Wednesday, December 18, 2013

what the man in the yellow hat is teaching me

You know the man in the yellow hat, right? Ted from Curious George. I have been watching as my kids call him, George, for about 4 years now. It is a very family friendly cartoon about a little monkey who lives with a man who is a library or museum curator (I think) and this man, only wears yellow and wears a HUGE yellow hat. On the show, the narrator refers to him as the man with the yellow hat, but in the movies, we learn his name is Ted. Well, Ted has been teaching me some things about my own curious monkeys. Now, I understand, this is a TV show and not reality but still, this little monkey is a handful. But, you know what, the man, Ted, he ALWAYS seems to be laughing and having a good time. This is one area that I am weak in, when it comes to my kids. What this really translates to is selfishness. Also, no matter what the man is doing, when George comes into the room, the man stops what he is doing and he relates to George. Often, I am so "busy" that I can't stop to see the rainbow my littles have drawn or the sticker sheet they have completed. One other lesson that the man keeps driving home to me is this: that little monkey is a MESS! Everywhere he goes, he makes a mess, leaves a mess or is just a mess yet, the man always tries to find the good. Once, George tried to make a gift for the man and it wound up being a huge wreck and the man did almost lose it but in the end he saw that George was just trying to please him. Now, George the monkey does get in trouble some, I appreciate that the man does discipline....but he is not rude to the monkey nor does he keep a record of the offense. I need to work harder to discipline without crushing. I am NOT an advocate for "soft" parenting but, I can tend toward harshness and that is NOT what honors the Lord, nor does it encourage my children in godliness. Also, the monkey gets LOTS of baths! That is ONE thing that I share in common with the man! Sometimes the man puts George in the tub for his own sanity! I can totally relate to that. I am so thankful that my kids are curious little monkeys AND I am thankful that they are children and not REALLY monkeys! O Lord, help me to stop and take time to enjoy every moment of every day which is so often hard to do. Help me to know what battles to fight and which ones to leave for another day. Thank you that you are the author and perfecter of my faith and that it is you who causes repentance and salvation in my children. Lord, would you save my children in spite of me and would you help me to be more like the man with the Yellow hat? Help me to have eyes to see good things and wisdom to know when to correct. For your honor and glory in Jesus name!

Friday, December 13, 2013

what's that you say?

today was taht day. you know, the one where you listen to yourself when you should be talking to yourself. the one where you believe you are bad at EVERYTHING! the one where you go over and over in your mind....the only if's. the one where you rehearse how this is all wrong.....a big life was suppossed to be______________...... yes today I listened......i did not stop I did not speak truth to myself......i did not run to the Lord. I chose to listen and wallow and fret and it was a TERRIBLE day. there were even things I should have and could have done in a different way but chose to walk in my strength. alert....alert.....THAT ALWAYS ends in failure. so very thankful for Gods grace iny life. so thankful for my sweet husband who listens and talks to me when I cant seem to muster up the words to say to myself.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

An Epic Battle

So, sleep has always been a idol of mine.  Not only do I WANT it, I feel that I need it in order to properly function.  However, over the course of the years, the Lord has slowly been weaning me from my sleep.  Why would I begin this post about sleep.....well, as I have been wrestling with anger and what the Lord says about it, I have purposed to get up early to be alone with the Lord and his Word and guess what, it has not been that hard but you know what is funny???  If I wake up at 5, my kids wake up at 5.  Hmmmm strange don't you think?  And, let me tell you, we do not keep a quiet house so it is not like they can "hear me" and so they wake up.  They both have noise machines on in their rooms and I basically sit in a dark room with enough light to read by.  Call me crazy, but I think it is a spiritual battle.  Because, on Sunday morning, when it is time for Church, I am in their rooms throwing cold water on them to get them out bed!!!  ;)

This morning, was no exception.  The other mornings of the week, my #1 child was bounding down the hall the minute my feet hit the floor and I gently and sweetly sent her back to her room and she complied so I was able to finish my study......not so much today.  (that is a WHOLE other issue) So, discouragement is rising in me.  Thoughts like what is the use?  Why try to change?  If it is always going to be a battle then at least I could sleep a little more and fight a little harder in other ways.....but then, I read this:

Morning and Evening Charles Spurgeon
ps 51:10 Renew a right spirit within me

.....Let thy personal weakness, O christian, be an argument to make thee pray earnestly to thy God for help.  Remember David when he felt powerless did not fold his arms or close his lips, but he hastened to the mercy-seat with "renew a right spirit within me."  Let not the doctrine that you, unaided , can do nothing, make you sleep; but let it goad in your side to drive you with an awful earnestness to Israel's strong helper. O that you may have grace to plead with God, as though you pleaded for your very life......Be in much prayer, live much upon the word of God; kill the lusts which have driven your Lord from you, be careful to watch over the future uprising of sin.  The Lord has his own appointed ways; sit by the wayside and you will be ready when He passes by.  Continue in all those blessed ordinances which will foster and nourish your dying graces; and, knowing that all the power must proceed from Him, cease not to cry, Renew a right spirit within me."

Oh Lord, Create in me a clean heart O God and renew a right spirit with in me.  Cast me not away from your presence Oh Lord, take not your holy spirit from me.....restore unto me the Joy of my salvation and renew a right spirit within me.---amen!

