A Few of My Favorite Things

  • God and all that goes with Him
  • Time Spent With Family
  • Bedtime Prayers
  • Family/Group Hugs
  • The Beach
  • Good Friends
  • Good Music
  • Laughter

Monday, January 28, 2013

Mustard Seed

Matt. 13:31-32 He gave them another parable, saying, Heaven's kingdom is like a seed of mustard, which a man took and sowed in his field. It indeed is the smallest of all seeds, but when it is grown, it is the greatest of the garden- plants, and becomes a tree, so that even the birds of heaven nest in its branches.

I've been thinking about this verse over and over since Wed. night Bible study...The small things we do that allow Christ to shine through us are like that seed. When we talk about Christ and his love for us and for others...we plant the seed. We'll never know how big the tree will grow and how many birds will find rest in its branches, but we'll have done our part. It's not about having an orchard with our name on it, it's about planting the gospel in fertile ground and giving the tiniest of seeds time to grow and become the big tree where the birds of heaven will build their nest. Isn't it awesome?! To consider that our decision to put on our happy face even in the midst of pain and sorrow just may be what is needed for someone else to see the gospel alive and at work.

2 Cor. 12:9-10 but he told me, “My grace is enough for you, because strength reaches completion in weakness.” I will therefore boast in my weaknesses most gladly, so that Christ’s strength will remain upon me. For this reason I am content in my weaknesses, in insults, in necessities, in persecutions and troubles, for Christ’s sake; because I am strong when I am weak.

It’s amazing that once we realize we must take ourselves out of the picture and give God the room to take total control.

Come on, I know what you’re thinking I’ve given my life to Christ and He has control. My response to that in general is “Really?!” I can’t count how often I’ve made that claim and then find myself trying to take care of all my business plus all those around me. Guess what??….You will stay tired and worn, you’ll begin to wonder where God is. I mean didn’t He promise that if I followed Him His yoke would be light??

Matt. 11:28-30 Come to me, all of you who are struggling and are yet burdened, and I will refresh you. Take my yoke and learn from me, because I am gentle and lowly in heart. You will find refreshment for your souls, for my yoke is pleasant and my load is light.

When we really allow God to take control, it means we’ve given up ALL control. Please don’t misunderstand me, God expects us, to study and pray to know what the Bible says about how to live for Him. But, when we do those things and we quit trying to micromanage our lives and those of the ones we love... God will provide a way. It may not be easy, it definitely may not be the way we imagined, but He will provide. Once we are able to release the stress of trying to control all of the details, then we find the absolute joy in living for Christ. We know our basic NEEDS will be met and we become a vessel for God to use to share the word.

So, where does that leave me today? How can I be a mustard seed planter? How can God use me as a mustard seed? 1) I allow those around me to see that I have an inner joy and peace that gets me through even the hardest days. It allows me to speak kindly even with a level 10 headache, It means I allow someone with more items to go in front of me even when all I want to do is go home and hide under my bed. 2) It means I talk about God’s love for me and mine for Him. I share how He gets me through each day, and the wonderful power of prayer. 3) I not only talk the talk, but I walk the walk. If my life doesn’t measure up to what I have to say, then I need to keep my mouth shut because I can hurt more than I help.

I know that we could keep this list going and going. It is both hard and beautiful when we work to empty or lives of self and fill it up with God. My prayer today, is that God will help us to let Him have the reigns and in the doing discover the peace that passes all understanding.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Headache and My Tongue

I’ve been wanting to share some more of my headache journey because we’ve really had to struggle with it again as a family. I’ve been waiting to do it because I’ve been hoping that time would offer a better perspective and I think it has some. The hard part is where to start because “WOW”!! is really all that comes to mind when I begin looking at the gradual changes.

If you know me well, then you know we did a major med change in April because the pain was just getting to be unbearable. I wasn’t able to get out much and I was on some pretty powerful meds and it just didn’t seem to be worth it. We were back to a point where we were looking at quality of life versus possible side effects etc. We’d made the decision it was time to take a step back in time and try a med that had made life much better for me and even allowed us to adopt our precious boy. We just knew we’d have to watch for calcium levels etc.

Long story short the doctor agreed with us and also asked us to try a sister drug to Topamax. I’ve talked about what we went through with it before, so we were hesitant but the doctor assured us that this was like Topamax lite and it had fewer behavioral and cognitive side effects. So fast forward to mid October and I start feeling grouchy and I’m fussing about little things, crying at the drop of a hat, or just plain feeling angry out of nowhere. Now every Mama knows that sometimes we just have bad days or weeks, and kids know which buttons to push so I tried to just shake some of it off. I mean I am 41 so YAY!! Hormones, right?!!

Well, by the beginning of November, it wasn’t just the emotions I was fighting a barrage of ugly thoughts and ugly words over every little thing. This has not ever really been one of those areas that I’ve had to struggle with, but boy was I struggling with it now. If any little thing irritated me, I had a string of ugly words pop up in my head. At this point, I knew it wasn’t entirely me and that the meds had lowered my filter for my mouth. If I thought it, then I had to work extra hard to make sure it didn’t pop out. I was working so hard on just keeping the foul language from popping out that who knows how many times I was more blunt than I should have been, or responded in a more coarse manner than I ever had before.

