Thursday, May 30, 2013

Wall-Builder


I have been reading through Nehemiah lately.  Good stuff.  I am sure many people who read Nehemiah find a way to relate it to their own lives, and that’s exactly what I have been doing. 

Nehemiah learns that the walls of Jerusalem, his home town, have been broken down.  He prays and with God’s direction, goes to Jerusalem with a group of faithful friends, to repair the broken walls. 

Even before he started building, there were people who doubted, discouraged and tried to stop him.  However, Nehemiah stayed on task.

Life can be daunting.  God has each one of us on a specific track.  He really, truly does have a plan for our life (Jeremiah 29:11.)  He wants good for us.  He wants to prosper us and not harm us.  Each one of us has a HOPE and a FUTURE.  So, it’s no wonder that the enemy of our soul tries to sneak in with doubt, discouragement and opposition.

I happen to really struggle with certain math concepts.  I’d love to say that is the only thing in life I struggle with….but, that is certainly not the case.  It is, however, what bummed me out yesterday.

My 15 year old was in need of help with her geometry.  I was looking through the teacher’s solution guide to try to give her some clues.  However, NONE of it made a drop of sense to me and the more I tried to “help,” the worse it got.

Thankfully, Kourtney was patient with me.  I seriously had no clue what any of it meant.  This is why her Geometry teacher lives inside the computer (online class)….and I don’t personally try to teach this subject.  She plowed through, figured it out, and her brilliant Dad helped her when he got home. 

I, on the other hand, started to go down a very negative path in my head.  I began believing the lies of the enemy hook, line and sinker.  You know what I’m talking about.  The doubt, the discouragement, the thoughts that would make me want to stop doing the job that God has called me to do.  It wasn’t just about my lack of Geometry-understanding.  I felt attacked in every aspect of who I am. Every single aspect.

Nehemiah experienced the same thing.  Sanballat, Tobiah and their cronies all started attacking Nehemiah and the faithful wall-builders.  When discouragement didn’t stop them, their enemies began physically attacking them.  Nehemiah and the men with him literally had to build the wall with one hand on the wall and the other hand fighting off the bad guys with spears and shields, bows and armor. (Neh. 4:16)

I guess I’m always aware of the fact that a godly life will bring about opposition.  Maybe I just forget that homeschooling and raising up godly children is a whole lot like building walls.  These incredible daughters that God has entrusted Jeff and me with are a big threat to the enemy.  The naysayer in my head would love nothing more than for me to stop building these girls up….for me to believe that I am too dumb, unorganized, incompetent, etc.  If I stop doing the job God called me to do, then wouldn’t that make Satan so happy?  I can just see him doing a victory dance.

I’m so thankful for God’s reminder that what I am doing really does matter.  I need to keep one hand on the wall and the other hand wielding my sword, which is God’s Word.  I have to defend what God has put on my heart to do and brace myself with truth!

 
Blessed are you, God of Israel, our father from of old and forever.
To you, O God, belong the greatness and the might,
The glory, the victory, the majesty, the splendor;
Yes! Everything in heaven, everything on earth;
The kingdom all yours! You’ve raised yourself high over all.
Riches and glory come from you,
You’re ruler over all;
You hold strength and power in the palm of your hand
To build up and strengthen all.
And here we are, O God, our God, giving thanks to you.
Praising your splendid Name.
 
I Chronicles 29:11-13 (MSG)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I lay my requests before Him

In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;

in the morning I lay my requests before you

and wait expectantly.
 
Psalm 5:3


When I came to the Lord this morning, my heart was full.  It was full of thanks and it was full of the cares of my little life.  I'm so thankful that He hears my voice and that when I lay my requests before Him, I can wait expectantly
Our Loving Father always answers prayer. Always.

