Friday, January 24, 2014

Regret in Parenting

Regret is a terrible nasty thing!  Tomorrow my oldest turns 15. I don't know why this number is affecting me this way, but it is. Maybe it's because I once heard that by the time they reach 15 you've pretty much poured into them all you can. At this age they begin to pull away and be even more vocal about how THEY want to live THEIR life. The opportunities to influence their decisions and choices becomes increasingly diminished. Maybe it is the thing I have feared the most is becoming a reality. The fear that I wouldn't be a good mom to her and she would hate me. That she would end up on a counselor's couch one day because of me. That her relationship with God would not be strong because I didn't represent his heart to her. That she won't have healthy relationships because of me.

These are the thoughts racing through my mind as I sit here on the eve of her birthday. Her birth day. The day I had waited for. For 9 months, I had hoped and prayed she would be healthy. I was excited to hold her, rock her, feed her, dress her up and even change her diaper. I was 21 and full of expectation. Then her birth day. She was finally here. Perfect, healthy little girl. A clean slate. Innocent.

This is where regret begins to wreck havoc on me. This morning I was looking through old photos of her as a child and I was overwhelmed with regret. Oh how I WISH I could go back to my 21 year old self and knock some sense into that girl! I was not prepared for the emotional whirlwind my daughter brought into my life. I did not possess the tools that would be needed to navigate the delicate matters of her heart......or mine. What has ensued since her birth has personally sent me (and her) to the darkest places I have ever known.

I am thankful that Papa God's GRACE does not depend on me. There is nothing about my parenting that could be deemed worthy of His grace. I have shown very little grace in how I parented my daughter, yet He in His grace pursued me and I believe He is pursuing my daughter even today. I want to love her THAT way.....I want show her grace even when she has done nothing worthy of it. I want to love her even when she doesn't love me back.  I want her to know it doesn't depend on her. I want her to know that my love for her is more powerful than her worst mistake.

Regret is a terrible nasty thing. I know I shouldn't regret. God redeems all things.

.....I guess today I realize we are STILL on that redeeming journey.

Friday, June 28, 2013

My Secure Connection

Why am I a christian? I am not a christian because I realized I needed a savior, even though I did. I am not a christian because I want to go to heaven, even though I do. I am not a christian because every one in my family is, even though they are. I do not love God because He first loved me, even though He did.  I am a Christian and love God for the same reason I married my husband, I choose to. I fell in love with who God is, His nature, His heart. 

This is not the story of my walk with God at first. I wanted to be a christian because I was afraid that if I didn't, I wouldn't go to heaven. Then came my the realization that if I was going to be a christian, I had to live "a certain kind of life". In my teen years I felt him wooing me to something deeper. I interpreted that in order to go deeper I needed to do things. So I did..... I sang in choir, went to church, attended many bible studies, went on mission trips and many retreats. I read my bible, but from the perspective of learning what I must DO to be a good Christian. 

Do do do do do...... Yeah, sounds like doodoo!!

I was hanging on to a rope (of religion) connecting me to God that started to unravel in my late 20s. I attended a weekend " retreat" where I began to start truly knowing the Person I had been " doing" all this stuff for.  The rope began to unravel very quickly from that moment on. As it unravelled, I began to unravel. I wanted more of Him! Yet, the message around me was just more of everything I had heard my whole life. I felt hopeless and afraid. I realized that after years of "being a christian" I had no hope, love, joy, peace...... I began to question if i even wanted to be a christian or ever go to church again!
I made a powerful choice in January 2010 that I was going after more. I was convinced I would find it or die trying! Then.....The One who was wooing me the whole time stepped in at that choice and met me where I was. It would take days to recount all the ways that my life has changed since then (feel free to read past posts), but I can say that I have hope, joy, love, peace, faith. In Him, I have found everything I was looking for and MORE!  I am so in love with and in awe of my Papa God! I choose Him!  I am now connected to Him through the rope of relationship! It is strong and SECURE!! It is MY SECURE CONNECTION!

