Sunday, December 30, 2012

Wisdom from Julie Meyer

Earlier this week I was looking through my day planner and found a handful of notes that I had taken from a Mom's Meeting at IHOPKC over two years ago.

I have attempted to make quotes from this meeting many times in speaking to my mom friends, quotes to encourage. The seasoned mom who spoke that night (as you have probably guessed by now) was Julie Meyer, the very prophetic worshiper from IHOPKC. She has three boys, two of which are twins. They are grown now, but she was sweet enough to share what she learned in her season of motherhood with a group of us younger moms, who were just starting out.

Here are a few of the things that she said (my comments and thoughts are in parenthesis):

Julie Meyer - IHOPKC Mom's Meeting 4.21.2010

As women and mothers, we are often so busy moving around that we can only get a few drops of the Lord's presence throughout our days. But if we would just learn to sit still before Him, He could fill the whole glass of our life, which would sustain us for longer.

She also encouraged us to make a list of our callings, giftings,  and goals and to keep them in a place where we would see them often. (that was huge at the time for me, but since then, I have heard many Christian leaders repeat this very wisdom about goals and visions - keep them where you can see them often.)

She emphasized that the Lord has a tailor made journey just for us, so we can not, and should not compare our journey to others. She then said we should ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom in how to live in our calling in the midst of our current season. Motherhood does not mean that our dreams and life-goals have to sit on the shelf until we are 'free' to pursue them again. We can walk in a measure of our callings even as mothers, even with small babies. Ask the Holy Spirit how.

In reference to that point, she told of how when she was home alone with her babies, that was the training ground the Lord used to grow her in the place of the prophetic. In the season of motherhood, she learned to hear His voice more clearly and to speak His words out prophetically and with boldness! (I want that to come forth while I'm mothering, oh, how wonderful to be able to speak the Lord's words over my family and myself in the season of being hidden in motherhood.)

So she instructed us to listen for Holy Spirit's voice throughout our days and to look for those divine moments. Even as mothers, we are offered glimpses of what the Spirit is doing, if we look for it.

In the training ground of motherhood, Julie learned to be still, listen & trust the Lord's voice at a new level. From there she was able to train her children from the wealth of Holy Spirit revelation she was gathering.

To make your season of training easier, she gave a list of four things to try and do:

 1. Look out for the spirit of fear - fear will be a big enemy, and will try to blindside you. To combat fear, step back, talk to the Lord about what you are experiencing, and trust the wisdom He offers.

2. Don't grumble & complain about your season (look for the joy in what the Lord is doing, even in the midst of pain, suffering, or persecution - I have found that worship is warfare against the desire to grumble.)

3. Don't compare your life/ministry/mothering/giftings, fill in the blank, to that of others. Just don't compare! The Lord is working a unique work inside of you, and it will always look a bit different from everyone else you know. (if you can't compare, it either helps keep you humble, or helps you keep from feeling discouraged)

4. Sing the Word/speak the Word - sing it in your house, over your kids, over yourself, in the car, shower, etc. The Word brings life and joy and peace. (We need those things a lot in motherhood.)


Near the end she gave some practical ways to learn to prophesy, here are her three tips to get started:

1. Set your heart toward the Lord, and attempt to sing the Word out loud as often as possible (it connects our hearts with His)

2. Sing prayers from scripture out loud (not a great songwriter? the PrayerRoom.com out of IHOPKC, sings a lot of scripture, so a good place to get started)

3. Turn it around and sing what you hear the Lord saying over you, sing it back to Him.


Lastly, she gave us hope of what we might expect on the other side of motherhood.

In a practical way, there are some parts of our callings as women and leaders, that can not be fully realized in motherhood, but she says, do not worry. And I quote:

"When this season is over, the Lord will open doors and make room for you to move back into the fullness of your calling."

Even still, she encourages us to expect the Lord to meet us and encounter us right where we are right now. Right in the midst of the nitty gritty of motherhood. In the midst of dirty diapers, discipline, and dishes. Be confident. He sees it all, and every time we set our hearts toward Him in the midst of our daily work, doing it unto Him. He sees it, and it counts. It all counts!

Lord, encounter our hearts with the truth of who You are, and how You have been working in our hearts. I speak encounter, not just to mothers, but to women who have lost sight of the biggest goal. The biggest goal is You, Jesus!!!!

Amen. Be blessed.





Thursday, December 6, 2012

Trees of Life

That is what we are....trees of life.

A woman at prayer today said this, "we are trees of life, we change the atmosphere." She was speaking out of a revelation the Lord gave her when she first arrived at MorningStar.

Yet when anyone starts talking about trees, plants, or flowers, I always begin to dig back in my horticultural training and try to make spiritual and natural parallels. So what is a tree of life in the natural....a tree that is alive!

We are all trees that are alive. Even the smallest in our midst are just young trees growing up under the canopy of the mature trees. Trees were meant (in the natural) to live in community. They grow in forests for a reason. When trees grow in forests they are stronger, they grow to be much older, and they support a whole different kind of ecosystem under their canopy than singular trees.

Note: an ecosystem is a biological community of interacting organisms and their physical environment.

Now, why do they do better in families (forests). Because they were designed to grow best when they are growing up, vertically; NOT horizontally. When they reach toward the light of the sun (in the natural) there is room for them all to grow together into a strong and protective canopy for the younger ones around them. They reach for the light, focused on the light, and grow taller than trees that grow out in the open on their own. They also are stronger because of all their fellow trees around them offering support from the roots, but also from all sides. In a storm, the winds blow, but they rub and lean against one another, and do not fall over.

The beautiful trees that we see planted out in a field by themselves are usually not healthy trees. They may look nice with their long, horizontal flowing branches, but they are under a lot of stress. They waste so much energy putting out those beautiful horizontal branches. They grow horizontal instead of upward, because there is no lack of light, therefore they are not forced to focus on growing in any particular direction. So they grow all over the place, aimlessly sending out branches that will later weigh too much for them to hold up in old age.

Singular trees in the open also aren't enough on their own to create their own atmosphere. They only create just enough shade to cover their root system, but not enough to cool the air around themselves significantly. Therefore, their roots dry out quicker, which causes them more stress in trying to get enough water to all those crazy horizontal branches.

Trees growing out in the open do not create a home for creatures to live in. A creature may stop and admire the trees beauty, or stop to take a break in its shade, but it will not live there because it is not a protected place. One tree does not offer enough safety on its own.

It isn't even safe for the lone tree. They are easily damaged in storms and are more susceptible to lightening strikes out in the wide open. With all that working against them, lone trees don't tend to live that long, they just can't stand against all those elements on their own for years and years and years. Rarely will you see a lone tree live much past 50 years, which is a very short life for a tree.

Forests, however, create a different atmosphere. It can be 100 degrees out in the sun, but the forest is cooler, and quieter. In the winter, the forest is warmer too because the many trees together block out the force of the winter wind.

Storms don't destroy whole forests because the trees together take the force of the winds as a united body. They are rooted into each other. Wherever a tree root touches another tree root there is the potential for a root fusion to take place (with trees of same species). With a root fusion, the two tree roots can then share water and nutrients and support one another. And back to the storms, you can't knock down just one tree in a storm because of those roots. The only way one tree can fall in a forest is if it is already dead and the roots are rotten.

