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Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly; Being grateful for it all!

My heart is currently full of gratitude at the mercy of God in my life.  Yesterday it wasn't.

I've always been the type that will tell you what's wrong, even when almost everything is perfect.  I have referred to that as being a realist.  My husband strongly disagrees.  I've come to find out that's one area where the Lord and my husband agree.  Faith and realism are at war the same as flesh and spirit are.  Life will happen (aka realism) but we serve a God who is continually weaving together something that can only be seen with eyes of faith.

In the last hour, I've rejoiced with my 12 yr old and 10 yr old as the younger taught the older how to play guitar.  I've laughed with my 10 mo old as she tried to mimic a game my husband and 8 yr old were playing.  I teared up when praying over my toddler as he went to bed for the very last time as a 2 yr old.  I am overcome with God's mercy, even as my priorities were seriously out of whack less than 24 hrs before.

Yesterday I went to a meeting to discuss what comes next for my toddler who has some delays.  I was expecting them to say that he'd still need speech, but that he wouldn't really qualify for the classroom.  I listened attentively as each participant in his evaluation process proceeded to tell me their observations and how they corresponded to my sensory report on him.  My 3 yr old (36 mo for the not so great at math, lol) was testing in most areas in between a 17 mo old and a 24 mo old.  He did have some scattered scores taking him up to 36 mo, but those weren't common.

He's been getting therapy for the last 10 months and has improved quite a bit.  I've been encouraged as I've seen the progress.  This IEP meeting brought me down to reality though.  He's not just a lil' behind like I tell myself, but rather significantly behind and is being placed into a special ed classroom.

This is where it gets ugly.  My heart, and its shallowness, was exposed like a raw nerve in a tooth.  My child needs to be in special education?  NO.  You're wrong.  Not my boy.  He's behind, but he's fine.  He doesn't need to be in THAT ROOM.

I am ashamed to type that, but it is what it is.  I know kids in special education and think they are perfectly wonderful.  I have absolutely zero negative feelings about special ed in regards to the program as a whole, and celebrate how awesome the classrooms are.  I know teachers of special ed and admire their heart for those that need a bit more help than the average child.

Yet, my heart's response showed me that while I may think it's all good and wonderful for someone else, it was not acceptable for my family.  There was a stigma for me, it screamed that I didn't do enough, that I failed him, even though that would NEVER cross my mind for another family with a child in special ed.

Thankfully, I have since learned to rejoice in this report.  He gets to be one of seven children in a classroom with 1 teacher and 2 aides.  He is more than likely going to thrive there.  He will be forced to interact with other children, and develop friendships.  He will be held to a schedule that thus far I've been unable to even hold myself to.  He is going to grow and be stretched.  I'm going to grow and be stretched.  This is a great opportunity for both of us.

Granted, my example of the good, the bad, and the ugly was mediocre at best, but most of life are these kinds of bumps in the roads where we can get derailed and miss the joys of the journey we're on.  I annoy the ever living heck out of my friends in my searching for silver linings.  Sometimes there just isn't one I've been informed.  Fair enough.  Sometimes there is not, but most times, there is. It is for our benefit to search for it and find it like it's treasure.  He works out all things for good.  Bill Johnson has a saying that I found perplexing, but have grown to really like, "God may not be in control, but He is in charge".  We get a say in how we respond to life (the part that God is not in control, we're not robots), but we can trust His word even if it takes our whole life to come together.  He is not a man that He should lie. He has yet to disappoint me even when our timetables, and probably vision, are completely different.  I've learned more about faith in the waiting to see prayers fulfilled than I have in the miraculously fulfilled ones.  I. am. grateful. for. it. all.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

We Make Hard Things HARDER By Our Beliefs

It really comes down to what's in our hearts. Our thoughts reflect our heart. Once we truly believe what the Lord says, the enemy has nothing he can do to us. Until then, he can give us trials in every area while we figure out whether we believe God or not. Thankfully the Lord already knows how He is going to work out His tests and our enemy's trials and tribulations in our lives. That said, we have a part to play in how long we're going through the thing we've decided is our current personal hell.  That part is how we choose to look at it, think about it, and talk about it.

I do very much believe that grumbling and complaining about everything prevents us from walking in the truth of what the Lord has done for us and in us. It also keeps the enemy hooks in our lives quite firmly making his lies appear all the more true.  It's secularly proven that we believe what we hear ourselves say, so SHUT UP with the self-defeating talk people (said super lovingly!!!!).

We need to be doers of the word instead of just hearers only… no angel, human, nor even God himself, is going to do what he is set forth biblically as our part in this beautiful relationship He has designed with us. We can be overcomers by the blood of the lamb AND the word of our testimony, or we can continue to sit and complain that things are so hard while we wait for him to give us a miracle on our terms.  Proverbs 23:7a For as he thinks within himself, so he is.  Our behavior follows our thoughts, so we need to set our minds on the Lord and His truth. Until then, we're constantly in a battle of our flesh versus our spirit. 

