faith

Consider the source

I’ve been listening to youtube alot lately. I haven’t taken much time to read the bible, so I’ve been trying to listen to it. I’ve not taken in my daily bread and you can tell it in my life. I always struggle when I don’t keep my focus on God.

What is my greatest struggle? My mind. My thoughts. I’ve always been hard on myself, and with age, that hardness has turned into condemnation, self-pity, and depression. This is what happens to me when I don’t stay in my bible. When I step out in my own strength. It happens every time, but here lately, it’s been becoming detrimental more quickly. What I mean to say is that, the more I rely on my bible, the more I need God. So when I step out of that, things go to hell. Fast.

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I’ve decided I can look at this as a good thing or a bad thing. I think that its a good thing because I want to live God’s will. If I didn’t want to live in God’s will, it would not be a good thing.

Do you know what I’m choosing to do with myself when I step out of my focus on God? It’s nothing spectacular. It isn’t exciting. It’s self-pity. I’m whining and complaining about my circumstances. Feeling sorry for myself. Choosing unbelief. Ask me how self-pity is unbelief. Well, my mind on self-pity tells me what God is currently doing for me is not good enough. My mind on self-pity tells me God hasn’t looked closely enough at my circumstances. It tells me that he missed something and that I don’t trust him enough to wait on him, and not be anxious.

Does any of this sound familiar to you? Can you relate? Going through this in real time, helps me to realize I can’t stay in this place. Stepping out in my own strength is not what God wants from me. When I’m going through these hard times, is when I need his help. It’s also when it’s hardest to ask for help.

In that self-pity cycle, I’m over on one side of the room and God’s on the other. Instead of reaching out to him and asking for his comfort, I’m over here, hugging myself, saying terrible things in my thoughts. I don’t feel worthy of his comfort. I believe those lies Satan whispers ever so lovingly in my ear. Those enticing words of self-hate and rejection. I don’t know why it’s so easy to cling to those thoughts. I suppose we will find out one day. But not while we are here on this earth. But in those deep moments, where I’m filled with with FEELINGS of dread, disdain, envy, self-hatred, in those moments, I’m in unbelief. I’m choosing to disagree with my loving God. I’m choosing to believe a liar, a thief, an accuser.

Say Sally No-name comes up to you one day. You know her as the town gossip, an adulterer, she’s stolen money from the local high school and gotten away with it because it’s a small town and her dad owns half of it. She thrives off negative gossip whether it’s true or not. She wants to tell everything bad she hears about everyone. If she told you, you are worthless, would you internalize that, or would you consider the source and walk away. Now, it may hurt your feelings initially, because no one enjoys being called names, but I don’t think you’d loose any sleep over it. I think you would eventually realize the type of person she is negates anything she says.

Satan is much like this. More than likely, he is the leader of Sally No-names internal thought monologue. Probably without her even realizing. But if you know Sally is a liar, and you can disregard her conversation, then come to the point where you realize those thoughts in YOUR mind are also a conversation. AN INFLUENCE. And occasionally, a bunch of lies. And where else do those lies come from, but the ultimate liar. When you realize the source, you can make that conscious choice to refuse the thought. Don’t accept it. Don’t let it come into your heart and fill you with grief.  Believe what your father tells you, you are perfectly and wonderfully made. Keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on the Lord.  (Romans 5:1). You are utterly secure in me; nothing will be able to separate you from my love in Christ Jesus, You are now part of the people of God (1 Peter 2:9). And together the life you now live is by faith in my Son (Galatians 2:20). Don’t live by your own power or understanding. No, live by my Spirit within you (Zechariah 4:6; Proverbs 3:5). Remember, I have given you the Holy Spirit to be with you and in you (Romans 5:5; John 14:17). The Spirit will guide you into all truth, help you to obey me, and empower you to do my work (John 16:7, 13; Acts 1:8; Galatians 5:16).

Look at all these things he tells us. He’s trying to help us see. He loves us. He knows the numbers of hairs on our heads and stitched  us together in our mother’s wombs. We are precious to him after the sacrifice of Jesus. You are no longer darkness, but light in my Son. Walk as children of light (Ephesians 5:8). You have a glorious future (Romans 8:18). You are a citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20).

