Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Choosing Joy

I hope my last post did not lead anyone to think that I am sad or depressed. I recognize the trials we are going through as growing our faith. I have a bad cold and every morning I wake up I can choose to be lazy and sick or I can choose to get up and be joyful. Through the stuffy nose and aches I am counting my blessings. It's a choice I make.
I have been resting more because I recognize that a cold is the body's way of saying, "Slow down!" But I am not depressed or staying to my bed. That would only make it worse for me.
I admit I have had a few days of questioning God. I have had times of wanting to give up and wallow in self pity. Ok, I might have taken a moment or two out for self pity, but it did not help any. What has helped is choosing joy.

I said before that their is a difference between happiness and joy. Happiness is an emotion you feel when things are going your way or you are pleased. Joy is a response you choose no matter what life's situation is. I have had people tell me that I am being fake by pretending to be joyful when I am not. But tell me, what is accomplished by wearing a sad face? By going around saying, "Woe is me!"? What do I accomplish when I tell everyone my troubles and no one my blessings?

My family is healthy. We have food to eat. We have a house to live in. My husband has a job. I am able to be with my children. I have children. Jesus loves me. Tell me what more could I ask for?

God is good. God is faithful. I have nothing to fear. When I hurt He feels it. When I am sad He feels it. When I am thankful He feels it.
God, I am so very thankful! You have blessed me beyond measure. If all my praise is saved up for the good times, how will I get through the hard times? I will praise you when I feel weak and downtrodden. I will praise you on the mountain and in the valley. Nothing can separate me from your love.
Be Blessed!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

When God Speaks

So God has really been working me over the last few weeks. Apparently this is going to be my year to have more faith, trusting Him in everything. It's also going to be my year to stop worrying about my happiness and focus on what He wants me to do. I also have been struggling with where my focus and priorities lie and He wants to deal with that. We won't even go into the spiritual warfare I am dealing with even as we speak. All of that has been... trying. I spent Monday pouring my heart out to Him and basically asking Him to slow down a little. Then I spent Tuesday telling Him that I was wrong. He can move at whatever pace He deems necessary. Wednesday I decided that His pace was going to kill me. By today I was a.. basket case. LOL (It has a little bit to do with hormones right now.. IM SURE!)
The first few weeks of this month have been ROUGH. In a good way, I guess. In an, "Ok, watch what I can do in your life!" way. Around me marriages are falling apart. I have held grown women in my arms who I could literally feel their hearts breaking. Mine broke too. Other families I am close to are dealing with troubles. My kids are really showing some of their deep seeded behavior issues. Our finances are.. wacky! Our van is trying to warn us not so subtly that it won't be around forever. "Guys! I'm almost 12 years old and I'm your only vehicle. That's a lot of work," says the van. Dave Ramsey is reminding us we need a thousand dollar emergency fund, yesterday. My husband works in an office full of women. He is miserable. I have a friend dealing with health issues that are just breaking her. I cried Tuesday. I cried for our nation. I cried for my kids. I watched the helicopter with President Bush fly away and then watched President Obama sit behind the desk and I welled up a little. The list could go on. And that's just from this year. I'm thinking of crawling back into bed until 2010.

But the big picture here is God's providence. He knows whats going on. He sees. As I held a friend who was hurting recently I prayed out loud. "God You see our hurt, and You hurt so much more for us." I have to remember that. God does not have plans to harm us. He only wants the best for us.

It's hard though. You see your only means of transportation slipping away and you are not in a place where you can replace it. You see the floors that would allow you to open your home again for friends and family slip away for the third year in a row and you want to ask, "Why?" You watch your husband get mangled every day at work. And you cry. God knows. Maybe we won't know anytime soon what the purpose is. Maybe it's just a test of our faith. It's hard though.

I'm so tired. By nature I am not a crier, but this week alone I have had nothing but tears it feels like. God is calling on me to focus on Him, trust Him, and die to myself. I'm trying, God. I'm really trying!

Monday, January 19, 2009


Just a note before starting. These pictures have nothing to do with today's blog, but they are so darn cute! I love teddy bears! Ahem, carry on!

Matthew 16:21-27, "From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works."
So my children and I were reading through Matthew the other day and we came upon the verses above. We stopped to talk about them and God granted me an insight into something. Happiness. Our mission from God has nothing to do with our being happy. There I said it. Let me say it another way. Our happiness.. well frankly, it does not matter. Jesus was not happy about having to die on the cross but look at how He rebuked Peter for even mentioning that He would not have to. See, Jesus was on a mission from God. Come to earth as a man, teach, heal, preach, and then be crucified, buried and rise again all to save the people from their sins. Jesus rebuked the thought that he would not have to complete his mission from God. He would let nothing stand in the way.

