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.


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?

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.