Oh, the spiritual pictures we can draw from trees, eh?

It goes on, though.














So if we are trees of life, and we do best in community, then who do we create that atmosphere for? For the younger trees growing up beneath us, yes, but many, many creatures, big and small, find shelter and food in the midst of the forest. We are to create the atmosphere for ourselves as well as all those who need shelter in the world, not just for other trees, but for every creature that needs a refuge (the lost, the broken, the weary).

The world is full of storms, and we are TREES of LIFE, standing firmly together to make an atmosphere to shelter those around us. In the midst of that community of living trees, people will find that it is cooler in the heat of summer, warmer in the cold of winter, and full of water and life for all those who hunger and thirst.

Be blessed. We are the trees of life!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Appetite

No, this is not a post about any of my new and amazing recipes.....although I do love to cook.

It is about my gallbladder, and then again, it has nothing to do with my gallbladder.

It has to do with food, natural and spiritual.

After giving birth to my baby boy about four months ago, I started having gallbladder attacks. Quite a few. Several bad enough to make me consider the emergency room.  Yet I think I would have to be on my death bed before stepping foot in an emergency room. Not only are they usually full and have a terrible wait, but they cost about $1000 just for walking into one.

So I prayed my way out of those really bad attacks. Jesus is good, all the time, even in the midst of gallbladder attacks.

Surgery is my last option too! I do not want surgery, not only because the idea of surgery terrifies me, but because it costs money I don't have, requires insurance I don't have, and from all I've read online, it doesn't actually solve the root issue. The root issue is......food.

I needed to change my diet to get rid of these attacks. There is a whole list of foods that are known to trigger attacks, and I am sensitive to the majority of them. Foods like eggs, dairy (all kinds), fatty meats, grapefruit, beans, cauliflower, and pork (all kinds).

Caffeine and gluten are also on the list, but I don't drink caffeine any more and gluten doesn't seem to bother me to much (although I have tried to cut back on it). Thank you Jesus.

So what do I eat now, you ask? I gotta say, it is a pretty strict diet for sure, but not as hard as I thought it would be.  Seriously though, I think I miss dairy probably the worst. Anyhow. The point is that my diet is suddenly very strict.  It took the threat of horrid, extreme pain to keep me committed to this new healthier diet, but I have done it.  The thought of a painful gallbladder attack is enough to help me say no to a piece of cheese any day of the week.

Now onto the spiritual application of this. The Lord has been changing my spiritual appetites too. Things that have always been okay for me to do, and things that are okay for most other Christians to do are suddenly being highlighted and removed.  The one that comes most quickly to my mind is - movies.

You may have heard me talk about limiting my movie intake before. I already have fairly strict movie guidelines. Now, the guidelines include zero movies, and few to none youtube videos either.

Even my beloved British period dramas are being cut out. Am I being legalistic you ask? No, not really. I wish I could fully convey my heart through a blog post, but I'm not sure I'm a skilled enough writer to. So let me just try anyhow, and you read between the lines and try to hear my heart.

These major changes to my spiritual life are all because I am just wanting more of the Lord. In the same way that I have come into a season of gallbladder attacks that have affected my physical diet, I have come into a season of spiritual consecration which has affected my entertainment diet. Movies are a distraction. Shallow social gatherings that either boost or deflate my self-esteem as a mom, also are a distraction (there are deeper social connections that edify me and build me up in the Spirit and those are still on the menu). These two types of entertainment either pacify my flesh or feed my flesh and dull my mind and heart.

I don't dream much when I watch a lot of movies, and I don't usually hear the Lord's voice as clearly after watching movies. They dull me, but I'm only talking about me. My point is not to convince anyone else to do what I am doing.  As I have already said, I only feel this is a season. Not forever.

Now lets judge the results of these diet changes.

In the physical: I have been without any serious gallbladder attacks in over two months. The few ones I have had most recently were when I have compromised and eaten something I knew was on the 'no' list. It has taught me that even small compromises have consequences. Ouch.

In the spiritual: what He is allowing me to feel, see, hear, and operate in, in the Spirit, is worth giving up anything, even my favorite forms of entertainment. I have been dreaming more, hearing His voice more clearly, and been walking in greater authority since giving up the above mentioned 'distractions'. I will not say that it hasn't been hard, but I am learning that even small compromises in this area also reap consequences. When I watch too much media, there is an almost tangible dullness that I feel when I try later on to enter into prayer.

In both the spiritual and physical (gallbladder) I have found the quickest and most immediate way to remove the consequence (the dullness of mind or the gallbladder attacks) is to repent for my compromise quickly (yes, I literally repent for eating the bad food that I have eaten) and pray in the Spirit until I feel the release of the Lord's peace. It has worked so many times now that I can't deny the power and connection between repenting and the reestablishment of the Lord's peace.

Now the summary: The point is not for you to feel guilty about watching movies or eating the foods you like. I did that for years, with no consequences, and I plan to do that again (eventually) when this season is over, but I am in a season of setting aside those things and pressing in for something more from the Lord. The reason it is worth it is because my obedience in this season will directly effect the fruit of this season and that is true for any season. The Lord takes us through different seasons to show us things or teach us things. Our response to the season, whether in obedience or disobedience, will determine the fruit of that season and whether or not we are allowed to advance in the Kingdom. If we fail (thru disobedience) it can stall our journey, or we may have to go through the same season again, later on.

Have you ever heard people make the comment "I'm going around the mountain again" in reference to the Lord? Well that is a real thing. I am on a journey up the mountain, but if I don't walk in obedience, then my journey is stalled and I'm only going to be able to go around and around.....obedience moves us forward and up. I want to go up, and so I am choosing to be obedient, as hard as that seems some days. I know in the end it will be worth it.

Perhaps the Lord is showing you an area where you are needing to be obedient and without compromise. In sharing my own journey I hope I have encouraged you on your way. It is not easy some days to stick to my new strict 'diets', but I want more than anything to move forward with the Lord. So I press on and say no to those things that hinder the journey. Ask the Lord to help you see clearly the goal, so that it will be easier for you to say no when a compromising situation is offered. And know this: "The Lord will not tempt you beyond what you can endure" (1 Cor. 10:13).

Be blessed.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Blind Milkmaid and the Prince

Hello all,

Strange title? Well it was a title I read in my dream last night. Felt lead to share it.

In the dream it was as if I was looking at a children's story book, and I flipped to the last story and it was called The Blind Milkmaid and the Prince.

Then suddenly in the dream, I was sucked into living in the story.  I was the blind milkmaid. I was poor and alone and along came a Prince who had been looking all over for me. When he found me he was overjoyed and tried to take me back to the Palace with him. He said it is where I belonged, but all I could see was my rags, and everything around me looked normal, simple, and desolate. Even the Prince, to me he looked like a normal man. He took me to the Palace anyways and tried to reintroduce me to the King's staff. They all seemed to know me, but I didn't know them. They looked normal too in the dream, regular men and women, simply dressed. The Palace the Prince tried to show me looked like an overgrown field where the rubble ruins of a old house might have been at one time. There were broken wagon wheels lying in the weeds and a tumbled down stone wall.

