Monday, February 18, 2013

A Moment to Reflect and Prepare

This morning I was at McDonald's meeting someone to pick up a special birthday cake I had made for Gideon's birthday party. As I sat there by myself waiting, I had a chance to reflect on this past weekend, past week, and then the past couple months.

I couldn't help but smile as I thought about all the overwhelming blessings God has given us throughout this time! My heart is so full of joy and love and peace. I realized that one of the greatest blessings is that He has opened my eyes to see Him working in me and around me, and He has let me be a part of that work!

But as I pondered this it occurred to me that while I would love to be in this place where I can literally feel His blessings raining down on me for the rest of my life, that is unlikely. What is likely is that I am going to face times when I can't see Him as clearly. When I don't feel His arms wrapped around me.

Immediately, I began to pray:

God, thank you for allowing me this time of special blessing! Thank you for opening my eyes to see your handiwork so clearly and allowing me to be a part of it. Joy is overflowing from my heart as I sit here thinking about all you have done in the last couple months. I know there will come a day when I can't see you working in me and around me so clearly. I know I am going to face hardship and struggles that will test my faith. When that time comes, Lord please help me to remember this time right now! Please let me look back on your faithfulness and stand in truth. Please give me the desire to see your blessings all around me, even when it seems that I have to search harder. As I look back at my journey, I remember very dark times when I allowed my emotions to cloud the truth. I don't ever want to go back there! No matter what, I want to praise Your name! Please allow me to praise you through anything and everything as you lead me through a world that is not my home.

Though it sounds pessimistic, my joy was not gone or fading. Rather, I was coming to terms with the reality that I needed to prepare for what was in store. It is often said that after every spiritual high there is a devastating low - oddly, my highs seem to come just after the darkest times in my life, but no matter. The point is, the road will get hard. I know this, I have experienced this many times. But I don't want those experiences to be the same. I want the next time to be different. Rather than turning my focus inward, I want my focus to remain upward, still giving God the glory, still praising Him for His many blessings, still joyful knowing that I have not gone beyond His outstretched arm!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Just Hold My Hand...

The old saying, "The best things in life are free" could not be more true after the wonderful little moment I had yesterday.

We were at my parent's house and I was sitting on the couch when Gideon came to settle in right next to me and hold my hand.

Oh, I probably sat there with the most ridiculous grin on my face. It was like being in 8th grade and you just found out the boy you like likes you too. My heart was stolen by a 4 yr. old.

It's the week in which we celebrate Valentine's Day. I enjoy this time of year. My husband and I don't do anything incredibly special, but I enjoy thinking about the people I love a little more - trying to do something special for them. But most of all, I enjoy thinking about God's love for us. After all, His love is perfect and completely incredible!

I was thinking about how ridiculously joyful I was when Gideon sat there holding my hand, and then how ridiculously joyful I am when my husband holds my hand. And I thought, that's how I want my relationship to be with God - that I just can't wipe the smile off my face when He's right there, holding my hand. That my heart will be filled with joy knowing that the One who loves me most is with me always, holding me in His hand.

Just thinking again about that little handsome boy who just steals this mommy heart each day and that he would want to just sit and hold my hand, is bringing back that smile of a heart that is overflowing. Thank you Lord, for these sweet little moments that remind me of Your love.

Thursday, February 7, 2013


It's been a little over a month into this new year and you may remember that this year my theme is Focus. You can read about that here. I thought I might give you an update on how it is going. 

When I began the year with this theme of fully focusing on God, the intention was that it cover all areas of my life. I started with areas that I knew needed some work and decided that I needed to take what I knew that God's Word says about that area and get practical living out that truth. All the while, trying to stay tuned in to Him to see other areas that need work and to not miss any opportunities to show Jesus.

Giving and our budget in general is an area that my husband and I both agreed we needed to get right before God. So this year, we made that a priority and got to work getting our budget in order and cheerfully giving out of the abundance of God's blessing. - It is important to note, because I believe this has been part of our growth process, that this is not to say that we are rich. In fact, my husband has been unemployed since Christmas and I only work part time. As you can imagine that makes taking care of a family and paying bills quite difficult, and honestly in the past when this has happened, it has been difficult. However, in the past I had been trying to figure it out all on my own. As I have been trying to put my focus upward, I have been reminded that everything I have has been given to me by God and all of it is blessing in abundance. Because He has given it to me, I can trust Him with it. What an ENORMOUS weight has been lifted off my shoulders!!! Seriously, I don't think I can remember a time not being stressed over finances. But now when that stress starts creeping in, I remember that I can trust God and then I do. Wham, Bam, Thank you Ma'am. Stress gone! Honestly, you should try it. 

Oh, but that's not even all! Not only is the stress gone, but trusting Him means that I also trust Him to do what I believe He can do... for me. For a long time, I would hear stories about how God would provide for people by having others randomly and/or anonymously give them money. You know without asking for it, just giving it to them. I believed God really did this, but I believed it with jealousy not believing that He would do it for me. How long have we struggled with finances, yet He had never done this for us? Now there are two things I have to say about this. First, that I now see that it had never happened for us, because I never believed it would. Second, I can now say He has done that for us!!!!!! I knew that to say I was going to trust Him meant I had to believe He could and would provide in whatever ways He saw fit, and He saw fit to have that happen to us not once, but 3 times in just about a month's time!!! God is amazing. 

Moving on, 

Parenting - We all hope that we will be good parents and most of us are very intentional about being good parents. But just being a good parent wasn't enough. I want to be a biblical parent. I want to parent my children in a way that brings the focus back to Scripture. Every. Single. Time. Why? Because I believe that it is that important. Now, I am not saying that I have been the perfect parent in this last month, but what I can say is that there has been major change here. I have caught myself mid-yell and stopped to apologize to my children and start over the right way. Even more importantly, trying to stay focused on biblical parenting has opened my eyes to be able to see the root of problems more quickly and clearly. This has really helped in being more effective in discipline. 

I've also been praying for my children on a regular basis. You may remember that I have chosen specific Scripture to pray for every person in our family. It's been really cool to pray Scripture over each of them. They not only know that I am doing this, but I have it out in the open, so my older ones who can read even know which Scripture I am praying for them. We have had great discussions about this at times during the discipline process when I have reminded them of the Scripture I am praying for them and what it means. I have to tell you that talking to my kids about Scripture and theology has shown me how much they really do understand, even with how young they are - just further proof that this has more to do with the Holy Spirit giving us understanding than it does our age, education, or anything else. 

Have I said that God is amazing? Well, He is!

Last, but assuredly not least, God has done tremendous things in our marriage. One biggie - He proved me wrong. Now that may not seem like a good thing to anyone else, but trust me, it was a great thing! You see, my husband made some promises a few months ago, that in my anger with him, I refused to believe. The other day, it hit me, like a slap in the face - he's been keeping his promise. I was wrong. Intertwined with proving me wrong, was another biggie - the promise my husband has been keeping - which is to allow God to lead him in leading our family. It has been amazing. God has been amazing and I know He will continue to be just that. AMAZING!