There is nothing-no circumstance, no trouble, no-testing that can ever touch me until, first of all it has gone past God and past Christ right through to me. If it has come that far, it has come with a GREAT PURPOSE, which I may not understand at the moment. As I refuse to become panicky, as I lift my eyes up to Him and accept it as coming from the throne of God for some great purpose of blessing to my own heart, no sorrow will ever disturb me, no trial will ever disarm me, no circumstance will ever cause me to fret-for I shall rest in the joy of what my Lord is- that is the rest of VICTORY!!!!



Monday, December 31, 2012

Standing on the edge.....

With my toes dangling slightly over the edge of the cliff a fear of the unknown below starts to creep in. Although the details of the next step are unknown the solid place in which I have been planted on for quiet some time now is coming to a close and it's time to move on. The path in which I have already traveled has had its fair shares of ups and downs but it's become a place of safety and contentment. Although part of me longs to stay in this very place for a little longer there is a hunger deep within and drive for something new, bold and adventurous. In 13 hours that giant leap towards the unknown will become a reality. We will no longer be able to stay in the safety of 2012 but instead be forced to step into the unknown of 2013. As the world counts down 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 we will bid another year goodbye and say hello to new possibilities.

Today I was thinking about how right now we are on the verge of possibly the greatest year of our lives or the worst year of our lives, either way it's a mystery yet to be unlocked and unraveled. There is this sense of excitment for the unknown, we have the ability to choose to make 2013 the best year ever or the worst based on our attitude of praise. Maybe this year was the greatest year you have ever had and you find yourself struggling with letting go, or maybe its been the worst year of your life and you are desperate for a new beginning.

Although a sense of excitement dwells within me every year as we approach the new year I am reminded tonight that it's only a number. Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a hope and a future." As humans there is this innate desire to start over and grab the bull by its horns towards new possibilities but because the blood of Jesus was spilled out for us we can start over anytime. "By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this (life), but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. 

The difficulties of yesterday are gone, wiped clean, and the path is cleared ahead for Christ to lead us towards greatness. This year as we move from 2012 to 2013 I'm laying down the things from the past. I'm choosing to let go of the pain and struggles of 2012 so that my hands are empty and ready to receive the blessings and beauty of 2013. There is a special K commercial on right now and the concept of it is "what will you gain when you lose." I love that quote and the thought of how when we truly let go of the past God has so much planned for us to gain because our hands are open to receive them. 1 Corinthians  2:9 "No eye has seen, no ear has heard no mind can imagine the plans that God has for those who love Him."

"I myself go before you and will be with you. So do not be afraid; not not be discouraged. I, your loving Savior, am also infinite God! I am omnipresent: present everywhere at once. This makes it possible for Me to go ahead of you-opening up the way-without ever leaving your side. The promise of My presence is for all time. No matter where you go or what circumstances you encounter, I will be with you. This is the basis of your courage and confidence" Sarah Young.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Falling short.......

With fresh snow blanketing the Earth and our family dressed from head to toe in hats, gloves, scarves and winter coats we grabbed the plastic red sled from the garage and hit the local sledding hill. As I watched the snow fall yesterday from my cozy living room I thought to myself how beautiful it looked. Watching it fall from inside though is one thing and getting out playing in the wet, coldness is another. However I am the type of person that likes to experience as much as possible in life and have learned in our difficult circumstances to embrace each moment and see it as an adventure. With this in mind there have been a few new little adventures in our house over the past few weeks. One of these adventures was baking. I don't care for baking and it doesn't care for me. No matter what I do I seem to always mess it up and so I just try to avoid it. I can cook pretty well and since our family mostly lives on regular food and not sweets we manage to survive without me having to bake, besides that's why Keebler is in business so people like me can buy packaged cookies and not make them. Anyways along with the baking, which I  might add was chaotic but turned out fairly well, we decided to make a gingerbread house. Macie has made them in school before but this was my first time ever making one. If I had to sum up our gingerbread house building in one word it would definitely be "ugh."

See I'm a perfectionist and if there is one thing I learned it's that building gingerbread houses is a perfectionists worst nightmare. When the idea first popped into my head at the store it sounded great, I bought one of those little kits and the picture on the front looked beautiful and I thought to myself "I can totally do that, how hard can it be.? Well let me tell you its not as easy as it looks. The entire time it was a disaster. The walls kept falling in, the icing kept drying up before we could get the candy on. The whole time I kept glancing at the beautiful example on the front of the box and trying desperately to make mine similar, to just try and measure up even a little. That perfectionist attitude I mentioned before kept rearing its ugly head and I got so frustrated. It sounds ridiculous I mean "who cares" it's a little gingerbread house meant to give us something to do as a family right? But for me I felt like a failure, I felt like I wasn't good enough, why didn't mine look like the box? I felt like everyone else makes beautiful gingerbread houses and bakes varieties of Christmas goodies but I can't. I felt like I never measure up and will never been good enough, skinny enough, smart enough or "together enough."



Growing up I have always struggled with this fear of rejection and failure. When I was 9 my mom divorced my father. Although hard for my little mind to grasp at the time he was an alcoholic man who would get angry and violent towards my mother when he had too much to drink and he chose the alcohol over us and walked away from 3 little girls. Since then he has walked in and out of our lives. We have given him chance after chance and although I miss having my dad in my life it's more the concept of a dad and not the reality of the man my dad is. As a mother now though I struggle with trying to understand how a father could just walk away from his girls, "weren't we enough, why wasn't he proud of us." As I see my husband love our daughter Macie with this unconditional smitten love I find myself even more puzzled.

Even though I know nothing I did caused my dad to walk away it's placed this unrealistic expectation and need to be perfect on my life. Sometimes I think about how I'm terrified that I will never measure up as a wife, mother, and friend. The expectations for perfection that I place on myself are beyond anything I could ever obtain in this life but yet I continually work towards it. The expectations I place on myself are bogus and unrealistic and although I try to meet them I would never expect someone else to meet them or be disappointed when they unsurprisingly failed but I would beat myself up for sure. I don't do things just to get them done I either do every task with my whole heart beyond 100%, or I don't do them. In my head I fail too often but realistically could never obtain half the goals I set because I'm human not superhuman.

