Archive for November, 2012

Clarity

Posted: November 29, 2012 in Personal Moment, Uncategorized
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Have you ever begged God for clarity on a decision, gotten it and then thought “Wow, that’s not exactly what I thought it would be.”? Today was that day for me.

Yesterday, after being told another lie by our builder, I couldn’t help but feel like we were holding on too tight; it was time for something to happen that would take the pressure off of our families and give us some perspective. So I went home and begged God for clarity. Then I sent Wheeler an e-mail explaining my feelings.  He soon texted me back saying he felt the same thing and we began to discuss options. We looked into staying in an extended stay hotel, which the builder had offered to pay for, but after looking at it for about 5 seconds we knew that was absolutely out of the question.  So then we began re-examining the research we had done on apartments a few weeks ago and decided to follow up with the one we had liked the best.

I called to find out that they had a promotional rate that would make a 3 month lease doable for us and they had the exact floor plan we wanted available for move-in this weekend, but we would need to make a decision soon. This was a good option but we were still struggling with all the unknown variables, the logistics of moving so quickly and the effect the sudden change might have on the girls. So we prayed about it, discussed it with family and decided to sleep on it. This morning we got up feeling like we should go ahead with the apartments but we continued to ask God for clarity. At 9:00am we received a call from the builder confirming our concerns about the schedule for the house. At a little after 9:00 we spoke to our realtor who advised us to go forward with the apartment. At 9:30am we signed the paperwork and will be moving in this Saturday on December 1st.

Amazingly, God gave us the clarity we needed in less than 24 hours, but it wasn’t exactly what I thought it would be. Secretly, I wanted clarity that said we would move into our house before Christmas. However, that’s not what happened and to be honest I feel strangely ok with it. We have been so tightly wound for the last 12 months over this house and God in His wisdom is giving us a chance to let go of something that was His in the first place. We have not withdrawn our contract from the house at this point and who knows what will happen after the first of the year but here’s what I do know… God will give us clarity just in time for us to need it and even if the direction is a surprise, we can rest in His perfect provision that has sustained us thus far.

Moment of The Week

Posted: November 25, 2012 in Moment of The Week

Recently I was having dinner with a friend that I hadn’t seen in a very long time. We were laughing and catching up on old news when I decided to pull out the menu which happened to be underneath my fresh glass of ice tea. With my left hand I reached to hold the glass of tea and then with my right, I pulled at the menu. Well, my right hand proved to be faster than my left because I pulled the menu out before I had a grip on the tea and in a matter of seconds, I was totally soaked in ice cold tea. Not a good start to the evening, but little did I know it was only going to get better. When I got home I realized that I had run over one of my dad’s sprinkler heads for about the fourth time this year. When I finally got inside and proceeded to tell my husband about my series of unfortunate events, a cockroach fell from the ceiling right front of me, which sent both of us into a tizzy of trying to kill the unwelcome intruder. After that I decided it was time for bed.

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite time of the year.  It’s the official kick-off of the Christmas season and it’s a time to celebrate all the great things in life like family, friends and exceptional food. However, this year it feels like everything I have hoped for has ended in immense frustration and I find myself allowing clouds of disappointment to hang over all the beautiful things about my life.

It’s pathetic really. I have a relationship with the living God who not only saved me once and for all but loves me more than I can fathom.  I have a husband who is still crazy about me even after 10 years of marriage, beautiful children who are healthy, a family who is there for me, friends who care, I have food to eat, enough money to cover expenses and a pillow top mattress, which I have to admit is one of my favorite things in life. Could anyone really ask for more? Yet, in the last week, it seems that my heart has struggled to live in the reality of God’s goodness. Instead, I find disappointment tugging at my thoughts and pirating the unshakeable joy that is rightfully mine in Christ.  However, as I meditate on these things, I am reminded that this joy is only born of the gratitude that I am lacking.  It comes from realizing who God is and who I am not. God is good and I am not. God is sovereign and I am not. No matter what He gives or takes away it is for my growth, my good and my ultimate joy. Therefore, when I am grateful for the blessings that warm my soul AND grateful for the hardship that shakes my affections from this world, joy is born because suddenly every cloud of disappointment has a silver lining of purpose.

So as moms, we all want our kids to have joy but I think the best way to give them that is to show them what true gratitude looks like. Teach them to count their blessings of course, but also teach them to count their hardships as blessings.  As I have already mentioned, I am having a difficult time doing that this year, but here is my challenge, to myself and to all my fellow readers out there. When you are sitting around that Thanksgiving feast tomorrow with your friends and family, don’t just say thanks for the blessings but also for the difficulties that are keeping you walking towards Him. We give thanks because of who He is not because of what He gives us and thus we have unshakeable joy.

“Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His love endures forever.” – Psalm 107:1

Moment of The Week!

