Sunday, March 13, 2011

"Mercies in Disguise"

Thoughtful meditations these days. I don't know what my deal is, but I really have had so many great things happen in the last few days. My sweet sister, Angela, delivered her second son, Owen Augustine, on Wednesday. We sure rejoice over this new little life, and pray that he will grow to love the Savior! My sister did great...I only wish I was there to love on him and kiss his sweet face!
This past week marked 6 months since Tobin went to be the Lord. While I grieved along with my sister in that his presence is greatly missed, I rejoiced that the Lord has opened her womb once again. We are certainly praying for health for this little one, and I look forward with anticipation to celebrating this child's birth in the fall. We will continue to miss Tobin and look forward to the day "He will wipe our tears" and we will get to know him.
Despite all these wonderful things, I can't put my finger on why I still feel sorrow. It is so puzzling. I have certainly seen so many great blessings lately in the lives of my family and even in my own life. Yesterday, I heard the song "Blessings" by Laura Story. I literally wept. Here are the words to "Blessings" by Laura Story~

"We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

'Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if the thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
As long as we have faith to believe


When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home


What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise"

Laura Story's testimony on this song was so neat to hear. I found myself echoing her sentiments. It is certainly easy to talk about blessings when things are good. We know God is sovereign; we know with-holds no good thing from His children. Yet, when we experience sorrow or difficult circumstances, we do not say, "Hey! See how God is blessing me!" Often times we question what we have done to deserve this (questioning if we are sinning or not), we get angry at God, we declare He cannot love us because He is not giving what we deem is "good", ....and the list goes on. I am learning (and perhaps this is why I weep) that my good is often what God brings in difficulty. I am learning to see Him in all things. I am growing more and more thirsty for His presence and my eternal home. Do I see this all the time? Absolutely not! That is what makes me more grateful than ever for His grace and His hand constantly leading, guiding, and forgiving.
Today ~ I pray: Father teach me more of You each day, be it joys or trials. Mold me more into Your likeness...Give me a thirst for You....Give me a view of Your mercy and grace which is often disguised by "rain and tears".....Remind me daily that each joy as well as difficulty is a way you are seeking to bless........................................................

Sunday, March 06, 2011

A New Resolve

So, I have so many thoughts moving through my head today. The only way I feel I can process them is to write them if you dare to brave the workings of my on.
Yesterday I had a very wonderful, sweet, challenging conversation with my husband. I am so grateful for his encouragement and listening ear this week as I have worked to process thoughts in my mind. I must admit to feeling quite grouchy this week. I do think some of it is exhaustion with sickness in our home, some is due to the emotions I have experienced the past few weeks, and some is realizing I desperately need to make some changes in my life and not really, truly wanting to make them. As I talked with Andy, I realized (once again...I am such a slow learner) that I am being driven by the "Tyranny of the Urgent". (This phrase is taken from a little booklet I read a year ago and I must pull out and read again.) I am one who is a.) a people pleaser, b.) driven often by emotion, and c.) driven by passion (and not always the best passion!). I love the Lord. I want to please Him. I also want to meet every single need that is brought to my attention or that enters my door. I can't even begin to tell you how often I am confronted by needs of others be it Andy, my children, friends, family, you name it! And quite frankly, I am exhausted! This week really showed how the "urgent" has really dictated my life. One day, I had so many needs/ responsibilities, I felt my sanity leaving me! Unfortunately, I did not respond in a way that was Christ- exalting or gospel oriented. I complained. I whined. My tongue was not under the Spirit's direction, but rather under the control of my sinful, fleshy self. It was not beautiful. Thankfully, I have a wonderful husband who, though he had to receive the brunt of my words, listened and then wisely pointed out a solution.
I have a white board in my kitchen. Quite frankly, it is my third hand and sometimes my only brain. On it, are prayer requests (not all, but a few), our schedule, upcoming events, and very quickly written down notes. In all seriousness, if it is not on that board, it is probably forgotten until it is brought to my attention again and, hopefully, added to that board. My husband pointed out that it doesn't contain my priorities. I am not being driven by what God has placed in my life to be the grid each area of my life must go through. He encouraged me to put my priority list on the board. He added to put what the Lord has placed on my heart to accomplish for that day and then if something else comes up, if it fits-ok- and if not-I must choose to let it go. Now, let me clairfy, I do believe in Providential hindering. God can change what I am doing on a particular day....He can show me what I need to do. However, I do believe that God desires us to do some "planning" to a certain degree. Planning so we are organized, so we are redeeming each precious moment/minute for His glory and honor. I have NOT been doing such a hot job on the redeeming of my time. I start out with a plan, but when someone else comes (most often it is not my husband or children) and they have a "plan" for me, I am often swayed and then struggling because I didn't accomplish what needed to be done. I don't know if I am making any sense, but anyway. So, my new resolve: Prayerfully seek out what God wants me to accomplish based on the priorities He has revealed to me each day. It is going to look alittle bit like this:
For example: Monday=laundry focus
Tuesday= kitchen focus
Wednesday= planning/scheduling focus
Thursday = ministering out of my home (shopping/ visiting/ Mom's group)
Friday = major cleaning in prep for the weekend
Saturday = rest/ family fun / various projects
Sunday = worship/ encouragement of others/ rest
That is not a complete list or even what it for sure is, but for example.

