My oldest son loves to earn money. I can't even pay him though to do chores because he make more working side jobs for family and friends. He does have an entrepreneurial spirit and saves every penny. Yesterday after church he was in a hurry to eat lunch and get in the garage. He had an idea that was burning in him and his creative spirit needed to get it out.
He later called me into his room to show me this! Hanging in the middle of his barn wood shelves was a cross. He had measured and designed it himself. He asked about a few different ways to make it hang straight. I gave him suggestions and he came back satisfied with his work.
Now, I have a reader question. How would you go about encouraging his entrepreneurial spirit? He said "I think I could sell these." Last year I tried to help and got in the way and he decided not to do anything. This time I feel as though he has a genuinely good idea and can go far with it. What suggestions would you give a kid who wanted to earn extra money? How would you first encourage him to market a product? What about cost verses what he is charging? Would you have him crunch numbers?
I honestly can't wait to see where he takes this. He's been eyeing my Dremel tool too.
When you feel like you can't handle the task at hand and you ask yourself, "Girl, who's your Daddy?"
Take a minute and feel secure and taken care of not because of what you can do but because of Who you belong to.
What if you got a good look at your God and remembered who He is and that you belong to Him.
Who's your Daddy?
the First and the Last,
the Beginning and the End,
the Keeper of creation and the Creator of all,
the Architect of the Universe and the Manager of all time,
He always was, always is, always will be
bruised but brought healing,
pierced but eased pain,
persecuted but brought freedom,
dead and brings life,
risen but brings power,
and reigns to bring peace!
The world can't understand Him,
armies can't defeat Him,
schools can't explain Him,
leaders can't ignore Him,
Herod couldn't kill Him,
Nero couldn't crush Him,
new age can not replace Him,
Oprah can not explain Him away!
You remind yourself that
Life, Love, Longevity and He is the Lord,
He is Goodness, and Kindness, and Faithfulness,
and He is God!
His Ways are right!
His Word eternal!
His Will unchanging!
His Mind is on us!
He is our...
He rules our lives.
I serve Him because...
His bond is love,
His yoke is easy,
His burden is light,
and His goal for us is
I follow Him because...
He is the Wisdom of the wise,
the Power of the powerful,
the Ancient of days,
the Ruler of rulers,
the Leader of all leaders,
His goal is a relationship with me & you.
and NEVER cancel your appointment in His appointment book.
fall He'll lift you up,
fail He'll forgive you,
are weak He is your strength,
are lost He is your way,
are afraid He is your courage,
stumble He will steady you,
are hurt He is going to heal you,
are broken He will mend you,
are blind He will lead you,
are hungry He will feed you,
face a trial He is with you,
are persecuted He will shield you,
face problems He will comfort you,
face loss He will provide for you,
face death He will carry us all the way Home.
He is EVERYTHING for
and in every way.
He is your God and is Who you belong too!
Our Hearts Cry
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you... –James 4:8
“The value of consistent prayer is not that He will hear us, but that we will hear Him.”
During my Christian walk I have always pictured God as being far away, far beyond the realms we know but yet in His love knows everything there is to know about me. I picture myself as being removed from Him. Removed meaning that I was once with Him and He bestowed the gift of living on His creation to my soul in this body and desires nothing but the best for me. That feeling was secured by my 4 year old one day as he was telling my neighbor a story. He explained to her, in his very young age of trying to understand where we “come from”, that he was once my brother in heaven and we were together there. Now, I am his momma. The story he told my neighbor astonished us both but gave me a glimpse through the veil of what babies in their innocence know about being with our Father. He knew Jeremiah 1:5 when he was still so small.
What feelings are evoked when you read Jeremiah 1:5?
In 1 Corinthians 8:3, Paul writes “But whoever loves God is known by God”. We are so far removed from being in his presence that our heart only wants to be with Him. As we love Him more, we have more of a desire to please Him and begin to move about this life to work for Him. Our desire becomes that His love is so great; we cannot help but share it. When you are filled with the Spirit, the Helper, His Comforter you no longer feel the separation from Him. He will consume your thoughts and your day.
But when God, who set me apart from my mother's womb and called me by his grace, was pleased. Galatians 1:15
When trying to decide on a particular story to share for this study, the love story that kept coming to the front of my thoughts was The Bible. The Bible is the greatest love story ever written and each story in it is a depiction of God’s love and His desire for us to love Him.
In the book of 1 Kings we can read the story of Elijah. Elijah was so faithful to God. At one point in his story, Elijah builds an alter with 12 stones for the 12 tribes, he laid his sacrifice and drenched it in water. Elijah lifted his prayer to God and cried out that the people would know who to turn their hearts to and God sent a fire from the heavens straight to the alter that was so fierce that it burned everything it touched. The people saw God’s power and turned their hearts to Him.
Are there things in your life that are preventing you from turning your life complete over to God?
What are you turning your heart to?
Some of mine were my business, TV shows I loved, my husband, and more.
“A prayer reveals to souls the vanity of earthly goods and pleasures. It fills them with light, strength and consolations, and gives them a foretaste of the calm bliss of our heavenly home.” St. Rose of Viterbo
Read Proverbs 8
The Excellence of Wisdom
As I read this selection the words and depiction of wisdom crying out sound a bit like my own heart. My heart is crying out to know more about God and the more I know and understand the higher my voice is lifted.
Wisdoms call is brilliant, emotional, poetic and convincing. In Proverbs 8 the “wisdom” refers to wisdom that is an attribute of God Himself, going beyond understanding and right decisions. Wisdom invites all men and women to choose their path of life. She calls the foolish and simple because they need her most. Wisdom is available to all but acquired only by those who love her and seek her.
If you are doing this study, your heart is crying out to know God more intimately. Your deepest desire is becoming more and more to know Him. In one word, what is your heart crying out for?
In Billy Graham’s book: The Holy Spirit, he first discusses the two great spiritual needs…
One is for forgiveness
The other is for goodness.
There comes a time in our spiritual walk that we need to cry out to God for forgiveness. We feel our chest pounding, our face twist in anguish, and our voices we hear cry out. We have been feeling like we are dirty and that little light of Christ we may have in us is hidden and no one knows it’s there. There was a time recently that I had been feeling this way; that my light was hidden. I wrote during worship one morning these words.
“I must shrink my desires for the sake of others but be the smallest brightest light at all times. When you are cleaned up by Christ you become transparent so that your light can be seen and is amplified. Shed everything that you suffer from so that others can do the same. God heals! It’s because of Him my life is possible. It’s a miracle that healing happens, not science alone or God given intelligence. Healing in your marriage, home, finances, and health is what God wants to do. First you struggle, then your cry out and release your burdens, and then you receive the Promise.”
As I wrote this I kept picturing an old oil lamp and how dirty they get. But if you take the time to clean them up, refuel them and put in a new wick, they can light the way. Picture yourself as this oil lamp, it’s all dirty with smut and dust and hasn’t been cleaned in awhile. It doesn’t look completely useless, it just needs some care. So, you clean out all the cob webs on the inside, the smut from the smoke, the dust and grime and shine it up a bit. But then, you relight that flame and it burns bright, bright so that everyone can see you coming in the dark. The light of Christ is there, we just need to clean away all the fifth from our lives. Clean out those works of the flesh…
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousness, outburst of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you…” Galatians 5:19-21
“If you believe in Jesus Christ, a power is available to you that can change your life, even in such intimate areas as your marriage, your family relationships, and every other relationship. Unfortunately this power has been ignored, misunderstood, and misused. By our ignorance we have short-circuited the power of the Holy Spirit.” Billy Graham: The Holy Spirit
What my heart had been crying out for was the Spirit. I knew I loved Christ. I knew that God blessed me. I knew that I still felt that something was missing. I cried out to God to fill me up, I was his vessel and I reached out to receive but there was a problem. The problem was me.
During this study we will be reading God’s Word on the Promise of the Holy Spirit, the Promise Fulfilled, and receiving the Spirit. I do not choose to hold out on you how amazing it is to receive the Spirit.
Receiving the Spirit is personal for everyone; everyone feels something different and experiences something amazing, something so supernatural it seems out of this world. This is exactly what I would expect from my Father.
Pray that God open your heart to what you are about to learn and share with me. I am a student of the Holy Spirit always.
The Holy Spirit Promised
When Christ was with His disciples he was preparing them for what He knew was the end. His heart ached for them because He knew they would not understand. Can you imagine knowing your death and how you would speak to your loved ones concerning your death. Can you imagine the love that you would speak into them, the strength and encouragement you would give? Jesus went a step further and made a promise to them. Read John 16:5-7
What does Christ promise?_______________________________________________
The promise was based on the word of the Lord Christ. Notice that there are NO conditions attached. The Helper is not for some and not for others but for everyone. It was also necessary for Christ to leave us so that He could send the Spirit because with the Spirit all disciples could have His power. They would be more powerful on this Earth without Christ’s physical presence than when He was with them in the flesh.
The Promise Fulfilled
Jesus told his disciples he was leaving them for awhile and he did. He died a physical death on the cross and was buried. Can you imagine the doubt that overcame those men who had walked with Christ for so long? Unlike us, they actually walked with Christ in the flesh, saw His works and miracles, and heard His teachings and still the doubt flooded their minds. Praise our Heavenly Father that Christ was about to be glorified. 1 Peter 1:20,21
Wait for the Spirit to come.
This is the part we misunderstand. When we accept Christ and love Him and ask for Him to dwell within us it does not mean that the Spirit fills us completely or at all. There is a period of waiting. We must be ready to receive it and so the Spirit waits. We must be like the disciples, ready to lay down everything and go with Him. We must be willing to leave behind our selfish desires and allow the Spirit to fill us. In order to be filled, we must empty ourselves.
Acts 2:1-4 The Spirit came upon them. For the one for whom they were asked to “wait” had come! The good news: Now, the Holy Spirit is waiting on us!
Yesterday I sat down to write today's study and when finished I wanted to hit delete. Instead, I hit save instead of publish. A good friend once told me, "If it's of God, then He will make the path peaceful and easy". It makes sense; as long as I'm not going against His Will, I won't feel as if I'm swimming against the tide. So, that message from yesterday is sitting in cyber world, waiting for it to become what God wants it to be.
Today however, I was overwhelmed with the desire to leave my child's school and run home to my computer. He gave me a message and it has stewed within me all day.
Today I was at a middle school dance as a chaperon. I was actually excited about it because I was a substitute for a teacher and so I was getting paid to chaperon. The kids came in and the music started and I was standing to the side watching. After a few fun songs a different song played, the lyrics were familiar and the voice was sweet. I thought, "I've heard this song." All the kids ran towards the stage and started dancing like crazy. Then like a punch in the gut I realized what song it was. The song doesn't really matter but it is the nature of the song that has bothered me, it was the clean version being played. It's highly popular and the video shows a girl naked riding a metal ball. The song and artist will remain nameless. When I looked out at those children they were LOVING IT! What I saw was a whole generation of children who are young still and very much of this world. My heart broke into a thousand pieces right there.
