WHEW!!!! Back on Track???

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Ok!  Well, life took a turn!  You know how I was all about organizing my house back in January?  I was excited about cleaning up all of my disaster zones!  Yeah well…..  Instead, we moved!

Let me back up!  We very quickly went forward with the decision to renovate a split entry from the 70’s.  I mean VERY QUICKLY!!!!  I spent every free moment (between taking care of the kids, teaching, and attempting to remain some sort of decent wife) to working on the house.  It is not finished, but we moved.  We have almost everything out of our old house!  It has been a CRAZY whirlwind, but we are finally getting our lives back on track!

Updates! Superhero Son turned 5!  I am still teaching, but rapidly wrapping up year 10.  I have a whole new house to try to organize!!!!  Pics to come soon!

It is only by the grace and glory of God that we were granted this house!  We fell into a deal that we couldn’t turn down.  We are beyond excited and more than willing to use this home to further God’s will for our lives!

Blessings!

Snow Days, Hot Chocolate, Hot Soup, and Hot Woodstoves

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“I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.” Jeremiah 31:13

The forecast calls for 3-7 inches of snow, runny noses, subzero windchill, and two kids who want to build a snowman. Tomorrow will be a day of which we all seek comfort. We will want a break from the cold and blustery winter.  Seeking shade on a hot, summer day is so far from thought it hardly seems possible to feel warm in shorts and t-shirts while playing outside.

We all experience seasons in our lives when we search for comfort.  At this time in my life, I long for the comfort of quiet mornings when I sit back with a cup of coffee and everyone else sleeps. In thirty years, I may long for noisy chaos of children running through my house.

Our source of comfort, regardless of season or age is always the same. We always find comfort in God, our Father, Jesus, our friend who walked the same Earth, and the Holy Spirit, who speaks to us as we journey through this life.

We may not always feel His presence in a Holy manner. Sometimes His comfort arrives in cups of hot chocolate, a hug from a spouse, or a phone call from a friend.  I belive God uses us to comfort others and allows us to experience His love through others.

What are you doing tomorrow?  Will you bring comfort to anyone? Will you allow God to comfort you?

Day 4

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Alarm clocks! Yes, those obnoxious alarms that snap us from our dreams back into reality are among my greatest blessings.

What would life be like without alarm clocks? Let’s do a bit of pretending, It’s a Wonderful Life style.

My husband and I would not have jobs. In fact, we would have been late to high school so much that neither of us would have made it into college. Therefore, we never would have met. We would not have the amazing life we have.

What about those wake up calls from God? Ever get one of those? You know, that smack upside the head when you tried to ignore God! Be thankful it was a smack instead of getting swallowed by a giant fish.

What would life be like without God redirecting when I misstep? Who knows where I would out God’s alarms in my life!

I am so thankful for alarm clocks and staying on track!

Blessings!

Strangled by Stress

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18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word;19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Mark 4:18-19

I have decided to write a children’s devotional book.  Our devotional book for adults, With Unveiled Face, went on sale two weeks ago.  Our response has been great.  We are lining up book signings and hoping royalty checks come in soon to our church.  Our church is about four years old, but we meet at a local high school.  We have land on which to build, but are still short a bit to get the loan to break ground.  All royalties from With Unveiled Face go directly to my church.

The other day, my husband asked if I was going to keep writing now that one book was out.  I told him I was, but wasn’t sure which direction I should go.  After a couple of days of thinking about it, I feel like the children’s devotional is the direction for me.

That long introduction brings me to my point at hand.  Last night I was reading through some of Jesus’ parables while working on a devotional for kids and found one that applied to my life right now!  I know, shocker!  I was reading through the parable in which seeds are sown in random places.  Some wither and die, others grow successfully.  Like me, the disciples need a bit of explaining now and then.  In chapter 4 of Mark, Jesus explains why some seeds grow and others wither.

I am afraid I am too similar to the seeds thrown among the thorns.  I hear the Word of God.  I accept and believe the Word of God.  However, I let the worries, stresses, and plans for the future strangle my growth.  I focus too much on my day to day list of things to do.  I put too much emphasis on ways to make money, rather than trusting that God will provide.  I exert an extreme amount of energy on worrying that the kids will be okay, lesson plans are ready for the school week, our plates have healthy enough foods, our pantry stays stocked, the car gets the oil changed, and everyone’s clothing is presentable.  I understand these things are important, but not as important as keeping a focus on God.  After all, this life is God-given.  These worries are His blessings.

Today I am going to try to avoid letting the stressors of this life strangle the life God wants for me.  It won’t be easy. I have parent conferences until 8:00pm, dirty dishes in the sink, and laundry to put away.  But why wait until tomorrow?!  God wants my focus TODAY!

Blessings!

Finding Comfort

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I have written about this before, but I am a self-diagnosed stress eater.  When I get upset about work, overwhelmed by parenting,  or mad at my husband, I will sit and polish off a bag of chip with dip.  I won’t stop until the whole bag is gone! (I inherited this from my mother!)