If you fell from Heaven and could never get back in, would you keep as many people out as you could. Consider the source.

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faith

When that devil gets in there…

How much is Satan and how much is me? As time has gone on, I’ve found myself wondering how much of my emotions have been affected by Satan, and how much was my own sense of insecurity and doubt. Then that takes me down a road of thinking, how much does Satan really have to say to get my mind to take off on a tangent. I think when we find out the answer to this question we will be surprised.

I don’t feel like every bad thing comes from Satan. I don’t think he is lurking behind that flat tire you got on your way to work or that sickness your kiddo brought home from school. I think that there is a large human component to some of the bad things that happen in our lives. I think there are many time we make situations harder on ourselves because of our mindset.

On the other side of that, I also believe that Satan has been around humans a loooong time. I believe that he knows people very very well. I think he understands how we use our vices and knows how to play the odds to influence people.

 

When I go through spiritually hard times, I begin to notice that I when I feel guilty about displeasing God, I tend to avoid my bible. I think you can equate it to wanting to avoid a person when you know you’ve upset them. I believe, unfortunately, this is human nature. Most of us don’t like conflict. But I think the sin comes because when we avoid the bible, we aren’t meditating on the word and being purposeful in our lives. And it just leads to a cycle where a month has passed, or a year, or many years, and we find ourselves asking what happened.

But while I do believe we play a big role in our own wrongdoings, I think that often times, the devil needs only to whisper a few key ideas in our ears. And we take off with those whispers.

Which leads me to believe that Paul told us to take every thought captive for this very  reason. Because when we are out of the word, all of those voices running around in our thoughts start to sound the same. And we just don’t discern thing in our lives as well. At least I know this to be true in my own life.

Going through these struggles is tough, but I really believe that after we are through it, we see why we need to focus and meditate on the word. Which is really just STUDYING the bible. Knowing it in your heart. Because if we know the things God wants us to know, we can use those words and promises to fight the temptation to avoid him when we feel like we’ve displeased him.

I want to wish you luck if you’re going through this. Regardless if we’ve put it on ourselves or not. Jesus didn’t die for only those people who fall into Satan’s temptations, but also for those of us who mess everything up ourselves. It’s ok. I love you and so does he, and you will get through. He works for our good because we have chosen to love and serve him. He does not forget that.

Romans 8:28

 

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
faith

I’m struggling

Well, I’m going through something right now. I’m not really sure how to handle this situation, but I wanted to say upfront that I do not apply these judgements to anyone except for myself. I base these feelings on what I believe. And this is where I’m struggling.

I put the boys in school. I deliberated it for a while. A long while. All summer. I’ve been back and forth. Finally, what set my decision was believing that it was best for my boys to learn to be around a variety of individuals. Also we were unable to afford the curriculum I wanted. I am aware of the free homeschool curriculum’s out there, and we have done this in the past, but I really wanted to go another option. I wasn’t able to.

The weeks prior to putting them into school we also struggled with our spending. We got behind fixing my husbands work vehicle after he hit something in the middle of the road on his way into work one morning. Ever since we’ve been behind, and it has been difficult. And unfortunately, the overdraft fees are piling up. And that is so depressing. Being slapped with those fees. Especially when they are close to a hundred dollars. uggh, it’s just been rough. We have been trying to do more with the kids out and about instead of staying home, and it’s cost us. Although it does remind me why I need to keep better track of our money.

But, I am digressing. The root of the problem isn’t truly money, or homeschool, or overdraft fees. The root of my problem is that somehow I’ve convinced myself that homeschooling was what God truly wanted from me, and in putting the boys in public school, I’ve gone against his will. And I’m truly struggling. I’m having a hard time. Anyone who has ever homeschooled, knows the struggles. And it is not for the faint of heart.  I’m not trying to make excuses, but just saying that it’s tough.

