Friday, March 25, 2011

Taking One Step Forward

Therefore humble yourselves 
[demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation] 
under the mighty hand of God, 
that in due time He may exalt you, 
Casting the whole of your care 
[all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all
on Him, for He cares for you affectionately 
and cares about you watchfully. 
1 Peter 5:6-7 amp

Oh man, was I sinking down into the depths this morning!

It started with a quiet time that just wasn't clicking.

I was doing all my usual things, 
but I just wasn't connecting 
with Jesus. 

And, then, from there, it 
seemed like a normal morning, 
but somewhere along the way
things started just getting 
out of proportion.
 Way out of proportion.
I was mad at my kids for not wanting to cooperate with me,
I was overwhelmed by my "to do list",
I was sick of picking up, 
cleaning, directing kids,
redirecting kids, getting groceries, 
making meals, washing clothes, etc., etc., etc.

I wanted to crawl back into bed
and stay there.

I started visualizing a 
where I could just sit
and listen to 
and watch the waves. 

As I started to cry,
my two year old
barged into my room
and hugged me tight.

"It's OK, Mom."
she said in her cute little voice.
I knew the right thing to do,
I knew Jesus was right there with me,
I knew I just needed to cry out to Him,
 but it was like I just couldn't. 

So, I emailed my husband.

I told him I was having a hard day. 
And, I asked him to pray for me.
He must have,
because I was able to start 
looking up. 
I went back into my room and
literally cried out to 
our Father. 

I poured it all out,
dripping all over His feet.

And then, I was able
to take the next step forward.

I chose a praise song to play on You Tube
and cranked it up,
and danced around the living room 
with Ruthie.

Finally, I was able to gather the girls together
for devotions in the living room.

I love that we are using the kids' version of
because I get to do a review of what I 
read on my own in the morning.

And did I ever need a review! 

This is what it said:

"Grumbling and complaining are not what I want from you.
When you grumble, you are telling Me that you 
don't like the way things are going in your life —
that you hate My way of doing things. 
And when you complain, you are showing 
an ungrateful heart."


"Thankfulness is your protection against the 
sins of grumbling and complaining.
Being thankful also keeps you 
close to Me."

There was my theme for the year... gratitude. 

And then....

While the girls and I were having a really
good discussion about the devotion and the verses,

a car pulled up outside.

It was the Jehovah's Witness lady
who has visited me in the past. 

I hadn't seen her in a while,
but when she comes, 
she wants to read a verse or two to me.

I had to smile as she knocked on the door.

I knew God had a verse for me.

And He did.
The verse He delivered to my door this morning was:

Therefore humble yourselves 
[demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation] 
under the mighty hand of God, 
that in due time He may exalt you, 
Casting the whole of your care 
[all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all
on Him, for He cares for you affectionately 
and cares about you watchfully. 
1 Peter 5:6-7 amp

Humbly I repent of my ungrateful heart.
I acknowledge I was not liking the 
plans He had for my life,
and I confess that I was clutching onto my cares
with both tightly clenched fists. 

Thank you, Jesus, for caring for me affectionally
and for caring for me watchfully.
Thank you that I can cast all my cares on You.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Smashing What I Created

I have strength for all things 
in Christ Who empowers me 
[I am ready for anything and 
equal to anything through Him 
Who infuses inner strength into me; 
I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency]. 

Philippians 4:13 amp

This calf you worship, O Israel, 
was crafted by your own hands! 
It is not God! 
Therefore, it must be smashed to bits.

Hosea 8:6 nlt


We call Abraham "father" not because he 
got God's attention by living like a saint, 
but because God made something out of Abraham 
when he was a nobody. 
Isn't that what we've always read in Scripture, 
God saying to Abraham, "I set you up as father of many peoples"? 
Abraham was first named "father" and then became a father because  
he dared to trust God to do what only God could do: 
raise the dead to life, with a word make something out of nothing.  
When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, 
deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn't do 
but on what God said he would do. 

Romans 4:17-18 msg


...when they knew and recognized Him as God, 
they did not honor and glorify Him as God 
or give Him thanks. 
But instead they became futile and 
godless in their thinking 
[with vain imaginings, foolish reasoning, 
and stupid speculations] 
and their senseless minds were darkened. 

Romans 1:21 amp

I am an idol craftswoman.

All along I thought I was "doing it right" or at least trying.

I have been setting my eyes, my focus, my attention on how much I want to be a beautiful, godly woman, with my home in order as well as my life, and my children's lives. Yesterday, I was determined that I was going to get myself disciplined (in a day...) and get my home clean, organized and sparkling. On top of that, the kids and I would do devotions, get school accomplished, and whip all their character flaws into submission... as well as my own.

I can laugh now, as I type that out, but let me tell you, by 8:30 last night, it was not a pretty picture. I was a big crabby mess.

This morning as I sat before the Lord, I knew that I needed Him to show me what was going on. I asked Him to. And the swiftness and the unexpectedness of His answer brought tears streaming down my face.

Before I even finished asking Him to take my mess and show me what He wanted me to see, the words to Hosea 8:6 came into my mind.

This calf you worship, O Israel, was crafted by your own hands! It is not God! Therefore, it must be smashed to bits. -- Hosea 8:6 nlt

Have I made an idol of the picture I have in my mind of who I should be, what I think I should say and act like and feel and desire?

Wow. I really didn't see that.

And yet, our loving, never-forsaking Father, had allowed me to see, and start sinking down into, my failure. He was allowing me to see the impossibility, the falseness of what I was trying to sculpt - to create - in my life.

As I am typing this out, I am realizing that what has been going on in me is nothing new. It seems to be a pattern with me... not too long ago this was my share... l And I'm sure that if you spend some time looking through my blog posts, you will find many more that are just like this.

