Saturday, June 22, 2013

My Unbalanced Life

It has been two and half months since my husband left on deployment;  we are not half way through, and the summer lays at my feet.  Up until this point, the time has been flying by.  We were evacuated during the wildfire that burned some 24,000 acres of land out here in California. Our house was not damaged, but the fire did reach the base we live on, burning about 300 acres of grassland. 
Shortly after this bit of excitement, we needed leave our house again.  This time for fumigation.  Our house was tented for three days in order to eliminate the dry wood termites that had literally started coming through the walls of our master bathroom. 
The week after that fun, I found myself squarely in the middle of a fight with the school department;  lobbying to allow Samuel back in for the 2013-2014 school year.  With a great number of tears, some sweaty palm moments, amazing support from the staff at his school, and a face to face meeting with the superintendent, I successfully negotiated the terms that would allow him entrance back into school. 

During all of this I kept thinking, "God, I know I have been praying for time to speed by...but this?  Does it have to be this way?" 

With the start of summer, life has slowed down for us quite a bit.  It was pointed out to me today that I have not posted anything in a while.  It's not that I don't think about it, or that I haven't been learning new things that I am eager to share.  It's just that honestly, I have been living a very unbalanced life. 

It's taken a long time to get to this point, but at this moment in time I can say without hesitation that my husband and I are one.  We are a team;  we have the same goal in mind, and we know that God has given us to each other to walk together, and to grow together, and to journey together down the specific road that He has laid out for us.  The problem is that half of my team is on a ship, or perhaps in an airplane, quite literally on the other side of the world. 

I want to pause here and say that I am so proud of Cory, and the guys that are out there with him.  Being here in our own country with our day to day lives, the comfortable, and the sometimes monotonous lives we live...we can easily forget that there are men and women (at this very moment!) flying missions, or standing duty, or guarding somebody somewhere, all in an effort to keep us keep us living our comfortable lives.  Those men and women have families, they have children, like our 3 amazing boys, and they are missing please never forget to be thankful for their sacrifices, and for their protection of your freedom. 

I think I have said it before, but when we are apart it is very much like living a half of a life; it's like walking on unsteady ground;  you're never quite sure if or when you're going to fall, and you don't quite understand where the strength comes to get up when you do...but it's has to be.  It's unbalanced;  it's often one sided, and it's a constant giving of yourself.  It's a difficult time, but difficult times often result in growth of character, and so I'm kind of okay with difficult.

I have a dear friend who has shared with me her motto for this deployment, "to not just survive, but to thrive". 

I often am guilty of looking at our military life as one of survival;  the thought of thriving is hard when you are in the trenches;  when everyday you are mom and dad.  When your heart is heavy, and you feel alone, you can start to wish the days away.  You can start to tell yourself all sort of things;  your patience goes, your frustration rises, and your heart breaks with loneliness, and longing for your husband...for the daddy your children miss.  In your heart you can start to think, "This will never end."  Hopelessness can set in.  In those moments, what do you do?  Is thriving permanently out of reach when your balance goes, and uncertainty seems the course of the day?  Where can it be found when your two year old wakes up screaming at 3am, your 6 year old cries with leg pains at 4am, and then everyone is up at 6am, and the day starts out in defeat? 

It can be found in the One who is able to energize even the most exhausted of mommies and daddies.  It can be found in the Healer, the Restorer; the One who helps us in our weaknesses.  When we surrender the need to "survive", and we ask for the strength to "thrive" suddenly our half of a life starts to feel a little more full.  After all, He is the Filler, and the Grower;  the only One who can give balance to my very unbalanced life. 

I read a verse this week that has spoken to my heart:  1 John 3:20, "...For God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything." 

I think so often we (I) skate along on the thin ice of survival.  I know I need help but my weak heart forgets to ask.  I get so focused on the next step, and the next step, and the next step, trying so hard not to fall through.  If only...only when...I ask for a firm footing...God tells me, "I am greater than your weak heart.  I know you are frail.  I know you need me.  Come to me."  And I am set right again. 