As my mind starts to wander down this destructive path an alarm goes off overhead warning me of the enemies schemes and then I hear the loving voice of Christ whisper "you are more than enough; you are my beloved, beautiful, chosen, talented, daughter and although in this world you are  far from perfect your imperfections are exactly what allows you to depend on my omnipotence." You see the picture on the front of the gingerbread house kit is done by professionals, people trained and dedicated to the art of building and perfecting that structure to be flawless and beautiful. Its meant to draw you in and inspire you but not to defeat you. Does this sound familiar to anyone else? I know I look around at other wives, mothers, women at church and think "if only I could be like......."

I see myself as less than, never quite meeting the status quot. This perfectionist attitude that can sometimes be a strength and help drive me to want greatness for my life can also be my biggest weakness and make me feel like such a failure. What I'm realizing though is that not one single task, talent, success or strength in this life determines my worth in the eyes of Christ. Although my earthly father has failed me my heavenly father treasures and adores me. Because God loves us more than we could ever imagine He sent His only Son to be mocked, beaten and killed so that we could spend eternity in His presence. To Christ we are breathtaking, desirable, precious and enough. There is nothing in this life that can ever separate us from His love. "Relax in My presence, knowing that nothing can separate you from My Love. The worst-case scenario in your life-that I might stop loving you-is not even in the realm of possibility. So rejoice that you don't have to perform well enough to earn My Love, or to keep it. This Love is a pure gift, flowing out of My own own perfect righteousness. It secures your connection to Me-your Savior-for all eternity" Sarah Young.

Deuteronomy 14:2 "For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the Lord has chosen you to be his treasured possession."

Ephesians 3:17-19 "So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."


Monday, December 24, 2012

Peace, love, joy........

The peace that blanketed the room was overwhelming. As I sat in the sparkling glow of lights and took in the scent of Pine from a freshly cut Christmas Tree my heart leaped with calmness.  Below in Winnie the Pooh, Dog and Teddy Bear sleeping bags peacefully slept my daughter, nieces and nephew. With Christmas Music playing softly in the background I sunk down into the rocking chair at the corner of the room, closed my eyes and breathed in the peace and stillness of that moment. Through the chaos lately its been often hard to just sit and be thankful in the beauty of what Christmas means but last night in the few moments of unexpected down time I was taken captive by the strong and loving arms of Jesus and  reminded of the blessings and joy of Christmas. If I could have stopped the clocks I would have and wanted nothing more than to inhale the fragrance of each memories sweet aroma and put it in a bottle  to fuel any weariness, doubt or fear that will ever come ahead.

"In Me you live and move and have your being. Every step you take, every word you speak, every breath you breathe-all is done in My watchful embarrassing Presence. You are totally immersed in My invisible yet ever-so-real Being! The more aware of Me you are, the more alive and complete you will feel. Your union with Me makes every moment of your life meaningful." 

We celebrate you today, tomorrow and forever Jesus. We say Happy Birthday and most of all THANK YOU.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Safe in the arms of Christ.....

My heart breaks over the tragedy that the world has witnessed in CT. I don't know the answers to why it happened or how to stop it from happening again. I don't know if we should change gun laws or dig deeper into the epidemic of mental illness. I don't know the answers to the questions people want and need to make sense of such a horrific event, but what I do know is from the depths of a mother's heart I am deeply sorry and burdened by the unanswered.

As I heard the news of devestation on Friday I was overcome with fear and sadness. With each story I see broadcast, and each sweet innocent little face whose picture is placed on the screen my heart aches. My husband Scott is a teacher and I have a First Grader, a beautiful 7 year old little girl named Macie with so much joy and excitment for life. As I watched her flash a smile from the stage at Church this morning during the Christmas program I thought of those sweet children who should be too standing at the front of their churches singing this morning or building gingerbread houses.

There have been so many emotions and thoughts run through my head this weekend. I have thought about how on Friday I too dropped my daughter off at school and kissed her goodbye with no hesitation because she would be safe at school. I have thought about what if that would have been my husband, my best friend and teammate. I have thought about the terror those children who survived must have witnessed and how scared they must have been. I have even found myself wondering what if that were my precious Macie and she was there scared and wanting her mommy and daddy. In those moments when my mind starts to wander and the fear creeps in I have to be reminded that those thoughts are not from Christ and are from the enemy. Although my humanness wants to allow fear and worry to take over, my hope is in Jesus and my trust in the safe and Almighty arms of Christ, the very same safe arms who is gently rocking each and every innocent child who lost their life on Friday.

As kids return to school tomorrow I believe we will all have thoughts of hesitation, I have to admit that I'm anxious too. When my mind starts to wander and my security feels threatened by the lies of the enemy I know my God is bigger. It doesn't make sense of whats happened or erase the obvious sorrow and fear we are all facing but it allows us to stand boldly and proclaims that the enemy will not have authority over our lives and we will trust Christ with the journey ahead. It takes those painful and dark thoughts that the enemy wants us to hold onto and allows us to replace it with thankfulness for keeping our families safe. Most of all though it allows us to take such devastation and remember all those beautiful little children dancing in the presence of a safe, gentle and loving God tonight. 

Be near me Lord Jesus
I ask thee to stay.
Close by me forever,
And love me I pray.

Bless all the dear children,
In thy tender care.
And take them to heaven,
To be with thee there.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Mrs Grinch.....

"Your a mean one Mr. Grinch." Lately though I wonder if the words should be "your a mean one Mrs. Grinch." Yes the Mrs. grumpy pants award aka Mrs. Bah hum bug of the year medal goes to none other than........ME. I have been told at different times over the years I resemble a character from Who-ville, but this year I have switched roles in this Classical Christmas role to the Grinch. I don't really care for Christmas music much, I haven't ordered our Christmas Cards yet,  I bought one of those handy dandy wrapping paper cutters which was a fiasco oh and don't get me started on the fact that I went to the store 3 times before I could decide on which wrapping paper to actually buy because there are a million kinds and in the process they expect you to figure out some mysterious math puzzle to uncover which is the best deal per square foot.

