Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Trust and Be Thankful

As I read my devotion this morning the hymn Trust and Obey kept playing through my mind.  I examined the following verses:

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!  Philippians 4:4

1 Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD;

let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.   Psalm 95: 1-2

10 Those who know your name trust in you,

for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.  Psalm 9:10

If you've been reading my last few posts, you know I am reading the devotion Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.  Here are the sections I highlighted today:

...Trust is the channel through which My Peace flows into you.  Thankfulness lifts you up above your circumstances...Rather than planning and evaluating, practice trusting and thanking Me continually.

This all really struck a chord with me.  I realized I go through a lot of my life whinning and complaining about my circumstances, planning and evaluating so I can avoid my fears, or begging God for something (whatever it is I think I need at the moment) - but I rarely stop and just thank Him and trust Him in whatever circumstance I am facing.  I will beg to be let out of that circumstance, but it's not often I actually thank Him in the midst.  I imagine God watching me just yearning to give me peace and to lift me above my circumstances, but I stand in the way.  In my human weakness, I really think I can bring peace to myself with my actions.  He must shake His head at me a lot. 

As I pondered this, God revealed to me that there is nothing wrong with planning and evaluating (in fact, many of us have a gift for just those things).  The problem arises when we do this out of fear instead of out of trust. Trust that God has me in the palm of His hand and is guiding me along.  He already has the road paved.  He may reveal to me a plan He has and I can then implement the gifts of planning and evaluating.  It's then that He shows me just how much He loves me. 

For a Melancholy, Type A like myself, to see God's power unfold through the work (planning and evaluating) He has given me is so amazing and satisfying. 

So, if you are like me - you have a need to know every possible scenario and outcome before you make a move - have peace.  God has already done all the  planning and evaluating.  He does not need you to do it for Him.  But if He does use you in His work, do it out of faith not fear.  Trust in Him and be Thankful that you do not have to carry the weight of this world on your shoulders - He's got it.

I'll leave you with the words of Trust and Obey today:

When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,

What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.

Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
But is blessed if we trust and obey.

But we never can prove the delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.

Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet,
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way;
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Do Not Be Anxious!

So if any of you read the Thorny Soil post, you know I am struggling with fear and anxiety.  It creeps up and then out of the blue I'll be a ball of nerves, most of the time over nothing.  For example, this morning I woke up at 4:30 and could not go back to sleep.  Why?  Because I was worrying over my schedule for the weekend and trying to figure out how to get it all done.  Is that really worth losing sleep over?  No.  It's a daily battle and the Enemy knows this is where he can get me. And even though I know the only defense is to fill myself with the Spirit through time with Him, I can never be consistent.  Holla if ya feel me, sistas!

All that to say, since I was up at the crack. o. dawn.  I was able to get to work very early (over an hour early) and I had time to be with the Spirit. Thank you Jesus.  I'm reading this awesome daily devotion, Jesus Calling - Enjoying Peace in His Presence, by Sarah Young and it is blowing my mind.  My sweet SIL gave it to me for Christmas and it's been the best gift. 

I want to share this morning's word and I hope that if you are struggling just as I am, that this will give you some peace:

REFUSE TO WORRY!  In this world there will always be something enticing you to worry. That is the nature of a fallen, fractured planet:  Things are not as they should be. So the temptation to be anxious is constantly with you, trying to worm its way into your mind.  The best defense is continual communication with Me, richly seasoned with thanksgiving.  Awareness of My Presence fills your mind with Light and Peace, leaving no room for fear.  This awareness lifts you up above your circumstances, enabling you to see problems from My perspective.  Live close to Me! Together we can keep the wolves of worry at bay.

John 10:4
4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.

Luke 12:25-26
25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

I Thessalonians 5:16-18
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Wow, that Sarah does have a way with words, doesn't she? And then these verses, wow.  Reading this today I felt as if God and Sarah had a meeting about GrumpyPants and decided to write a devotion just for me. Of course that did not happen, but I am floored at how God can speak so individually yet so globally all at the same time.

