Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Kids say...

I just left a message for my husband. When I got off the phone, I was questioned by my 3-year-old.

"Who was that?" Jaycie asked.

"I was just leaving a message for Daddy."

"Oh. He's my favorite daddy in the whole wide world."

I'm sure Rod will be relieved to know that.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sweet anticipation

I may not be able to celebrate another year of my dad's life today as I would have a couple years ago. Still, I'm grateful that I can look forward to "with the ransomed in glory [God's] face I at last shall see". It's a sweet moment to anticipate. For now and through eternity, "it will be my joy through the ages to sing of [God's] love for me".

I stand amazed in the presence
Of Jesus the Nazarene,
And wonder how He could love me,
A sinner, condemned, unclean.

Singing how marvelous!
how wonderful!
And my song shall ever be:
How marvelous!
How wonderful!
Is my Savior's love for me!

He took my sins and my sorrows,
He made them His very own;
He bore the burden to Calvary,
And suffered and died alone.

And with the ransomed in glory
His face I at last shall see,
It will be my joy through the ages
To sing of His love for me.

(by Chris Tomlin)

I just shared with Nikelle the following verses in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. The result was a giggle of joy. She knows the "dead in Christ" include Papa and Grandpa. Being able to be reunited with them as we meet Jesus just adds to the sweetness. I think that response from a child is a good one for me to remember. How often is it that I cannot hold back a giggle of joy when I think of Christ coming back for us?

"13Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18Therefore encourage each other with these words."

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Romance after 13 years

After almost 13 years of marriage, it's easy to overlook romance in our relationship. With three little girls and all of life's responsibilities, we forget or simply don't make the effort to do the little things that demonstrate love. Today my husband did something out of the ordinary which warmed my heart in a big way.

I can't tell you the last time I got an uninterrupted night of sleep. Last night was no different and it's taking a toll on my attitude and behavior. I'm walking around in a fog again. "Stupid" is the way many of my actions could be categorized lately.

Rod called me today from work at lunchtime (which is not the norm). He was calling to check on the girls because they have runny noses. More importantly, he was calling to find out what he could do specifically to help me get some rest. He even offered a suggestion.

That, my friends, is what I consider romantic.

Taming the Tongue

JAMES 3
1 Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.
3 We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. 4 And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. 5 In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches.
But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. 6 And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.
7 People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, 8 but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. 10 And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! 11 Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? 12 Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.

I talk too much and I'm tired of the trouble it gets me into. I am finding more and more that people take the words I say in a meaning completely different from what I intended. I'm grateful for relationships where people are willing to clarify things before a grudge grabs hold of their heart.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Kids say....

I made the mistake of going to the grocery store today. Actually, my mistake was procrastinating. I could have gone last night after Rod got home from work by myself and for some reason decided not to. Serves me right to have this cold, windy, rainy day to take my little girls shopping in.

There was a bright spot in my day, however. We passed some flowers in the store when Jaycie, 3 1/2-years-old, decided to share her thoughts with me. "Mommy, I wished I could give you some flowers next time you get married."

Sweet.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Finding rest in the stillness

I've been trying to elminiate hurry from my life lately. It is not an easy accomplishment. I think this world is wired to be in a hurry and naturally, I've followed suit. The difficult thing for me is I don't want to feel left out. When friends are getting together, I want to be a part of it. If someone asks me if I'm free to hang out, my first impulse is to agree. I reason that I cannot impact the lives of others if I'm never involved in their lives. God, however, has been showing me that I cannot impact lives without time to simply "be still".

It is so easy to get wrapped up in the daily grind. There is so much to do. My mind spins. Everyone needs something. I have to be completely intentional if I am going to find time to "be still". And yet, it is so vital to my very being.

A huge part of why I lack self-control is for this very reason. I am a firm believer that self-control is an oxymoron. In and of myself, I cannot exercise control. The only way I can show self-control is when I am obedient to God and allow His Holy Spirit to control my actions. (Could that possibly be why it is listed as one of the fruits of the Spirit?) On the days where I cannot rummage up enough food to satisfy my desires or fly off the handle at the smallest thing, I know I am in desperate need of God. I must find time to be still.