Admitting my grumpiness at Christmas is embarrassing. I feel guilty that it's "the most wonderful time of the year" a time of joy and celebration  because Jesus was born and yet my heart is far from joyful. As I was sharing my frustrations today with my "Unglued" Women's Study group I realized I wasn't alone. Reading through a few of the posts from these women they too shared of their frustrations this Christmas season. Its actually kind of funny because the theme of the Women's study "Unglued" was how to control our reactions to life's frustrations and not explode and allow negativity to pour out during chaos. So reading the post from myself and other women about being on the edge is very ironic. Lately I have been on edge and "unglued" a lot it seems so I must have missed a chapter in the book or the previous 2 times I read it just weren't enough and I need to read it again.

December is always a difficult month for me but this year it just seems to be magnified. To avoid the difficulties I engross myself in way too many tasks and pety stressors. I avoid the pain of what December means for me and instead try to cover it up. Satan knows where I struggle and the parts of my story that hurt and make me vulnerable and is very good at trying to interject. My list of things to get done and things we are involved with keeps growing and in the process I'm sinking. As I was at the store last night I once again was on the verge of exploding. I felt exhausted, burdened, and consumed at some things I have really been struggling with lately and just desperate to be free from this battle.

As I walked up and down the aisles my mind raced and then suddenly in the middle of the aisle I came across a plastic cup with a Christmas tree on it and the word "Joy." Although is may seem so simple and silly that $1.96 cup made my heart smile. A reminder to me that although Satan may work hard against me and the world may try to bring me down God is my refuge and I WILL BE JOYFUL IN ALL THINGS.  Instead of holding on to the reminders of previous Decembers I have the opportunity to allow God to rewrite this part of my story and start a new beginning this December and many more to come. I have the chance to look at the cup as no longer half empty but half full and with the word "Joy" radiating through :) 

 “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Compassion for the World.....





There sitting hunched over on the couches located at the edge of the cafe sat a man. As soon as I walked into the room I whispered to one of the women “who is that?” With sunken eyes, messy hair, tattered clothes and dirty skin he immediately caught my eye. Embarrassed to admit it my initial thoughts were immediately focused on the fact that this guy didn’t “fit in.” With profanity across his hat surely he wasn’t there for the conference. Located in the Worship Center across the hall were hundreds of men gathering to hear about Jesus and how to be Godly men. Although the men were being spiritually fed there sitting on the couch was a man starving for life’s basic necessities and to know that he too matters to Jesus. As a group of women flocked around this gentleman named Duane they realized he was homeless which was what initially brought him in because a group of women handling the parking outside had invited him in for doughnuts. After a series of “God events” because there was no way it could have been coincidence he was sitting in our cafe eating doughnuts and talking with women who were serving. Through conversation they realized Duane had a bad injury on his leg and needed immediate medical attention. It was apparent the wound on his leg had been there for a long time and it took some persuasion but 2 women offered to get this man to the hospital for medical attention. After seeing the Doctor it was apparent Duane needed serious medical attention and was transferred to a Columbus Hospital for IV antibiotics, which will save him from losing his leg and maybe even his life. At one point in conversation sitting at the hospital the women asked Duane if he believed in God and his response was “no why would I believe in God?” I have to think that for Duane it’s a little hard to believe in God when he is homeless, starving and hurting physically and emotionally and it seems like he has been forgotten. To Duane he has been beat up by the world over and over and his present circumstances seem overwhelming. 

However, the conversation didn’t stop there because the women explained about how purposeful God is and how through a serious of “God events” they were there with him. Thinking about each detail of that day I am overwhelmed with amazement. Duane was merely walking through the church parking lot when a group of women were outside directing parking for a men’s conference that’s only once a year. He was hungry and they invited him in to be fed, he was thirsty and they invited him in for a drink, he was tired and they invited him in to rest on the couch. He was physically injured and there was a nurse nearby to assess his wound. He needed a social worker and we were able to locate a woman from our church who is one within minutes. He needed medical attention and he was given a ride to the hospital. The nurse who assessed Duane in Triage at the hospital happened to be another woman from our church and the doctor was compassionate and understanding. . All of that to me is clearly an act of God and beyond a simple COINCIDENCE. Above all though, Duane was able to hear that God loves him. Matthew 25:35 to 36 (NIV) “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

I have to wonder honestly how many other Duane’s there are in the world. Like the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” how many times have I looked at the outside and failed to see the heart and soul underneath? How many times have I failed to be the hands and feet of Jesus for those in the world that don’t “fit in” to my comfort zone? Along with the women I was there to serve the men but Duane is a man as well and he too deserved to be served. "Christ has no body on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ's compassion for the world is to look out; yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good; and yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now." ~Saint Teresa of Avila

 

I don’t doubt for one second that God changed hearts that day during the men’s conference but Duane didn’t even hear one single speaker but may have needed the conference the most and God orchestrated a beautiful series of events and Duane was served and those around him gave meaning to what it means to be the “hands and feet” of Jesus.

As we sat down to eat with family on Thursday and the table was overflowing with food I thought of Duane. I wondered how he was doing and if he was still in the hospital or back out on the streets. Was he able to enjoy turkey on Thanksgiving or was his belly hungry and empty? So often we complain about the simple chaos of everyday life. Our circumstances aren’t always easy and things happen that knock us off our feet but it’s always a matter of perspective. I may grumble about waiting in a long line at the grocery store but then remember that I am blessed to be standing in line because that means we are blessed with money to buy food. I may grumble at the inconvenience of medical supplies overtaking our house but then be reminded that I am getting the medical attention I need. I can grumble about stepping on a Lego Macie left on the floor and then I am reminded that God has blessed me with a child who brings joys and laughter into our lives and home every day. “[Spiritual Fullness in Christ] So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness” Colossians 2:6-7 NIV



Looking at my kitchen table my heart smiles at our “Blessing Tree” sitting in the middle. At the beginning of November we get out our tree and it’s bare and not so pretty. Each day we write something we are thankful for and hang it on our tree. Around Thanksgiving we look at our tree and it’s no longer bare and ugly but beautiful and full. It’s a reminder to me that on our own we are empty but because of God’s continued blessings and hand in our lives we are overflowing with beauty and fullness. But before the tree comes down this year I have to add one more…………








    

Friday, November 16, 2012

I'm a lil tea cup...........




Isaiah 64:8 "And yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand."