Friday, June 14, 2013


Mistakes.......everybody makes them, right? I mean nobody is perfect. I have heard this my whole life. Yet, even though that is true the real message I was receiving was.....don't make a mistake. I can say that this message was being received from very early on in my life. I observed the way people responded to the mistakes of others, usually with ridicule, condemnation, and punishment. I observed the way people responded to their own mistakes, usually with little to no responsibility. Yet, I kept hearing things like "nobody is perfect" or "everybody makes mistakes ". When I became a believer in Jesus and started going to church as a child, "mistake" took on another definition, "sin". So by the time I reached late elementary school the internal dialogue in my mind went something like this....

"Do not make a mistake"
"Joy, don't mess up"
"Joy, don't tell anyone you made a mistake"
"Joy, just do what you are supposed to and everything will be okay"

I am quite positive that my decision to follow Christ as a second grader was at least somewhat influenced by this. It is kind of hard to be a powerful person and make powerful choices if you always find yourself basing your decisions on "what would my mom say?". By high school I was an expert at doing what I was supposed to as decided by my mom, teachers, church, culture, etc.

So I very vividly remember the first time I exercised my ability to make a choice on my own. It was when I told my mom I was getting married.  I was 18 and madly in love with a guy I had known since I was in 6 th grade. I just knew that he was the one for me.  We were already in the midst of planning a wedding for late spring when I had a Jerry McGuire moment. I'm not kidding! We had gone to dinner and a movie, "Jerry McGuire" for his 21st birthday. The days after that movie I had this "revelation" that I didn't want to wait any longer to be married.......fortunately, he was on board with
this as well! So I planned to tell my mom. I knew she would not be happy and would disapprove, but I was determined. We were married 3 weeks later.  After that came a string of other powerful choices that I made, guess I was on a "power trip". Some of them were good, some....not so much. I got to the place where I was willing to face the consequences, but I had no idea what to do with the pain and guilt with each poor choice. So I totally didn't know what to do when God blessed me with a daughter who was not afraid of making mistakes. Imagine my confusion with this approach to life. She craves her freedom and demands it. I love it that she isn't afraid to take a risk. I know that eventually wisdom will meet up with this approach and make a very nice match! I have come to realize that not only was I afraid of my mistakes, but I was also afraid of others.  So what did I do? I tried to squash it.......another mistake.
God is good and full of grace! This is what He is teaching me:

Mistakes are okay. He is okay with me making a mistake. He has limitless grace for every mistake. Have you ever heard someone say, "I guess that person just has to learn things the hard way."? I always took that as if it were some sort of character flaw if someone was like that. What if it wasn't a character flaw? I have found that most people that learn that way (which I think, if we were honest, we all do somewhat) are okay with it. It is other people who are not okay with it.

I want to propose that every mistake carries the possibility of yielding something extremely positive and life-giving. Are there consequences? Is there potential for pain? Yes, but it is God's grace that makes it possible for us to walk away from a mistake having received a truth or a revelation about God or ourselves. At that point we have the GOLD.......and that is the only thing we need to take  away from it. Regret, guilt, etc has no ability to add anything to your life. However, His love, truth and grace is abundant life! This is the redeeming, finished work of Christ! For me, I want to send the   message to my family, friends, etc. that I am not afraid of their mistakes. I trust the Father to work His redeeming love in their lives. I have started, as part of my journaling, to keep a record of these Gold Nuggets I walk away with. My Heavenly Father does not keep a record of my/others mistakes, nor will I. It is my hope and intention to also model the response of my Father to others who make mistakes by offering grace and love.

I am still in process and growing in this area. I am learning everyday about how healthy relationships thrive in freedom, love, and trust. Fear is a huge relationship killer. I don't have all the answers but thus is what I've learned so far. I hope this post will inspire and encourage someone!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Perseverence in Parenting

So when it comes to parenting, all I can do is speak from what I have experienced myself.  Every family is different.  My husband and I came into our marriage with different experiences with our parents that have influenced the way we parent.  We have three children who are very different.  There is so many differences to consider in the way we parent.  So what is constant?  What is true?  What is the one thing we can look to that will keep us grounded?  When the issues come up what truths will we cling to?  My husband and I have chosen to look to Papa God, our heavenly Father.  His Holy Spirit teaches us how to be good parents.  In each issue that arises its seems there is an opportunity to learn.  Holy Spirit never fails to be there speaking to us about what is needed for each child... in each situation.  As He reveals the truth and what is needed, we can go to our Papa who is more than able to provide all that we need.  He is the well that we draw from in our time of need. 