Posted: November 18, 2012 in Moment of The Week

While out having lunch with my mom I got a text from my husband that said this, “If Elaina [my youngest daughter] is handing you something while in the shower, probably best to make sure it’s not poop before instinctively grabbing for it.” While being totally grossed out by the mental picture produced from his message, I could stop myself from bursting into laughter! Our little 21 month old angel has been making it a habit of pooping almost every time we give her a bath, which means every bath time is a race to get her clean before she squats and pops a turd… Apparently my husband just wasn’t fast enough this time.

Last week I read a verse in Proverbs that startled me out of my usual morning stupor. It very simply said “The Lord is far from the wicked, But He hears the prayer of the righteous.” As I’m sure you all remember from my last post, prayer is the life line that I have been slowly learning to grasp in recent months, but this verse totally shattered my confidence. It says He only hears the prayers of the righteous and the first thought that crossed my mind was “I am worse than wicked! No wonder everything seems to be going wrong, He’s not even listening!” Irritated, I closed my Bible app and went to watch cartoons with my kids, which only served to aggravate me even more. Throughout the day, I tried to forget about the verse but it kept haunting my thoughts like a bad dream. I found myself constantly trying to figure out a way to convince myself and God that I was a righteous person, but the more I tried the more the thoughts of my heart flashed in front of me like an X-Rated Horror movie. It was useless! Feeling defeated, I sat down and tried not to pray but before I knew what was happening my thoughts started talking to God whether I wanted them to or not. Soon, there was a voice in my head that wasn’t me or myself and it whispered words that sounded strangely like the book of Romans. It said something like this “Only Christ is righteous. You are righteous because His life was imputed to you on the day He saved you. He is in fact listening to you right now. Get a grip.” I felt sheepish because I already knew this; yet God had once again found His way into the frustration of my mind and reminded me of truth that I already knew.

Now, as a mom, there are two things here that I want to take note of and pass on to my kids. The first is that taking a verse apart from the whole truth of scripture will only end in frustration and really bad theology. The second lesson to be learned is that God always listens to His children; our access to the throne room of the universe is granted by the righteous blood of Christ and has nothing to do with any goodness we might credit ourselves with. (See Luke 18) Also, I think it is helpful to note that if you are a child of God, avoiding Him never works for very long… No matter how wicked you are, He saved you on purpose, you belong to Him forever and He will stop at nothing to find you.

Moment of The Week!

Posted: November 12, 2012 in Moment of The Week

Last month was one of my sister-in-law’s birthdays and I was very proud that I actually remembered to get the birthday card on time, as this is sometimes a real challenge for me. I carefully put the gift card inside, made sure everyone signed it and put it in the mail with plenty of time for it to get there before her birthday. However, my hopes of perfection were soon to be dashed when I found out that I had managed to get her the exact same card I sent her last year. There was, in fact, a little voice in my head at the store that said the card looked familiar but I didn’t listen and bought it anyways. So this moment teaches us that we should always listen to that little voice in our heads because it just might have something important to say.

Have you ever gotten news that made you feel like someone took your dreams, mangled them and threw them in the fire? That’s pretty much how I felt last Thursday when we discovered that the builders for our house are once again out of money. The week before, we had been told that our closing date was going to be November 29th, which made this sudden turn for the worst, crash even harder on my soul.

I hit my knees in a flood of tears. In my heart I yelled at God and like a two year old I started to run away, determined to figure out how I could manipulate things into going my way. However, if there is nothing else that I have learned in these last two years of turmoil it is that I have no power to manipulate anything and as much as I didn’t want to, I knew that the only place to take my pain was to the God I had just yelled at. I started by trying to pray and then stopped. In my mind I played back all of the prayers I had said in the last six months and suddenly it just all seemed like vain repletion. I had been pestering God to bring our family to a home where we could have a season of rest from our two years of wandering and in that moment I just didn’t want to ask anymore. Frustration clouded my thoughts and I felt that if I was tired of my asking, then surely God must be tired of hearing it.

Not knowing what else to do I turned on my phone and opened my Bible app to the verse of the day which was in Luke 11. I clicked on it so that I could read it in context and this is what it said:

Then He said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’;and from inside he answers and says, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs”.

 “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened. Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”

Now, I’m no Biblical expert but to me, this verse sounds like an invitation to pester God. As a mom with a sin nature, I have to be honest and say that I never extend such an invitation to my children, so this idea strikes me as a little bit crazy. However, there is something else very important to be noted in this verse. Instead of a beating God promises to give a good gift in exchange for the pestering, but it is not necessarily something physical like a house; He promises to give the Holy Spirit. To be truthful, I was a little annoyed at this, but as I let my heathen nature be subdued by the words of God I felt a small sense of reassurance begin to creep into my battered soul. Even though I could not find strength to speak to my Father, He spoke to me. He reminded me that He always wants to talk even when there is nothing new to say; but even better than that, He promised to give me the only thing really worth having in this world which is His Spirit.

So, I at this moment I can’t honestly say whether we will ever move into this house or not, but what I do know is this: I will keep pestering God about it and in return I will get more of Him. It may not be what I think I want but it is all I will ever need.