Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Mother's Legacy

Today is my Mama's birthday and I want to say, "Happy Birthday, Mom!"

My mom has had a profound influence on my life and she is the first woman I think of when someone asks me who has had the greatest influence on me as a woman. This is a small tribute to her and all that she has meant to me my whole life...

She is a survivor.
She is a woman who loves her amazing God.
She is determined to live her life in such a way that it positively impacts those around her.
She is devoted to her family and sees the value of investing in her children's lives.
She has faith in what she cannot always see, because she trusts in God.
She is adventurous.
She is one who works diligently at all she puts her hands to.
She challenges herself and is always looking for opportunity to grow and learn.
She loves deeply and whole-heartedly.

She is a one who has left a beautiful legacy to her children of a woman who fears the Lord and works hard each day to make a difference in the place God has placed her. I am most grateful that she has taught me how to love, how to trust God and how to live life to the fullest.

Thank you mama~ Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas

I love this time of year and I love the simplicity of God sending the Savior of the world as a newborn babe. I cannot imagine what Mary felt as she looked into the eyes of Jesus; our Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace, our everlasting hope. This past Sunday morning, our pastor spoke about the spirit of Christmas, using the precious story of Simeon and Anna. (Which happens to be one of my favorites!)

He challenged us to find some time this Christmas to show God that we do put our hope in Him alone. There is much around us that is going awry and circumstances we face that seem to be impossible...for me. But certainly not for God. The "spirit of Christmas" is not the hustle and bustle, the music and favorite cookies made by your grandma or aunt. It is our choices and our actions lived out during the season that say we are truly putting all our hope in Christ!

Come thou long expected Jesus! What a beautiful thought for all mankind. What a precious gift that He did come to seek and save the lost~ Have a blessed Christmas, celebrating our precious Savior.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

His plan, not mine

Hello! I have been out this week with two sweet boys and two cases of the stomach bug :(

Anyway, I am a bit drained and do not have much to share. Except, that I pray that we will all take sin seriously. That we will put into practie the vital role we have in confessing and repenting. This means that we say outloud what God says about our sin and then we turn from it, completely.

I think that we have this tendancy to "categorize" our sins...big, bad, not such a big deal, little. Well, all sin (yes, ALL sin) is the same in God's eyes. Why? Because sin separates us from our Heavenly Father. It gets in the way and slowy errodes the soul, the heart, the mind.

This world is full of distractions, so here is my challenge to us all. Take the time to be still and cut out the distractions. Search your heart and do only that which you know God asks of you. Leave the other stuff behind and do what He asks.

Also, be aware! The enemy is like a lion ready to snatch us up in his fearsome paw. (1 Peter 5:8) Stand your guard and do not let him have a foothold. God gives us this encouragement in His word:

1Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Hebrews 13:5-6 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." So we can confidently say, "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?"

Christmas seems to be a time when indulgence goes overboard. Everyone seems to be able to justify the spending of money more at this time of the year. Christmas is about the birth of Christ, so we should be taking time to see what would be valuable to Him. What does He say to do with our money and time during the holiday season?

I love that God's word tells me, if I have food and shelter, with these things I shall be content. (1 Timothy 6:8) Great, I have both those things, so I shall be content. Any discontented attitude comes from my rotten heart. Which leads me back to the cross and God's amazing sacrifice for my sin. A plan in the heart of God before the foundation of the earth.

The most striking part of this plan? That Jesus came as a newborn babe, on a cold night in a manger to a teenage mother, who was a virgin. How beautiful, the day that God touched the world with the greatness of His love, through the birth of His Son.

Thank you Father God for that precious babe, my Savior. A priceless gift of love, made on my behalf. This certainly does seem like something we should "go tell on the mountain!"

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook

December 8, 2008

Outside my window...a perfect day, just enough cool and lots of sun!

I am thinking... how peaceful my home feels today

I am thankful for...the fact that my mom is coming in 10 days :) :) :)

From the learning rooms...the library and lots of reading

From the kitchen... the wonderful smells of a roast cooking. rice pudding, bread & cookies

I am memorizing... 1 John 2:1-10 this week

I am creating...a "Look Back at 2008" scrapbook

I am going...to do some Christmas shopping, prepare for a piano recital, just simply enjoy my home & boys this week

I am reading... "The Mission of Motherhood", 1 John

I am hoping... for some snow this winter season

I am hearing...the sounds of my boys fighting the pirates

Around the house...very clean and warm from the fire, scrapbook stuff still out from this weekend

One of my favorite things... my living room lit only by the Christmas tree in the early morning or late night

A few plans for the rest of the week: Cookie Swap for Hope House, rehearsal for the recital, shopping

Here is picture thought I am sharing...


Make sure you check out the other fun and interesting daybooks at http://thesimplewomansdaybook.blogspot.com

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Moments of Joy

For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him. You have done foolishly in this, for from now on you will have wars. 2 Chronicles 16:9

Last night my husband and I sat down to evaluate the state of our life: marriage, family, child training, etc... We do this in anticipation of the new year coming and see what has happened over the past year. We decided this year we would start by deciding what we value. Then we will define the value, find a verse to see what God says and set our goals accordingly. This process came from a lady at our church who taught a wonderful class on decision making about a month ago.

Here is an example of what we are doing:

Value: children
Definition: descendant; offspring; gift of the Lord
Verses: Psalm 127:3 Behold, children are a gift of the Lord.
3 John 1:4 I have no greater joy then to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
Goals: treat our children as precious gifts, handling them with much care and wisdom
training them in the righteousness of the Lord
sharing the gospel consistently with them
seeking the Lord's wisdom for the bend of each child, since they are a gift from Him

Now, that I have started with this I realize this can be another post all it's own. :) More on this as we develop this process~

For the heart of this post, I want to share this thought...

As we sat there talking and looking up scripture, I was struck by the fact that at that very moment, God was having to witness someone, somewhere cheating on a spouse, aborting a baby, stealing, practicing immorality, the list of actions with evil intent goes on and on.

But, here we were~imperfect and inadequate~taking time out to see what God says about what our lives should look like. And I thought, WOW! How precious is it to God to look into our lives and see us being faithful. How much joy does this moment bring Him? I thought to myself, He must be able to just take a deep breath and say, "Thank you my child for doing what matters most." Doing what matters most to God brings great joy to His heart.

I am not special or great because I took that moment out to go to God's word. This is what I should be doing with my time. How many times during the day, amidst all the junk He is having to witness, am I bringing Him joy? In those moments is He pleased with what He sees me doing?

OH! I pray that I will find myself working hard to make the heart of my Heavenly Father happy. I want to be one of His children that causes Him to smile, because I am doing what matters most to Him.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Inside their world

As I look at the picture of my oldest son on the right sidebar, I think of all the things that run through his mind in one day. He is full of imagination, ideas and plans. He listens to us talk and then tries so hard to "be big" when he talks in everyday conversation.


