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Month: April 2012

Blessed

Blessed

As I sit here clicking away on the keyboard, with my window open, and children *supposed to be* napping my heart is full.

This week I have been reminded of just how blessed I am.  Yes, even I need to be reminded of that.

The Lord has looked upon me and for some reason has chosen to bless me with an amazing husband and beautiful children.  If you knew my own background and family growing up, you would know I that statistically I *shouldn’t* have this life.  I am SO thankful that the Lord doesn’t follow statistics.  He sees willing hearts wanting what He wants and He blesses.  The love of my husband will bring me to tears if I dwell on it.  The two beautiful children I have are such blessings to me!  They truly are a joy in my life and the Word of God is so true, the fruit of the womb is HIS reward!  (Psalm 127:3)

My needs are met, my home is more than enough, there is food on the table and in the cupboards, my mommy mobile (mini van) works perfectly, I have a NEW NEPHEW, the Lord provided amazing sales to match coupons I clipped.  Are you getting the picture?  I am feeling quite spoiled!

It isn’t that everything in my life is perfect.  Far from it actually.  However, learning to focus more on and actually seek out the blessings the Lord gives daily that often go unnoticed has changed my perspective.

This week has been an emotional one.  My baby boy in Heaven will be 2 on Tuesday and I miss him much.  Many tears have fallen this week, but there is still a joy in my heart.  It is not from a grief of having no hope, it is rather from just missin’ my little boy in Heaven.  Yet, this week, the Lord has just seemingly filled my heart with a joy and thankfulness for all He has done in my life.

Our God is so good, you know?  Choosing joy every day is something that takes effort in the beginning for sure.  But once it is a habit to be joyful, it becomes easier.  Nehemiah 8:10b is so true, “for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

Today and Lord willing all my days, I want to choose joy!  My God is just so good!

Separation

Separation

There are so many things that God has been teaching me/reminding me of lately.  All things I need to remember but can sometimes lose my focus of.

Since returning from our conference a few weeks back I have felt spiritually energized, if I can word it that way.  It was just the boost I needed to keep going.  Even we who give so much of ourselves, need to be able to sit back and just be fed so that we don’t burnout!

Sunday our Pastor preached a message that really spoke to my heart.  He made a few statements that really stood out to me and it reminded me of a message I heard while at the conference.

The idea of separation from the world is not a new concept.  God has always wanted His children to be separated.  Live in the world but don’t be conformed to the world.  It can be hard to do that at times.  Satan makes *stuff* look SO appealing and sin can be as attractive as anything! It will be hard, if not impossible to live separated from the world while living here on earth if we are not living victoriously through Christ.  In and of ourselves we cannot fight off the temptations Satan brings our way.

Romans 7:18, For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.

In order to separate from the world and live victoriously means I must be living a Spirit led life.  Allowing the Holy Spirit to help me overcome those temptations to live like the world.

Our Pastor made a statement that has actually been on my mind a lot these past few months.  I’ve thought much about how it seems that so many godly parents are losing their children to the world.  Why is that?  Is it the lack of time parents spend with their kids these days?  In many homes both the parents work and there isn’t much room left for the family.  Satan will do anything to tear a family apart and these days it seems he doesn’t even have to work very hard to get his mission accomplished.  Is it a lack of separation from the world? Is it a lack of living a Spirit filled life?  What is the missing ingredient that causes kids of seemingly good and godly people to fall by the way side?

Though he didn’t give a blanket statement by saying “This is the one and only reason”, he wouldn’t do that. He did however say that he believes in most cases, the reason the church is losing the young people is because the family/parents is/are not living a victorious Christian life through the Spirit.

Wow.

If our Christianity is only lived out on Sundays and Wednesdays, who knows that? Our kids.  If saving and spending the almighty dollar on things we want is more important in our  lives than giving back to God what is rightfully His, who knows that?  Our kids.  If we never crack open our Bibles except for on Sunday, if we never live victoriously through the Spirit, if we are never REAL in our Christian walk who knows that?  Our kids.

So true.

The Lord knows my heart.  He knows my short comings.  He knows that my earnest prayer and hope is that my husband and I raise our children to live for Him and part of how they turn out depends upon my own walk with the Lord.  As my Pastor put it, “The Lord saved us out of Egypt (talking about the children of Israel) but we are parked in the wilderness.  We don’t keep moving forward to the promised land!”