I fought back tears. Yes, it's true! What went through my head was "NO!" Don't they know they are all special, don't they know that there is an evil world out there tainting their minds. I never considered myself one of those preachy women who shook her head at the music kids listened to or how they danced. I have become that woman. The funny thing is, I'm cool with it. However, I am not cool with the devil playing with our children. What struck me and truly brought tears to my eyes was thinking about how God must feel. Girls and Boys, not even pre-teen are worshiping the things of this world. They don't know how amazing God is and the goodness He has for us. In Exodus 32:17&18 reminds me of today. God had something amazing for the Israelites but their partying kept them from it.
God has something amazing for us too.
The accounts in Exodus are constant reminders of the good God has for us. Actually, the book of Exodus had a huge part in my personal transformation years ago. The story of God's promise and how we constantly keep ourselves from it amazes me.
Exodus = mass withdrawal, departure, evacuation, leaving
Kind of sounds like the Atlanta Hartsfield Airport to me.
Years ago I did my first Bible study all on my own: me, Bible, and God. It was directed specifically at healing my marriage that felt broken, "Meet Me In The Laundry Room" was born. I personally have completed the study, not once but, 3 times. Each time my marriage changed and grew. It is a personal study that was directed at my heart and one I plan to continue to improve upon. My marriage was renewed and is amazing. God is good!
Recently, God has been working on me about other things...
here's the story as raw and real as I can get.
My dreams are coming true. I am now a stay at home mom again.. I worked my direct sales business to the point that it exceeded my teachers salary and allowed me to come back home to raise my boys the way God intended me to do. Before, I was missing everything and it broke my heart so I came home. More importantly I felt like the one job God had given me I was failing at miserably because of a "career". These were my own personal convictions for my family and they were strong. So, I'm home now and I have all this time on my hands, what's a girl to do.
Well, I start a running group 3 mornings a week and sadly, start watching way too much TV while at home. This was NOT at all what I had intended. I let life get me down. Why? What? Say that again! Yes, I had my dream of being a SAHM again and I was failing at that! I folded clothes slowly during the day so I could catch up on shows on Netflix. In the mean time, I retreated for much of my week and became best friends with my love seat. I started letting people down in my business and THEN one day I went to here a girl speak about everyday idols in our life. I had an idol in my life and it was HUGE and it was letting me down.
The ladies conference I went to was set up, sold out, and planned JUST FOR ME! Kelly Minter was the guest speaker and did you know she drove all the way to my church from her home in Nashville just to talk to ME in that room full of other women! God sent her straight to me to pour into me what HE wanted me to hear. It was the most unreal thing I had experienced in a long time. My heart pounded as she spoke with love and conviction straight into my heart. I could not believe the words she said, she said them for ME. Then I looked around that sanctuary full of other women who sat quite and stunned and I realized...it was for them too. I bought her books and her CD's and took them home and put them on my night stand right along with other books I had been given recently.
God's conviction came down on my heart swift and fierce as I started slowing plowing through the first days study and first chapters of her book. I shared my findings and feelings with others and then popped in a CD. I listened to the days devotions over and over and over because each time I heard something new. That was because I listened to them all distracted by my day but still very hungry to hear them. Then one day something happened that changed my mindset and it was the most powerful day I'd had in a long time.
I had listened to an amazing devotion on that disc and the sweet voice kept saying "if, then" over and over. I glued myself to it and listened. Sunday morning was just the beginning of that powerful day. I walked into our church sanctuary and saw on the big screen
I think I stood with my mouth open during worship. All day God spoke to me about "if, then". "If I did this, then God would do that..." If I kept a clean house, then I would feel at peace. If I talked to more people, then my business would flourish. If I could lose more weight, then my life would be complete. Right? Does that sound anything like what goes through your mind? Do you think anything along those lines, like... If I did this, then my boss would respect me. If I buy this dress, then my friends will not suspect the debt choking us. If I don't pay this bill, then I can buy groceries. What ever your "If, THEN" is...mine was coming.
That evening after God had been showing me signs over and over that He heard my heart, I started reading in the book of Job. In the book of Job there is talk of silver and gold and how...God is my silver and gold. He directs even the lightening, the breeze that blows the flowers, He makes the waves crash on the shore and the sun give us light. I started feeling that there was something MORE, something I was missing, something BIG! Then the pastor preached about God's omnipresence out of Job. "Wow God! Really?" I thought in awe. At the end of the our church service I stood up and tears fell down my face because they couldn't stay swelling in my heart any longer and then it happened... In my mind I said. "Lord, if I am to go to your alter, then the preacher will say the right thing.(what ever that thing was)" As soon as I thought it I wanted to hit the floor. In hindsight I knew nothing the preacher said would have been right because my heart still had an over abundance of "if, then" and it only took that one for me to realize.
On the way home that evening I cried out to God right in front of my husband and kids in the car. God, show me! As I looked back down at my open Bible my eyes caught the scripture in Job that I had missed.
Surely then you will find delight in the Almighty
and will lift up your face to God.
You will pray to him, and he will hear you,
and you will fulfill your vows.
What you decide on will be done,
and light will shine on your ways. Job 22: 26-28
"God said to me, I am your Almighty...RETURN TO ME!" God was begging for me to return to Him. I was almost screaming, "I know I'm saved and love Christ but there is MORE." I know there must be something else, something I'm missing because I know GOD HAS MORE! I needed out of the dark place I had been for weeks. I needed the devil and his spirits of doubt and fear to stop rocking my world. I needed to return to the ONE who loved me and gave His Sons life for me. I was missed and He indeed had more!
So I prayed.
The next day I picked up a book off my husbands nightstand. One that was given to me by a friend in my life, the person who wrote it. It was given to me in Dallas after a church service back in August, this was October...why hadn't I opened it before? In this book the first message he wrote that caught my attention was "There is more!" I laid out prostrate, face down on my bed and cried out to God. It's all there. There it is, the MORE that God had for me.
He has more for you too.
This next Bible Study is for me, you can follow along but I will be sharing the amazing truth that God has already revealed and the more He has for us. Is it possible that this new study could be for YOU so that you can hang onto every word until God pours out the MORE He has for you straight into your life. I can not wait to share with you what God has opened my heart to in the last few weeks.
SCREAM! I had thought I turned on my alarm for this morning so I could go for an early morning run but I didn't and I just kept on sleeping. I however was happy for a minute when I woke up and it was just 66 degrees outside and I discovered I was 1.8 pounds from the goal I had set for myself before my trip this week. This week is a big week for us and I'm a little overwhelmed with everything that is about to go down. I have meeting this evening, football practice for the kids starts, a trip to Dallas, and I need to show my kids some summer fun daily and keep my house and laundry clean and make sure the bills get paid.
I got up, got dressed, drank a Spark, I put on my running shoes and headed to the track. My hamstring is still hurting but I ran anyway, sort of, I walked more than I wanted to and didn't go the distance so to speak. I got heated in the checkout line at Costco over the price of a watermelon plus I get heated shopping anyway. I felt super defeated as I heated up. My morning was turning out to be a big wash...pooey. A sad little run and no watermelon for the kids.
I pulled into the drive to see my husbands pile of car junk that he is working on and took a picture to post on social media with words of disgust. I did, and deleted it. The negativity is just pouring out today. I cried. I walked past the pile of new football gear, mountain of shoes, dirty dishes, and walked straight into my study and straight to my Bible.
Tearfully...sobbing actually...I called out to God for help. I'm overwhelmed by the sense that I'm not living up to my own expectations and just a big failure today. I knew I would read the scripture I needed as long as I asked for it. It's His Word that he uses to speak to me so I have no doubt that I will read exactly what I need to as soon as I opened my Bible. After a few twists and turns through scripture I came to 1 Peter 5:8-11
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because[a] your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 10 But may[b] the God of all grace, who called us[c] to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 11 To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
It was then that I realized that a roaring lion was trying to devour me today. Whew! I tell you it makes my heart pound knowing that there are women all over the world who are feeling just like me today. That we feel defeated, that we can not do it all right. That we fail as moms and wives. That we can never get ahead. That we will forever and ever be trying to find balance. It wasn't me failing, it was the evil one telling me I was failing..
Truth is we aren't going to do it all right...we are going to have "fail" moments. But let's go back and read that scripture again.
The only one that is telling you that you are a failure is the devil. He wants you to believe that it isn't okay to make mistakes, to mess up, to fall short...truth is. We all do it. We all have dirty laundry, piles of stuff laying around, dishes that forever need washing, coworkers that rub us the wrong way, cashiers that don't listen, gas lights that come on, muscles that ache, alarms that don't go off...it happens! That's life! While we are suffering for these days and feeling defeated God is looking down on us and saying "don't forget about Me".
So, as I lifted my head I said...thank you Lord! Today is going to be awesome! Thank you Lord for giving me renewal, for giving me hope, strength, and seeing me for what I am...a child of yours who just wants this life to lead me back to You.
As I'm sitting here...my alarm goes off at 12 (noon). Weird huh? Let's just say that was all in God's plan for today and that it's time to start my day again with a new perspective.
Prayers for you my friends.
I felt His calling this morning...So, I made the bed.
I brushed my teeth.
I got dressed.
I fixed breakfast...and I felt His calling.
Our Lord Father can be relentless huh?
So, I carried my breakfast, Bible and journal out on the porch this morning for some nurturing and nourishment. I sat down, plopped it all on the table, noticed the lovely bed of dirt across from me joining me for breakfast, counted my blessings, and began to read & write.
My Psalm today that from where my Bible opened and the one that caught my eye was Psalm 4:5-8.
At first I thought I was reading a little verse about sunshine and light and how great life is and then I backed up and read again.
5.Offer the sacrifices of righteousness..
Offer a sacrifice? Of righteousness?
Sacrifice...got it, I get that.
Righteousness...not got it, what's that?
When I think of how the world views righteousness today I think of "self righteous" people who take pride in the things they do, brag about how much better they are than others because they went to church Sunday, or maybe they belittle people who make more choices...whatever self righteous is, it's not of Christ. So, I guess I need a lesson in righteousness. Here were my thoughts from my journal.
Sacrifices offered from righteousness. Lord, show me how to offer righteousness with sacrifice. This very part of the verse was not initially the one that I thought was so special for today. Lately, I have had the thoughts...is it okay for me to have a glass of win in public? Are curse words really a big deal because sometimes I want to say them? Thoughts like these...and then I read Your verse. "Offer the sacrifice of righteousness..." Living a life of righteousness, goodness, and uprightness comes with a sacrifice. But what is righteousness? I so want to be . But the sacrifice is hard. That's why it's a sacrifice and I give it to You, right?
And the return rate is Your countenance, light, gladness, joy, I will lie down in peace and sleep in safety.
It just so happens Psalm 5 is a prayer for guidance. Isn't that just perfect. I literally choked up reading it. Especially..
"My voice You shall hear in the morning O Lord. In the moringin I will direct it to You And I will look up."
Wow. Just grab your Bible and start reading it. Starting my day with a little morning worship is truly going to lift my spirits. I'm going to be able to look up and know He has my day in His hands. That is the righteousness He speaks of...and more. But I'm still learning.
A little sacrifice of my time for Him is going to do me more good than not sacrificing the time and hurrying through my morning and day.