Today, he had this conversation with a friend and her 7 year old daughter:
E: "Miss Kittie, we have been recycling."
K: "Wow! We do that too at our house."

E: "Daddy finally brought home a bin for us, because I have been wanting to recycle for...years." (He says with a slight roll of his eyes)

K: "Yes, since you were three?"

E: "Since I was four..."

Kittie's daughter then says so straight-faced..."You are four."

Eli just looks at her and nods his head.



Tonight, looking back on that converstaion, I started thinking on how much time I actually spend in their world. I really want my children to know that what they are thinking and the ideas they would like to see happening are valuable. I find that since mine are so strong that I am often trying to find a balance between being their guardrail and really engaging in conversation with them.

I have just started reading The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson. Yesterday I was encouraged in my role as a wife and mother, because I was reading about how my role is God-ordained. My children are to know what it means to be emotionally stable, encouraged, physically sustained and spiritually healthy because of my example.

We have to know the heart of our children in order to build a sustaining relationship with each of them. If I do not take time to invest individually, by getting down at their level and inside their world, I will be lost in navigating my way around their hearts. When children feel safe and secure they are open and can reveal quite a bit about themselves through play, words and actions.
This makes me think of Charlotte's Web where the mother asks the doctor if she thinks it's acutally possible for animals to speak. The doctor replies by saying, well it is possible that an animal spoke to me today, but I was too busy to hear or notice.

So, how are we doing at really listening to our children? I have a friend who, because of her son's challenges in speaking, treasures each word he says. In my home, both of my children talk all day and I have to be honest that I don't know that I "treasure" each and every one of those precious words. But, I certainly should be treasuring them! The hold much insight to my children. Even when they are silly, they want me to think they are silly. When they feel upset or misunderstood, they want to know that I understand those feelings.

My children's words are a small window into who they are, how they are wired and how they view the world. The myriad of questions that come from them each day are their way of learning about the world. My job is to instill in them a godly worldview. I do this by being in God's word and then passing on that truth to my children. This is my purpose as a mother. Deuteronomy says I should teach the truth of the word of God diligently to my sons and shall talk of them. When? When I sit in my house, and when I walk by the way, and when I rise up and when I lie down.

Talk. Talk. Talk. Yes, I need to be talking, BUT I also need to be engaging my chilren in conversation with me. I need to remember to let them have a voice and to most importantly listen. If I want to know them better, I can learn quite a bit just by being still and quiet. Funny...isn't that how I also learn more about my amazing God? Yes, I do recall that He asks me to "be still and know." I shall set it as my goal this week to do just that with my sweet boys. Hopefully in the next week I will know something new about them!

I challenge you to find ways and make time to do the same with your children. Let us know what you discover by being still and quiet with your children. Reverse the roles some and see what you might learn from being inside their world! Have fun~

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY... December 1, 2008

Outside my window... Cold and a snow sky, except I am doubtful, since this is the South

I am thinking... how awesome God is to lead me to the perfect "happy" for a dear friend, I am so happy she received something that was "just what she wanted" God is so cool! :)

I am thankful for... a devoted husband who has stayed home to care for our boys today, shopping and running errands for me

From the learning rooms... math, reading, scripture memory (shapes & letters for little one)

From the kitchen... hopefully bread, soup and scalloped ham & potatoes (my favorite)

I am wearing... leggings and Wesley's grey sweatshirt jacket

I am working on... Sunday school curriculum

I am going... nowhere until I feel better

I am reading... The Mission of Motherhood (Sally Clarkson)

I am hoping... to feel better soon, sickness is not my favorite state of being :(

I am hearing... "Sense & Sensibility" (illness has allowed me the rare treat of watching a movie mid-day)

Around the house... suitcases to be unpacked, laundry, floors to be swept, a beautiful fire warming me so wonderfully

One of my favorite things... the lanuage of Jane Austen's day

A few plans for the rest of the week... resting, reading, practicing music for upcoming piano recital, buying a Christmas tree (sad because I am used to chopping my own down...but still very fun this time of year)

Here is picture thought I am sharing... ice skating with the boys over the holiday, oh we had so much fun

Be sure to check out the other fun Simple Daybooks at http://thesimplewomansdaybook.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Titus 2: "not malicious gossips"

I am a little off schedule this week, but Saturday was our monthly Titus 2 study and I was unable to post on this month's topic, so here it is!

"Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips..." Titus 2:3

This so beautifully follows “reverent in their behavior,” because we cannot control our tongue apart from a strong relationship with our Master. We must use His word as the source of our truth. It must be the plumbline for our speech. Controlling one’s tongue is a mark of maturity. Paul is telling the older women, they must use self-control when using their tongues, so that they impart life, not death. “That they may encourage…” cannot flow from a heart marred by words of deceit and lack of truthfulness.

Well, we might say, I would not consider myself a gossip. Let’s look at this word more closely and see what God says about “gossip.”


The NASB uses the term “not malicious gossips," which in Greek (diabolos) is defined as slanderous or accusing falsely. (It is translated devil 34 times) **An interesting side note: this term diabolos is absent when speaking of men and their speech**

So ladies, what is God trying to tell us? Watch your words!! Be aware of the tongue, it can slander, deceit, tear down, accuse falsely and intentionally harm others. Now, for the zinger…
Operating on the basis of lies and false information or “maliciously gossip” is to actually imitate Satan himself, because as John 8:44 says,
"he does not stand in truth, because the truth is not in him, he is the father of lies..."

A woman who “traffics in information” is taking great liberty with something that does not “belong” to her. We must guard information shared with us. God tells us to “love our neighbor as ourself.” If you are entrusted with someone’s private information, keep it that way! It is not yours to tell, unless you have sought permission, or they have said it is ok to share.
Paul is speaking directly to “malicious gossip”, so let us put it into perspective:

Malicious: imitating or working as an accomplice to Satan with intent to do harm
Gossip: just wanting to traffic in information. Habitually reveals sensationalism

Neither is acceptable! Psalm 19:14 says,
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.”

This world is full of many people with evil intent. Let us be one who goes against the grain of society and be an example of God’s character through our speech. Where is the root of the problem? In the HEART... for "the mouth speaks from that which fills the heart." (Matt 12:34)

Here is my challenge to us this month in the area of our speech:

1. What can you begin to do this week to begin building a reputation of one that is careful with her words? How can you be sure that you are imparting life each time you have the opportunity to speak.

2. Based on Proverbs 18:21, how would you characterize your speech? How does your speech change/differ when talking with co-workers? Your husband? Your friends? Your children? When you are at church?

Let us examine our hearts very carefully and seek to honor God with our words. Let us be the kind of encouragement that shows others the character of God. How can you be a godly example of a woman who watches her tongue?

