Friday, June 29, 2012

To Dance With Waves

Today I am doing something a little different. I am joining up with Five Minute Friday

to write for 5 minutes flat on the prompt: “Dance” with no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.

Here I go:

My children had never seen the ocean before. They were almost as excited about that as they were Disneyland! When we said it was okay to go in Elyse took off for the ocean as fast as she could. Being from Texas they were not prepared for the chill of the California water. And hesitation took over for a few moments. But excitement soon gave way and small feet could no longer be held back. She began to dance gleefully in the cold ocean waters. And soon she joined the dance of the waves. They lapped, she leapt. They withdrew and she bounded playfully, waiting until they made their approach again. The music was the sound of rushing waters, birds overhead, laughter from her brothers and a shutter that clicked non stop. They continued for sometime. Neither ready for the dance to end.

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Woe Is Me? How About Some Cake!

Another break from my Psalm posting today but if you want to follow along in reading I encourage you to. I have thoroughly enjoyed it! (Reading through the Psalms in a month... 5 Psalms a day! For more Psalm "thoughts" look under labels on the right and click on Psalms Or click here)
It’s been one of those weeks. You know what I am talking about, right? Actually it’s kind of been one of those years. Our son was diagnosed with tourette’s at the end of the year and began struggling with some symptoms of OCD shortly after that. (You can read our precious Isaiah’s story here) We were just beginning to get this under control when I started having some medical problems (more about this here) I have been resting while I wait to get in to see the doctors. (because my husband is awesome and slightly bossy and he told me to.)

In case you have not figured it out this is going to be a “Woe Is Me”  kind of post. Feel free to skip ahead to the point if you like. Otherwise you can continue along with our doom... 
The awesome, slightly bossy husband woke up Saturday morning with his tooth really bothering him. It is a tooth that has needed a root canal for a while and we have been trying to save up for it but the money always seems to find a more important need. The pain continued to worsen Saturday morning until it became nearly unbearable. We found a very nice dentist to call him in some pain meds and an antibiotic and on Monday he went in to see the dentist. Tuesday he went back to work (swollen face and all) and his truck decided to take a vacation... in the middle of the road. There was no starting it. He and his boss managed to pull it to the nearest shop where it is lounging by the pool having a grand ole time while we are down to one car. I know, Whaaaaa! I am very grateful for the one vehicle and for parents who have given up one of their own cars for a few days! 
Root canal was done on my husband yesterday and he is back at work making up A LOT  of missed hours. It was really nice knowing him. 
Praise God for the month He has spent showing me all about trust, fear and stress. Boy I tell you, sometimes He’s right on time and sometimes He’s just flat out early and prepares you for what is coming. I have remained calm and at peace (for the most part) But was very appreciative of some words from my Oh So Wise mother (Hi mama!) She had forwarded me an email:
A daughter is telling her Mother how everything 
is going wrong, she's failing algebra, her boyfriend 
broke up with her and her best friend is moving away. 
Meanwhile, her Mother is baking a cake and 
asks her daughter if she would like a snack, and the 
Daughter says, 'Absolutely Mom, I love your cake.' 
'Here, have some cooking oil,' her Mother offers. 
'Yuck' says her daughter. 
'How about a couple raw eggs?' 'Gross, Mom!' 
'Would you like some flour then?
Or maybe baking soda?' 
'Mom, those are all yucky!' 
To which the mother replies :
'Yes, all those things seem bad all by themselves.
But when they are put together in the 
right way, they make a wonderfully delicious cake!' 

(I’d really prefer a candy bar but as long as it’s chocolate I guess the cake works)

My mom told me she knew that all of the stuff going on lately was frustrating but she could see God doing a work in us to bring maturity. It reminded me of one of my very favorite passages. 
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-5) 
I love it, I love it, I love it! God does not promise a hunky dory life all the time. And I am glad. Where is the growth in that? He does promise we will not lack anything. We will not lack the money to pay for all these bills that will be piling up in the next few weeks. (I really hope God is reading this and gets this memo). We will not lack the peace and strength to not slap the next person who crosses us when we have so much on our minds. We do not lack healing when it is His desire to bring it. We will be sustained when healing is not in the plans! 
He’s baking a cake and it is going to be delicious! 