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I can’t seem to convince myself that I did the right thing in God’s eyes. Even though he has NOT said in his word that he wants us all to homeschool, I felt in my heart that is what he wanted from me and my family. And I feel like I failed him. Although my kids are happy in their new setting, I’m grieved. So unfortunately, I am not able to offer any  advice or encouragement in this post, but I can offer you some real time trials for me. My storm right now with my feelings of guilt. I am not sure if any of you have experienced this, but if you have and you know any good advice, please pass along.

In my head I know Jesus loves me, he died for me on that cross even after he knew all of my sins. But my heart is  telling me he is disappointed in me for not sticking with homeschooling. I’m feeling heavy hearted. Much like I gave up. I pray for some guidance with this. I pray that I can see that God still cares for me and will still protect and love my family, and that no matter if I homeschool or not, His will continues to play out in our lives. God bless you all, thanks for reading.

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What did I decide?

As you know, I was trying to decide whether I wanted to continue homeschool or to do public school this year. And it took me up until Wednesday of last week to decide that I wanted to put them in a school a little over a half an hour away.

It felt like I broke off a piece of my heart and stuck it in that school when I dropped the boys off. I guess that’s just part of it. Dropping them off. Waving goodbye. Praying for the Lord to watch over them.

I wanted so much to homeschool. I did. But it came to a point for me, that I felt like they would see more benefits at school than they would at home. I felt like they didn’t have enough here in our small town geological oddity (40 minutes to anywhere), to keep them stimulated and engaged in any activities outside of school.

They talked, and oh they are social. But they just didn’t get to experience much with teamwork, or working in a group. Things like that. I try to shy away from the s word (socialization for those unfamiliar with homeschool) Because I don’t really believe I need my kids socialized by the public school. I think they need to me socialized by me, their grandparents, their family, friends, and neighbors, the lady at walmart, the guy crossing the street. I believe my boys learned socialization just fine without going to public school. But what they haven’t learned was any kind of group work. And that was one of the reasons I put them in school.

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I believe I accomplished what I set out to accomplish with them. My goal for homeschooling was that they develop a deep trust in Christ and had a good moral foundation to make their decisions from. I know they will struggle and I know they will make mistakes, but that’s how they will learn. Now it’s my turn to trust in the Lord that he will protect them. That he will use his Holy Spirit to guide their hearts and strengthen their conscious.

Now, even though I believe these things, I am also experience some guilt. I feel like I would have gotten through with homeschooling had I continued to trust in the Lord. And that is something I’m going to have to work out with God.

 

faith

Putting it back in God’s hands

Isn’t that a hard thing to do? I say that all the time. Mostly because I’m a bit of a control freak. But also because I can occasionally doubt God is working for my good. Not intentionally, but that’s pretty much what is happening when you take control out of his hands, right? You don’t think he is doing good for you, or noticing your struggles, so you try to do good for yourself. You think you can do it a little better, or a little faster, or make a little more money if you do it this way. Maybe he’s just a little too busy right now. Maybe his focus is on something more important than your situation, so while you’re waiting on your answer, you go ahead and move onwards and upwards. We all do this, whether consciously or not. In our thinking, we often times acquaint ourselves with that  old saying, time is money. So we take this belief as truth. It trumps over God’s patience and promises.

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Now I’m not saying that everytime we step out of God’s will, it results in a terrible catastrophe. But I am saying that when we wait on God, God provides. And you know what I’ve found? Usually, if I would have waited and not rushed into something, I could have gotten a better deal out of it.

Our goal in this life is to live in a way that we put God first. And when I first heard this, I was like, uh no. Thanks, but I’ve got too much going on. I can’t even think about that. I can’t take the time to read that bible, I don’t understand it. I need someone to tell me what they think about it. It takes too much time to sit down and pray. I can do it tomorrow.

Have you ever heard these excuses before? Have you said these things to yourself to justify why you just can’t? I have. And things were ok. I survived. I worked and we lived. But life never really got great. I was tired, I was always worrying, always anxious, stressed, yelling at my kids because I was too tired and worn out to deal with appropriate discipline. Isn’t it shameful to read that? It’s shameful for me to admit it. Because even though we were doing ok on the outside, inside, I felt like everything was too much. I couldn’t keep up with work, life, and family.