It's a daily process.  A daily choice.  It's not just for me, but for you too.  The unbalance in my life is deployment...yours is most certainly something different.  In everything though:  God is greater than your heart.  Bigger than your fears.  Stronger than your weakness.  And available anytime we come to Him.  Need some balance?  Just ask. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Call Me Mara

"Don't call me Naomi," she told them.  "Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter.  I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty.  Why call me Naomi?  The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me."  Ruth 1:20-21
I love listening to the music channels on our television.  Whether we are just hanging out, eating dinner, or cleaning the house there is almost always music playing in the background.  Samuel, the Beatles fan that he is, prefers the 60's station; Micah, looking up to his big brother, prefers whatever Samuel prefers, and I love listening the contemporary Christian channel.  We alternate between between those two, and throw in some classical jazz and malt shop oldies when we need some variety in our lives. 
A few months ago while listening the Christian station, I realized that our boys don't really know the worship songs, or even the kids' Sunday school songs that my husband and I grew up singing.  This struck me as being very sad, and it has pushed me to introduce them to the songs that meant, and still mean, so much to me.
In the car we have been listening to a CD of children's bible songs, and slowly I'm starting to hear them sing along;  little voices drifting up to my ears from the backseat.  Even Jude is beginning to have his favorites, and when they are over he yells out, "TRY AGAIN!! TRY AGAIN!!". 
One of the songs on this particular CD is Father Abraham.  How many hundreds of times have I sang this song in my life?  "Father Abraham has many sons;  many sons has Father Abraham.  I am one of them and so are you, so let's all praise the Lord...". 
After about the tenth time hearing the chorus of children sing about Father Abraham, Samuel calls up from backseat, "Mommy, that song just doesn't make sense!  Abraham didn't have 'many sons';  he only had one son, Isaac.  It just doesn't make sense."
Ahhh, son who knows every story in his Children's Story Bible. 
I turn the music down, and begin to explain the promise that God made to Abraham; I talk to him about Sara, who is old and who doesn't believe she can really have a child;  I tell him about Hagar and Ishmael.  When I'm done he says, "That story isn't in my bible...why would that story not be in my bible???" 
So we talk about Sunday school stories verses the real bible stories.  I tell him that sometimes the real stories aren't so pretty;  the kid stories are meant to introduce children to God, and His story, but the real bible tells it all...good and bad.  "After all Sam," I say, "life is not always so pretty...things aren't always pleasant.  There is pain in this world, evil.  It can be scary and overwhelming." 
Micah pipes up, "I don't understand Mommy.  Why was it bad?"
Before I even realize it, the words come out of my mouth, "How would we feel if Daddy had another family with another Mommy?"
"No!" Micah yells, "That can't happen..we can't let that happen.."
"No, we wouldn't let that happen," I say.
And then Samuel, deep in thought over this new found knowledge speaks up, "Mommy, I want my bible to have the good and the bad stories...I want to know them all."
"That's because you're getting older Sam," I say, "With maturity we are able to handle the good and the bad, the pretty and the ugly...we can start to see how God works through it all..."
When Cory and I married, I chose two verses to cling to; to apply to our marriage, our marriage of separation and reunion, our marriage of constant moving and change.  I chose Ruth 1:16-17, "Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay.  Your people will be my people and your God my God.  Where you die I will die, and there I will by buried.  May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me."
I love the story of Ruth.  Her love for, and faithfulness to her mother in law, Naomi, is amazing;  her determination to fulfill the commitment she made when she married Naomi's son...even after his a true example of Godly love and strength.  She left her family, her people, and set off on an journey to a new land;  two women in search of their place in the world.  Ruth is all in;  there is no hesitation within her as she follows each and every direction Naomi gives her, save leaving Naomi at the onset of the story. 
I've read it, I know it, I love it, but there's more...  This is how I know the bible is "living and active": each time I go back and read the stories again, God reveals more of Himself to me.  I see things I have never seen before;  another layer peels back, and I get a little closer to the Center, to Him. 
There's another story.   After all, there are two women, and while the book is called Ruth, and much of it focuses on her pledge to Naomi, and her acts of living that pledge out, Naomi's story is there too. 
Naomi, who lost her husband and her two sons; Naomi, with a  name that means "pleasant", finds herself in a not so pleasant situation.  She is alone, she has passed the age of remarrying, she is at her lowest; her security is gone.  She starts out heading back to her homeland with two young women in tow, on the road she turns to them, and you can feel the desperation in her words, the depression, the hopelessness as she urges them to just leave her.  There is no reason for them to suffer, no reason for them not remarry and stay with their people;  "Return home, my daughters.  Why would you come with me?  Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands?  Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband...No, my daughters.  It is more bitter for me than for you because the Lord's hand has gone out against me!"
One turns back, but the other...she stays;  she will not be dissuaded.  Naomi, seeing that her pleading will not change Ruth's mind stopped talking and continued on;  maybe she thought, "why would this girl stay with me?  Silly girl...I have nothing to offer her."
As the women arrive in Bethlehem, the bible says "the whole town was stirred because of them" (vs 19).  The people want to know if it's really Naomi; after all of this time could it really be her?  Why is she home? 
This is where Naomi says, "Don't call me Naomi (pleasant)," she told them.  "Call me Mara (meaning bitter) because the Almighty has made my life very bitter.  I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty.  Why call me Naomi?  The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me." 
She's a woman who is hurt, she's a woman who has seemingly lost everything; not blessed, not full, but empty and afflicted.  "Call me Bitter," she says, "why would you call me Pleasant?  My God has punished me, and I am spent, gone, hopeless."
At this I stop, and I realize that the story of Ruth is not complete without the story of Naomi; they are two halves of a whole.  Pain and bitterness, birthed from loss and fear, coupled with resolve and love born from a bond of commitment and trust that refuses to be broken;  this is the stuff of life, the beautiful and the wretched. 
You should take a minute to read the story of Ruth and Naomi, even if you  have read it and reread it before.  It's a beautiful story of redemption, of relationship.  At the beginning Naomi tells her friends  that she is bitter, and in the end they again call her pleasant;  it's a story about how God's plans are bigger than ours, and how pain and bitterness can pave the way for redemption and salvation. 
There have been times in my life that I have screamed out, "Call me Mara!...the Lord has afflicted me...";  the best part about my story is that God has shown me each step of the way that suffering always gives birth to new hope when we completely trust in Him. 
Maturity brings about the willingness to accept the good and the bad, the pretty and the ugly;  it opens our eyes, one layer at a time, to Him, to His work, our Weaver, our Giver of Life. 