Then I was sucked back out of the story, no longer living in the pages of the story, but outside of it, watching it unfold further. Sure enough, when I saw the world through the Prince's eyes, there was indeed a shining golden Palace which was so huge if filled the entire field, but the field was gone. There were manicured gardens, and all the King's servants were nearly shining in their rich garments and they had regal faces. Then I saw the Prince, and he was dressed in yellow and white garments that nearly shown with a brightness of their own. His face was bright too.

The milkmaid was also not as she saw herself, she was regal and magnificent too. Although still dressed as a milkmaid in shabby clothes, her face shone with light and she was so beautiful. Her hair was glossy and her skin was clean and bright.

Then I again was granted the view of the milkmaid and the Palace was gone, the Prince looked like a normal man again, the servants were all plain, and the rugged field was all I could see.

Then, once more I was granted the Prince's view of the world, and I was so amazed at the contrast. The world was aglow with the Prince's reality.

That is when I woke up and the title of the story played through my head again, "The Blind Milkmaid and the Prince".

Oh my goodness! If that isn't a parallel of how the Lord sees us, compared to how we see ourselves and the world. I know I certainly have trouble seeing what He sees. It was also exactly what I needed to hear from the Lord last night. Perhaps there are those of you out there reading this who needed to read it too.

The moral of the story, if you will, is that we, as the Bride of Christ, do not always see ourselves as we should, we are blind (if you will) to our true selves and the reality of Jesus.  We may not even recognize the Prince when He comes to us.

So I ask, in prayer, right now. Father, open our eyes. Let us see what the Prince sees. Let us have eyes that see our true selves, the way You see us Jesus. You have called us Your Bride, but so much of the time we feel as though we are nothing more than a poor, raggedy milkmaid. Take the scales off our eyes, heal us from our blindness, and continue to draw us into your company until we believe Your words. For it is only in Your company, Jesus, that we are able to be healed and transformed. You make us whole, which then allows us to feel and know Your love in a new and real way! Do it Lord, amen.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Witchcraft

Yes, seriously, I am going to talk about witchcraft today. It is not that oogly-moogly stuff from the movies, although it is that too. Real witchcraft though is much more subtle.

Witchcraft: counterfeit spiritual authority used to manipulate and control others; manipulation by any other spirit other than Holy Spirit.

Before I jump in though, I am going to reference my past testimony of the Lord's deliverance. You can read the whole story here.

As a recap for those of you who are too lazy to go back and read the full story:

I was delivered in 2009 from tormenting thoughts. They were thoughts that condemned me and held me back from growing in the Lord by using a spirit of shame and guilt. When the deliverance came, I hadn't even been asking for it, but I realized later that the shame I had always felt was gone and that it has affected so many areas of my Christian life. I wasn't even sure where the open door in my life had come from, but I suspected that it had come from my high school years where I had watched a lot of movies. I drew this conclusion because a lot of the tormenting thoughts used movies that I had watched to heap the guilt and shame on me.

That is the short version, but now I have the sequel.

Remember how I didn't know where the open door was, what specifically allowed these tormenting thoughts to enter. Well, I think I may now know, at least two of the sources.

Almost three nights ago now, I was awake at 3am feeding my baby boy. I was sitting in my usual spot on the floor and sort of dozing, sort of letting my mind wander. Suddenly I started remember this Japanese Animation series I use to watch about vampires and demons. I started thinking about it in detail and thinking, "wow, I use to watch THAT!" I had not thought of that movie in years, but I was at 3am, so I asked the Lord about it, and He said I needed to break agreement with those movies. There were lies and subtle messages in it that I had unwittingly made agreement with, and now was the time to break it. So I did, I renounced any agreement and rebuked any wicked thing in those movies and plead the blood of Jesus over myself and my family in a time of repentance.

When I was done renouncing those movies though, I immediately started to think about a book series by Mercedes Lackey, that I had read in high school also. Although they were a fantasy book series, the Lord highlighted the strong homosexual content of the books and the spirit that was behind the writing. So I renounced agreement with the books and their message too. Going through the whole process of repentance and pleading the Blood of Jesus again.

After I had finished and I felt the Lord's peace come back in, I asked the Lord what that was all about. In my mind I heard a whisper, "those movies and books were witchcraft in your life," and I realized that they had been part of the door I had opened in high school that allowed the enemy access to my mind. Although the Lord had shut that door back in 2009, the Lord felt it was key for me to know the sources now, in 2012, and take an active role in rebuking their influence.

I don't know what was so strategic about 3am on October 25th, 2012, but what was accomplished in that 3am prayer session has reaped some unseen shift. I believe it whole-heartedly! The Lord never does anything by accident and He does all things in perfect timing.

One thing I do think He has shown me about the timing of this little prayer deliverance session is that He has been moving more in my life. Whenever the Lord starts to move in our lives in a greater way, He always comes in and starts cleaning out our closets. In 2009 He shoved a bunch of my junk in a closet perhaps and locked the door. So there was real freedom, but the junk was still there, just rendered powerless in so many ways. Now perhaps I will be going through a season of going item by item through that closet, acknowledging the junk and throwing it out piece by piece.

It is not something to fear, but to rejoice in. With less junk in my closets, the more I can walk in true freedom and authority in Christ. With less junk in my closets, the more room I have in my heart for Christ.

With these revelations of the power of movies and books too, I have re-strengthened my stance on what my family and I watch and read.  It is more for me though, because it is me that seems endlessly drawn to watching movies as a source of down time and entertainment.

Movies are not a good filler for down time, I am learning. If I am tired and wanting to space out, a movies should be my last choice. My guard is down when I am tired, and movies, all movies, carry subliminal messages, whether good or bad. When I am tired and not on my guard, I am taking that all in on so many levels. So many times, after watching even a 'tame' movie, my spirit feels dull. Sometimes for up to a few days afterwards I find that dullness makes it harder for me to hear the Lord's voice; to feel His love.

In this season of heightened Holy Spirit activity in my life, it is requiring me to be more on my guard, even against the 'tame' movies, because I don't want anything to get in the way of me receiving from the Lord. It is not out of a religious, legalistic position, it is because I don't want anything to come between me and the Lord. I'm not telling you what to do, because I know the Lord has His own timeline for your life. I am just sharing what He has been doing in mine, so as to encourage anyone who has experienced something similar.

So now, I will share with you my new strategy about movies.  When I'm too tired to read a book or talk to someone, and all I want to do is watch a movie, I typically just go to bed.  I feel like that choice has been paying off too! So thank you Lord, for Your help in overcoming my own temptations. I am seeing the results of a life set apart. Amen.

Bond-servant

What the heck is a bond-servant? Paul writes that he is "a bond-servant" of Christ. Is that a metaphor?
I am thinking not.

bond-servant: one bound to service without wages; a slave

I think that the Lord really expects us to train to be bond-servants to His will, and with role-models like Paul to look up to, I gotta say, I wanna be a model servant too! Paul, he was faithful to the Lord, he was obedient to the call to travel, he was unapologetic about the gospel he preached. Therefore he saw power and authority in his ministry.