This past weekend proved to be one of those times that I needed to draw from His well.  As I mentioned in my last post, heartbreak in parenting is unavoidable.  This weekend was no different.  I'm beyond being surprised that my children aren't perfect and they will make mistakes/poor choices.  However, I think I could get a big "AMEN" from parents when I say that sometimes I feel like I'm beating my head up against a wall.  I feel like I seem to be saying the same things over and over and over!  We keep coming back to the same problems and the same issues.  I've learned that there is a difference between "I'm sorry" and repentance.  Repentance involves a change of heart and mind about a matter.  It is that repentance and change that gives way to new or better behavior.  So until that change of heart and mind takes place, I keep saying the same things over and over.

Yesterday, I had a great conversation about this with my grandmother who is now 82.  I can't begin to tell you how much I respect this woman.  I love her very much.  As I shared my frustration with her she says, "Well, Joy, you just keep saying it until they get it."  Really, is it just that simple?  What if it takes weeks, months, or even years?  I pondered this conversation the rest of the day.  Holy Spirit was speaking through her. He was saying, "persevere".  Perseverance is part of the fruit of the Spirit!  He began to remind me of all we have invested in the lives of our children.  From birth till now we have invested so much of our lives and ourselves to our kids.  Why?  We believe that God has given them to us.  We believe that He has created them for a purpose.  We love them. He shows us glimpses of what is in store for them.  His Word hovers over them declaring His love and favor for them. We are committed to doing all we can to love and guide them toward the Father and the purpose He has for them. 

So......we persevere.  We persevere because we can look beyond the present issues to the future.  We can persevere because Papa God has persevered.  In all my mistakes and poor choices, Papa God never tires of His commitment to the relationship and His purpose for me!  He will do the same for my children!  As I look to Him and His extraordinary perseverance towards me, He reminds me that I can persevere in parenting.  No matter how many times they mess up, I can stay committed to the process. It may take DAILY trips to His well of perseverance.  It may take DAILY reminders of His truth, love and commitment to our family.  As long as I stay SECURELY CONNECTED to Him I can persevere in parenting. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

What to Do With Heartbreak in Parenting

Heartbreak in parenting is simply unavoidable. I'm not sure if I was trying to avoid it or what, but the revelation that it is inevitable and unavoidable has left me with a question? What do I do when the heartbreak comes? The answer has always been there... just waiting to be discovered.

Yesterday, I found myself once again heartbroken. The pain of being in that place once again was almost worse than being there at all. I found myself thinking, "I can't do this. It's just too much!" I was fearful, angry, and very disappointed. At first, I wanted to declare my feelings openly and loudly.   Fortunately, I found restraint and cried instead. I cried for a while and then attempted to get it off my mind. I just didn't know what to do with it. I know the truth that my kids are going to mess up. I know they are going make short sighted choices with no awareness of the long term consequences. I know I need to let them experience those poor choices as well as the consequences. I know that part of being a powerful person is learning the how to manage choices and taking responsibility for them. I know that when they do get it right, I get to rejoice with them! My heart is full and beaming with joy to see my kids make choices that line up with who they are and their purpose. However, when they do mess up there is a certain kind of heartbreak that comes with it. It's a heartbreak unlike any other that I've ever experienced.

Part of me wishes that I could somehow intercede to avoid this pain. It is this part of me that would try to control or manipulate the choices of my kids so that I didn't have to experience such heartbreak.    That might work well for me, but not for my kids. I have seen where that path ultimately leads and it's not pretty. So here I am left with the revelation that heartbreak is unavoidable as well as inevitable. What will my response be? Quite frankly, out of sight-out of mind doesn't really work.

Journaling with Papa, I asked this very question, " what do I do with the heartbreak?".

He simply replied, "give it to me".

I can take my fear, anger, disappointment, and helplessness to Papa God.

