Jan 302016
 

I woke up this morning and within an hour I had made tea, had a banana, washed the dishes from yesterday (wasn’t feeling well) and put them away, moved everything off the counter and wiped it down, cleaned the stove top, changed the trash bag and swept the floor and was working up a little bit of a sweat.

My muscles started to scream at me for water. I drank 32 ounces within a few seconds and remembered that I keep forgetting about me.

More importantly though, where was God?

As I guzzled water down fast the thought that God was searching for me when I wasn’t seeking Him was crossing my mind. Then, the words, “man cannot live off bread alone” slid into my head rapidly followed by fueling my aching soul with water from God’s well instead of my own.

It was definitely one of those moments where you are like “okay God, I am listening, I get the point. Slow down, take care of myself physically AND spiritually!”

As mama’s we forget to take care of ourselves and as children of God we tend to put our Bible studies at the end of our to-do lists instead of as part of our daily routine.

I have been studying the book of Ruth with Hello Mornings the past few weeks and it has been great, but today is Saturday and there was no reading for today, but God beckoned me anyway.

“Make ME a habit. Not a chore!”

So, I am going to focus on giving God the best of my day instead of fitting Him in.

How do you keep His Word on your tongue and have you heard God speak to you without any doubt before?

Jan 202016
 

Standing at the kitchen sink washing dishes while my girl reads to me the lost chapter she is writing for The Giver for her English class and I can’t help but think how much like me she really is. Only, this sweet child doesn’t know how to type very well and is growing increasingly frustrated because her typing isn’t able to stay caught up to the story in her head, giving her a case of writers’ block, which, I am definitely familiar with. I put the last dish to dry and wiped my hands and went and sat beside her at the table and read what she had, her paragraph cut short mid-way through and her having no clue where she was going with that thought because typing had hindered her.

I lean in close and she pushes her computer over to me and the story springs back to life, only this time my fingers are the ones bouncing up and down off the keys and she says to me with a bit of amazement in her voice “how do you type like that?” and she leans down real close with her face nearly on the table and her eyes staring horizontal across my fingers as they tap away and she watches me type, like she had never seen me do it in the 13 years she has walked this jagged line.

Within a few minutes her story is complete and she is proof-reading it, looking for spelling and grammar mistakes before I transfer it to my computer where software will do that. She edited away like she had done it a thousand times and deleted the odd sentence or paragraph that didn’t really make much sense and then I transferred it over to my laptop for a run through the software and to print.

I have been doing a lot of dishes lately. Yeah I know, I am a mom and that’s what we all say. But really, my mom normally does the washing up but I have been doing it the past month or so. There are a couple of reasons, one being that I really hate having dirty dishes in the sink and beggars can’t be choosers… I absolutely hate having to clean the sink to grab a glass of water or to fill the kettle but a family of five does that to you, even with a dishwasher, so I have been purposing to stay on top of the dishes just so I can save my sanity.

But you see something happened when I started doing the dishes. The girl child, she started sitting at the table while I do them. She comes out of her room and sits and chats, about everything and anything and that is the BEST REASON EVER to do dishes! She puts things away for me too which is also helpful, but praise the Good Lord for the 20 minutes a few times a day that she comes out and is simply with me. I enjoy our time together. I had no clue that we would grow our relationship over dirty dishes. Had I known, I would have started doing them more often a long time ago!

I am definitely a mom in the minority when it comes to having her kids do chores. They don’t have any designated chores. Why? Because they go to school from 8-4 and have homework when they get in and I don’t work outside the home and I would rather my children go to bed at a decent hour and worry less about chores and more about getting a good education, focusing on their grades. They help when they are asked and they often offer, which is fun because I get to see where they really enjoy doing things and where they don’t.

If my kids had chores I wouldn’t know that my son likes to work outside with my dad, especially when it comes to working on the tractor or anything with tools. I wouldn’t know that my daughter likes to cook, especially for me, and that she has a servants’ heart and takes great care in the things she prepares and how they look and taste, because once it becomes a chore, we treat it like a chore and school is a big enough chore for them right now and I absolutely love seeing what they have created or found while doing what they truly enjoy.

FYI my daughter is a bit OCD and does her own laundry on weekends and puts it away. Her bed is either completely unmade without a bottom sheet or made to the point you are scared to wrinkle it. My son is not a clean freak and is quite messy. He needs help cleaning his room and getting those types of things done because he has no clue how to even start, but if you say a wall needs built he’s in there like a dirty old sock (is that still a saying?) ready to help out!

I am so blessed to see some of the Proverbs 31 woman come out in me and to be able to, prayerfully, be a good influence to my children.

My daughter said tonight that her favorite song is inappropriate and my response was “sin is often easier, but it isn’t better.” I left her to think on that. Maybe we all need to think on that.