I want that!
Just being real here. I really want power and authority in the ministry the Lord has called me to.

So how do I get that. I learn to be a really good servant. I learn how to hear the Lord's voice, how to say yes to Him, and no to my flesh. I learn to rebound from my failures, and get back to work without a lot of drama and delay and self-pity. I learn to do all of this with joy and peace and love in my heart.

Ugh. Sometimes that feels so impossible, but we are told that all things are possible through Christ who strengthens us.  I don't know about you, but I need a lot of strengthening in this area.

Thankfully, the Lord is faithful to complete the work that He has started in me, says so right here:

"Now may the God of peace, Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who has called you is faithful, and He will complete the work." - 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

Amen.

So how am I learning to be sanctified completely?.......by learning to become a servant in all things.

How am I learning to do that?

Well, I am in God's accelerated program called....parenthood. For realz!

If you ever want to hold a mirror up to your own heart to find out where all the filth and selfishness and ugliness is still hiding, then just sign up to take care of toddlers for.........oh, lets say a month at least. Even after only a month you will be astonished and appalled at what you find in your own heart.

I was, when I first became a parent.

It wasn't an immediate thing, though, it took at least a month of sleep deprivation, poor hygiene, and being on demand night and day that brought me to the realization that I had a long way to go in the area of sanctification.

Now I've been at it for almost five years. In that time the Lord has moved me up in the program of 'self death' if you will, by granting me two more children. Three total. Even when my spouse is with me, we are still outnumbered.

Talk about self-sacrifice. These kids don't even know how to sincerely thank me yet for all I do. They don't pay me, they don't pull their own weight, they definitely don't serve me in return, they don't flatter my work, in fact they destroy it almost as soon as I finish it (examples: clean house, laundry, & dinner). To top it all off, they have intense seasons of sleeplessness, which in turn requires me to be sleepless too, but then I am still required to work all day.........serving them some more. Wanna hear your flesh cry out in rage, let it be sleepless for a few days in a row and then ask it to be gracious when some little person asks the same question a dozen times in the same day.

Anyone who is a mom knows what I am talking about. If they weren't so amazingly cute it might not seem worth it. If they didn't occasionally tell me how much they loved me it might not seem worth it.

Yet the Lord says it IS worth it. I am serving them. I am loving them with my service. I am giving of myself for a cause that is greater than myself. No matter who else sees the work I do, the Lord sees it all, and there is a reward for being faithful to what He has called me to. I am making disciples. These little people in my care are going to be great in the Lord some day if I just stick to it and be diligent.

We are called to make disciples, right? So this mom thing is a calling, but I have to be obedient to what the Lord is telling me. How He is telling me to accomplish this calling. Well, He has asked me (as a Christian, not just a mom) to be a servant of all.  He even takes it a step further. He asks me to go the lowest, to serve even the ungrateful, and to do it from a heart of love and joy.

So lets be clear, though:     Obedience is not a feeling.

Therefore, being a servant should not be based on feeling either.

I don't know about you, but most days I don't feel like being a servant. I don't feel like getting up and doing the same thing again. I don't feel like doing it with a smile on my face. Plenty of the time I don't feel joy in my heart when I am doing it.

Obedience for me right now looks like me doing the work, and doing it with as little grumbling as possible. Lack of grumbling for me is the equivalent of moving toward having joy.

Sure, some days I feel great. My kids are doing well, I've had good sleep and I had a great time in worship in the morning, so the day feels brighter, and I can see that I am accomplishing big things in the Spiritual, if not the natural.

But I say again.     Obedience is not a feeling. Love is not a feeling either, it is an action and a Person! The feelings pass away again.

So stop worrying about how you feel. Do what you know to do and your 'feelings' will catch up. This is me preaching to myself. This is what I have been learning. How to lay aside my feelings, how to serve when I am exhausted, how to serve with love even when it is someone I don't like.

It's hard and I don't always make it look good, but I know it is worth it. Both in motherhood and life, it is always going to be worth it to choose obedience to the Lord over what our flesh wants to do.

Plenty of the time my flesh wants to watch a movie, or my flesh wants to eat a chocolate bar.....instead of getting up and fixing dinner for my family.  Plenty of the time my flesh wants to leave all my husband's dirty socks in a pile for him to do himself, instead of having to go through them and turn them right side out before washing. Plenty of the time my flesh wants to throw my children's toys away rather than have to trip over them one more time.

Thankfully I try not to listen to my flesh, but to the Holy Spirit, who is working a good work inside of me that will reap for me an eternal weight in glory!

Amen for Holy Spirit, who teaches me how to be a better servant to all. Amen and amen.


Monday, October 15, 2012

A Better Version

I want to start off this post by writing the words to a song I've been singing a lot lately. It has power on it for me, and so I trust that it may also stir you up.

Your Blood
Speaks a better word
Than all the empty claims
I've heard upon this earth
Speaks Righteousness for me
And stands in my defense.
Jesus, it's Your blood.

And Your blood
Testifies of grace
Tells of the Father's love
That made a way for us
Now boldly we approach
Not earthly confidence.
Jesus, it's Your blood.

To me this speaks of the transformation that only comes from being washed in the Lord's blood, but also through the mature understanding of what was accomplished for us in that act of sacrifice. In the words of a great teacher of the Word, 'we are saved, we are being saved, and we will be saved'.

It speaks of the process we all must go through, working out our salvation in Christ daily. I accepted Christ as my savior almost 15 years ago, and I can thankfully say that I am not the same person I was then. In some ways, I am still me. I still look like me, although my hair is longer and I'm a bit more adult in my dress. I still sound like me, but my word tend to have a different focus than they use to. I still laugh the same, cry the same, and enjoy some of the same things.

Yet I am utterly different at the same time. Parts of me have died in the last 15 years, and I say that with joy, because I can see now that those parts did me no good. Other parts of me have been pruned drastically, and other parts of me are flourishing supernaturally, at an exponential rate.

Some would argue then that I am not the same me of 15 years ago, but I would say, I am still me;
just a better version of me. The version of me that should have always been, but was lost in my sinfulness.

So how has this transformation taken place over the years. Did I know I was changing? It certainly happened in stages. Some changes were made quickly, like the sudden lack of foul language after my surrender to Christ. That was an obvious change. It was an easy change for me.

Others were absolutely more subtle, where as I could only see the changes in looking backwards and making a comparison with my present state. Like learning not to lie. Plenty of people probably didn't even know how many little lies I told in a day, and I don't even think I was completely aware. At that time it felt so natural to 'embellish' the truth to make it more exciting or 'embellish' an excuse to make it more acceptable. Yet somewhere along the way I learned to make fewer and fewer allowances for those little lies. The conviction of the Holy Spirit began to work upon my heart, and I wish I could tell you how the Spirit did it, but I can't.  Just one day I looked at my life and realized I told a whole lot fewer lies and could clearly remember that it had not always been that way. That was a hard change that took time and happened in small degrees along the way.