Sunday, April 7, 2013


I laid in my bed this morning listening the incessant noise blaring from the toy keyboard my two year old was playing with.  My heart was beating fast as if I had already had three cups of coffee, but the only thing racing through my body at that moment was fear. My heart was beating with the anxiousness that comes with suddenly being a single mother of three.  The deployment that has twice been delayed is now upon us.  The tearful goodbye came last night; the boys and I went to bed with blurry eyes and sinking hearts. 
I awoke this morning with that empty feeling in the pit of my stomach.  I spied the mason jar on my dresser filled with Hershey's kisses.  The tag on the jar promises me a kiss for each day my husband is away;  how I wish those wrappers held the sweetness that can only come from him. 
My mission for the day:  wash, dry, fold, and put away clothes that will not be touched for months.  Do I leave his shoes by the door as a remembrance that he is still with us in spirit?  Or do I put them away in the darkness of the closet, warm and snuggled with the rest of his belongings, in order to guard my heart from the loneliness that the sight of empty shoes can bring?  The closet is calling... 
I will clean the bathroom, clean the refrigerator, and make the beds;  I will attempt to put order into that which has been torn apart.   When we lose (even temporarily) a part of our bodies...of what makes us who we are...we suffer.  We adapt to fit this new half life, all the while knowing that we won't feel full again until he returns. 
I woke up this morning with a real understanding that, as of last night, my husband is gone. 

Let the count down begin...

Deployment is not something we chose;  the military life is not something anyone looks longingly at, and says, "I wish my life was that easy...".  No, it's hard.  It puts strains on families that no can understand unless they've lived it themselves.  It's a unique bitter sweetness that mixes pride with pain, and develops in the individuals involved strength and perseverance.  In many ways life in the military reflects that of life as a Christ follower;  there are ups and downs, pains and joys, separations and homecomings.  Sometimes we stay strong, and sometimes we fall on our faces, but in the end we look toward the goal and we ask for the strength to keep moving forward. 