a. My relationship with the Lord
~Scripture memory
~Bible Study
~Practicing His presence and seeking to worship Him throughout my tasks

b. My relationship with Andy
~ does this build or hinder my relationship with him
~ will this hinder my energies that ought to be used to minster/ encourage him
~ am I seeking to Love him only after the Lord and above all other earthly relationships.

c. My relationship with my children
~ does this hinder or help me accomplish my responsibility to bring them up in the "discipline and instruction of the Lord"
~ does this hinder the choice Andy and I have made for me to teach and educate our children
~ am I seeking to Love my children only after the Lord and Andy but above all other earthly relationships

d. My home
~ does this take away from my primary ministry to my home which includes the caring for Andy and the kids as well as making our home a place where Christ is seen to all who enter.
~ does this drain my energies to demonstrate the gospel in my home

e. Others
~Is this something that Christ desires to use to encourage my family or friends

These are not complete, but some of the questions/ thoughts I need to think through.

3. I will work on being gracious but bold when confronted with things/ministries that conflict with greater priorities.
I am not very bold when it comes to insisting I can't do something or when saying no. As Andy and I talked, I realized that I feel like saying "no" or "I really can't today" is mean when in fact it is not, especially if done in a loving and gracious manner. I am determined to really seek to be gracious and yet insistent when I need to be. This will be very difficult for me because I am driven sometimes by guilt when I say no and always evaluate and rehash things in my mind. I am praying the Lord will work on my heart and spirit to be wise in my dealings especially with others.
Anyway, these are some of my rambling thoughts. I am praying the Lord will continue to grow me into being the woman He desires me to be.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Ponderings on this the First Day of March

Today, we begin the third month of the year! I can't believe how fast this year is already going! So much is going on and happening in our little home, I must journal a little today.
We are schooling the best we can with all of our sicknesses. My poor Lillian was sick for her birthday yesterday...and yet she still had a smile! I have decided to give up trying to catch up and concluded we will just school as long as we have to in the summer and we will probably start our next school year early to aid in our schooling for next year...apparently we like to be sick all the time in the winter and I need to consider that in our homeschooling. We are loving Sonlight and are working through both the Core 1 and Core 3. I have purchased school for next year and have Lillian completely done and am getting close to being done with Ariana's. I am currently working on our Bible we will be beginning this month. We have been working on memorizing I Corinthians 13 and are learning more and more about loving one another in Word and Deed. We also desire for our children to have a basic understanding of doctrine and are preparing to teach them catechism. I am utilizing a few resources in teaching them this: 1. Studying God's Word Book B 2. Big Truths for Little Kids by Susan Hunt 3. the c.d. "Why Can't I see God?" by Judy Rogers. As we go through these books and discuss the truths found in these, I am hoping to help lay the foundation for them to know God and love Him. Now I am completely aware of the fact that they will not love God without Him working in their lives ("We love Him because He first loved us!"), but I am praying the Lord will bless our meager efforts to teach them. I am looking forward to learning myself!
Sophie is 8 and a half months old and already pulling up and trying to walk along furniture. I can't believe our baby is that big! I am looking forward to continuing to watch her grow and pray she will love Jesus more and more!
I am currently reading a book entitled, Family Driven Faith (link on sidebar). I am loving this book. It has really challenged me to focus on the main things when teaching my children. It is a good read so far...and I am planning to share more as I keep on going through it...
Well, I must say, good-bye for now...more later!