, that's not very pretty right now. Of course it wasn't so blatantly obvious until just last night...

Last night we had a meeting for our upcoming women's retreat that our church does. In this meeting we decided who would serve in which areas. I was chosen to run sound. Really? Sound? That was my reaction.

Ok, I know this is going to not make sense to some of you, but doing background is not my comfort zone. Yes, I am more comfortable being out in front. How can that be? Well, I have spent pretty much my entire life as an attention seeker, so being in the center of attention is right up my ally.

The more I talked about how awkward I thought it was that I had been chosen for such a background position, the more I realized the extent of my pride. God was showing me my selfish "me me me" attitude. That I like to be out front, because I like getting recognition for the things I do and quite frankly, running sound may never receive any praise.

Talk about hard to hear!

Anyway, so what does this have to do with the ship captain I mentioned earlier. This morning I heard that story mentioned and I realized that like that captain, I was more concerned with my own comfort than that of others. There are going to be many things in life that God asks us to do that may be difficult for us for one reason or another. We can decide whether or not we are going to, through Him, do what's difficult and allow Him to grow us through it, or if we are going to abandon ship.

If I'm going to be honest, I would have to say that I have abandoned ship. I have not been willing to put aside my own wants and desires in order to show grace to my family. And for a little while, I was not sure I was willing to put aside my pride and comfort to join my church family in rescuing the lives of those who are spiritually dead. I admit, the job of sound still does not sound very enticing to me. However, knowing that God is doing a work on my heart does.

Monday, January 9, 2012

A Perfect(ed) Body

Yesterday, at church, my pastor mentioned how when a Christian goes to heaven their perfected soul is joined with their perfected body. So those who have illness or physical impairments will have a perfected body in heaven.

DISCLAIMER: I have no biblical reference for what I am about to say, it is purely an interesting thought I had that I would like to further study.

What if, when we got to heaven, we were given the same bodies we have, but because there is no sin in heaven, we would see those bodies as being perfect because that is the way they were created?

Wouldn't that be kind of cool? It would be like when we finally start to look at someone who really drives us crazy through the eyes of Christ. We can't help but love them. So rather than anything about our physical bodies actually changing, how we view them would be what changes. We would see them through the eyes of Christ.

Again, this is just a random thought, but I thought it was an interesting thing to ponder. And if you have any Scripture that supports or even discredits this thought, PLEASE share, I would love to know!