That brings be back to my questions and thoughts I've had lately. I know I have spent less time with Him lately, no excuses, I have none. Distraction is not an excuse and busy is being under Satan's yoke. But what about those other little questions I have? Well, He deals with us each individually? Do my Christian friends think less of me because I have a glass of wine sometimes at night or a cocktail on the beach while relaxing? Does it diminish His message and make me less useful to Him? Does saying a curse word do that too? If it does, no doubt, He will convict my heart. He will guide me. He will teach me about righteousness. He will take a look at my steps and if I need to be set upright and corrected, He will do it.
I always feel like I scratch the surface with my writing but I think all that means to readers is that He has a message for you that you need to dig for. That you need to hear from Him by spending time in His Word that was written for you today, at this very moment.
His message for me is burning right into my heart and couldn't possibly fit on a computer screen. It has to go out into the world and lift others, brighten days, rescue the weak.
So, I will leave you with this. I am going now to my Bible to continue reading, to seek guidance and to pray.
Just wanted to share a little clip of my life lately.
Oh and we only have a few more weeks and our Foster Parent paperwork will be run through.
A child's placement with us is about to happen. We are getting ready! Praise Him for that!
Repeatedly, this morning (and in the past months), I have read in my Bible about my "voice". I found that there is a great deal in Proverbs 1 & 2 especially. When I first started reading these scriptures, I started highlighting every time I read the word "voice". Example, Psalm 3:4
I cried to the Lord with my voice, and He heard me from His holy hill.
The Book of Psalm is full of words like these; Psalm 4:1 is another favorite.
Here me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have relieved me in my distress; Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.
Next to that verse I wrote: VOICE IT!
Pray with me...
Lord, you are keenly aware of any hopes that have been deferred in my life. Help me to put my hopes in You for You will fulfill my longings.
So, much as been on my heart for months. I constantly struggle to find the right balance between planning and designing the life I want and depending on Him to plan and design the life He wants me to have. Does anyone else struggle with this too? I am praying that He and I come to an agreement and that really means that I am in His Will.
I run my own direct sales business and I love it! I love it because it made such a radical impact in my life. It allowed me to leave a teaching career that was "not what I signed up for." It allowed me to come home to my 3 children and take care of their needs. I was able to do a great deal while working but there were times I knew I should have been there for my kids and the regret scorched my heart and sometimes broke my spirit. After I went back to work I kept saying, "all I ever wanted in life was to be a momma." I know many people want to be momma's but they LOVE being teachers, doctors, dental hygienists, case managers, etc.... Not me, I only really ever wanted to be a momma. I prayed when I was a little girl that God allow me to be here on earth long enough to experiences motherhood and He listened. Being a momma is my "job".
Sometimes, my prayers have felt like they are just words spoken too. Like they were meant for my ears to hear more than my Lord Father to hear. Why is that? It wasn't until I realized how very close He was, that He delights in leaning close to me that I started speaking to Him. My Lord Jesus, petitions for me so that I can walk and talk knowing that He is near. So, in January I started a list. I listed all the people I wanted God to bless. I listed all the circumstances I could so that I could be specific in prayer and boy have I seen Him work since being intentional. As many who read my blog know, one specific prayer that He answered was our questions about adoption.
He led us straight into Foster Care. We never dreamed that would be what His intentions for us. After writing about how clear He was in giving us direction, it seemed that many other things took a back seat for a bit. Including the business that brought me home. All the while I pray He strengths it. Sure, we still move about out daily lives but it seems like everyday is a full of tiny little steps and thoughts towards bringing our baby home. We've had support from friends and family and we've had people who literally shut us out; which I will never understand that kind of selfishness.
The journey since January 20th has been longer than I expected. Our IMPACT training classes started on February 7th and ended in March. We were hoping they'd have been completed in February. We have spent the better part of March getting all our paper work filled out: back ground checks, doctors forms, drug testing, appointments, phone calls, pet vaccinations...
Now, it's April and this has been the slowest of them all. They are assigning us case workers for our home study and I have 1 more class on the 25th to complete for CPR, First Aid, Safety, and Discipline, etc. I am having to miss a major business event this day and I PRAY that everyone understands the circumstances. There will be more chances to travel for work but only one day to get this done and finished.
My husband has lost time at work for doctors visits and testing, we've been working on the nursery, buying locking medicine cabinets, and making sure household chemicals are secure. I have been buying clothes and cleaning out closets. I have been reading and talking to people to help us be more prepared for what's coming. I'm not naïve as to the horror stories of foster care but that is all out weighed by my faith and trust in the Father.
The one thing I can say that has been my battlefield, where I feel attacked, is spiritually. The devil has been all over me and my marriage. Things happen, fights happen and then... you open your eyes and wonder what just happened. It is just like the evil one to attack those who know they are doing something for Kingdom. The worse fight my husband and I ever had in the 22 years we've been together happened in the midst of this journey. Words were said that only Gods grace can cover. The devil's attack was on me as my character and peace were diminished, but good always comes. It changed me. I am so grateful God put the tools in my hands that I needed immediately. He covered me with His hand and let me rest in a place of darkness for a bit while I let Him fight for me. Knowing that I have been protected and ushered back into the Light gives me a new hope. Being sifted in such a way as to bring up to the surface the things that needed to be removed. I prayed for sifting, to have my weaknesses exposed, I just didn't know how it would all happen and I'm glad it did.
While, I feel like this journey is private in some ways I also believe that I should give a "voice" to the experience. My hope is to be real enough that future foster or adoptive parents know what to expect and how to handle the spiritual warfare that goes on in the home. My voice lifts of prayers. My voice is heard by Him. I pray that my voice serves Him within the households of many families who believe in taking care for the innocent. I pray that His voice is sought after always.
Even as I come to a close on this post the devil is telling me to go back and chance my stance...I will not! God is all in this process and He can not be removed.
So many families are on the same journey we are. Their timeline and experiences may be different so I pray for their protection and for their sifting as well. I ask that you pray for our family as well.
If there is one thing I know, the more you walk in God's Will the more determined the devil is to get involved. I understand now why God allows him too.
Writing about this topic below is painful and scary to share. I pray now my dear one that if you are reading this, it gives you permission to ask God for help...to be complete in brokenness...to be sifted...to be healed. We are all broken together.
that is a word that has been surfacing so much lately. It is in music, it is in conversations, it is in things around the house, it is in the air.
This morning I was cleaning up the kitchen and putting away items and inside a basket was my favorite salt shaker...broken. I had dropped it full. It had been in 1 piece just as I liked it but now it lay in 4 pieces and I didn't have the heart to toss it. I reached in our kitchen junk drawer and pulled out the glue. I carefully pieced my little salt shaker back together. Almost like new. I filled it with salt and sat it next to the mate.
Last night I came home from helping a friend get her business started. I was exhausted. My FitBit read I had nearly 18,000 steps yesterday and 9 miles. As I reached up to turn my lamp off I noticed something odd. I then realized the bed was a good 5 inches away from the wall. The night stand nor the lamp had been moved. No one in the house could tell me how the bed was moved 5 inches. This large, heavy, king size sleigh bed had been moved. As the conversation went on my middle son revealed that my bed was broken on the left corner and was supported by a stack of children's books. I don't know how they got those books under there but what they didn't know as they were climbing over the front of my sleigh bed earlier that evening was that it had already been broken and repaired. I wanted to laugh and cry thinking about their little panicked hearts trying to hide the brokenness.
I fixed the bed, but not without dropping a box springs on the top of my foot not once but twice. (Ouch) It's not perfect or like new but it will work.
The night before last I was in the laundry room finishing up our laundry and the kids were running off to get ready for bed. I heard a cascade of dishes falling and breaking. My first thought was they somehow had knocked over my china cabinet full. When I rounded the corner my oldest son looked like a deer in headlights, my youngest was crying and my middle son was ready to bolt. A box of dishes I had meant to put in the attic and sat on my steps had been knocked off when my oldest tripped going up the steps. They didn't believe me when I said "It's okay, I'll clean it up. Go to bed."
Where was the screaming mom? Where was the mom that was going to lash out? What happened to that mom?
That mom had been broken long before the dishes. The brokenness came to a full head about a month ago. Yes, right in the middle of our journey to become foster parents. No matter how hard I tried to be a good Christian momma, friend, wife, daughter....no matter how many times I picked up my Sword of the Spirit and read my Bible my spirit was broken. For years I have felt that I was failing on the inside. I try so hard to look like I have it all together on the outside. My house, my kids, my marriage, my spiritual walk. When you are broken in your spirit and you try that hard, it's tiring and what surfaces is not pretty.
I know I am loved.
But am I ever going to be good enough?
I have found in recent days through much prayer and much sifting that this feeling of never being good enough in my spirit goes back to a hinge moment in my childhood. When I was little I didn't realize I was different, set apart. I thought I was just a little girl like everyone else. As an adult the devil has used that hinge moment to put fissures in my spirit constantly telling me the lie that I will never be good enough.
I had the ideal childhood. I was loved and protected and prayed over. However, little seeds were placed in me as a child. Seeds...words...hurt... There were times when I couldn't do well enough in school and I was made to feel less than others. There were times when my confidence level in myself was much bigger than those around me and they let me know. I felt stupid. I never felt like a kid that could achieve anything. I was terrible at ballet. I was terrible at tap dancing. I was terrible at spelling and the list goes on. I was told I wasn't smart enough for "college prep" in high school, that I couldn't handle the work load. I did it anyway, just fine. I have a masters degree now, go figure. All of the little seeds that took away my confidence grew rooting themselves deep into the fissures in my spirit. Like the roots growing through a sidewalk. Eventually it's not pretty.
There is that moment in my life when I realized I wasn't was not like the others. It happened in 2nd grade. I thought I was friends with everyone and had no enemy's. I loved everyone of my classmates. Then one day a friend invited me to my first ever slumber party. I was over the moon excited. I had never been invited before. A few days later she passed out invitations for real and that initial verbal invitation was found to be null and void. I sat among a group of girls who were opening their invitations and I didn't have one. That little girl who was having the party said, "sorry, mom said I could only have X number of friends over." OH MY HEART! How was I going to tell my mom that I had been "uninvited"? I didn't tell her. The night of the party I packed my things and mom dropped me off as 8 little girls stood in the driveway and starred me down...then it started....
"You weren't invited"
"Yes, I was. She told me I could come."
"Oh yeah, what did the invitations look like."
"I don't know but she TOLD me I could come before the invitations."
After a few minutes of being beaten with words and not backing down because my mom had already left me they gave up and played with me. I'm assuming that my friends mom told her it was ok and I was staying. I stayed up late played with the one girl who was ALWAYS nice to me even though she never really called me friend. I had rice crispy treats and I remember that because I don't think I had ever had them before because my brother having Juvenile Diabetes, we never had sugar in the house. It was heavenly and divine. That was the only part that was.
All those same girls always came to my slumber parties, every year. They still as adults always said mine were so fun because they were different than others. We went exploring in the woods, and played in clubhouses....no fancy girl stuff. Real life play outside stuff. Although, I was NEVER invited again to another sleep over. HINGE
From that night until this very second I live and breath it hurts.
Lots of other moments in life, to numerous to mention, caused that break in my spirit to grow bigger until that little crack was pure brokenness, fear, and ugly. Like the fissure...the crack...the broken sidewalk.