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY...November 24, 2008

Outside my window...the beauty of shadow and light that comes before the gloaming period each day

I am thinking...of all the things to get packed for our trip

I am thankful for...God's perfect provision

From the learning rooms...math, phonics, thinking skills, pilgrims, indians & memory verses on thankfulness

From the kitchen...lasagna

I am wearing...black pants and a cream sweater

I am creating...my flipbook of prayers~I am going to be done this week!

I am going...to get the oil changed and tire rotated in the morning

I am reading... finishing Choices, starting The Mission of Motherhood on Wed.

I am hoping...the boys get well before we leave

I am hearing..."Nim's Island" as my boys rest and try to feel better

Around the house...furniture that needs a new home after we moved things to use the fireplace, my plans for tonight...I love to nest!

One of my favorite things...reading with my boys

A few plans for the rest of the week... running some stuff to a friend, packing, headed to Atlanta on Wednesday

Here is picture thought I am sharing... my precious family over the weekend



Stop by and visit http://thesimplewomansdaybook.blogspot.com/

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Shhh....

It was 7:30 on Thursday night and I had just tucked the boys into bed. I came up to the front of the house, there was not one light on and it was still and quiet. Oh! How my heart needed to hear from my Heavenly Father.

I sat down in the doorway of the kitchen and fell silent before him. My heart soon begin to pour out to Him and I was gently feeling that warmth that surrounds you when you are still before your Father.

Then, ever so quietly I hear slippered feet on the wood floor coming my way.
"Mommy?" says little one.
"Yes~" I answer.
"Where are you?"
"I am right here."
"What are you doing Mommy?"
"I'm talking to God."
"God is here?"
"Yes baby, He is always here."
Little one sits gently in my lap and says, "I will sit quiet while you talk to Him."

Thank you Father for being small enough to be so real to a three year old. Thank you for being small enough to hear my whisper when I cry out to You~ Oh how my heart longs to know you more today.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Child Training Tuesday: Purity~Their heart & Mine

"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded." James 4:8

Compromise. Contamination. Defilement. Sin. Worldly influence.

What causes our lives to become slowly eroded? What is causing our heart to be divided? Here are a few just to get us thinking.

Television. Toxic relationships. Ungodly habits. Self-interests. Materialism.

God's word tells us to cleanse our hands and purify our hearts. He tells us that we are double-minded sinners. We divide our affection for Christ, therefore we cannot live a sold out life. We are unable to be pure in heart. What exactly does purity look like?

Blameless. Uncompromised. Uncontaminated. Above reproach. Morally upright.
We live out this kind of pure devotion to Christ in our heart, our mind, our words and our actions. We know that out of the mouth flows that which is in the heart. This makes me cringe sometimes at what I see displayed in my life sometimes. I know that the heart of my Savior is grieved as He walks with me, and watches as I display foolishness. There is falsehood all around me and I need to gear up for the battle. I cling to the verse 1 John 4:4 which says, "You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world."

God's character is without stain. I am unable to reflect God's heart of purity apart from knowing and obeying Him. Not just when I am feeling like it, but in all aspects of my life. I must be active in cultivating my heart. This is the hard work. This is where my hands get dirty.

Will I keep watching the same shows? Will I keep responding the same way? Will I go to the same activites and keep the same friends? Will I keep practicing the same habits? All of these are decisions we must be intentional about making. Our lives should be reflection of Christ. Christ is always with us, so what do we have going on in our lives that would bring Him shame?

Little eyes are watching me all the time. Watching to see how I handle conflict, how I respond to the world and how I make decisions. I have one who is always asking me "why." My response must line up with the word of God if I am going to train them to discern God's will and then follow. "Well sweetheart, we need to go because so-and-so will be happy if we go." Am I seeking to please man or please God? You can be doing one or the other, just stop and check your motive.

There are so many decisions that need to be made for my litttle ones, so I must be seeking the wisest counsel I know, which is God's word. Here are some guidelines for how we make decisions in our household.

1. Is this the best that God has for us? Good is not always best.
2. What will my children be learning from this experience?
3. How will we be able to be a witness for Christ in this situation?
4. Will this be showing my children what it looks like to live for Christ alone?
5. What kind of influence will this have on my children?
6. What is our motivaton for taking part?
7. What does God's word say concerning this subject?
8. How can I best set them up for success?

The heart behind what and why we do things is most important. My best advice is this: If you have aligned your heart with God, then follow what it tells you to do. Do not be swayed by friends asking, why don't you do this? why aren't you letting them go there? You alone are responsible before God for your life and the lives of your children when they are young. Set the goal to be found faithful. Use the questions and doubts as an opportunity to be a witness for the things that matter most to God.

Purity is the hard to acquire in this world of junk and contamination. Consider turning off the television. Consider one less play group. Stay home one full day if that is possible. Then use that time instead to teach your children about what living a life of purity really means. Find ways to be intentional with your life in the area of purity. And, remember to operate in grace towards your friends who are making the hard decisions for their family. Encourage them and learn from one another. We are vulnerable when we are teachable, but we all have much we can learn from how one we do life. Are you walking a road where you are the only one making decisions that are above reproach? I applaud you for taking the hard road and encourage you to be steadfast. God will use your life in ways you may never know and you will honor God by being faithful in what He has asked of you.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY... November 17, 2008

Outside my window... thousands of leaves, covering the acres of land that surround my home

I am thinking...I am grateful for the opportunity to homeschool my children

I am thankful...that my daddy was able to come and visit, was a sweet time we had together!

From the learning rooms... our focus this week is neatness is all our writing, continuing to learn place value and reading The Story about Ping (Five in a Row)

From the kitchen...Lisa's homemade bread recipe, lasgna, homemade chicken strips, potato soup, playdough and sugar cookies

I am wearing...my kitchen utensil print jammies, which my sister Amy thinks are strange :)

I am creating...a flip book of daily prayers for my boys

I am going...to keep working on my memory of 1 John this week, I need to make some serious progress!

I am reading...1 John, Choices (by: Mary Farrar)

I am hoping...I can get all my work accomplished tonight & tomorrow night for church

I am hearing...stillness

Around the house...laundry to fold & put away, a newly organized bedroom closet :)

One of my favorite things...the smell of my sweet Luke when he snuggles close in the early morning

A few plans for the rest of the week...piano lessons, lunch with a friend, 2 good friends coming over to play

Here is a picture thought I am sharing... my sweet boys, always making me smile & laugh


Stop by and visit the creator of the Simple Womans Daybook here:


Enjoy!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Mission-minded Shopping

I am so excited to tell you about two different on-line stores that donate 5% of your purchase to different world mission causes. Please click below to check them out. Lindsay at Passionate Homemaking is having a giveaway for a pair of these cute children's shoes! Go visit her blog and check it out!

http://www.passionatehomemaking.com/2008/11/bugaloo-kids-giveaway.html

http://bugaloo.com







The other website is http://christa-taylor.com/. Her clothes are both fun and beautiful. I love to see women using their gifts to provide quality and affordable products, but also realize they can serve a greater purpose than just profiting themselves. If you need something for yourself or a gift, stop by these sites and do some mission-minded shopping!

