Friday, September 27, 2013

A Lego Story

A few days ago, we found ourselves at the dentist office as one of my boys had to have a couple of teeth removed.  Thankfully, our dentist has a Lego table in the waiting room which is like a small piece of heaven for my boys.  Kendall had been playing for some time and built a very elaborate castle.  Deciding to come watch a show instead of continuing to build, Kendall came and cuddled in my lap.  Minutes later a family arrived with four children that all descended upon the Lego table.  Within seconds, the incredible castle creation Kendall had built was destroyed and he became upset.  In his eyes, that was his creation from his Legos.  How dare they mess with it!?!?

In reality, I had to remind him that he had no ownership of those Legos or of the table.  The owner- the dentist- was only letting him use it while he was here, but he would have to share.  I kind of chuckled in my head as the Holy Spirit reminded me of the same lesson recently.  All of the "things" in my life are really just on loan from the Father.  All are His....not mine.  He allows me to use His resources to meet my needs, and often blesses way beyond that!  The problem starts when I begin to look at the "things" in my life as my own.... suddenly, false ownership stirs a sense of entitlement within.  Yet, the Father is the true owner of all that our eyes behold, that our ears receive and all that our fingers touch.  We are not entitled to anything.  Period.

Yet... here is the blessing in that.....

Because we do not own all things, we are free to "let go" of all that holds us back.  Possessions and things will break, burn and be destroyed, but our relationship with Him will hold fast.  He is the treasure of our life- the one that is everlasting.  He is our past, present, future and legacy.

If we have a need, we can trust that He will supply it.... I am not talking about the latest and greatest "got-to-have" item.  Just to be clear, that is NOT a need.  That is a want and there is a difference.  Needs- real and genuine- will never go unnoticed by our precious Father.  Also, because He owns it all, there is no need that is too great for Him.  No matter the size of the need, He is capable of meeting it.  Often, it is more an issue of our yielding personal pride to ask Him for help. 

My friend, too often we do not fully recognize just how much we have been blessed with in our lives.  Today, allow God to reveal to you just all the blessings in your life.  Thank Him for all that comes to mind as an act of recognizing that He is where all our blessings derive as well as thanking and honoring Him for them.  Then, lift all the needs in your life to Him and praise Him in advance of His perfect provision for those needs.  Walk through today in trust and praise of Him.  Even when doors seem to shut and opportunities fail, His faithfulness does not.  He will bring about all that you truly need in His perfect timing and plan.  Trust. Praise. Live.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Moses: Send Someone Else

"One day Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he went deep into the wilderness near Sinai, the mountain of God.  Suddenly, the angel of the Lord appeared to him as a blazing fire in a bush.... Then the Lord told him, 'You can be sure I have seen the misery of my people in Egypt.  I have heard their cries for deliverance from their harsh slave drivers.  Yes, I am aware of their suffering. So, I have come to rescue them from the Egyptians and lead them out of Egypt into their own good and precious land..... Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh.  You will lead my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.'"  Exodus 3:1,2,7-8a, 10  NIV

Can you feel the butterflies in his stomach and the racing pulse of his heart?  Moses was not prepared for this.  He was simply about the tasks of his day when God stepped in and made an ordinary day anything but ordinary!  God had chosen Moses to go to the Pharaoh and lead the Israelites out of captivity because God had heard their cries.  I wonder if Moses was thinking, "God you have power over all the earth.  Why do you need me to do this task?"  The truth is God didn't need Moses.... He chose him.  God loves nothing more than to use His creations for His work.  It brings Him joy, but ultimately, it is for our growth and maturity in faith.  He chose Moses even when Moses didn't want to be chosen.  Can you relate?

Our passage is long today, but please read  Exodus 3-4:17.  If you are comfortable writing in your Bible mark or highlight each time Moses voices why he cannot follow in obedience.  Let's take a look at each of the reasons Moses gave to not go into Egypt.....

"But who am I to appear before the Pharaoh?"..... God, who am I do to this task?  I am not qualified- in fact, I struggle with sin so. Remember that big sin in my past?  You can't use me- I messed up too bad!  I am not qualified, equipped or prepared.    Does this sound familiar?  I can relate all too well!  Moses, like us, did not feel like the right person for the job, but God's ways are not our ways.  He loves us too much not to use us for His glory and kingdom.  He is going to use you because He loves you!  God, most often, does His greatest work in us when we feel the most ill-equipped.  Why?  Because we are so dependent on Him when we are at our weakest.

