Tag Archive | busy

Psalm 51: reflections in the spin cycle

Another snow day; the third one this week. I have been sick for two weeks and have so much catching up to do. When it snows and rains like this, it’s best to save the septic field and refrain from doing too much laundry at home. After being down and out- the laundry has piled up higher than the mounds of plowed and drifted snow. Time for the laundromat.wpid-20150306_104041.jpg

The kids brought books to read while we waited. I assured them that it would be a reasonably short visit because we could do the drying at home. I was completely taken off guard when they reacted the way they did. The books and coats went into a chair by the window…they flipped over two of the three laundry baskets…and each took a seat.

Front row for the big show.

He practically had his face pressed up on the glass the whole time and only moved away long enough to float to one of the other machines. When the spin cycle began, they were whipped into a frenzy! To them, it looked like the clothes in the machine had just disappeared as the centrifugal force pressed them firmly against the inner walls  of the 62 lb. capacity beast.  A young couple sitting nearby began to laugh…who knew that laundry could be such a wondrous and magical experience.

They had never seen a front load washing machine before.

Two hillbillies in the big city.

Laundry. They were mesmerized, entertained, and positively pleased as punch.

I miss those times. Two years ago I could look at a tree in a storm as the leaves turned up to welcome the rain…and see God. There was wonder in my coffee, the clouds in the sky…God was evident everywhere. Even in all of the chaos of life, I was the one pressed up against the glass watching in amazement and awe as the spinning melted into the walls and God was at the center. There are seasons. God is always present…always working…always active. Sometimes we sit at the feet of Jesus and learn…and watch. Other times we are Martha, diligently working on the things He has given us to do.

This Martha season has been complicated and blessed. There are tasks that He has placed in my path…people…needs. I have been listening, and started out following His lead quietly. It was awesome! I could see how God was weaving people and situations together- all in one load. But, then the spinning started. I’ve gotten caught in the spin cycle. I don’t want to say “yes”–I don’t want to say “no”. I am spinning with my back pressed against the wall and everything is being squeezed out of me. It’s too fast. I am tired. And I am too loud about it. I have been too loud about my feelings and frustrations. I have been too loud about some of the excitement in my world…good news and bad. I have quickly become overwhelmed and now I have found out that I am overwhelming people around me. I need balance…AGAIN. So now I am feeling a bit alone in the spin cycle and the anxiety is creeping in. Feelings. The reality may not be overwhelming, but when the feelings are added in- Satan get’s the upper hand.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

It’s time to very intentionally focus on God, not the things that make me anxious. [AGAIN] Not how I fail [STILL].

Psalm 51 is near and dear to me and I have found myself meditating on it a lot this week.

Just be quiet. That may be a good start. Oh, Lord. Please hit the reset button. My spirit is downcast within me.

1 Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
    and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
    and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth,
    sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
    you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins
    and blot out all my iniquity.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
    so that sinners will turn back to you.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
    you who are God my Savior,
    and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
15 Open my lips, Lord,
    and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
    you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart
    you, God, will not despise.

18 May it please you to prosper Zion,
    to build up the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,
    in burnt offerings offered whole;
    then bulls will be offered on your altar.

When everything has been squeezed out of me, there is a big void that only God can fill. I eagerly await that joy and willing spirit; His sustenance.

I have no idea what’s next. I feel like I haven’t had much to write here lately and am wondering if this season has passed, too. (The spammers have written more on my site than I have in the past year!)But, I will be still and wait. Maybe the spin cycle will stop- then, I can exit the spin and sit with my face pressed to the glass. When the spin starts again I want this perspective. I want this vantage point. I want to see all of the chaos melt away with God in the center – clearly. But, that’s what I want. I wonder what God’s plans are?

I have to focus on God’s plans. Not mine.

I must have FULL faith, because God is faithFUL. ALL THE TIME.

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Quiet

Happy New Year!

These past several weeks have been a whirlwind of activity and travel for our family.