 

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I had to do something different. I needed a change in my life. Bad. Right about the time I was going through this, is when that movie came out. War Room. And man oh man. Let me just say wow. I didn’t realize. I just didn’t know what God could do for us. For me. For my sense of direction. If you’ve never seen this movie, you need to watch it.

I didn’t really know how to apply what I saw at first. The following morning I figured I’d start out by trying to pray. I gave myself 20 minutes. I woke up before the kids and sat in my closet. And my closet is FULL of clothes. It isn’t that nice, neat closet like the woman had in the movie, lol. It’s a tiny small closet crammed full of things. I sat on a tote full of scrapbooking supplies because it  was more comfortable than the many shoes, hangers, and old toys scattered across the floor.

At first I just kind of sat there. Not really knowing what to say. Which was actually kind of nice because I’d been going full steam ahead for so long, I hadn’t realize how long it had been since I’ve heard peace and quiet, or since I’ve just been still.

Slowly, thoughts started coming to my mind. The ones that didn’t have anything to do with God I let go. But when a thought about God came up, I really tried to focus on it and hang on to it. And I started to wonder about God. What is he really like? Does he honestly even like us, we are all so bad sometimes. How can I do what he wants from me? What does he want from me? And I came to the realization that I did not have any of those answers. And that made me really sad. I mean, I was a Christian. I believed in Jesus and I wanted to go to heaven. I wasn’t a terrible person, there were many other people who did things far worse than me, so I should be good, right. How wrong my thinking was.

It really bothered me I didn’t know what God wanted from me. I reflected on my thoughts all day after my prayer attempt that morning. I finally realized the importance of reading that bible. The one that sometimes gives me a headache. The very same one I made all those excuses for not reading.  But I knew in my heart that is what God wanted. He wants us to know him like he knows every fiber and being in us. He wants a true relationship, and those are not one sided.

This is what prompted me to start actually reading. And to be honest. It probably took a couple weeks of picking it up, reading some, and putting it back down, going to youtube to see what I could find preached on whatever I was trying to read to figure out what it was trying to say. But I stayed persistent and I didn’t give up. And then, while I was reading, it started to click. I realized that it was applicable to my life. I could see why, if people internalized this, it changed them. And I’ve been reading ever since.

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I don’t think you could ever read the complete bible one time and get everything you need to know from it. I think it depends on Gods influence on you at the time you’re reading it. I’ve read the same passage several times, and depending on what I was going through, I had gotten different convictions out of it that helped me through my circumstances. I think it was made to keep coming back to time and time again. Like a life manual. And I think God intended it to be this way.

I just want to take the time, right now, to encourage you. Wherever you are on your faith journey, keep going. Don’t give up, no matter your circumstances. Put control back in Gods hands. How do you do that ? Read your bible. Start to know God and read about his promises to you. Believe these promises and believe in Jesus.  Believe in his ultimate sacrifice for you. Just. Don’t. Stop. Sometimes as Christians, we can be stagnant for a little while, or even backslide, but don’t let that deter you from coming back to HIM. God is so patient. He is giving us this time to choose to come back to him. Know this. I pray for all of you out there reading this. I hope it helps.

 

Philippians 4:6-7

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/faiths/christianity/articles/8-bible-verses-that-remind-us-god-is-in-control.aspx#PxCVQz8HVeUSVgZe.99

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Staying in the word

Daily bread. Living water. What does that even mean? Does it mean food? Does it mean praying every day and going about our lives? It meant these things to me for a long time. Keep in mind I’m not convicting anyone. I’m telling you the ways I’ve been convicted in my life. Ways that I’ve felt pulled to a change in how I approach the word. And many, many ways I’ve failed.

Do you want to know what happens when I step out of the word? What happens when I don’t fill up on my Jesus for the day….yes that is a real thing. I need to hear from Him every day, to refocus my heart and help make my decisions throughout my day. I haven’t read much in the last few days, which inspired this post.