Months from now, the boys and I will be anxiously pacing in a hangar waiting to hear the tell-tale sound of planes flying over head.  We'll see them race by in formation each breaking off, one at a time, to land.  They will line up on the runway, and on cue each will shut down their engines.  There will be a pause, a few beats of hearts about to burst, and then slowly the first boot will appear on the steps.  Within seconds we'll be running out to meet them, our flight suit clad husbands and daddies, and pain will turn to joy in an instant.  In some ways, the separation is the worth the reunion. 

This is the fifth big deployment in our almost 12 year marriage (this in no way counts the months of training, schools, etc., that have separated us in the times between deployments), but as I reflect upon my life I'm starting to think about the "deployments" I have taken in my walk of faith.  How many times have I said goodbye to my Savior, to my Father, in order to go out into the world on my own.  These deployments most often happen by choice, by the systematic removal of God from my everyday life.  Sometimes they catch my by surprise;  I walk along, suddenly look up, and the air goes out of my lungs as I realize He's gone... 
These deployments, being that they are of our own making, can be however long we chose for them to be;  they can be intense, or mild, life defining, priority adjusting, view changing, or heart hardening.  The thing about these kind of deployments is that God is never really gone from our lives;  He is with us always, and it is we who leave, we who start believe the lie that life is about more than following Him.  He allows us to go through these times, to see the world, and to feel the pain that comes from separation.  When we turn back to Him, His glory races through the clouds above us, and He lands before us revealing the beauty and sweetness of who He is;  it is in this moment that we feel the fullness of what we have come through, the sadness and the joy, the fear and the hope, and the ties of love that time and distance cannot break.  These are the moments in our walk with Him that define us. 

Deployments are hard, they are sometimes scary and overwhelming, and they sometimes feel hopeless, but through each day we can gain strength, grow character, and glorify Him as we walk, or sometimes crawl, toward the goal that awaits us. 

Thank God for the deployments and homecomings in your life, for the times that He never left you, and for the times that He once again filled you, and reminded you of what life is really about.  Hold on to the sweetness of those moments...they are water that quenches your soul when the dry times come;  they are they hope that keeps you moving forward. 

"...we glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."  Romans 5:3-5

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Praying for Boldness

How many of us compromise on a daily basis? Sometimes compromise is good; if it is done out of love, within marriage for example, compromise does not have to be a bad thing at all. The problem comes in when we start to compromise our integrity; when we start to "give in" just a little, and end up saying yes to things when we really should be saying no.

Looking back on this past weekend alone, several instances come to mind in which I compromised who I am, and what I claim to stand for. They were just small things, seemingly insignificant, but quickly those "small things" can add up to one big compromise, and we can soon discover that what we claim is important to us doesn't come across as important at all to those around us.

I recently read a book that has really challenged the way I look at my life and my priorities. The book is titled How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton Christensen, James Allworth, and Karen Dillon. The three authors are incredibly intelligent; Clayton Christensen is a professor at Harvard Business School, James Allworth a graduate of Harvard Business School, and Karen Dillon is the former editor of the Harvard Business Review...extremely intelligent people. In my reading of the book, sometimes my tired mommy brain had a hard time wrapping itself around the concepts discussed in it, but it was fascinating nonetheless. Toward the end of the book, there's a section about integrity; the question is posed: How can I be sure I live a life of integrity?

I'm not going to give away the whole chapter, but I do want to share two key sentences that have stuck with me, and that keep popping into my mind this week:

Decide what you stand for. And then stand for it all the time.

Those simple yet profound statements have been burned into my mind, and as I mediate on them I have to ask myself: What do I stand for?? And how can I stand for it all the time?? I mean, life is unpredictable, and I am always making compromises...I am someone who doesn't like to ruffle feathers...I am a people pleaser.

In the book, Clay Christensen tells a really interesting story about when he was in college. He was a key player on the college basketball team; the team made it to the championship game, but he soon found out that the game was scheduled to be played on a Sunday. He found himself in a tough situation. You see, at age 16 he had promised God that he would not play basketball on any Sunday. He had to decide between a promise he made to God, and his team who was counting on him to help them win the championship. Ultimately, despite the coach and his teammates' objections, he chose to honor his promise, and did not play in the game. In the end, his team won anyway, and he did not compromise his integrity. He stood for something, and even in the midst of controversy he held firm to it.