"If I go to the people of Israel and tell them, 'The God of your ancestors has sent me to you.' they won't believe me.  They will ask, 'Which god are you talking about? What is his name?' Then what should I tell them?" ... God is this really you?  God reveal yourself to me and make this clear so that I know without a doubt that You are real and asking this of me.  So, often we become desperate to see our Father in a new and desperate way when He is pulling us away from our personal comfort zones.  We long to truly see and know that He is real and working in that new struggle or situation.

" Look, they won't believe me!  They won't do what I tell them.  They'll just say, 'The Lord never appeared to you.'"...  No one else would pick me for this task.  They are going to think I am crazy because this just does not make sense to me and won't make sense to them.  I am nothing special- what is going to make them want to trust me?  When Moses had left Egypt, he didn't seem to fit with his people and certainly didn't have confidence that they would listen to him, but the Lord was already preparing their hearts.  The truth is, even if they did not listen to Moses, God was most concerned with Moses' obedience to Him in this than their response.  The same is true for us.... God is most concerned about our loving, obedient response to His calling than He is about the reaction of others.

"But Moses pleaded with the Lord, 'O Lord, I'm just not a good speaker.  I never have been, and I'm not now, even after you have spoken to me.  I'm clumsy with words.'"...  Father, I can't do this.  I do not have the abilities that are needed for this task.  It is beyond me.  Yet, the Father loves to call out those lacking in ability because He knows only He will get the praise and glory for it.  Plus, those who feel the most lacking in their own personal ability will cling ever so desperately to HIM.   I have often heard it said that God doesn't call the equipped because He equips the called.  The same is true for us, dear friend. 

"Lord, please!  Send someone else."...  I am afraid, Father.  Scared beyond all reason of this task that You have laid before me!  The fear is real, but our Father is greater than the fear that holds us back.  To be honest, all the other excuses had the root of fear.  Moses is afraid, but so am I.... when God starts a new chapter in my life, too often the root of all my excuses is fear.  It is one of the greatest attacks by the evil one, but we must not live in fear because He has overcome the world.

My friend, is God calling you down a new journey?  You may not feel prepared or right for the task ahead, but step on in faith.  The Father will always be with You and the journey ahead will be great as your faith is stretched closer to Him.  He has already prepared the way ahead for you.... now rest in the peace and joy of being chosen for the task and in His tremendous love for you!


Monday, September 23, 2013

Moses: At the Bush

In the past few weeks I have journeyed.... often doubt, questioning, and desperate longing were my companions as I have sought His plan, purpose, and guidance in my life.  Soon, the words may come to express those steps, paths and "home-coming".  Today, however, I return to Moses and the lessons the Father is teaching me through this journey in my life right now.  First we must look back at where we have traveled with Moses thus far...... 

Moses: The Beginning
Moses: In a Basket
Moses: The Murder
Moses: At the Well

Let us lace up our shoes once again and follow along with Moses...... In Exodus 3:1-12.

"One day Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian. He led the flock far into the wilderness and came to Sinai, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush. Moses stared in amazement. Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up. “This is amazing,” Moses said to himself. “Why isn’t that bush burning up? I must go see it.” When the Lord saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!” “Here I am!” Moses replied. “Do not come any closer,” the Lord warned. “Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground. I am the God of your father —the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” When Moses heard this, he covered his face because he was afraid to look at God. Then the Lord told him, “I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and lead them out of Egypt into their own fertile and spacious land. It is a land flowing with milk and honey—the land where the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites now live. Look! The cry of the people of Israel has reached me, and I have seen how harshly the Egyptians abuse them. Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.” But Moses protested to God, “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?” God answered, “I will be with you. And this is your sign that I am the one who has sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God at this very mountain.” (Exodus 3:1-12 NLT)

Oh this passage is so rich with deeper lessons for us! So, often we do not engage with many of the individuals within the passages of the Old Testament because we think them irrelevant following the redemption of Christ.  However, the character of our Father God is the same and looking at the beginning of His love story with humanity makes the gospel of redemption even more priceless and beautiful!