Monday, October 28, 2013

not sure how to title it

Yesterday was a soul cleansing kind of day for me.  Sadly, I did not get to hear the sermon at church but from what I gather, it was GREAT!  I will be listening to it on line tomorrow....Kevin and I had a wedding to attend at Petit Jean Park and so my mom came to keep the girls.  What that meant for us was a little over an hour drive there and the same time back, just us.  Alone in the car with only our thoughts to discuss.  We have had a rough couple of weeks.  The Lord is working and we are thankful for that, but it has been hard.  So, needless to say, I was weary and really  not wanting to go.  

As we settled in, we were just enjoying the silence when I asked if he was interested in talking about anything serious.  I knew that it was a stretch for him as his week had been major crazy, but I really needed to talk.  So, in his kindness, he said, sure what do you want to talk about?  (I will add an aside here.....) I know that many women are blessed with good marriages and some are not, and not all good marriages look the same.  I have a GOOD marriage.  I have a good husband who is growing by god's grace.  Our marriage is probably unlike most peoples.  We fight hard and we love hard.  We are intense and we are passionate.  All things that are not wrong or bad, just different from what some people would care for.  But, it works for us!  

I began to confess to Kevin that I was dealing with some strong anger issues.  That I had been dealing with some other sinful struggles and that I was nearing despair.  My sweet husband listened to me.  He sympathized with me and listened some more and then, he encouraged me to confess it to the Lord right there and to ask the Lord to give me the grace to move past all that I had shared with him.  He offered me insight and counsel and he committed to pray for me as well.  So, now, here we are, and here is what I am thinking.  I am planning to do a word study on Anger and Frustration.....Kevin says they are the same....And, it the past, I would have said, Oh okay and moved on...(now, I am sure he is right, but don't you think it would be way better for me to search it out on my own and see what the Lord has for ME to learn?)  Yes, I do too....

That is the other thing, I see the kindness of the Lord in that over the past few weeks, I have thinking about what I really believe about certain things and why I believe them and it was like the Lord was confirming for me that I have been given a mind to understand things, and that He is there to teach me.  This is not a new concept nor is it a new concept for me, but it is one that I need and want to pursue.  You see, I have fallen into this pit of doing the "right thing" based on standards that are set by it family, friends or whomever.......and, most of the things ARE right, but I need to make choices based on what I believe matched against the standard of God's word.  I am excited to see what the Lord has for me.  I am anxious but it a good way.  I hope to post what the Lord teaches me here.....Until then, I am praying for wisdom and for grace as I seek to get up early each day in order to search out what I want to know, and wisdom to understand exactly what the Lord has for me!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

God is SO kind, and good, and .............

Okay, so the other day, I was asking for recommendations for books on anger and stress that were written from a Christian perspective.  I know of a few out there but was wondering if there were others that I had missed.  Of course, there is ALWAYS a back story and I guess I will post that later, but what I wanted to share in this post will come first!  So, I got a few responses to my question but I wanted to begin reading right away, (instant gratification, anyone?) Now, I have two bookcases of books in my bedroom, which are full of great recent months, I have gotten rid of almost all of my fiction ones and mostly just have non-fiction.....(I want to get some new fiction but just have not taken the time to look at new authors).

Anyway, I was just searching through my shelf when this one popped out:  How Can I Change? victory in the struggle against sin....C.J. Mahaney and Robin Boisvert.

C.J. Mahaney????  Yes please!  So, here is how Kind and gracious the Lord is to me.  I opened the book and here is what I read:
Chapter 1:  Caught in The Gap Trap
The co-author begins by saying" All those who are struggling with anger, please come forward, we would like to pray for you."  He goes on to say that a few humble came forward that day.  It was not so much a surprise to him that any came forward, what was the surprise to him is that MOST of the people who came forward were mothers of young children!  He jokes that he often hears that anger is an occupational hazard for most mothers.  He then goes on to say that these women fall into the gap trap.....hmmm?  curious?  I was....
Gap-trap:"  a gap between the biblical standard of self-control and our own failure to live up to that standard.  Whether fear, anger, worry or laziness we have all experienced that gap of where we are and where we are should be."

Now, lest you think this is a feel good book, let me say, I am just a few chapters into it and yes, it has been a HUGE encouragement to me but also a challenge as I am looking head on into my own sin.  But, one phrase that I have used often is "I know what I should be doing, I am just not sure HOW to get there"....on pg 2,the co-author says, "....if so, we are confident this book can show you how to close the gap between who you should be in Christ and who you are in actual practice."

Oh this book is rich!  It is is a great reminder of WHOSE I am and what Christ has accomplished for me.  Yes, I am sinful.  And, the chapter that I read this morning reminded me of how little I value holiness and how easily I can shrug off sin but that is NOT the christian way.  That is not the way to holiness.  One more quote and then I will be done for today....

" I have often heard it said, "If I had been the only person on the earth, Jesus would still have died for me."  Although our Lord could have given his life for just one person, it most certainly would not have been because that person  was so valuable , but because God was so gracious.......When faced with that reality, we ought to weep for the selfless sacrifice of our Lord instead of finding in it one more opportunity for feeling good about ourselves."  Dan Matzat

Good stuff here!