The devil uses them all. They are his foothold.
That brokenness was made complete about a month ago. It needed to happen. It's the only way to heal completely. If my little salt shaker just had a hairline crack I would have kept using it in its fragile state. Because it was broken completely I was able to repair it with a little glue. However, when God repairs...it's complete and perfect.
My brokenness came to a head one night. What started off as a fight and anger rushing through my veins led to my husband walking out the front door. I felt relief when he left. These moments were like a full sudden swing that came out of no where with words coming out of my mouth that I knew I didn't want there. I've always heard that when you are shaken, what is in you spills out just like shaking a cup of water. I constantly prayed about these moments. There was no rhyme or reason to them. When they were over I would pray and ask God for help but that night was different. After pouring my heart out to God my husband came home as I was about to go looking for him as it was past midnight. When I saw he was in the driveway I went out to his truck and as I walked out a flood of ANGER swept over me like no other. I won't go into details but let's just say at some point I pointed to my open Bible and screamed...."It doesn't work! No matter how hard I try. I'm done. I can't do THIS anymore." With all my heart I believe the devil is trying his best to break up the home of families who love Christ. He is doing everything in is might to assault marriages. I know God has a plan and if God has a plan then you better believe the devil has one also.
Confirmation of Broken...
I slept on the couch that night. The next day I moved about with a sick feeling. Heavy. Hurt. Broken.
A song on phone "Broken Together" by Casting Crowns caught my attention. A friend posted a picture on Facebook "Even broken crayons still color." I spent the day too sick to eat and busy moving my kids bedrooms around. I wasn't sure what the evening would look like when James came home from work. I ordered a book because it just sounded like something I needed to read. The title alone was how I was feeling. I mean, how can a girl who loves Christ so much do and say the things I had done and said?
When the book arrived I started pouring over it. In a matter of minutes I had my highlighter out highlighting the words that were describing exactly how I have been feeling and in the end. I knew!
I have been under attack. The devil has had a full out assault on me.
God is allowing him to break me. My Father wants to fix me.
God is allowing him to break me. I am God's.
God is allowing him to break me. I needed sifting. (Luke 22:31)
Beth Moore talks about "sifting" in her book 'When Godly People Do Ungodly Things." This book arrived with perfect timing. It was time for healing. Beth is very clear that this book is really only understood by a portion of believers. I understood it so well I marked every page. Not everyone who loves Christ is going to be assaulted by the devil like this. There is a full scale attack going on still. However, what I have noticed is that I'm not tolerant of some things and tolerant of others. There has been a shift in me towards healing. I'm not tolerant of being disrespected but I'm tolerant of accidents and mistakes that usually would have set me off. So I was sifted to expose my weakness and brokenness. God needed me to see where it really all stems from.
The reason I can not move ahead in my business is because of the hinge moment.
The reason I can not further His Kingdom is because of the hinge moment
The reason I have fear of rejection is because of my hinge moment.
The reason I use words as a weapon is because of my hinge moment.
The reason I stay hurt or angry is because of my hinge moment
Broken by a hinge moment, a fissure, that grew.
The devil tells me lies daily based on this hinge moment.
God choose to work through broken vessels.
Surrender it all to Jehovah Rapha!
My Lord of healing.
My beloved Father.
By His stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:4-5, Psalms 147:3
This whole situation of brokenness goes much deeper than this post. Brokenness means healing, means God can use me as a vessel, means He can fill me up, means He can pour out.... but first healing!
Last night my husband and I sat on the couch and talked.
I love talking to him.
Our conversations are usually me talking and him listening and in the end he gives amazing words of wisdom. I don't know how he does it. It's like he should be a counselor or something, even though I want him to be a chiropractor.
He puts things into perspective with one sentence.
He rubbed my feet and listened. The boys were noisy and wouldn't settle down to sleep.
We were distracted often but he sat and listened because he knew he needed to.
My heart was so full it was pouring out of me in the form of tears.
I first gave God all the credit..
See, years ago I started praying that God empty me. I was sick of "me" and what the world wanted me to be. My heart was selfish and ungrateful. I asked that He empty me and feel me up with Him. I wanted to be a vessel full of His goodness that I could pour out onto others. I wanted to be different. Maybe even weird. I was okay with that.
Then I wanted to be a light, I wanted Him to clean up my dirty, soot covered, dusty lamp. I wanted him to light His flame in my heart and I wanted it to shine. I wanted all of the dirty washed away so others could see Him. I imagined my light looking dim like one in a dirty oil lamp. I prayed for this cleansing.
On day in my private place that I spend time with Him, in a hot bath, I prayed. Tearfully prayed for God to show me the more that He needed me to see. I knew there was more, something I was missing. I closed my eyes and just spent time seeking Him. When it was all done my bathwater looked so dirty, like mud. I was shocked. Was I that dirty? Or had my perspective changed? Was I that dirty everyday?
After what seems like years of feeling dirty of the world I finally got it. Everyday, I go out into the world and get dirty with the world. So, everyday I feel the need to shower and wash to get clean and rest. My spiritual self needed the same thing. Everyday my spirit, my soul, goes out into the world and gets dirtied up by it. Everyday I need it to be cleansed away. Only He can do that. So I spend time with Him.
My conversation with my husband required that background information.
Then, last night as I sat at a little church service as a guest with a friend I had the privilege of hearing her testimony. The whole experience was like watching a flower unfold. It felt orchestrated for me by Him. For the last few months I have felt like I was wandering around a bit. Not completely in the dark but just not being able to see very far ahead. My purpose feels as though it is hiding in a fog.
It started with the pastor speaking. I had never laid eyes on the man before but I knew his voice. I spent the entire time he was talking trying to figure out where I knew him...my mind said "radio". Okay, but from what I wondered.
Then a lady I had recently met, we will call her Jane, stood up and shared a bit of a testimony leading up to my sweet friend. She shared that my friend had given her a devotion and then she came along with her to a Bible study that had changed her. My eyes widened.
Then my friend, we will call her Beth, was introduced and she showed her video testimony but there was more. As she started speaking and opening up God's word I started feeling like a beam of light was on me. This wasn't my night to shine, to share, this wasn't for me. Or was it? Beth spoke of a friend who told her about the devotion she shared with her friend Jane. She told of a friend that had told her given her a Psalm to read at a moment of confusion and frustration. She told of how that Psalm changed her and her experience was so beautifully orchestrated by God. As a result she has been abundantly blessed beyond her dreams.
Later Beth's friend Jane told a few ladies that her friend, we will call Joelle, who had attended the Bible study with her had started the same study at her church. Joelle had 15 women in that study who were being greatly blessed. Jane was going to start it at hers too.
Then Jane, pointed at me.
There's that spotlight shining right on my heart.
She said..."Because of you."
No, no, no! Not because of me...because of HIM!
See, last night was a gift my Lord Father knew I needed.
To see the fruits of His Spirit.
To see that His light was shining through me to grow others out of darkness.
Like seeds of fruit planted in the dark earth, we need sunshine to grow.
He wanted me to see fruit.
I quickly told of how the book from the Bible study came into my possession. I told of how when I opened it I felt as though the author wrote it for me for that particular time in my life. I started reading it the day before my Granny passed away. The first chapter discussed death and the gaping tear in our hearts it causes. The first chapter held my name...Aimee. The first chapter was for me at that very moment and my Father knew I would need it because the next morning I learned my Granny had passed away.
That book turned into THAT Bible study in my living room. I was in awe of the variety of sweet souls that attended. It was all Him! He brought us together.
I had been reading the devotion I recommended for my friend Beth that she shared with Jane.
I had been reading Psalms that morning she text me with her frustrations...I prayed because I had no answer but God did. So, I simple text Psalms 51. She found Psalms 51:7 and God made it personally hers.
As my friend Beth unfolded her very private story of her relationship with Christ, I saw that God had been using me as a vessel like I had asked Him to, as a lamp like I had asked Him to,. He knew what she'd need. He knows what we all need.
As I sat on the couch telling my husband all of this he said...God showed you the fruits.
Yes! That's exactly right.
I almost feel like sharing this my squelch what God has going on by revealing it because it seems so secret until it's seen. I pray not. I pray that He continue with His blessings. I pray that He continues to find ways to use me.
I shared with my husband that for so long...
my only desire, ever, was to be a mother.
It's so deep within me.
Nothing could take or change that feeling for me.
It's not a "job", it's a deep, deep desire.
So, then I shared that I don't think God is done with me as a mother.
Unlike many other mothers, their babies get older and they continue to pursue a life passion, a career, or something other than mothering that stirs them. A different passion. For me, that is not the case.
I became a teacher because it was the closest thing I could thing of to "mothering" to do as a career.
I prayed for my babies before I was even old enough to have babies.
So, God is lifting the fog.
My purpose will come into focus.
God is going to help me fulfill my purpose.
He has a plan.
I have a purpose until I take my last breath.
I am a mother.
My purpose is to mother mine...and others.
Little ones need a mother.
I am a mother.
There are lost children who feel unloved.
There are children who don't have a mother.
I am a mother.
I have lots of prayer and guidance to seek.
Adoption is still on the table.
Foster care is now on the table.
It goes without saying...
I am a mother.
See, all these things are just seeds and fruits.
Seeds and fruits.
My purpose is to plant the seeds and see the fruits.
Where I plant and what I plant is up to Him.
How I plant and when I plant is up to Him.
The Spirit leads!
I can go back and see the fruits now from the seeds of then.
There is not instant gratification.
The gratification comes...my soul is purposeful.
So is yours.
You call me out upon the waters (Psalm 29:3, Matthew 14:28-29)
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery (Colossians 2:2-3)
In oceans deep my faith will stand (Matthew 14:30-31)
I will call upon Your Name (Psalm 116:2, 4, 13, 17, Lamentations 3:55-57, Joel 2:32, Matthew 14:30, Romans 10:13)
And keep my eyes above the waves (Matthew 14:30)
When oceans rise (Genesis 7, Psalm 46:1-3)
My soul will rest in Your embrace (Jeremiah 6:16, Matthew 11:29, Luke 15:18-24)
For I am Yours and You are mine (Song of Solomon 6:3, Song of Solomon 7:10)
Your grace abounds in deepest waters (Psalm 42:7, Romans 5:20, 2 Corinthians 9:8)
Your sovereign hand will be my guide (1 Chronicles 29:11-12, Job 42:2, Psalm 31:3, Psalm 73:24, Proverbs 16:9, Philippians 1:6)
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me (Matthew 14:30)
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now (Joshua 23:14)
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders (Matthew 4:1, John 14:16-17, John 16:13,Romans 8:14, Galatians 5:16-18)
Let me walk upon the waters (Matthew 14:28)
Wherever You would call me (Genesis 12:1, 1 Corinthians 7:17)
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander (Exodus 14:21-22, Ezekiel 47:1-9)
And my faith will be made stronger (Romans 4:19-20)
In the presence of my Savior
I was so excited to get to got with my son on a field trip today with his class. It was absolutely a joy. When it was over I came home to clean up and wash away the filth from the farm. I couldn't believe the time when and then just now, I was praying..."Oh Lord it's almost time for those boys to get off of the school bus and I'm afraid I will not have time for you today." My prayer immediately was directed back to some study notes I had written just the week prior to today about God and time.