In return, He exchanges it for LOVE.
He exchanges it for GRACE. Grace that forgives.
He exchanges it for TRUTH. Truth that says, "This is not who you are. You are _________!
He exchanges it for HOPE!

This brings honor to Him and to the family. It heals my heart and allows me to parent with a renewed perspective. So yes, heartbreak is unavoidable, but HEALING is possible! Thank you, Jesus!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Love is the Standard

I used to think I knew what love was. Even when I married the love of my life nearly 16 years ago, I thought I knew what love was. As a believer in God, I thought I knew what love was. As a daughter and now a mother, I thought I knew what love was. Nearly 35 years old, I confess that I'm only now beginning to fully grasp what love really is. Call it growing up, maturing or just plain ole life experience, but I call it Jesus. It seems everyday He is challenging me to love like he did. The Word I've been hearing from Him is "reset the standard....and the standard is love". When looking up the definition of standard (as a noun) I found one definition interesting. It states, "a conspicuous object (as a banner) formerly carried at the top of a pole and used to mark a rallying point especially in battle or to serve as an emblem".

Hang on to that definition for a minute. In my bathroom, sitting on the counter, is a rock that says "it wasn't nails that held Jesus to the cross....but it was love" I look at that rock every day and I'm so familiar with it sitting there that most days I don't even see what is written on it.  It's true, though! It was  love that held him there that day. He chose to lay down his life so that we could that our destiny could be a that we could be free. Love was the lense He saw us through. He could see who we REALLY were meant to be before sin entered the picture. He saw us as sons and daughters, brothers, sisters and friends. He saw the gold in us!

 John 15:13 says, "there is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends."

Not too long ago I heard someone say "love, covenant love, will lay down its life for the destiny of another". I was so moved by this, and began to pray, "Father, help me to love this way".  He showed me   That Jesus' love did just that! In a sense, he died for our become who we were created to be. When we see others for who they were created to be, it moves us to a place of furious, passionate love to see that destiny come about in them. Let me stress, we don't see them as the people we would have them be, but who the Father has already called them to be. For me, it started with myself. I had to see MYSELF as He sees me. Funny thing happened, I actually began to like myself and eventually love myself.  I began to see the destiny and purpose he had for my life. His love did that! He set the standard for how to love in how He has loved us.

As I look around, I see love being misused and misrepresented.  I believe He is calling us to reset the standard. Going back, to the definition. We can rally around many things like theology, morals, and principles.
Frankly, those things did not changed my life, LOVE did. There is no other banner I want over my life, but love. There is no other emblem I want to mark me, but love. There is no other name I want to rally around, but Jesus! There is no other standard to align myself with, but the extravagant, furious, relentless love of Christ that gave ALL.  It's a wonderous thing to stand in that kind of love! It has given me a way to be securely connected to Him and who He made me to be!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Information to Revelation

So have you ever thought, "I know in my head what is true but I just can't seem to get it from my head to my heart."? I have been struggling with this very thing for some time now. Over the past two years I have experienced a tremendous amount of healing, freedom and breakthrough in my life spiritually. However, lately it seemed breakthrough in one area would never come. I knew the truth but could not seem to live in the reality of that truth. Just yesterday, Candice Johnson (Eric Johnson's wife) was speaking about this in relation to God's love. It's the transfer of INFORMATION TO REVELATION. We can know the truth that God loves us, but until we have a revelation if His love for us we are not walking in the reality of that truth. That's exactly where I was as it relates to God's provision.

 TRUTH: Because of the cross I have been given everything!

Philippians 4:19 AMP And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

 1 Corinthians 3:21-23 MSG I don't want to hear any of you bragging about yourself or anyone else. Everything is already yours as a gift—Paul, Apollos, Peter, the world, life, death, the present, the future—all of it is yours, and you are privileged to be in union with Christ, who is in union with God. If we belong to Christ, all things are ours.

In other words, there is no such thing as "lack" in the kingdom. There is only abundance. However, I have not been living in the reality of that truth. In fact, when
I have a need, I am bombarded with FEAR that my need will not be met. If there is no such thing as lack in the kingdom, how could this be possible? The battle between fear and faith creates "tension".

