Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Identity Crisis


Seems to me like as moms it is so easy to loose yourself.
 I was asking myself, “Who am I?” just the other day. 

My answers were: 
Mom
Housekeeper
Wife
Cook/chef (depending on the day)
Teacher
Coach
Counselor…
and the list went on and on.

As I thought of all of these things. I realized how easily I set myself up for failure. If my children misbehave, I am not doing a good job as a mom and I fail.  If my house is a mess, I am not doing a good job as a housekeeper and I fail. If I don’t have energy to make a great and healthy meal and we eat cereal, I am not doing a great job as a cook/chef and I fail. If my children are not learning what I am trying to teach them, I am not doing a great job as a teacher and I fail. If I don’t do a good job decorating my house, planning activities for my family, being involved at the right level of involvement then according to “them” I am failing. I am not who I said I was. My identity is flawed. I am not worthy…

Not worthy…that is exactly what I am. That is exactly how my identity must start. Because let’s face it, friends, we are not worthy. But I am not talking about being worthy of being a mom, wife, housekeeper, etc. I am talking about being worthy to have an identity that never fails. The sweet sweet truth is that I do have an identity that never fails, even when I do fail! 

When I was six I saw my need of a Savior and placed my trust in Him. I could not have argued apologetics or taught Biblical truths, but I knew I two things: I was a sinner, and I needed a Savior. That, dear reader, is where my identity was formed. An identity in Jesus. An identity formed because a worthy Savior saw fit to come to earth to live a perfect life. Then he picked up a cross and chose to die for my sins and yours. For all sin. He choose to die in my place. The story doesn’t end there, for if it did my identity would be dead. No, the story goes on because Jesus conquered death and rose victorious from the grave. He is not dead any longer! He is alive. Sitting at the right hand of the Father, he makes intercession for me! Because I am not worthy, He is. 

When I place my identity safely in His worthy hands, then I can truly be content. Be happy. Be loved and love in return! Even when my house is a mess, as sometimes with four children it can be, I am still worthy. Not because of my own merit, but because His. When I look in the mirror I need to work on seeing my true identity. How do I do that? I need to fill my heart and mind with what Christ says about me. He says I am loved (1 John 4:10), I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), I am accepted (Ephesians 1:6), I can do all things (Phillippians 4:13). By placing my identity in Jesus I can live safe and secure even when I fail at everything else. 

So, dear reader, where is your identity placed? Do you feel unworthy or unloved? Or are you placing your identity safely in the hands of the one who died for it! 



God made you.

It is enough.

You, my dear sweet reader, are truly beautiful!









Sunday, May 15, 2016

Broken: When God changes your plans.


I have debated so many times about writing this post. How do I say what I have learned? How do I carefully address the pain of being moved and molded? How do I share how God works when our lives have been shaken and broken?

Every person in their walk with Christ will find themselves at some point on a similar road my family was on several months ago. Although each path is different, they are all full of pain, loss, and brokenness.  It is on those paths we make a choice.  We can choose to wallow in our sorrow, or we can choose to trust God's plan.  As Christians we walk these paths many times. Some end with understanding. God shows us why He chose this path. While other times I still wonder why the pain??

The day that changed our family's course is not as important as the lessons I have learned.  I could become bitter and angry. I won't lie, I have had my moments. Life was going great, and I was happy with where we were. I was, dare I say, comfortable! But God had different plans. I am learning that when God has to move us He often has to shake the tree to get me down. I'm a deep root person.  I like to settle in. So when my life was ripped from its roots, needless to say there was shock.
My first response was tears and sorrow. Then anger and pity.  My anger didn't last long. Not because I am some super spiritual person, but more because my personality is not the angry type. Then was the waiting and fear.  Waiting and fear are definitely where I struggle.  As I watched my life unravel I clung to the hope that God did have a plan.  That it would be okay. That no matter where we went, He would be there and leading me first. And though life is not perfect now, we still are tenderly moving on, we can see that it is true.  God was leading us. God chose this path so that we could learn some valuable lessons. One of the biggest lessons I have learned is to know what is important and focus on that.


So, how should we respond?
We must put our focus to where it needs to be.  Not on other people, or the situation at hand.
We must focus on God.








We must choose to see what God has for us. When in the midst of our trial we must face ourselves honestly in the mirror.
We must trust His plan is better than our own.
I say all these things, but you must know it is a lot easier to type than to carry out.
When I put my focus on God, only then can I glorify Him in the midst of a trial.
Only when I am focused on God can I have the peace I need, despite the storm.
As we sailed on our stormy sea, we had moments that we took our eyes off of the cross and felt sorry for ourselves. It was then we began, like Peter, to sink into the abyss of the waves that seemed to engulf us. It was when we took our gaze from the creator of all things that we became discouraged.
When our eyes are on the cross our vision becomes clear. Our hearts become focused on what is important.