He's not angry with us though ! He knows our weaknesses and He’s allowing us to choose to stand on His truth or choose to go around the mountain again and again like we enjoy it or something.

The Lord gave me a picture :  Huge mountain, with a few cliffs to rest on in various places.  We are standing at the bottom looking up and saying "Wow, too hard, there’s no way! Lord just place me at the top near you, I can’t do the climb."  The Lord says “You can’t stay at the top if you don’t climb though, that’s how you get your hinds feet which allow you stay up here.  If I place you here, you’ll just fall and that will be more harmful than just staying where you’re at.  His children respond "Ok Lord, if that’s how it’s got to be, I’ll just start walking around the mountain AGAIN until you change your mind.  I told you it’s just too hard for me."

The Lord with tears in His eyes “My child, just follow my Spirit.  I will take you up the mountain strategically, allowing you to rest after each victory before climbing more.  You’ll be here before you know it”.  Us:  "Lord it sounds good and all, but I just can’t yet.  Give me more of your grace and strength so I can... "

The Lord:  "My child, I’ve given you everything.  There’s nothing left that can be done to help you.  Believe Me, trust Me, and follow Me. There’s only one way to victory, but lots of mind numbing circles to defeat.  You CAN trust Me.   Declare Phil 1:6, 2:13-14, 4:13 over yourself and just keep looking up to Me.

ETA:  This blog entry is written for those that are struggling with normal life events, not life altering ones. When dealing with the death of loved ones, serious illnesses with children or spouses, this is not even close to covering the gamut of what you need, and I apologize that you're facing such heartache.  If you want to reach out, I'd be happy to pray with you, and ask the Lord to give you wisdom, grace, strength, and power to walk out your pain with Him.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

He Knows My Heart

It seems many times the Lord likes to use things in the natural realm to teach about things in the spiritual realm. If you think about it, it makes sense considering He created both.  He ought to be able to use one as an analogy for the other.  I digress, back on topic...

Our bedtime routine has our 3 older boys going to bed fifteen minutes apart from one another.  One of my boys consistently has the hardest time going to sleep and will normally use anything from needing water, a hug, tell us something, or needing prayer for something as a reason to get out of bed. Smart kid, let me tell you.  We have now cut down on all the above reasonings. He has been told he's not allowed to ask for prayer after bed, but can take his concerns directly to God himself.  

Tonight he got out of bed and told me he couldn't sleep (you know that whole 5 min of laying in bed awake is just torture) and asked me to wrap him up like a casserole.  I laughed and asked if he meant a tamale, he lifted it up his eyes to mine, smiled the sweetest smile, and gave a nod.  As I walked him back to bed and got him snug as a bug in rug/straightjacket, he softly told me thank you and slowly drifted off to sleep.

While walking out of his room the Lord gave me a quick recap of His love, how He gives good gifts, and how He knows my heart.  I came out to read Matthew 7:11 "if you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!", and reflect upon how the Lord searches my heart and knows me.  

It struck me that I need not be so concerned with my wording as I go to Him in prayer because He ALREADY KNOWS.  The prayer is just because He loves it when I spend time with Him, not because I'm telling Him information that is new.  I was placing a particular emphasis on what I prayed and how and was involving too much of my brain in the process.  So whether I say casserole and mean tamale, or some other misspeak, the Lord has me covered, He has already searched my heart. 

This shouldn't be such a revelation of sorts as He's the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, but it definitely spoke to my heart this evening.  He created me, He knows me, and He loves me.  He hears my heart when I pray and isn't waiting for the perfect wording to act on my behalf.  After all, He's the creator of this relationship and partnership with prayer. Ultimately it's His will that I'm hopefully praying for. Since you're not me, this may not even make sense, but this journey is the absolute best thing that has ever happened to me.  Praise be to God, the King of kings, Lord of lords, giver of good gifts, and lover of my soul.




Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Transparency, Good or Bad?

I've come to realize that being transparent comes with a price.  I have a close friend who told me that when she first met me she was very put off by how forthcoming I was with areas of my life.  She explained that kind of honesty normally only comes when you've developed a close friendship with someone and I treated everyone like they were in my inner circle which was strange.  As she got to know me better, she grew to like that quality very much (which is good for me!) because she never had to wonder where she stood with me.

I didn't quite know how to take that at first.  I guess I never realized that it was so off putting to others for me to share what's really going on.  I don't share what's not mine to share.  I try and be very general when I feel like I need to allude to something not soley mine in order to share my struggle, but don't have the ability to be specific. In hindsight, I always thought that was a good quality as I appreciate people getting straight to the point with me.  Although that just goes to show how prideful I still am with no basis to be so.  At least I now see it!  I have little doubt that I have even taught my boys such a basic concept, just because you like something a certain way doesn't mean others do.

Anyways, I don't navigate social situations very well and don't know how to not speak my mind.  Trust me, I have tried and tried.  I will continue to try as I do understand that what I think isn't really all that important for the most part.  I do wonder how many others I've rubbed the wrong way because of my straightforwardness though.