This story left me thinking about all of the promises I've broken with God; I compromise all the time. This story prompted me to pray for boldness in my life, for strength to do what this man did, and stick to what I say. God honors faithfulness to Him; man's praise is fleeting, but God...well, our relationship with Him is eternal.

I started reading Philippians this week, and God revealed something really special to me. Paul wrote this letter from prison to the believers in Philippi; he was suffering in jail yet he was encouraging his brothers and sisters. In chapter one verses 27-30 he says this:

"Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved - and that by God. For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have."

Did you catch what the underlined sentence says? "For it has been granted to suffer for him". This has been given to us: the gift of not just believing in Him, but suffering for Him. Do you see it as a gift? How can someone rejoice in suffering? It's a mystery wrapped fully in the love of Christ; when we suffer for him (whether emotionally through criticism due to unmet expectations of the those around us, or physically like Paul in prison) we can rejoice because to those of us who stand for Him there is so much more to the picture than what we can see. It's hard to stand firm in the face of controversy, pain, and loneliness, but we are never truly alone, and when we choose what we know is right we can hold our head high knowing that we didn't compromise our integrity. God is faithful, and an ever-present help in times of need; we can trust in Him in the midst of any circumstance. We are gifted to suffer for Him, we are granted this incredible privilege; there is joy to be found there.

In the Old Testament I have been reading about Moses passing the responsibility of leading the Israelites to Joshua. Moses laid out all of the laws; he spoke and recorded everything the Israelites needed to know before they crossed the Jordan to enter the land that God was giving to them. When Moses had finished the work God had given him, God then raised up Joshua to be the leader of His people. He said to Joshua: "Be strong and be courageous, for you will bring the Israelites into the land I promised them on oath, and I myself will be with you. (Deuteronomy 31:23)" In fact several times throughout Joshua's story God tells him to "be strong and be courageous...” God was with him as Joshua faithfully served Him and trusted in Him.

God is with us too, and He tells us to be strong and courageous for Him. In 2 Timothy 1:7-9 Paul writes,

"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God who has saved us and called us to a holy life - not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace."

If you feel the Holy Spirit whispering to you, if you have certain convictions that God has laid on your heart, and if you have decided to stand for Him, don't let a bunch of little "give ins" compromise your integrity; stand firm for what you believe in all the time. Pray for boldness, for strength to stand your ground, and trust that the Lord who sees everything will be faithful to you in every situation. You might find yourself in the middle of controversy, you might "let down" your friends, or your coach, and you might wonder if you'll ever "fit in" again, but hear this:  be strong and be courageous. God honors faithfulness in a big way, so if He is what you stand for, stand for Him all the time. 


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Little Houses

This New Year finds us in a new home.  We're still in beautiful, sunny California, but our address has changed...yet again.  It was a good thing for us;  a better neighborhood, better community, but it made our holiday time a bit stressful, and by the time we fully get adjusted to the new walls surrounding us we will most likely be moving again. 
The giant of a deployment that we were staring at has now shrunk in size, and this January finds Cory still home with us.  This New Year also holds the promise of big changes for our family:  a new job for Cory, a shift in priorities, and a renewed focus on time together as a family.  God has been amazingly faithful to us, and there days I just want to shout from the rooftop my thanks to Him. 