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

learning lots

Oh the days are full.  I am tired often, but I am learning so much.  I am loving what I am learning at ladies bible study, and I am loving (though it is sometimes hard) what God is showing me about who He is and who I am in light of who He is.  It is a good and painful process.  These past few weeks have been emotional on many levels.  There have been conflicts.  There have been great needs among my family and friends and I feel needy!  Some needs I am able to meet and some I just can not.  But, God knows.  There are days that I want to just crawl in the bed and never come out and then there are days that I can not wait to get up and see what the day will hold.  I am part of a well-taught church and I believe that I am growing, so I KNOW that I need to focus on what is true and not what I perceive to be true.  I am also reading a parenting book and am not sure what I think about it yet, I may post about it later.  I think anytime you read something, you need time to process it.  I do anyway.

 I was talking to a friend the other day who seems to be in a holding pattern of change....and I said to her you know, pretty soon you will find your new normal and things will be smooth sailing.  Ahhh words that I need to remind myself.  I think that "normal" for me means things always change.  I really thought that I liked change.  I see one of my children struggling with the smallest change and I am wondering where she gets it and then I am reminded that it comes from me!  I like easy change....but most often, growth and change is hard.  I feel like I am in a constant state of change....I find myself once again looking at what I believe about parenting, being a wife, being a worker at home and things like that.....I think that for so long, I have done what I thought was "right" and acceptable which is fine....but, I seem to be at a place where I am wanting more.....I know how that must sound but I mean that I want to understand why I do what I do and does what I do honor the Lord or do I do it out of fear of man or to be a people pleaser?   Oh Lord, help me to focus on what YOU want for me and from me.  Help me to point my kids and all who I come in contact with to YOU and your great love for us. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

I "feel" done.

First off, I know that our feelings can and do deceive us.  Believe me, I am well aware of that.  But, today, I feel done.  The past two weeks have been rough for me.  Not rough like what my missionary friend in Africa has been dealing with, Lord knows, I would DIE.  Not rough like families who get that phone call that they will never see their son again who is serving his country.  No, not rough like that.  Just rough like, hard, emotional, draining.  So many sin issues looking me right in the face.  So many wrong thoughts going through my mind.  So many moments where I find myself thinking, "this can't be right"....It has been a rough two weeks. 

I have been studying the Attributes of God for going on three weeks now, and I know that I know all of these truths....I DO believe that God is sovereign, I do believe that he is all powerful and all knowing.  I believe all those things, but find it hard to live like I believe it.  Isn't that sad?  Doesn't it grieve the heart of God who time and time again shows me a better way?  I believe that it does.  But, I also believe that it is what draws me to Him, keeps me needy and fully relying on Him.

I wish that I could move past certain sins....I know that God gives victory and I have seen small small, glimpses of growth. But, to me, the growth is not fast enough!!! :)  which is another sin issue! 

I see women who appear to have it all together and I know, this is NOT me.  I watch people with their kids who never appear to get angry or lose it.  Just today, I lost it on more than one occasion and once I lost it big time.  Really, when it comes down to it, it is rarely the immediate situation that has done me in, it is the culmination of events and then I feel helpless and done. 

I know life is not a hallmark movie but often times, I want it to be.  I want my kids to remember only good things and nothing bad.  I pray sometimes that God would allow them to forget all the ugliness they have seen from me and only remember the times that I showed them the love of Christ.  I am thankful that as my friend says, "He fills in the gaps". 

I recently had a conversation where there was tension and on my end tears but also reconciliation and at one point of the conversation, I said, "I am not sure how to end this, do we just hang up now or what?"  And that is how I feel about my current "situation"....I don't know how to end it....I mean, I do know how.....I need to lean into the Lord and fall on my face before Him.  But, I feel done.  Not with the Lord, but with myself.  At the end of ourselves, is often where the Lord wants us so that we can more fully see His love and care for us.  So, for now, I rest in the Lord...( well, I try to rest in the Lord, generally, I Wrestle with the Lord and strive) for now, I am going to try to BE still and know that He is God......

Thursday, August 1, 2013

wow! What a story!

Okay, so please don't laugh or make fun!  I am NOT computer SAVVY but I wish I was!  I look at all these other blogs and think wow, that is so pretty or wow that looks so nice and tidy....but my blog is neither pretty or nice and tidy which I guess is fine, because I am neither of those either!!!  :)  But, a few weeks ago, my friend was telling me about this lady who had been saved out of a horrible life.  She posted an excerpt from her book on Facebook but at the time, I was unable to read it.  Funny how things happen....a few days later, my husband sent me a link to this article and told me to please read.  So, I sat down and read this amazing story....but, this story is NOT about this woman and what she was saved from, this story is about GOD and how big He is!

  So as Kevin and I talked about the article, he said that a guy at work had read the whole book and was willing to loan it out.  He brought the book home with the intent of us reading it together.  Well, I was dying to get started and Kevin was in the middle of another book, so in two days, I had this one read.  It is not a long book, but it is intense!  It is not for the faint of heart.  But, it is good.  This lady is a trophy of Grace and I have been challenged by some of her thoughts.

This is NOT a book for the immature reader.  There are no graphic stories but there is some strong language and some dynamic pre conversion worldviews. 

