1,000 Gifts…

September 29, 2010 § 4 Comments

I am going to join the Gratitude Community and start listing things for which I am thankful for…I hope you enjoy this list. It will become a regular part of my blog and I hope that it blesses you.

1. For God, that He created the Earth knowing He would have to send His Son and did it anyway. John 1

2. For Jesus, who did not consider equality with God something to be grasped. Oh thank You Jesus! Phillipians 2:3-8

3. For air to breathe

4. For good health for my husband, my kids, and myself

5. For a house that is more than we need so we can easily share with others

6. For my backyard that is a haven for my family

7. For my three precious children

8. For my 7 babies I got to hold in my womb, but not in  my arms

9. For my 3 babies lost to two tubal pregnancies (we can’t prove it, but I believe one of those pregnancies was twins)

10. For my 12 babies that lived in a dish, but not in my womb

11. For the finances to choose In-vitro as an option to grow our family

12. For sweet friends who encourage me (Heb 10:24-25)

13. For the smell of rain

14. For changing seasons

15. For laundry since I have clothes to wear

16. For food to eat

17. For clean water

18. For my church family

19. For the fellowship of suffering so that I get to know Jesus more (Phil 3:10)

20. That God uses the foolish things of this world to shame the wise (1 Cor 1:27)

21. That my children play well together (mostly)

22. My youngest put poo-poo in the potty twice and peed in the potty (mostly) twice today

23. For my middle child who plays with her belly button when she feels tired.

24. For my youngest who lets me kiss his precious cheeks and then kisses mine in return.

25. For my oldest who will always keep me in line regardless if I ask her to or not.

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Pole Prayer

September 27, 2010 § Leave a comment

Last Wednesday was the 20 year anniversary of See Ya At The Pole. Students in junior high and high schools across the globe gather at the flag pole to pray. I remember being at the flag pole in front of my school that first year, twenty years ago. My heart was skipping beats. I felt excited to show my love for God, but I also felt scared. I knew it wasn’t cool to pray at the flag pole, that didn’t bother me much. What concerned me was who else would come? Would I be the only one? Certainly not, but what if… I always felt as if I was jumping of a cliff, certain my bungee cord would work, but the jump was always hard. Standing at the edge of the cliff, tied to my Savior. Would I trust Him to hold me up? Would I take that step of faith, or would I just ignore the pole? It would be easy enough. I didn’t have to get to school early enough to go to the pole. I could have my mom drop me off on the other side of campus so I didn’t have to even go near the pole. My heart burned in my chest. I knew what God was calling me to do, but would I dare?

I look back and smile at those days of uncertainty. Oh, but I struggle with those same faith issues. When God is clearly telling me to do something and I am unsure or unwilling. I am standing on that edge, conflicted. I want to take the step, but the cliff is high. I step back and ask God again, “Are You sure? This is the step I have to take?” He doesn’t have to answer, I already know. I step back to the edge, I take a deep breath and I jump. I jump because I know I have an anchor in heaven. It is the cross. I need not fear, when God calls me to take a step of faith He is faithful to complete it. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” We need not fear, we need only to step out in faith and obey.

I did pray at the pole for the four years I was in high school. I took that step of faith. Not because I was some super Christian; not because I had it all together, but because I was obedient to the One who gives me a spirit of power and love and discipline. Now twenty years later, my daughters who attend a Christian school, got to pray at their pole. It brought tears to my eyes, as I watched God’s legacy continue. As I thought of students throughout the world gathering to pray, I prayed that God’s spirit of power, love, and discipline would sweep across the globe. I also prayed that God would have His way with us, and that we would take steps of faith in humble obedience.

Father, thank You for Your Spirit of power, love, and discipline. Lord help me take the steps of faith to which You are calling me. Help me to allow Your Spirit to have Your way in my life. That I may serve You in humble obedience. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Precision Living

September 24, 2010 § 3 Comments

There it was on the counter, three containers of milk, a bottle of allergy medicine, and a stick of deodorant for my husband, a testimony to God’s faithfulness, His provision. Oh and conviction for sin in my life. Seriously? How could something so mundane as what was on my counter SCREAM God is faithful, He provides, and I am a sinner?

Earlier that morning I had started my mental list. Milk…we don’t have enough to make it through the weekend. Can I get by with only milk? I silently mused. At some point my husband reminded me that he needed deodorant and allergy medicine. So after my morning routine, I ran to the store to get the needed items. I had decided this would be a precision trip. In, out, get what I need and gone. However I got distracted as I looked to find deodorant, I found a razor for me, body wash for my child, and at the dairy case, I found creamer for my coffee. All things I would use, but didn’t “need” at the moment.

Satisfied I had everything I needed, I headed to the cash register. After I place my items on the conveyor belt, the checker announces she can only accept cash or check. Their machines are down. Why didn’t she tell me BEFORE I put my items on the conveyor belt. I don’t have time for this, I silently rage. Then God quiets my soul. So I begin to run through the what-am-I-going-to-do scenarios in my mind. Finally, I actually look in my wallet. Not enough for everything, but maybe…So she rings me up. Not, enough…Take the creamer off…Take the razor off…and the body wash…Still not enough…Take one of the milks…Stop! I have enough and one dollar left over! YEA God!