"There was a time when I was red and I was clay. My master took me and rolled me and patted me over and over and I yelled out. 'Let me alone.' But he only smiled, 'Not yet.' "Then I was placed on a spinning wheel," the teacup said, "and suddenly I was spun around and around and around. 'Stop it! I'm getting dizzy' I screamed. But the master only nodded and said 'Not yet.' "Then he put me in the oven. I'd never felt such heat! I wondered why he wanted to burn me. I yelled! I knocked at the door. I could see him through the opening and I could read his lips as he shook his head, 'Not yet.' "Finally the door opened, he put me on the shelf and I began to cool. 'There that's better,' I said. Then he brushed me and painted me all over. The fumes were horrible. I thought I would gag 'Stop it! Stop it' I cried. He only nodded, 'Not yet.'

Then suddenly he put me back into the oven, not like the first one. This was twice as hot and I knew I would suffocate. I begged. I pleaded. I screamed. I cried. All the time I could see him through the opening nodding his head saying, 'Not yet.'" "Then I knew there wasn't any hope. I would never make it. I was ready to give up. But the door opened and he took me out and placed me on the shelf. One hour later, he handed me a mirror and said, 'Look at yourself,' and I did, and I said, 'That's not me, that couldn't be me, it's beautiful. I'm beautiful!' "

I want you to remember then, 'he said, 'I know it hurt to be rolled and patted,  but if I just left you, you'd have dried up." "I know it made you dizzy to spin around on the wheel, but if I had stopped, you would have crumbled." "I know it hurt and it was hot and uncomfortable in the oven, but if I hadn't put you there, you would have cracked." "I know the fumes were bad and when I brushed and painted you all over, but if I hadn't done that, you never would have hardened. You would not have had any color in your life, and if I hadn't put you back in that second oven, you wouldnt survive for very long because the hardness would not have held." "Now you are a finished product. You are what I had in mind when I first began with you."


Sitting towards the back uncomfortably and out of place in a little Church my eyes focused on the beautiful teenage girl with long dark hair singing in the front. I had no idea the impact then that moment would have on my life someday. See at the time I didn't know Jesus, I didn't even want a relationship with  him and was super annoyed when those around me would continually talk about God and hint around about me coming to church. In fact the only reason I was siting in that pew was because the beautiful girl singing was my little sister Stephanie. I was so proud of both of my sisters and wanted to be supportive as much as I could with the things they were doing. This moment wasn't any different and I sat proudly listening to her angelic voice with my body covered in goosebumps. It was probably 12 years or so ago but I can still remember the words she sang so beautifully. The part that has forever stood out in my heart were the words "Cause I'm not who I was when I took my first step and I'm clinging to the promise You're not through with me yet. So if all of these trials bring me closer to You, then I will go through the fire if You want me to."

Since that day 12 years ago life has taken all of us down many twists and turns. Even though it hasn't always been easy along the journey I found Jesus. I found love, forgiveness, grace and redemption and what it means to long for a real relationship with Him. I no longer dread hearing about church but delight in what it means to me and the safety and security it holds for me and my family. I didn't realize the impact the words of the song my sister sang and the value that they held though until I gave my life to Christ. I understand what it feels like to be the little tea cup. Right now the pain and circumstances of my life are difficult, I feel like I'm stuck in the fiery furnace banging on the door and pleading to God "please stop, are you finished yet?" In those moments I see Him look at me with the most compassionate eyes and say "not yet my precious daughter, not yet." I may not understand it all but what I'm realizing is that God isn't putting me through the tests and fire to punish me but instead to refine me and continue the transformation to beauty that He has planned for my life.

I don't know what your facing today. I don't know how long you have been stuck in the pain and trials of today but I do know He is there. He hasn't left you and He promises to "work all things together for His children" Romans 8:28. In the moments where I feel desperate and don't think I can take one more second of the heat I hear His whispers in my ear "if all of these trials bring me closer to You, then I WILL GO THROUGH THE FIRE if You want me to."



*Teacup Story- Author Unknown

Monday, November 5, 2012

Holding on....

With tear stained cheeks, scratched knees, calloused hands and bleeding fingers I picture a frail woman desperately crawling through the muck and the mud to reach Him. Her body in agony from the debilitating disease she has battled for 12 years but even more discouraging than that is the wounded cries of her heart, the isolation, and unanswered prayers.  Her mind is swimming with confusion and frustrations and the only fuel pushing her past exhaustion is the desperation for something different, anything other than the prison she has physically and emotionally been held captive too. A record player keeps playing the words "why me" over and over in her mind. The barrage of emotions change from day to do and minute by minute. Just when she thinks she has found a breakthrough a curve-ball is thrown and the wind knocked straight from her sails. There have been moments of frustration, anger, sadness, and fear which have cycled countless times. My heart breaks for this woman but I get it also because..... I am that woman. 

After 20 years of fighting this incurable disease and watching it take a toll physically and emotionally I have come to that point of desperation. I have asked the questions "why me" I have cried and grieved the dreams I have had to give up, the moments I have missed with my family and a life very different than what I imagined. As I lay my head on the bedside table in a small infusion clinic room praying the solution running through my veins will fix the clotted off iv line which sustains my life each day I wonder "how in the world did I get here." For so long I have just kept crawling through the dirt in search of Him that it doesn't even seem real anymore. Its become so normal for our family that at times I think we have detached ourselves from the reality that this is not "normal." 

Last week was difficult for me especially, I reached a point where I just felt done, empty, poured out and used up. I felt like I had done everything I could to keep crawling through the trenches but no matter how muddy I got I never saw a finish line ahead. Like a mirage in a dry and desolate desert I see wholeness ahead but I can't seem to reach it. I wonder "what am I doing wrong, what are you trying to show me that I just can't seem to get?" In the midst of my questions I hear His voice saying "my precious daughter you haven't done anything to deserve this pain and my heart breaks for you. I catch the very tears that fall from your eyes and weep when you weep but that's just it, I never intended for you to bear this burden. I never intended the heartache to become "normal" and instead of trying to fight for wholeness I want you to let go in the midst of your brokenness and allow me to restore you." Luke 8: He said to her, Daughter, your faith (your confidence and trust in Me) has made you well! Go (enter) into peace (untroubled, undisturbed well-being)."

See for so long I have tried to keep going in the midst of the heartache but Jesus died on the cross for me so that I could be free in Him, not stuck in the bondage of my circumstances. He doesn't want me to become ok with the pain and to deal with it but to desperately cry out for change. He doesn't want me to keep crawling through the trenches but to instead take His hand, cry out and say to the enemy "this is not ok, God has so much more for me than just surviving." 