Last week, I reacquainted with a cousin I hadn’t seen in years due to our parents hating strongly disliking each other. It was awesome. We were both so happy to see each other and hang out. I had been running back and forth to VBS in the evenings and hadn’t had a lot of time to clean up, so I’d left some things for the next morning, and the next morning, and the next morning. So I ran myself out of time because I had so much to do before we left the house to go to these VBS’s. Well on the last day I started to second guess my reacquaintance with her. She was talking about our grandma, and had mentioned that she had bought her kids several pieces of clothing. In my mind, I interpreted this as, she got me something and not you. This is my effect from not staying in the word.

I suffer from overthinking. Tremendous overthinking. The kind of overthinking that ruins my relationships and keeps me from going and visiting family because in my mind, I assume I already know what they are thinking and saying about me behind my back. (my family does this often, they like to say bad things about each other, I’m sure i’m not the only one)

The only time I can really deal with this is when I stop trying to predict what other people are doing or not doing.  The only way I can do this is when I have a close relationship with Jesus. Why? Because my relationship with him matters more to me than anything on this earth. He calls me to love my neighbor. My very difficult neighbor, my neighbor who sometimes criticizes me without my being present and I find out about it through the family grapevine. Despite this, He tells me that it is to my glory to overlook an offense, and that he will deal with any paybacks that need dealt out. Guess what, if I didn’t read that, and meditate over it day and night (when I needed to stop feeling negative towards someone who hurt me) I would probably stop talking to everyone in my family, and many people in my small town. But can you imagine if everyone did that to each other? No one would talk. No one would be there to comfort you.

God’s wisdom is far greater than we can ever imagine, and in staying in the word, I can live in that spirit. I can make choices that perhaps the only one who knows I struggle is my father in heaven, and that’s ok. because he promises me he sees it. He promises me that he will always be there for me and I will never be alone. He promises me he will be the one to seek justice. I’m on this earth to love my neighbor, not to take vengeance. I was created to do Gods good works, and that’s what I need to do while I’m here.

faith

Choose this day whom you will serve.

What does that mean? Have you ever really thought about it? Can you break it down to define what it means to you, or what it means in your soul? I can tell you, when I heard this years ago, it was usually in one ear and out the other. I’ll do what I want today and tomorrow I’ll try a little harder. God knows my heart, I can cheat a little, He knows I try hard. Tomorrow I’ll read that passage. Tomorrow I wont lose patience and yell at my kids, I’m just tired today. Tomorrow, I’ll go see Grandma, I don’t feel like it today. But my problem was that tomorrow never came. It stayed tomorrow.

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I’m the kind of person who always thinks I have more time that what I realistically have. I have the bad habit of putting things off. Especially overwhelming things, and things that make me feel bad or guilty. I don’t know why I do it, I just do.

But there comes a time that it starts to be an issue. Not only for the people around you, but for the Father above you. And he starts to weigh in on your heart. It starts out with little things, that small little voice that says, maybe I shouldn’t do it this way. Or that feeling you get…you know the one….when you know God is aware how you acted or what you just did. We can’t  live on this earth and pretend that our consequences don’t matter anymore. Our actions mean just as much to Him now as they always have.

I had a terrible sugar addiction. Like Bad. Like when I was stressed, or it was getting close to that time of the month, I had to have something sweet to calm myself. I would run to a gas station in the middle of the night, to go buy chocolate or cookies, or whatever they had. To make myself feel ok. And it wasn’t just every once in a while. No ma’am. It became every day. Every day I had to have something sweet. If I didn’t make it at home, then I had to buy it. I neeeeedded it.

It was my vice. And it kept me from growing in Christ…Now before you roll your eyes and click away, hear me out. What does Jesus tell us to do with our anxiety? Does he tell us to be gluttons when we are stressed out? Does he say it’s ok to eat yourself to death? (I was starting to have very frequent heart palpitations and thyroid issues. BOTH of which have resolved after changing my diet). NO. What he tells us is to turn to him in our burdens. Choosing my self and my vice was not serving Christ. This right here, deciding to put away the sugar and to trust only in Christ is what changed my path.