Friday, November 14, 2008

You've Come a Long Way Baby

The following words are from Mary Kassian's message on feminism at the True Woman Conference '08. Will you take about 45 mins and listen to her complete message? It will challenge you and open your eyes to what has happened to God's original design for us as women. Do you desire to know what true womanhood looks like? Get a cup of tea (or coffee) and sit down to see the "ideals" of feminism unfolded. "You've come a long way baby..." Too bad is is a long way from God. Click here to listen: http://www.truewoman.com/?id=341

What's the answer to the question feminism posed almost 50 years ago? It was a spiritual question, the whole question of, “Well, what's going to bring women happiness and fulfillment and joy in life?”

What He is concerned about is that we have hearts that say yes to Him and that love Him and that are willing to be crazy enough to say, “What He has made is beautiful,” and crazy enough to say, “Selfless living, sacrificial living, laying down my life in emulation of the Christ I love is worth it!”
The New Testament reiterates that there are basic differences between men and women that are to be honored as part of God's design. In 1 Corinthians 11:9 & 12, we are told that, “The man did not come from the woman, but the woman from the man. Neither was man created for woman but woman for man.” Furthermore, “The woman is not independent of man. Nor is man independent of woman. For as the woman came from man, so also man is born of woman, but everything comes from God.” Very unpopular to read these Scriptures nowadays, isn't it? Very unpopular.

But I am crazy enough to believe that God knew what He was doing, and what He was doing was good. Indeed, it was very good. Our identity as male and female is important. As John Piper says, “It speaks to the glory of God.” Who I am as a woman and who I am in relationship to my husband, how I relate should cause people to look and say, “Wow! I see Jesus.” (This is my favorite part of the message!)

Women, I believe that God's instructions for us in His Word are not only right, they are also good and pleasant and desirable. Our problem is, we come and try to present a whole list of do’s and don'ts. We don't capture women's heart for the beauty of the vision of what womanhood is all about, and it's our only hope for wholeness to understand that our whole purpose is to live for the glory of God!

Do you trust that God knew what He was doing? How are you living out His original design for you as a woman? I would love to hear how you are living for the glory of God, so please take a minute to share with us all~ Thank you! I pray that each of us finds a practical way to redefine our definition of wholeness this week.

For more information on Mary Kassian's ministry click here: http://www.marykassian.com/

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Child Training Tuesday: Relay Parenting

If you have a husband(or a wife) and at least one child, you may find yourself in the ever famous "Parent Relay." Unlike most relay races that happen on a Saturday at the local track and field, this one happens everyday in most American homes. Everyone wakes up bright and early, eats breakfast and then....you're off! Work, meetings, Bible study, the gym, play dates, preschool, homeschool, church, piano, ballet, soccer, prayer meetings, dinner, homework, bath and bedtime. Mom has Bible study tonight, so she can only go to ballet, Dad will have to cover piano and soccer. Then Mom will race home, so Dad can make the prayer meeting later tonight at church. Mom will handle bath and bed and Dad will pick up something to eat, because no one had time to actually make supper.
Are you exhausted? I am just reading this! Now, this may be a bit exaggerated, but haven't we all found ourselves in this state of constantly running the relay, except instead of making actual progress, we find ourselves in a revolving door? There are certain life circumstances that make it very difficult for families to "stay together" at all times of the day. Starting with the fact that most fathers have to work outside the home, as do many mothers. But by no means is this a reason to keep up the aimless running.

These are some ways that we have found to help keep us centered as a family.

1. Gather at the dinner table. This is my favorite time of the day, because we all get to stop and connect. We have the tradition at our table to ask everyone: "What was the best part of your day?" "What was your frustration today?" This opens up great discussion for us to share outloud and teach our boys how to express what has happened during their day. We also get to talk about constructive ways to handle our frustrations, disappointments and tough moments. We end our day on the same page and this time together puts life into each of us. We also plan silly dinner, fancey dinner and picnics to make this time fun for the whole family.

2. Family worship. This usually takes place for us after dinner and before bed. Wesley reads the Bible and we talk about the verses. Then each of us has the opportunity to pray. We have also used this time for the boys to share their memory work. They get very excited that they get to have a special part in family worship. Next up on our list is learning hymns. There is great Biblical doctrine in hymns and I want my boys to know them as they grow up.

3. Telephone talk time. We have scheduled two different times in the day that Wesley calls to check in with us. The boys and I talk to him and he stays connected with us and what we are doing. This has really helped the boys to understand that mommy and daddy are on the same page. I am always referring to Wesley as our leader and this is a great way for him to "be a part of our day" by calling and spending time talking with each of us. This also puts fuel in both of our tanks as we face different pressures at home and work.

4. Prayer. Each decision we make must be covered in prayer. Rick Warrens said, "If you have not prayed about something, then you are doing it on your own." I am guilty of this~I think that a decision is not too big, so I just act on it and make the decision that looks best from where I'm sitting. The problem is that I do not have all the information. God does, so as a couple and family, we need to be seeking His direction and His plan for us, even for the smallest things.

5. Saying "no". This may seem like an obvious step to take, but how many of us actually take it? Say no to the birthday party, no to the movie with friends, no to helping out an extra day with the project, no to the distractions that pull us away both mentally and physically. We must say "yes" to God and "no" to those things He says are not best for us.
Parenting is hard work and doing it God's way is a huge commitment. We must be a united team with God, so we do it well. My prayer for all of us is that we will take time to build up reserves in God's word and seek His direction for our families.

At this time in a world, I believe it is especially important to be commited to doing things God's way. It will more than likely become more difficult for us to stand for Truth, but we have no other option as follower's of Jesus Christ. The family unit needs to find it's strength in God alone, so they will not be torn down by the falsehood of the world. In the end, it will be our families strong thread of trust in God that will bind us together. It is our job as parents to teach our children what it means to live sold out for Christ. How does this look in our homes? A good first step is to be a family that stays together, because they choose only those things that honor God with their time, talents and resources. This will be the kind of lasting legacy our children will remember their entire lives.

I believe that this happens simply by sacrifice. So, let us ask ourselves where am I sacrificing? What can be put aside so I am set apart for Christ alone? Challenge yourself to take one step to keeping your family closer together this next week.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Child Training Tuesday

Tonight, I am spurred on to be on my knees for my children. Although the outcome of tonight's presidential election is saddening and disappointing, I ultimately trust in God alone. He is the author of all things, past, present and future. I know He is sovereign and I praise Him for that gift.