Christmas programs at church and school…illness…Christmas…a drive to and from Florida to see family…hubby’s birthday…removal of a dead Christmas tree and our first Upward basketball games of the season upon our return…laundry…laundry…more laundry. For the life of me, I cannot figure out why I scheduled TWO appointments for myself today. TWO! There is no food in the pantry or fridge and it is not likely that I will be getting to the grocery store today either. I see Chinese food in our future.

Welcome to a new year. But, wait…a word from God.

Quiet.

11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. (NIV)

11 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; 12 That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.(KJV)

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

This is the scripture that God has been pressing on me for the past month. “QUIET”. But, how can I be quiet at a time when I feel that he is pushing me out the door…out of these four walls…and into serving others? I don’t get it.

The same day that God gave me that rhema, I received my Christmas gift in the mail. This year for Christmas, I got myself the Websters 1828 Dictionary.

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How timely! I opened the seal and looked up that word “quiet” and what I found illuminated this scripture for me and helped me understand how being quiet is really an active word.

QUI’ET, adjective [Latin quietus.]

1. Still; being in a state of rest; not moving. Judges 16:2.

2. Still; free from alarm or disturbance; unmolested; as a quiet life.

In his days the land was quiet ten years. 2 Chronicles 14:1.

3. Peaceable; not turbulent; not giving offense; not exciting controversy, disorder or trouble; mild; meek; contented.

The ornament of a meek and quiet spirit. 1 Peter 3:4.

1 Thessalonians 4:11.

4. Calm; not agitated by wind; as a quiet sea or atmosphere.

5. Smooth; unruffled.

6. Undisturbed; unmolested; as the quiet possession or enjoyment of an estate.

7. Not crying; not restless; as a quiet child.

QUI’ET, noun [Latin quies.]

1. Rest; repose; stillness; the state of a thing not in motion.

2. Tranquility; freedom from disturbance or alarm; civil or political repose. Our country enjoys quiet

3. Peace; security. Judges 18:7.

QUI’ET, verb transitive

1. To stop motion; to still; to reduce to a state of rest; as, to quiet corporeal motion.

2. To calm; to appease; to pacify; to lull; to tranquilize; as, to quiet the soul when agitated; to quiet the passions; to quiet the clamors of a nation; toquiet the disorders of a city or town.

3. To allay; to suppress; as, to quiet pain or grief.

Wow.

A state of rest…as in resting in the Lord. To quiet disorders, pain or grief. Not crying or restless. Calm, not agitated. Peaceable, not exciting controversy. Meek and mild.

So it’s not just about shutting my mouth and minding my own business. It’s shutting my mouth, listening to God, seeking to follow His lead. “Minding my own business” is for me to tend to the business HE gives me…not in closing myself off and keeping to myself. In pulling me out of my comfy walls, God wants me to minister to others…pull up along side of them quietly and not be in the forefront.

Yesterday, after church, God expanded on this in the form of a slew of scripture. I was writing it all down in my prayer journal and could hardly keep up!

Do not do before men (Matthew 6:1-4), but use the gifts I have been given by God to serve others faithfully so that the praise and glory go to God (1 Peter 4:10). I must be humble and to DAILY cast my anxieties …especially the ones about getting outside of my little safe comfort zone…on the Lord because He cares for me (James 4:10, 1 Peter 5:6-7). I need to continually pray- and ask you all to pray for me- that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given to me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel (Ephesians 6:19) and that no unwholesome talk will leave my lips…only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen (Ephesians 4:29). I must remember to commit my plans to the Lord daily. And anything I do or say must be for God, with strength given by God, giving thanks TO God though Jesus Christ (Colossians 3:17). I need to be ready and willing and He will make me able. For if I am willing, the gift is acceptable according to what God has given me…not according to what I lack (2 Corinthians 8:12).

Quiet. Listening. Doing. Not overtly – but covertly. Out of the overflow of the Holy Spirit in me…Good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over (Luke 6).

It’s not to say that I haven’t been following God’s lead prior to today, but I have been resisting leaving my comfortable four walls.

“It’s OK. I’ve got this. Just be quiet and keep your nose down. Work diligently with what I have given you and on the things I have given you to do. Quiet. Shhhhh. Apply my healing balm to others around you…pacify their souls. Be faithful with a few things and I will charge you with many things and you will share in My happiness…lacking nothing.” That’s the rhema -the Word- that God has given me for this new year.