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I was stuck. I didn’t feel like I was progressing in my path because I wasn’t truly trusting that He would take care of my problems. I was using my anxiety as an excuse to eat everything in sight. It stopped me from growing and it stopped me from seeing who’s path I was going down, and it wasn’t the straight and narrow. And it wasn’t just because I had an addiction. I think when you allow yourself a vice like that, where you refuse to turn to the bible and see what Gods word has in store for you, but instead try to cope on your own, without God, this is choosing the other guy. Especially when you are wallowing in self pity, crying in your closet with a pint of ice cream, trying to be quiet so your kids don’t hear you and want some ice cream too worry about you crying.

I don’t want to say that every once in a while when this happens that it’s wrong, because I know life happens. But for me, It got to the point it was wrong because I’d let myself take in all these negative thoughts, instead of hearing what God tells me. He tells me he does not give me a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-discipline. I didn’t love myself, I had no self-control over what I ate, and I was powerless to change. All that stopped the moment I chose him over myself. And not in a sappy, now I love God so my life is perfect kind of way, but in a way that I need him every day. I need to start my day with his words so I can keep him in my mind when I do get stressed. I need to meditate on him throughout the day so I know what he wants from me. I need to go to him in my troubles and cast my cares on him, not let them burden me. Don’t let the devil steal your joy. He is real and that is one of his many distributing goals.

When you give your troubles to Christ and put him in control of your life, something crazy happens. He takes that control and stress and anxiety and uses it for good. Good in your life and good for his kingdom. You just trust him and let him work for you. Step out in your faith. If that person offends you, don’t try to “get them back” He tells us that it is to our glory to overlook an offense. HE will make it right!! Maybe not right away, but in his own time and we have to trust that. This place is not our final destination. Think about it. Once we pass from this life, we will move on to the next. There’s no stopping it. And I want my next life to be by his side. I want to feel that eternal love and comfort he promises us. If you struggle, there are some great videos on youtube to help you grow closer to God. Greg Laurie, David Platt, Jeff Durbin, Matt Chandler all of these people and more helped lead me to Christ. Always be wary when you are listening, and compare their words with your bible. You don’t have to accept someone’s interpretation of the word, read it yourself and see how you feel with it. Break it down. Look at the hebrew translations of words or passages that confuse you. STUDY!! You will not be disappointed.

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John 10:10   New International Version

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.


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Around the farm

Aren’t animals beautiful? I mean, don’t get me wrong, they can be a pain sometimes. We’ve got 3 goats who are escape artists and one dog that upsets the neighbor because he chases away the pretty wild deer, and don’t get me started on the chickens. There’s some days I don’t even know how they’ve survived this long! They can be so….what’s the right word…..NOT SMART about their survival. But all in all, I’m happy to say that we have these animals in our lives. They’ve brought so much joy and responsibility to us.

I think it helps you to care not only for yourself and your family, but to recognize that there are others who depend on you. Today it’s the animals who depend on you. For water, feed, shelter, and even love. But next week it could be the aunt who needs help getting to her doctor appointment, or the cousin who’s wife just passed away. I think caring for animals increase our awareness for helping others.

I’m planning on breeding the goats this January….hopefully. Or as close to January as I can get. In the fall I’m going to send off a blood test on my does to make sure they are disease free. And yes, that is because we are planning on drinking milk from our beautiful does. And making yogurt and cheese….and maybe even some yummy ice cream!!

There are so many things we can be thankful for with our animals. Our eggs, milk, playfulness, companionship, education, accountability, science….(I’m hoping to learn how to do fecal counts for our goats once we get a good microscope). I can see the happiness they bring my children. We can work through sickness and death, so they have a good understanding of why we need to take good care of our animals, and not just go through the motions. And how to be good to them in times when death is unavoidable. We’ve had 2 chickens pass, one was sick for 2 days and we took care of her until she died. I think it’s important for the kids to learn these things. That although death is unavoidable sometimes, there are ways we can help cope with it, and show kindness to those going through it.

