That Hidden Part

I am living a very good life, I have to say.  My journey is blessed.

I did my best to play the hand I was dealt correctly.  Mom called it "playing my cards right."  I was committed to my high school sweetheart, married him, had 3 beautiful boys, built a beautiful home together, earned 2 degrees, and I get to be a stay at home mom.  How did I become so blessed?

I'll tell you a secret...

When I look at my life I compare it to others.  Have you ever heard, "comparison is the thief of joy?"

It most certainly is.
I compare my short comings with the women who have spectacular homes, children dressed like gap models, shiny new cars, perfect gift bags at parties, and I even study what they wear.  I try to figure out how I can be more like the things I admire about other women. 
I compare my lack of short comings too.

I've never been touched by disease or divorce. My kids are healthy and alive.  
My husband loves me now more than ever, I have a beautiful home, a debt free car, and like to hand make many of my gifts that I give.  I try to understand how my life also seems so perfect and wonder what real testimony is God giving me.
I don't know how to comfort the sick, the mothers of dying babies, the women who have experiences rape, or grieve past abortions.  I don't know how to speak to a mother who has miscarried or buried a baby, or endured years of infertility treatments.  I don't know what to say to a neighbor who has lost a spouse or a friend caught in the middle of divorce.  So many things I feel unequipped for. 
He doesn't call the equipped...He equips the called.  That is such a mystery to me.  He leaves me amazed at this concept. 
Someone asked me the question:
"Has there been a time when you felt punished by God?  How has that affected your relationship with Him?"
My answer:
Jake's genetic disorder, closing the doors of my business, arms that are empty of my daughter, a time when my marriage was loveless....I feel I should be punished more severely.  I feel as though I am waiting in expectation for a tragedy that resulted from my sins and all the awful things I have done.  When I bring my worship to God on Sunday morning, it feels unworthy. It feels dirty and unclean.

Every time I bathe I think of the filth that has to be washed away and how it collects on my skin everyday.  As much as I enjoy a nice hot bath, my bath water never stays clear.  It is muddied up with the dirt from the day which must be scrubbed clean.  Even the soap leaves a film.  Scum!
So, when I hear the words that my Jesus washes me clean, I can't believe it.  All of this filth?  Really?  I yelled at my kids and husband, I threw things, I got angry that the kids didn't do their chores...I'm not their maid.  I spoke unkindly about someone I knew and spread gossip.  I envied my friends things and I disrespected my husband.  I was lazy.  My idle hands always mean trouble.  Left to my own thoughts, the devil finds a foothold for confusion.


Every time I sweep the floor I am amazed at the filth that has collected in the corners and crevices and hidden places and in plain sight.  Sweeping and cleaning is a daily job.  It too reminds me of the filth we make daily.  Between the dog and 3 little boys the messes are non stop.  I see the beauty in my family and life, but whew, the mess we leave behind.

Then I read Psalms 51

In my humanity I feel dirty.  My Lord Father doesn't make me feel that way.  It's my own expectations and short comings that make me dirty and feel worthless.  When David wrote the Psalms he was missing the mark in his own life big time.  He wasn't even close getting it right until he was caught in his sin, but He knew what I also know...our God washes it all way for good.  There is no daily need to wash, there is no film or scum left behind.  The part of me that matters most, my soul, is clean.  My heart and my spirit are renewed daily when I seek Him but He has washed my soul clean.  I will make mistakes and mess up but He chooses to see only the best in me simply because of my love for Him.  Even my love for Him seems small in comparison for all He has done for me.  So, it's the overwhelming love that washes over me that leaves me in awe.  Me?  Really?  He did that for me?  I'm not deserving of that kind of love. 
I can't even give that kind of love back? 
He's not asking me too.  He's not asking you too.

David simply recognized his human frailty and sinfulness when he saw God's holiness.  Whatever sins we try to cover and hide, God will uncover.  What we uncover, He covers.

Psalms 28:13
Is 6:5
Ex 12:22
1King 4:33

You know, what all this means.  As mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters when we love God, we become part of His Will and carry an important responsibility into our "Mission Field".  All of those little ones and loved ones around us need for us to speak life into them.  We must not only remind ourselves, but remind those in our mission field that they are loved and forgiven.  We lift those loved ones up and encourage them to live righteously.  We are loved and are worthy.  As believers we are washed clean and set apart.  We are daughters of a King. 

David wasn't a man after God's own heart because David didn't sin.
He was a man after God's own heart because he kept coming back to God.

Entrepreneurial Spirit: Momma Needs Advice!

My oldest son loves to earn money. I can't even pay him though to do chores because he make more working side jobs for family and friends. He does have an entrepreneurial spirit and saves every penny. Yesterday after church he was in a hurry to eat lunch and get in the garage. He had an idea that was burning in him and his creative spirit needed to get it out. 

He later called me into his room to show me this!  Hanging in the middle of his barn wood shelves was a cross. He had measured and designed it himself. He asked about a few different ways to make it hang straight. I gave him suggestions and he came back satisfied with his work. 