My request this morning is for more of Him. He constantly fills me.  I know I would be a mess without Him. I just long for more.  I am so much more content, joyful, peaceful and truly myself when I am in His presence.  This worry?  This stress?  That's not really me.  That's the counterfeit.  The real me is calm and still in His presence. The real me is jumping up and down excited over the miracles He performs.  The big and the small miracles. I love gleaning from His Word and making new life applications of the revelations He has given me.

I delight in the words of Psalm 5:3.  I can wait expectantly as I lay my requests before Him.
The beautiful Ann Voskamp wrote these amazing words that have just stuck with me: "Waiting is just a gift of time in disguise - a time to pray wrapped up in a ribbon of patience - because is the Lord ever late?"

As I seek Him in all things....in decision-making, in homeschooling, in activities, in life.....I can just relax.  I can remember that any waiting I have to do is really a gift.  I am allowed an opportunity to grow in patience and to spend that time....more and more time....in prayer.

Prayer is just talking to my Father. Prayer is more of Him. Constant communion.  What a win-win!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

eternity driven

I woke up today with a longing to just scoop up my daughters and hold them.  I want to just look them deep in the eyes and study them.  Memorize who they are right now, today. I have been paying attention lately to how big they're getting.  Oh, how I enjoy them!  Of course there are the moments (hours, days) of struggle.  We are human.  We blow it.  We have selfish natures.  However, these girls of mine are delightful. 
We just moved into a new home.  We were in Marina for 9+ years.  CSUMB campus housing was our way of life.  Eating in the Dining Commons, participating in community wide programs and going for glorious walks on the oak tree-lined trails.
In August, we relocated to Castroville.  It was just going to be a month or two, staying at our dear friends' church.  The loft above the church office and gym was huge!  We made it our cozy home for 7 months.  The laughter and bonding that took place there was fantastic!  We grew closer to each other as well as to the wonderful Coffelt family who hosted us.  Oh, how we will miss seeing them every day!
Now, as we are creating a new home, I find that it is more work than I remember.  I tend to want things done completely, perfectly and NOW.  Not a very charming trait for a mama.  I have barked a few orders here and there, "Do your school work."  "Clean up this mess!"  "We won't get settled until everyone helps out around here."  It hasn't been pretty.  I have also had some good laughs with my girls, but I noticed that I seem to have set a deadline for when we should have everything out of boxes and that deadline has come and gone.  Why do I do things like that to myself?  We JUST moved in, I need to give myself some grace.
So, today, I woke up extra early.  I had a wonderful time in the Word and, oddly enough, God brought me to two separate verses with the very same theme.  He is like that.
2 Corinthians 4:18, "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary and what is unseen is eternal."  Oh yeah.  Hmmm....the verse behind my whole "Eternity Driven" name here at this blog.  Too often I need these kind of reminders.
The second verse was Colossians 3:2-3, "Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  For you died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God." 
When my oldest daughter, now a beautiful 14-year-old, was just a baby, my sister-in-law gave me a wonderful gift.  It is a framed picture with an important message for me to remember.  It goes something like this: "Cleaning and scrubbing (and unpacking boxes) can wait 'til tomorrow For babies grow up we've learned to our sorrow, So quiet down cobwebs and dust go to sleep I'm rocking my baby, and babies don't keep."
So, today, hopefully every day, I am going to purpose to remember what really matters.  The stuff will all get done eventually.  Loving this precious family of mine needs to be my top priority.  Truly, it is. Sometimes I just need the reminder.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

could there be anything sweeter?

Look what I found in my room yesterday.
She was "getting more faith"

She found a scripture she wanted to copy down on paper

Could there be anything sweeter?
"I will praise you O Lord with all my heart."