I didn’t realize it until I got home, but there on the counter were the things I went to the store for. That and nothing more. God provided the right amount of money for me to get the exact things He sent me to get, nothing more, nothing less. Just milk, deodorant, and allergy medicine.

How often do we get distracted in our daily lives? Many things distract us, good things like ministries, volunteer opportunities, mission trips. However, God wants us to live precision lives. Lives dedicated to doing what He has gifted us to do. Things He has given us special provision to do. Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” God has a perfect plan, a precision plan. He wants us to ONLY pick up milk, deodorant, and allergy medicine. No more, no less.

Father God, thank You for having things prepared for us to do. Forgive us for being distracted by good things that are not Your best things for us. Lord help us to live precision lives, serving others with the gifts and provision You have given us. Give us wisdom and discernment to know what precision things You have for us to do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

What’s on your precision life list? Please share.

Eye Twitching

September 22, 2010 § 5 Comments

Lately my left eye has been twitching. I trace the twitching back to the inordinate amount of screaming that has been occurring around my house lately. I am not sure why the trend has swung in this direction, but it is true. I have heard just general weeping and gnashing of teeth, to the more direct, “No Mommy,” and my personal favorite (not), “Stupid Mommy.” Twitch, twitch.

It seems as it is time to leave a public place, my house, a friend’s house that all three of my wonderful blessings must scream. As we have left some public places lately, I have gotten several stares. Twitch, twitch, twitch.

I took my youngest for a run yesterday, he in my jogging stroller, and me sweating behind him. He insisted that he needed to run too. So at the end of my run I oblige. I get him out of the stroller and let him run while I stay a few steps behind. Only I was “too close” to him at first, then he wanted to push the stroller that is bigger than him. When I tried to “help” him steer to keep him out of the street, he screamed. Finally he gutturally screamed, “Uppy MOMMY!” When I calmly explained that I couldn’t hold him and push the stroller, he flipped out. TWITCH, TWITCH, TWITCH, TWITCH.

Another eye-twitching moment

This is the same child who told me I looked beautiful in my t-shirt and running pants that morning.

Oh, but then in the middle of those eye twitching moments God’s word breaks through. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7

Humble myself. God isn’t going to force it on me. He isn’t standing over me requiring humility or desiring to humiliate me. No His hand is there, over my eye twitching situations waiting for me to humble myself to His will and plan. However He doesn’t just want me to humble myself in His sovereign plan for nothing. He has more for me. He wants to lift me up in due time. In His perfect timing He will lift me up. I do not have to “fight for my rights.” God in His perfect plan at His perfect time will lift me up! Praise Him. Then I have the honor and privilege of giving Him all my anxiety. Why, because the God of all the universe cares about me. A person made of dust, whose life is just a breath out of His, and yet He cares for me.

As I meditate on these verses my eye twitching slows. My anxiety flees to the heavens. I am humbly protected by God’s hand and I know He will raise me up at the right time.

Father God, I fling, I throw, I cast my anxieties on You because you care for me! I thank You for loving me through the eye twitching moments of life. I pray that in the midst of those moments I can humble myself under Your hand, trusting You to handle the situation correctly through me. Thank You that at the right time You will raise me up. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.

How about you? Any eye twitching moments that you are ready to cast upon God? Tell me about them.

Is it Really THAT Bad?!

September 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

I admit it is easy for me to think much like the Pharisees (Luke 8:10-14), I am glad I am not like that sinner. I mean, I haven’t killed anyone, I have stayed faithful to my marriage vows, and I don’t get high on wine, much less illicit drugs. I have this Christianity stuff down pat. In fact, I came to Christ at the age of seven. So I only needed a little saving. Right? I mean does fighting with my parents really hold the same sin weight as say being addicted to pornography? I know, I know James 2:10 says, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.” Really? How is gossiping the same as murder? How is murder the same as envy? So lately I have been wrestling with this issue.

There are several places in the new testament where a list of sinful behaviors and attitudes are listed. Most of what we consider “big” sins are on the list, but with nearly each list contains things like greed, envy, gossip – right next to adultery and drunkards. Yes there are difference consequences for each sin, but envy, gossip, and greed will keep you out of heaven just the same as pornography. Each of these sins have pride and selfishness at their roots. Pride that I can do things my way, I don’t have to do them God’s way. Pride that I deserve more and better. Pride that I want what she or he has. As we get more and more comfortable in our pride, we get sucked in and immune to the sin that is entangling us. We begin to think we can rank sin and be thankful that we are not like that sinner, yet we have enough sin in our hearts to drag us to the pit of hell.