So, I have been an idol craftswoman.

But the Spirit of the Most High God lives in me.

He has called me His own.

He has called me a new creation.

When I refuse to honor Him and glorify Him and give Him thanks in my life, that is when I become futile in my thinking (Romans 1:21). That is when I start crafting a new idol - or a replica of the same old one I seem to create.

I am so thankful for His patience with me. I am thankful for the promise that He, Who began this good work in me, is faithful and will bring this work to completion. (Philippians 1:6)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Cooperating With God

As for God, 
His way is perfect; 
the word of the Lord is flawless.
He is a shield for all
who take refuge in Him.

Psalm 18:30 niv

God has been showing me a lot about
putting my focus on Him,
trusting Him,
and giving Him thanks. 

I want so much just to get it...
to be perfect at 
keeping my focus on Him
all the time.

I want to be able 
to just walk through my day
and see His presence
all over the place.

Because He is there.

But then I find myself 
in the midst of a 
very normal day.

You see, my kids 
haven't gotten with the program.
They're not cooperating with me.
They've not gotten the memo
that now that their Mom
is on this holy quest to be perfect,
they need to be perfect.

I mean, really, 
that would make my life
so much easier!

I blow it

I just am finding 
keeping my focus on Jesus is
so much harder than it sounds.

Wow, that can be discouraging. 

But, this is a journey, right? 

The Bible is full of illustrations of 
how long it can take to 
cultivate and grow 
spiritual fruit.

I'm really hoping that I 
don't have to go live in the 
wilderness for forty years.

Or even forty days.

I know that I am a child of God.
I know that He has put His Spirit in me.
I know that He has begun a good work in me,
and will carry it to completion. 
My hope and trust is in Him. 
I just need to be patient and cooperate.

"When God assures us of a promise,
He desires for us to respond by cooperating
in the fulfillment of that promise.
Sometimes that means battle;
at other times God directs us to sit and wait.
Wisdom involves learning to know the difference.
Whether God tells us to sit, stand, or move,
He calls us to respond with 
a spirit of cooperation."

Beth Moore in David

I have a choice
to fight Him or cooperate with Him.

I can choose to try to go it on my own
or take refuge in Him and
rely on His strength.

If the Lord delights in a man's way,
He makes his steps firm; 
though he stumble, he will not fall,
for the Lord upholds him with His hand.

Psalm 37:23-24 niv

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Knowing and Remembering

"I love you for who you are, 
not for what you do. 
Many voices vie for control of your mind,
especially when you sit in silence. 
You must learn to discern what is My voice
and what is not.
Ask My Spirit to give you this discernment. 
Many of My children run around in circles
trying to obey the various voices directing their lives.
This results in fragmented, frustrated patterns of living.
Do not fall into this trap.
Walk closely with Me each moment, 
listening for My directives and 
enjoying My Companionship. 
Refuse to let other voices tie you up in knots.
My sheep know My voice and follow Me wherever I lead."

-- from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

When he has brought out all his own, 
he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him 
because they know his voice. 
But they will never follow a stranger; 
in fact, they will run away from him because 
they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”
John 10:4-5 niv 

"You may be going through a confusing time.
You may not know how God is going to use a situation in your life
or why certain things have happened to you.
But you can be encouraged and strengthened by 
recalling what you know about God
in the midst of uncertainties. In confusing times,
recounting what we do know refreshes us."

-- from David by Beth Moore

BLESSED BE the Lord, 
my Rock and my keen and firm Strength, 
Who teaches my hands to war and my fingers to fight--   
My Steadfast Love and my Fortress, 
my High Tower and my Deliverer, 
my Shield and He in Whom I trust and take refuge, 
Who subdues my people under me.

Psalm 144:1-2 amp 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Out of the Darkness


Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me? 
Put your hope in God, 
for I will yet praise Him,
my Savior and my God."

Psalm 42:5 niv

It was getting so dark, cold, tight.

The weight on my shoulders was growing.

More, always more... 

More to do, 

More to be,

More to fix.

But I was doing the right things.... right?

I was reading my Bible every day.

I had praise music on my Pandora account.

I even listened to it and sang along.

I finished reading One Thousand Gifts and started my list.

I read Jesus Calling every morning and 
try to focus on Jesus in the midst of my days.

I am reading A Praying Life and trying to pray more.

and am getting back into memorizing Scripture.

I thought I was doing everything right.

But I was sinking.

I didn't even realize it... at first.

But it got to the point yesterday that it was way to real to ignore.

This morning, I did what I always do:
I grabbed my iPod, my Bible, my notebook, Jesus Calling
and settled down into my chair.

And I was honest.

I told God that I couldn't feel Him and that I needed to.

Kim Walker was singing 
into my ears and my heart was crying those 
words back to Jesus.

And that's when I knew.

I had been hiding from God.

I had been talking to Him,
but I had fallen into my old pattern 
of cleaning up what I was saying to Him.

I wasn't pouring out my heart to Him,
I was giving Him the Sunday School Cliff Notes 
version of what was in my heart.

I was hiding, and pretending and trying to do it all myself.

And that is why I was sinking. 

"My heart has heard You say, 
'Come and talk with Me,'
and my heart responds, 
'Lord, I am coming!'"

Psalm 27:8 nlt

I was taking truth and agreeing with it
and then trying to walk it out
in my own strength. 

And then, when I was failing at it
I was ashamed, so I was hiding from God.

All the while, still trying,
still praying,
still singing,
still writing my list of gratitude,
still sharing with friends,
 still going through the motions.

I am so thankful for the darkness of where I was
because it helped me see.

"I waited for the Lord; 
He turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire.
He set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth, 
a hymn of praise to our God."

Psalm 40:1-3 niv