So, what do you do while you wade through the trial. While we waited on God to move and point the way. The first thing is that we stayed involved. The Bible says


So often the first thing people do when they are in a trial is to avoid church. Especially when the trial begins in church. When my family moved suddenly we immediately got involved with our new church. It was part of our healing. To have the family of God wrap their physical arms around us as we searched for God's plan was a comfort I can not totally explain. The messages brought by our pastor brought healing and encouragement. We were truly built up by our church family. (It was our church family long before we moved as it was my home church.)

The next thing we did was not to forgo prayer and reading my Bible. I can't tell you it was easy. There were many days that the words didn't come. There were many times my only prayer was "why?". There were days, however, that I poured out my heart and listened to God as He answered my prayers with a peace deep in my soul. I began to crave my Bible. I knew the answers to this very trial was hidden in it's pages, and I was sure to find it out. I began to express my faith in a way I was not used to. To write it down and sing it out. God used this trial to focus my attention on Him. If I had simply given up when it was difficult I would never have experienced the joy and love that overflows from a broken heart being pieced together by it's maker. It's true the song that we sang when we were children!

And finally, when wading through a trial you must learn the difference between sharing our trial, or  venting and complaining. There is a time to share your heart. To tell a trusted friend how you feel and honestly open up about your broken spirit. But I must caution you, from experience, don't make this a habit. Don't dwell on what has happened. Instead learn to focus on what will happen! Learn to live in the moment you are in. Yes, our trials and experiences shape and mold us. They are part of us. But they are not all of us. They do not define us. When we spend so much time dwelling and talking about what has happen, we begin to loose sight of what will happen. I was there. I know when I walked the path of complaining and venting I was discouraged, angry, and bitter. I learned that when I felt the need to talk about it if I focused on the lessons I learned and how God used the trial to bring me closer to Him it was more edifying to me. It helped me to focus my heart on God. It helped me to heal. Unlike allowing my wounds to continue to fester.

I'd like to write that I always choose to trust. That I always kept my focus on God. Right from the start. But that would be a lie. I have grown bitter and chosen to wallow in pain. But, for reasons I will never fully understand, God continues to work in my life. He continues to love me and choose me, even when I am not choosing Him. God's love is indeed loyal. He loves us with a abundant love. Yet, we fail him...over and over again. I have learned that He always has a plan. When we focus on Him, when we allow Him to heal our heart. When we follow His words...then we can have a joy that is unspeakable. A love for God that overwhelms our souls and sets our hearts on fire for Him.




















God made you.
It is enough.
You, my dear sweet reader, are truely beautiful!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Spilled



It was a normal morning. The birds were chirping. My coffee was cold...again! I was feeling tired, as a mom of four little ones grows accustom to. The younger two had been happily playing in the living room, and I was determined to read my Bible. My coffee was reheated, my Bible and pens were on the table, and I was ready. I said a quick prayer for God to speak to my heart. Opened to Titus one and began to read. I got all the way through the first verse when the first fight broke out. After I resolved the problem, I sat back down and... reread the first verse. Then my sweet Lyla crawled onto my lap. First she asked me for her sippy cup, which I retrieved. Then, she told me something else (I was honestly too distracted to know what she said). After I read the first verse the fifth time, she reached for my half cup of coffee. It happened as in slow motion. The reach. The attempt to save her, the Bible, and my coffee. The spill went everywhere. Startled I screamed and jumped up with Lyla in my arms. My reaction had scared Lyla. I snuggled her close, and told her I was sorry. I felt so alone in the struggle. The daily struggle to balance it all. Why couldn't I get it all together??? I was frustrated. I just wanted to read a chapter, maybe a couple verses. Why did it seem that every time I sat down things were hurtled in my direction. No matter what I was trying to do, I felt like it just wouldn't happen the way I planned. Why did I feel like such a failure, again?

Does this remind you of a time in your life. Maybe something similar has happened to you. Fret not, dear reader, we are in this together. The other day I was listening to a pod cast and they were talking about a picture the woman had taken of her little two year old carrying his scooter to the park. He was not strong enough to ride it the whole way there, and neither was he really strong enough to carry it. His mom had offered to carry it or to push him on it, but he was determined to do it alone. The mom told of how much longer it took to get to the park because he had to keep stopping to set it down and take a breath. Sounds like us, doesn't it. God wants to carry us, to help us through the trenches of mommy-hood, but we are so determined to do it all on our own. We begin to be bogged down by our burdens, when if we would simply turn them over to God, He will carry us.