First, notice how Moses is drawn to the burning bush.... he cannot help but draw closer to it.  Anytime we see God working, active, and alive in our world, we must draw closer to it!  Seeing god work will leave us in awe of our creator and leave us longing for more!  Others will have the same response when they see God working in us and that is why it is so critical that we share our journeys together- by doing so, we are allowing others to see a glimpse of the Father and leave them longing for more of HIM.

Second, I love that God called Moses by name and makes his identity clear.  In some of our previous posts we discussed how Moses seemed to not "fit" in his world.  He was an Israelite by birth and an Egyptian by adoption... slave by birth and royalty by adoption.... yet, neither group really claimed him.  Where did he fit?  God sets the record straight by claiming to him, "I am the God of your father —the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” God is, in essence, saying to him "You are mine, Moses.  You may not know where you fit, but I do.  You are my child."  J D Greear shares in his book, Gospel Revolution, that the evil one often attacks our identity in Christ first knowing that if he can get us to doubt who we are, then he will be able to lead us away from the life we are called to live in Christ.  This is so true with Moses- the evil one makes him doubt his place and identity, but our precious God reminds him of who he truly is.  He does the same with us!  The process of healing and redemption of a struggle or situation will often start with Him reminding us of who we are to Him.... His precious child bought by the life-blood of His Sacrificed Son who is our Savior- Jesus!  We are His!!!

Another realization that struck me is that God always hears the cries of His people- they never fall on deaf ears.  If you are in a desperate place and feel that He has all but forgotten you- do not doubt that He has heard your pleas for help.  If you do not see His response, yet, then know with absolute certainty that there is purpose in the delay.  Something greater is coming because God never allows His children to suffer one moment longer than necessary, but He often waits until we are at such a place of emptiness that only He can resolve things.  The thing is.... when emptiness is all that we seem to have, often that is when we realize that HE is really all that we need.  You may feel like the tears slipping down your cheeks mean nothing to Him, but the desperate truth is that your tears, prayers and pleas move Him to action.... but He will often wait until He is our only resource.... and He always waits until it is in our best interest.

I also love that the very past that Moses thought made him useless is the very thing that makes him most useful to God.   My friend, so often our past is the fertile ground where God plants the seeds for our divine, redeemed future.  Our past failures, hurts, disappointments and trials can all be used in our Father's capable hands to become good and useful for His kingdom.  Our God is that sovereign- even our past can be redeemed for His glory!

Finally, God never sends us where He isn't with us.  My friend, no matter what journey you are on at this time, our Father is ever with you.  He never leaves us. Even with the world seems to turn it's back on us or people seem to fail us- He never does!  He is ever faithful and ever present in your life.  Never allow the evil one to make you feel alone, but it is simply a lie.  Just as He promises to be with Moses- He is always with us in the form of the Holy Spirit.  You are never alone.... never.

My friend, it is my prayer that no matter what place you find yourself today, that you will lift your hands in praise of our Father and Savior in desperate anticipation of what He still wants to do in your life.  You are redeemed for a purpose and as long as there is breath in your lungs, that purpose is not fulfilled.  He is not finished with you yet- so let us rejoice in the journey still ahead!

Blessings, my Friends.... until next time....

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Thorn

Several days ago, Kendall began to whimper and I realized that he was not fully using one foot to walk or get around on.  When I asked him what was wrong, he described a pain coming from one toe on that foot.  Sure enough, a very small thorn was protruding from the end of his big toe.  Now, this was not a major surgical thing- it didn't even need tweezers!  All I had to do was pull it out and all his pain and discomfort would be gone.  I could "cure" the situation in less than a second!

However, there was another problem..... Kendall would not let me near his foot.  He would let me look at the thorn and comfort him, but as soon as I might reach to remove the "offending" object from his foot, he would push me away.  He was afraid.  He thought it might be painful, but beyond all that, he did not trust me.  That realization hurts, but it truly was the core issue.... a lack of trust.  I love Kendall and would never hurt him unless it was an absolute necessary thing for his ultimate health and well being.... like getting shots, bandaging a cut, or removing a thorn that could cause an infection.  Regardless of my love, he did not trust me and instead scooted around on his bottom rather than allowing me to remove the thorn.