Jan 082016
 

Naomi Loses Her Husband and Sons

1 In the days when the judges ruled,[a] there was a famine in the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. 2 The man’s name was Elimelek, his wife’s name was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there.

3 Now Elimelek, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. 4 They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, 5 both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.

My Thoughts

This week I have thought a LOT about Ruth and Naomi and the type of women they were and how strong they must’ve been.

We read this week about Naomi losing her husband & her sons. I simply can’t even imagine how much this would hurt or what types of emotions I would feel. I am sure Naomi felt a ton of things.

When I was living a life led by fear I was really in survival mode. Nothing mattered and I couldn’t see through the trees to save my life. I did what I could not knowing God, but I am so excited now to know Him and to know that I won’t ever be in that position again because I have Him!

Right now, God is telling me to make do with what I have and to trust that He will always provide. Money is extremely tight right now and I am not worried about it. I KNOW that God has this and that He will provide so long as I follow Him! It is becoming so much easier to just trust and enjoy what we do have than it is to worry about a bill or where money for food will come from. It amazes me by how peaceful I am in this situation and I know if I didn’t have God right now that I would certainly be panicking.

As far as Naomi and her faith, I am sure it was like when we experience a loss. She likely asked why God was punishing her or how He could allow this to happen to her. Especially when a monotheist faith was fairly new. She may have even wondered if the ‘other gods’ were punishing her for her new faith. However, it is clear that Naomi trusted God even in such turmoil because she followed where He led her and she allowed her story to be one that has touched us for the last few thousand years.

That is amazing and encouraging!

Are you taking the Hello Mornings Challenge? How has it been going for you? Would love to hear what you have learned this week about both Naomi and yourself!!

Dec 072015
 

Yeah, it’s already week two on the countdown to Jesus, God with skin on. We lit the Peace candle and the light grows strong and excitement and joy over what comes next grows.

Mary heavily pregnant with the messiah inside, kicking her ribs and tickling her sides. Following her husband dutifully to Bethlehem.

I wonder what she was thinking and how she felt. Knowing that she was carrying the Son of Man.

Was she scared every time she didn’t feel the baby move, did her ankles swell and ache? Was she excited to get the pregnancy over or did she want to keep Him safe inside forever.

As mama’s we deal with so much through a pregnancy from wondering what our baby will wear and how we will afford diapers to fears of miscarriage, stillborn, a disability, SIDS. We worry. We wonder if we will find out the sex and if we should tell if we do. Yet beautiful, young Mary knew!

She knew before the first flutter kicks that she was carrying a child. She knew it was a boy! She knew what His name would be. She knew that the world would forever be changed but surely had no idea to what degree. She expected to have a healthy baby because He was the Son of God. All of the things we consider while pregnant she knew and so did Joseph. And they didn’t need an ultrasound or some sort of techie gear to reassure her that everything was going just right.

So imagine the shock, the momentary fear, when her water broke and contractions came hard and she had nowhere to rest, nowhere to lay her child’s head. Imagine wondering if you could properly parent Jesus?!

The world contracted too while she struggled to catch her breath. The stars aligned to announce the coming of the King. The angels came and began to sing. The nations heard of this boy-child who would be king and began to slaughter every little boy forcing them to run and protect the only true innocent One.

There is a reason that we look to Mother Mary and strive to protect, defend, and be grace-filled as we chug along praying for the best.

And prophesy of old was fulfilled because out of the stump of Jesse grew a shoot and that shoot did in fact bear fruit –Jesus!

Nov 202015
 


It had been a long time since I felt safe, too long, maybe even a lifetime, and then I was wrapped up in blankets on a hard mattress being checked every 20 mins through a little window on the door and all I did was sleep. It was a Friday when I went in. A Friday morning and I never felt safer because like the character, Spencer, says on Pretty Little Liars, “I feel safe here. Those bars don’t just keep you from getting out, they keep other people from getting in.”

He wouldn’t be getting in. He wouldn’t be torturing me, raping me. My thoughts were my own and I could do whatever I wanted and what I wanted was to rest. It was the Monday morning when I walked out the doors. I had slept the entire time, other than a few showers. They were worried because I wasn’t eating. I wasn’t eating because I was tired. Oh so very tired.

I never knew how much stress I had been under all of those years until the pressure was alleviated for those brief moments and honestly, I didn’t want to go home and out of my safe cocoon.

Years later and I still struggle to feel safe. I still crave those moments of reprieve that I had experienced. The weight of the world off my shoulder and no one to walk by my window to steal me in the night, no one to kill me like he has promised.

I didn’t know then that I would spiral down into an abyss that I would barely survive, I didn’t know that the god who I had believed was the reason for my abuse was the one who would reach down deep into the pits of my own hell and offer me a saving hand. I didn’t know to not be afraid of the light because the darkness was all that I knew.