The lady from Luke with the bleeding could have just survived, she could have detached herself and allowed the pain to be her "normal" she could have thrown up her hands and said "doctors can't help me this is just the way it is." Instead she said "I will not settle for this, I will not be ok with a life less than what God has promised me and that is a life of freedom, blessings, joy, and hope. During this time it was unheard of for a woman to present herself before the people and rulers let alone a woman who was considered "unclean and tainted" because of her infirmities. She could have been killed, ridiculed, or even ignored but she was willing to risk it all, she was desperate for change. Worn out and tired she pushed on, she didn't take no for an answer, she didn't become ok with the pain but she fought tirelessly stopping at nothing less than complete healing and restoration. Today my heart is moved by this story and I'm reminded that when I have no answers, Doctors have no treatments, Medications can't fix the problem and I'm worn out that He has not forgot about me, He is still there, He is still powerful and He can still restore all of the things that have been lost. The dreams I have let go of the memories I have missed out on and the pain I have suffered will not go unused. He can dream even bigger dreams than I could ever plan for myself and make more memories possible that far outweigh those I have missed out on."I know who goes before me, I know who stands behind. The God of angel armies is ALWAYS by my side. The one who reigns forever he is a friend of mine, the God of angel armies is ALWAYS by my side. Nothing formed against me shall stand, You hold the whole world in Your hands. I'm holding on to the Your promises. YOU ARE FAITHFUL, JESUS SO FAITHFUL!"

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Politics Is Hell...



Post Written by: Kevin DeYoung 

Imagine your life were an open book.
Every conversation recorded. Every errant word written down. Every gaffe broadcast before all.
What if everything you ever did was fair game?
What if every action and every decision were held up to the severest scrutiny?
What if all your last minute apologies failed to satisfy?
How would you feel to realize someone knew everything about your past? And someone was chronicling everything about your present?
How would you like to face a barrage of questions for every inconsistency in your life?
What a fearful proposition: anything you ever say or ever do can, and often will, be held against you. If an adversary so desired, he could paint an ugly picture of any of us. And without resorting to lies.
It’s a scary thought to think that your whole life could be an open book. With defenses that do not hold, and sorry’s that do not stick, and excuses which only make things worse.
That’s politics.
And that’s the day of judgment without the blood of Christ.

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2012/11/01/politics-is-hell/


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Not for a moment.....

My heart breaks for the burdens of this world. My heart breaks for the circumstances our family has had to endure. My heart breaks with confusion and exhaustion for the journey I have been on physically and emotionally. It's always easier to look at our circumstances as if they were planned and there is an exact purpose or design for them, that God has a reason behind the pain. As I try to wrap my mind around the complexity of this concept I find it to be an oxymoron. You know when two things are placed together that are opposite like "act naturally" or "seriously funny." I fell in love 10 years ago with the most gentle, gracious, loving God who cradles me against His Chest tenderly when my heart breaks but yet I'm also supposed to believe He allows or even causes pain and trials for a purpose? That too me is an oxymoron at it's peak. I'm supposed to be comfortable with the idea that God allows Cancer, Murder, Rape, Human Trafficking, car accidents, the death of a soldier or amputation, school shootings, dying children? 

Everything I have ever been taught about God is of His goodness and Sovereignty so to justify the deep wounds this world inflicts upon us as being for a purpose doesn't sit well with me. "Bad things that happen to us in our lives do not have a meaning when they happen to us. They do not happen for any reason that would cause us to accept them willingly. But we can give them a meaning. We can redeem these tragedies from senselessness by imposing meaning on them. The questions we should be asking is not, "Why did this happen to me? What did I do to deserve this?" That is really and unanswerable, pointless question. A better question would be "Now that this has happened to me, what am I going to do about it?" 

I'm sure for some this seems devastating because like me I want to believe my illness has happened for this amazing purpose God has ordained but really I just think life hands us difficulties. It's not fair to think God has chosen me to have the privilege of battling this disease for a larger purpose than someone else who He loves just as much. It's not comforting to a parent who has lost a child to hear there was a purpose because they still have empty arms, its not ok to tell someone dying from Cancer that "there is a reason." There isn't a huge reason and plan initially for the devastation that strikes us but regardless there is a God who is constant, faithful, loving and redeeming. Instead of looking at the burdens we face as a plan God allows I will hold tight to the fact that He is ALWAYS GOOD. God never causes pain or despair but always takes our broken pieces and mends them back together gently for something beautiful. 

Wilder offers us the image of a beautiful tapestry. Looked at from the right side, it is an intricately woven work of art, drawing together threads of different lengths and colors to make up and inspiring picture. But turn the tapestry over, and you will see a hodgepodge of many threads, some short and some long, some smooth and some cut and knotted, going off in different directions. Wilder offers this as his explanation of why good people have to suffer in this life. God has a pattern into which all of our lives fit. His pattern requires that some lives be twisted, knotted, or cut short while others extend to impressive lengths, not because one thread is more deserving than another, but simply because the pattern requires it. Looked at from underneath, from our vantage point in life, God's pattern of rewards and punishment seems arbitrary and without design, like the underside of a tapestry. But looked at from outside this life, from God's vantage point, every twist and know is seen to have its place in a great design that adds up to a work of art" (Harold Kushner. Romans 8:28 "We know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him."

As I was driving in my car this morning one of my favorite songs came on the radio and the words to that song reminded me that "Even in the dark, even when its hard He will never leave me." Life is hard, we are faced with trials that seem impossible and unfair but it's comforting to know that in the midst of the storms God is still constant, powerful, loving, gracious and gentle. When there aren't answers to why it's in those moments that He picks me up and cradles me against His beating heart rocking me back and forth. 

"We do not love God because He is perfect. We do not love Him because He protects us from all harm and keeps evil things from happening to us. We do not love Him because we are afraid of Him, or because He will hurt us if we turn our back on Him. We love Him because He is God, because He is the author of all the beauty and the order around us, the source of our strength and the hope and courage within us, and of other people's strength and hope and courage with which we are helped in our time of need. We love Him because He is the best part of ourselves and of our world. That is what it means to love. Love is not the admiration of perfection, but the acceptance of an imperfect person with all his imperfections, because loving and accepting him makes us better and stronger" Harold Kushner.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Not a dictator....