My prayer is for my two sons to bow the knee to Jesus Christ and come to the point of personally realizing their need for a Savior. I do not know what the future world will bring, but I do know in my heart that I must be channeling as much Truth as I possibly can into my children.


A friend of mine posted about children watching television and she posted this question:
"Do we not realize the power we give away when we let our children sit mindlessly in front of the TV and be filled with who knows what? If the average kid watches 2 hours of TV a day, getting all sorts of subtle information on how they should look, think, and act, do we seriously think that as parents, we are giving MORE than 2 hours of specific instruction to our kids on what their family believes about how you should look, think, and act like? (click on makingtheconnections on the right sidebar for the complete post)

We should be giving time, quality and quantity. This is a huge burden God has placed on my heart recently for me as a mother. I am now in the process of cutting back and downsizing my life, including my home and obligations. Both of these things take up precious time that I need to be investing into my sons. I have been in serious prayer about what is best for them right now. We are doing some good things, but I long to be doing what is best for them. Regardless of society's opinion, friends questions, or family pressure. When I became a mother, I said, "OK God I will do it your way. These are your precious children that you have entrusted to me. Show me the way and I will walk in it."


When I have to leave my children with someone else, I expect nothing but the best care they can provide. So, how much more does my Heavenly Father expect with his children? My challenge to all of us as mothers is to get on our face before God and ask Him to show us where to downsize. Then ask Him to show you how to turn that time around to invest into the lives of your precious children. I am a servant of Christ and this life is not my own.

Father, help me to be diligent in investing time and truth into my sons lives. Change their hearts and mold them to be men who follow hard after you. I do not know what the world will look like for them, but I do know they will need to trust in You alone to survive. Show me how to impart the Truth to them, so they can stand firm in an ever-changing world.
A wonderful prayer resource for your children is Praying the Scriptures for your Children by Jodie Berndt. (http://http://www.lifewaystores.com/lwstore/product.asp?ISBN=0310232163)

Friday, October 31, 2008

What Matters Most

I am not generally one who enjoys getting into political discussions and the fact that I am posting about this year's presidential election may be surpirsing to some, but most of all to me! But, I cannot let go what has been in my heart about this strange happening in our nation which I will call the "Obama Following."

I find it quite interesting that so many are willing to follow this man, even taking on part of his name as their own. (http://http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/29/us/politics/29hussein.html?_r=1&oref=slogin) Isn't that what we do as Christians? Many have said they are happy to have someone leading that really desires peace, unity, wisdom, equality, and an equal chance for all mankind. Mmmm...are these really new ideas? I am quite certain that we already have someone to follow who has a heart for these very things.

Who? Jesus Christ, of course. I find it dis-heartening that as a nation we have drifted so far from what God desires for us, that we would be content to put our trust in man, instead of God. We, as a nation, have come to the place where our personal wants and desires trump what is next to God's heart. As Christians, we have the responsiblity to live our lives according to those things that matter most to God.

We stay faithful in our marriages, because it matters to God. We raise our children according to God's Truth, because it matters to God. We set boundaries for ourselves in the world concerning temptation, because it matters to God. We vote on the issues that matter to God.

Charisma is not on the top of the list of things that matter to God. Lest we forget the story of Moses, where he says to the Lord in Exodus 4:10, "Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since Thou hast spoken to Thy servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue." Did the Lord then disqualify Moses to be His chosen leader? No, God responded by saying, "Who has made man's mouth? Or who makes him dumb or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now then go, and I, even I, will be with your mouth, and teach you what you are to say."

Where do Christians get the notion that charisma is an important quality for our next president? If we are claiming the name of Christ, then we should be voting for the issues that matter to God. Period. We don't get to have a personal opinion about whether we like how they dress, how they speak or what they can "promise" us that sounds good. We chose to do that which matters to God when we chose to follow Him. When we took on His name as Christians, we took on His values and His heart. So, may I challenge you to spend some time in prayer and in God's Word to find out what He says about the issues of this presidential election and then vote His way. Vote for those things that matter to God, not to your personal preference.

I look with great sadness at our nation and wonder, how is that we have turned completely from the one Source of all we actually desire! We do not want to do it God's way because it will cost us too much. Where would we all be if God had thought at the 23rd hour, never mind, losing my son will just cost me too much. Sadly we have in the 23rd hour decided, never mind God, Your way will cost me too much. People want a tangible leader to follow. Someone that tickles their ears with what they want to hear. I do not believe that any of the desires we have as a nation are new, but the best way for us to achieve them is deemed radical, old-fashioned, and unattainable by means of following the Word of God. So, we have arrived at a place we have brought ourselves. A place of "man following" instead of God following. A place of desiring to follow charisma rather than character. God does not always choose that which is the most appealing. Let us not forget that He has chosen each of us. 2 Corinthinas 4:7 syas, "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves."

I take great comfort in that which our country stands on, (although some would love to get rid of this thinking) "In God We Trust." That is where I place my trust , because God is sovereign and He is not surprised by any of this. He will still prevail in the end and His plans and purposes will come to fruition. All men, women and children are a part of God's purpose and plan. The nation may get for themselves what they want, I will wait to see if they will be pleased. I have a feeling it will not take long for us as a nation, a discontent kind of people, to be on the search again for that which will tickle our ears and please our wants.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Child Training Tuesday

"Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of discipline will remove it far from him." Proverbs 22:15

Well, one does not have to spend too much time with the average child under the age of 6 to realize the truth of this verse. More importantly I wonder what does one think about that truth? Is it normal? Is it cute, because, well she is just so adorable. Is it heart breaking? Yes, I believe that should be our answer. This behavior in our children should be of great concern to us. Why? Because they are walking the path of unrighteousness, which is the way of darkness and death. Their foolishness separates them from the path of righteousness, which is the way of life.

This is the purpose of my responsibility as a parent. To train them in righteousness. My heart breaks when my child is lost in his foolishness, but I do not despair, because I know there is hope. The window of opportunity, although somewhat limited, is open...now! So what does God's word tell me to do? "Discipline your son while there is hope and do not desire his death." Proverbs 19:18.

What is the value of discipline and instruction? She is life, both to me and to my children. "Take hold of instruction; do not let go. Guard her, for she is your life." Proverbs 4:13. It is a wearisome responsiblity to constantly be training your children, but I know it is important to God, so it must be important to me! A half-hearted attempt will not accomplish the task. I am confident that I am not the only mother that has spent half the day training a one year old not to touch the tv buttons. Was the effort worth it? Yes! Instead of storing away our household belongings, they are out and enjoyed because the children understand their boundaries.