That is how it is, I think, most of the time, when we are in submission to Christ. He comes in and starts to change our hearts and minds slowly, and even as it is happening, we are not completely aware of all He is doing.  Like maybe we go to a good worship service one night and we weep and feel the Lord's love for us. Then  somehow we walk away from that service and feel different. Maybe it is because He has just accomplished a change in our hearts and we will be different in some small way because of what we agreed with in our hearts in that worship service.

Also, in looking at my own life, there was a lot of slow going in the beginning. I would have a great time at church, and then leave and go back to living in my own way. That happened for years. My church life and my regular life were not one. I was a different person at church, but I was a chameleon who changed colors drastically depending on what environment I was in. It is sad to say, but I see a lot of that in the church. Most of my friends as I was growing up in the church were like that, and so I thought it was normal to be so.

Now I can look back and nearly weep at all I missed out on because I was so two-faced. I can also see that probably in the first 10 years of my Christian life the changes being made were very small and very spread out. The Lord's hand was always working, but I was not always receptive to His plans at that time. I fought some changes flat out (like my music), and completely refused others for a season (movies). It was only through the continued commitment to love God that allowed the Lord to keep working, to keep trying to make those changes, despite me.

It was about 5 years ago now that the Lord rudely made a big change for me. He moved me out of my comfort zone completely with a move in the physical. That, I can see now, changed everything for me, for my own good. Not only was I out of my 'comfort zone', but I was in a place where the majority of those around me were radically in love with Jesus and I was provoked to want what they had in a way I had never wanted it before.

That began a season that I call the 'greenhouse' season. In fact, let me just make this into an allegorical picture of my Christian life:


I was a struggling flower, too weak to bloom; in fact, barely able to grow at all. I was in poor soil, and my root system was pathetic, hardly enough to keep me alive. The storms of life drained me, and I was half in darkness even when the sun was shining. So even the few leaves I had could barely receive enough sunshine to survive.

The Lord in His lovingkindness took pity on me and moved me. Although the transplant process was painful, He put me in the greenhouse for a season, to help me overcome my weak beginnings. He pruned off most of my branches and I looked even more pathetic for a season.

Yet in the greenhouse I was surrounded by plants that were flourishing, and it made me want to flourish too, in a way I never had before. I was also in an optimum environment for growth, and so as I acclimatized to my new little space, I started to send down more and more roots. I began to grow up and have some mature leaves for the first time ever. As new leaves and branches formed, old ones and sickly ones were cut off. Then, I even for a season began to bud and bloom.

The Lord was pleased with my progress and then decided it was time to move me back outside. So I was moved again, but not to my previous spot. He put me in a new place, a place with good soil all around me. I was transplanted this time with a much more substantial root system, but the process was still painful. All my buds and blooms were cut off, because the Lord knew it would waste my energy (time) to try to maintain them in this new, less predictable environment. 

Then in His loving kindness, He gave me a season of rest. It was a time to acclimatize to the wildness of real life. Where the storms of life raged against me and tested my new root system, and where the rains come and go less frequently than the greenhouse water; the heat of the day beats down on me in full force too. In my season of rest no one could probably see any progress in me. I was utterly quiet and a mass of pruned stubs of branches, but underneath I was growing. My root system was spreading out, and working hard to establish itself in the new soil. With the infrequent rain to water me, I was forced to send down a deep root system in search of a more substantial water supply. I knew I needed to tap into some underground water source if I was to survive.

Then, in the spring of this year (literally the spring), I heard the Lord invite me to grow again. My season of rest was about to end, so I prepared in the way I knew to. Soon I started sending out new leaves and stems. With each new leaf, my heart was energized by the sunshine (Sonshine) around me. Leaves are receivers, they take the sunlight and make it into food. I had new leaves, lots of them, receiving and as I was nourished, it made me hungrier and hungrier. 

Next came the season of blooming. If I could be completely honest, I would say I am in a season of blooming right now. All those months of establishing roots and working to tap into a sustainable water source. Then the next season of sending out new leaves, they all have have lead up to a time of blooming. Nothing makes a heart happier than blooming, because blooms lead to fruit and fruit is the goal, isn't it? 


Oh, how happy my heart is these days! I have turned over a new leaf, no pun intended, in which for the first time in my life I long to go to the place of prayer daily.  My hidden water source is the Lord Himself, and I can never get enough. He is so refreshing.  I long to read the word more in this season too, and when I do, there is revelation and meaning that flows out to me. Oh the Word, it truly is alive to me (and it has certainly not always been like that for me).

All those years of struggle lead me to a place of desperation. The answer for me personally was the greenhouse, and from there I was strong enough to start growing on my own again, and now I am here. Ready to bloom for Him! Not everyone needs the greenhouse, some hearts He digs around and fertilizes them right where they are. He knows exactly the plans and purposes He has and knows how to accomplish them too. So don't worry if you have never been 'transplanted' - this is just my own personal story I am sharing today.

As you can see, then, I am still the same little plant that I was before, I am just a better version of me now.

Therefore, be blessed because the Lord has a better version of you too, and He is prepared to start making the changes immediately, all you have to do is say 'yes'.

As an even better word of encouragement, I feel that when Revival does hits this nation, we in the Lord's house, will grow at an even more exponential rate. We will mature, bloom and bear fruit in a much shorter amount of time than it took previous generations to accomplish that much, and to that I say, amen!!!!











The Unschooled Homeschool

My almost five year old daughter bugged me for the last three months of my pregnancy to go to school. Long ago I had decided to homeschool my children as long as I was able to. So I told her that once baby boy came along, we could talk about maybe starting.

Well, baby boy came at the end of June, I decided to take the month of July to recuperate and then I took the plunge into school. Thankfully while I was pregnant I read a book that helped me as a mom new to homeschooling to find my particular style of teaching. While also showing me how to narrow down the learning style of my child.

I fell into the 'eclectic' and 'unschooling' section. Well, when you're new to homeschooling, those phrases mean very little to you. They did to me.  Yet now I am in the midst of my first semester of homeschooling, and I can clearly see that those two descriptions to my teaching style are very much an accurate appraisal to what I am doing.

See, I tend to look at different curriculums that are available and then pick out what I like and use just that part of it. I don't tend to take an entire curriculum, but pick different ones apart and use those parts that I like best.

For instance, I am using the "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Lessons" book to teach my child to read. It is phonics based, and I love it. It works well for me (as a new teacher) and my child (it teaches them t sound words out). Then, I have been using A-Beka phonics-based books to build on what we are already learning in reading.

I make up my own writing lessons (writing letters, numbers and words). I also make up my own Social Studies lessons (i.e. learning about the world around us, our culture, etc).

Our science lessons are partially out of a book called "Science Play" and the rest are from random ideas I've found on Pinterest that support the subjects I'm teaching.

Math is a combination of number games, computer games that work with numbers, and ideas from Pinterest. I have a few math books on teaching time and money, but they are there more for me to gain ideas from, rather than as a strict program to follow.

So you see, I am "eclectic" in that I pull ideas from many different sources to make my own 'version' of school, and I fit in the "unschooled" format because I have a very flexible schedule in which our "school time" fits into. We talk about school stuff on and off all day, but we only have about 5 hrs a week of scheduled "school time".