Oh do I ever yearn to have a close walk with God.  I want to feast on His Word and share it with others.  I want to see my children walk in the way of the Lord.  Am I living a Christian life that looks attractive to them?  I’m not talking about being fake and putting on a show for them so that it will look attractive.  No, I’m talking about being real.  Am I spending time in God’s Word daily?  Am I spending time in earnest prayer?  Am I praying for their heart and soul often?  Am I seeking help from the Holy Spirit to help me live victoriously and when I do fall am I asking forgiveness and rising up to try again?  If my Christian walk is fake, my kids will know it.  If it is real, they will know it.

I don’t want to be stuck in the desert.  I want to be separated from the world, even though it isn’t always easy.  I admit, I struggle at times with being separated.  I don’t always want to be the “weird one out” because I won’t go watch a certain movie or wear certain clothing because the Lord has convicted me over it.  That is my flesh though and if I transform to the world to reach the world, what have I reached them to?  Does it really matter if I’m not up on the latest movie stars and hit songs?  What is going to benefit me and my family more, living more like the world or living more like Christ?  I dare say it is high time that we as Christians stop compromising with the devil.

There comes a time when all Christians have to choose either God or the world.  How our future generations turn out can depend heavily on our choice.  It really is the cry of my heart that I live a true, genuine Christian life before the Lord, my family, and others.  With Christ’s help, it is definitely possible for me and for you!  It is definitely time to get real about our Christianity.

Not in it for the People

Not in it for the People

Have you ever invested time and energy into something and then it just didn’t work the way it was *supposed* to?  I mean, just last night, I was working away at making some egg rolls for our dinner and I followed my recipe just as I have done in the past and something went very wrong!  I’m not sure what happened but they did not turn out like my egg rolls in the past at all!  Disappointing!

What about people, have you ever invested your time, energy, prayers, and resources into others and then had them disappoint you?  You shared the truth with them and they just turned and walked away or even worse, they didn’t care?  Very disappointing.

I know there have been several times when I poured my life into others and it seemed to have no affect on them.  They went on their merry little way and just did what they wanted to instead of following the straight and narrow path for their life.  Sometimes I took their decision to walk away from God personally. I took it as a personal rejection.  Maybe that is ridiculous to feel that way, but I’m just being real here.

At the conference my husband and I recently attended a speaker said something during one of the sessions that I really needed to hear. It was a gentle reminder that the Lord used to encourage my heart.  He said something along the lines of, if we are in ministry for the people, we will quit.  Boy, how true is that?  How many times have I gone home, nearly in tears, completely drained and said, “I’m done!  They don’t care so why should I?”  Again, maybe I shouldn’t be confessing this publicly, but that is the honest truth.  The speaker went on to share that when we serve because we love the Lord and while we are serving others we are ultimately serving Him, it puts a whole new meaning on everything.

Sometimes we feel the need to be appreciated and want recognition for all that we have done.  It is easy to forget that the rewards for what we do here on earth are remembered in Heaven.  There is One who sees all we do for His names sake and He doesn’t forget.  Loving my neighbor as myself is not necessarily easy if that neighbor is a difficult one, but I have found that when I take the time to spend time with the Lord first and let Him fill my cup, I have more patience and love for those that tend to be more difficult.

It is also good for me to remember that I was once a not so lovable person.  As a teen I was teetering between my flesh and the Holy Spirit.  I had a stinkin’ attitude and I clearly remember a few people in my life who loved me the same no matter what.  Can you believe my own Youth Pastor prayed this prayer in front of me, “Break her heart so she will love and live for You”?  Yes, he cared that much.  I remember the day when I was 15 that the Lord did break my heart.  The release of anger and bitterness was a tremendous weight off of my shoulders.  The tears I held back for 2 long years gave way and I repented.  What a wonderful day that was.  I don’t even want to think about where I would be had it not been for those faithful few who prayed for me and let the Lord use them to love me back to Him.