Recently, I went for a run along a creek bank. The trail was stunning and peaceful but as I was running I found I was praying. My desire to feel the presence of good was so strong that I didn't know what to do. Should I just keep running or should I stop. The verse "Be STILL and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10 rushed through my head, I found a quite rock, turned my face to the sun and prayed. I wanted nothing more than to receive His Spirit.
When I was done I was heading back and I knew I need to hurry, I had a mile and a half left and I figured only about 15 minutes left on my run if my judgement was correct. That meant I would probably be late. I looked at the time on my phone and could not believe my eyes. It was as time had stopped. I felt I had sat for an eternity (or a long time) and let the sun shine down on me, warm me over and feel His Spirit wash over me. So, when I realized I had about 30 minutes still, I started running again.
Something happens when I run and spend time in prayer. My thoughts become so directed towards Him that I feel I no longer have my own thoughts. I was still in awe at the time when the thoughts came tumbling forward towards my mind.
Time is in His Hands.
He is the beginning and the end.
My Father was from before time.
God does not operate on our time or schedule.
There is a time for everything.
He has the power to stop it...
to stop time,
to move it forward,
to slow it down...
We concern ourselves much to often with our own time. We do not carpe diem.
I remember those days.
Dried jelly stuck to the kitchen floor under the table.
High chair smeared with last nights dinner.
Smelly bibs stacking up in the laundry.
The diaper pail that is never empty.
I remember those days.
Tiny socks with no mates.
Baby powder all over the dresser.
The child that is sick that needs rocking.
Tiny outfits with tiny accessories.
A camera catching almost every moment.
I remember those days that you are experiencing.
Working a job and juggling car seats.
The way cereal never stays in the bowl.
Pop Tart mornings smeared in the hair.
Sick nights and stained carpets.
Missing appointments and forgetting to cook dinner.
Fights with your spouse over whose turn.
Some days seem to drag on when you're at home with your child. Some days you look up and wonder where yesterday went. You spend time making sure you have the right car seat, stroller, diaper bag. You give up on doing dishes at the end of the day. Ponytails and yoga pants are a daily norm. Unless you're dad and ball caps and sweats are the norm. Working moms are always in a hurry and time ticks faster at home.
I have been a work from home mom, a work away from home mom, and a stay at home mom.
I have missed moments and
I have whisked moments away.
I captured important moments with my lens and
I didn't take time to notice some.
Today I was packing away memories that were brought home from my Grandmothers empty house.
I gazed into the eyes of my children staring back in the photographs and paused.
Suddenly, I was choking.
I was trying so hard to swallow.
Tears streamed down my face, chin, neck, chest...
They splashed on the table cloth, the frames, and caught in the hollow of my neck.
When I was a little girl I prayed.
I believed with all my heart that God would allow me to have babies.
I wanted nothing more in this life than to be a mother.
He blessed me three times.
With three sons.
Their baby toys are mostly gone except for a few I saved.
Only a handful of outfits and blankets they wore and were wrapped in are boxed away.
The tiny beds are gone.
Older pictures are replaced by newer ones and they are off to school.
To the mom or dad with the toddler and the baby and the growing children...
Kiss their faces.
Smell their bellies.
Stroke their ears.
Record their laughs.
Capture the moments.
Save the hand prints.
Fold their tiny clothes slowly.
Say "no" to busy.
Say "yes" to snuggles.
Be okay with messy for awhile.
Yes, they cry.
Yes, they scream.
Yes, they destroy like a hurricane.
Yes, they are precious.
To the mom or dad with the children...
They are growing into themselves.
Speak life into them.
Tell them they have purpose.
Show them the little things are important.
They feel little...they are important.
Listen to their words.
Feel their breath in whispers.
Watch their eyelashes flutter in sleep.
Rescue their "lovies".
Kiss their wounds.
Let them cry it out sometimes.
Be thankful for their trails of dirt.
Yes, they are sleepless.
Yes, they are hungry.
Yes, they love you.
I was that mom who needed someone to show her the beauty from time to time.
I was that mom who didn't want to see there was beauty from time to time.
I was that mom that stayed busy
I am that mom who misses their smallness.
I miss their innocence.
My husband almost missed it all.
So, pick them up and dance.
The moments don't last, they don't stick around.
Time ticks on and we grow older.
They do too.
Here are a few (or many) scriptures I love for my tired self...I hope they lift you as well.
Matthew 11:28-29 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Psalm 62:1 “Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him.”
Psalm 4:8 “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.”
Psalm 127:1-2 “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to those he loves.”
2 Thessalonians 3:13 “And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.”
Romans 12:11 “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.”
Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”
I Kings 8:56 “Praise be to the Lord, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses.”
Jeremiah 31:25 “I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.”
Hebrews 12:12-13 “Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. Make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.”
Isaiah 40:29 “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”
Psalm 68:35 “You, God, are awesome in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God!”
Romans 8:26-28 “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.”
Colossians 1:29 “To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.”
Psalm 73:26 “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Hebrews 4:16 “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.”
Psalm 119:114 “You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.”
Philemon 1:20 “I do wish, brother, that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ.”
Psalm 18:31-32 “For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.”
Psalm 62:5 “Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.”
Proverbs 3:24 “When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.”
Exodus 33:14 “The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
Psalm 46:10 “He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
Philippians 4:13 “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
I love fall!
I think my favorite part of fall is that I get to wear boots, leggings, scarves, hats, and cardigans.
I do love the pretty colors in the trees and how everything seems to start to settle down in nature.
My wardrobe over the years as become one of many layers.
I wear my cotton T-Shirts year round under layers of sweaters or cardigans.
I wear my shorter knit skirts and dresses with leggings.
I love fall! I love this season of the year best of all!
My times are in Your hand... Psalms 31:15
Season. The word season from the Latin world serere - to sow, and satio - sowing. With a later derivative in Old French seson
Sowing, to sow, season.
A season of sowing. As I looked more deeply into this "season" of life and the meaning, I ran across the origin of the word and that put pause on my writing. Pause long enough to let the imagery of sowing seep into and blend in my mind with my understanding of season.
As I pictured each season with its heat, warmth, coolness, cold; I also pictured sowing. Do the ones who tend gardens year round sow seeds year round? Yes, they do. They sow spring seeds, summer seeds for summer and fall harvests. They sow fall and winter seeds for winter and spring harvests. Always with the intention to harvest.
To sow, to scatter seeds among the earth with the intention of a harvest. To secure a future for a harvest the seeds must be scattered and buried in the earth at the the right time, in the right place, in darkness.
Read Matthew 13:3-8
During this time in my life the season is changing and so are the seeds.
About a week ago I had some girl friends over to my house for a Bible study that we started and there was such a diversity among us. The seasons in life of each girl was how we were most diverse.
My Titus women friends whose kids are grown and now they are raising grand babies or the one who has lost a child and has an ailing husband. My new mommy friends with their toddlers or are pregnant now. There's also the friends that are in the same season of life that I am.
So I started noticing and one day it hit me...
right about the time I went to my yearly doctor visit...
I'm no longer in the season I used to be in.
The breastfeeding book lay on the doctors counter. Pregnant women in the waiting room. Questions about my intentions of growing a family.
I suddenly started feeling as if a door was closing on a part of my life, as if it was not a part I could walk through again.
I thought about my 20's, going to college, getting married, having my family.
My 30's are going to be coming to a close soon and I've been raising my kids.
Back to college.
Back to work
Dealing with middle school stuff of one of my children.
Learning to lean into God and press into my husband too.
Taking care of my health and putting some focus on me.
So much has changed since my twenties. I fight it sometimes.
I still want to adopt a girl into our family.
I still think I'm 26 apparently as I wrote it on a doctors form.
I am now at a time in my life that I'm sure many women or moms do come too.
That door is shutting.
That season is changing.
Sure I've kept some of their baby toys in the attic, outfits that were precious to me but I'm letting go.
I'm no longer holding on.
When did the letting go happen?
This morning as our kids were pulling on jackets and grabbing up backpacks they were happily bouncing off to wait for the bus.
I stood across the kitchen from my husband and smiled.
My boyfriend, my high school sweetheart, my lover, my friend...
I asked "Can you believe we made those guys?"
I'm in awe all of the sudden, in a whole new way, by the miracles before me.
The love of my life smiled, stepped across the room and took me in his arms.
It's a miracle how two makes one. How two become one.
I'm approaching a new season, not quite letting go of the old one yet.
I'm still harvesting from the last season but it's time to sow new seeds for the future.
To clean out the mess of a life's garden to make room for new growth.
To prepare for the new season, the next harvest, a future.
In their shell of darkness, each "seed", each moment and decision, I plant for the future has a life waiting, ready to grow. Ready for it's time to emerge and itself produce.
The new season of me in this life is leading to something beautiful, I can feel it.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven Ecc 3:1
I am not sufficient.
I look at the perfectly blue, cloudless sky and feel so small.
I'm looking up with tears on my face, looking for an answer.
I am not sufficient.
I have sat at my desk today balancing budgets, paying bills, telling my money were to go and frustrated. There is a number on my sheet that I wish wasn't there. There is a number that will move from my budget to my check register and I wish I didn't have to have it. I know many, many parents who feel the same way.
Our children are our responsibility and years ago before my middle son was conceived I prayed for another baby. I wanted a big family and we tried for years to have number 2. One night I laid prostrate out on the bed, not in tears for a new baby but in tears of worry.
That night I gave my first son back to God and saying "I am not sufficient but You are. Watch over my son when I can not, he is Yours not mine. I am just his caretaker while he needs me to be." A month later we were in awe to find that I was pregnant with our second baby. That is not a coincidence. I believe these two events in my life are connected by an eternal Father who was waiting on me to give back to Him and trust Him fully.
This baby boy was born and all circumstances surrounding his birth can be traced back to complete miracles. Nothing was left out of the miracle touch, not his name, not the date, not the year, second, or even the room number he was born in. Everything about this child was a miracle.
Around 2 years old he was still not talking and and participated in at home speech therapy. By age 3 he was riding a little school bus to speech therapy locally and by 5 he was starting Pre-K and had graduated out of speech. Then 1st grade...struggles started and in 2nd grade we found out he was legally blind in one eye and now in 3rd grade his attention and focus are so bad that I'm hurting for him.
So much makes sense now and my intuition always directed me towards a processing disorder... in 3rd grade it was revealed through testing that he indeed had a processing disorder...but which one?
Auditory Processing Disorder
It felt good to finally put a name with what it might be but we need an official diagnosis.
In the meantime...I am not sufficient.
So sitting in my figures of bills and expenses is this number that is looming...it's the price for a prescription. It breaks my heart. I know it will help him focus. He's had it before.
God will provide an answer but in the meantime...
Homework is a struggle.
School work is incomplete.
He doesn't understand directions.
Focus is nonexistent at school
I get calls from the school.
Emails go back and forth from me to the teacher
Meetings are scheduled
Phone calls to doctors for help.
Trips back to doctors offices.
Compared to others who I know are grieving for their children's health this is not a big deal.
But comparison is not an option.