SIDE NOTE: Tension is good! Tension can be viewed two ways. Tension is bad and it makes me fearful or tension is good and will lead me to faith/breakthrough. Heavenly tension reveals an area in our lives where the Father is wanting to bring freedom, healing and rest. Think about a cup. In order to pick up my fabulous cup of coffee with pumpkin spice creamer, I must use tension to grip it. You see tension is necessary to grab hold of the cup. It is also necessary to grab hold of freedom, healing, and breakthrough. I've learned that tension has a way of showing us an area where breakthrough is needed. - END SIDE NOTE

 For me finances have been a constant source of tension. One that I was struggling to get breakthrough in. When money is tight, I am bombarded with fear. A fear that there is not enough and that God will not meet my need. I know that He is able but have struggled with trusting that HE WILL. He has not given me any reason to doubt him, yet the fear remained. It plagued my thoughts day and night. As I sought breakthrough I came across a great book by Stephen DeSilva called "Money and the Prosperous Soul". Great book with a lot of truth that helped to give me an even healthier perspective on the subject. I even listened to some great sermons regarding poverty spirit vs. Poor in spirit. Again, though, the head to my heart thing wasn't happening. Then it happened one day, out of the blue. REVELATION. The other night I saw a big table. The Father was at the end. He asked me to come sit beside Him. The Father loves me so much that He would ask me to sit beside Him! It made me feel loved and important. Just then Psalms 23 came to mind. It says He prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies. He was showing me His promise of provision at all times. I get to feast from His provision AS WELL AS be in His presence. The table represented His provision in all things. Him asking me to sit beside Him showed me part of His provision IS His presence. It is His love and affirmation to me as a daughter. I don't sit at the table as a guest, but as a daughter of the King! At that point.....I knew with everything within me that He WILL meet my every need (whatever it may be). I went back later and read Psalms 23. I saw it in a whole new way.

 Psalm 23:1-6 AMP 1 THE LORD is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me] shall not LACK. He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures. He leads me beside the still and restful waters. He refreshes and restores my life (my self); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him--not for my earning it, but] for His name’s sake. Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my [brimming] cup runs over. Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be my dwelling place.
 Yesterday, Eric Johnson challenged us to keep His promises in front of us. When we see our lives through His promises and revelation, it leads us into those promises. Now everytime I am aware of a need I have this vision in my heart and spirit of the King, my Father, inviting me to sit with Him and the table of provision He has already prepared for me. So let me encourage you to continue to seek Him and the revelation of His presence and provision in every part of your life. Ultimately, that is the essence of being poor in spirit. Those poor in spirit are aware of their need, and that Christ has made provision for all that we need.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


I know I'm a little late since yesterday was the 4th, but I had something on my heart to share. Dreams are so important in our life and ministry. The bigger the better. In other words, don't settle for dreams you know can be achieved through you alone. The Father wants to partner with us to see our dreams (which most likely were divinely planted in our heart by Him) to come to fruition. Now clearly the Father is not going to plant a dream in our heart to rob a bank. But he will plant a dream in our heart to show us how we can be prosperous. If you have a dream and it seems impossible, its probably from Him. Through our partnership with Him we I know of atleast two things that will happen. Number one, RELATIONSHIP. The Father wants relationship with his sons and daughters. As we trust him with our dreams and lean on him to show us how they will come true we build relationship with him. There is also things about our character that he wants to develop in the process. Number two, HE WILL BE GLORIFIED. When He steps in to display His power and love over His children, He is glorified. When we look around at what He had done and realize we would have never gotten there without His love and power, He is glorified. The founding fathers had a dream........FREEDOM. I saw a biographical movie some time ago on the life of John Adams. I was amazed to learn that the Declaration of Independence was not unanimous. There was quite a bit of opposition to it. They never gave up, though. For many the freedom from England was a spiritual journey just as much as a natural one. Even John Adams had originally not wanted to break free from England. That was until God planted a dream in his heart. When it was done, the Father was glorified. He continues, even to this day, to be glorified for what happened that 4th day in July, 1776. I say all this because this morning I have some pretty big dreams for my life and for ministry. That hadn't always been the case. I used to believe that dreams were pointless and unrealistic. A pastor one day, challenged us to make a dream list. I did. At first I struggled to come up with 10. Now I have 50 something things on my list. I never realized how many dreams were within me. This morning these dreams are on my mind. I'm not asking Him, when they will come to fruition. My prayer is, " I trust you with these dreams. I praise YOU for all you have done, are doing, and will do to fulfill these dreams. I also pray that in this time, as I wait, that I will experience more of YOU than ever before."