I'm learning that I cannot possibly hear His voice if I don't take time to listen. I'm learning that in order to listen, I cannot constantly have noise. The television blaring. The radio playing. The kids yelling. My own voice speaking. My thoughts whirling. I must spend time reading His Word. I must talk to Him and then spend time in quiet.

Last week I actually had a day where the little girls took a nap at the same time while my oldest was at school. My inital response was to grab a snack, flip the boob toob on and lay down on the couch. Having just had conversation with a friend the day prior about this very subject, however, I stopped myself. I felt physically exhausted, so I did plop myself on the couch. However, I listened to the quiet and thanked God for it. Then I closed my eyes and talked to my Creator. I was rested when them time came to answer the calling of "Mommy" again.

Finding rest in the stillness... I could use some more of it.

"Be still and know that I am God." ~ Psalm 46:10

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Replacing sinful behavior

"Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you." - Ephesians 4:31-32

Reading today, I was reminded that my sinful behavior needs to be replaced with behavior that honors God. Kindness. Being tenderhearted (compassionate). Forgiving. God did it for me. This weekend is the perfect reminder of what God did for me and why I must extend that to others.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

God is my comfort; not food (2 Corinthians)

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows." - 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Saturday, April 4, 2009

God is my comfort; not food (Isaiah & Jeremiah)

"Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains! For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones." - Isaiah 49:13

"I, even I, am he who comforts you." - Isaiah 51:12

"As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you." - Isaiah 66:13

"Then maidens will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow." - Jeremiah 31:13

Friday, April 3, 2009

God is my comfort; not food (Psalms)

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me." - Psalm 23:4

"Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once again." - Psalm 71:20-21

"My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life." - Psalm 119:50

"I remember your ancient laws, O LORD, and I find comfort in them." - Psalm 119:52

"May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant." - Psalm 119:76

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Comfort in an idol?

I'm doing a study right now with a friend entitled The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace. Let me just say God has A LOT of changing to do in me! The last couple of chapters have really impacted me.

"Each of us is worshipping something or someone within our heart every waking moment of each day," the books states. "Who or what you worship is 'what's on your mind', 'what you long for -- wish for", 'what is really important to you', and 'what you have your heart set on'." Very sadly, this is food for me. I think about food all the time. And I don't mean just the obvious "what should we eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner" thoughts. I'm talking about the fact that when I have something sweet in the house it calls my name all day long until I succomb to it. Or when I don't know what to do next, I stand in front of the pantry or the open refrigerator looking for something tasty. My body doesn't even know how to register "full" most of the time for goodness sakes!

Another thing the author states in her book is that "If you do not repent and turn to God for a refuge (comfort and relief on His terms), you will be forced to seek relief, comfort, and escape somewhere else." She adds that these could be things like "sleep, television, reading, food, clinging to people for comfort, shopping sprees, exercise, hobbies, being busy at church or volunteer activities" to name a few... and I'll add facebook. I realize I run to many things for comfort outside of God Himself. In particular, I turn to food in a very unhealthy way. This is something that requires change in my life.

Martha Peace continues to say that "the God of the Bible wants the undivided worship and devotion of your heart. He wants your thoughts, motives, and choices to be focused on glorifying Him. He should be your greatest longing and desire and refuge. Your thoughts, motives, and choices should be set on glorifying Him, not on your idolatrous heart's desire." Taking this to heart and applying it to my life could seriously make some changes in my relationship with food!

After the girls are in bed and I feel the stress in my body to the point that I can't relax, my first thought is always "What is in the pantry or fridge?" Instead, I should pull out my journal and pray or the Bible or another book to turn my thoughts to God.

Without quoting the entire chapter, I was also impressed by the following: "What you have your heart set on will make all the difference in the world in your fulfillment and your joy. Ask God to give you new heart's desires. Then proceed to seek after God with the same passion and energy that you are currently expending on idolatrous desires," and she quotes 1 John 2:15-17.

I don't expect changes overnight. I've created terrible habits for myself and I must replace them with new ones. The biggest is that when I feel a need for comfort, I should talk to God rather than turn to food. It's not going to be easy but I'm grateful for this new revelation for me.