I also have to admit, that was a much easier task, then what I now face at the age we have arrived. Why? The boundaries seem more valuable, yet harder to stay within. Each day I am seeing one of my boys battling his sin. Not just an occasional occurance, but a serious battle. Where is my role? Right alongside him in the trenches. He must come to the place of surrendering his own will to the will of His heavenly Father. It is my job to be the guardrails, the voice of truth and discipline. I must be on my knees to know how to reach the heart of this child. It does not rest upon my shoulders, because ultimately God is in control of this transformation, but I must be found faithful in my role.

Oh my dear, this is where the battle begins for me. The daily distractions and responsibilities are ever knocking at my door and I am pulled in many directions. But, the value of discipline is life. So I trust in my Heavenly Father and rely on Him to do the heart work in my children as I do the laboring here on earth. I do not labor in vain or all on my own. Just as God loves me and disciplines me, I also love my children and need to discipline them.

This is more than just being consistent, but rather it is a life choice I make in being a mother. It is the daily sacrifice I make when I decide it is most valuable. Many things pull for the attention of my children, I must be on guard, so that I am first in line. Ready with Truth, which is the most effective weapon I have against the enemy. I will not surrender, I will not back down. I know that I am in a fight for the heart of my child. The world tries hard to distract me, so I must say no to them and Yes! to God.

Oh Father, I need Your strength to stay strong in the battle. I need Your wisdom to know how to speak to the heart of my child. I need You.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Titus 2 Woman

Today I am going to start a series on the teaching of Titus 2:3-5. The material is from a dear friend and mentor, Rochelle Fleming, who has spent a lifetime studying and living out the principle of being a Titus 2 woman. Last year she devoted her time to writing curriculum for a group of 16 women to whom she taught the material and then sent out to teach to their small groups of 6-10 women. This ministry at our church is called Connecting Hearts. We started with Titus 2:3-5 because it is our mandate as godly women.

I had the privilege of co-leading a group last year with on older wiser woman and I am leading a group this year on my own. We are meeting one Saturday a month, so I thought on the Saturday we meet I would share one nugget of truth from Titus 2.

The first four qualities speak to the "older women," which by biblical standards is one of the approximate age of sixty. But, age alone does not qualify a woman to leave a godly legacy. She must be one who has done the work of raising her own chidren and honoring her husband, or serving the needs of the less fortunate and being devoted to good works. Her life needs to be an example of God's Truth in action. So, here we start with "reverent in their behavior". This is a complex topic that has many small bits and pieces. As we studied all of the qualities last year, we could always find our way back to starting with reverent behavior. So, are you ready for the defintion of "reverent in their behavior?" It is having God-centered daily living which flows from a personal relationship with God; resembling that which is important to God and stems from a heart that desires to obey God.

The heart of this older woman, sees all of life from God's viewpoint. If you were to watch her walk through her day, you would see what is next to God's heart! What a beautiful picture of bringing honor to God through one's daily life and choices.

I am not an older woman. I hardly qualify at the age of 31 with two small boys at home. So, what is there for me to learn from this quality for the older woman? Well, to be honest quite a bit. I will start by telling you that I desire to become an older woman, so I must be practicing! I will not just arrive at the age of 60, with my children grown and suddenly be wise, reverent and so on. No way, not on your life. How will I get there? It will be by my choosing to study God's word, to be obedient and to do this over a lifetime.

The only way I know how to to this is to never lose my first love for Jesus. He must permeate my life in every aspect. I heard Rick Warren say recently, "If you haven't prayed about something, you are doing it on your own." I have left Him out of the picture. How do I know what is next to God's heart if I am not pursuing Him? It is impossible. I think back to when my husband had decided he wanted to "date me for the rest of my life." We both spent a great deal of time seeking out ways to know one another better. He spent time listening and remembering what was close to my heart and I did the same with him. Now, after nearly ten years of marriage we know much of each others heart and we are still seeking to understand new facets of each other. As we grow, so must our devotion to learning about one another.

Now, God does not change or grow, but there is so much to know about Him, that even in a lifetime, I will not come to know all that is next to His heart. But I must be trying each and everyday. This will not happen by accident or luck. We, dear women, must make the time and take the time to learn about God, so that we can live our lives in such a way that we show the world what is next to His heart.

What have your family or friends seen in your life today that is a precious picture of God's heart? Where can you start to live this out on a daily basis. I pray we will all quiet ourselves before our Heavenly Father and seek to know what it is He desires for us to surrender, so that we do not lose sight of our first love. Oh Father, how I long to know your heart, so that I can live accordingly.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pumpkins & Perfection



The boys and I were able to make our annual visit to the pumpkin patch this year, although Daddy was unable to attend with us. We had so much fun and I was amazed at the beauty of the land. God's perfect care of a patch of pumpkins, made available at the perfect time of year for us to come and enjoy. He is a God of details and I am so grateful. My heart is heavy at this time and I smile at the knowledge that God knows and is busy at work in my life even when I do not see it all. The simple laughter and joy of my boys settles the storm inside me. God's gracious gift of ever-living joy all around me. Thank you Father, I do not deserve your graciousness, yet you so abundantly enrich my life with your love.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Prayer Bowls

"Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, " Romans 12:9-12

Stop and think for a moment about what it looks like to be devoted to prayer. Would you consider yourself a woman devoted to prayer? Before attending the True Woman conference in Schaumberg, IL last weekend, I would have said that I am quite serious about prayer. I was wrong. While Fern Nichols, founder of Moms in Touch International, shared her heart for prayer, God struck my heart with the realization that I am not on my knees nearly enough.

I am a woman who desires to leave a godly legacy and I am grateful to God for exposing an area that I have not invested in to it's fullest potential. "Prayer," said Nichols, "is an everlasting legacy, an eternal investment." Ian Bound said, "God shapes the world by prayer and prayers outlive the ones who pray them." My prayers will outlive me? Ok, help me understand this, I was thinking.

Enter the idea of a prayer bowl. Nichols held in her hand a beautiful cream ceramic bowl and asked us to think of one person for whom we had been praying. Now, imagine that your prayers are all in this bowl and that they are put in a secure place. At just the right moment, in God's perfect timing, He reaches into the bowl and pulls out a prayer and answers the heart of your prayer. Two days, two months or twenty years ago~

Yes, the tears were flowing. The sight in my mind of God safeguarding all my most intimate thoughts, questions, fears, doubts and hopes for both myself and others was breathtaking. I know there are some of you that have been on your knees for the salvation of a loved one, the mending of a broken relationship, a prodigal, and many others. Do not lose hope because God, at just the right time, will reach down into your bowl and pull out a prayer have the perfect answer.