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Yard Sale Lessons

Yard sales..... I know many people who love them. They enjoy going to yard sales and they enjoy having yard sales. I do not like either! It is not on my list of fun things to do. So when my husband said, "Hey, we really need to do this." My stomach got in knots as I knew the inevitable would come....a yard sale. 3-4 days of gathering stuff, 12 hours out in a sun and a nice sunburn returned some extra dollars, a cleaner attic and garage, and more space in closets. Not to bad, huh? It was worth it, but I still don't like them. As we were winding things up yesterday evening my heart began to hear the Lord speaking.


 Have you ever heard the saying, "Are you managing your life or is your life managing you"? Sometimes I think we have a hard time figuring out how to manage our lives. Things get out of hand and before you know it we've created a monster that is running the show. Take our homes for instance. In my house, I am the "household manager". If it has to do with the inside of the house it has to go through me. Hubby gets the outside (yay!) Not too long ago, though, it felt like the "house" was managing me. The kids rooms were overflowing with "stuff",I had groceries in my closet because I didn't have enough pantry space, and chores and projects were piling up around me. I felt overwhelmed, mainly because this goes way against my love for organization. Clutter makes me feel claustrophobic. It drives me nutty! One day I had a revelation. If its out of hand and I can't manage it, then I need to make it manageable. Starting with the kids rooms. I realized that one of the reasons they can't keep their room clean is they have too much. By taking some stuff out of their rooms we found what was reasonable for them to manage. All three of my kids are different in how much they can manage. As parents I believe its important that we help our kids discover how much they are capable to manage. Why? Eventually, this ability will help them through their whole lives. As for the rest of the house, it was as easy as identifing what the need was and coming up with a plan to get it done. As we look at our lives (especially if it seems to be managing you), take time to identify what the need is. Then we can take that need to God, our family, and begin a process of getting that need met. I enjoy having quiet time. With three boisterous kids in a 1300 sq ft house with a open floor plan, it is hard have that at times. I use to go around yelling, "BE QUIET!" with little to no response. Over the past year I have learned to say, "Hey, guys, mom really needs some quiet time. So for the next hour or so, I NEED you to go to your room or find something quiet to do in the living room. Works every time!I identified what I needed, set the boundary by clearly communicating what that need was. So having the yard sale was a step of manageability, identifing what the need was and getting it done. The attic had gotten out of hand and it desperately needed to be more manageable. As the yard sale was winding down, reflecting on how much better we had gotten and making things more manageable was encouraging. Evaluating Does it stay or does it go? That is the question. 


 Some people have a hard time getting rid of things. Some even take it to the extreme and become hoarders. Which seems to be a problem in our culture because now there is a TV reality show about these types of people. Some people don't keep anything. Then there is that place in between the two where you like to hang on to some things but most things can go. My middle child likes to hang on to things. She is very crafty and creative especially when it comes to repurposing things. She is also very resourceful. Everything has a potential use to her. When she was little it was cute, now not so much. She can't keep house is not big enough. Part of cleaning out the attic included three totes of her "potential craft supplies". I made her sit down and go through these totes to decide what she would keep and what would go.


 It requires us to ask ourselves questions. Am I really going to use this? really? Its important that our kids learn to answer these easy questions now. Later in life the questions will get harder. Like, "Which friends are healthy for me to be around?" "Should I do homework or go out with my friends?" "What do I want to do for the rest of my life?. The process of evaluation, asking good questions, and making good choices starts now....with the little stuff. Sometimes as parents we just go in and clean out their room for them, robbing them of this valuable decision making process. What's important and valuable to me? When we let them have opportunities to answer the easy questions and make the easy choices they will be better prepared as the move along their journey and the choices and decisions get harder.