My response?


Thank you for being the Great and All Powerful, but especially thank you for being my personal Father.  I am so grateful that you go on ahead of me in this life.  You know how everything will work out and you have planned it, so what am I so worried about?  Thank you for reminding me that you will bring me through, you will not harm me.  You have always and will always provide what my family and I need.  If I cling to you I will be able to hold all you have given me with an open hand - and be able to let it go if you so desire.  Thank you for loving me even in my disobedience and thank you for your protection and provision. I ask for your perspective today and a mind that is open to your Holy Spirit's leading.  I REFUSE TO WORRY TODAY!

In Jesus' Name, Amen

Many Blessings Sisters!

Another Unplanned Hiatus

Well, here I am again, apologizing for taking another unplanned hiatus from blogging. Sorry about that.  But I've decided I won't apologize anymore. 

The hiatus came because life took off.  We moved, had the holidays, and work got very busy.  In the midst of all this have come some real life drama and disappointments.  I've been forced to be a grown up, and we all know that's not fun.  Through all this I learned I don't handle change and disappointment very well.  I'm also struggling to balance my life. Mostly because I'm a planner and not much has happened according to my almighty plan (God has really had some good laughs on my behalf lately).  I did not respond very well to that.  Basically, there was a lot of crying, whining, shouting, and driving my poor hubby insane.  So I began seeing a sweet counselor at our church.  I want to learn how to respond to life in a way that pleases God instead of viewing everything through my selfish eyes. 

It's been a great process and I'm very grateful for it all - even the crying.  :)  Anyway, that did not leave much time for blogging.  I decided to focus on my man and our life for a little while.  I know you understand. 

But let me catch you up...

We did move into our wonderful new home (pics coming as soon as the Hubs can find time to get them off his camera).  Two weeks later we had the whole family over for Thanksgiving.  Nothing like a little motivation to get the unpacking done :).  Then two weeks after that we had our Open House.  Again, motivation to put the finishing touches on the home.  Of course, there was Christmas, which was glorious.  D was in our church's large Christmas production and for a week went to work at 8a and did not come home until 10p or later.  But it was an awesome experience for him.  Our sweet friends the McG's came to a show and loved it.  After the show we headed to Shreveport for an entire week. That was heaven.  We did not have to rush through a visit but were able to see everyone and enjoy our time there. 

Once we returned from the holidays, work just took off for both of us.  I have had several 70 hour weeks and travel, but it all seems to be settling down a bit now. 

I can't complain.  I have a very loving marriage to a man who loves God and me, a beautiful new home, sweet friends, a great job, and I work with awesome people.  I'm so grateful for this period in my life, even though it's taken some adjustment.  It's through these challenges God makes us stronger and brings us closer to him.

I'll try to get some pics up of our adventures over these past few months.  And I'll post as often as I can, but I can't guarantee consistency.  So please check back periodically.  I promise I'm not gone, only living life.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Texas Hill Country

So the Hubs and I are going to take our first vacation since we were married in May.  We are going to take in the Texas experience and go to the Hill Country. We have been hearing about it since we moved here, so we decided to take the plunge.  I think Greune is our destination of choice, and then a day trip to San Antonio.  But if you guys have any suggestions please let me know. I am in the process of planning now. 


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Am I the Thorny Soil?

I am at a point in my spiritual life where it's time to leave adolescence and begin adult hood.  Now,  I believe that an person's age has absolutely nothing to do with their spiritual maturity - it's all about the pace at which God has planned for that particular person's life.  I'm of the slow to mature variety.  I've been a Christian 18 years and I've felt God calling me to a different place in my walk recently.  For so long I have taken from God - going to church/prayer/Bible study to feel fellowship, to feel better, to learn, to get to Heaven - but it's time to not only continue to do those things but begin allowing God to work through me.  Not coming from a Christian home, I have no idea what that looks like, but I feel ready to begin that journey. 