During this latest move, we had to downsize quite a bit.  This new home is about 1000 square feet smaller than the one we were living in just 18 months ago.  Suddenly we are so close together;  privacy is hard to find, and when we're all at home, peace and quiet does not exist. 
I often find the old country song "Little Houses" sung by Doug Stone running through my mind:
"Love grows best in little houses with few walls to separate.  When you sit so close together, you can't help but communicate.  If we there were more room between us think of all we'd miss..."
Yes, it is "cozy" in our new home, but I love it.  There's more talking, more laughing, more loving.  We play games, and go for walks and bike rides; we snuggle on our the love seat because there wasn't room in our new living room for the couch.  We are learning respect, and we are getting to know each other better because there's really no hiding in this house.  It's wonderful.
Our house is not the only thing we've downsized this year;  life is easier to live without the physical, material "stuff" cluttering it up, but it's also much easier without the emotional drama of over commitment in our day to day lives.  I've written before about my decision to cut Facebook out of my life, and I still maintain that it was one of the best decisions I've made in a while.  Along with that, I've downsized my relationships, my desire for worldly possessions, and my need to put myself first.  You see, Jesus lives in my heart;  my heart is His home, and if you know Him, the same is true of your heart.  When we fill our hearts and lives up with surface relationships, and "knowledge" resulting from gossip, and all of the other "stuff" that really doesn't matter to the "big picture" of what God has for us, we soon find ourselves living in mansion of nonsense with walls separating us from our Savior.  His love grows best when we are sitting close to Him, and when we walk and talk with Him on a consistent basis;  adding "stuff" just makes us miss out on the fullness of Him.  Why would we want to do that? 
I've been trying to teach our boys that life is more than video games, TV, friends, Legos, etc., etc.;  I've started saying, "The world doesn't revolve around _____________ (fill in the blank)".  It's funny when they turn around and say the same thing to me when I start obsessing about something.  We are learning as a family that our lives are to revolve around God, and around His love and His leading.  We may "miss out" on something our friends do, or be seen as "uncool", but our world doesn't revolve around "cool";  it revolves around eternity.  I thank God for that. 
I have learned this past year to listen for His voice, for His leading in just about everything, and in this New Year I would wish the same for you.  I pray each day that He increases in our family, and that we would decrease;  the smaller we are, the BIGGER He is, and I love that. 
In Matthew 6:33 Jesus says this, "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all of these will be given to you as well..."  When we put Him first, and seek Him with all of our heart everything else fades, and we are filled when we realize that we know, and are known by the only One who's opinion of us matters at all.. 
Downsize...because love grows best in little houses;  let His love increase in your life, and begin to feel fullness the likes of which you have never felt before.   
"A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."  Proverbs 18:24

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

More of You

I used to live in the shadows of God's glory.  I used to sit in a corner and observe His work in the lives of people around me;  I desired Him, and I've always believed in Him, but I never really knew Him until this year. 
Until this year I used be jealous of people who were so obviously full of His Spirit;  the overwhelming joy that some people find in Him was lost on me, and frankly it was a bit grating to my own wavering spirit.  I was envious, and annoyed at the same time;  I knew that I was missing a key component of this "Christian" thing, but it seemed altogether unobtainable to me.  I lived in the world, and only once in a while would I step into His Presence.  Convenience ruled my schedule; I gave the world my best, and I gave God the leftovers.  The problem was I knew that it was wrong, I knew that there was more to the Christian life than what I was experiencing, but I was too self-centered and lazy to try. 

God got a hold of me this year.  He opened my eyes and He showed me that there is, indeed, so much more to life when we choose to put Him at the center. 

When I think of the jealousy, and truly, the contempt that I used to feel towards those I deemed "good Christians", I am ashamed.  God doesn't ask me to compare myself to others, and He tells me not to covet what other's have.  His word tells me that He will provide for all of my needs, and all I have to do is ask, trust, believe, and commit my way to Him. 

The catch is that satan tells us lies all the time;  he is the King of Lies.  He likes to whisper in our ears, "You deserve better than that...", "You'll never been good enough...", "They are all just hypocrites;  don't waste your time...", etc, etc.  He will say anything to get you to give up, to get you to be jealous and full of contempt, and he will say whatever it takes to turn you away from the One who loves you more than anything, the One who's love for you is everlasting and unwavering.  He will say anything to turn you into what he wants you to be, not what God longs for you to be. 

Satan used to tell me that I was just not blessed with the ability to be a "good Christian",  he used to tell me that I could fake it and I could settle for mediocre, and that joy just wasn't my thing.  Lies, all lies. 

In Romans 7:21-25 Paul says this, "So I find this law at work:  When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.  For in my inner being I delight in God's law, but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.  What a wretched man I am!  Who will rescue me from this body of death?  Thanks be to God - through Jesus Christ our Lord!" 

The law of sin and the lies of satan are powerful, but truly, Jesus can rescue us from them. 