Why do we as Christians think our happiness matters? Sure Jesus promised us abundant life. I think we are supposed to be joyful. But joyful and happy are two different things. Joyful is a choice you make. It's praising God through the storm. Happy is an emotion you feel when things are going your way. We were never put on this earth with the mission to be happy. We have all of eternity to be happy. Jesus was never happy on the cross. Why do some Christians think they get to end a marriage because they are not happy? Why do some Christians think they get to split a church because they are not happy? Why do some Christians think they get to compromise their families because they are not happy?

YOUR HAPPINESS DOES NOT MATTER! DOING WHAT GOD PUT YOU ON THIS EARTH TO DO IS THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS! This is the truth that God impressed so heavily on my life and told me to give to my children that day. I told them, sometimes being obedient to mom and dad does not make you happy, but guess what? Do it anyway! You were not placed here to make yourself happy your were placed here to make God happy. How do we make God happy? By loving Him and doing what He commands. Ask my three year old. It's part of our catechism and when he answers that question with confidence in his gleaming eyes it makes my heart swell!

Good, better, best! Does God ask us to do things that make us unhappy because He enjoys seeing us sad? NO! See God has this amazing thing going. Everything He asks us to do is the best thing for us. We could choose to take our kids to church every Sunday. That's good. We could choose to take them to church and say a prayer with every meal. That's better. We could choose to take them to church, pray with them all the time, and read, study and teach the scriptures with them and to them. That's the best! God wants to give you the best. As a parent of a young child don't we know whats best for them right now? Three square meals of candy is not best for them. They expect us to know what's best for them. How much more does our Heavenly Father know what is best for us?
If we could see our hard times and tribulations as God giving us the best we could endure them a lot more, I think. No, the hard times and tribulations are not the best, but the refining and the drawing closer to God, and obtaining more faith...that's the BEST!
When God asks you to walk away from a friendship, or a relationship (not your children or marriage!!), or a hobby, or tv show,... or whatever. He does not do it to make you unhappy. He does it because it's the best!
I hope this makes a little sense. I was so excited about it and could not wait to share. Please feel free to comment with questions or for clarification. :)
Be Blessed!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The best laid plans

Sometimes we make plans. We set goals. We dream dreams. Then something comes up to "distract" us.
A day at the beach. Enjoying the smell of the salty air. The sounds of waves crashing. Little sun tan lotioned bodies covered in sand and smiles. Enjoying one another and God's magnificent creation.

A garden! Millions of flowers in all sizes and colors. The smells sweet and tantalizing. Honey bees floating from flower to flower savoring the sweetness of each. Little hands covered in dirt as they hand you a wild weed and you declare it the most beautiful flower you have ever laid eyes on! A smile and the knowledge you have made a little boy's day!

A good book. Pictures and words that transport you to another place and perhaps another time. Knowledge. Understanding. Wisdom. The crinkling of pages. The smell of a newly opened book. The wonder of what will come next. Chubby fingers tracing the pictures and repeating the words.

A rainy day with friends. Time to snuggle up and watch a happily ever after movie. To pop popcorn and giggle over Elizabeth Bennett or Emma Woodhouse. Enjoying Laura Ingall's latest escapade. Wondering what Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer will dream up now! The crunching of popcorn and little sighs of happiness from awe struck little people.

Or a time of rest. A sick little boy. A drink of cold water. A soft touch on the forehead to make sure it's still cool. A lap that will hold and snuggle until the ache goes away. The smell of shampoo as he gets in closer and you kiss his head.
Sometimes our plans are changed, interrupted. Those times are God ordained for us to draw closer to our little ones.
Be Blessed!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Praying always for one another

Last night I was going through some websites and I found this awesome resource at Prayer Closet Ministries. They have some awesome prayers but here are the verses I prayed through last night for some friends of mine. If you know of a marriage in crisis or your own marriage is in crisis, I believe that you are called to stand in prayer! Call on God's mightiness! He is faithful!