Now, I have a reader question. How would you go about encouraging his entrepreneurial spirit?  He said "I think I could sell these."  Last year I tried to help and got in the way and he decided not to do anything.  This time I feel as though he has a genuinely good idea and can go far with it. What suggestions would you give a kid who wanted to earn extra money?  How would you first encourage him to market a product?  What about cost verses what he is charging?  Would you have him crunch numbers?

I honestly can't wait to see where he takes this. He's been eyeing my Dremel tool too.

My Assignment

This week I have been stretched and challenged in ways I didn't know were coming or even meant for me.  Do you ever feel like you are at peace with your schedule?  For the first time in a long time I did not open my planner and scribble appointments and highlight time slots, I didn't make lists or even really even care to know where my beloved timekeeper was laying. All I know is that last week the last two years of my life were wiped clean off my computer and I spent hours trying to recover memories and work. 

I'm also weeks deep into one Bible study and was asked by several people to do Seamless by Angie Smith. It was almost a kicking and screaming deal when I was added to an online group for the study. I just didn't have time for another study, plus I was thoroughly enjoying Angela Thomas' study Stronger. Not only that, I have been reading a book called The Esther Anointing and carving time out for that as well.  I thought "I don't have time for anything else..."  Boy, was God about to show up. 

Once I gave up on my computer ever finding the missing files I decided that all the work I had put on it must be lost for a reason. The one big project I lost was my book, my own Bible study. Yes I blogged it years ago and it is still there but it's a mess. I literally just wrote what God laid on my heart for 40 days and studied. I was in a different place spiritually with growing to do and more hurdles to over come. But there it was and there it's been. 

A year ago a reader sent me the study in a book format that I could edit and put online for easy download. I was amazed that someone took the time to do that for me. God is amazing. He was clearly using another faithful follower to encourage me. However, that too was gone.  My heart was broken and my hands were in the air and I was trying to be "stronger" while being asked to do another study. I was a little miffed at my circumstances and had a "I give up" mentality.   Then something happened that turned things around. I believe in divine appointments, I believe when you have God's favor He moves others in His army to assist you. I received another email. 

I opened up my email casually, not expecting anything new or exciting and found that someone took a moment out of their day to bless my socks off. A stranger, a sister, a reader of my study emailed me to tell me that after reading "Power of a Praying Wife" she was looking for something more and had pinned my study on Pinterest. Her passionate email about loving my study struck a heart string.  Oh, God what are your doing?  If it is this powerful for someone in the raw. Imagine what You could do with it if it were polished and published. 

I prayed. The next day when I was added to the online study group I huffed for a minute, squinted my eyes, and conceded. Within the hour I was on my way to buy the book. God was clearly trying to tell me something. What I have found is that both studies are stretching me in different ways. Seamless is gentle and slow and will guides me through God's Word with care. Stronger has exposed my fragile places, made me dig deep and reflect on my weaknesses where God is strongest. My study...that mess of a study. It just needed a plan. 

While walking one morning I was listening to Jon Acuff's book Do Over. At first I wasn't connecting because I wasn't looking for a do over. But that was the same day of the email. That's when I realized there was a do over. I went from my walk "with Jon" to my boys school and was highly anxious to get home after volunteering there. Jon mentioned "note cards", my white board needed cleaning, where are my post it notes, and I needed to dig out the hard copy of my study. 

Let it begin!  Over the next 48 hours I went to the drawing board, to my study, to my note cards, back to the drawing board and so on.   I have no idea what I'm doing. 

It feels right. All the ideas, notes, rearranging of texts, reorganizing 40 days of study, building of concepts, studying more, praying, it is all so raw and new but clearly God wasn't done with my work. So for the last few days I have been doing what my husband suggested "treat this book like it's your job". The result has been quite amazing. My breaks away from my office were spent tiding the house and doing laundry or running. The rest has been spent treating my time with my book like it is my job. 

Do I question what's going on?

Do I wonder if this will ever pay me like a job?

Am I curious as to what its ultimate fate will be?

The bottom line is I have no clue what God is up to. I have a feeling that when I finally finish I'm going be all "here you go God I'm done!"  As if I'm going to toss the transcript on His desk and watch it slide to a halt and His finger tips and walk away humbly and tired. This has been a kicking and screaming, I don't want to do this type project for a long time. I have finally relented and am being obedient and thoroughly enjoy the process so far. I might be doing it all wrong but I'm doing it. What I am anxious to see is what He will actually do with it. 

I have no idea...

Whatever He had planned that I can not yet see, this is my current assignment. 

Who's Your Daddy?

When you feel like you can't handle the task at hand and you ask yourself, "Girl, who's your Daddy?"

Take a minute and feel secure and taken care of not because of what you can do but because of Who you belong to.
What if you got a good look at your God and remembered who He is and that you belong to Him.
Who's your Daddy?