As a little girl life seemed much easier. I couldn't wait to grow up and have this uninhibited sense of freedom. What I didn't realize until I became an adult though was that there wasn't this new found freedom uncovered but actually a greater sense of captivity by the world. As I watch my 7 year old daughter play with Barbies, make friendship bracelets and draw pictures of flowers and sunshine there innocence and simple beauty found through her eyes. I have said numerous times over the past few months "Macie growing up isn't fun so just stay little forever." Of course she scrunches up that button nose covered in freckles just as I did at her age and laughs but I wish I could scoop her up in my arms and keep her 7 forever. Now let me clarify and say everything about being an adult isn't bad it's just super complicated. I love being able to eat a brownie for breakfast if I wish or stay up as late as I want.  Being able to go places that I choose, decorate my house, cook my family dinner, go shopping and be a wife and mother but let's get honest for a minute its  complicated. I can't just eat a brownie for breakfast because I feel like it, I can't just stay up late without feeling like I got hit by a truck the next day, I can't go shopping and buy anything I feel because there are bills and responsibilities and being a wife and mom is hard work!

I mess up daily and am still sorting through being a grown up and making wise decisions. There isn't an instruction manual at Barnes and Noble that you can pick up with all the categories to being an adult with a step by step strategy on how to conquer life but there is a God that sent His only Son Jesus to die for me. The same Jesus that died on the cross for me when I was innocent at 7 also died for my imperfections and weaknesses at 29. Life doesn't get easier once you begin a relationship with Jesus but you can always count on Him to help you and through His word the Bible you will find an instruction manual for the difficulties. One of the most difficult Chapters on being an adult is about money. The Bible mentions money 2300 times, 5x's more than prayer and 5x's more than faith. Did you know the average debt per family is 136%? When talking about Credit Cards the average Credit Card debt is $14,575. The average debt for 21 year olds is $12,000 and for 28 year olds which is my age bracket average $28,000 in debt. Money causes young people to be held in bondage, marriages split and families destroyed. 55% of families are living paycheck to paycheck which causes stress, worry and poison in relationships.

Hearing these statistics its terrifying! The bondage that we can find ourselves in because of money doesn't limit itself to a certain category of people, it doesn't matter what economic bracket you fall into money can be difficult for all of us. We are under this misconception that if we just had a little more money life would be so much easier but what often happens is the more you make the more you spend or the more you find yourself in debt. Proverbs 2:7 "The rich rule over the poor and the borrower is slave to the lender." They did a study and found that the average lottery winner is bankrupt within 3 years of striking it rich. Like all other temptations and strongholds money can be a big one that Satan tries to use to lure us into bondage. I would love to say that money isn't an issue for me but to be honest it has been at the root of difficulties in my husband and I's marriage at different times. I am a spender but he is a saver. We are both moving towards improvement but I think you can take both sides to the extreme and get into trouble. It's crazy how many difficulties in life we can pick apart and find somewhere money being a contributor. "Money is not the root of all evil its the love of money. Money is neutral it's how you use it."Matthew 6:24 "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."

Money is an uncomfortable topic for most people and one of those subjects that's off limits to discuss openly. As scary as it sounds "money is one of the best outward measurements of the inward condition of our hearts." Although we would like to place money out of bounds in life we must surrender it to the Lord and ask for His wisdom and guidance in our spending, saving and giving. Money doesn't have to be a dictator in our lives and a destroyer of our relationships but instead we must take a stand and say "As for me and my family we will serve the Lord in ALL THINGS INCLUDING MONEY."

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Promise and Prayer

Exhausted I opened my email today to find a message from my sweet friend Jamie that took my breathe away by how perfect it is.

By Renee Swoope Proverbs 31 Ministries

Are you facing something that’s more than you can handle on your own?
You are not in this alone.
God is with you.

He is for you.
Jesus is working on your behalf.


Jesus, You know what I am facing.  And how it feels like way more than I can handle. I’m  tired. I’m weary… yet THIS I call to mind, therefore I will have hope – because the Lord’s great love for me, I am not consumed. Your mercy never ceases.  You give strength to the weary {that’s me}, and increases the power of the weak. Because I have put my faith and trust in Jesus, and He lives in me, then I know that GREATER is HE who is in me than he who is in the world trying to discourage me and defeat me.
Today , I will not focus on my circumstances but, instead I will focus on YOU — Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than I can even ask or imagine according to YOUR power that is at work in me. Jesus, I am choosing today to walk in the assurance of Your love and the security of Your promises as I face this giant. My  confidence is in You and Your power that is at work in me! In Your Name, amen. {Lamentations 3:21-22, Isaiah 40:29, 1 John 4:4, Ephesians 3:20}

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Empowered for anything......

"Felix Baumgartner stood alone at the edge of space, poised in the open doorway of a capsule suspended above Earth and wondering if he would make it back alive. Twenty four miles below him, millions of people were right there with him, watching on the Internet and marveling at the wonder of the moment.A second later, he stepped off the capsule and barreled toward the New Mexico desert as a tiny white speck against a darkly-tinted sky. Millions watched him breathlessly as he shattered the sound barrier and then landed safely about nine minutes later, becoming the world’s first supersonic skydiver"  As Macie and I sat glued to the t.v. all 9 minutes you could've heard a pin drop. The intensity of the moment was overwhelming for us just watching. It seemed impossible that he would succeed and extremely dangerous. All human rationale would point away from even considering such a risky jump but here before you was a man with a dream, a vision and a drive to push beyond that fear and adversity and only focus on the potential success ahead.

As Felix glanced over the edge of the Space Balloon which held him safely along his ascent to an altitude of 128, 100ft he took a deep breathe unaware of if it was his last. I can't imagine the plethora of emotions running through his head. Fear, excitement, doubt, anticipation, anxiousness. As the questions of the unknown clouded his mind with thoughts of whether he would ever see his family again and all the logistics of his jump ahead he simply closed his eyes and let go. When asked what he was feeling right before he was quoted as saying "please God, don’t let me down…but if you are standing in His Son’s arm, you know, nothing can go wrong at that moment. That was what I was thinking." To imagine being on the edge of so many unknowns but still resting assured in Christ's faithfulness is the perfect example of faith. When everything before you points the other way and your human fear is crippling and yet you still make the decision to let go and rest in His arms is a testimony.