 This one was a little personal for me this weekend. As we cleaned out the attic we decided to chunk a bunch of old records and papers that we didn't need anymore. We burned the stuff that would be a danger to identity theft and the rest went into the recycle bin. So as I was doing this I came across some things like cards the kids had made for me, letters from Nathan when we were dating, old pictures, bible study workbooks, my bible from when I was a teenager, and journals. It was interesting reading cards from friends of the past that aren't in my life anymore. I realized that even though they aren't in life anymore, I treasure the times that they were. Finding my bible from when I was a teenager was really neat. Immediately, memories began to flood my mind and heart of all the Sunday School classes, mission trips, Wednesday night youth services, and youth camps this bible had accompanied me to. This was the bible that I used when I first felt that fire inside to love and serve the Lord. I even found my mom's wedding book. This one was bittersweet. My parents divorced when I was 4, but reading about she and my Dad's first years together was very special. The engagement, showers, wedding, honeymoon, and first house. Reflection is important because it reminds us of where we've been, what God has brought us through, and the connections of friends and family God has weaved in and out of our lives. With all that being said, yard sales still aren't my favorite thing to do and I pray I won't have to have another for a long time. lol!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Unhealthy Expectations or Believing God

Today, I read the story in Acts 27 of Paul caught in a storm at sea. In verse 20 it says: "It had been many days since we had seen either sun or stars. Wind and waves were battering us unmercifully, and we lost all hope of rescue."

Then, in verse 23-25, Paul says: "Last night God's angel stood at my side, an angel of this God I serve, saying to me, 'Don't give up, Paul. You're going to stand before Caesar yet-and everyone sailing with you is also going to make it.' So, dear friends, take heart. I believe God will do exactly what he told me."

Even after this compelling word from the Lord, the situation became even more bleak and disaster seemed inevitable. In verse 41, the ship began to break apart and the soldiers decided to kill the prisoners so none could escape by swimming. The centurion stopped them. Gave orders for everyone who could swim to dive in and go for it. Everyone made it to shore safely.

When the ship began to break apart, I wonder if the soldiers thought, "At this point, to believe we will all make it is a pretty unhealthy expectation. If we don't jump now, we will all die for sure!"

For two days I have wrestled with some of the same thoughts and feelings regarding situations in my life. However, today, I began asking Papa to shed His light on the matter because I was becoming weary of trying to make sense of it all. Over the past 2+ years Papa has given me a Word about each situation, yet I found myself wondering: "Maybe I heard wrong?" "It appears that His Word regarding this situation is being fulfilled, but what if it isn't and I am disappointed?" These are the thoughts I have wrestled with.

So I asked Him, "Do I have unhealthy expectations? If so, I need to know! Do I keep praying, believing and hoping? Do I continue to believe that You will do what You said You will do?"

The answer is , BELIEVE! As Paul said, Take heart! I BELIEVE God will do exactly what he told me. I was recently challenged to feed on His faithfulness. (Psalms 37:3 AMP) Its true! In the times when we are holding on to a promise of His Word, situations can get a little stormy. Clinging to the hope of what he has promised, we can get weary. Its in these times that we can feed on His faithfulness! Begin declaring all the times in the past that He has been faithful. Declare His promises over the situations in your life.

Trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident)in the Lord and do good; so shall you dwell in the land and feed surely on His faithfulness, and truly you shall be fed. Psalms 37:3 AMP

He launches his promises earthward-how swift and sure they come! Psalms 147:15 msg

Let's keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Hebrews 10:23 msg

Today I declared His promises over my life, my family, and every situation that I'm praying, believing and hoping. I declared His faithfulness in all things! After some time of this, my heart was full again. No more wrestling or weariness. In what situations are you praying, believing, and hoping? Maybe he gave you a word/promise about that situation in the past, but the storm surrounding it seems bigger than the promise.

For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment. Luke 1:37 AMP

Begin to declare His faithfulness and promises over your life. Take heart! Believe that He will do what He said He will do!