Praying Against The Spirit Of Divorce
Believers must oppose the spirit of divorce that is so prevalent in this age. There is no other alternative. Believers need to pray for marriages, especially those that are in trouble. It is our duty and our privilege to intercede for these couples. If your marriage is in trouble, you must plead with God for the marriage. If you know that a marriage is in trouble, you must stand in the gap for that marriage. It is time that the church stops giving up on marriages. It is time that the church humbles itself before God and intercedes for couples. Divorce does not have to be the norm. Broken families and lives do not have to be a daily reality. As long as God is in heaven and God’s people pray, there is hope for marriages and families.
The following prayer requests are for a marriage that is in crisis. These are suggestions to help you know how to pray in this situation. You can use these requests to pray for your own marriage or other marriages. You can use these suggestions by placing the names of the couple in the blank. As always, be sensitive to the leadership of the Holy Spirit as you pray. He may give you insight and Scripture to pray as you intercede for yourself or the couple. Plead the Word of God! Pray with faith and persistence!

Father, I pray that You will deliver ______________ and _______________ from self-centeredness. Grant that ____________ and _____________ will have a servant’s heart (Ephesians 2:3; 2 Timothy 3:2; Matthew 20:28; Philippians 2:5-11).

Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray that You would bind the work of Satan from this marriage. He would love nothing more than to destroy ____________ and ______________’s marriage. I ask You to stop His work in their lives and destroy his attacks against this marriage (John 8:44; Genesis 3:11-13).

Lord, I ask You to convict and deal with any unconfessed sin in ____________ or __________’s life. Enable us/them to deal with any sin that is hindering their marriage (1 John 1:9).

Father, I plead that ____________ and ____________ will speak the truth to one another in love. Cause ____________ and _____________ to honestly share their feelings without being arrogant or spiteful. Through love and honesty, enable _____________ and ______________ to work through their differences (Ephesians 4:25; 1 John 4:7, 11).

Holy Spirit, I pray that You would create a spirit of forgiveness in ____________ and ______________. In the name of Jesus, I plead that we/they will put away all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and slander, along with every form of malice. In the place of this, I pray that we/they would be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven them (Matthew 6:14-15; Ephesians 4:31-32).

Father, I plead that You would bring _____________ and ______________ into a more intimate relationship with Yourself. Cause us/them to long for You as the deer longs for water. Grant us/them a hunger in their soul for You. Create within us/them a spirit of prayer, especially for each other (Psalm 42:1-2, 63:1; John 17:3; Colossians 4:2).

Holy Spirit, I plead that You will convict ___________ and _____________ about the problems in their marriage. I pray that Your conviction would be deep and sharp. Deliver __________ and ____________ from being defensive and self-righteous about the problems in the marriage and Your conviction concerning these things. Grant that ___________ and ___________ would humbly accept Your conviction and will change as You deal with him or her (John 16:7)

Father, I ask that You would deal with any past problems in _____________ or ______________’s life that is causing trouble now. Your Word declares that You heal the brokenhearted and that You bind up their wounds. In the name of Jesus, I ask You to be true to Your Word and heal the emotional wounds and baggage that we/they have in our/their lives (Psalm 147:3).

Father, in the name of Jesus and by the power of Your Holy Spirit, I plead that _______________ will love ________________ as Christ loved the church. Cause _____________ to have a sacrificial and serving love toward ______________. At the same time, in the name of Jesus and by the power of the Holy Spirit, I plead that _______________ will be a loving and submissive wife. Cause ____________ to support and minister to ____________ (Ephesians 5:22-33).

Father, I pray that You would rekindle passion and desire between ______________ and ______________. I ask You to bless our/their relationship and cause them to rejoice in it. I pray that ______________ and ____________ would be satisfied and exhilarated with each other’s love (Proverbs 5:15-23).

Lord Jesus, You have declared that what therefore go has joined together, let no man separate. You have declared the will of the Father. It is the Father’s will for marriages to be for a lifetime. You desire one man to be with one woman for life. This is Your heart’s desire. Because this is Your heart’s desire, I plead with you to save and strengthen _____________ and ______________’s marriage. Because this is Your heart’s desire, I ask in the name of Jesus that You will do whatever it takes to protect and defend this marriage. O God, do not let sin, Satan, circumstances, or problems separate what You have joined together (Mark 10:2-9).

Be Blessed!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Teaching Our Daughters to Be Keepers At Home

As I mentioned previously, Karly and I had a great discussion the other day while working through her Raising Maidens of Virtue book. It was all about being a wife and mother at home.
We looked at Titus 2:4-5: That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. And 1 Timothy 5:14: I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.

We examined these verses and did not find anywhere that it said, young women should prepare for a career. No where that said a young woman needed to head out into the world and find herself before giving in to matrimony and child bearing.
I explained to my daughter that this is a subject I am passionate about. Mainly because it was never taught to me. I grew up in the church. I had wonderful Christian parents. I was surrounded by preachers, deacons, godly men and women my whole life. But I never once knew that God had priorities for me as a woman.

