My Inspiration

"O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water." Psalm 63:1 (NIV)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

This has been a year full of many things to be thankful for. My increased faith and relationship with God and my husband coming into the family being the best of these for me personally. The least of these how things went today. I overslept, the oven caught fire, the vacuum cleaner broke, the turkey was a little dry and now the refrigerator has decided to go on the fritz. However, in spite of all the attempts by the enemy to take away from our joy this day it has given us a reason to give even more thanks!

First, we thank Him for life. We awoke this morning to sunshine, birds singing and warmer weather. We all have our health and strength and despite whatever differences we experience with each other during the day we love one another.

Secondly, we have the basic necessities in life that so many people take for granted; a home, food, clothes, transportation and jobs.

Thirdly, we are blessed beyond measure and we know that. We are surrounded by our friends and family and at the end of the day that is one of the most important things of all besides the knowledge of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and the love of God.

The extra sleep was welcomed and very much needed. The fire in the oven was a distraction that set me back by a 1/2 hour but no harm was done and I believe these were the best sweet potatoes I've ever made! The vacuum cleaner has served us well and with a house full of kids there are plenty of things it could pick up on any given day that could have caused it to fizzle out. This was my first "small" turkey -12 pounds and it didn't have the pop up letting me know when it was done so I had to go with my instincts... enough said (I don't do much in the "small" arena so I was a little out of my league) and well the refrigerator is 8+ years old and has held up well under 10 kids so I can't complain. The timing sucks but we have a back-up in the basement as we have to have 2 refrigerators and a freezer to keep up with the food needs of the family.

So at the end of the day it is all good. We are full, happy and counting our blessings even as we prepare to hunker down for the evening. The kids are asleep, the house is quiet and we have had a great day.

Thank you Lord.

"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Twilight Saga from a mother's perspective

Lysa TerKeurst started this discussion on her blog this morning and I have to pick it up and run with it because it mirrors my own life all too well.

I read the Twilight series and enjoyed it for what it was fantasy; but I am a 45 year old woman who has fought plenty of her own demons before coming to the point that Lysa makes so poignantly in her post. I know who loves me unconditionally. I know to seek Him for all of my needs and the deepest desires of my heart but it hasn't always been that way.

Back in the day as I grew up during the 60's we had fairy tales, in the 70's we had Harlequin Romances, in the 80's and 90's it was Sidney Sheldon and Danielle Steele and then came Lifetime TV. Boy meets girl, sweeps girl off her feet and they live happily ever after was branded on my brain and into my heart. Passion and romance abound and it seemed as if it was around every corner except the ones that I turned.

As a child I struggled with issues of being loved and finding love so I became an easy target reading these things. I was caught hook, line and sinker and spent the better part of my life trying to find that perfect relationship that does not exist in the world.

No one told me that there would be hurts and disappointments, abuse, degradation, abandonment and rape. I had no idea that "love" was not a reciprocated feeling; that it was actually predicated on what the other person could get from you and once you became useless to them or unable to fulfill them easily discarded and replaced with the newest model, hair color or body shape that TV exploited.  I didn't know that it took hard work, prayer and submission to God's will for us and not our own. I thought that if I loved them, they would love me. I thought that surely someone would come along one day, see me and fall head over heels in love with me and everything would be alright. Little did I know just how far from the truth that was, yet I continued to read my romance novels, watch the chick flicks and dream/hope/pray for the day that my knight in shining armor would arrive.

He never did in the worldly sense but the day I surrendered my life to Christ (totally, not riding the fence) all my dreams came true. He has been my lifeline, my truth, my joy and my strength. Through everything that has transpired since I gave him my life he has been there for me. He has never left me nor forsaken me. I wasn't traded in, up or out for someone new and have never felt the sting of his hand on my body, nor flinched at His Words because they have always been delivered in love and tenderness. He has held me in my darkest hours and carried me from the brink of death many times seen and unseen. He is why I get up in the morning and carry on day after day in spite of what the world throws at me at any given time and if I am ever asked I confess that I love him and desire for my life to be a reflection of His goodness and mercy bestowed upon me.