So how do we do that?  How do we overcome the cycle of lies, and free our feet from the ties of this world?  It starts with an intentional choice.  It is a choice to not listen to the lies, and to not give in no matter what;  it's a choice to cling to God's truth even when it seems impossible, or out of our reach. 

Next comes a choice to give your time to Him.  This a choice to surrender your time, your agenda, and your heart to Him.  This is not easy, but when you commit to it, your life will change.  If you want to really know God, and to really grasp the life He wants for you, surrender is essential. 

Many people start things with good intentions and then fizzle out as life gets crazy and as obligations pop up;  be sure of this:  when you choose to give your time to God, satan will do everything he can to take it back and to dissuade you from sticking to it.  I daily pray for God's protection over my time with Him;  I pray for His Spirit to guard my mind against the attacks of satan during prayer, and I pray that my children will be content to not interrupt me while I have my time with Him. 

Getting on track with any relationship, including your relationship with God, requires you to invest time, energy, and attention to that other person.  What has worked for me has been a reading schedule for my bible;  it has giving me a structure to follow, a checklist of sorts; when I cross off the chapters as I read them I am more and more motivated to get through them all.  The more read, the more I learn about God;  the more I learn about Him, the more I love Him.  I find that reading my bible naturally leads to prayer.  As the Word of God fills my heart and my head I enter into conversation with Him, and in that time I grow closer to Him, and my thirst for more of Him gets stronger and stronger. 
The next thing that happens is that I commit everything to Him.  I understand that He is All Powerful, All Loving, and All Seeing;  He provides for my every need, and I lack nothing when I am in His Presence.  I have found that joy in Him is within reach, and  is more that easily obtainable when I take the focus off of myself, and off of my circumstances, and just try. 

It is obtainable for you too.  If you've ever listened to the lies of the evil one, or if you just could never quite figure out how to step fully out of the world and into His Presence here is it:

1. Commit to reading the bible everyday...don't waver, don't give up.

2. Pray...for protection over your mind, your time, your focus, and against the lies that satan will tell you.

3. Commit your way to the Lord...surrender it all, and pray for strength to cling to His truth.  Believe fully that with Him all things are possible.

4.  Lastly, humble yourself before Him.  James 4:10 says, "Humble yourself before the Lord, and He will lift you up." 

Do you want a full life?  A life free of jealousy, and anger over what others have that you want?  Humble yourself before His throne...and God will provide for you. 

This song has become one of my favorites recently.  We are in this world to shine for Him;  God calls us to be His light, so don't let Satan tell you otherwise.  We are the light; He is the light.  Don't sit in the shadows, step into His Glory.


God desires to have you...all of you.  He is jealous for you;  He wants to fill you with His joy.  Let Him.  Don't settle for mediocre;  jump full on into the life He has for you, and bask in the joy that only He can give;  the joy that is blind to the circumstances this life throws at us.  In Him there is no fear;  in Him we are made complete. 

Pray diligently for more of Him in your life, and do everything you can to protect yourself from the king of liars, the evil one of this world.  You are worth so much more than you can imagine to the One who died for you;  don't give in and don't give up.  The evidence of His grace in your life is everywhere;  open your eyes to it, and give thanks to Him. 

Satan seeks to make you feel like your life is worthless, but cling to this:  God made us for more than this world.  The scriptures say, "Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." 
If you are telling yourself there's no point, that true life in Christ is unobtainable for you...wake up!  Those are the lies of the evil one, and you were made for more than that. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Can I Get a Witness?

My heart has been rejoicing lately.  God has been teaching me the true power of prayer, and as I meditate of Him, and His answers to my heart's desires I cannot help but to be overcome with peace and joy. 

Psalm 28: 7 says this, "The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped.  My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song."

Psalm 30: 11-12 say this, "You turned my wailing into dancing; You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give You thanks forever."

Psalm 34: 1-3 say this, "I will extol the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips.  My soul will boast in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice.  Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt His name together!"

I desire to worship Him, to rejoice in Him, and to glorify Him.  Will you join me? 
Will you testify to the power of prayer, and of His grace, faithfulness, and mercy in your life? 

Give thanks to Him! 

Please leave a comment and let's lift His name higher as we testify to His goodness and glory...

Thank you Father that You have met each of my needs as You have restored our family, and have let Your love and mercy rest on our home.