This really struck a chord with me.... how many times do I have spiritual "thorns" in my flesh that are causing me deep pain and heartache.  I am afraid.  I am in pain and fear an even deeper pain... as a result, I allow the thorn to remain.  My Father could easily remove it and would do it out of His tremendous love for me!  Yet, I do not trust Him.  It hurts to admit it, but isn't that the core of the issue?  He could remove that pain, hurt, issue,or struggle..... at the very least, He gives all that is needed to live beyond it.  He never means for us to be "disabled" spiritually because of the thorns in this life.  Sometimes, He removes it and sometimes He heals us despite it, but He always longs for healthy children.  Too often, it is our own lack of trust that causes us to suffer longer than necessary.

I was finally able to remove the thorn from Kendall's toe when he was distracted.  He didn't even feel it!  His fear of possible pain was far worse than the actual pain itself.  That is so true of our struggles as well.... so often the fear of hurt is so much greater than the pain of allowing God to bringing healing.  It is a lie of the evil one... he tries to make us live in such fear so that we will remain in pain and never seek redemption from our Savior.  Christ redeems.  Christ heals.  Christ restores..... and He does it daily.  All that is required is to lift our thorn torn flesh to Him... in trust.... and allow Him to make us new.  It is trust issue.....  It is so easy for me to express that I love my Father, my Savior and the Holy Spirit that is the great revealer within, but why is it so hard to trust?  As our love and intimacy grows with the Savior, it becomes easier.  As we walk through trials and see His power to restore and renew, our trust grows.  Crying out and confessing our lack of trust in a certain area is like opening the floodgate for the healing waters to flow within..... Trust.

I do not know about you, but God has opened my eyes to so many areas where I have a lack of trust in Him.  Let us carry each other to the cross as we make strides in this area. His love is so great for us- let us not live in fear, but in Holy Trust cling to the Lover of our Soul.


Monday, September 16, 2013

Reagan's BIG Birthday!

So, about six weeks ago, I was hit with the revelation that my husband was having a big birthday this year.... the 40 was just around the corner.  So, as I began to consider what to do to celebrate it, the thought hit me that I could totally pull of a big surprise party for him.  I began working with two friends who were glad to help organize and co-host the big event.  This past Saturday was THE DAY and it was so much fun!   All last week I cleaned and organized the house in preparation for the party.  Thankfully, since Reagan was gone everyday to work, he did not pick up on all the work I was doing. 

On Friday, I drove the boys to my parents' house and then met him at noon to pick him up.  We drove to the metroplex and had lunch together before heading to Cabelas (one of his favorite stores) and then we went to the Ranger game that evening.  He thought this date night was really the main celebration for his birthday.  On Saturday, we met my parents and the boys for a late breakfast and returned home for me to bake him a peach cobbler (his favorite dessert).  We prepared to leave the house about 2:30, but I "remembered" that I had left my phone in the house.  In reality, I was setting out several needed items for my co-hosts and putting up a few last minute items.  I also left the front door unlocked so all the guests could get in the house.  We left and went to a couple of different restaurants watching the Texas Aggies play as well as eating a progressive dinner.

After the game, we slowly drove home- I even took a "wrong" turn which delayed us a little.  While we were gone, the guests parked across from our street at a local parked and walked to our house.  When we pulled into our house, nothing looked different from when we left, but Reagan had trouble unlocking the door.  Finally he opened the door to see 30 close friends all shouting, "SURPRISE!!!"  It was so great!  He was shocked and so blessed by the gesture.  Everyone brought gifts with "40" as the theme so he received things like 40 bullets, 40 Depends, 40 M&M candies and so forth.  It was really fun and interesting what everyone chose to bring!

I had also asked several friends who lived too far to come to the party to call Reagan throughout the day on Saturday- at 40 minutes past the hour!  He really began to look forward to seeing who would call him in the next hour.  It was fun!  All in all, I would say the day was a big success and I think it was a birthday that he will never forget! 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

So Much To Do...

Over the passed few weeks, I have become focused on doing several "projects" to get our house in shape.  Many families do this in the spring, but I guess I was delayed in getting the cleaning bug.  So, I find myself "fall-cleaning" and organizing things.  This morning I awoke feeling the weight of projects still needing to be done as I made coffee and breakfast for my family.  It seemed that everywhere I looked, I saw another task or need that was calling out for my attention.  How on earth would I ever get it all done?