I often make myself an island. I feel all alone in my struggles and the daily grind. I look at my life overwhelmed by the responsibilities I have to do. I look at those responsibilities without realizing God promises to help us to do them. Not only to help us, but through us He will work them out. However, we are often like the two year refusing to accept His help, and carrying our scooter all by ourselves.

Matthew 11:29-30 says, "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me: for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

I have felt the burdens of being a mom to my four children. I have taken them on myself. I have failed more times than I care to admit. I have prayed and given it over, only to take it right back. I realize I can't be the mom I am supposed to be. I am not able. I am not an island. I am not alone. All along beside me the Savior patiently waits for me to come to Him. To ask Him to take the burdens and walk beside Him. Why do I resist?

Isaiah 41:10 says, "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness."


There will be days when reading my Bible is not going to be easy, but God never said following Him would be easy. He did say that He would walk beside us. He would give us what we need if we will listen to Him. There will be days when no matter what we say or do we fail over and over, but we need to keep giving our burdens over to the Lord. We need to keep tossing them at His feet.

I still feel like a failure more times than I should.

I am not perfect!!!!

But, the more I toss my burdens at His feet the more victories I will have.

Sure my coffee may be cold, or spilled. My children may still be in their jammies at lunch time! But I am learning to cast my burdens on Him. I am not an island. God walks beside me and I am never alone!

God made you.
It is enough.
You, my dear sweet reader, are truly beautiful!







Thursday, March 26, 2015

You Are Beautiful




The smile on his face was the same sweet smile I have grown to love as he looked at me and said what he has said over and over for the thirteen years of dating and marriage, "You are beautiful!" I smiled back and said something like, "You have to say that." It was my normal response. For some reason I have never believed him. Suddenly guilt covered me. A guilt I have never experienced before. Questions flew through my mind. Why don't I believe him? Why would he lie to me about that? Has he lied before? It was like a ton of bricks hit me in the chest when I realized I don't believe him. I don't believe I am beautiful. I don't think I ever have. It was then I heard the Holy Spirit whispered in my ear, "You are fearfully and marvelously made. You are my creation. I think you are beautiful. You don't believe me, either." Has God been lying to me all this time? What else don't I believe? Who am I? Why am I not satisfied with who I am in Christ?

I don't know who will read this post. I am not sure if you are in the same place as me, or if you, unlike me, are satisfied with who you are. It is not just looks that I am realizing that I have been discontent with. It is who I am. My attributes, talents, the things that make me...well, me!

The devil has been lying to us, dear reader. He has said we are not beautiful the way God made us. The talents we have are not enough. Our life could be better. He has told us that we are not worthy of the love that we receive. I have decided I am fighting against his lie.  How many times I have said, "I wish I could do that like so-and-so," "I wish my hair was like hers," "I wish my kids behaved as well as theirs." The list could go on forever. I have never thought I was one to struggle with comparison, but God has opened my eyes. It is a struggle. It is hard to not look at others and not compare and fall short. ENOUGH! I am not going to believe it anymore. And you shouldn't either.

I am enough. I am perfect the way God made me. I am worthy of love. I am worthy of His love. He felt that so strongly He sent His son to die on a cross for me and for you. He loves us, dear one! He longs for our love in return. How can we love Him if we don't believe all that He says is true.

So who am I? When I look at myself in the mirror can I see what God sees? Not a vain girl that thinks she is all that, but a humbled woman that has been forgiven by God's grace. A woman that was designed by the greatest designer of all. That was created to be a mother to my four children and a helpmeet to my husband. The talents I have are for God's glory. They are not better than your talents, they are simply my talents. Your talents are for God's glory. I will celebrate our differences and the blessings God has given you. I will see you as a perfect creation that God has made. I will not wish to be like anyone except the person I am.

I am not perfect. I am a sinner saved by grace. I will continue to follow Christ and pray that He will mold me and change me into His image.



Psalm 139:14 says, "I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well."

Isaiah 43:7, "Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him."

God made you.
It is enough.
You, my dear sweet reader, are truely beautiful!

The next time my sweet hubby looks at me with those amazing green eyes and smile that melts me inside and says, "You are beautiful." I am going to say, "Thank you."


Monday, September 8, 2014

Teddy Said





Last night on the way home we were talking about the message that had been preached.  It was excellent.  I asked Teddy what he thought and he said, "It was good!" Then he said,

"When I am a preacher and preach, I am going to use this illustration.  We are like cats stuck up a tree, and Jesus is like a fire fighter. The tree is like sin.  We are stuck in sin and Jesus is there with his ladder to help us down, but sometimes we are afraid to get on the ladder."

