Saturday, May 18, 2013

Hard times ahead...

This week has been a little crazy. I try to put KJ down for her morning nap, but by the time I sit down and open my bible to start reading she's UP! She will not nap! So needless to say, I haven't had time to post anything.

This will be short because we have our regional track meet in 45 minutes so I've got to head out the door. But I'll share with you some of my latest thoughts and prayers.

Looking at our life right now,  I feel SOOOO blessed. So full. So satisfied and grateful. I LOVE my baby girl. My husband. My family and Kent's family. I love our life here in Memphis, our community group and friends and our beautiful home. We are in a great place right now. BUT...we are comfortable. I always get a little nervous when I feel like things are just sailing right along and all is good. Don't get me wrong, I long for these times and enjoy the heck out of them! But for everything there is a SEASON. The Bible says, "In this world you WILL have trouble...". It isn't an IF but a WHEN that trouble will come. I guess I just sort of feel nervous about the upcoming trial that I know we will face. I shouldn't worry, I know, I know. But I guess I just wonder.... how I will respond when tested, how my faith will stand, how I will deal. I am not good at rolling with the punches. When things don't go as planned, it takes me awhile to get over it. I wish I was this easy going flexible person who goes with the flow....but I'm usually not. And I KNOW that my life will NOT go as planned but it still gets me every time. I know hardship WILL come. I don't want to fear it, though it's hard not to. But I do want to be ready. (Is that possible?)

The Bible has SO much to say about hard times. It is our source of hope, our light in the darkness, our book of promises that we hold onto when the world shakes us up. God knows we need an anchor of hope for our souls when our lives get flipped upside down. I think of some friends right now struggling with the darkest of times. A girl my age with a 2 year old daughter, watching her husband suffer from spreading cancer is the heaviest on my heart.  I'm sure you all know of at least 10 people going through trials or suffering.  The world seems very dark!

So lately I have been writing down things God says that I know will help me in my times of trouble. Not saying it will just make everything warm and fuzzy, but I hope it will anchor my soul in God. So I will add on to these verses as I read through my 'Bible in a year' plan, but these two I came across today.

Psalm 111:3 "Everything God does reveals his glory and his majesty."

Psalm 111:7 "All that He does is just and GOOD."

Two simple verses that I want to plant deeply into my heart...that ALL God does, whether I see it or feel it, is good. God is only good, and when bad things happen I have to trust that God will use it to show off his glory and majesty!  It's all about HIM, it's not about me. I am not the main character of this show, God is. And my life is all about revealing HIM and showing Him off. If I have to go through suffering (please no!), then it will somehow better show off God to the world.

(I just read from John 9 where a man was born blind. People wrongly believed it was because of his sins or his parents' sins that a man was born blind but Jesus corrects them. He says, "He was born blind SO THAT the power of God could be seen in him." 9:3. Then Jesus heals this man and yep. God's power was very clearly seen by that man's years suffering.)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Lalala

Kennedy-You are 10 months old and SO MUCH FUN!

This month has been AMAZING!  It's awesome being able to watch you learn SO MUCH so quickly!

Here are some things you do right now:
-wave at everyone you see
-eat whatever we are eating (no more baby food! YAY!)
-use baby sign language for 'more' when you want more food (this is awesome!). We are trying to teach you some other things, but that is the sign you care most about because you love your food!
-blow kisses (really just put your hand over your mouth when I say 'kisses!')
-climb stairs: I was laying on the living room couch with a migraine one morning, letting you play on the floor when it suddenly got too quiet. I looked down to see what you were doing and you had crawled over to the staircase and were climbing up your 4th stair! Scared the life out of me and now you shimmy up those steps like a pro (WITH mommy right behind you).
-use your push walker thing to walk all around the living room floor!
-chew on the crib rail and leave teeth marks in the wood (Grrrrrrr! Not cool, KJ!)
-stick out your tongue and say 'lalalala'
-say 'dada' and mean it (can't get the 'mm' sound yet)
-yell' at me and 'talk' back when you are mad that I'm not doing what you want. It's HILARIOUS (but it won't be when you can actually talk!)

I can see you really trying to communicate with us and you get especially frustrated when we don't know what you want.

You used to sleep 7pm-7am almost every night, but this month you have been going to bed later and waking up between 5:45am and 6:30am. I REALLY liked the other system we had going on a lot better!