Flash forward to 2009 and this phenomenon. I have a sixteen year old daughter who wanted to read the series and having read it first allowed her to so that she wouldn't be tempted to go behind my back. She hasn't finished the whole series but she's dying to see New Moon although she hasn't seen the first movie. I've said no because I personally don't want to see the movie but also because of all the hype and drama behind it. It has become something bigger than Harry Potter, High School Musical or any other teen drama in the past few years and I don't want her caught up in it.

We have discussed the realities of relationships and how this saga is "way over the top" and pretty unhealthy in it's portrayal of love and I feel that she understands this and feel blessed that she is not caught up in it like so many other girls but at the same time, if she were lost like I was I could see her making some of the same unhealthy and unwise choices in her life that I made in mine.  The difference for her is ME. I am a mother that loves the Lord. I love his Word and stand on it for truth, direction and guidance in raising my children. I take the responsibility He has bestowed upon me very seriously and when I stand before him to give an account on how I raised my children I want him to be pleased with my choices. Not that they were always the right choices because I am in no way perfect but because based on who I am and where I am in my walk with Him they were the best ones I could have made at that time.

My mother didn't talk to me, didn't guide and direct my path and therefore I was allowed to forge ahead into the wilderness without any guidance whatsoever. I promised myself to do better by my children and just like Lysa and all the other women that left comments on her blog know of someone much greater than a mere man that can provide all that my child needs by way of love and relationships, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! It is in Him that I want her to seek, find, embrace and share all the desires of her heart and allow him to lead her to whom He has chosen for her when the time is right.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33 (NKJV)

It's been a week... how have you done?

I can't believe how quickly the time passes by even when I try so hard to hold it back.  It's been a week since we embarked on the 37 days of kindness bandwagon with Lysa TerKeurst at Proverbs 31 and I have to tell you what a week it has been. 

Do you realize how hard it is to break out of your routine and do deliberate acts of kindness? I had no clue; but I function on auto-pilot most of my time so I go, I do, I get and I press on with my daily schedule. Unfortunately, for me that means that I am limited in my worldly interacting with people outside of my job and immediate family.

I come to work and I go home, I have bible study and church. Depending on the needs of the children the rest of my time is spent with them or my husband in and around the house taking care of things. So this kindness thing has caused me to be creative and very conscious of my surroundings so I could see where I could possibly lend a hand out of the ordinary. 

I also found it to be a daunting task because by nature I try to be kind and have one of those helpful spirits that is 95% of the time agreeable to assisting anyone any way I can. So with that in mind, I went forth trying to dispense my kindness.

People are skeptical and weary at times at people being nice. Bewildered was also an emotion I encountered and of course anger and frustration from others who were inconvenienced by my kindness also showed up but was quickly dispensed with when grace and mercy over took them.

I am enjoying the challenge and pray that by the time it is all over it will have moved me from auto-pilot to Jesus-pilot where my thoughts and actions are focused on Him and how he would like for me to be aware of what is going on in my world and how I can use that to bring Him the honor and the glory He so rightly deserves.

‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ Matthew 25:40 (NKJV)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

MIA no more

I have been so busy with life (school, the flu has been through the house 2 times, viruses, sinus infections, back issues, birthdays, visitation, weddings, work, church, class, etc.) but at the same time struggling with what to put out here.

In the past my blogs have been about me, my journey with my kids through domestic violence and pretty much everything in between. Now I'm in a new place and things are different. What used to be important to me then isn't now.

God is doing a marvelous work in me and it is causing me to see things clearer than ever before. He has become the focal point of my life. My days start with Him and I try throughout the day to carry Him with me in everything that I do, say or think. Granted I don't always win that battle but to me the important part is that I try. Nothing beats a failure but a try. So if I fail today I start again tomorrow that same way - praise & worship, scripture reading and prayers.

I get great joy out of reading His Word. The verses leap off the page at me and I have a deeper understanding of scriptures I have read over and over during my life. I thirst for His presence and feel lost and out of sorts if I miss my quiet time, church on Wednesday or Sunday. I don't read the same books, watch the same TV shows or even think the same thoughts. My life isn't all about me anymore, it's more about what I can do with it so that He can get the glory.