None of us will ever jump from a balloon at 128,100ft in the air I'm sure but we have all found ourselves teetering over the edge of something difficult in life trying to decide whether to rest in the safe zone and not risk the unknown of the jump or to take a deep breath, lean forward, and let go. Like Felix it can be scary to look down and see nothing there but only an open path that God has asked us to travel down. The task at hand may look much bigger than we feel we are capable of and it just seems impossible, but if God has placed it in front of us then we can rest assured that He will help us along the way.

One of my favorite verses which I have shared many times before is Philipians 4:13 "I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency]." This verse doesn't say I have strength for some things, a few things, or the easy things it says I have strength for ALL things in Christ. I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him. God's power and strength is limitless so if we are capable of all things equal to Christ there are no limits. In the moments where we feel incapable and inadequate we can be reminded that our strength is not based on human power but the supernatural strength and power of Christ for anything which He has called us to. 


 I don't know what situation you are facing as you dangle on the side of your balloon today but I do know that if you will loosen your grip and let go God will be faithful and He will catch you and help you glide gently through the clouds of the unknown to the finish line on the ground below. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Just keep....

Today I was reminded of a previous post from January called "Keep Running."

"Just keep running." I can hear being whispered softly in my ear. When everything in me wants to stop, when my body is screaming in agony and exhaustion, when I know the finish line is somewhere up ahead but I can't quite see the yellow tape yet, I hear it again, "just keep running." In that moment I push forward with every ounce of strength I possibly have left and focus on whats ahead. The road already traveled was difficult and because of the faithfulness of that faint whisper I find fuel in not looking back and not giving up but pressing on towards the prize."

Although my heart still knows this promise I have come to a new point of endurance. As I try to wrap my mind around the struggles of this week and the painful circumstances of those around me my human understanding falls short continually over and over. No explanation seems sufficient for why 3 young girls struggle with life altering illnesses, no human explanation consoles the heart break that a friend is experiencing at the devastation of her mom battling the end stages of Multiple Sclerosis and having to make life altering decisions when she is 28. The more we live the more we learn the more we learn the more we know right? Somewhere this theory doesn't make sense and really I think the more we live the more confusing life seems. As we age we become more wise but I don't think that wiseness entails a deeper understanding because honestly there is just no understanding to some things in life.

There are moments in our most difficult struggles where I think its even impossible to see the finish line or to know where in the world the path is leading and that's the thing God is showing me now that instead of pushing forward and running I think we just float. We allow the current of God's embrace to wrap tightly around us and keep us moving one step at a time, one milestone at a time and one blessing at a time. I have always liked the children's movie "Finding Nemo" and I just now am getting it. Sure it's a cute movie but really its about a dad being seperated from his son and trying desperately to find him, the words repeated over and over again throughout the long journey was "just keep swimming." He doesn't know where he is at but only to keep going in one direction.




I think this is what God is asking from us at times. Not to know the why or even where we are going but to only let go and let Him move us. To surrender our hopes, dreams and understanding to His purpose and know thats far greater than all we have planned. There are moments of frustration where we just don't get it and instead of trying to figure things out He promises to carry us until we can see the home stretch again. "Even though good people may be bothered by trouble in life they will NOT be defeated" Proverbs 24:16.

Although we may go through difficulties in life we have an amazing purposeful God who uses our suffering to cause a rippling effect in the hearts of others. When water ripples there is no end, it may look still after awhile but there is constant motion within forever just as God takes our pain in the presence of His power and uses it over and over and over.  I don't know what impossible situation your facing today but I know that God only asks for you to be still, let go and allow Him to move you. If your facing a difficult situation remember God can handle it, your job is to keep persevering until He does.

"Keep Running..."


"Just keep running." I can hear being whispered softly in my ear. When everything in me wants to stop, when my body is screaming in agony and exhaustion, when I know the finish line is somewhere up ahead but I can't quite see the yellow tape yet, I hear it again, "just keep running." In that moment I push forward with every ounce of strength I possibly have left and focus on whats ahead. The road already traveled was difficult and because of the faithfulness of that faint whisper I find fuel in not looking back and not giving up but pressing on towards the prize.

I have never been much of a runner. In junior high school I ran cross country but it wasn't because I was fast. There was something about the endurance and perseverance it took to run that drew me in. I remembered I tried a 5k once which is only 3 miles. About 3/4 the way through the race when my body was done and I was sure I coudlnt do it anymore I wanted to give up more than anything but I thought about perseverance. I finished the race, I didnt finish first or even second but I finished. I finished and did the best I could and that was an amazing accomplishment. I may have looked a "hot mess" but when I crossed that finish line I had persevered and that prize was the best. Sometimes life can feel alot like that 5k race. You run and run and after awhile you feel exhausted. Your body and mind is crying out in agony to throw in the towel but then you hear that whisper "keep running." You may not have one ounce of strength left, I have been there. You may feel sick to your stomach you are so tired but again "keep running." When everything in you wants to give up, when Satan tells you, you can't keep going, when life hands you every reason to stop God gives you just enough to "keep running." You may get to the finish line a mess, you may get to the finish line in pain but you will get to the finish line. Phillipians 3:13-14 "Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do; Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."  If you’re going to whip the devil in every circumstance of life, you must have the attitude that you refuse to quit and that the devil will not defeat you or take anything that legally belongs to you again! Remember, in Christ, if you’ll stay faithful to God’s Word, you are assured of the victory in every circumstance.

I will be honest over the past few weeks I have been at the painful point of exhaustion. I feel like I have been running for so long and the finish line just seems to get farther and farther away. There were moments where Satan tried to tell me I couldn't do it and the circumstances of life wanted me to believe I had every reason to throw in the towel but then in my moments of weakness He whispered in my ear "Amber my precious daughter I love you, just keep running." I am declaring today that regardless of what circumstances may come in my life, even when I'm at the point of pain and exhaustion I will NOT give up Satan. I have come too far and trained to hard too give up. In those moments where you can't see the finish line, in those moments where you can't take one more step remember the many that you have already taken and the journey you have completed. Remember the prize ahead and allow Him to give you the strength you need to "keep running." 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

My Prayer Circle....