Saturday, January 7, 2012

jumping right in

I've always been a perfectionist.  Not a perfect one, mind you.  Just a failing perfectionist that has never allowed herself enough grace.
I'm jumping right into this Joy Dare.  I mentioned in yesterday's blog that I have been listing things I'm grateful for since reading One Thousand Gifts back in September.  On her blog, Ann Voskamp issued the Joy Dare.  List 3 things every day that you are thankful for.  Yesterday was the S I X T H day of January.  Not day one.  However....I'm jumping in....right now.  Not going back to day one and starting from number one. Nope!  I'm just going to start here.  I will list the 3 things from yesterday as well as from today.
Even if that's not the "perfect" way to do it. :)

"one thing in your bag, your fridge, your heart"
this wonderful devotional book that my friend Lori gave me,
yummy cuties,
these amazing kids!


And today, Day 7...3 graces from people you love:
  • playing Guesstures with my husband and daughters
  • forgivness, when I said something dumb
  • listening to Jacklyn, age 4, singing her own worship song to Jesus.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Joy Dare

"Choosing Joy is a radical decision to honor God by experiencing the depths of God's promises to us. It's desiring Him above all else, rejoicing in His character, and living joyfully, according to His Word."
-Choosing Joy, Angela Thomas

I am excited this morning at the prospect of 2012.  I woke up today at 5:30 am (thank you, Gracie dog!) and walked that silly pooch.  It was cold and foggy so I kept it short.  I came home and poured some coffee.  I sat down at the computer, having some guilt that I didn't first sit down with my flashlight and Bible.  However, God met me!  I clicked on my favorite blog and was so inspired!
Ann Voskamp, author of One Thousand Gifts, is doing a Joy Dare.  Each day, list 3 things you are thankful for.  It will change your life.  I have actually been working on my list....one a day, 10 a day, 5 a day...whatever....since finishing her book in September.  I cannot express enough how much I love that book!
There have been days where listing my gifts from God are so easy.  The pen keeps flowing, my heart is overwhelmed. There are other days where it just feels like a ritual. 
Today, I read (on the same blog) a quote by Aristotle.
We are what we continually do.
That's a pretty powerful statement! So, I guess as long as I'm listing my gifts....I am becoming more and more grateful. That is what I want. Becoming more and more thankful every day will drive out fear, worry, "control", stress and discontentment....along with a host of other unlovely characteristics I see in myself often.
I am expectant.

Please, feel free to join me in this Joy Dare!  Ann offers a really cool free printable on her blog that gives you ideas of 3 things each day to list.  Today is January 6.  She says to list: one thing in your bag, your fridge, your heart.
You can post your list on her website, on her fb page or even on twitter.
Or, you can keep a simple hand-written list in your journal.  Whatever you decide, I hope you will join with me.
He deserves all my thanks and it’s impossible to give thanks and simultaneously feel fear.
Ann Voskamp

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

the thrill of hope

Isaiah 11:1-2

New Living Translation (NLT)

A Branch from David’s Line

 Out of the stump of David’s family[a] will grow a shoot—

yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root.

 And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—

the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,

the Spirit of counsel and might,

the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.


Did you realize that this passage of scripture in Isaiah is a prophecy concerning the birth of baby Jesus?  Perhaps you did.  But, what struck me in this particular translation was the word "stump".  A shoot will spring up....something fresh and new and full of promise....out of something old. 

Can you even imagine life before Christmas?  Before the birth of Jesus? Before knowing Jesus?!  Wow.  So hard for me to wrap my brain around.  The prophet didn't even know JESUS.  When life is hard, when circumstances are unbearable and I don't know what to do....at least I know I have Jesus.  He is hope.

My favorite Christmas carol is "Oh Holy Night" and this year the line, "the thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices" jumped out at me like never before.  Oh, the thrill of hope, the thrill of Jesus! 
Many of you are facing hard things right now.  You may be struggling to find joy or peace in your current circumstances.  You need to know that you are not alone and that there is hope. 

Romans 15:13 says, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

Just as God used an illustration of an old stump in the book of Isaiah, out of it, He brought forth new life.  And that new life that He was referring to was JESUS!  I believe that He is at work now.  He can use whatever we are facing right now...He can use the old to bring forth something new.  He can bring forth hope and we will see Jesus.