So…Now what?I guess only God knows. I just have to be quiet enough to hear.

 

Sad = Frown

If you have ever seen the movie “French Kiss” with Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline then you may recognize this little rant. Or if you have bumped into me today you may have seen something similar. I am NOT ok today. And I am ok with that.

God was preparing me for this day just yesterday. My daughter was in the kitchen helping her brother make lunch. One of her favorites is bologna and cheese. But, she uses the bologna to make the face and rips the cheese to look like hair…to look like her. Her favorite part is taking the mustard bottle and carefully squeezing as her little hands guide the bottle along to form the face on her creation. And it’s usually a happy one. But, not today. Mid-masterpiece, she slipped on the rug in the kitchen and fell right on her bottom. She’s a tiny little thing and doesn’t have much padding and the tears welled up quickly as she ran toward me. I hugged her and gave her some comfort and she went back to her lunch. When I finally got the remainder of our lunch over to the table I noticed her bologna face.

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She had drawn a great big frown. I looked at her and she still had tears lingering in her eyes. She gave me a pouty face …all I could say was “I’m so sorry. That’s so sad. Oh, girl.” And then I had to turn to chuckle a bit. That was the saddest little bologna I had ever seen.

Yep. Corresponding face with the corresponding emotion.

She’s got that part down.

So why do grown ups have such a hard time with this?

Today, I woke up with an empty calendar but by 9:00 am that had changed. I noticed that our back-to-school shopping was still not done, I really needed to head to the Christian bookstore (not a big deal for some, but the closest one to me is in a neighboring state), had to drop into the docs office to get some school paperwork completed, drop off some uniform shirts to be embroidered…and then I plugged in the pool and the CGFI kicked in. It knocked the coffee pot offline. (Not a good morning for that nonsense!) It would seem that the line going to the pool…which the puppy had chewed on…had gotten wet in the torrential downpour last night. Ok…add a new electrical line to the list. Then I pull out of the driveway and notice the hole: the chasm that has opened up in our front yard. You see, just a few months ago we had to have a new septic field installed and the excavator warned me that the area where they do the necessary perc test is a bit finicky. He said he will sink over a few months and then they’d come fill it in and pack it down. He must have known what he was talking about I guess.

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HOLY COW! We have kids…that’s a big hole. It’s about a foot deep and three feet long and getting bigger. Not only am I a mom, but I used to be an insurance agent. This one has “hazard” written all over it. So I did what any reasonable insurance mom would do and I bought caution tape because it sounds like that hole will be there until fall. (Hey maybe we could incorporate it into Halloween decor?…Oh wait…squirrel!)

Needless to say when I pulled out of the garage, that hole was much more than a hole. It was a pretty accurate portrayal of me at that very moment. Since April, I feel like I have been hammered pretty hard and the hits keep coming. I roll with it; some days better than others. God has always provided and I have no reason that He will let us fall now. And most of it is just “stuff” anyways. Just regular, real life, grown up stuff. What’s the real problem? Is it that corresponding face thing? There are days when I really need to allow myself to use the corresponding face with the corresponding emotion instead of stuffing it all in…Until the heavy rain comes and a chasm opens up and I sink like the hole in the front yard.

I know what God has to say about this- Check out Proverbs if you want to read for yourself. I do not have a license to throw a tantrum, or be angry and full of rage, or to lash out at others or plop down in my muddy hole and roll in it. Nope. But, I am human and I can cry and laugh as the occasion presents itself. Maybe I should do each a little more often so I don’t crack like I did today. Emotions often lie and decisions shouldn’t be made when emotions are high. (Otherwise, I would have bulldozed the pool, put a sale sign up in the yard, and you’d find me sitting in the hole.)  I need to DAILY give it to God…whatever “it” is today…as it comes.

Cast your cares on the Lord

and he will sustain you;

he will never let

the righteous be shaken.

Psalm 55:22

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 tells me that there is a time for laughing and crying…but, just for a time.