How did I come up with a lesson plan if I don't follow any specific curriculum? you ask. Well, I sort of feel like I cheated. I went online and searched for a typical course of study for Kindergarten. I looked at what my child should know by the end of her Kindergarten year and worked backwards.  With the end goal in mind I made a plan for her to learn all those things in some semblance of order.

For instance, I knew she should know her numbers at least 1-20. So I gave her a little test to see where she was at in that........she could count to 20 but she couldn't recognize the number 20. So we started from there. We learned to count by looking at the numbers and then we practiced being able to recognize the numbers as individuals, and then we worked on learning the values of each number. It has been going so well too! Already I can see that my child can look at the number 20 and realizes that the number carries a certain value. It is a very cool process to watch.

In general, for my daughter, repetition seems to be very key at this age. We work on something until she gets it and can do it on her own. Then we come back and review it ever week or so. The things she has learned already this school year are so amazing to me.

I feel so empowered to keep going, and teaching, because it has become such a bonding point for the two of us. My teaching style is also very relaxed, it doesn't always feel like 'work', and certainly we play a lot of games that teach what we are learning for that week.

So, when we meet a friend who go to a regular school everyday, my daughter proudly tells them that her mommy is her teacher and we have school at home. I'm so blessed that she has no negative feelings about not going to a regular school, and so we go onward.....together.

Thinking about homeschooling? Not sure where to start? The book I mentioned that helped me to learn my teaching style and my child's learning style is called: 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum. I highly recommend it.

Have questions about my crazy schooling style? Post them below and I'll be happy to try and answer them.

Be blessed.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Freed of Fear - the battle continues

Fear is a debilitating enemy! Even when you think you have it conquered in one area of your life, it can still aim to pop up in yet another area. It can weaken us and cause us to act impulsively, contrary to Holy Spirit's guidance.

Just this week I was faced with a big ol' fear that left me feeling slightly sick. I experienced an overwhelming temptation to act entirely rash. The situation that instigated the fear was not nearly as important as the root issue which manifested as fear itself. Thankfully, a sweet friend, whom I was speaking with on the phone, heard it and said, "You know, it sounds like there is a lot of fear attached to this subject." In an instant I knew she was right. She offered to pray for me, and I said "Yes please."

As soon as she prayed, I literally felt the spirit of fear lifting off of me. I am not into wackiness, so when I say I felt the spirit of fear lifting off, I will try to further explain it as a heaviness that lifted. Fear can sometimes feel like a weight on our shoulders. For the first time in a few days I felt as if I could breath easier. Once it was gone I again felt at peace; light, energetic, and full of joy!

I thanked my friend profusely! It was only a simple prayer she prayed, but it was filled with a Truth that reminded my heart of the Lord's plans for my family and I. Truth always stomps out fear when we choose to believe it.

So I bring this to you. Is there an area of fear in your life? Are you acting irrationally about something and don't know why? Loot to the root. Chances are, it could be fear, and can therefore be dealt with by enforcing Truth over top of it.

Depending on the size of the root, repeated applications of Truth may be necessary. Speak the Truth out loud and repeatedly until the peace comes. Take as many times a day as needed. You can not overdose on too much of God. Remember, you are all children of the Most High God!

Who ever believes will be saved.......even from fear! For perfect Love (Jesus) casts out fear!
Be encouraged.

For some reason, this post made me think of this song.....enjoy! Live Free by Lecrae


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Burning Heart

I think I mentioned last week that I had started to go to a Women's Intercession meeting once a week. Well I went again this week, and I am telling you what! I come home every time with my heart filled to overflowing with the Spirit, so much so that my heart burns. I walk around my house like I'm hyped up on some drug, and I just gotta say, Holy Spirit is better than any drug ever! I am sure of it!

After this weeks meeting I even had to call my mother and process through some of what had gone on, just so that I could calm down enough to carry on with the rest of my day.

Not only is the Lord speaking to me during the meetings, showing me and exciting me to pray for the specific things that are on His heart for that day, but He has been using me to speak some things out in the meetings. I do not usually like to speak out in meetings, especially when I am so new to the group, but after having completed the Song of Solomon study in June, I have begun to believe the things the Lord spoke over me out of that study.

One of the things the Lord has spoken to me through the Songs study and also through people who have spoken into my life, is that the Lord has given me the Word of the Lord in my mouth. Once, the Lord even showed me a vision of it.  In a time of contemplative prayer I asked the Lord how He sees me. He showed me a warrior, and I prayed for Him to make me a warrior for Him, and I prayed for the Lord to put the Sword in my hand. In the vision, He showed me as the warrior again, but the Sword was coming out of my mouth.

Well, it would seem to me now that the Lord is really starting to let some of that be manifested in the physical. I've known for some time that the Lord has called me to be a warrior in the Spirit. As an intercessor, I make war on darkness every time I engage in a time of prayer, whether corporate or personal. To be making verbal declarations in a corporate prayer meeting though, that is a bit more out of my element.  I think that is just how the Lord likes it too. He likes to use me in ways that I could never take the credit for. Keeps me humble.

Even in my humility though, I am constantly left dazzled by how He has used me, even the way He used me this week. I feel so grateful to see Him using me as a vessel to touch others. For the last several years, He has been teaching me things and molding me in the 'unseen'. And when I say 'unseen', I mean I have no platform or area to express all that He teaches or gives to me. Most of it is used in my home where no one by my husband and children see it, and the Lord of course sees it all!  Yet now He has used me twice to pray aloud in a meeting of women, and I am overcome by it. It excites me that He could use someone like me. It shows me how good it feels to be used by the Lord, and makes me want to please Him even more with my love and obedience.

So why am I writing about all of this. Partly because I am so excited and undone by the way the Lord has been speaking thru me, leading me in prayer (out loud) for others in a corporate setting. I'm also writing it as an encouragement. That nothing that is taught to you by the Holy Spirit in the secret times of our personal lives is wasted, and we can never know the full intentions of the Lord in the wisdom and revelations that He gives to us. When we take the time to 'seek' Him and know Him, then He responds by giving us more and more truth and revelation and wisdom well beyond ourselves.

I am not anyone special in the natural world. I am a stay at home mom with three babies and a husband that I strive to take good care of. Yet I love the Lord and I choose to believe the things the Scriptures say about Him and what He says about me (in relationship to Himself). Therefore I am His child. I am even His favorite one! He is willing to speak the mysteries of the universe to me because I am His, and I am attempting to live according to His will for my life. Does that make sense?

Therefore He uses me as one of His vessels, and I am able to touch others by the power of His Spirit that lives inside of me. All I have to do is be open and obedient. It helps, though, that I try to spend daily time with Him. It makes it easier to hear Him when He is prompting me to step out, when I know His voice well, and have the confidence that comes with spending that time with Him. I wrote about the importance of spending daily time with the Lord here, if you want to read more about how I pull that off as a mother of three.

Pretty much the whole point of this blog is to build up other women and mothers with the revelations and teaching I have received over the last few years. Things I have learned from just living life with the Lord and things He has shown me personally. Other posts are about things that I have learned from good Christian teaching and put into practice in my personal life. Things that I think would be helpful to other women to know about or consider.