He is...
the First and the Last,
the Beginning and the End,
the Keeper of creation and the Creator of all,
the Architect of the Universe and the Manager of all time,

He always was, always is, always will be
undefeated and
never undone.

He was...
bruised but brought healing,
pierced but eased pain,
persecuted but brought freedom,
dead and brings life,
risen but brings power,
and reigns to bring peace!

The world can't understand Him,
armies can't defeat Him,
schools can't explain Him,
leaders can't ignore Him,

Herod couldn't kill Him,
Nero couldn't crush Him,
new age can not replace Him,
Oprah can not explain Him away!

You remind yourself that
He is...
Life, Love, Longevity and He is the Lord,
He is Goodness, and Kindness, and Faithfulness,
and He is God!

He is...

His Ways are right!
His Word eternal!
His Will unchanging!
His Mind is on us!

He is our...
He rules our lives.

I serve Him because...
His bond is love,
His yoke is easy,
His burden is light,
and His goal for us is
Abundant Life!

I follow Him because...
He is the Wisdom of the wise,
the Power of the powerful,
the Ancient of days,
the Ruler of rulers,
the Leader of all leaders,

His goal is a relationship with me & you.

He'll never...
leave you,
forsake you,
mislead you,
forget you,
overlook you,
and NEVER cancel your appointment in His appointment book.

When you...
fall He'll lift you up,
fail He'll forgive you,
are weak He is your strength,
are lost He is your way,
are afraid He is your courage,
stumble He will steady you,
are hurt He is going to heal you,
are broken He will mend you,
are blind He will lead you,
are hungry He will feed you,
face a trial He is with you,
are persecuted He will shield you,
face problems He will comfort you,
face loss He will provide for you,
face death He will carry us all the way Home.

every time,
and in every way.

He is your God and is Who you belong too!

Pricilla Shirer

A Case of the "Monday's"

SCREAM!  I had thought I turned on my alarm for this morning so I could go for an early morning run but I didn't and I just kept on sleeping.  I however was happy for a minute when I woke up and it was just 66 degrees outside and I discovered I was 1.8 pounds from the goal I had set for myself before my trip this week.  This week is a big week for us and I'm a little overwhelmed with everything that is about to go down.  I have meeting this evening, football practice for the kids starts, a trip to Dallas, and I need to show my kids some summer fun daily and keep my house and laundry clean and make sure the bills get paid.

I got up, got dressed, drank a Spark, I put on my running shoes and headed to the track.  My hamstring is still hurting but I ran anyway, sort of, I walked more than I wanted to and didn't go the distance so to speak.  I got heated in the checkout line at Costco over the price of a watermelon plus I get heated shopping anyway.  I felt super defeated as I heated up.  My morning was turning out to be a big wash...pooey.  A sad little run and no watermelon for the kids.

I pulled into the drive to see my husbands pile of car junk that he is working on and took a picture to post on social media with words of disgust.  I did, and deleted it.  The negativity is just pouring out today.  I cried.  I walked past the pile of new football gear, mountain of shoes, dirty dishes, and walked straight into my study and straight to my Bible.

Tearfully...sobbing actually...I called out to God for help.  I'm overwhelmed by the sense that I'm not living up to my own expectations and just a big failure today.  I knew I would read the scripture I needed as long as I asked for it.  It's His Word that he uses to speak to me so I have no doubt that I will read exactly what I need to as soon as I opened my Bible.  After a few twists and turns through scripture I came to 1 Peter 5:8-11

Be sober, be vigilant; because[a] your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 10 But may[b] the God of all grace, who called us[c] to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 11 To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
It was then that I realized that a roaring lion was trying to devour me today.  Whew!  I tell you it makes my heart pound knowing that there are women all over the world who are feeling just like me today.  That we feel defeated, that we can not do it all right.  That we fail as moms and wives.  That we can never get ahead.  That we will forever and ever be trying to find balance.  It wasn't me failing, it was the evil one telling me I was failing..

Truth is we aren't going to do it all right...we are going to have "fail" moments.  But let's go back and read that scripture again.

The only one that is telling you that you are a failure is the devil.  He wants you to believe that it isn't okay to make mistakes, to mess up, to fall short...truth is.  We all do it.  We all have dirty laundry, piles of stuff laying around, dishes that forever need washing, coworkers that rub us the wrong way, cashiers that don't listen, gas lights that come on, muscles that ache, alarms that don't go happens!  That's life!  While we are suffering for these days and feeling defeated God is looking down on us and saying "don't forget about Me".

So, as I lifted my head I said...thank you Lord!  Today is going to be awesome!  Thank you Lord for giving me renewal, for giving me hope, strength, and seeing me for what I am...a child of yours who just wants this life to lead me back to You.

As I'm sitting alarm goes off at 12 (noon).  Weird huh?  Let's just say that was all in God's plan for today and that it's time to start my day again with a new perspective.

Prayers for you my friends.