There is a time for everything,

and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

a time to search and a time to give up,

a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate,

a time for war and a time for peace.

And then the time passes…and the bologna face is eaten….and it’s time to move on.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Battle in Bowser’s Castle

Too many video games before bed make for a rotten attitude and a poor night’s sleep…and that usually carries over to the morning.

Irritable, achy head, sore from tossing and turning, jaw tight from tension induced grinding of teeth…coming down the hall with hair a mess and a scowl on my face. Yup. I am not talking about one of my kids. This is me today. U-G-L-Y.

Last night I decided to play classic Mario Brothers and I am…well…let’s say “competitive”. All of that jumping and bouncing and fireball throwing, ducking, sliding and battling gets a little intense for me. It is a battle that I MUST WIN. I must get all of the large gold coins. (I must know when to call it a night and put down the controller!) When I lay down last night my brain was still bouncing- but, not just on Mario…it was scattered in a bunch of places. That’s why I decided to play in the first place…to distract me from some things that were on my mind. I think it’s safe to say that my plan backfired.

I didn’t go to bed late, but had a hard time falling asleep. Today, my son is having a friend over today and came into my room at 6:30 am to discuss the matter. He forgot to close the bedroom door on his way out and the dog…THAT dog….grrrrr…came bounding in, jumped on top of my head and started rolling- spinning on his back like he was Bowser himself. As I scream and swat him off I hear it…LOUD and coming through the vents on my bedroom floor…”Let it go! Let it go! Can’t hold it back anymoooooore!” She was playing her CD on the highest volume that her little Hello Kitty radio could handle…at 6:30 am. Wait…6:30 am? What is she doing up? Oh yeah. Today was the beginning of the “dry run” for school. Our daughter has always been slow to wake up so hubby had the good idea to start some back to school morning routine practice so she would be ready for Kindergarten.

Let me tell you…if THIS is what each morning is going to look like when school starts we are all in trouble.

I am restless and embattled. Not just from last night’s sleep (or lack thereof) but, because I just know that God is leading me to do something but I don’t know who or when or how. I keep praying that He will reveal it all to me, but I am impatient and a little anxious and intimidated. I can’t pull a ‘Jonah’ because, frankly, I know how that story ends. So I wait. I know that He has equipped me for my purpose…but, I don’t feel equipped. School is almost here and I am not ready in any way shape or form. Finances ebb and flow and I have been praying for provision, guidance and good stewardship. And I have been feeling a flutter in my chest that I have not felt in some time. Anxiety. I don’t like that flutter. That anxious flutter makes me more anxious. There are battle lines being drawn on many fronts and I remind myself that not all battles are bad. I pray about these things…but, my prayer life has been less than intimate this month because of all of the upheaval of summer travel and family coming and going. Bouncing, ducking, sliding…the battles in life get a little intense at times as well. I need to spend some serious time on my knees and less time in Bowser’s Castle.

I have mentioned a Christian author that my friend introduced me to named Charles Martin in a few prior posts. I just went to the library and picked up what will be my fourth Charles Martin book this summer. This, in itself, is unheard of! I usually only get through one non-Bible study book during the course of a year and that is during summer vacation. I have been reading in the evening instead of flipping on the TV and have been so blessed by it. As I read the prologue I got some really sound, Biblical advice. A word from God in a fiction novel…yup! With all this anxious bouncing and battling, God still found a way to slip in a word to get me grounded.

 “Tucker, I want to tell you a secret.” She curled my hand into a fist and showed it to me. “Life is a battle, but you can’t fight it with your fists.” She gently tapped me on the chin with my fist and then put her hand on my chest. “You got to fight it with your heart.” 

She pulled me back to her chest and sucked through her teeth like she was trying to pick the corn out with her tongue. “If your knuckles are bloodier than your knees, then you’re fighting the wrong battle.”

“Miss Ella, you don’t always make sense.”

“In life,” she placed her finger on my knee, “you want the scabs here”- she placed the other on the cracked skin of my knuckle- “not here.”

—Excerpt from Wrapped in Rain: A Novel of Coming Home, by Charles Martin

I am currently reading in Hebrews during my morning quiet time, but never anticipated that God would whisper during my evening reading, too. Profound and timely.