As I stood in the center of the circle with its perimeters being made up of the most beautiful women prayer warriors I know my heart was overwhelmed. In our community groups we have been reading about the "Circle Maker" and how the very hurts, and dreams of our hearts should be placed audaciously in our circle and prayed over believing God would answer whatever it is we have asked. Earlier this week a friend approached me and said God had laid it on her heart and a few others to place me in their circle. The health trials at this point have become overwhelming, my courage and fight is running out and I have been pretty discouraged. I had come to a point where I doubted that my circumstances would ever change.

Tonight the most beautiful reminder was shown to me as I walked out my front door and saw 20+ women in a circle in my front yard to pray on my behalf. Walking out and seeing all their beautiful faces I was stunned, I felt unworthy of their love and prayers but desperate for change and blessed that they were there to help plead my case to Him. As I stood in the middle I was embraced by their tender hands and bold prayers. After we prayed each woman placed a flag in my yard representing the circle in which they prayed around me. As I look out over the white flags placed perfectly in a circle in my front yard I am pushed to keep fighting the battle and reminded that God still has a purpose. I am so thankful for sisters in Christ whom I can be real, worn out, and hurting before and instead of seeing my weaknesses they are there to pick me up and be my team of warriors. My heart will forever remember this moment and when God has His victory in my circumstances we will all look back with excitement and know it was this very moment that our cries out to Him opened the door to a breakthrough. Thank You, love me :)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The story unfolding....

The ballad being written by the most eloquent composer is one of beauty and redemption. Each day as the pieces flow sweetly together in a song that's made up of so many parts and pieces a masterpiece unfolds right before my eyes. It hasn't been an instant work of art but a continual attempt at writing and rewriting the very song on the page representing my life. The song is full of surprises, rises and falls in the melody. There are parts that bring calmness and peace and others which bring pain and sorrow. Ultimately the beauty isn't present based solely on the triumphs but its the valleys that lead to the mountain tops that show His victory and faithfulness.

Each day is a battle but yet a reminder of the trials conquered on the road already traveled. I am constantly overwhelmed at not what I posses right now but the journey which has brought me to this point. The journey hasn't gotten easier but the road in which I walk is less lonely. Each day I am reminded that I don't have to face the fears of tomorrow or sorrows of yesterday alone because the same God who conquered the past is holding my hand into the future. The God that I cling to now each day is the same God I met 12 years ago as a lost, hurt, and confused girl.At the very moment in which I surrendered my life to Him I was forever changed.

I stand overwhelmed that although I am so imperfect and unworthy that the God of the whole universe cares about every little detail of my life. When my heart is troubled and my soul aches from the weapons Satan has tried to beat me down with, God is my refuge and my strength. The very worries and joys that fill my life are even more personal and sacred to Him. The very thoughts and emotions that consume my soul are held tenderly and delicately in the palm of His mighty hands. Though life is full of uncertainties and trials my God is constant, unchanging, faithful and powerful. I will remain confident that in all things I will see the goodness of Christ. I will remain confident that the same God who brought me out of the muck and the mud and set me free will continue transforming me and redeeming my story.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Have a seat....


Lately God has been challenging me concerning the "Mary vs Martha Syndrome"

We read in the Bible a story of two sisters, Mary and Martha. Luke 10: 38-42 "Now while they were on their way, it occurred that Jesus entered a certain village, and a woman named Martha received and welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister named Mary, who seated herself at the Lord's feet and was listening to His teaching. But Martha [overly occupied and too busy] was distracted with much serving; and she came up to Him and said, Lord, is it nothing to You that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me [to lend a hand and do her part along with me]But the Lord replied to her by saying, Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; There is need of only one or but
a few things. Mary has chosen the good portion that which is to her advantage], which shall not be taken away from her.

So often we suffer from the "Martha" Syndrome, spending so much time and energy being busy and fussing with the little things in life when Jesus wants nothing more than for us to be like Mary instead, not consuming ourselves by actions but instead just sitting at the feet of Jesus in total adoration for Him. As I find myself staring at the clock through blurry tired eyes at 2 a.m. I realize once again I had managed to stay up way too late doing way too much. Just yesterday I had confessed my need and encouraged others need to transform from being stuck in the "Martha" Syndrome when God wants us to live in a Mary world, I had managed to find task after task to keep me busy instead of just sitting and being still for a few hours. Even though what I was doing was serving the Lord its still not what the Lord wants my focus to be on. Its great to serve the Lord but if we are constantly caught up in doing then how can we learn and be fed spiritually so we can grow more in Christ so that our actions will be spirit led? This is exactly what I had done, I was too busy and allowed myself to get caught up doing and spent too little time quieting my heart and really worshiping and listening to His voice. I'm not saying the Lord was displeased with my efforts but I think because of busyness so often we miss out on what God wants to say to us in the midst of them. God is tugging for our undivided attention each day free from running errands, the kids activities, cleaning, cooking and the list could go on and on. Obviously we cant just cut all those things out of our schedule but instead of penciling Him in on whats left in our planner we need to find a spot first for Him to sit and spend some uninterrupted time devoted to Him just like we do with our other commitments then fill the rest of our schedules up with the other stuff.  God wants nothing more than for us to pull up a chair next to Him and just sit reading in His word or being quiet and listening to what He wants to say to our hearts. But so often instead of pulling up a comfy chair to sink down into and stay awhile we pull up this:



 
It may be called a chair but can we really sit unreserved and relax?? I wonder how many of us sit in chairs like this. We are trying to be Mary and sit at Jesus feet but yet we choose a chair that is missing an arm, a leg...pretty much half the chair so that we still can keep a little control on not fully letting go and relaxing. To sit in this chair you would have to consciously hold half your weight up only one arm and one leg could fully rest and the remaining part of your body would take energy and focus to hold up. This isn't what Jesus is asking of us. He doesn't want our half hearted efforts to sit with Him but have only half our focus on Him alone, while the other half is still in control and focused on something else. Jesus wants us to plop down into a big cushy chair facing forward focused solely on Him so that we can understand what it means to really adore and worship Him with our thoughts, and our time. Its a sacrifice to say that you are not only going to sit and be still with Him but that you are going to throw out the broken chair and give all your worries and control regardless of whats going on in your life and you will give Him your undivided attention. So relax and pull up a chair, a real chair and spend some time with Him.