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

He Loves Me!

He Loves Me Not.

He Loves Me!

He Loves Me Not.

He Loves Me! 

He Loves Me Not.
 I think this is the view we have of God sometimes. He is loving and kind when we have what we want. But He must not think very much of us when things are not going our way! My 5 year old told me this morning... out of the blue, "I know you don't want to discipline me because you love me." 

I explained to him that, while that was true, it is because I love him that I discipline him. That is so easy for me to grasp as a mother. I discipline because I love my children. I withhold massive amounts of candy. I do not give them every toy they have ever laid eyes because I know it is not ultimately what is best for them. But when God does it to me... well sometimes the idea is just not as easy to grasp. 

If I am being honest this is probably a more accurate account of my feelings.

I Love Him! 

I Love Him Not! 

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Praise Him: Rest For Your Soul

Psalm 26, 56, 86, 116, 146

Stress comes in all shapes and sizes. It comes from all kinds of circumstances. Stress can sneak up on you or hit all at once. Your stress may look smaller than hers but overwhelm you every bit as much. She may try to push hers aside, still it will have it’s effect! Our stress is all the same in this way - we all have a place where we can dump that anxiety... if we will.

Straight into the lap of God!

“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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

This verse I found in Psalms today cracks me up. It is SO me!

Psalm 116:7

Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.
Those two words “once more” just kind of punched me in the gut today. 

How many times has God come to my rescue? How many times has he provided or answered my prayers? Does he not bless me everyday with life, and laughter, and riches? Yet here I am again having to tell my soul, “Hey settle down, get some rest. It’s all going to be fine. The Lord has been good to you and He is going to keep at it.”

I had my daughter keeping a thankfulness journal last year because she was struggling, like many of us, with ungratefulness. After reading this verse in Psalms I thought it might be a good idea to keep a Praise Journal. I am much more likely to pick up the computer than I am a notebook. So I am going to keep it right here. I come to my blog most days to write so it is the best place to keep an account of the ways God has blessed me. Besides why would I want to keep all that goodness to myself?

I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the LORD has done. (Psalm 118:17)

If you want to see what the Lord is doing for me click here. Or visit the link at the top of the page Praise Journal. I would encourage you to do the same. Keep your own account of the goodness of God in your life. Then, the next time stress tries to take control you can be reminded that the Lord has been good to you and he does not change.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17)

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Reading through the Psalms in a month... 5 Psalms a day! 
For more Psalm "thoughts" look under labels on the right and click on Psalms
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Friday, June 22, 2012

Fear Is A Booger

Psalm 22, 52, 82, 112, 142
Psalm 112:6-8
 ...a righteous man will be remembered forever. He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. His heart is secure, he will have no fear...
Uh Oh, if this is the mark of a righteous man I am far from it. Fear is one of those things that, while it does not control my life, I do find it creeping in from time to time. And when I allow it to - it can take over for a while. 
It reminds me sometimes of those Mucinex commercials. Do you know the ones I am talking about? Where those ugly green... umm... I think they are mucus?! Boogers, essentially. The Boogers come in, set up house and make themselves comfy. 

Fear seems to do that in me. If I let it in the front door it sets up camp and stays awhile. It throws a party and invites all of it’s little fear friends. Before you know it I have a full fledged rave going on inside me. 

Where is the mucinex for that? What can I take to flush out the thick gooey slime that is fear? 
Thank God we have the ultimate physician. His prescription has already been written and it’s effects are as comical as those commercials. We can laugh as a dose of the Doctor’s remedy flushes out that arrogant fear that thought it had a place in our hearts. 

So here it is, take two of these and call on the the name of the LORD...
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27) 
Thank you Lord for this. All the world has to offer me produces heartache. You give the antidote if I will accept your peace and reject all that the world tries to pollute me with. 

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. 
(Isaiah 41:10)

Held! Sometimes that is all we need. Somebody to hold us until the storm is over. To feel the safety of a great big hand wrapping around our smaller weaker one.

Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. (Matthew 10:26)
We do not have a God who desires to keep secrets from us. He wants to let us in on his great big plan. In fact He is so gracious and kind that he told us early on... HE WINS!!!! There is nothing to fear when we know the ultimate outcome! 

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. (2 Corinthians 4:7-11)
It’s like a time release pill. It’s in us... always, FOREVER! Doing it’s work. We get to carry around Jesus. He is at work in us revealing himself to us and through us to the world, in whatever way he chooses. Sometimes the method he uses may seem scary. What have we to fear, however, when we know we are in the best care possible. We are promised we will not be crushed. Will not be left to despair. We will never be abandoned. If He is at work in your life, even when it hurts, it can only produce something beautiful! In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire —may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
(1 Peter 1:6-7)

Well I feel better already! How about you?

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Letting Go Of The Little Things

I am taking a break from writing about Psalms today. (I did still read it though and it was great!)

I have had some bizarre symptoms the last month and have been put on mandatory bed rest. (Mandatory meaning Dr. Husband's strict orders) (Bed Rest meaning doing as little as possible with 4 kids running around) This means that Dr. husband, in addition to being our sole bread winner, has also had to become the house keeper. He gets home in the evening and starts in on the house work and laundry. The awesome husband award is going to have to get even bigger and better because this man is truly AMAZING and has certainly earned a good one! I have added heavily to the kids chores so that daddy has less to do when he gets home. They have been little troupers but I am remembering now why I'd rather just do things myself. I by no means have a spotless house on a regular basis but I like my drawers, cabinets and closets ORGANIZED! I am having to learn to let things go as my sweet little munchkins do their very best to help out. Things like this...

This is a 5 year old boys idea of putting away the silverware. 

And this...

You see that, right? Blue plates being sandwiched in between red plates
and then more blue plates. They are supposed to be blue together and then red, in that order.
My 6 year old does not seem to have the same strong feelings about this.

After asking the kids to start putting their dirty dishes in the dishwasher instead of the sink after they are done with them they have been very sweet to obey... even when the clean dishes have not yet been unloaded from the dishwasher. Dirty dishes have also been put back in the cabinet ready to be used again. This one is courtesy of the 2 year old and not really a new development.

I am SO grateful for all my helping little hands. In such a short time God has been able to begin to teach me what I have been incapable of learning in 32 years. To LET IT GO, to rest and not expect everything to be "just so". Next up - learning those three gracious little words when somebody outside the home offers to help. "Yes" and "thank you". This one may take a little longer! :)

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Sacrifice Good Enough

Psalm 20, 50, 80, 110, 140

My kids are attending Vacation Bible School this week. They came home telling me they needed to take shoes to give to other kids that need them. I immediately wished we could go out and buy a few new pair but that is just not the place we are in right now. My children rummaged through their closets and found several pair that either no longer fit or they just don’t wear. They left the house with a few pair of scuffed up sneakers and I continued to wish they were shiny and unused.
I feel like we are so often in a place of need. Not necessarily financial need. There are prayer needs, medical needs, help with this and that.  We seem to always be the ones receiving and not so much giving. This frustrates me. And here I was showing up at VBS with old shoes. 
I got home from dropping the kids off and sat down to read my Psalms for the day. Here is what I read:

Psalm 50:8 
I do not rebuke you for your sacrifices or your burnt offerings, which are ever before me.
I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine. If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it. Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats. Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.”
I am a little slow, the conviction took a while to sink in. Likely I was tuning God out for a while. When I finally quieted myself to listen He told me, “it is not WHAT you have to give, I have no need for name brands and bright white shoe laces. What I want is a heart that sees the blessing of a closet so full of shoes that you can spare some.” 
There have been times in our lives that God has asked us to give out of our need and we had the privilege to sit back and see Him provide enough to cover where we lacked. But what He was asking me to realize today were those areas that He has so filled me. Where I have been blessed with so much that I can freely share. To offer thanks to Him for providing those people in our lives that have given again and again to meet our needs. 
Sometimes just the offer of praise seems like a sacrifice. I shared recently about a time when, through my heartache I knew I had to say to God “blessed be your name.” There is a line in the song “Blessed Be The Name of The Lord.” that I know so well, I have felt the weight of it’s meaning. The line is Though there's pain in the offering”. I know I am not the only one that has had to praise God when you hardly had the strength left to do it. Many of you know that so much more intimately than I. 
If you can give shiny new shoes to someone in need, go for it! But in ALL of your giving give with a heart full of thanksgiving and praise! Thank him for tiny voices that wake you up much too early in the morning, thank him for food to fill your belly, thank him for time to spend with family, for people who do have enough to give and can be used by God to meet physical needs. Thank him for the hurt in your life that produces growth and maturity. (James 1:2-3)
Your thanksgiving brings with it a great reward! 
Psalm 50:23 
He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation (which means victory here) of God. ”