I can’t wait to read more. I can’t wait to pray more and see what God has planned. Man, I hope I get the message loud and clear and pray that I listen. Fish belongs in my belly- not the other way around.

In the meantime…I just had an 8 track flash back! ha ha Like cutting the rings on a tree to reveal its age,  a certain song from my past just came to mind. If you’re into 80’s hair bands, you will appreciate it (and I invite you to listen to them more online because they ROCK!)

So here it is…Get On Your Knees and Fight Like a Man by Petra

More than I can handle (part 1)

One thing I hope you see as I write about daily life in this blog is that I am human. There is no perfection here, just a wife and mom seeking the Lord. I have ups and downs like any other and share with you how God “reels me in”…or in some cases, as I learn the hard way as I sit kicking and screaming.

Just last week, I wrote a blog on passing on blessings. I used a week of “me-time” to help others and count the blessings which were passed on to me. I wrote that on Wednesday…by Saturday morning, I was unraveled. The kids had come home from vacation and my in-laws were staying over. I was so glad to have the kids home and was looking forward to enjoying some time with them, but when I woke up Saturday morning my “to-do” kicked in. I got up, put on my work clothes and went to the gas station to get fuel for the mowers. Wrote out the list of things that I really wanted (at that moment each was a desperate need) and I set to work. The problem  is, everyone else was enjoying a leisurely pace. The in-laws were shoving off to continue their vacation adventure and hubby was hanging out with the kids…watching me spin my wheels. He came to me and asked me what was going on. In a bit of a frantic tone, I told him, “There is so much to do… and I should have gotten it done while the kids were gone…but I didn’t…and now I am behind…and I have to get it done…why did I wait? I should not have waited until they were back to do this!”

Just like that. All of those moments helping others and all of those blessings I had received were crushed by two hands of toil.

Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.

Ecclesiastes 4:6

Selfishness.

Me, My, Mine.

I confess it folks. I had that thought, ” I should have not spent so much time doing other things for other people…I should have been home working on my own stuff.”

Hear that ugliness? (Sigh)

Hubby always has his white horse saddled up and at the ready. He asked me to prioritize my list so he could pick a task to knock out and we both set to work. At about three o’clock, I came to him and said, “Ok, I am out of my tree now. We can stop. Let’s pack it in and swim with the kids and have some fun.” I could see the relief on his face. I apologized for my insanity.

The rest of the afternoon was positively wonderful.

Then came the phone call….

My bro-in-law was in the ER again. He is an athletic, young 40’s dude and looks perfectly healthy. Looking at him you would not see the struggles that he has had and continues to have daily. He has had a few strokes and they have caused major lifestyle changes…among other things…and he has aphasia, which makes it hard to get the words in his head to come out of his mouth. Except when he is talking about God or God’s word. He may not be able to do the IT job he held before the strokes, but he is the recreation director at his church and pastors at a summer camp. I firmly believe that even in all of these health struggles he and his family have endured…that God’s plan is being hammered out in his life.

I thought she was going to tell me he had another stroke, but instead- he had a seizure. And then another in the ambulance. This is something that he has never had a history of and she told me that they were big ones. Within 20 minutes, our family was packed and we were in the car. Over the past four days, the ER and ICU doctors have been testing, re-testing…trying to get him straightened out. It may be a reaction to medicine and completely unrelated to his past history. It’s just one more thing. Please pray for my sister, bro-in-law and their kids.

Sunday evening, we packed up again and headed for home with two extra kids and our nephew’s new puppy in tow. And we’ve been here enjoying each other’s company ever since. Nothing like cousins and canines frolicking around the house!

Last night, I was telling my sister that having all of the kids and doggies here has been wonderful. I told her about my Saturday morning in my crazy-tree and shared with her just how ridiculous I feel now about that moment. All of the stuff on my list was just “stuff”. Helping her and these kids is so much more than that. God stepped on my coattails and re-centered me on Him and my purpose and direction under Him. What could be more important that fixing my kitchen sink, overflowing gutters, overgrown lawn, and sinkholes from the septic repair?