The Lord loves to pour out wisdom and revelation on those He loves, and He loves you. Be encouraged.


The Game Plan

Okay, so in the last post, you can find it here, I talked about the importance of my schedule in direct proportion to my ability to function in daily life and still find time to spend with Jesus.

Today I am going to give you a glimpse of what my schedule looks like.  On the front end I will tell you how I came about this schedule and be as honest as I can about how I work this thing.

First off, I did not even have a schedule before I had children. I didn't see the need for it, I was so overly confident that I could run the world without any sort of organization in my approach. For as often as my no-plan approach to running a house failed me, I always excused the failure with the idea that the lack affected no one but myself. If my husband was inconvenienced by the failure, I silently argued that he was an adult and could take care of his end of things when I didn't get around to it. I was really selfish during that stage of my life. Just being honest.

It was when children entered the picture that I realized my foolishness at not having a game plan. Now my failure did affect others much smaller and much more dramatic than myself. Kids thrive on routine, and I had none. All that to say, my life was a mess. My house was a mess. My emotions were a mess.

My husband told me to make a schedule. I laughed, I cried, and told him all the reason why a schedule was not the answer for me. Then I tried it.

First schedule, with one baby, was only a partial success, but it was still more of a success than having no schedule. So I revamped it, made it rather flexible. Tried again, a small increase in the success margin.

Revamped it again, and again, and again, enter baby two. More revamping. Shifting things to make a way for me to work part time while still running my house successfully. More success, but with success came the lesson of saying no, even to good things. How did I know which things to give up and which to keep?

With my 'Mommy Manifesto'.......another topic for another day, but it is pretty much a list of life goals, life vision if you will. Wanna read about my beliefs in having a life vision....check it out here. Been there, wrote that post a while back. Enjoy.

So these goals in my Mommy Manifesto help me know what is important to me personally. Some are general, others are more specific, but they help me pick which things to put in my schedule. For example, if intercession is important to me, then putting time in my schedule for that is one of the first priorities.  I put in the things that are the most important to me first, then I fill in the gaps with other things in order of decreasing priority.

Something I started a few years ago was an attempt to start 'tithing' my time to the Lord. That equals about 18 hrs of God time a week. Since that is pretty important to me, I put that time in my schedule first, giving it priority even above cleaning.

Now that I have confessed to something as radical sounding as 'tithing' my time to the Lord though, I should go ahead and mention that my schedule is not a cruel task master to me. It is more like a game plan, an overall goal for the week. More often than I care to mention, I do not get all 18 hrs in for the week. Heck, I don't even get all my scheduled cleaning in for most weeks. It is a goal people. I'm not perfect yet and neither is my schedule. If something doesn't happen though, I no longer beat myself up over it, I just shrug my shoulders and try again the next week.

I also leave a lot of flexibility in it. I have laundry on Wednesday and Friday mornings and I have a play date time slot on Thursday afternoons. If my friends can't hang out Thursday afternoon though, then I can switch one of my laundry mornings for that week to Thursday aftrnoon and have a morning play date instead. Or if I allot myself an hour for making dinner, but we have lots of left overs, then my girls and I can do something extra that afternoon because dinner will not take that long to prepare.

Making sense? I hope so.

So now that you know how I have developed this schedule, I am going to show you my current schedule. I have had this new schedule for about a month. My previous schedule I had for about three months. I would have to say that three months is about how long on average I have any given schedule before I need to make some changes to it. I usually re-evaluate my schedules every three months because with little toddlers, things just change that quickly. With a new baby, who knows how long this current schedule will last. Here is is anyways.


8/1/2012 Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
7:15 A wake girls wake girls wake girls wake girls wake girls wake girls wake girls
7:30 A breakfast breakfast breakfast breakfast breakfast breakfast breakfast
7:45 A clean up clean up clean up clean up clean up clean up clean up
8:00 A computer  computer computer  computer  computer  computer  computer 
8:15 Aprep prep prep prep prep prep prep
8:30 A prep





8:45 A prep





9:00 A MSF





9:15 AMSF





9:30 A MSF prep prep Laundry prep Laundry
9:45 A MSF prep prep Laundry prep Laundry
10:00 A MSF errands Coffee Laundry Coffee  Laundry
10:15 A MSF errands Coffee Laundry Coffee  Laundry
10:30 A MSF errands Coffee Laundry Coffee  Laundry
10:45 A
errands Coffee Laundry Coffee  Laundry
11:00 A
errands Coffee Laundry Interc. Laundry
11:15 A
errands Coffee Laundry Interc. Laundry
11:30 A prep errands Coffee prep Interc. prep
11:45 A prep errands Coffee prep Interc. prep
12:00 P clean up clean up clean up clean up Interc. clean up clean up
12:15 P Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Interc. Lunch Lunch
12:30 P make up prayer clean up prayer Interc. prayer swing cl
12:45 P make up prayer clean up prayer clean up prayer swing cl
1:00 P make up prayer clean up prayer clean up prayer swing cl
1:15 P make up prayer clean up prayer clean up prayer swing cl
1:30 P reading reading reading reading reading reading reading
1:45 P reading reading reading reading reading reading reading
2:00 P Prayer  school Prayer school Prayer school Prayer 
2:15 P Prayer school Prayerschool Prayer  school Prayer 
2:30 P Prayer  school Prayer  school Prayer  school Prayer 
2:45 P Prayer school Prayer  school Prayer  school Prayer 
3:00 P

school outing school
school
3:15 P

school outing school
school
3:30 P

school outing school
school
3:45 P


outing clean up

4:00 P


outing clean up

4:15 P


outing clean up

4:30 P


outing clean up

4:45 P


outing clean up

5:00 P dishes dishes dishes dishes dishes dishes dishes
5:15 P cooking cooking cooking cooking cooking cooking cooking
5:30 P cooking cooking cooking cooking cooking cooking cooking
5:45 P cooking cooking cooking cooking cooking cooking cooking
6:00 P Dinner Dinner Dinner Dinner Dinner Dinner Dinner
6:15 P Dinner Dinner Dinner Dinner Dinner Dinner Dinner
6:30 P clean up clean up clean up clean up Sm. Group clean up clean up
6:45 P



Sm, Group

7:00 P MESH/MOMS


Sm. Group

7:15 P MESH/MOMS


Sm. Group

7:30 P MESH/MOMS clean up clean up clean up Sm. Group clean up clean up
7:45 P MESH/MOMS reading reading reading Sm. Group reading reading
8:00 P MESH/MOMS Bedtime Bedtime Bedtime Sm. Group Bedtime Bedtime
8:15 P MESH/MOMS Prayer 
Prayer  Sm. Group EGS prep sch. 
8:30 P MESH/MOMS Prayer 
Prayer  Sm. Group EGS prep sch. 
8:45 P MESH/MOMS Prayer 
Prayer  Sm. Group EGS prep sch. 
9:00 P MESH/MOMS Prayer 
Prayer  Sm. Group EGS prep sch. 
God-hrs 5 2.5 1.5 2.5 4.5 2.5 1.5







20


Please take note of all the blank space. I no longer feel it necessary to fill in all the gaps with something. The blanks are free time, places to stick extra things that pop up from week to week. Some of my other scheduled entries are rather general, like 'reading'. I would like that to be my Bible most of the time, but sometimes it is a really good Christian book instead.  You will see my totals for tithed time at the bottom, which totals 20 hrs. instead of the 18 that I told you. That is so if I miss a few hours a week, it still comes out to 18 or so. If I get all these hours in, then I give the Lord a bit extra. No harm in that, right?