I hope to increase the variety of animals on our little farm, and even delve in to processing our own meat animals. I think we’ve gotten pretty far away from our food. And I think the very act of butchering and processing our animals that we’ve taken care of, brings us closer to that sense of appreciation. That sense that we gave our animal a great life and it provided food for us. That we aren’t so distanced from our food that we think of our chicken as a headless white lump in plastic packing in the fridge section. I hope to be able to grow from these experiences with our animals, and I hope for my children to do the same.

Romans 14:1-23 ESV

As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. …

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Mommin like a Boss

I woke up this morning, had my coffee and my bible out on the front porch with me, and my great big teddy bear Samson lounging at my side, when I heard the kids come outside. samson

Now I knew they hadn’t even come close to finishing their morning chores. And I knew in that moment, I had to make a choice. I could get mad and yell, or I could choose to take the moment, just then, and be kind. See what they wanted and why they hadn’t started on their chores. And I’m glad that this morning, I made the right choice. Benjibear had come out to tell me he loved me. In my past, I ashamedly admit that I would have reacted negatively to the kids not doing what I asked them to. Because I was tired, because I let other things lead my life, because my focus was not on God, but on everything around me. I would have taken that moment to yell at them, not to hear what they wanted to tell me, but to yell and say, “I told you three times already to get this done, get in there and do it.” And then missed the opportunity for my oldest to have a moment of connection with me.

We hear all the time how much our kids love us. So from the outside, this may seem trivial. It may seem like he was only coming to tell me he loved me because he was trying to get out of his chores. But do I truly believe that? No. I believe in his mind, he thought he needed to come tell me right then that he loved me, and that is what I want to foster in my children. Love. Confidence that he could come and tell me he love me without Mom getting mad at him. Joy that he could share his love with me.

Kids are so beautiful. They are so adaptable to their surroundings. They are true survivors. We’ve all had our moments of disappointment in ourselves as parents. We’ve all done those things that we are not proud of and wish we hadn’t done or said.  And I think it goes back to the bible, as in all things. See, what God wanted from his people to begin with, was an obedient loving people. Not people who disobeyed and tried to make up for it. He wanted our hearts. But he will take our repentance. And I think these little moments shape us. Those moments that we get mad and yell shape us. And those moments that we realize we shouldn’t have done what we did shape us, and those moments we choose to STOP and think before we react to our children shape us. For me, it’s been such a long journey. And I have a long way to go. But that’s ok. Because I know that he will finish this great work he started in me. He will give me a clean heart.

But it also made me realize, how much a Mom is like a manager. You can’t get mad and yell at your staff when they don’t listen or misunderstand. Well….I guess you can, and I’m sure some do, but they also loose alot of people that way. I don’t want to lose my kids. I want their hearts. And I have to manage them in a way that directs their paths while building them up instead of tearing them down. This morning, I really looked at being a mother like having a full time managing position. Because we are managing our families. Oftentimes as mothers, we are the ones guiding our children’s behavior. Father’s too. And we want to do so in a way that is encouraging. And I think we have to look past our initial negative knee-jerk reactions at our kids not listening, and instead take a step back. Try to imagine where they are coming from, just like you’d treat someone working for you, just like you’d treat a neighbor in Christ. You wouldn’t yell at a stranger for not doing what you asked them to do, why yell at your kids? And this is something that has truly helped me to stop yelling. Because I did alot of it. I’m not saying that temptation isn’t there, lurking at the corner. But I’m saying that instead, I’m choosing to encourage my children. Stay positive when they don’t listen, because they are not small adults, they are children. They don’t yet have the brain capacity to think like me. And that’s ok.