I have learned that there is some value in keeping things surface level.  I struggle to do it as it seems like such a waste of time, but that doesn't mean it actually is.  I need to honor that there is a hierarchy of friendship levels and it bodes well for me to not cannonball in when the person I'm talking to is simply dipping their toes in so to speak.

To sum it up, I suppose transparency is neither good nor bad.  It has varying degrees just like everything else does and the best place is to be in balance with it.  One of these days I might even find it!

I am grateful for my friends who speak truth into my life, and forever indebted to them for putting up with my unusual quirks.  FYI, I love that I can be me to fullest degree with thee =) hehehe.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Listen Up Buttercup!

All of you who are so blessed to know the Lord's voice personally and intimately, those who know His loving kindness in guidance and in discipline, those who's lives are richer and live to glorify Him in all things...  Is that you?

If it is, listen up buttercup.  You can probably quote me multiple bible verses about how God is love, how He came to save the lost, how He desires that we live in unity with other believers, how he told us to live our lives to His glory, how he told us that we are dead to sin, but are those less spiritually mature than you in your outer circles encouraged to push in harder to the Lord by watching Him in you?

If they are not, let me just encourage you to reassess how you should be walking on that narrow path in how you view His other children.  His other children should be learning about His kindness which leads to repentance by watching you.  They should want nothing more than to cleave from all worldly things and press into God by your example.  Christ in you should be calling out to them as a lighthouse in the darkness.

It's silly to think the only darkness is outside of the church.  The church itself is composed of those which once walked in darkness, and are as you are, walking closer and closer to the fullness of light, love, and liberty which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior.  It's also silly to declare others unworthy of your fellowship because they don't walk in the fullness of truth as you know it to be.

Stop turning God's children away from the church because they don't measure up to your probably correct understanding of what the word of God declares to be a follower of Christ, and instead just love them further into His kingdom.  Let God be the judge of where their hearts actually are, you just LOVE THEM BLAMELESSLY.

The Lord gives clear instructions in His word on how to approach the brother/sister that is sinning in your midst, and it's not to pretend like they aren't there.  You are responsible for the words that come out of your mouth, let each one be filled with love, not judgment.  Refrain to the best of your ability from coloring other peoples views by sharing that which is not helpful and beneficial to the body.

Yes, righteousness matters.  Absolutely.  But not at the expense of love.  Be the one whose actions propel the weak and feeble to push in and run the race before them.  It's already seems easy to throw in the towel and give up with the disability of sin that has left it's mark, be the example that shows that's a lie.  Allow your thoughts, speech, and behavior to show the richness of Christ available to those who persevere and press forward, forgetting all that lies behind. Be the one who allows Christ to work freely and unhindered in.  We all (believers in Christ) want that, lets join together to attain it.

Biblical backing, Romans 14:1-12

Saturday, September 20, 2014

My Sweet Child, Look How Far I've Brought You...

The Lord's loving quiet whisper meets me in my place of complete dejection as I ponder the immense gap between where I am in Him and where I know I am to be.  I look to His word praying for Him to do all that needs to be done for me to be all that He created me to be.  I plead with Him to change circumstances that prevent me from attaining that place in Him.

I just want Him to know how much I want to have a life that honors Him in ALL THINGS and how frustrated I am that my life is still so dang far from that.  He pulls me close with that beautiful, loving, and kind whisper and tells me "My sweet child, look how far I've brought you."

I hate to admit it, especially so publicly, but my response was less than desirable to His encouragement.  I told Him "That's great, and I appreciate it, but look how much is still wrong with my life, and my thoughts, and even my heart."

Thankfully the Lord is used to His children being so ungrateful and simply responded "I'm not worried about it.  Just trust in Me, and keep your eyes forward.  Don't despise small beginnings.  I'm an expert at using the foolish things of this world to confound the wise.  Seek first my kingdom and all other things will be added unto you.  I love you with a love that is not of this world.  I'm not frustrated with you.  Don't place yourself above Me by thinking your thoughts are more righteous and true than mine.  You are right where I want you.  I don't want you to be concerned with anyone's opinions on you, but mine.  It's necessary to be patient in this process, if you try to force your definition and picture of what it means to be wholly submerged in me, you will quench what it is that I am doing in you and your family."

Well, okay then God.  How does one argue with that?  I obviously don't have my Savior's heart and mind because I just don't get how He can be so for me with the host of issues I've got going on.  Yet, He is.  And for that I am so incredibly grateful.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Becoming Love by Dan Mohler v1

How wonderfully coincidental that the exact same day I posted about my inability to understand how the body of Christ continually fails to love like Jesus does, that a beautiful woman recommended (without knowing I blogged on this) this video to me.  I find it to be even better that as I sit down to watch this today, that I notice it was posted EXACTLY a year ago.  I love how the Lord works in me to be more like Him and let go of all this other junk that keeps me too connected to myself.