Well….everything.

Hitting my stride

As I stood at the kitchen sink, washing up after dinner-I could see them clearly. They were swinging. Higher and higher. She jumped off the swing and began to run. Oh, her run. It’s so free. It makes me smile. She has a quick step and she tends to throw in a little skip or two to vary her step. She runs…and runs…and runs. She has two speeds: Off and On. As a matter of fact, at the library on Wednesday I had to caution her to slow down. Her response? “But, Mom…I am so excited!”.

sheruns

Thinking about her…running…excited…and RUNNING. Kids. Seriously- think about it…they RUN seemingly non-stop. Our little family participated in a 5k on Saturday. We have done this one for the past three years. The first year, I had both kids in a jogging stroller. The second year, our son “graduated” to walking and our daughter floated from stroller to walking and back again. This year, all four of us suited up; some to walk and some to run. Afterward, I was chatting with a friend and was telling him how proud I was of our son. He had run his first race with his father. My friend kind of chuckled and said, “And because he’s young he will probably go home and run another five miles in the back yard.” So true.

So as I watched her scamper around like the vibrant, energetic four-year old that she is I wondered…When do we stop running? Why?

Somewhere down the line we slow down, become more focused on “things” and “stuff”, worldly responsibilities creep in and consume our time, we smile less and complain more and even worry a little. Why is that? You’d think that as the days pass on- as we get one year older and one year closer to the Lord- it would be more natural to speed up instead of slowing down. That’s a lot to ponder.

Therefore, 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. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV)

 Recently, I started walking through a Bible Study called “Restless” by Jennie Allen and I have been nothing but restless ever since. In the video, Jennie opens with a story about running that really opened my eyes. (Maybe that’s why watching my daughter run struck me the way it did.) I will refrain from writing a blog on the race…because, frankly my sweet sister in Christ, Danielle, has already made a masterpiece of that in blog form.  Anyways, while walking through the study last week, I had a restless revelation. After talking a spiritual gifts test (again) and reflecting on past hobbies etc…I came to the conclusion that I was wrong. Last week, I had no clue what my gifts and talents were. I thought I had none. Sure, I was good at stuff…but, did I have a spiritual gift that could be used to serve the Lord? What is MY purpose? Through this study on that particular morning I discovered that not only was I wrong, but I was wrong and actually USING my gifts and talents. While there are some areas that I need to allow God to fertilize and plenty of room for growth…I am blooming where I am planted. I was blown away. When I sat down to speak with my hubby about my discovery he said, “You really sell yourself short. I think that makes it harder for you to see the gifts and talents God has equipped you with.”

There is much, much more to this particular restlessness that I am experiencing, but it was too much for one post. I wanted to share this part today because I am excited. After beginning the race as a young girl- RUNNING; I stumbled and spent many years of watching the race from the sidelines. I re-entered the race with a cautious walk and eyes wide open, but I think in this portion of the race I have finally hit my stride! (At least in my current season.) To have confirmation from the Lord during that study and prayer time was just what I needed to hit that stride with the confidence I should have. IN HIM.

Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds

Hebrews 10:22-24

I have always loved that word…”Unswervingly”. Part of the purpose I believe God is pushing me toward is “how we may spur one another on” and I am excited to see what’s next.

Out of the fire and hit with the frying pan

I had a dream last night. It was long and vivid…and now that I know what it means, I feel like I have been punched in the gut. While there was no sense of urgency in my dream- there is a very real sense of urgency for me today.

The dream:

We were all sleeping snuggled up in our beds when I woke up to realize that our house was on fire. The fire was in the basement- so for some reason…in my mind…we had a little time to spare. My first impulse was to save our family photos. We keep them in a large flat plastic storage box under our bed so they were easily accessible. I pulled the small aluminum latches on the screen in the bedroom window and pushed the screen out. Then, I lifted the large plastic box of photos up and pushed them out onto the deck in the rear of our home. By this time, hubby was awake. I told him that we needed clothing and he grabbed a duffel bag and began to toss some clothes in. After all, we would need clothes when we left this house and so would the kids. Running back and forth around the house we began to collect things that we wanted to salvage…the diamond necklace he had given me…my wedding rings…a picture of our son feeding his newborn sister…and other items that had intrinsic value. We grabbed the kids and went outside. We had to get the car out of the garage before the fire spread that far. We tossed everything in and pulled the car out to the road. By that time the firemen were all there and the Fire Marshal was not too pleased with us. “This fire started small and could have easily been extinguished if you hadn’t been running around doing all of that other stuff!”, the Fire Marshal snipped. “…and furthermore, you should never remain in a burning building!”, he shouted as he turned to finish his work.