Comparison is inevitable.
Compassion is next.
"And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them." Mark 10:16
The little children and Jesus have a special bond.
My son does not worry unless we worry him. He walks blindly through his struggles, knowing they are there but trusting it will all be okay.
That each day will continue to turn over into the next.
That he will still be a child.
He comes home to a safe place were this problem is not seen.
That sweet boy plays with his toys in full concentration, building and exploring, creating and experimenting. It's only when we enter his world and bring our expectations that he is different.
I stand in awe when I am near him. He is a genius in his own mind. His world makes perfect sense to him.
Ours does not.
He can't understand our expectations and is frustrated when he can't meet them.
We work quietly together.
I start the laundry, put everyone else in the bed, and we work.
We work close together to make sure he is understanding.
A piece at a time, a little at a time he understands and remembers or gets it as new.
When he gets it, he gets it in his own way.
“But she came and worshiped him, saying, Lord, help me” Mark 15:25
I am at His complete mercy when it comes to my children.
I was given these sweet souls to raise up.
He gives and He takes away.
Two words: "Help me."
Many times lately before entering a conversation or situation I find that these two little words precede the moment. I know I am not sufficient that I will not say or do the right thing without His guidance.
"Help me, O Lord, my God..." Psalms 109:26
Everything inside of me is trusting God through this.
My sons plight will not define him.
God's love and grace and mercy will.
I am not sufficient.
Thank you, Lord.
I choke all the time.
I choke on my words.
I catch myself trying to say something out loud and shake my head and the words don't come.
Give me a pen and a piece of paper and I can "speak".
It wasn't much to long ago, about a year, that I began praying about my words. They never seem to come out right. Someone asks me a question and a choke. I try to explain something and I choke. I can not for the life of me figure out why it's so hard to speak out loud.
I don't have any problem talking to my kids or husband but still, sometimes, things don't come out right.
I feel like the less I say, the better off I am. My words seem to twist in the air as the come out and by the time they reach someones ears that don't seem right. I don't know what is happening or why or if I just noticed and it's always been this way.
If I'm going to speak it needs to be well thought out and planned. Words don't seem to work for me if it's not been thought about, pondered over, or regurgitated before. If that's the case, they come out beautifully.
I have found that I am in much more deep thought lately about my purpose and life.
We all have a purpose...that means I have a purpose, my husband has a purpose, my kids have a purpose and not one single part of me believes our purpose is just to exist but that we have a job to do.
Lately, I have been struggling with what job that is for myself. Maybe it's because my kids are growing up and they need me in different ways and maybe a little less than the previous year. Maybe it's because I have noticed a shift in those people who I call friends over the years. Maybe it is because what I thought was my purpose turned out to be someone else's but definitely not mine.
If there is one thing that has been a secret passion of mine, it is that from time to time I find a connection that pricks my heart strings and resonates through my soul. That connection is usually in something I read. What that means is that an author, somewhere at sometime in this world was writing and had something on the heart. They put it down and out for the world and let a piece of themselves float around from person to person in hopes that it pricks their hearts and eventually someone like myself discovers that piece and a connection is made.
I believe that an author and a reader have a special connection but two things need to happen for the connection to ever exist...the author has to write
& the reader has to read.
While waiting for the Lord, write. Be strong and take heart, and keep writing for the Lord. — Psalm 27:14
I'm learning and as I learn new things something inside me swells and I want to share what I discover but I don't know how and then I question, is it worth sharing, and then as time passes, I feel it must not be important for someone else, and eventually it is forgotten.
Oh that my words were written with an iron pen on a granite tablet so my story could be read forever. — Job 19:23–24
OH, is that it! Is it my responsibility to sit and write? Is it my responsibility to share? Do I have anything inside me that the world wants to hear? As I sit here in a corner home office with the sunset streaming through the window as my only light source I am typing on a screen. It is peaceful in my house, the kids are helping themselves to dinner prepared. I wonder, is this my happy place? Is this were God intends for me to express my words. Not from my mouth but through my finger tips. Am I to take what I have written in journals and studied in books and move them to a place were others can read...where others can connect.
God’s word is a lamp that lights my writing journey. — Psalm 119:105
Then I ask...me? Really, me? Who am I?
Just like you, I was created.
I am loved.
I am thought of.
I am cherished.
The great I AM resides within me, provides for me, loves me, thinks of me, cherishes me, and He inspires me.
So, I will write what is in me. Not for anyone in particular, just because it's in me. It's there. It's brimming and ready to pour out but if I don't pour it out, God will not continue to fill. I have to be willing to pour out what He is pouring in and willing to let it flow beyond the brimming. I asked Him years ago to let me be a vessel, an empty basin that is hollow and void to be filled and used until I was brimming over.
I write honestly from my heart, seeking to make the truth known. — Job 33:3
If God is our helper when we write, the stories we build cannot be in vain. — Psalm 127:1
When I ponder what to write about, I remember the plights of my past and why I now give you praise. Then I reveal your glory by showing how you've worked in my life. — Psalm 143:5
"What will a life magnify? The world's stress cracks, the grubbiness of the day, all that is wholly wrong and terribly busted? Or God" Ann Voskamp
About 3 or 4 weeks ago I took my son to the chiropractor after he took a spill down our steps and was complaining of his hurting tailbone. While I was there I tried to strike a conversation with a lady next to me who was holding a beautiful book. Because it had bird eggs on the cover I immediately was interested in knowing more. She introduced me to the book and I immediately whipped out my Kindle and downloaded a sample of it to remember it for later. The day before my Grandmother passed away I began reading my sample and ended up downloading it and a few others that had been on my list. As I began reading it, I realized it was going to be a special journey just for me.
My first clue was that I found my name, Aimee, in the first chapter. Intriguing. Then as I read I realized that this book had been introduced to me on purpose. Not by the beautiful young lady in the chair that day but by the One who knew I'd need it.
Within a few days of my grandmother passing away I found myself making time to read more and more. How she described the feeling of losing a loved one was exactly how I was feeling. It gave me permission to feel that way and at times, gave me hope that the book held the key. More and more I was convinced that our Lord Father wanted to make sure that the message this book held was placed in my hands. That thought alone was overwhelming.
So I read and you should too, One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp. As I read I started paying attention and as a result I am learning to be thankful in everything...even a spent bowl of cereal is beautiful to me know. So many blessings unfold when I am giving continual thanks. Simple gratitude.
If you would like to join me in recording my blessings and gifts I am doing so through my IG account http://instagram.com/homespun_mom and if you'd like to folllow me I'd like to follow you and see the blessings and gifts you encounter. If you don't have an IG account, they are worth having. Be sure to use the hashtag #1000gifts
Good grief! It's a phrase that I have heard used and used myself many, many times. It's almost never used in a positive way. Actually, I think this will be the first time I use it for good.
Grief by itself is very lonely and painful. It's empty and dark. There is no happiness there but...but, if you pair the word "grief" with "good" it can mean something so tender and precious it will steal your heart and knit together the open wound or tear in your life that has been caused by absence or loss that created that void to begin with.
Out of frustration we may throw our hands on our hips and call out "good grief" when the kids make a mess, the husband makes a mess, the dog makes a mess....you know where I'm going. "Good grief!" There IS another kind of grief. The good kind.
On Sunday morning I woke up when my husbands phone rang. It was early in the morning, not even daylight. I knew by the conversation that it had happened. That one of my dearest loved ones, one of my sweetest friends, one of my babies cherished love, had gone to be home with our Lord Father. In the dark hours of the morning my grandmother rested so completely that her sweet soul and mighty spirit were lifted away into the arms of the One who loves her most. I knew by the conversation I was hearing that my day was going to be much different than I had planned. I knew right then that grief was starting to lay over me like a heavy blanket. I didn't open my eyes, I just listened.
I knew before the phone rang something in my life would be different. Just before the phone rang I had been dreaming I was at my grandmothers house just next door and every one was there except her. The doors were wide open the window blinds had been rolled up, and everyone was moving about as I stood in the kitchen watching and feeling something empty. Her things were being divided up and the things I wanted most were being carted off but I didn't care. I just stood there listening to conversations and discussions, wishing with all my heart I was not a witness to this part of life.
It was a dream.
My grandmother had fulfilled every purpose God had for her and He called her home, ushered there by her angel. Good grief it hurts. Good grief there's so much pain. Good grief I miss her.
Yes good! Goodness! We were surrounded by so much grace and love that how could we not feel anything but good. We were loved on, hugged on, kissed on, and loved on some more. Good was all we could feel at times. We would stop...and think...and remember...and good was no longer a good word for how we felt. We all felt it.
So tonight as I was praying and leaning into God, pressing into Him, pouring out my heart, He leaned down and listened. My Jesus took me in His arms and said to me, it's okay. Grief is part of the healing, it's good. Grief is meant to be felt immediately. The pain is relentless in being noticed right away. So the grief stings, it bites, it wallows around, it plays hide and seek when you least want to, it speeds you up and stops you in your tracks. I'm also convinced it sits on your chest so you can't breathe...but when the tears come and you let go of the grief and let the tears flow, something happens. Release! We give that grief permission to be there but we take control tear by tear.
So as I remember why I'm grieving I learn to love the grief. The grief is good. It means I loved and was loved. It means that the tear in my life's canvas and emptiness can be knitted together. It means I must press into my Father God. It means I get to comfort my babies too. It is not all bad. It is good.
Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Missing you with all my heart my sweet Granny.
I remember a time not to long ago when I had just had my third baby and a friend knocked on my door. When I opened it I was completely surprised! She said "I heard you had a baby." I hadn't seen or talked to her the entire pregnancy and that was before Facebook and gender reveal parties. It was my 3rd boy so I didn't have a shower to invite anyone too. Actually, number 3 caught me by surprise. It was that knock on the door that changed my life.
I realized then that I had become a "recluse" of sorts. I had a new born baby and I wasn't going anywhere. We had just recently stopped going to our church for the same reason that many people do. She was coming to find out if I had any maternity clothes she could borrow and I sold her three tubs worth for nearly nothing because I was DONE. She invited us to church and we went and it was exactly what I needed.
Fast forward to this morning. A great many things has happened in the last 6 years. I have gotten a degree, started a blog, went back to work, came home from work, lost weight, made friends and more friends. This morning I was in awe of what God has done in my life. I'm a stay at home mom again with other stay at home moms who are coming home to their babies or simply contributing to their families. I'm more involved at church and I feel free.
There is this little part of me that still wants to hide in my corner and watch the world go by. I just can't do that, I have to get up and fight despite my fears. Everyday is a new day and some days are easy. Some are hard.
Just look at what I've got. I want to see more pictures like this. More pictures of friends who have made a REAL connection here on earth. Who love each other and appreciate what we all try to accomplish each and every day.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work; If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!
I love my girls!
You see dirty socks, I see a story. Today is laundry day for my husbands dirty clothes. He doesn't have much to wash each week but every week I go out to the garage and pull this basket off the shelf. It's full of dirty, grass covered socks. The socks serve a purpose and are essential when lawn care is part of your mission to "debt freedom". His dirty socks each week are a reminder to me that I have a hard working husband who will do whatever it takes to provide for his family and more.