One of the biggest things I appreciate about this book is the candid honest way in which the author speaks about her life before Christ and now.  I also LOVE LOVE LOVE the fact that she continues to state that her salvation has NOTHING to do with her.  She states she was an enemy of God and that she was NOT running toward God but rather away, BUT GOD in His kindness, drew her to himself and now she stands clean before Him.!!!!

It is one that I hope many people read and like I said, it has challenged my thinking on a few things as well.  I am so glad that I read it!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

a break from being a peace maker

This has been a rough week.  Rough in many ways but slowly, the Lord is chipping away at my pride.  You see, I want to be a great mom, I desire to be a great wife, I long to be a great friend and on top of all that, I want people to like me!!!!  This week there have been many tears as I have struggled to find joy in my parenting and in loving my husband rightly.  I have been self focused and fearful.  I want GREAT kids but the thought of what it takes to instill values and right behavior is exhausting.  I KNOW and believe that it is God alone who saves, so, I am able to rest easy there.  Truly, I am not even thinking about that right now, I mean, I do pray for Him to save and do so quickly, but I mean just the day to day.  It is SO 24/7.  And, to top it off, I am not even sure what I should be doing and not doing.  Yes, I have read the books and gone to the classes at church, but just like my kids, I forget. 

Today, I was blessed to be able to spend some time with a few friends.  One of my little cherubs began to disobey to the point that discipline was necessary and all the while, I was thinking that my new friend must be horrified at what she was seeing and my long time friend must be thanking her lucky stars that hers are all about grown! 

You know, I have a friend who is ahead of me in life.  But, there are times when she and I can get together and just talk about life and that refreshes me.  She has seen my ugliness and the ugliness of my kids.  My friend encouraged me today and offered me wise counsel.  I also heard my friend say some hard things.  Not cruel or harsh....but hard for me to hear because remember what I said, I want everyone to think my kids are great and that I am great!!!  :)  But, alas this friend knows me and knows I AM many things but great is not one of them.  Often when I spend time with her, I walk away refreshed and chewing on different things.  Today, I am tired.  I am emotionally drained and this was not even that trying of a day.  I need a break.  And, in Gods kindness, hubby and I are going to go on a date tonight.  We need this.  We need time away together. 

Thank you for friends...friends that love and press on.  Friends that know me and love me anyway.  Thank you that you chip away at pride and that you offer hope.  Lord let me put my faith solely in you for my parenting and all that I need for life and godliness. Thank you for date night.  Lord, please save my kids.  Please grant me wisdom as I learn to parent them and see them as YOURS on loan to me. 
In Jesus Name

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Chapter 3 Suffering

Oh where to begin in this chapter......

The first thing that resonated with me was : Suffering tempts us to doubt the goodness of God....but, IF I am humble and seeking him daily and often times minute by minute, I am able to speak truth to myself and fight this temptation.  Now, I don't do it well often, but by Gods grace, I am growing.  

The question of suffering is a huge topic in many circles today...the author tells us that the bible is not silent on the topic of suffering, but, there is no simple answer as to why we suffer...

We are reminded that:
We are fallen people living in a fallen world
God uses suffering to lovingly discipline us
Suffering conforms us to Christ
Suffering grows our faith
Suffering deepens our relationship with God

And then we are introduced to different kinds of suffering:
Betrayal ( In this section, the author reminds us that "we dehumanize ourselves if we cut ourselves off from others even though it is risky to love"..) I had to think about this one for a bit because I have had times where I have felt it would be "better" or "easier" if I would just cut people off....maybe for a time, to take a break when there is great conflict, there is wisdom in that, but I guess totally cutting people off is really only self serving...
Complex pain:  another reminder to me in this section..David Powlison reminds us" Knowledge of a person's history may be important for many reasons(compassion, understanding, knowledge of characteristic temptations), but it never determines the heart's inclinations."  Just another reminder to me that I need to listen more and talk less....Thank I do not always have to be the one to correct, admonish or challenge a friend....I can just listen and love.
Those we love suffer

How Others Help Us
Two things we can not give ourselves:  encouragement and comfort....we need other people!  I need others in my life...even if it means conflict.
Shared Grief   (In sharing the suffering of another person, there is a time for loving silence) ugh!  I fail often
Biblical Hope
Wise Counsel (one of the most important things we can do while suffering is seek godly counsel....wise counsel helps us to glorify God....we can glorify God in suffering, by knowing Him, trusting Him and Obeying Him

Some Gentle Warnings
Sometimes people let us down....this seems like a duh! statement, but it is true....Lord let this NOT be true of me....I have been let down and I am sure I have let others down and when I think about it, it makes me sad....
Don't give toward not away!  This is such a good reminder to me...especially in marriage.  I often will run away emotionally and it really just causes more conflict....i need to remember to run to the Lord and toward the person I am in conflict with
Be Merciful
To enter into another's suffering is a precious gift

Suffering Well
Remember God is with you
Resist bitterness ....we suffer well when we DECIDE by faith not to be bitter toward those who have caused our suffering
Trust that God is Sovereign
Compare Correctly
Persevere:  The Grace to persevere to the end depends on our absolute commitment to continually feed on Jesus as our bread of life
Stay fixed on eternity

Some good thoughts in this chapter.....another reminder that we MUST know the one who knows us and made us.  It is not and can not be enough to say we belong to know WHO He is is what will ultimately allow us to suffer well....and to have a few close friends who will walk the journey with you and will give wise counsel and pray is a HUGE blessing.  I am blessed to have a few of those friends in my life.  And, I long to be that kind of friend.  This book is LONG and it is tough....but God is gracious and is gentle in revealing my sin bit by bit and little by little because HE KNOWS ME  and knows that I would not be able to survive if it all was shown to me at once!


