Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Follow Up

Okay so just had another thought that sort of follows what I just posted and I had to write it down. It's about grace. Does God only give us grace when we are perfectly able to receive it? Because this isn't the first time for me to ask for grace for the day. Does he wait until we have done certain things to give it?
I was thinking about this and a comparison came to me. I always like to look at things like this from the parent/child relationship perspective.
What do I do when my kids ask me for something? I have this picture in my head of pouring Goldfish into their hands. We show them how to hold their hands just so, but if they are in a hurry it's going to spill. They aren't going to get all that they could have gotten if thy had taken time to "prepare" to receive the Goldfish. (i.e. get a cup, or hold their hands closer together, etc.). They will still get some, but will probably get hungry sooner.
Same with us and getting the things from the Lord that we ask of Him. He is constantly pouring His grace and mercy out on us, but if we never take the time to properly receive it...if we just grab some on the go...we are never going to quite have enough to satisfy. But if we take the time to hold out our hands and arrange them to best carry what He is giving, AND to keep coming back for more...we will have all that we need and then some.
The box of Goldfish (Grace) is going to still be sitting there waiting for the next pair of outstretched hands.

My Quiet Hour

I have now adopted the hour from 9:00 am to 10:00 am as "my hour". I am to be undisturbed for this hour so can spend some time reading my Bible and praying and preparing for the day.
I don't know why it took my so long to come back to this...tyranny of the urgent I guess...but we (Ed and I) both just realized that I really need this to be able to function. Not just properly but at all.
It came about last week (Thursday night, to be specific) when I was just at the end of my rope. I was literally ready to quit. Period. I had had it with attitudes and unfinished schoolwork, on top of everything else that is part of just living from day to day and taking care of the babies. I have never been so close to quitting homeschooling before. So before bed, I was sharing all of this with Ed over Skype (he was at work) and he tried to encourage me...get some rest, take my vitamins, he would deal with the attitudes when he got home...and then he reminded me of some verses from Matt. "Ask and it shall be given you...". I did. I asked and He gave. He reminded that "without me ye can do nothing" and I knew that I had to start seeking Him every morning.
I know all this sounds like I'm just now learning that I need a quiet time or even that I haven't prayed or read my Bible in 10 years. This is all stuff I've known since I was very young...theoretically anyway. Before I started having babies I had a regular quiet time every day. Then Life happened. I would still read my Bible but it wasn't a consistent thing. And I do talk to the Lord all the time. That truly is a life habit. But there wasn't that quiet uninterrupted time of reading and prayer and preparing myself for the day. Usually the day would just start and I would wake up running from the time my feet hit the floor. ( Or at least dragging. lol) And too, I'm NOT a morning person. It usually takes me forever to wake up. But since Friday morning I have had the most unusual grace to be able to just get right up and not feel like I'm prying my eyes open. I have been taking my vitamins more, but I know it's more than that. It's the Lord. And you can't imagine how wonderful it is to feel "able" to cope with everything my day is going to throw at me, and not feel like I'm barely hanging on.
It's all HIM and my daily prayer is for strength and grace and that I keep coming back for it. I can't get tomorrow's grace today. It's a daily thing.
So now, I get up at 9:00 and have my quiet time. And if the kids wake up before I'm done, they know they have to stay in bed and lay quietly or they can turn on the iPod and play Scriptures until we come tell them it's time to get up.

Monday, April 26, 2010

"Ministry Moments"

First let me say that I'm stealing most of these thought from Br Johnny's sermon last night although I"m drastically paraphrasing here. But it was such a blessing that it's much on mymind today and I had to share.
Have you ever thought that ministry is not a 4 step plan or a carefully made out list? It's doesn't happen in convenient little time slots and is not wrapped up in neat packages. As Jesus is our example in all things, look at His example in Mark 5: 21-43. He was ministering to a large crowd when Jairus comes running up and begs Him to come with him. he doesn't rebuke him or tell him to wait but immediately gets up and follows...(In other words, what He was already doing was not more important in His mind than Jairus' need). Then on His way to Jairus' house a woman with an issue of blood who has been sick 12 years touches His clothes and is healed. He stops in the middle of this chaotic throng to speak and minister to this woman...and then continues on His way to be met by scoffers and unbelievers. And yet He still ministers to each of these as is needed...He encourages those that don't have faith and gets rid of the mockers and scoffers, and then raises the little girl.
As I said before, I am very much paraphrasing the message and I'm sure not communicating it nearly as well, but this one thought keeps hanging with me.... Do I only minister where and when it's convenient or do I minister in the moment. Can I lay aside my preconceived notions of what my day was "supposed" to be like long enough to see the reals needs of my children or others. Ministry by it's nature is "in the moment", yet I so often tend to think I can minister best by "having a plan". But the best plan is to trust the Holy Spirit's leading on a moment by moment basis. Thank the Lord for His goodness and grace! my prayer is to see and capture all my "ministry moments".