You nurse 4-5 times a day and eat when we eat. You wear size 2 shoes and diapers still and 9 month clothes.

Pretty sure your top teeth are starting to come through because your gums are swollen and you have been a little fussier the past couple days. I can't imagine you with more teeth! You are growing up!


Your favorite thing to do is to is make a mess! You take things out of boxes or off of shelves and throw them on the floor.  You go in our tupperware cabinet and take out every single piece.  I have caught you in our bedroom closet pulling all my shoes off the shoe rack or 'helping' me do laundry by pulling the clothes out of the basket. You prefer this to playing with any of your toys and it is getting really hard to keep the house clean!

You never sit still. You really won't sit anywhere except your high chair where there is food involved.  You are a girl on the move! This makes our monthly chair pictures impossible. When I sit you in that chair you immediately try to get down or climb over the armrest. You aren't happy unless you are moving!


 Hopefully we will get some good family pictures tomorrow on mother's day. (Oh yeah, it's still weird that I am a MOM!) You are such a blessing KJ, and I love every stage with you! I cannot believe your 1 year birthday is coming up so soon! Ahhhh! Where did my baby go? We love you so much and thank God for each day He gives us with you. We love being your parents!




Friday, May 10, 2013

Hungry?

Man. God is so awesome. Don't you love when you just happen to turn to a random scripture and it speaks right to your heart and is exactly what you are going through or needed to hear? God is SUCH a personal God, isn't He? As much as it sort of stings to be convicted about something, to realize you have messed up and need to change your behavior, I LOVE it at the same time because it is evidence that the Holy Spirit lives in me and is at work in my heart. This morning was that kind of a morning. I was writing in my prayer journal even before reading my 'Bible in a year' passage and everything I was journaling about happened to be what the scripture was on this morning!

So first I'll share some things I was journaling about. The song I was listening to kept repeating the line, "Captivate us with your presence..." and I guess I was just thinking about how awesome Jesus is. Which led me to realize how little I just sit and reflect on Him. And how rarely I really am captivated by His presence. I thought about how I choose my own comforts or pleasures to satisfy me over Him. I choose sleep, or food, or spending time on my phone instead of seeking Him. Every day, all day long! (Honestly, even when I DO choose to spend time in the word, I can still MISS Jesus...do you know what I mean? Jesus scolded the pharisees for that, saying "You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about ME, yet you refuse to come to me!" John 5:39. Yikes! Convicting!)

Jesus would get up WHILE IT WAS STILL DARK to spend time with his Father. He longed for that time, he chose it over time with people, over sleep, over food. And it just convicted me how shallow my longing is for God! Lord, captivate me with your presence!  

What am I captivated by instead? What draws me or delights me? I know that when I'm bored or upset or alone, I think that food or sleep or friends or TV or checking facebook or whatever will make me feel better. It never does (or at least not for long). Yet I continue to run to those things over and over.  It's not that those things are bad, but I can get in a habit of 'longing' for those things WAY more than I long for Christ. I really do get excited about eating food! About watching TV at night with my husband. About baking yummy desserts! About checking facebook, instagram, or email on my phone. Then I think of one of my favorite verses, "Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth..." Ps 73:25.  More than ANYTHING on Earth! Wow. Or Psalm 42 that says, "As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you O God. My soul thirsts for the living God. Where can I go and meet with God?" The Psalmist is longing to go meet with God!

Is that how I feel about God? That I want Him over any earthly thing? That I get excited about spending time with Him? Connecting with Him in prayer? I think of how I spend my days and what my actions reflect is important to me. To be honest, one thing that consumes a lot of my day is food; feeding KJ, feeding myself, thinking of what to make for dinner, shopping for food, looking up recipes on Pinterest, baking things to satisfy my sweet tooth or for people coming over. I know that seems silly. You who are working probably forget to eat lunch most days, you are so busy and distracted, so that may not be your issue, but I was just journaling about how Jesus said, "My food is to do the will of the Father..." and meditating on how THAT was his biggest focus, his strongest heart's desire- that He would accomplish the Father's will! He wanted to do that before eating! He was satisfied when he obeyed God each day.  Wow. He is so kingdom-minded. All the time. He didn't get side-tracked or distracted. He didn't live to satisfy his own cravings, to be comfortable, to keep his house clean, or to try out new pinterest recipes.