This isn't some big "transition" in my life. My entire life has been based on a foundation of God, faith in Him, his Word and Jesus Christ. The difference is in me and how I am now using what has been established/inbred in me. I've clung to Him in my darkest moments and can honestly say that I am alive today because of my faith and obedience to Him and his Word. But my day to day living has been about me, my kids, surviving the chaos of my life and enduring to the end. Somewhere in this journey I forgot about joy, hope, dreams and desires that make life worth living. I forgot about the promises for abundance, prosperity and cups overflowing - not with monetary things but with the fruits of the spirit, with peace that surpasses all understanding, with love unconditional. Things that can only come from a deep and intimate relationship with Him.

I spent a lot of time in my early years "looking for love in all the wrong places" and never finding it. I substituted stuff for love - a trip to the mall filled the void left from never feeling "loved", "good enough" or "pretty enough" but once I got back home and put it all away, the void was still there. When I did get into a relationship I thought the person in the relationship was supposed to fill those gaps but it never happened. Time and time again I got hurt, used, abused and left with voids wider and deeper than before. What I wasn't understanding was that no one could fill those voids - no earthly person that is. But God can and has.

I don't long for my husband to make everything better now, my kids won't always be there to keep the loneliness at bay, and friends, family and jobs come and go. There is only one true constant in our lives and that is the love of God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. No matter where I am, what is going on, what I need, want and desire, how bad I act or how down in the pits of hell I have allowed myself to descend I am NOT alone! He is with me never leaving nor forsaking me and if I but just reach out, call out or whisper His name He is there.

Earlier this year when I began posting again I was sharing some devotionals and the feelings they stirred in me but then I shied away from that. I started thinking that no one would read it if it was too religious. I didn't want to be preachy or perceived as being greater or having more knowledge than anyone else so I stopped. But the desire to still comment and reflect on what I feel when I read His Words posted by others, read in my daily emails from great resources out in the world or that rise up in my spirit is still there struggling to break free.

It might not do anything for you the readers but it does great things for me. It frees my mind, my thoughts and emotions and opens them up to all sorts of possibilities. The words are freeing to me like wings of an eagle. They allow me to soar where I once just glided. It helps me to reason things out in my life and put things into greater perspective. So I pick up my keyboard and I move forward yet again but in a different direction. One that I feel destined to be on. I hope you'll join me on the flight and may something that is written speak to you, your spirit and your life. May His light and love be reflected in these thoughts and prose is my greatest desire.

Warmest blessings,

37 Days of Kindness

Hello there! I know it's been awhile since I've posted but I have been so caught up in life that I haven't made the time to get over here. When I did think about it I got overwhelmed by what to say, what not to say and how to juggle between the two. Lately you see so much about the ills of social networking and blogging that I've been a bit more cautious about what I tell or don't tell the whole world but this message prompted me to get back on board and continue to tell my journey.

There are millions of blogs and you could spend an entire day jumping from one to the other reading about their lives just like the soap operas on TV. I never got caught up in that but I do have a list of about 7 blogs that I visit on a weekly basis.

Lysa Terkeurst from Proverbs 31 Ministry is one of my absolute favorites because she is just so darn open, honest and sincere. If you can't relate to her life in some form or fashion then you're not living in the real world. This woman is "sold out" for Christ like no one I know in that she will shame herself by sharing her dirty laundry to all of us in the bloggy world just so He can get the glory as he continues to mold and shape her into what he desires her to be.

I used to envy her (in a good way - no green-eyed monster lurking over here) and wish I could be just like her (minus the redneck ways!) but several of her posts have made me realize that "No I don't, because I don't want to go through what she has gone through to get what she has." Now if that isn't a lesson for you then I don't know what is!

Anyway, Lysa's post for today just struck a cord with me (more about that in the next post) and so I have jumped on the bandwagon and decided that I too would do the 37 Days of Kindness for Jesus as my gift to Him for his birthday.

I want to challenge you all to do the same but don't let it stop at 37 days, let it become a daily habit to do something kind for someone each and every day. It doesn't have to be a stranger it could be your child, your spouse, or a co-worker. Let His love be expressed through you and the little acts you chose to do each day as you go through this journey called life. If you really want to make it special keep a record of your acts and you will be surprised when you reflect back to see what you have done for Him and how you have been blessed in return.

Let me know how you do! I look forward to the comments.

Warmest blessings!