Reading through the Psalms in a month... 5 Psalms a day! 
For more Psalm "thoughts" look under labels on the right and click on Psalms
Or click here

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Monday, June 18, 2012

God In The Everyday, As Seen By A Busy Mom

Psalm 18, 48, 78, 108, 138 (Through My Mommy Lenses)

(My personal insight on these verses)
Psalm 18:31-39  
For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God?
It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. (Because Lord knows, I am FAR from it)
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; (I can jump over that mound of laundry on my bedroom floor with the best of them, and answer the phone before the machine beats me to it
he enables me to stand on the heights. (or stools, or countertops, or the occasional wall scaling when I am in too big of a hurry to find the stool) 

He trains my hands for battle; (My daughters mane of tangles is a vicious battle arms can bend a bow of bronze.(And can overpower the can of biscuits and eventually get the dang thing to pop open.) 

You give me your shield of victory, (sometimes in the form of a pizza box... dinner is done... victory!) and your right hand sustains me; 
you stoop down to make me great. (You must. Because no matter how retarded my dance moves, my kids still seem to think I am awesome!) 
You broaden the path beneath me, (Because after 5 chocolate bars in one day a girl needs a little help fitting down that path) so that my ankles do not turn. (And my knees do not buckle)
I pursued my enemies (the dust bunnies) and overtook them; (blast those dust bunniesI did not turn back till they were destroyed. (Evil, evil dust bunnies) I crushed them so that they could not rise; they fell beneath my feet. (and were swiftly swept under the rug until another day) 

You armed me with strength for battle; (for the day that the telemarketers would callyou made my adversaries bow at my feet. (I think I even heard one of them sniffling by the time we hung up)
I’ve said it before, I love that I serve a God who dwells on high but can also be found at rock bottom!  He can also be found in the chaotic, everyday world of a stay at home mom! (Who just so happens to hate dust bunnies!)

Reading through the Psalms in a month... 5 Psalms a day! 
For more Psalm "thoughts" look under labels on the right and click on Psalms
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Friday, June 15, 2012

Loving Your Chapel of Love

Psalm 15, 45, 75, 105, 135
Commitment!!!!! That word may make you run away in terror. It may also cause your heart to swell and make you feel all warm and squishy on the inside depending on your experiences. 
Now you will have to excuse me for a moment while I grab my ladder and climb up onto my soap box! 
Psalm 15:1, 2 and 4
Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? He whose walk is blameless ...who keeps his oath even when it hurts
You see, God seems to LOVE that word, Oath - COVENANT! And He keeps it. 
Psalm 105:8 
He remembers His covenant forever, the word He commanded, for a thousand generations...
When I think of covenant the second thing that springs to mind (God’s covenant with us being the first) is the covenant of marriage. It is not to be entered into lightly and God’s design is for us to keep that covenant too. 
NO, Wait! Don’t run off yet. I am still on the ladder. You forget I’m short... I haven’t quite made it to the soap box yet. 
Here is the reason why this promise means so much to God. 
Ephesians 5:25-32
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the Word, and to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of His body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 
Lengthy, I know, but a great read! (ok, I’m there planted firmly on the my box of zest!) I am guessing many of you are wives, husbands, eventual wives or husbands or past wives/husbands. 
I am reasonably sure you enjoy being taken care of, loved, treated as well by a spouse as you treat your own self. Sounds pretty good! No? 
We know that we, as the church, are the bride of Christ. Hallelujah, He treats us oh, so well! And He is our groom. Worthy of mutual respect and honor. I am guessing most of you agree with that! But here is what I want to propose to you. Do you suspect, as I do that God would love to see us also loving and caring for the church in the same way we do our spouse? In the way He loves and cares for the church? 
I wondered if the “church” that is being talked about in Ephesians 5:32 was really just talking about all the saints. So I looked it up. The word is ekklesia - a gathering of citizens called out from their home into some public place; an assembly. 
Don’t forget to dote on those you go to church with. Honor your pastor. Consider the commitment you have made there as important as the commitment you have made to the one you love. And the One you love. Keep that oath, even when it hurts. Build up your church... be involved. Don’t just show up on Sunday morning because you are supposed to - get what you can out of it and go on your happy way. Feed it, care for it, love it like you do your own body. We, the church, are His bride. Let’s enjoy the marriage and give it all we’ve got! 