We began living a different life with a different mindset less than 2 years ago. People don't understand it and that's okay. We cut up credit cards and began paying off debt from the highest interest rates and lowest payments first. We snowball debt. We've gotten laser focused, made mistakes along the way, but we are trying. As of result we've paid off nearly $30k in debt and still working at it. Consumer debt gets out of hand when you are borrowing Peter to pay Paul and wanting more "things" than you truly deserve to have or earned...or saved for.
However, every single time I go to the garage and pick up this basket of socks I want to cry. My husband LOVES mowing yards, he would tell you that he always has. He would tell you if he could he would do it all year and never work for anyone but himself. Then Monday came and he was home with us all day...and wished he didn't have to get on his mower or go to work the next day. See, what it boils down to is that truly he would not do this if he didn't have too. He would spend his evenings with our kids and with me. He would not be running all over creation mowing yards and coming in dead tired every night. I love a hard working man and he is one.
He just came in from work and said..."Okay, I gotta go to work." I said...."We are going to see Granny." His response sadly was..."I should probably go see her too but I've gotta work." He's making a quick sandwich and heading back out in the heat with clean white socks. I found a way to bring myself home from my job because my kids needed me and I was missing everything working 50 plus hours a week. My means, it will bring him home too. He might tell you he'd never stop working but I'd like to think he could have more options. Our "time debt" is stealing our life away minute by minute. My purpose in life is greater than debt of any kind. I love teaching and education and I believe God will use my background in some significant way in the future, maybe sooner rather than later, maybe not. I love teaching but my purpose is bigger and I needed a means bigger to get me there If what I have found wasn't meant for us, it wouldn't have worked for us, AND is why I believe it has worked for many others. Still, it is providing more than we imagined already in less than 2 years, and we've only just begun. It's just a means to an end...a vehicle to allow us to live more purposefully. Our purpose, fulfilled, is going to be amazing to watch unfold.
Until that day, we are marching arm in arm to debt freedom and some day I won't have to keep a basket in the garage for his dirty socks.
The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:77
And so, we work.
We look after each other.
We take care of our own.
We talk to the creditors.
We make payments.
We don't worry.
Today I was going about my business (literally working) and while talking on the phone I received a text. When I finished my call and I went to read it. Just the first little bit startled me. Then my phone rang, it was my friend who had sent the text and I answered.
As my friend told me about a series of events and how the played out over the weekend, my heart broke for her with each turn of the story. At the end, ultimately, she was safe and sound at home and talking to me. It felt like I was a million miles away from her because I could not reach through the phone and hug her. She has been my best friend for so long and is that friend that you can not hear from for months and be okay because when you talk again it's like you never missed a beat. She is that kind of friend to me.
I love her. I hurt for her when she hurts and I cry for her when she does. I rejoice with her when times are good and happy and joyful. Circumstances and distance do not mean a thing when you love someone so much because you make a way You are okay that you are apart but can't get enough hugs and conversation when you get to see each other.
Today the story that played out was devastating and something that no woman should have to endure short of losing a child. Every woman's body belongs to her and it is her to give to her husbands and to God out of pleasure and worship and never for anyone else except to give birth to another soul. Our bodies are a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1) and were made for a purpose (Jeremiah 1:5).
All weekend I read and studied on how it's always that one thing, that one experience that puts the spirit of fear in us but that is not of God (see previous post). God put a Spirit of strength, love and sound-mind in us. He gave us women a power that men will never possess. He set us apart and made us special, worthy, necessary, precious, and to be cherished. It is not God that lowers His expectations for us, it us that lowers our expectations for us. Circumstances and feelings we have are the factors that raise and lower those expectations. Circumstances and feelings can flip them like a switch. God does not waiver, He is steady, and He knows what He is doing.
After my sweet friend poured out her grief and shame and how she felt undeserving all I could do was listen. I literally hit the mute button so that she could just spill everything she could until she had said all she could say. All the while silently praying that God give me the words. It wasn't until later that I realized He already had, I just needed to be the vessel that poured them out on her.
To know God's love is something so special. We should all feel it. I cant feel it for you, or my friends, or my family. We each have to feel it for ourselves. That love causes me to lift my hands in the air with praise as if I'm reaching to the heavens for Him to pick me up as a small child. Like a Big Daddy who can pick His baby girl up and give her a whole new view, a completely different perspective. Remember...
Did you ever have someone pick you up when you were little. Didn't it seem so different up higher where you could see. I remember being picked up so many times, I remember riding on my Dad's shoulders and holding on. I remember how my heart pounded with all the new perspective and how exciting it was. That is exactly the feeling I get when I ask my Lord Father to pick me up. He lifts me up, gives me a new perspective and sets me back down with a whole new posture.
I want my sweet friend to know that love and I hope she felt it today. Even through scripture, prayer and words of love I could hear her voice shake with uncertainty. I think to myself; it's okay baby girl, you can take that first step again. Our Father is holding your hand. Be certain in your steps, He will guide and light the way and when you need Him to pick you up, raise your arms and praise Him for what He is about to do because He is about to give you a whole new perspective, His perspective, a view you couldn't see before.
Our body is a living sacrifice to be kept holy for Him and how dare anyone defile His beautiful works. He will seek justice for you, He will have mercy on those who want to be forgiven, and we all can walk humbly with Him, like a child.
It's 5:30 a.m. and I have had little sleep. I'm not going to complain, just wanted to justify if any part of this post doesn't make any sense. It's a little hard to focus but I think sometimes those are the moments when God's love and plan becomes more in focus.
Tonight I have stayed with my Granny in the hospital. She turned 87 this year. That's a big number. That's a great many of days on this earth. When my baby's were little I would say to them that they had only been on this earth for a little while. My Granny has been here awhile. There are lots of Granny's out in the world. Some are not as fortunate as mine to have family all around.
My Granny and I...We love each other. She had 10 grand children and I was somewhere in the middle. She and my Papaw owned a dairy farm. I grew up a stone's throw away from her house. I could always see the barns, fields, smoke house, cows, hay and their home from my front door. I explored the land all around that my Papaw worked. I ran through the corn fields, stepped in the cow patty's, swam in the ponds, hiked in the woods, picked wild black berry's, and climbed many fences and trees. Much of my childhood was spent playing outside with my brother or alone. We stayed out of the road and in the woods.
One thing I hope I never forget is going to church with them on Sunday. There came a time in my life where I was between driving myself and my parents attending church. So, Papaw and Granny picked me up every Sunday for years. I served in the church as I got older, helping out with the kids and still being involved in the youth. During those years I met my husband and introduced him to Christ. I owe a great deal to my grandparents for my spiritual walk. I didn't always stay on the path. I always loved my Lord but I stopped worship out of high school, I didn't grow spiritually for a long time but I remained His child and loved Him. I didn't know how to stand up for what I believed in but I did make choices based on His Word.
I have a lot of memories as a child, many are faded or gone too. I need reminding sometimes of my own past. Pictures and friends are great for that. The parts I remember most were the ones that were most important to me. Ballet recitals, tap dancing, climbing trees, building forts in the woods, hanging on the monkey bars, playing with my beloved toys and dolls, not a lot of friends to speak of but I was close to my cousin.
Yesterday I knew I'd be up all night with Granny at the hospital, I cleaned house and it was very quite. James had taken the Little's to the lake and I just needed a "moment". I checked off some tasks for the day, bought groceries, washed clothes and the entire time I thought about Granny. Granny wasn't always a Granny. I thought about pictures of her as a little girl standing in line with her classmates outside of their school building. She always complained that she was the biggest girl in class. She was tall and stout and pretty enough to catch my Papaw's eye pretty early. That's a whole other love story to share another time.
I'm sure she was no different than any other girl. She read books, played, worked around the house, and grew up.
I'm not really wanting to get into her story this morning. Although, I think it would be neat to go back and see it all play out again. Basically, we grow up. Whatever is going on in the world, country, city, home, all plays a part in our lives. Each generation probably sits back and thinks, these are "signs of the times" and the "end is near" We try not to dwell on the evil in the world. Instead, we curl our hair, put on lipstick, fall in love, get married, have babies, love our husbands, raise our children, talk to girlfriends, and much of our daily lives are similar to that of women from our past.
We were all little girls once.
Then we become women.
As a mom I imagine all my grandmothers before me who had babies, raised them, had heart breaks, and celebrations. It all seems so fleeting when you think about their lives. When you think about your own there is so much to experience and have experienced. I used to rock my babies and wonder if the women before me felt the way I did. I think if anything the use of technology year after year helps us to find the time to enjoy our babies more. For the majority of moms we aren't washing our clothes by hand, sewing clothes for the family, or making everything from scratch. No, we have some luxuries that make life easier but we still never have time. We fill our time up with things to do. I am finding that turning my thoughts to the past has created a new learning curve. What would the mothers before me tell me to enjoy most, to pay attention too. What is the most important thing in this life?
Not all women grow up wanting to have babies or get married. I get that. It's okay. Our souls callings are each unique and our divine purpose is unique just like us. No two are the same. What I can relate too is what I experience. My entire childhood I wanted nothing more than to have a baby of my own. I even prayed that God let me be around long enough to have a baby. He gave me 3.
Purpose, it has to be simple. I think I try to complicate my purpose in trying to always figure out what it is when it truly is simple. I am a mother. I am a wife. I am a child of His. My purpose is in front of me everyday. I don't have to try to find it. There will come a day when my purpose here will be fulfilled and I pray that I did it to the best of my abilities, allowing our Father to be sufficient where I am not. I will love Christ and share His love. I will make mistakes and not always love as I should. Still, my purpose is to enjoy this life, this gift, that He has given me. To see Him in more a more each day, to whisper His name in times of need out of faith. We all have a purpose, it is simple. Each is unique and evolves.
If we will just walk in the light, we will clearly see where we are going. If we will just persevere, we will make it. If we will keep our eyes on Him, he will not let us fall. Others are watching us...even those who haven't been born yet. They will think of us. What will we have them remember? What will we have them think of us?
Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.--Hebrews 12:1
Jake, my youngest, had a dentist appointment this morning. He's had a tooth that's been bothering him and I we thought he was going to have it capped. When the dentist looked at it again he decided it should be pulled. They adjusted my bill and handed me the estimate. I can not tell you the defeat that washed over me when I saw the amount due today.
I went back to my chair and stared at the number $555.45 was written large and circled in the top right hand corner. My heart had sunk for my baby boy and I sat and blamed myself. My imagination had him kicking and screaming under the doctors bright light like in the movies. I went to the bathroom and stood in front of the mirror trying not to get sick and holding back tears. My head was saying...Bad Mom, Bad Mom, Bad Mom. I went back out to the lobby to wait...and wait...and worry...and wait. I prayed and asked for prayer that God do something about this. I wasn't prepare to spend $555.45 today. That kind of money hurts. I also wasn't prepared for my baby to lose a tooth today either. That hurt too. So, I quietly quoted...
I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. Philippians 4:11
Like a flood I felt peaceful. It is nothing short of a miracle. I shrugged my shoulders and I will pay what I can and Jake will be okay, there are children going through much worse than him. I started thinking about the world content and that was when I wished I'd had my computer to journal.