As the anxiety within grew, I went to my room to share my heart and burdens with my Savior.  I began to pray and felt such an urge to thank my Father for every task and duty that was burdening my heart.  So, I began.....

Thank you Father for the carpets that need to be vacuumed and cleaned because they are a part of this precious home You have given us.....

Thank you Father for the bathroom that needs to be cleaned and organized because there are many families that have no bathroom in their home.  Yet, we are blessed to have two....

Thank you for the floors that need to be swept and mopped because I know there are families whose homes have dirt floors..... and children who sit in mud and dirt daily.....

Tears began to fall.....

Until my face was fully engulfed in the waves of  this reminder.....

Often, we become so burdened by the day to day tasks that must be done, and those concerns begin to weigh heavy on us.  Yet, in light of all that have been given and the eternity that awaits, the burden of such things becomes an unnecessary one.  We are so blessed by all that we have been given but too often, we allow those things to distract from what really matters.

"Worry is a cycle of inefficient thoughts whirling around a center of fear." Corrie ten Boom

Father, I give you all my worry and I thank you for each of the tasks that pull for my attention today.  Help my heart and mind to keep a heavenly perspective in it all knowing that I want to be thankful for my blessings and yet only worship the One from whom all blessings flow.  Thank you for the reminder of what is truly important today..... let your praises flow freely from my lips all the days of my life.


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Searching in Silence

Last night, we were at Walmart as a family looking at televisions.  I think we may, in fact, be the last family in the US that still uses the big, box televisions.  So, in an attempt at convincing my awesome Man that we might need a new one, we did some window shopping- which Reagan says is the safest of the shopping experiences.  At one point, he came around the corner with Carson as I stood there with Caleb and the full realization that neither of us had Kendall hit us.  In a controlled panic, I called out his name to have him pop out from behind a bin holding DVDs.  Relief, love, and thankfulness flooded me.  His first response was, "I thought you done left me."  Really Kendall?  You really thought we would leave you at Walmart?  Not a chance, but I am sure in his toddler panic of searching for his family, that seemed reasonable to him.  Not to me- I could never leave him.  The joy and delight that he has added to our family is beyond measurement and the thought of not having him in my world daily is heartbreaking.

To be brutally honest, I have felt a lot like Kendall over the past few weeks..... except I wondered if God had left me.  Not truly- I know God is always with us.... logically, but sometimes in those weak moments of hard days I question.  Now, what I question is not His faithfulness or character that is ever present in our struggles, but I think I questioned His timing or purpose for me.  A few months ago, I felt God leading our family- me- down a different journey.  I didn't know what the outcome would look like, but I knew that the calling was real.  We obeyed and I started down a new journey.  I don't know what I expected, but it seemed like the first few weeks were not what I had envisioned.  I began to struggle.  It seemed that while I continued to write and share what God laid on my heart, the words didn't come as easy and life became very full and busy.  The thing was, it was full of the mundane and normal busy-ness.   Nothing seemed like what I expected.  I think the evil one convinced me- even if I didn't want to speak it out loud- that God given up on using me for the purpose He had planned.

Over the past two weeks, I found myself going through the motions, but missing out on the intimacy with the Father that I longed for.  I believe God is preparing me for the next step in the journey and this time of questioning has been to prepare my heart and shape my view into His perspective.  I have needed to search in the silence to realize what I really, desperately want is Him.  I also believe that He is calling me to return back to the writing style that is most natural to me- relaying the spiritual insights He gives through my life events.  I may continue on the study of Moses, but it will be in conjunction with the life lessons He teaches me.  I still don't know all the curves ahead, but I have come to realize that I must stop comparing my journey in this life to that of others.  It is unique and will not always look like what everyone else is doing.... and, that is okay.  In fact, it should be the joy of every believer to realize that our Father loves us so much that our journeys and walks in life are uniquely our own- tailor made to grow and shape us more in His likeness.  What a privilege to walk my journey with Him!

Thank you for the prayers, words of encouragement and support.  I am so glad that we are able to walk our journeys together.  You are precious to me!