Linked up here: Graceful

Reading through the Psalms in a month... 5 Psalms a day! 
For more Psalm "thoughts" look under labels on the right and click on Psalms
Or click here

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Can't We All Just Get Along?

Psalm 13, 43, 73, 103, 133

Psalm 133:1
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

Isn't it though? Just so nice, and sweet, and fun when you are hanging out with "the brethern" getting along, having a grand old time. But what about those brothers you avoid at the Grocery Store because you just can't agree on anything and you'd really rather not have to deal with them? What about the brother that just really ticked you off last year and your blood boils everytime you think about them? What about the actual brother that you no longer speak to because of that falling out all those years ago?

If you are a fellow believer you are a brother (or sister) Mark 3:35 For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”  

We don't get to choose our blood relatives and we don't choose our spiritual brothers and sisters either. We were all chosen by the same great father. 

Find a way to bridge that gap, to right that wrong. Choose to forgive even if you were not appologised to. Make the phone call, write the letter. Pray for God's blessings in their life. Do it today...

Look at what we get in return.

Psalm 133:3
...For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.

Life here means revival or renewal... that sounds awfully nice to me!  It's like a spa treatment for your soul! 

Reading through the Psalms in a month... 5 Psalms a day! 
For more Psalm "thoughts" look under labels on the right and click on Psalms
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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Simple Solutions With Mrs. Grumpy Pants!

Psalm 12, 42, 72, 102, 132

I sat at my computer to read my daily Psalms this morning and was unable to concentrate. I was discouraged and feeling sorry for myself. I had to stop more than once and ask God to show me something in the scriptures because I was so distracted as I read. After my second time through I decided this must just be a reading day and not a writing day since I had NOTHING. Then my eyes fell on this verse and I thought...let's see, how do I put this in eloquent, well written terms... DUH!
Psalm 42:5
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him my Savior and my God. 

It's that simple! It really is! In fact sometimes I think it just sounds too simple. Or as my husband would say too "christianese". Can we really just put our hope in God and stop being down? 

I started compiling in my head a comprensive list of all of the things I "put my hope in" to cheer myself up.

A funny movie
A quick cruise through facebook
A couple of chapters of a good book
Food in the form of chocolate
A good conversation with my husband (maybe while eating a little chocolate!)

Why is it so easy to jump straight to self medicating - thinking we can find a quick fix, and yet so hard to put our hope in the ultimate and everlasting "fix"?

My Grandma sent me a little facebook note yesterday with this verse

Romans 12:12
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

Instead of being down, discouraged, and distracted... Not only am I going to put my hope in God, I am then going to rejoice in that hope because it is the only thing that is going to mend and medicate long term. I am going to try to be patient in tribulation because there is hope.  

A friend sent Jarrod this verse for he and I first thing this morning. It just happens to be one of our favorites anyway, but how fitting for today.

Isaiah 26:3 
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust (or hope) in you.

I don't know for sure but I think God might be trying to tell me something? :)

By the way, I have found that putting my hope in God while eating a few bites of chocolate never really hurts anything!

Reading through the Psalms in a month... 5 Psalms a day! 
For more Psalm "thoughts" look under labels on the right and click on Psalms
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