I don't know about you, but I was very impressed.  And it got me thinking.  He is right.  Sometimes we get stuck up "sin trees" and we are scared to come down.  Jesus is always there to offer the escape, but we don't always reach out to Him. Sometimes we cling to our sin because of the comfort we have from it.  Like the sin of worry.  I'm a worrier.  I have to pray a lot when worry starts to strangle me.  It is like I can't let it go, because then I know I am not in control.  Although, I was never in control to begin with.  Jesus is better than a fire fighter, He waits patiently for me.  He doesn't try to rip me from my limb, He just points me to the ladder, and the Holy Spirit nudges me down the ladder.  He places my feet on solid ground.  He helps me to succeed.  To overcome the sin.

For those lost, they don't see Christ for who He is.  Just like a scared cat that doesn't know the fireman.  They are unsure if what He is offering is really help.  They don't realize they can cling to Him to help them. 

I love this illustration.  I am now going to be reminded of Jesus rescuing me every time I hear or see a fire truck.  Which, since my house is right down the road from the fire station, happens a lot!

 
Trust the "fireman!" He can rescue you and help you have victory over sin!!!!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Empty Pages

All those ideas over the past few months that I have been holding on to because my computer was broken and life has been crazy, just flew out the window.  All those illustrations of how God had been growing me, now seem to be disappeared.  Why is it when you don't have a computer to write them, they come so easily, but when I try to write them... all I get is........(crickets)

So, even though it isn't much now. It will come again. Computer is up again.  And I am ready!

God is everywhere. I can never learn enough. I can pray and wait.



Hope you're ready.....

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A Mile in Ruth's Shoes!

What is about the book of Ruth that we love? Is it the love story? Is it her faithfulness to her mother in law? Is the fact that she was an outsider accepted into the family? There are so many reasons to love and study this book. As I read through it today I thought about a post I did forever ago. It was called “A Mile In Her Shoes.” I had done the writing as part of our ladies meeting. We did it as a skit, but it was very powerful for me. As I studied each woman and thought over what kind of shoe they would represent, I learned a lot about God. I learned a lot about each of these women. I tried for a while to figure out what kind of shoe Ruth would represent. I prayed about what God wanted me to learn from this woman so many have studied.
I think Ruth wore hiking boots. She was ready to follow anywhere Naomi went. She had a choice you know. The Bible tells us that Naomi tried to get Ruth to turn around. I am so glad, however, that Ruth put on her hiking boots and followed Naomi. I am sure it was a difficult journey. There were dangers and fears as she traveled. Would she even be accepted once there? But she knew the right way to go and followed behind. What kind of woman Naomi must have been in her faith that Ruth would desire a strange place with this woman to her own family.
Ruth is one of the special people in the Bible that I can see loved shoes. She didn’t just have one pair that represented her. Once she got to Bethlehem she put on her work boots. She also wore slippers as she lay at Boaz’s feet. And finally she wore wedding shoes. Dazzling ones I am sure! After all she is in the line of Christ. Even though each of these shoes were important in her life, it was her hiking boots that spoke to me.
I have been hiking. Some places I have hiked were easy paths that I could walk beside the person I was hiking with, and other places I had to follow closely behind the person so that I could be sure to stay on the right path. I heard a story about a man that was hiking in Jamaica. While there he had the opportunity to go up a very steep path to the top of a mountain. The person he hiked with had been up the path many times and knew the way. As he began to climb he noticed how dangerous the path was. At times the mountain seemed to just fall off beside him. His guide told him, “Just step where I step.” As he did that he didn’t notice the dangers as much. As he concentrated on following the leader he wasn’t as nervous. When he got to the top he had the best reward. The cool breeze and beautiful view was there to greet him. He said it was the best view on the island, but if he hadn’t followed the guide, he would not have made it. You see, if Ruth hadn’t followed Naomi to a strange land and a strange people she wouldn’t be listed in the linage of Christ. She wouldn’t be an example for us to follow. We probably wouldn’t know about her. And she would not have received the blessings she had. Just like that man had to follow his guide, and Ruth followed Naomi, I am going to follow Christ. Forgetting about the dangers on each side, I keep hiking along behind Him.
Am I willing to follow Christ over any kind of terrain? I am willing to slip on my hiking boots and go? One of the most famous verses in the book of Ruth is when Ruth says, “Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge; they people shall be my people, and thy God my God.” Can I say that to my Savior? I am I willing to go where He leads, stay where he stays? Do I show others each day who I am hiking after? What about you? Are your hiking boots laced up and ready to follow?