Is my biggest focus how I can accomplish God's will? Or is it what we will be eating for each meal today or what I'm going to bake for dessert? (No really, as I type this I have a pinterest tab opened to my dessert page and am eating peanut butter cookie dough that I pulled out of the freezer.) WORLDLY STUFF that does not last, that does not satisfy, that I spend WAY too much time on!

So these are my thoughts in my journal as I then turned to today's bible reading from John 6. Jesus says to the crowds, "The truth is, you want to be with me because you saw the miraculous sign. (Jesus had just done the miracle where he fed over 5,000 people with a few loaves of bread and some fish. Now the people are following him around to see if he'll feed them again.)  
But you shouldn't be so concerned with perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that I, the Son of Man can give you. For God has sent me for that very purpose." John 6:27 
A few verses later he says, "I am the bread of life. No one who comes to me will ever be hungry again. Those who believe in me will never thirst...

UMM, OK...so really? I think God was trying to confirm where my thoughts were headed earlier and agree with me about where my priorities have been and need to be... NOT on food that doesn't truly satisfy, that never really fills you up. But on Him and the things he cares about! If I focus so much time on daily food, I will keep being hungry again and so will my family. But JESUS....Oh Jesus, he fills us up and satisfies our soul! He gives me worth and significance, hope, peace, purpose. Jesus is so. much. better. (Even than dessert! And I have SUCH a sweet tooth! Psalm 119:103 says, "How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" God's word is better than whatever dessert I am craving! I need to remember that one).

SO...what now? Well, for me personally, since I realize I have been spending LOTS of time around food and in the kitchen each day, that I COULD be spending a lot more time on more eternal things, I am going to do a type of fast from the kitchen next week, just to refocus. Not that I won't cook dinners for my family or prepare food for my baby or clean the kitchen (can I just fast from that one?). But I am going to try to prepare everything for dinners next week on Sunday so it's quick and ready each night. I am not going to bake next week (gasp! What WILL I do with all that time?) or look up new recipes. I am going to just eat meal replacement shakes during the day so I am not spending so much time eating. I have a feeling it will REALLY free me up! Now pray with me that i DO use this extra time in a way that benefits others!

This could be applied in so many different ways (my phone is the next culprit of wasted time!), but for me I think it will help me draw near to the Lord and try to be like Jesus who was NOT concerned with what to eat or drink or wear.

In John 6:38 Jesus says, "I have come down from heaven TO DO THE WILL OF GOD who sent me, NOT to do what I want." 

WOW. Lord, help me seek to do YOUR will and NOT just live to please myself! Help me to seek FIRST your kingdom and turn to YOU for the fullest life. "In your presence is the FULLNESS of Joy and the SWEETNESS of life!" Psalm 63:11

Monday, May 6, 2013

No more piggyback rides

Today's Bible reading brought me to one of my favorite stories in the book of John-the Samaritan woman at the well found in chapter 4. As I was reading today, one verse really stuck out to me and I'd love to share with you its impact on me.

So the basic story is that Jesus is headed to Galilee and chooses to pass through Samaria (even though most Jews hated the Samaritans and avoided that city at all costs). He stops at a well to get some water asks a Samaritan woman to get him some. He tries to start conversation with her about spiritual things but the woman has a hard time understanding what He means. Jesus points out some immoral things about her personal life and she concludes that he must be a prophet. As they continue on in their conversation, she is amazed that he seems to know all about her sinful life yet shows her such love and compassion. She realizes that he must be the Messiah that was prophesied about years ago. She heads into the city to tell everyone and many believe her. They go out to find Jesus for themselves and persuade Him to stay with them for awhile. Even more believe in Jesus after spending time with Him and they went back and say to the woman,
"It is no longer because of what YOU said that we believe, for we have heard FOR OURSELVES and KNOW that this One is indeed the Savior of the world." John 4:42

As I read this story, I realized that vs. 42 is my prayer for Kennedy (and so many other people!). Kent and I have met the Lord. We have experienced Him personally. We know that He is who he says he is. He knows all about us and yet loves us anyway! This is AMAZING! We know we are totally unworthy for God to meet with us, talk with us, care about us, and overlook our sins. We are in awe of his love for us and we want others to know. We will tell Kennedy all about the Lord her whole life. But it cannot end there! We don't want her just to know about OUR experience with God. It isn't enough to piggyback off of someone else's faith. We PRAY that one day she will tell us, "It is no longer because of what YOU said that I believe, for I have heard FOR MYSELF and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world." THAT will be the best day!

