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!!!!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Tough Love.....

“Oh please mommy all my friends have it.” The magic phrase that shoots like a fiery dart straight towards any parent’s heart. The statement that against all others holds the most leverage in the eyes of kids because to them being like their friends is everything. This statement was thrown out in the midst of a battle against Macie vs Mommy/Daddy over TEXTING, yes you heard me right texting!

Macie through a series of events was given my old iPhone which she uses as her iPod and apparently there is an app available that allows you to put texting on your iPod. She has mentioned it before but I just shrugged it off hoping it wouldn’t turn into a “major” discussion but this week when she mentioned it again I realized it wasn’t going to be that simple. I’m still not real sure how much 8 year olds could possibly have to discuss in their lives that they need texting but for whatever the reason this was the reasoning behind yesterday’s volcanic eruption of emotions in the Cameron household complete with tears and for one of the first times ever I can remember Macie being totally ticked off at me . 

As you can imagine the eruption wasn’t the result of Macie’s joy at our answer but instead total disdain because of those two simple letters N-O.  Of course we tried the whole nice guy approach and tried reasoning with her and making her understand it wasn’t because we don’t trust her that we are saying no but it’s merely for her safety and because we don’t trust the world. Through Macie’s eyes though that wasn’t the right answer and she wasn’t satisfied with our decision and at the end of it I felt like the wicked witch of the west taping my fingers together making that creepy “I’m out to get you” laugh. I’m pretty sure on t.v. you never see it unfold like this but instead whenever the parents make a decision the kids don’t agree with they look like a superhero full of love, joy and wisdom that the kids eat up and welcome with open arms, yet somehow that’s not how it happened here. 

As I was getting a shower and ready for bed last night I just had a really heavy heart for how things had played out and I felt so bummed and frustrated with the whole situation. I wasn’t second guessing the decision Scott and I made to say no to the texting but I felt unsatisfied with how the discussion ended and the way Macie received our answer. So after a few hours had passed I decided to go upstairs and crawl in bed to her and try to talk over the situation again with her in hopes something would be resolved and she wouldn’t be mad at me anymore and I could feel the uneasiness in my heart lifted. I explained to Macie that I love her more than she could possibly ever realize and that my heart felt burdened and heavy at the thought of ever failing to protect her. I tried explaining that she was a little girl and part of texting holds great responsibility that I know she could handle in some ways and we trust her and know she is a good kid but as her mommy and daddy it’s our job to handle all that messy stuff right now while she is little and we just want her to be carefree and a kid and not have to worry about grown up stuff yet. As the conversation ended I felt better about things and prayed last night for God to give me wisdom daily to know the right answers and to do the best I could as her protector and leader to make hard decisions even when she doesn’t understand.

As I rolled out of bed this morning I noticed there was a card laying on my pillow that Macie had made for me and she placed one on Scotts pillow as well and inside she wrote:

“Dear Mom, Thank you for trying to keep me safe. I understand the point about the texting junk, again thanks J
<3 Mac

Wow, I instantly had to hold back tears at the sight of her precious card that brought affirmation to my heart more than she could ever know. I started thinking about how often even as a grown up that my heavenly father tries to protect me from the things of this world and guide me through paths that I may not understand and how difficult that can be. There are times I would like to throw a temper tantrum and ask “why?” There are times I don’t quite get it when God says no to something I’m asking for or starting down a direction in life I feel like is right and He says no. I realized that like the battle with my precious Macie that God knows more than I know, He is wiser and loves me more than I can imagine and longs only to provide the very best blessings and future for my life and I may not see the whole picture but only have pieces to the puzzle but He does.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts” Isaiah 55:8-9

I felt this conviction fall over me that instead of fighting against His perfect will I need to be obedient to Him and with gratitude be thankful for His guidance in my life. I need to write these words on the wall of my heart:

“Dear God, thank you for trying to keep me safe I understand your point, thanks again.”
<3 Amber

“Father God, I want to thank You for Your sovereign power in my life, that You arrange all circumstances-past, present, and future-for good for me because I love You and am called according to Your purposes (Romans 8:28). It gives me great assurance and security in You to know that You know the plans You have for me. I also can rest in the fact that You want only the best for me, a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11) Help to remember that Your provision is all encompassing, Amen” Elizabeth George.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Those Perfect Quirks......

“Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
    you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
    Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
    I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
    you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
    how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
    all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
    before I’d even lived one day” (Psalm 139:13-22)

The very imperfections that make us beautiful are also the things we work to change. We live in a world where the Plastic Surgery Industry rakes in millions if not billions of dollars each year altering the very quirks that define us. We fill our minds with molds of what is “normal” and beat ourselves up if somehow we falter from that very segment on the graph. Height, weight, eye color, lash length, breast size, it continues on to a downward spiral until even men now focus on the ways in which we are told we don’t quite fit in. Our society has turned into the “Land of Misfit Toys” and somehow instead of taking a stand we continue to work tirelessly to “fit” in. We are all running around aimlessly trying to fit in which causes the line to be erased and redrawn in the sand towards perfection. We are a society known for plastic surgery; tanning, SPANX, fake nails, and the list could go on and on. Now I’m not saying any of these things are necessarily bad because I have “fake and baked” and tried sucking in my belly a time or two to pull up those awfully tight SPANX so the rest of the day you don’t even want to think about going to the bathroom because it’s so much work, but really?!

“Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

Each year as Christmas rolls around there is this excitement that stirs within so many of us to decorate a tree. At our house we go to my in-laws and pick the perfect fresh Canaan Fir Tree out and bring it home to decorate. We add lights and ornaments and before you know it the once very natural looking tree has a bit of glow and character. This is what I am saying when we talk about our bodies. Each one of us have different things about our characters that make up who we are. I like crazy and big hair J and have my own unique style and that’s just apart of not what DEFINES me but adds character to who I am. However the moment we allow ourselves to work tirelessly trying to be something we aren’t or take away the very simple and natural things God has created within us we are destroying His design for us. 

I was talking with a friend tonight about Psalm 139. “You knit me together perfectly in my mother’s womb, you knew each and every part of my being.” This verse wasn’t written for Amber as a newborn, an infant, toddler or even child but for me and you for each season of our lives. It was written when we are 8 and full of energy, 30 with stretch marks, and 95 with wrinkles because what God created was perfect. He knew before time how beautiful we would be and that I would have lots of freckles and be less than 5 foot. He knew that my husband Scott would be bald at 30 and have the sweetest and warming smile. He knew that my sister Stephanie would scrunch her nose when she laughs and Bethany would have dimples. Each one of us is different and that very uniqueness is what defines our beauty, those little quirks are merely apart of Gods perfection.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Beauty in letting go.........

There is beauty in the imperfections, the mess, the raw truth. Lately it’s become more evident to me how much I long to live by this truth but then find myself picking apart every little detail about myself, my life, my past, my flaws and before I know it I see nothing but ugly. I fail to see the road which I have traveled and the transformation the Lord has done in my life, I fail to see beauty instead of ashes and just see a pile of rubbish instead. Maybe you can relate and feel like as a mom you just can’t get it right, as a wife you feel like your falling short, your bank account is empty, you don’t feel skinny enough, pretty enough, creative enough, talented enough, your worn out, used up and flat out DONE!  

Yesterday as one of our Christmas break activities my husband, daughter and I went to see the Disney movie Frozen. If you haven’t seen the movie yet first of all, GO NOW!!! It’s magical but with a beautiful story line to go with it. Second I hope I don’t spoil any of it for you if you haven’t seen it but there was a very significant part for me that challenged my heart and made me pursue the real meaning of “beauty.” 

The whole movie the one sister is expected to hide who she really is, she is taught to be afraid of the very things that really make her beautiful. In one of the scenes she sings a song that says “Let it Go” it’s her cry to let go of all the thoughts, fears, and misconceptions about how the very rawness of who she is should be considered ugly and something to fear when in fact when she learns to let go and be free the most beautiful things happen. This happens a lot in our own lives. Based on our thoughts, fears and misconceptions we hide who we are, where we have been, what we have done and the flaws and imperfections of our lives. We allow the enemy to taunt us and put lies in our head that “if only I was like that person, or I will never do what that person can do, or if they knew what I have done they would never want to be my friend anymore.”  I am here to tell you from one GIGANTIC SINNER WITH A JACKED UP PAST, A DOOZIE MISTAKE MAKER AND STILL FAR FROM EVEN REMOTELY SEEING A GLIMPSE OF PERFECTION THAT THOSE ARE LIES FROM THE PIT OF HELL FROM SATAN! You push those thoughts out of your mind and you allow Jesus name to be on your lips, the world doesn’t define you, you don’t define you and certainly the enemy doesn’t define you but you are defined by God who sent His one and only son Jesus to die on the cross for all those messed up thoughts, imperfections, flaws and mistakes!

1 John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life!!!”

God is a loving, gracious, Savior who works to redeem our stories and in our freedom through Him we find beauty. We can let go and allow Him to transform our stories, use our imperfections for His purpose and trade in those ashes for beauty. We can be who we were meant to be and we don’t have to hide behind those things we fear will make us undesirable, the past, our mistakes or our imperfections but instead we submit them to the hands of Christ and allow Him to sculpt and transform them into something magnificent. “No matter how deep the pit or dark the night, I will always look for you and rescue you because I love you with an everlasting love. You are precious to me. Even when you mess up, even when you’re careless or mistaken or afraid or broken or weak, I still love you. Even when you are incapable of doing anything for anyone, including yourself, I still love you. And just as I come for you, I come for all those who have made mistakes, and those who are overlooked, for those devalued and despised. I come for all the wrong people-the careless and uncared for, the merry and miserable. I come for the lost, whether the lost is a silly sheep, a silver coin, or a squandering son” Christine Caine.mples

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Stepping into 2014.....

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. As I stare at the calendar and see January 1st reflected back the fear of the unknown is now reality as we leap forward into 2014. We will no longer be able to stay in the safety of 2013 but instead be forced to step into the unknown of whats next for the year.

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 2014 the best year ever or the worst based on our attitude of praise. Maybe 2013 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 today 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 2013 to 2014 I'm laying down the things from the past. I'm choosing to let go of the pain and struggles of 2013 so that my hands are empty and ready to receive the blessings and beauty of 2014. 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." The great beauty of Christ is that He is constant, He is faithful, and He is present in every moment of our lives. He was with us in the midst of 2013 and will go before us in 2014 and we can trust in the hope and power of His omnipotence.

"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.