So yes, if we are having trouble submitting to authority, honoring others, coveting what others have, it IS that BAD! It is the foothold Satan wants in our lives to entrap us in sin. Sin always holds us tighter and carries us farther than we ever imagined. Oh friends, let us not poo-poo our gossip sessions, or our “white” lies. It is sin! It is dangerous and it will separate us from God.

Christ had to die for those sins as well as the “big” sins. Let us never forget how desperately diseased we were before we accepted Christ. Let us stay grateful for all that Jesus has done for us and let us not let those “little” sins separate us from God.

Father, forgive me for entertaining “little” sins in my life and justifying it by comparing myself to others. Forgive me for my pride that prevents me to submit to You, the God who loves me, knows me, and has wonderful plans for me. Help me to lay down my pride and submit to You. Thank You for sending Your Son Jesus to die for a desperately and hopelessly lost sinner, like me. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

The Big Picture

September 17, 2010 § 1 Comment

I love to know and understand the big picture. Even my kids crave to know, “why do we have to pick up our toys?!” I try to paint the rosy picture of a house tidy and organized, so when you wanted your teeny-tiny Strawberry Shortcake and her itty-bitty less than a centimeter across plate of cupcakes, you would know where to find it. In my mind that huge picture is a thing of beauty, a goal to aspire, and yet often out of reach with three children. Not to mention that my twin sister stole my organizing gene. I seriously was born without one, but she has enough organizing mojo for three people. Big pictures give us a great goals to achieve. Most often the big picture, like an organized house, takes lots of smaller goals to accomplish. It is many times overwhelming and confusing to determine what the first step is. For me, the organizationally challenged mom, figuring out what the first step to making my dream a reality is a mystery. I cannot even fathom all the steps it would take to get me there.

Often that is how it is with God-size goals and dreams. Maybe you know He is calling you to write a book and speak to teach others His word. You can even see yourself signing books at a huge conference and later on stage speaking to hundreds of people. Your heart swells because you want this ministry to honor God. However you are not a well-known anybody. You are not even sure if your friends want to hear what God is teaching you much less a group of five or ten. Your dream maybe more humble, more like a tidy house, or a fulfilling preschool ministry where you direct kids to the heart of God. Maybe God is calling you to a prayer ministry that will lay the foundation for a nation-wide revival. If you are like me, you are wondering how do I get from where I am to the dream or goal or ministry I know God has for me to accomplish? What is next?

Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” Meaning that God may light the next step, He may even light a small passage or path to your destination. However He doesn’t show us every bend in the road. Every twist, every intersection He is orchestrating to get us to our big picture. Instead, He gives us a small short-term guide. We know that somehow the road, He is guiding us down, leads us to the main goal, the big picture. He lights our feet and our path, but not the complete road to our big picture.

My problem is that God often has to wrestle with me to join Him on His road. The one road that will lead to the big picture, the goal, in His way. I sometimes think I can get there by my planning, my own decisions, my power. Oh, but let us not forget the road is often filled with twists and turns we cannot anticipate. Your husband gets relocated out-of-state or country, you get an unexpected diagnosis, your wife is pregnant and the doctors said it would never happen. Perhaps your parents are divorcing or you got laid-off. God’s symphony of life allows many twists and turns, many hardships and painful things, as well as unexpected joys, to come so that you will be ready when it is time for you to reach your big picture.

Father God give us all a picture for our lives. Let us all have dreams and goals that we can only attain through You and Your power. As we work to attain those big goals that are beyond our abilities, may we take the next step you are placing before us. Forgive us for trying to do it our own way LORD. We know You have perfect plans. Help us to rest in them. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

So what big goal, dream or picture are you waiting to see God fulfill in your life? Share your thoughts and I will pray that the next step will be clear for you.

The Least of These…

September 15, 2010 § 2 Comments

Thank you Ann Voskamp for sharing your trip to Guatemala with Compassion. You have inspired me to do more for the “least of these.”

Jesus tells us to feed His sheep, to love the “least of these.” So often it is easy to move about my day thinking only of dinner and school and bills to pay. So how do I take care of the least of these?

1. I sponsor a child through World Vision (I am not a good letter writer and I am praying for God’s grace to get better.

2. Most importantly I pray. Samuel tells us that he didn’t want to sin against the Israelites by not praying. Ephesians 6:18 tells us to pray on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. We are not to only pray or only sponsor, but we often forget that prayer is our strongest and greatest weapon.

3. I talk to my kids. They are 2, 4, and 7 and yet I can and will tell them about children with no food, children with no running water, children with no toys, children who need help. So we donate clothes, toys, and food to shelters and agencies that can help children less fortunate. Yes they need to know that life isn’t easy. That many children would be happy to have dinner at all regardless if it is pizza or not. My oldest has taken up the torch. For her seventh birthday instead of presents her friends brought food for the food pantry at our church. She and her friends put together bags of food for our food backpack ministry for children who don’t have enough to eat. Her and her friends LOVED giving back. What a joy to see God in my children.

What are you doing for the least of these?

Where Am I?

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