Does it look just like we desire? Probably not, but I have found that God usually outdoes my hightest desire or by way of saying no has protected with His hand of mercy. We do not have because we do not ask. Have you heard this before? It does not say we do not have because God forgot. No, he says in Hebrews 13:5, "Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you."

I long to have a deeper more loving relationship with God my Father and I know that through prayer that is developed. I know that God is trustworthy and will work in the best interest of all that I lay at His feet. Even when I am no longer here, my prayer bowl will still be in a safe kept place next to the heart of my Father. I long to pray with a heart that longs for what God wants. Oh gracious Father, may I be found faithful in being a woman devoted to prayer. Thank you for being the kind of God who treasures the broken words of your children so much that You safeguard them over time and do not forget.

http://www.momsintouch.org

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

No Wimpy Women Found Here!

First, please forgive me for not posting over the weekend. I was in Schaumburg, IL for the truewoman 08 conference, hosted by Nancy Leigh DeMoss' ministry Revive Our Hearts. WOW! Let me tell you God was at work! There were 6,000 women in attendance and it was packed full of annointed speakers, refreshing music and the cry of many women longing to see God move in their lives.

I will be posting several different special insights the Lord showed me over the three days~

To start, I would like to share something Pastor John Piper shared in his message on Friday night. He started his message by stating that, "Wimpy theology makes wimpy women!" Womanhood was not an afterthought of God in the process of creation. It was in His orginal design! So what does this tell us?

In Piper's words, "Do not settle for wimpy theology, it is beneath you!" Wimpy theology finds at it's core the idea of women-centeredness. Now ladies, how in the world are we to magnify God if we are centered on ourselves? Simple. We are not able to magnify God. Is that scary? YES!!

Piper stated, "True womanhood is a distinctive calling of God to display the glory of God in ways it would not be displayed, if there were no womanhood." Yes, go ahead and read it again. It did say that we, as women, are called to display God's glory in a unique way. This is exciting to me! I know that as a mother and wife I have a high calling on my life, but to know that my womanhood alone is capable of displaying God's glory is humbling.

Now the obvious question is, "What does this kind of womanhood look like specifically?" When thinking about the purpose of her being in a wheelchair for 40 years, Joni Eareckson Tada sees God's divine hand at work every day of her life. What does she have to say about it?"This paralysis is my greatest mercy." Just sit a moment and soak in what she said. Does this sound like wimpy theology? Not even close. If she was a wimpy woman, she would have said that her paralysis was God's greatest injustice to her and her family. But, that is not even close to where her heart is. Why? Becasue she is close to her sovereign God and she trusts Him.

The other statement I loved from Piper's message is his challenge to us that we would, "Be done with small thoughts about God's design for womanhood." The world tells us through every possible avenue that womanhood is unecessary. We can have children on our own, climb the corporate ladder on our own, create our own happiness, be aggressive, in-control, successful and powerful. Why would we possibly want to settle for just being a wife and a mother? What a waste of a life, says the world.

What do we think? Do we fall prey to this thinking? I confess that I do sometimes wonder if I am doing enough. As if being about the purpose of serving my husband and helping him do what God has called him to do for His kingdom is not enough. The training of children in righteousness. Does that actually sound like a weekend project?

My role as a woman in my home as a helpmate and a mother, is profoundly valuable to God. He is trusting me in these roles to display His glory. Can anyone else do for my husband and children what I can do? No~ Can anyone do for my God what I can do? No~

What a beautiful picture to me. The sacrifice of myself as I wash and hang clothes, knead bread, teach my son to read, memorize scripture for training my children, type my husbands Sunday School notes, organize his numerous papers for study, get up before my body actually desires to be awake...what do these things do? They, with the attitude of serving God alone, display God's glory. Each of us is sacrificing daily for the needs of others. Do we see the sacrifice through the lens of displaying God's glory? We definitely should.

Where has God called you to display his glory? How are you doing? Oh I pray that each of us will find the joy in surrendering to the fullness of true womanhood. Answering the call to do that which displays God's glory in all I do with my life.

If you would like to hear John Piper's message in complete form, please check it out at http://www.truewoman.com Click on re-live True Woman 08 Conference. You can also access Joni Eareckson Tada's message at this same link.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Child Training Tuesday

How much time do you think our Heavenly Father spends refining our character each day? Here in this house with two strong and charging young boys, I know it is a constant process. Let's stop and consider: What is it in my life that causes me to feel that God is refining my character? Do I know what God's character looks like? Do I desire to be imitating His character in my daily life?

I am in the mission field of training two young boys into the righteousness of the Lord. So, I thought it would be fun to have Child Training Tuesday~ Each week I will post new aspects of training our child's character, which inevitably will also train our own!

A dear friend and mentor shared two great books with me that I will be using as references for some of the information shared here on Child Training Tuesday. If you are interested in ordering the books, they can be found at amazon.com/books.

What Every Child Should Know Along the Way (Gail Martin)
A Child's Book of Character Building: Book 1 (Ages 3-7) (Ron and Rebekah Coriell)

Investing time into building your child's character is a big commitment, but I feel that is one of the most significant things I can do for my sons. Some days we play and bake quite a bit and the method of formal training doesn't really happen. But I am still given many opportunities to train their character~sweet teachable moments.

Character Training:

Attentive: Listening with my eyes, my ears and my heart.
Proverbs 4:20-21 "My son, give attention to my words. Incline your ear to my sayings, do not let them depart from your sight."

Obedience: Doing what I am asked to do with a happy & submissive heart.
Ephesians 6:1 "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right."

Each morning we start school with prayer, pledge and music. Then we come to the table for character training. My boys stand in "listening stance" (like a soldier) and I ask them one at a time, "What is attentive?" They answer by stating what is written above. My (almost) three year old, does need some help, so I have invented signs to help remember the words to the definition and verse. We continue this through all the character qualities they know this far. We also do a sticker chart for remembering them correctly. Then we follow it with...

Catechism:

Who made you? God made me.
Genesis 1:27 "God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them."

What else did God make? God made all things.
Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning God created the heavens and
the earth."

This catechism information can be found at: http://www.reformed.org/documents/index.html?mainframe=http://www.reformed.org/documents/child_cat.html

Why do I think this is so important? God says that it is important. Enjoy this with your children and remember that God will also give you wonderful opportunities to flesh these out in your own attitudes!