So that is why a particular morning devotion hit me so hard recently.  I am going through Making the Most of Your Resources, a Women of Faith study.

It's a great, easy little devotion with a ton of God's wisdom.  So anyway,  I was reading last night and it brought me to Matthew 13: 1-23, The Parable of the Sower:

1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

10 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”

11 He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables:

“Though seeing, they do not see;
though hearing, they do not hear or understand.

14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:

“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
15 For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’[a]

16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17 For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

I realized I am the seed among the thorns.  I have struggled for so long to leave my childish, adolescent understanding of my faith behind, but something always holds me back.  I now realize, it's been my fears, my worries - I've allowed the deceitfulness of wealth choke the Word.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to say that having wealth (whatever that means to you) is wrong and makes you less of a Christian.  But, I am saying that by putting my faith in that wealth is wrong and I've let it deceive me for far too long.  For many reasons I've put my faith in wealth - I mean who wouldn't, it's tangible and attainable and by the world's view it brings security.   

Well, as I discovered this through my devotion, God brought to mind another devotion I'd read a few weeks earlier.  In it the author discusses fears and how they hold us back (see a recurring theme, do you think God is trying to tell me something?).  In it the author had an excellent idea, write down all your fears.  All the things that take your thoughts away from God and focus everything on you.  Give those fears to God and then when he addresses those fears write that down as well.  That way you can begin move your focus to God and to see that God is just as real, more real, than any wealth.  He loves you, wants to know your fears, and address them for you.

So, to hold myself accountable, here are my current fears:

1)    I'm scared we will never have enough money to pay our bills
2)    I'm scared of some unforeseen disaster that will take away all our security (house, cars, jobs)
3)    I'm scared I'll never be the wife God wants me to be for D
4)    I'm scared we will never have a baby
5)    I'm scared we will never have enough money to have a baby
6)    I'm scared we will have a baby.
7)    I'm scared I won't be a good mother because I have to work
8)    I'm scared I'll work so much I'll miss the life God has for me
9)    I'm scared I'll worry myself into oblivion
10)  I'm scared of others opinions of me
11)  I'm scared my motivations in serving God are not pure
12)  I'm scared my lost loved ones will never come to know Christ and it will be my fault because I never    
       opened my mouth
13)  I'm scared I'll never get control of my temper
14)  I'm scared I'll never be the person God wants me to be (at work, at home)
15)  I'm scared I'm not outgoing enough and I'll lose out on real relationships with other women
16)  I'm scared to tell God my fears because He will make me face them.

I think that's enough for now.  I'm being so open with this because I know I am not the only woman who struggles with these things.  We are not alone.  God wants us to give our all to him, that includes our fears.  Don't be like me.  Don't be the thorny soil and let your fears choke out the power of God's word in your life for years.

I'm excited and scared all at the same time about this new phase of my life.  But I know He is with me through this all and I remember:

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

God bless you sisters in our journey.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March, Already?

Not much to say except, is it really March?  I guess that means I should take down the Christmas tree and other decorations.  Hehe!  I meanb, it takes such effort to put up the decorations and I like to enjoy them as long as possible - is that all bad? That, or I'm just a chronic procrastinator.  Either way, I think the time has come.

Kidney Stones and Stay Puft

Just take a gander at this pic:

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is a Stay Puft Marshmallow Man Bank.  Who is Stay Puft?  If you grew up in the 80's and you don't know, for shame!  Please see the blockbuster, favorite film of my childhood, Ghostbusters

This is how my sweet hubby cheers me up (after kidney stones and terrifying plane rides) - he drives across town and buys me this bank because he knows it will make me smile.  Then, we curl up on the couch and watch Ghostbusters I and II.  Yeah, he loves me that much.  Eat your heart out.