Almost 11 years later and I still struggle with feeling safe. With being me. With not panicking at every dog bark or knock in the night. I have come out of hiding and I have placed my trust in the God that saves because this is the only way for me to actually have a life and I try to focus on the Word of God, the Words that tell me to not worry about tomorrow.

So each day when I feel myself falling into worry or panic or stress I have to treat myself like I am a toddler and give it back to God and if I have to do that 1000 times a day I will because if I don’t I am giving evil a foothold on my life and we all know that one step leads to the next and I would rather be making godly steps then allowing Satan to step all over me.

It will be my heel to crush his skull and not him who stomps me down.

27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?
~Matthew 6:27~

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Unwrapping the Names of Jesus: An Advent Devotional by Five Minute Friday Friend Asheritah CiuCiu!! Available NOW!!

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Nov 192015
 

I didn’t just dwell on the past, I lived there, for years and years and even more years and sometimes when I am not careful to be present my mind slips right on back into the black and abusive abyss, haunting my thoughts both day and night.

There is no one way to move forward though, no way to get over the PTSD. I take meds, a LOT of meds. I have actually posted pictures of my meds on Instagram because of how disgusted I am in having to take them, but they are what allows for me to be focused enough on the present and the future that I can actually live with my past. They free me from the phantom chains and release me into the loving arms of God.

For a long time I would dwell on the fact that suicide attempts never worked and “God never wanted me back” or “God won’t even take me, nobody wants me”. Somewhere along the jagged, slippery road I have realized that He is the only One who ALWAYS wants me. ALWAYS loves me. Even at my worst. Even when I have sat there bleeding out and overdosed He breathed life into my lungs and told me it wasn’t my time and He planted seeds of purpose that the meds have allowed to finally grow!

I was raised Catholic. I always had at least a Bible or two around and I had read through it in it’s entirety several times before I was done middle school. Yet, I didn’t dwell on the words or let the Word dwell in me. I didn’t allow God’s love to flow into me even though I had accepted Him as my Lord and Saviour. I knew the words on the pages, and the pages knew me, but we had little connection.

I look back now and I see that hell on earth and I know without a doubt that had I not went through all of that I wouldn’t be where I am spiritually today. I wouldn’t be blessed to be able to say “I understand”. I wouldn’t be able to listen with an emphatic ear or pray from my heart words that bring a world of welled up tears.

I have felt like Job and even used Job 3 as a suicide note. You see how distorted the Bible can become in the mind of someone who is completely undone? Now I feel more like those who were in the lineage of Jesus, right back to Genesis –the Beginning. Where polygamy and sin ultimately led to David and from the stump of Jesse we received Jesus!! I feel like that, like all of my ugly-sin is sending out shoots and new life and growth.

I am not healed, but I am whole.

When I feel like my life is less than, I know that God will use those moments to give me a more than opportunity. Will I go down in some great book centuries old? Not likely, BUT that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t turn life around and be an example to the people I interact with and impact every day.

I will not only dwell in His home forever, but forever He will dwell in me!

Nov 182015
 

The wind violent and wicked outside the windows with a smack of an extension cord bashing against the wall like its eating its way into the house and out of the fight. The sound itself is cold the rain pouring down thick and supposed to turn to snow. Puddles no longer puddles since they cross the drive from marsh to marsh, a skating rink waiting for the temperature to drop below freezing.

The sun hasn’t been seen for days. Not sure when it will appear again. The weather forecast doesn’t look promising and the scent of cinnamon roll candles permeating the air is already beginning to grow old among a winter that hasn’t yet begun. The flames steadfast and strong, no flickering tonight as the wax is growing low, you would never know there was a wind by looking at those beautiful fiery flames.

Regardless of the relentless banging everyone is in bed. The hockey game turned off, the alarms not set because there is no work tomorrow and likely no school. I watch the fish tank opposite my own bed, the albino fish munching down on algae so small I can’t even see it. I am reminded of God’s power and how He always provides. Always and for all of his creatures, like this microscopic algae that clearly tastes great to the fish choosing to munch on it instead of the fish food, and the thousands of snail babies that hatched the other day because of the vast food supply in the planted tank.

As the wind slows and is nearly forgotten before whipping back up the Gospels speak to me and I am reminded of Jesus asleep on the boat during a treacherous storm while everyone was panicking. He controlled the weather and told it to stop and it obeyed.

27 But the men marvelled, saying, what manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!
~ Matthew 8:27~

And because of that, I will sleep well tonight, because God has this. He is providing for the fish in the tank, the grass that is growing strong and green and I have no doubts that He will provide for and shelter me and no storm will be one too big for Him!

So in a time where the world is full of gun fire, bomb fire and fires held in the hands of those holding vigils we have to remember that the Lord our God has this, He has us and He has the world in the palm of His hands.

24 Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds?
~ Luke 12:24~

“Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.”
~Ephesians 6:19~


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