"These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up." Deuteronomy 6:6-7

A Prayer for Boys


Father, I pray that he will confess with his mouth that Jesus is Lord, and that he would believe in his heart that You have raised Christ from the dead. Cause him to call upon your name, O Lord. (Romans 10:9,13)

I pray that he will look at the things of the world through Your eyes and not through man's. I pray that he will develop the ability to respond with Your wisdom and love. (1 Samuel 16:7)
I pray that he will know the value of friendship and be loyal all the days of his life. (Proverbs 17:17)
O Father I ask that you will give him wisdom and understanding. Do not let him forget your words or swerve from them. Cause him to love wisdom and value it above all worldly desires and accomplishments. (Proverbs 4:5-7)
I pray that he will do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than himself. Let him not only look to his own interest, but also to the interests of others, and let his attitude be the same as that of Christ Jesus. (Philippinas 2:3-5)

Father I pray that no matter what he is planning in his heart, that Your purpose will prevail in his life. (Proverbs 19:21)

O, that he would have heart of integrity that desires to follow hard after You. Give him a narrow path to follow with a wide vision for what You want to use him for in accomplishing good for Your kingdom~ Amen

Sunday, October 5, 2008

What motive is all about...

"Do you ever have trouble motivating yourself to do what needs to get done?" This is the question I asked a dear friend Saturday night. My husband and I had just finished date night and were picking up the boys. Home held many responsibilities before my night would end and I was feeling the pull of the day.

I went to bed that night, after getting half of the things accomplished, in prayer about the right motivation. I feel that at the core of me there is great desire for accomplishment and great organization, but in the daily routine it competes with many distractions. I have found that I am not alone in this struggle, but I longed for God to show me how to make right my attitude and my motivation.

He is so faithful. Our church is currently in "Simplify" mode. We are focusing on doing what matters most and as a church whole we are studying the book by Rick Warren, titled The Purpose Driven Life. This Sunday the focus was worship. I was created to worship God. Our pastor posed this question at the start of his message: "What one phrase would capture the message of the Bible?" Ok...no small amount of effort here to answer such a loaded question. How would God have anwsered? Mark 12:30 "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind, and with all your strength."

This is the one thing God desires and it must come from the four origins listed above: heart, soul, mind and strength. Each of these holds great truth to what kind of source is involved in loving God. Can you guess what the heart is really dealing with? Yes...motivation! I wonder at his faithfulness and timing they are both perfect, without delay or confusion. So, our pastor stated in his teaching this morning that my motivation must not be out of obligation or coercion. It must be simply from a heart that desires to love God. Period.

The four sources of love cause my daily living to be an example of a life that from it's core, or, my very being, is choosing to love God because it makes sense. I am also living out that kind of expression of love by actions that match my motivation. So, practically speaking I am finding motivaton to do the things that need to get done, simply because I love God. I desire to honor and please Him. So, what is this called? This daily living in the state of pleasing God with my life? It is called worship.

Motivation is about my desire to worship God because I love Him from the inside out. I maintain my love for Him by choosing to serve in the life He has given me. If I am looking for motivation to get things done, I have stepped away from a life of worship and made it about me and not God. He alone is my motivation to get things done, because a life that is all about the things that matter to God is a life that is pleasing to Him. Why do I long to please Him? Simply because He is God and that is enough reason for me~

"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship." Romans 12:1

If you would like to hear Pastor Jim's entire message please check it out by clicking here: http://www.colliervillebible.org/327576.ihtml
Click on Simplify-Lesson 2 Why am I here?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Why Blog?

I was first introduced to the world of blogging about 8months ago and I have been on a journey of investigation and exploration ever since. I learned many things from brave bloggers all around the world. I appreciate the vulnerability each of them offers when they share their world with us. This includes personal habits, beliefs, fears, solutions, lifestyles,choices, the list goes on and on. Each post reveals more of who they are and how they wish to impact the world around them.

So why did I decide to jump in? My mind is constantly running with ideas, thoughts and questions. (Just ask my sweet husband) I realized I desired a way to document all that was running in my head on a daily basis. I also felt that God had called me to this unfamiliar world and that He was going to use it for His glory. Blogging is not about me, but about how God is refining me. How He is using me in this little part of the world.

I purpose to use what He has shown me about His character and His truth as the foundation of why and how I blog. I won't be posting on a daily basis, becuase of my commitments to my family. I plan to post on Tuesday and Saturdays. So, thank you for stopping by and be sure to comment if you feel led. I love to see how we can engage with one another from all differents parts of the world! God is so big and I am excited to see what He will do here at Absolute Surrender~

Sunday, September 28, 2008

One Too Many

To begin, I would like to state that I am not a big fan of paper towels. But, my husband greatly enjoys having them right at hand. He really likes the pick a size brand, so that is what I most often buy. This kind of paper towel system makes sense to me, because it is less wasteful. Except for the fact, that when I grab a paper towel, most often, five come rolling down and I have then torn them all off before I can roll it back to just grab one.

Now, I have one too many paper towels.

As this happened to me this morning, I was thinking about how this happens in my life on a weekly basis. I try so hard to be intent on choosing those things that matter most to God, but I so often find myself wishing for more time in my day. One too many.

Is it something valuable? Yes, but not possibly the most valuable use of my time. When I find myself wishing for more time, I am painfully aware of the fact that I am not doing what is on God's agenda. I did not stop to align my day with God's purpose for me. I have run ahead of Him and filled my day, then prayed that He will help me accomplish all the tasks at hand. One too many.

"The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps." Proverbs 16:9 O dear child, you should be praying first to see how you can be of help to Me, for My kingdom. Here, in this moment of truth, I am deeply humbled and at a loss for words. For this child knows (all too well) that His grace and mercy are boundless and ready at hand, even in my foolishness. At my first act of surrender He will awaken in me a new song and put before me a path that honors His call for me that day.

Father, forgive me for the times I run ahead of you and do not stop to first see how you intend to use me this day for Your kingdom. I know the times of my foolishness are one too many.

"Whether then you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all for the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Small Reminders

I woke up this morning to the smell of fresh air blowing in my windows. I could hear the softness of the world outside and I felt at peace; comforted by the knowledge that God was already up and waiting for me.

Surrender is my journey. Each day the choice presents itself as I choose to stay in bed or get up for my first appointment with God. Do I read a little longer with my boys or mop the floor? Do I accept the "something" that didn't turn out the way I had hoped or stew and strive to make it happen. Each of us faces the choice to surrender or to strive. I humbly ask God to give me the opportunity to surrender.

"Surrender is not the surrender of the external life, but of the will." ~Oswald Chambers

"I have given myself clear away, and have not retained anything as my own." ~Jonathan Edwards

As I sat down at the computer this morning my husband had left me a small reminder that nothing was left solely in my hands that day. A small note on the keyboard read, "Good morning, this is GOD! I will be handling all your problems today. I will not need your help, so have a great day."

Oh the sweet blessing in knowing that I do not have to strive today or any other day. The note itself was a small reminder that God has my best interest at heart and that He cares for even the smallest of my needs. He is big enough to control all that surrounds me in the world, but small enough to hear me whisper, "stay near to me O God."

Thank you O God for the joy that comes in the surrender.

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning. Great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul. Therefore I will hope in him." Lamentations 3:22-24

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