I lived many of my growing up years just piggybacking off of my parents' faith. It sounded good and right and they seemed genuine and truthful so I just believed them. I went through the motions of what a Christian should do but mostly just to please my parents. I mean, Christ DID seem like the Messiah, so it wasn't like I didn't believe. BUT...I hadn't REALLY turned to Him, really sought Him, really experienced Him for myself until many years later. I needed to come to the end of myself before He would step in. It wasn't until I no longer had my parents to depend on that things changed for me. I was in college and not long into my freshman year, things started falling apart. I remember praying, "God, if you are real, there HAS to be more to Christianity than this, than the way I've been living, or I'm done. I can't keep going on like this...trying hard to be good in my own strength and failing over and over again..." That year, God showed me there is SOOO MUCH MORE! I laid my heart before Him and said, "I NEED YOU! I need you to be real for ME. I need to know you for myself. It is no longer enough that my parents believe you." I actually started to depend on Him, to seek His guidance and to listen to Him. I needed Him so much, and I think until we all get to that point, we will never fully experience Him. I no longer just went through the motions or just tried to play the part. As I sought Him that year, my heart started to change. My love for Christ started to grow as did my faith and confidence in Him. He began to really show himself to me. I don't know if there was a certain turning point, but I do know that NOW I can boldly say,
"It is no longer because of what (my parents) said that I believe, for I have heard FOR MYSELF and KNOW that this One is indeed the Savior of the world."

There is a verse that comes to mind from one of my favorite Psalms, Psalm 34:8,10
"O taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him...Lions may grow hungry and weak, but those who seek the Lord shall lack no good thing."

My prayer for you who are reading this is that you will give God a chance. Taste and see that HE IS GOOD! When you 'taste' how good God is, you will want more and more and more of Him. IT IS SO GOOD to KNOW God! Where would I be without Him? I pray your faith would become real as you seek Him and find Him. He promises that those who seek him will lack NO GOOD THING. What an AMAZING promise, and I can testify that it is true! He has provided for every physical, spiritual, and emotional need I have ever had, and I have found out that even if I have nothing but Him, He is more than enough.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

You better wave at my daughter!

Earlier today I was on a run and had a thought about my baby that led me to see the Lord more clearly so I wanted to share it with ya'll. One of my favorite things about being a mom is how many spiritual lessons I learn from having a daughter! Understanding the heart of a parent much more clearly, I feel like I can understand God's heart for us as our Father.

Anyway, Kennedy is obsessed with waving right now and flaps her hand up and down at anyone and everyone she sees, near or far. We were on a run at Shelby Farms this morning and when she'd see someone approaching us, she'd immediately put her little hand up and start waving it up and down. More than half of the time the person coming wouldn't look at her or respond. I know it's silly, but I was kind of offended! Haha, my little girl looks anxiously at the person coming, waving her heart out, waiting for a response to her new found skill and then that person ignores her. Well, this old man who I saw twice on my run would always look right at her, smile so big and wave a few times and it made my heart so happy! As silly as this all is, I was thinking of how the way to a mom's heart is through her kids. If someone loves her kiddos, she will LOVE them! I am just now seeing this to be true and how people respond to my baby really affects me.

It led me straight to this thought. What is the way to God's heart?  I really think it's the same...through his kids! When we love those who God loves, when we are kind to them, pay attention to them, show them grace, make them smile...I think it REALLY blesses the Lord! I think he just smiles the way I smile when someone loves on my daughter. On the flip side, I can see how someone mistreating one of God's children would REALLY tick him off! When I ignore the cleaning lady who is moping the bathroom floor at the gym, when I pretend I don't see the homeless person on the side of the road, or when I make fun of someone who is different then me, it must really make God sad! Even angry sometimes. I don't think we can be close to God and say we love him if we are not showing love to his kids. This is VERY convicting because I definitely DON'T always treat others with compassion, love, and kindness. I often ignore people and go about my way, totally focused on my agenda and my schedule, missing opportunities along the way to bless the heart of God by interacting with and loving on his children. I had always read about this idea in I John but it never hit me deeply until this morning! Thanks for the deeper insight, Lord! Help me do better at loving those who are dear to your heart!

I John 2
Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. 10 Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. 11 But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.
I John 3
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 
10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.
17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
I John 4
19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.  
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