A few of the entries you will not know what I mean, like 'make up' day and 'swing clean', which both deal with my specific cleaning chores for the week. Hey, it's my schedule, it makes sense to me. Yours will make sense to you when you make it!

Now, if you have questions, let me know. Seriously, if you have questions, I want to try to answer them. Post them on here, and thanks for taking the time to read about me and my schedule.

The Lord is a God of order, He can help you be more so. Be encouraged.


*Note, after posting this I realized that part of my schedule is cut off.....but is mostly just more of the same format as the portion you can see. The only thing to note is most of my Saturday is wide open on my schedule because that is my Sabbath. You should always try to protect your sabbath and really try to rest and keep it low stress. :-) It's healthy.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Fresh Water & Salt Water

After another absence from blogging, I am back and I want to write about a very candid topic; looking at some of the inner workings of my own heart and life.

As a Christian, I desire daily to work toward a life that resembles Jesus' life. That make sense, right? Since that is what He said to do. Yet, how one goes about doing that is easier said than done.

Recently I just had my third child. So now I have a baby boy in arms and a whole new season I'm walking into. One that includes caring for three children, homeschooling my first born, potty training my second, and attempting to organize my life to make sure laundry, dishes, and dinner all get accomplished at different points throughout my week. Where do I fit Jesus into all of that?

This is where I mention my amazing beliefs in the power of a well thought out schedule.

People, especially mothers, wonder how I can have a schedule. I look at them and say, I don't know how you can survive without one. Nothing would ever get done around my house, and I would constantly be filled with anxiety over all the things that were being left 'undone'. Let me not waste this post on how to make a schedule though. I will maybe blog about that later.

My real reason for coming on here today to write was to show you how I try to find a bit of Jesus in my every day in a practical way and one of the main benefits I have noticed.

I have heard people tell me over the years, "Oh, I just want more of the Lord, you just have to hunger after the things of the Lord....."
Okay people, how does one hunger after the Lord in a realistic type way? How does one actually get more of the Lord?

For me, it looks like setting a daily prayer time for myself. When you want more of the Lord, genuinely, you have to make time for Him. Which in a realistic way means scheduling time for Him and there is nothing religious about doing that. I try to meet with Him even when I don't feel like it, because I know in the long run it is going to feed my heart and time spent with the Lord is never wasted. I am constantly reminding myself that God is not a feeling. Even when I don't "feel" Him, that is irrelevant, He is there, and talking to Him is always beneficial.

So, back to the point. Out of that daily time with the Lord come all kinds of fruits. Like I have more revelation into the hearts of my children, and more joy, and when things do go wrong (which they do plenty of the time), then I have more grace and peace to handle them. I accept criticism better, and am able to glean truth from the most bizarre places because I can hear the Lord's voice more easily. You wanna know why? That time helps to retune my ears to Holy Spirit's voice. Being able to hear the Lord's voice is tantamount to my life being full of grace, peace, and all those other fruits.

Now on from here, I have to also mention that I have incorporated a corporate time of prayer once a week in my schedule with some other ladies. They meet to pray over the women's ministry at our church. It is women praying for women, and let me just tell you, it is some powerful stuff being accomplished in the Spirit in that room on Thursday mornings. Powerful.

In fact, I come home from those meetings and catch myself singing to the Lord while I make my girls lunch. I catch myself laughing out loud as I feel the Lord recall to me some of the things He has spoken over me that day.  I marvel at His kindness toward me. In other words, I am on cloud nine.

Then, in the next breath, I yell at my four year old for bringing rocks in the house and my two year old for waking up the baby.

Fail.

It happened today. I came home glowing in the Spirit, then came crashing down as reality hit and I reacted in the flesh. Flesh equals my sin nature, my earthly side, the side that doesn't readily magnify the Lord, etc.

Immediately I felt the guilt, shame, and even anger well up. Then I heard the Lord whisper to me the scripture about 'can fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?'

Here is the whole scripture:
      "With it (the tongue) we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessings and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water."
     - James 3: 9-12

In fact, that entire passage on the power of the tongue in James always chaffs me pretty badly. If there is one member of my body that causes me more trouble, it is my tongue.

That whispered scripture to my heart was my gentle reprimand from the Lord. It convicted my spirit and I repented.

What does this have to do with my blog post today, you ask?
Everything.

How many of you can relate to spending a great time with the Lord and then in the next breath utterly failing Him by yelling at your kids (or some other sin). So what do you do now?

When I repented to the Lord, I then went and called my children to me and asked for their forgiveness. I apologized and loved on them a bit and made sure to explain to them what I did that was wrong.

Humbling. Yes. To be sure.

Healthy. Yes, all the way.

Wholeness. Yes. That was my reward.

When we repent, there is always wholeness and peace that follow for those who love the Lord. I had to first be able to hear His voice though. That comes with spending time with Him near daily. It is a benefit of that time spent with Him that I was able to hear Him so quickly and correct the behavior. The quicker we are able to repent, the quicker we are able to carry on with the rest of our day in wholeness with the Lord.

People may look at my life and see the time that I spend daily with the Lord and think something like, "Wow, she must have it all together." Now you know, that is not even close to the truth.

Or maybe they think, "She seems overly religious, I wonder if she is some kind of hypocrite." Yes sometimes I may be a hypocrite, but then there is repentance for that too. As for religious. That isn't the word I would use. I am going for holiness, and that is not quite the same thing. Holiness is a lifestyle that brings us closer to the Lord, it only becomes religious if your heart motives are wrong.

Or maybe they think, "Wow, if she spends all that time with the Lord and still sins that easily, what good is all that prayer doing for her." Ha! I would be worse off I didn't have all that prayer time. I might not even recognize my sin and go on doing it, all the while, wounding my children and myself. It is a gift that I can hear the Lord's correction so clearly, and it comes from spending time with Him and knowing His voice.

The point is, I'm gonna sin no matter what, until the day I die. Spending time with Jesus keeps an open line of communication between me and Him, so I can hear Holy Spirit's voice more clearly. Sometimes He needs to speak a reprimand but when I can hear Him clearly, it is a blessing because I can correct the behavior quicker than if I didn't have my ears tuned into His voice.  It takes a lot of practice in hearing Holy Spirit to recognize Him over all the other voices that would try to talk to me.

The other voices try to make me feel like a failure. Or they try to convince me that I am justified in feeling the way I do, or they feed me excuses on why it was okay to act a certain way.

Yet, Holy Spirit's voice is always gentle, and when I walk away from a time of being reprimanded, I always feel empowered to do better. Empowered to make war on that sin in my life. It is worth the time invested in daily prayer and fellowship with the Lord to be able to know the difference.

Hope that all makes sense.

And the Lord always corrects those He loves. Be encouraged.