I plan to give that option to my girls. I plan to make it their vision. The best way to do that is equip them. Give them the tools and the know how and the excitement of being a wife, a mother, a home maker.
Karly and I talked about how she is learning what she needs now. Every dish she washes, every diaper she changes, every time she is obedient, respectful, helpful she is learning to be a wife and mother and homemaker.

When she gets married she will be at such an advantage. By knowing how to run a household of our size now she will be fully equipped to keep the home of her husband. We talked about all the opportunities she would have as a young bride. Her housework would be done early, dinner prep started. She could spend extra time sewing, scrapbooking, decorating her home, ministering to mothers of small children or the elderly, learning even more homemaking skills... She would not have to wait to have children. Her home and family would be prepared from the moment she became a MRS.

When the children came she could be joyful. Not overwhelmed and clueless. Of course there is a bit of that for every first time mom, but she would be equipped to deal with that better than most young ladies.
So much different from my experiences as a young wife and then a mother.

Here is a paragraph from the book that I copied out for her. We decorated it and put it in her notebook, but I plan to make another copy and put it somewhere that the girls and I can see it everyday. We think it's the perfect goal for our young daughters.
A young maiden should be well-trained, well-spoken, well-educated, and thoroughly prepared, for her future life as a Christian woman who is ready, willing and able to make an impact on a humanistic culture at war with God. Her education should be focused on assisting her future husband as his valuable helpmate, not on becoming her "own person". This is where true reform in the family and ultimately in the church will be born.
Be Blessed!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


I have decided! One day I will look out my window and see trees that look like this! I will know what a crisp Autumn day feels like, smells like, looks like.
I will don my long sleeve orange shirt, my brown corduroy skirt, my brown tights and brown walking boots and listen to the leaves crunch beneath my feet. At night my children and I will snuggle under quilts (homemade of course) in front of the fire and eat popcorn while daddy reads to us or we just reminisce about the day.

When Christmas comes around I will look at my window and see this! I will ponder the beauty as I heat up the hot chocolate. I will listen to my family laughing around the puzzle or board game for the evening. We will share hot chocolate and cookies before bed, while laughing over the day that was.

During the day we will sled down the hill (ok they will.. Im a big chicken). I will clap my gloved hands and shout with joy and glee as they tumble over into the soft snow. I will be in a sweater. OH! I can't wait to wear sweaters. I love sweaters. (Hand knit of course!) We will stomp back into the house. As the older children get the younger children undressed, I will make some more hot chocolate. We will have soup that has simmered all morning and sandwhiches for lunch.
A girl who has lived her whole love in FL can dream can't she? ;)
Be Blessed!

Monday, January 5, 2009

All In A Day's Work

Phew, it's been a busy day! Good and productive. My favorite!
I worked on some life skills stuff with Adrian and Karly. Then I ran out of time. I will work with Kelsie and Tamara on Wednesday.
I made two loaves of bread (one of which is gone!), did laundry, helped Karly make banana bread, watched a cake decorating video and a crochet video, and did general cleaning.

Who says being at home is boring or dull? There are so many things on the list I DID NOT get to, that I will have to work on tomorrow and Wednesday. I had a great discussion with Karly today from our Raising Maidens of Virtue book. It was all about preparing to be a wife, mother, and homemaker, and what she can do today to be ready in a few years.

Yep, a few years. In April my oldest will turn 12. I only have a few years left to help her to be prepared for her years of marriage. I'm so thankful for the resources available, because I would be at such a loss if I were on my own.
What are you doing to prepare your daughters for marriage and homemaking?

Friday, January 2, 2009

A New Year

Well, it's finally the New Year. OK, well it's a little past New Years now, but what the hey! We spent our Lowe's and Home Depot gift cards on shelves and stuff. I have gotten rid of a ton of stuff but with 7 people there is just going to be too much stuff in a house meant for maybe 4 people. And I'm talking 4 people who don't have school stuff everywhere and without three girls and a momma who loves to pretend like we are crafty. LOL
We start school up again on Monday. I spent time today getting some stuff together. I plan to start doing the life skills lessons with the kids that I started over the summer. Mondays will be for that, cooking lessons, crafting, gardening and cleaning lessons. Thursday and Friday will be our formal "school" days. Math, English... ya know.

I will be keeping up with Bible and read alouds and also Tamara and Adrian's reading every day though. I want to focus a lot on other things outside of their schoolwork this next year. Their spiritual lives being a big focus. I am looking forward to getting back into the swing of things.
Hope you all had a blessed new year!