Thursday, April 15, 2010


We got to go down to Wiggins last night to hear Uncle Phil preach for the last time before they all head back to Chile. It was a bittersweet occasion, as all such occasions are. The message was such a blessing (it was actually Ed's first time to get to hear him preach) and it was wonderful to get to see all the kinfolk, as always. But later that evening there were many tears on all sides as we sent them off with prayer and lots of hugs. I know Aaron is going to especially miss Bryson, but hopefully they will get to email back and forth and keep in touch that way.
Daddy also dropped a surprise on us when he announced that they believe the Lord wants them back in Mozambique. They will be going back on tourist visas and just take it one step at a time but he's looking at leaving within a few months time. So driving home last night my head was sort of spinning trying to take it all in. I have gotten used the idea of them being here for just down road and all of us (brothers and sisters) living close by. I know we've all said "let's enjoy this while we can because it won't last forever" but I guess in my mind I was still thinking it would last for quite awhile longer. And while I'm thrilled that they are doing the Lord's work I know I'm going to miss them so much! (Here I am crying again just thinking about it.) Priscilla pointed out, we have had 1 year and a half already so I am very thankful for that. And the Lord holds the future for us all. Isn't that a blessed thought? We have Him to hold our hands every step of the way.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Bible study

Today my sis and I started our Bible study! I'm really excited about this as I have been wanting to start one for awhile now. We are going to be memorizing 1 Peter and then going through 1 Sam. one chapter at a time. I know I need the accountability when it comes to Bible study but it is hard to make it to church or group Bible studies because of work schedules, etc. So this is great for me!
I think I will make another page on my blog that will relate to this and try to keep updates on there for future weeks. I'm looking forward to seeing what the Lord has for us in this!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Levi's "big boy" haircut

We just gave Levi his first "Big boy" haircut. Up until now I've just used scissors on him and left the top long enough to comb but Ed said it was time to give him a buzz like the other boys. I was a little sad but afterwards I thought it looked really cute. Here are the before and after pictures.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Measure of Success

Ed and I were talking about this subject the other day. What is success in our does the world view it...our friends and family? I realized that everyone tends to view it differently.
Personally, I find myself struggling (constantly) with feeling like I never quite measure up. That, as a Mom, it's always there dangling just out of reach. Some days I can see it closer, I can even smell it, but it's never really mine. It's always barely out of my grasp no matter how hard I try.
Lately especially....I've struggled and cried and prayed. What does God consider success? For me. Sometimes I find the line between what the Bible says and what everyone else expects (or at least what I perceive other's expectations to be) to be sort of blurry. Where do I draw the line? How do I find balance? I think sometimes that maybe the world at large puts pressure on us as Mom's to be more than is humanly possible.
We've all seen the commercials: Mom works a full time job, yet somehow she waltzes in to a pristine house, fixes a delicious meal in a perfect kitchen in a matter of minutes and the whole family is happily eating and chatting at this perfect table.... you get the picture.
Reality is: I stay home full time, my house is never pristine even if I work for a week solid, meals are never on time, it takes me forever to get them ready, and then we sit down to eat half the time urging everyone to eat fast and stop talking so much so we can "__________".
Now the perfectionist in me is always reminding me of that picture. It doesn't matter that I tell myself that it doesn't happen that way, that it' s not real, etc. Even if I can convince myself that that is not a fair standard there is always the picture of some other homeschooling mom with the perfect schedule and "successful" kids that I find always there to mock me when I screw up yet again.
So I sit and ask myself....what does God really expect? How do I find a way to be content with where I am at and still continue to grow? when will I feel like I have succeeded?
Please don't mistake this for a pity party. I'm not trying to scrounge up some "Oh you poor thing" comments. But this subject has been on my mind lately and this is just my attempt at being honest. I am always having people tell me "How do you do it? You make it look so easy?". I don't know what they are seeing because all I can see is all the places I messed up. And then I wonder...does everyone struggle with this? Do the people I'm viewing as having "IT" all together live just like I do?
I know the Bible says that comparing ourselves to each other isn't wise. So then the true standard is not each other but the Bible. And I KNOW this. So then I'm up against the Proverbs 31 woman...but my question still is, "Am I successful only when I measure up in full to this standard?" I think my downfall is that I excuse not measuring up to the Bible because no one of us can be that perfect until we get to Heaven...but if I see another person (human like me) that is closer to the standard than I am, then I think "well if they can do it why can't I". And maybe that's not the point.
Maybe the Lord is saying the standard for success is not in how much I do or you do but in how much we let HIM do.
I know that when it comes to my children, I don't expect the same things from each one of them. Not because I love one more than another or that my standards for each are different, but because each one is at a different level of maturity or capability. They have different strengths and weaknesses. So then...maybe the Lord sees me the same way. Maybe I'm focusing too much on the external issues that we all see instead of just letting the standard be the attitude of my heart on any given day.
"And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:" 2 Cor. 9:8
I know I will continue to struggle with this issue as time goes by, but my prayer is that I keep looking to the Lord for answers and grace.