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Chapters 1 and 2

Okay, I did not do this very well last post.  I was a little confused about part 1 of chapter 1 or section 1 or whatever it was....but, here I will share my thoughts on Chapter 1:  Thinking about God and Chapter 2 : Idolatry.

This chapter is really helpful to, help us shape our thinking about WHO God is, hence the title name.  God is Holy and Merciful.  We must somehow wrap our minds around the fact that God is holy (yet loves the most vile of sinners...which is you and me) AND God is merciful in that he does NOT give us what we deserve (which is hell).  The author goes on to tell us " Our sin requires punishment, but the mercy of God withholds it and even lavishes life upon us!"  THIS IS THE GOSPEL!!!! Jesus satisfies both the holiness and the mercy of God.  As women who desire to be peace makers, we must remember both the holiness and mercy of God.  The author tells of the danger that believers face in embracing this truth....."when tempted to sin, we may want to focus on "grace" and when tempted to self-condemn, we may want to focus on "law" and when we give in to these temptations, we lose our is the mercy and holiness of God together that produce "shalom".

God Adopts us
God delights in us
We are God's beloved area that resonated with me in this subsection was the lie that when we sin, we need a little time to earn our way "up" to God again.....that we need time to make up for what we have done in order to receive God's love again.  I KNOW this is a lie from the pit of Hell, but I confess that I struggle with this often; most often I see it in my prayer life.  When I am in the pit, often I find it hard to approach the Lord in prayer (which is the VERY life-giving thing that I need)!!!!!  
God loves us particularly
God loves us because we are this paragraph, something that stuck out to me was the author tells of a game she plays with her husband.....why do you love me?  She says that when she asks her husband, "why do you love me?, he always responds, "because you are mine".  This is Gods response too!  REST in this truth, Delight in it!  Find yourself wholly defined by it.  "This is Christianity 101. The Gospel in a nut shell.  We are the blessed recipients of eternal love.  God loves us more than the number of stars in the sky and grains of sand on the beach.

There are many other points the authors make in this section but basically, in order to grow into a woman of peace, I must understand the Gospel and preach it to myself daily!

Chapter 2:  Idolatry
pg 45 ...."our hearts are continually in movement either toward or away from God.  The objects of our worship are the things we value supremely and the things in which we find our greatest pleasure, joy and security.  We make minute by minute choices to worship either the one true God or false gods."  

Idols cause conflicts
" when idols rule us, we stumble in our christian walk and we attack or avoid other people.  We do WHATEVER it takes to defend and cherish what is precious to us." 

The Development of an Idol
Idols lead to death
Idols give no lasting help or security
Idols blind us .....We choose false gods, idols over God himself.  In so doing, we both avoid God and set ourselves up in opposition to him.  Instead of loving as we ought, we live to please ourselves and feed our idols and our lives bear the fruit of our false worship: dissatisfaction , lack of peace, and distorted vision.
-This section really made me think about a few particular times in my life where I have been so consumed with the idol of "something" that these things were true of me.  I have had and still have many idols.  One in particular was a very strong desire to see a ministry run a certain way....MY WAY!!!  Over the years, I have hurt feelings and made a huge stink all in the name of wanting it to be "better"....but, in the kindness of the Lord, He has been gracious to SLOWLY change me and my perspective on the situation and is even giving me a strong desire to participate in the ministry in whatever capacity HE desires me to and to be a blessing to those around me no matter "how" the ministry looks.....I have been blinded by the idol of ME! 
Idols cannot give us meaning or fulfillment 
Idols lead to death

This was a lengthy chapter on Idols...then we get to the HELP part

Turning Away from Idols
Idolatry is heart worship- devotion to anything in all of creation except God.

Identify your idols
Prayerfully wield the sword of the spirit
Get Help
Remember that God is Faithful

Turning toward the Lord
Don't just turn to another idol
Christ delivers us
Grace changes what we love ( I LOVE THIS ONE)!!!!
God hears us when we call to HIM (I LOVE THIS ONE TOO!!)

From Idolatry to Shalom
"We are functional idolaters as we seek satisfaction in things outside of the Lord and are guilty of wrong worship."  "To be peacemaking women, our hope is to rest in God's grace as we turn from false gods.  This is a lifelong battle.  It is our ongoing calling to turn away from idols and turn toward the Lord.  This is one of the foundational aspects of our sanctification and conformity to Christ.  We must never think, "if only I can have victory over this idol, then my life will be great.'  No!  As Christians, we fully realize that even as God's grace enables us to knock one idol over and banish it from the alter of our hearts, another idol is waiting to take its place."  We must be CONTINUALLY  turning away from idols and to the LORD!  