 

John 13:34-35 New International Version (NIV)

 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

 

faith

Not Denying the Spirit

One thing I’ve always been awwhed at is coincidences. They can be really amazing sometimes, can’t they? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve encountered coincidences in my lifetime. And I’m not even 50 yet!

afterglow background beautiful branches
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But the longer I continue on this walk with God, He’s help me come to the realization that there is no such thing as a coincidence…

I was cleaning my countertops this morning, the kids were running through the house, chasing each other with pillows and screeching at the top of their lungs, when I started thinking some of those negative thoughts. You know the ones. Someone said something to you and it hit you wrong so you’re trying to figure out if it is worth the effort to chase down the situation over and over in your head, but when you decide it isn’t worth it, another thought pops up about that persons wife, and how she has treated you in the past. How you’ve tried with everything you can to be her friend, but somehow you always end up the one getting hurt. The one who feels depressed after having any sort of conversation with her. You try to keep in mind that it is to your benefit to overlook an offense. You don’t have to rebuttal every little thing that she says that bothers you. That in time, God will take care of this situation. Everything about it. The gossip, the jealousy, the lies. But I’m gonna be honest, it’s hard. It’s difficult not to call her up and let her know that I know the things she’s said about me. I know how she has torn me down when I’ve built her up. I know the things I want to say to her, but I don’t say them. You see, what I wanted from her was friendship. Not the kind of pass by friendship or acquaintance’s type of friendship, but a heart felt friendship. A kindred spirit friendship. And I’m finding that those types of friendships are few and very far between.

Thankfully I found my faith within the last few years, enough so that when I get the urge to do something I know that I will regret, I control myself. Because that is a fruit of the spirit that I defiantly need to work on. It’s much easier to control yourself than to feel guilty and ask for forgiveness.

Anyways I digress. I was basically feeling sad because I don’t really have anyone in my life at this point to call a kindred spirit. I was really starting to overthink and then bring up past disappointments and continue down that long, lonely spiral downhill. I happened to be listening to “Thy word” network on the radio. When I’m in those moods, I’ve found this is the best way to get the word into me. I can’t always focus on reading when emotions strike. But I can sit back and let God work by listening either to the radio or YouTube (very carefully with YouTube, there are many good people on here, but there are also alot of distractions). Back to what I was saying before, I noticed the words, “true friendships”.  My ears were pricked. I’ve been standing here in my kitchen that last hour, depressing and obsessing and somehow, someway, the very same issue I’m struggling with and the issue that is threatening to throw me down in darkness, is coming up on a radio broadcast.

God speaks to us, not only in that quiet voice in our minds, but through people. Through his ministry, through his workers that are apart of christian broadcasts that are trying to reach your heart. And through many more organizations and people scattered throughout this world.

This broadcast…. I truly believe the Lord is working through it for so many people out there in this tough world. This man on the broadcast encouraged people to pray for a kindred spirit in your life and then be on the lookout for it. He talked about how the majority of the people we encounter in this life do not have the qualities of a true friend. That you only have a few in a lifetime, and I believe this. Especially in my personal life. I know in my heart how hard I’ve tried. I’ve come to the point that I have decided not to hold grudges. But to forgive and just remain wary. I can still love the people in my life who are causing me stress. I can choose to edify them in those moments their names are brought up to other people. Because I believe God is there. In that conversation where you didn’t take the chance to knock them down in gossip.  I can choose to see goodness instead of focusing on the hurt. But I can still be wary and know with discernment, how much to be involved with that person. Always forgive, be wary, but continue to act out in love. Because we are told the greatest commandments are to love God, and love one another as ourselves.

Proverbs 12:26 The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.

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I didn’t deny Gods presence in that message. I knew at that moment, he was speaking to me. I’m not going to lie, I always wish he would appear right by my side in these moments, hold me to him, and tell me everything will be ok. But if he did that, I wouldn’t have much need for faith. I think the beauty is in identifying when he is speaking to us, and thanking him and praising him for that.

If we can catch those moments, the ones when we are feeling sad or discouraged and something or someone is trying to help us. We can know that those people who are helping build us up in our times of need are sent by God. That is his Spirit working through the radio when we are sad, working through our parents when we are upset, working through the blogs we search for when we need reassurance. The Spirit is there and trying to build you back up. Don’t deny it. Know at that moment, God is with you. He loves you, and he will help you overcome.

” data-hasqtip=”22″ aria-describedby=”qtip-22″>John 16:13-15

“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. “He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. “All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.