In the "job" I have now it provides for us. I make what I did teaching and I get to stay home with my kids. I had just told my husband maybe I can get another JOB and do both so we can have MORE. After saying that verse out loud my heart started to say otherwise. See, in the "job" I have now we are encouraged to dream.
Dreaming is a good thing. We tell people all the time to "reach for the stars". We know they won't actually touch a star but it's the dreaming of what we can achieve that moves us forward. God put those stars in the sky so that we would know Him, seek Him and find contentment.
I think in today's society we are brought up to want "more", to have "more" and to never be satisfied. Instead what if we flipped that mindset and became content so that when we do have "more" we are more satisfied than ever. We are always looking for something else, something more, and we never feel sufficient enough. It's hard to enjoy life like that.
Lately I have become more and more away of others discontentment. Our clothes should be from this vendor and we should be wearing this trend. We want a bigger house for more stuff, we want a house if we life in an apartment. If you are single, get married. The list could go on and on. Eventually we are tired and bitter because we are not satisfied.
I want to be that woman that people know as being content. For the last few days I have been trying to pinpoint what God wants me to work on and today, sitting in that lobby, waiting for more bad news, or worrying for no reason, God sent a sweet angel to wrap his arms around me and give me peace.
If Paul can be content in all his trials and struggles then surely I can be content from this moment forward. If Paul can do it, I can. He learned and realized he needed change. He worked on it and honed the skill of contentment. He practiced it and taught others. If Paul can do that, then I can.
I hear so often..."I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." and that's great but I think sometimes we miss the verses before that one.
"I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content --whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:11-13
The more each day that I believe God's grace is sufficient, the more convinced I am that I will always have everything I need. Whatever He has given me or not given me, he did so with a purpose. That makes me smile. God is has already given us enough and He always well. As my purpose in this world expands to suit His desire for my life, my need will be met accordingly. As for the things I would like to have and don't, I need to be content in knowing that there is a reason.
My Jake is resting, no pulled tooth & super loopy; and now I get to spend this time reflecting and maybe even start a list somewhere of the things God has already provided so that I can praise Him for what he has done and will do.
As I sit here in my bed tonight I have a bazillion thoughts running through my head. Slowly, the thoughts are slowing down so I can focus on just one. My night as been wild so far...
The husband snores while I'm putting 2 of my own kids plus 2 nephews in the bed. They were like popcorn tonight. After cleaning their rooms I put them 2 to a bed I handed the oldest of each a book and told them to read...well, still I kept hearing feet pound the floor as one or two little superheroes came bounding off the bed. The solution tonight was LIGHTS OUT and cracked bedroom windows so they can listen for the wildlife. That worked! Praise the Lord and in the mean time of I managed to tackle a few tasks other than getting them to lay still. I'm so tired!!!
Eventually, I ran a hot bath and as I slid down in the perfectly hot water I closed my eyes and my tired body appreciated the comfort but as always I am almost self conscious in front of my own self. Today I was exhausted mostly from lack of sleep. I stayed with my Granny all night the night before and didn't sleep a wink. I spent hours cleaning house for her before crashing on her couch. It was a miserable old couch to try to sleep on but I wanted to be next to her in her recliner. She didn't sleep either.
While I was thinking how odd it really is that I'm so self conscious of my body my mind went straight to my grandmother. She can no longer drive herself...she hasn't in years. Lately she can barely get around on her own but we encourage her to try. She's had some procedures and new medication to help with how tired she is and they seem to be working for her. I thought about how much she has become dependent on her children and grandchildren lately. It's okay. We want to help. I just can't imagine getting to that point where I would need my boys and grand children to do everything for me.
I thought of my grandmothers tired body...her vessel and I imagined the soul inside and how it is aching to get out. Eventually my body will do the same. The aches and pains of this flesh and this life will become to great and I will be ready to move on to heaven.
Andy Andrews described it best for me in The Noticer Returns. He described the aches and pains and crossing over like being born. When we are in the womb we become uncomfortable and are ready to be born. When I was born I was greeted with love and open arms of family all around me. The same will be true of when I pass away on this earth. I will be greeted on the other side and I will have left this vessel which is tired and worn into a new "home, tent, mansion."
I didn't write this to plug a book. I simply have so much in my head regarding the "flesh" and how it constantly fails me. Not because it wants to but because it just does. Instead, I try to focus on staying healthy and serving others. There are many, many things I want to document when I read about our bodies, our flesh, and our new heavenly bodies. So, I figured I'd start somewhere.
I sometimes feel like I'm being led down a rabbit hole or an adventure into the unknown when I'm studying scriptures. As many times as I've read 2 Corinthians 5 about our heavenly homes, I had never thought of our homes as our bodies until one day in church I was reading a slip of paper I had written on years before that lead me to look up those verses in chapter 5. I remembered writing the words down on that slip of paper the last night I stayed with my grandfather. Jesus was SO present in that room with us that night. So many little details were alive and evident. He laid in the bed, his bod completely failing from head to toe and ready to make the cross over. I prayed and read scripture that night because I so badly wanted peace on what was about to happen. Losing him was hard but the peace I felt was from God.
That little slip of paper had written on it, "My papaw cried out that he wanted to "go home", we kept telling him he couldn't go home and in his drunken morphine stupor he cried. We were essentially telling him what he already knew...that he was going home! He was leaving this home and going into open arms to a place where he was cherished and loved more than he had ever known here. I had read 2 Corinthians 5 that night when I realized it wasn't his earthly home he wanted. There was NO comfort there. So, when I found that slip of paper, I went back there and studied more.
Could it be possible that the "many mansions" refer to our heavenly bodies. I mean, if we currently live in "tents" then how could our new bodies not be like mansions in comparison. In this "tent" we groan wanting to be clothed with our habitation from heaven. We groan with burdens not because we want to be without our tents but because there is something better waiting for us because we know as long as we are home in this body we are absent from Him.
So as our bodies groan and moan and we become weak in our flesh and our hearts begin to fail we will remember that in 1 Chronicles 16: 11 it says that we should "Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face evermore." In time these flesh tents, bodies that we live in will on purpose and in good timing give out. We will then experience a new body like we could never imagine. One so perfect as to be called our "mansion".
When I closed my eyes early this morning for an additional hour of sleep because my eyes opened way to early something amazing happened, I dreamed. I dream all of the time but sometimes I have one of those dreams that will never leave me and haunt me until I understand it. My dream was one that made me move my feet when I got up this morning so that I could clear my head and focus on a task I was meant to do.
For about a month and a half I have had adoption application papers in a box, filed away neatly by my bed. I keep waiting for that peaceful moment when I can pull them out and begin chipping away at them. What was I thinking? That moment will just not come. God has really been speaking to me on this which is why I did the "He Speaks to Me" posts. I want people to know that I don't take this matter lightly and it is NO JOKE.
My business seems to wax and wain with the thoughts I put towards the adoption which is no surprise really, God needs me to trust Him on this. I put everything in a box, closed it up and went about life and in the mean time God has not been blessing me so much when it comes to my work. So, he heavily convicted me last week, every single day, and so Sunday morning I pulled the files out and put them in a bag to carry with me. God proved that He was waiting on me and we received a blessing, really multiple blessings. Now it's back out of the bag because this morning He put urgency behind my actions with my dream...
Imagine that you are in the middle of a situation where a young girl, teenager, comes to you and says...I CAN'T find my baby. The whole community starts looking and before the day was out you find the baby. In the woods, alone, crying, dirty, injured and when you pick her up she clings to you with all of her strength and with all of her might she holds on to you. She won't let go and you take her home, bathe her, change her dirty diaper, call the authorities, the doctors, and dress her. Imagine rocking her to sleep for the first peaceful rest and feeding she's had in who knows how long really and then laying her down to sleep. Then imagine that girl coming for her baby and all the while you know what happened, that she had discarded that baby girl and you will fight with everything in you to protect her. She was never wanted, never loved; and now she is. You are going to fight for her.
I feel like I've used the words "fight for your family" a few extra times today we talking to people. I don't believe this dream was by chance. I haven't watched TV, or had any conversations or seen anything remotely that would make me think it was out outside influence. This is His eternal influence.
So today, I found this little green file folder and it screamed...use me! So, I love that I can carry this around and keep it with me. May seem small but to me this is big and instead of waiting on that peaceful moment, I'm going to be writing on these papers and filling them out and reading the articles required and so much more because I will keep it on me even in all my chaos. So if you see my green folder with me, know that I am serious. I'm also personally in great prayer for the mother of this baby girl. Please be in prayer for her. I am asking for LOTS of prayers that God continue to move me forward in His Will, continue to bless our house, my family, my business so that I can stay focused on this task that He clearly is preparing us for.
Before now I have been in complete awe of people that say they can hear our Lord speak to them. Whenever people would say they could hear His Voice my head would cock a little to the side and I would wonder "how?". Then one day it happened. After asking for that experience and the desire or closeness, I found His Voice. It was subtle, clear, and could only be heard in the stillness and quietness of the moment I was in.
In order to hear His Voice I had to want to hear Him. I had a desire so deep inside me to hear my Father's Voice that I had begun to seek it. For days and days it seemed like I was trying to "unlock" a secret phone line to God. I wanted to be able to talk to Him and hear His Voice but what I found suddenly was that I heard Him.
I was laying in my bathtub one night trying to relax but was distressed about a few things. I can't even remember what they were now but I'll never forget when I became perfectly still and all the noise had faded away, then I heard Him. It was a small voice kind of like if you were to think thoughts to yourself. Only, it's not your voice. It's personal to you because He calls you by name, He begins to clear your mind and make the chaos go away in your head so that as He speaks, all the pieces come together. It always feels like He takes all the pieces, gifts, signs, words, everything and puts them together for me. What He reveals is a bigger picture. One I would not have thought of or seen had I not asked for Him to show me what He needs of me.
The day I first heard Him I was overjoyed, I had love flowing all through me, clarity, ideas, and excitement. The things He had placed in me, had spoken to me could only have come from Him. The next day a girlfriend came over and I shared with her what had happened. She felt it was absolutely necessary I call our pastor and share with Him. I did and I explained to Him that I had been wondering for a long time what it was like to hear Him speak. Once I found His Voice I had a desire for more.
The more I hear the more I desire to hear. There is so much to my spiritual journey and so many personal revelations that I may not remember them all. I believe with every ounce of me that is why He is calling me to write out everything He reveals. They are gifts but they are to be shared. They are not just for me, they are for all my sisters. I don't know what He wants to do with the revelations and writings but I have promised to do my best to reveal in such a way that it is clear. I want nothing more than each of my fellow Christians to be able to hear His Voice.
I no longer feel "weird" when I talk about how He speaks to me. I have found that it is more common that we realize. The more I surround myself with others that hear, the more I realize I am not alone and that it is something we all have a desire to experience. We can all experience it. Then again, it's okay if people think I'm weird.
He listens and...
My prayer for you my reader is that you find your still quite place and seek His face. I pray that you begin to see the things that are unseen and that God reveals to you the world through His lens.
I am a momma to 5 beautiful souls, birth mom to my 3 boys, adoptive mom to 2 sweet babies, wife to my high school sweet heart, and daughter to my King. I love to write. I am no scholar but I love my Lord and He helps me.