This last section was the kicker for me.  I say that a lot..."will I ever have victory over this sin?"  While I know that God gives us grace and we do see victories, it was so comforting to me to be reminded that it IS a life long very own good vs evil plot!  
Oh Lord Jesus, help me to remember that ANYTHING or ANYONE that I love more than you is an idol.  Help me Lord, to be always turning away from idols and running hard after you.  Mostly so you will be honored but also so that I can become a woman of peace, which DOES honor you.  I love you Lord and thank you for this book, the authors and for your son Jesus who ALONE is worthy and who ALONE gives victory, grace and peace.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Chapter 1/Part 1

Chapter 1: Part 1
Conflicts with God

At first glance, I was unsure of what this title would entail.  I really was not comfortable with this title.  I mean, who in their right mind would confess to having a conflict with God???!!!  Ahhh stay tuned, I learned a lot in this section.  First of all, again, we are hit with a precious gem of scripture....Heb 4:15-16.  It reminds us that we do not have a great high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but one who has been tempted in EVERY way.....and then we are told, that we can approach the throne of Grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.  Which, is a huge comfort to me seeing as I seem to be in a constant state of need!

Also, in this section,  the author reminds us that "a mere head knowledge of theology often fails to accomplish real change in our lives."  I remember a time not long ago, when I would explain something to a person and say "I feel like there is a road block from my head to my heart."  "I know what I should be doing, yet, I can't get myself there."  For me often, this is what I experience:  I KNOW what I know but, I have not claimed what I know to be working in my life to change me.  I am often guilty of possessing head knowledge but never letting it get to my heart to do its best work!  

David Powlison reminds us in this part, "People change when biblical truth becomes more loud and vivid than previous life experience."  Wow, that was a great reminder for me.  
On page 27, the author talks about our ultimate relationship (with God) and how conflicts often arise when we experience a disconnect between our confessional theology (what we profess to believe about God) and our practical theology (what we actually think and live).  Because relationships clearly demonstrate our practical theology, biblical truth must deeply penetrate our hearts if we are to experience relationships of shalom. 

Have I said that there is much to chew on?  Oh man, how I long to be changed.  How I desire to be known as a peacemaker.  But really the heart of this is:  my relationship with the peace GIVER!  Jesus Christ himself.  It is NOT enough that He knows me....I MUST know Him and in order to do that, I must choose Him and spend time with Him so that I can be changed.  Just like Powlison states, Biblical truth MUST become more loud and vivid to me in order to drown out previous life experience.  

I am praying that I will not only "survive" reading this book :)  But that I will grow and thrive as well!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Peacemaking Women

Oh how I wish I were a great finisher!  I love to start.  I love the start of a new school year, a new project, a new recipe....a new whatever, but often I don't finish well and I HATE that!  So, I am trying to finish several things well.  One thing I am trying to finish well is several books that I have started.  Earlier this year, I listed a bunch of books that I was going to read and review and I think I did two or three.  That was pretty good!  But, I have been missing something.....accountability! 

 I have this great group of friends.  We have been friends for years now and have really been through lots of things.  We have seen each other through, births and deaths, we have seen each other through surgery and job loss, adoption and graduation.  You name it, and we have probably prayed for one another about it.  We also USED to read books together, and I loved it.  I loved the different thoughts that we shared and the accountability that reading together brought. 

At the very beginning of Summer, after our group met, a friend and I discussed the possibility of reading a book together and we tossed it out to the rest of the group.  I am not sure who all wants to read it but I know that I do and at least one friend does as well.  So, I guess here is where I will post and process and she will do the same on her blog.  Not only do I NEED to read this book, I WANT to read it and really, this group of women is one group that I would love to read it with.

To be honest, when my friend and I talked about books, there were others that I thought of first.  One book that my friend kept talking about, sounded really good to me.  But, God knew, this is the book we both needed to read.  

Peace Making Women by Tara Klena Barthel and Judy Dabler
I am SLOWLY reading this book, chewing on every word!!!  So, I have read the intro and first chapter.  I will just talk about the intro in this post.

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way.  The Lord be with all of you. 2 Thess 3:16
First off, what a comfort to know that my Lord is the Lord of peace and able to give me peace at all times and in every way.....I WANT to be a woman at peace, of peace and able to impart peace to those around order to do that, I MUST know this Lord!!!

On page 14, the author says, "We know intellectually that Jesus is all we need, and yet we clamor for more.  We lust after the desires of our hearts....Though we may have great wisdom in many areas of life, we sometimes relate to others like unbelievers."  Okay, let me just close this book RIGHT NOW, I am done!!! 

The Hebrew word for peace, Shalom, is a rich word encompassing far more that the absence of conflict.  Where there is Shalom, life is good and sound.  Just let that soak in for a minute.....where there is Shalom, life is good and sound.  Who does not want a good and sound life??  I know I do!  The author goes on to say that Shalom is often described according to the threefold model of :
peace with God
peace with others
peace within

Why should we be peacemaking women?
Christ Compels us
pg 17.....She says, "We reflect the nature of God when we are slow to anger, quick to forgive, and filled with love and faithfulness."

God is the first and ultimate peacemaker

God enables us to be peacemaking women
"We become true peacemakers through repentance, faith, and rightful worship of God alone.  We are ambassadors of peace when we trust in God's grace, count others as better than ourselves, bear one another's burdens and forgive our offenders.  In short, we are peacemaking women  when we drink so deeply of the peace of God that it becomes a lasting part of us and the motivating factor in all we do and say."