Just the other day, I was reading a devotional.  I believe it was something written by Joyce Meyer, but I can’t remember for sure.  It said that each of us has an unfilled place in our soul.  This place longs for comfort.  Some of us fill it with food, others with retail therapy.  A few try to fill it in more dangerous ways with drugs or alcohol.

A minister at a church I attended years ago used to say that each of us had a “God-sized” hole inside of us.  This emptiness can bring despair and misery into our lives.  From this emptiness we have potential to make dangerous decisions, trying to fill the void.  I have known many young girls who try to fill that void with affection from men.  Occasionally, they get lucky and find a kind, caring, loving man to pacify the emptiness.  However, if the whole is God-sized, no human will ever completely fill the void.  No bag of chips will either.

We are created with a place in our souls to be filled by God.  We can search and search for other ways to fill it, but nothing will satisfy our soul like God can.  God intends for us to find comfort in Him. I am not saying that eating chips and dip in moderation is a bad thing, but it won’t fix your problems!  Believe me!  I have tried!  In fact, it just makes you sluggish the next day.

I believe God sends us comfort in many ways.  I believe that my husband was a gift from God.  He can’t fill the God-sized hole, but he tries to comfort me when I need it, encourages me, and helps me navigate through this life.  I often can find small doses of comfort in sitting on my back deck with a cup of hot coffee as the sun rises.  But this amount of comfort cannot fill the God-sized hole either.  Only a relationship with God can.

Here are some verses that remind us of God’s power and desire to fill the void within us.

John 14:1-3 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

Romans 8:38-39 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

The next time you reach for the bag of chips, or seek comfort in your own way, reach for God.  Strengthen your relationship with Him and find comfort in Him.

Blessings!

For the Love of a Husband

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Have you ever had a conversation with someone that left you feeling a bit jealous?  I rarely feel jealous of other’s belongings, but I sometimes long to have the relationships that others seem to have.  I have found that those relationships are not always as cheery as they first seem, but I think I found a marriage that I truly admire.

I work with a woman who has been married for 16 years.  Every time she speaks of her husband, she speaks in a loving way.  She tells us how much she adores him.  She has told us that she would marry him all over again.  She even tells us all of the great things he does for her.  At some point, somewhere between the comments about him cooking dinner and vacuuming, I began to think about how their situation sounds a lot better than mine.  ***Note:  My marriage is great.  My husband is great!  However, he doesn’t know how to run the vacuum, and we don’t want him to cook!***

The other day, she made a comment that really got me thinking.  She was telling me about her husband’s career and asking about my husband’s career.  I told her that her marriage sounded just perfect.  She replied that she isn’t perfect, he isn’t perfect, and their marriage isn’t perfect, but God is.  Since God is at the center of her marriage, she has no reason to complain.  Therefore, she chooses to share only positive things with others about her marriage and her husband.

I think my jaw dropped, and I just stood there speechless.  However, I heard her message loud and clear.  Her marriage may not be any better than mine, but she chooses carefully what she tells others.  She doesn’t make up lies to make her marriage look great, but she filters out the bad.  Her husband may snore, have a horrible temper, or never pick up his dirty socks, but she only tells us about his good qualities.

My friend went on to say that when she focuses on his good qualities, the bad ones just don’t seem as important.  She told me that it is much easier to love someone when you don’t dwell on their shortcomings.  That is only fair, right?  We don’t want our spouses to dwell on our shortcomings, so why should we dwell upon theirs?

I am grateful that my friend has been placed in my life.  I love her reminder to me about treasuring my husband and our marriage.

Blessings!

Still Talking About Rainbows

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Guess what?! It rained again yesterday!  There is just something about rainy days that make me feel like I might go crazy!  I don’t like dragging the kids around in it.  I don’t like driving when the rain is pouring so hard I can’t see well.  I just want to be home in my pjs!

Instead, I had to drag the kids around in it after school.  I needed to meet with a local Christian bookstore to try to get With Unveiled Face stocked there so we can set up a book signing.  I needed to get the kids to my in-laws so I could meet with the fundraising team from church. Finally, I had to get everyone home and in bed!

I bet you can relate!  I bet you can name rainy, yucky, but very busy days when you just want the day to end, curl up in bed, and rest!

As I was mucking through the drizzle to get to one of my meetings, I met a friend on the sidewalk.  She had her little girl, a friend of Superhero Son.  Sure enough, just as they were turning to leave, I caught glimpse of another rainbow!  This one was brighter, bigger, and substantially better than the one the day before.  Nobody needed sunglasses to see it. (see yesterday’s post)

This rainbow glowed so brightly, it overwhelmed the rest of the gray sky.  The atmosphere around me seemed to turn from dark and dreary to bright and cheery.  Once again, lesson learned!

God reminded me that my days won’t all be sunny!  That isn’t what this life is about.  However, during the darkest days and hardest rains, He will send us rainbows to remind us of His love.  Even when the sun isn’t shining, His SON is.

Blessings!