I was getting so frustrated with myself, not to mention the yuck my boys were dealing with at home. (By the way, I found out I had been grouchy for a lot longer than just since October.) We knew to be on guard for changes in behavior. The question was “Was my ability to get out and go places worth the irritation and frustration we were dealing with?” For a while the answer was yes, then all of a sudden it was a big NO. I began to feel like I was losing my fight with the devil and that he gaining ground with each day. I thank God for special friends who put up with you during times like this and will honestly tell you when its definitely time to seek help. What a relief it was to hear it from someone else! My boys love me so much and they love having me get out and go places with them, so they were willing to deal with more…

So I called the doctor, he worked me in the next morning, and he changed my meds around. Its been almost a month and we’re seeing improvement. The ugly words aren’t always at the front and my ability to control what I say is getting better. It’s not great yet and I definitely am not back to my normal, but we’re making progress. I’m not as grouchy, the stuff that slips through the filter isn’t filled with anger but could be phrased better.

The most important lesson I’ve learned is what ever we put in just may come back out and we may have no control over when it does.
Jam 3:5-10 Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.

We must be sure that if we only want good things to come out then must only put good things in. I’ve also learned to be more patient and forgiving when someone slips up and says something they didn’t intend to say. We need to give each other the benefit of the doubt. It doesn’t mean we excuse wrong, but it means we are loving and patient, instead of keeping a score card of how many times someone did or said something we didn’t like. Let’s get busy working on ourselves and what we can change within.

Phl 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if [there is] any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things.

Father, help me to chose the books I read, the TV shows I watch, and the movies I go to see wisely; so that I do not put into my mind and heart things that do not please you. Help me to study your word daily, to take the time to notice the good, and to work on pleasing you. Help me to set the example I should before my family and friends, and help me to glorify you in all I say and do. In Jesus’ name,

Monday, January 7, 2013

Who Do I Think I AM?

Over the last several years, I’ve noticed a trend and been a part of it. The only time we share what’s happening in our lives with each other is when things are going really great or something catastrophic happens. Have you noticed (unless you’re a mama with small children who uses FB for adult conversation) that we don’t share life’s “little” things.
Really and truly isn’t that what life is? If we look at the life of Christ, he shared His life with his apostles and disciples. It was His habit to find a quiet time with God each day. Mark 1:35 Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.
Don’t you know he poured His heart out there both the good and the bad! He shared His plans with the apostles. He mourned over the hardness of the heart of Jerusalem(Matt.23:37)….In other words, He did not carry the burden alone.

Do I? If I take the chance and bear my soul is someone going to go out and talk about me, whisper behind my back….

When did it become easier to bear my soul to strangers who have never met me or who rarely see me, than to share the daily struggle of walking in the light (when it feels like Satan has his teeth sunk deep in the back of my heel)with those closest to me. Why am I unwilling to open up and lay my heart open to those who work in the “hospital”?
Really, who do I think I am?? If the son of God would ask those closest to him to watch and wait while He prayed…why don’t I ask those I sit in the pew with to watch and pray with me?
I know Jesus took Andrew, John, and Peter further into the garden that I will still have those special friends who just get to know me…Matt.26:36-38Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, "Sit here while I go and pray over there." And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me."

You know the kind of friends I’m talking about…the ones who when you call will say I’m on my way without a second thought. The ones who can tell you you’re wrong, yet you know they love you. The ones that when you see them again even after months or years, you can pick up like it was yesterday.

God does not expect me to be perfect, but he does expect me to love. In fact, I’m supposed to love so well that the world can look at me and know I’m a Christian by the love I share. 1John 2:5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.

Am I loving others? Do I share that love with everyone or do I share it with a select few? Do I share my heart with those it’s just comfortable for me to share it with, or do I step outside my comfort zone and shower those outside my circle of friends or the hard to love with that same care and concern?

At what point did I begin to share only the good stuff? I need to do that but if I’m fighting a particularly tough temptation I need to be able to ask for prayers. I need to be able to ask for someone to lift up my name in prayer…to pray with me and for me. I know that scripture holds promises that are too good not to go for and in the doing the burden…
Jam 5:13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms.
Jam 5:16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
2Cr 9:12-14 For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God, while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men, and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you.

The weight of temptation becomes lighter because not only am I sharing my burden with the Savior, but I’m sharing it with a sister or brother.

I need to know that I’m not the only battle weary Christian, but that together through Christ I know the war has already been won. Hbr 12:3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. If the Savior needed the comfort of friends, who do I think I am when I try to face life’s struggles as one person? Why did He give us the Church, if he only expected me to use it as the Emergency Room?

Father, help me to take that chance. Help me to open my heart. Help me to see those around me so in need of your love. Help me to ask for help from my sisters and brothers. Help me to remember that while this life is full of pain and suffering that I can have a joyfully abundant life because of that pain and the blessings that have come with it. Help me to reflect your love and to be quick to admit when I’ve failed. Help me to be quick to forgive and slow to form judgments. Help me to be the me you want me to be. Amen.