Here is where I really got hit between the eyes:  on page 19, the author, Judy describes a time that her mother confronted her and said this, " Judy, when you leave a room, you leave behind bleeding and wounded people."
I thought, Oh dear Lord, how many times is this true of me?  Often I am sad to say.  So, as I am reading this book and chewing on it, this is ONE thing that I continue to reflect on.  What wounds am I leaving?  I am excited to press on, to dig out the biblical hope that is there.  I am going to have a love/hate relationship with this book but by the Grace of God, I will come out a more peaceable women when I am finished!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

two for review

Okay, for the one of you who reads this blog, I already told you some about this book, but I will post more here....
When I originally posted about the books I was going to read, this book did not make the list because it had been on back order.  It is called "Desperate, Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe".

  What drew me to this book was two things, the co-author is Sally Clarkson and I have some of her other stuff and I think she is "solid" based on what I have read, secondly, I have had moments of desperation in my job of being a mommy and thought that this book might offer some perspective for me.  

Let me say, I am no biblical scholar nor am I a literary guru but, I know what I know and I know that this book CAN BE dangerous if it gets into the hand of one who is unable to clearly process at the point of reading.  I do not say that to sound haughty or holier than thou, I say it because I found myself at a few points in the book, thinking, I need to put this book down, or at least share with Kevin what I am reading because I am NOT thinking clearly and this book is feeding that wrong thinking.  I am not blaming the book or the author, I am just sharing my experience.

For me, what should have been a dead give away is that the preface is written by Ann Voskamp, author of another book that I read that is considered in "my circle" to be highly offensive and questionable.  

In all fairness, the book is "raw"...I mean the author, Sarah Mae, is very real and open about her depression, her struggles with motherhood, her lack of desire to serve her kids or husband....all those things are are lying if you say you have never struggled with any of these areas, MUST stop and focus on what is true.  What I did like about the book is the mentor/mentee format....Sarah Mae at the beginning of each chapter will write an email snippet to Sally Clarkson and then Sally will respond to her with another little snippet.  EX:  Dear Sally, I am really struggling being a mom today.  I feel overwhelmed and underprepared.  What if I fail my kids?  I am so scared of messing up.  Can I really do this motherhood thing well?......Love Sarah Mae...
Dear Friend,  Almost all mothers I know started out overwhelmed and eventually found their sea legs and began to create rhythm in their lives.....Fondly, Sally

This back and forth part was good to me, it sort of set the tone for the chapter and then in each chapter, Sarah Mae would write and then Sally Clarkson would respond or add to what she had written.  In my opinion, Sarah Mae was the emotional writer and Sally Clarkson was the down to earth go to scripture responder.....again, all this is fine to me

.  I guess where I began to struggle was just the CONSTANT negativity about motherhood and how hard it is and how much of a struggle it is....I dont know, I was hoping that this would be a book that I could give to other new moms, but right now, I don't think it is.  I don't think that moms who are desperate need to necessarily read about other moms who are desperate.....misery loves company!  I think it is good that this author was so open and so willing to share but the hope that I got came from Sally Clarkson's thoughts.....

Here also are some "issues" I had with the book...Chapter 8 "ESCAPING"
This chapter addresses addiction to the internet or things like it..Sarah Mae handles it well when she says " We've got to get real.  It's helpful to have a friend or husband or a counselor to confess to."  "We need to be able to acknowledge that we like our addiction, it feel good it's easier than life and we want to keep doing it."  Here is where I struggle....she then goes on to say "I have found God to be extremely faithful when we cry out with a pure heart."  (stop....we 1.  Don't know our heart...Jeremiah 17:9 and 2.  This side of heaven even our best motives and actions are filthy rags)....Then she says, " A pure heart is not one that is unmarred by sin; having purity of heart means you want to do the right thing, crying out to God and His truth and for help."  I don't agree with her on this pure heart thing....

Also, to me, she just kept going on and on about how as moms, we must take time to do nice things for ourselves because we deserve a beautiful life.  I don't know about you, but my life is often less than beautiful but that is what is promised for the believer.

I don't know, maybe I have become one of those people that I didn't want to become, but more and more, I am seeing that even in "christian circles" you have to be soooo careful about what you put before your eyes.  Maybe I am just more sensitive about it because of my stage of life.  But, I am watching young moms say some of the same things that are being said in this book.. This is so "mundane"....this job is taking the place of my other dreams, this is not what I thought it would be....I am burdened by it.  Do I struggle?  YOU BET!!!!  Just ask me, I will tell you!  Do I want to throw in the towel?  Often!  But, I do know and believe and have claimed that He Who BEGAN a good work in me WILL complete it in the day of Christ Jesus and my HOPE is built on JESUS CHRIST alone!! 
Okay, I am done with this one!  ; )

The other one that I read, VIRTUES OF FAMILY LIFE....William J. Bennett

Good book, good read....not so much for Gracelyn (Which was my read it with her) she is a bit too young and there are a few more mature themes in the book...but, one that I will read with her in the future!