In the trenches, when it seems that no one is being affected by the ministry God has placed us in, it is so very important to remember that God is the One we are ultimately serving.  We are not responsible for the choices that others make, we are only responsible to live and do what God says we are to do.  When sharing God’s Word with others we can bank on the fact that His Word will not return void.

Don’t give up!  Keep pressing on!  Though you and I may not see the impact we are making on the lives of others because of God working through us, keep plugging away.  God is using you and I in ways that we can’t even see.  Serve because you love the One Who saved your soul!  Serve and keep loving because He has just the people in our lives right now that need the love of Christ to be shown through us.

Conference Time

Conference Time

Recently my husband and I were able to attend a youth conference with our most favorite teenagers in the world 🙂

We drove many hours away and we were able to sit in on some WONDERFUL preaching.  I don’t know about you but when I get to sit and soak up all that wonderful preaching it just blesses and challenges my heart!

You can click on the this link and have a listen for yourself!  I promise, even though the messages were geared for teenagers, you will find yourself challenged to be a better Christian.  I know I was!

2 Years

2 Years

My intent for this blog is not to focus on our previous pregnancy losses, but rather to share what the Lord lays on my heart.  Today, what is on my heart is the quickly approaching 2 year birthday of our sweet Elioenai Matthew going to Heaven.

In the nearly 2 years that he has been gone I have seen God do some vast working in my heart. I look back to where I was 2 years ago and see how far God has brought me and I cannot help but be filled with praise to our God.

Two years ago my heart was crushed.  When I think back to that time my mind and emotions take me right back to the feelings, fears, and discouragements I faced at the very moment I heard, “He has no heartbeat”.  There is just nothing that can prepare a mother’s heart for those words.

I can’t take my thoughts back to that place very often, I still cannot talk about our sweet boy’s death without choking up…. even now I’m thankful I don’t have to actually speak this blog post for there is a huge lump wedged in my throat.  However, I am still sitting here thankful for all that God has done.

In these past two years God has taught me much about Himself.  When others were saying, “Be thankful you have at least 2 children God has given you here to raise”, God was understanding the hurt in my heart.  It was not that I was not thankful for my two precious children still living and breathing here on this earth, but as only mother’s who have held the lifeless body of their sweet child in their arms can know, there is no other child who can *replace* the one gone to Heaven.

God has taught me much about finding all I need in Him.  Allowing Him to heal the wounds that will forever leave a scar on my heart.  Beginning each  new day with His all sufficient grace and mercy and compassion that fails not.  There were days in the beginning when I didn’t even think I could get out of bed, but the Lord reminded me that I can do all things through Him.  Discouragement was so very real.  Judgements were very hurtful.  Loneliness was something I felt on a daily basis.  However, it is because of the Lord’s mercies that I was not consumed.

In these past two years I have learned so much about how much I really do or do not trust the Lord in different areas.  Sometimes it is easier to trust the Lord than at other times.  Placing my trust in God for His will to be accomplished instead of my own has not been the easiest thing I have ever done.  I have found myself praying, “This would be so much easier if You could promise me, God, that my heart won’t get broken!”  Yet, if I knew what the future held there wouldn’t be much need for trust now would there?

I have learned also that sometimes people do want to know that Pastor’s wives are *real* people with *real* struggles.  There are a few slim pickin’s out there who don’t want to realize that, but from my experience, I have found that people within our church family need to know that even the Pastor’s wives struggle from time to time.  I’m not perfect.  I have questioned God.  I have been discouraged.  I go through valleys just like the next person, yet the Lord is so good and faithful to be right there with me.  To hold my hand and carry me at times through those valleys.  He is the greatest source of encouragement around!

Heaven is sounding sweeter all the time.  I love and cherish these children I have on earth, but I also look forward to the day when my entire family can be together for all of eternity praising Jesus!

His will not mine.  His will, though it may break my heart, is always, always better.  Even through the valleys He is SO good all the time.

Dear Lord, Please give my sweet children up in Heaven a gigantic Mama sized hug for me!  Kiss their cheeks and tell them just as I tell my children here on earth that I love them to the moon and back a bazillion times more!  Thank you for taking care of them and please, continue to heal our hearts.  Thank you for your goodness in our lives and help us to keep desiring Your will instead of our own.  You are so good to us!  I love you, Lord!  Amen.