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The frying-pan moment:

You’ve heard the phrase “out of the frying pan and into the fire” before…this time I came out of the fire to be HIT with a frying pan. God has been leading me away from women’s studies and ministry and onto focusing on family ministry in the past month or so. In following His prompting, I have revisited the study called “The Power of a Positive Mom”. I have purchased the 8 session series and am considering a study/play group here in our home over the summer. Yesterday, I decided to incorporate “30 Days of Encouraging Your Husband” and “The Love Dare for Parents” into my morning Bible study time…again shifting the focus to God’s desire for me to minister to my family. Today, I opened up the “Love Dare” and my heart sank. I have already been very aware that we needed to slow down and take more time to recreate and be together as a family. We need more FUN! But, today when I read the first day of the Love Dare and the challenge I realized how far off the mark I am when it comes to our son. His “love language” is quality time and physical touch. He’s a snuggler who needs dedicated time. I know this about him because I am the same way. But, what I didn’t realize is that I have not been speaking his language at all lately. I have been so wrapped up in dinners, laundry, shuttling us from here to there, ladies Bible study and church activities…that we have not had much time together. As a matter of fact, when he comes home from school- he plays with his sister while I cook dinner. He and his sister are two peas in a pod…but, our relationship is suffering. While I say “I love you” all the time…it’s possible that he may not be experiencing that love.

Then I read…

When love is the fertile soil, truth becomes a more fruitful seed. By working together, truth and love build deep trust between you and your child In contrast, when parents force truth into a relationship that is poisoned with anger, bitterness, insecurity or emotional isolation, those truths tend to become twisted or rejected over time. Pain and misunderstanding become silent weeds that can choke out what you are trying to communicate. Even when you speak clearly, your wise words may fall on toxic soil. That is why past hurts must always be uncovered and dealt with compassionately to gain a child’s heart and ear again. (From The Love Dare for Parents by Stephen & Alex Kendrick)

Our communication has been lacking lately…his listening ears have been busted and I my frustration has been increasing. Could it be that not speaking his “love language” is causing the soil to turn? Are weeds growing?

Oh my…the frying pan just hit my head. And it hurt.

I called my hubby and told him about the dream and what I had read. When I woke up this morning I had no idea what that dream was about or what it meant. Yet, God placed all of this together in the span of less than 4 hours.

Our house was on fire and I was spending my time preserving photos and gathering clothing instead of putting out the fire!

I am now fully aware of the danger here in our home and how it could affect our children and our family in the future. I have to put this fire out while it’s small – to avoid further damage. It’s time to apply the brakes and carve out quality time…not just for our children, but for my hubby and I and more importantly ALL of us as a family unit. I am going to have to rearrange some things: do more housework and tend to the lawn and garden more during the week. But, if it frees up the weekends for family fun, then it’s worth it. If we have to stay up thirty minutes passed bedtime to snuggle and read…so be it.

As I was hanging up the phone with hubby he said something that is going on my list of blessings in big bold letters…praise the Lord for hearing ears and discernment. I am so thankful to have a thriving relationship with God…one in which He leads and I follow. And praise the Lord for frying-pan moments that result in awareness and awakening.

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

Galatians 5:25

Is there a fire in your home or life that needs to be extinguished? Are you paying attention- would you hear the warnings if the alarm was sounded? Or are you too busy running around (chasing the wind) to take the warning seriously? It’s easy to get wrapped up in the tasks that accompany motherhood that we forget the “mothering” part. It’s equally as easy to become so wrapped up in serving, that you neglect the relationship with the God whom you serve.