Friday, February 1, 2013

First Review

Okay, here are MY thoughts on the first book I have read this year:

"Fierce Women" The Power of a Soft Warrior  by Kimberly Wagner

First let me say that I love this book because my dear friend gave it to me.  The book was fine.  To me, there was no "new material" for me....but I praise God for that, because I am well taught at my church.  Now, I do not always apply all that I learn but, I am blessed.  This book was an easy read.  There were some good points to be taken and there were some thought provoking statements made.  One thing that I did like was at the end of every chapter, there is a Heart Issues section where the reader is challenged to think in a biblical way about certain issues.  

Those that know me well might laugh at this coming from ME, but, I did struggle with the emotion that she seemed to be writing with.  I have had the pleasure of meeting this author and I have been in several settings with her so, I know this to be true to her character but for me, it was over the top at times.  Also, some of the terminology was.....hmmm how do I say it?  Let me give an example...."Whippin my man into shape"....  The critiques are personal to me....these thing may not bother anyone else.  

Here is one thing though, that I did take away.  I have never seen these acronyms before and I like them;

APPRECIATION (how to love your husband well)
Admire and Affirm
Put yourself in his skin
Pray like you mean it
Release your inner prisoner
Encourage his leadership
Invest in him
Accept him
Intimate connections 
Only a word
Never give up

HALT  (Restrain your words or even shut your mouth when you are:

There were also some compare and contrast sections in the book:  Characteristics of a Beautifully fierce woman.....How Grace Affects a Fierce Woman.....Patterns of Pride.....  Just to name a few.
I have no problem recommending this book.  Like I said, it was an easy read and worth the time.  It had some stuff in it that I did not agree with but these issues are preference.  Like I said, a dear friend gave it to me so I will always love the book because of that.  Give it a read and let me know what you think!

Monday, January 14, 2013


I LOVE books!  All kinds of books.  If I had all the money in the world, I would spend the most on books and on music.  Kevin tells me all the time, "you can get that on your reader"....electronically....well that is fine, but there is nothing like a book!  Written in, highlighted dog eared!  There are many books that I do not have that I would love to have.  I don't have any lamplighter books and I think I would really like those.  Maybe I will start getting those for Gracelyn.  But, for this year, I was thinking that I would like to read at least one book a month.  That is totally doable.  Maybe I will even be able to read 2 a month!  Here is a list of what I have so far.  I will be adding to the list and I will report back, after I have read each one.  These are in no particular order.

* Virtues of Family Life  (with Gracelyn)  William J. Bennett
*  A Faith Worth Sharing : A lifetime of conversations about Christ     C. John Miller
*  not a fan.   Kyle Idleman
*  The Mission of Motherhood (again)     Sally Clarkson
*  The Greener Grass Conspiracy   Stephen Altrogge
*  A Mother's Heart (again)     Jean Fleming
*  Across the Rose Hedge with Aunt Merry (with Gracelyn)    Landis
*  Fierce Women     Kimberly Wagner ( Almost finished with this one)
*  Let Me Be A Woman     (again)    Elisabeth Elliot
*  Sacred Influence        (Gary Thomas)

Stay reports to follow.  ; ) 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Parenting 101

So, we started a new class at church today.  We are super excited but also super overwhelmed.  Just after one class, we see where we have been and are currently failing as parents.  No beating around the bush, no wondering, just flat out in your face WORD OF GOD telling us what we need to be doing and by Gods grace, we are doing SOME things right!  My kids are growing up soooo fast.  Next month, Anabelle turns one and then in March, Gracelyn turns 4.  I think, I am going to write a letter to each of my kids on their birthday and give it to them when they turn 18.  I keep a journal but this is something a little different.  Anyway, back to parenting, we are jumping headlong into this.  Looking forward to learning so much.  Love our small group leaders and can't wait to come out stronger parents for the Lord.  Oh Lord Jesus, would you please save our kids.  Would you erase from their minds all that we have done wrong, and help them to see their GREAT need for you? Would you strengthen us for the task that you have laid before us and would you get yourself glory from it all?  In Jesus name, Amen

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


As the new year rolls around, many people make resolutions.  I am no different but I want to make changes that are realistic and beneficial!  So, I am not really saying they are resolutions, just things that I am wanting to change!!!  This list will probably change too!  I have one friend, who adopts a word for the year.  I am not sure what all that entails for her...but, I like the idea.  As I read what her word was, I was struck that I too might like to choose a word for the here it is .    DISCIPLINE.

This word has a negative connotation often but really, it is a good word and good for me to focus on.  I am trying to be disciplined in being in the Word every day.....even if it is for 10 min, it is my life breath and it is a joy!  I also am trying to be more disciplined with my eating.  I have lost a little weight and would like to press on to lose a little more and keep it off!  I also want to be disciplined in my discipline of my kids.  I want to discipline myself to finish a few projects that I have started.  I want to discipline myself to be a better friend.  I am always excited to see what the new year will bring, I love an adventure!  I also want to be disciplined to finish reading 2 books that I have started.  Both good and edifying books so it should not be hard .....the discipline comes in because I just need to put my computer down and pick up the book and also I need to not let the books take the place of real fellowship in the Word.

I am blessed.  2012 was not easy but it was not hard either.  I have many friends and family who faced hardships in the last year and I am so thankful that I have seen God sustain them.  I am encouraged by the thought of "newness" so, welcome 2013 and may I be found faithful and disciplined!