Thursday, January 31, 2013

Stay Home

Tomorrow is February 1st, so it's time to have my goals for 2013 established, right? I only missed out on one month! Next year, I'll start this process in December. Maybe.

God has been graciously and gently leading me in this process of focus and self discipline. I recently realized that any time I have a problem my first instinct is to look outward to fix it or at the very least to make the problem look fixed on the outside. My initial ideas on how to deal with whatever I'm going through are talking with friends, reading a book about it, seeing a counselor, listening to a sermon, etc. I'm convinced that looking outward for answers isn't the way to go about it.

That's not the way God works...

"For the Lord sees not as man sees: Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart."1 Samuel 16:7

 He sees the motives of the heart and the brokenness that's there. Looking to Him is the only way to solve the issues of the human heart.

This year I'll be looking inward when I see the symptoms of a heart issue. I'll also be going to God's word to solve it and praying for a heart change or whatever the issue may require. My symptoms range from being argumentative, easily irritated or short, indulging in sweets or just not living with purpose. The heart issues are insecurity, selfishness, lust and laziness. All of which the Heavenly Father conquered once and for all when He sent His son to die on the cross for sin.  I no longer have to be a slave to those things. (Colossians 2:13-14)

Redemption and newness of life are always available. Each moment of every day. I need to be reminded of that every day.

 Thank God His love never fails and His mercies are new every morning.(Lamentations 3:22-23) Forgiveness is as easy as sincerely asking for it.(1 John 1:8-9) My hope is to be so caught up in who He is and what He's doing that I don't necessarily have to focus on these things. Instead they are carried away as I remain in Him.

To keep my goals and vision for the family clear in my mind and before me at all times I put together a little Acronym. The 2013 acronym is H.O.M.E. It stands for Honor, Openness, Management, and Earnest.

 I have specific goals within each area of H.O.M.E and some important reminder scriptures to go along with each goal. I'll share a few. Honoring my Lord by spending daily time with Him. Openness to making this home a haven for all of the members in it, not only myself. Managing and purposefully training and teaching my children in the ways of the Lord by spending time with them, and not spending time hiding from them.:) Earnestly and diligently studying the scriptures. These are just a few of the things I know I am to be doing DAILY.

One of the phrases I plan on branding to my brain, is "stay home." If I'm tempted to do or say things that God has not led me to or anything that would hurt the vision and purpose of God in our home, I plan on saying/thinking the phrase "stay home" to remind me to live with His purpose in mind.

I also got a great idea from Ann Voskamp's blog, A Holy Experience, to post some ideas, words, symbols, anything that inspires me when I'm feeling in over my head. I'll post those in a place where they are easily accessed and be pointed directly to the Lord when I'm at my weakest.

Yes, it will still require me to look up and read, but I'm so tired of feeling like a failure when I mess up and I know these reminders will call me back to redemption's work.

I listened to Lysa Terkeurst and Sheila Walsh talking about negative inside chatter last night and what to do about it. Sheila Walsh said one of the things that will be up on my list.

"The son of God used the word of God to combat the enemy of God."

 She was referring to Jesus' temptation in the wilderness and how His response to the enemy was consistently, "It is written..." It should be my response as well.

May I not so quickly forget the power of the living word of God! I don't post it around my home to seem "more holier than thou." I post it around my home because I desperately need it in my face at my weakest moments to pick me up and at my strongest moments to remind me of where the Lord has carried me from. Sometimes, even the scriptures God has written on my heart are difficult to call to mind with so many distractions swirling around me. I will not be caught ill equipped any longer.

I'm not looking for 2013 to be a flawless year. I'm not going to strive for any sort of perfection, but I will strive to grow. I'm determined and Christ's Spirit within me is determined. I know I will fail. I know I will fall short on many days and in many different ways, but I will not be kept from knowing my Lord more. I won't be kept from sharing His redemptive work through what He's done and is doing in my life any longer. I'm tired of the unhealthy cycles I've seen in my life and I believe God when he says that he will complete the work he began in us. Phil. 1:6

 He will not fail because He cannot fail. If it looks like He has, I will look harder and I will wait for my Shepherd's voice to speak.

 One thing I know to be true is that I am undone. In Him I am free and redeemed, but principles are still skewed from walking for 19 years with myself as my god. I need the continual renewing of my mind in order to abide in Him,  remembering His power is made perfect in every weakness of mine. It helps me to make sense of who I am. It keeps me-H.O.M.E.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Here We Go!

Hi Friends! I know it's been about a month since I last posted and I cannot believe how time has flown. It has been a whirlwind of a month. My family and I traveled to Illinois to celebrate Christmas with my side of the family and then to New Orleans for the national IMPACT conference for New Years. In the midst of it all 2 of us have had the flu and bronchitis. BLUH! But we're all finally feeling better and I'm ready to write!

The Lord called something to my attention yesterday as I was at Bible study. I had been feeling distracted, but I wasn't sure why. When I say distracted, I mean something was off. Days were passing and yet each moment was very clear and concise. It was as if I was standing still and the world was spinning around me. I was very aware of every move I was making. Even walking out to start the car to get it warmed up. Hugs and kisses from my kids were all moving in slow motion, but the days were passing at a frightening pace. I remember getting into my car a few days ago and "Blink", by Revive was playing. This is a part of the song...
Teach me to number my days and count every moment before it slips away. Take in all the colors before they fade to gray. 
I don't wanna miss even just a second more of this. It happens in a blink. It happens in a flash. It happens in the time it took to look back. I try to hold on tight, but there's no stopping time. What is it I've done with my life? 
It happens in a blink. It happens in a blink. 
Slow down. Slow down. Before today becomes our yesterday. Slow down. Slow down. Before you turn around and it's too late. 

The tears were streaming down my face before he got the first line out. Each lyric was hitting me hard. The last time this happened to me were the moments approaching my college graduation from Ole Miss. I remember the last few times I walked across the circle in front of the Lyceum and strolling across the beautiful grove taking in all of the serenity of it. Slow motion. That's what I remember. A couple of weeks later I graduated and left for Kid's Across America, tears streaming down, after hugging my best friends and saying, not good-bye, but see you soon. And yes, blink once, blink twice and we're all married and each of us have families and live far apart from one another, although still close at heart, and by phone and text of course.

I look at my children and think, when in the world did all these babies grow up? I have a 5 year old! I know, they're still babies, but I remember bringing each one of them home for the first it was yesterday.

I hadn't been hearing from the Lord. I'd been talking with Him and reading a little each day, but I wasn't hearing His voice and now I know why.There was this nagging dissatisfaction inside of me. It's so strange because I look at my life and have everything I could ever need to be satisfied and more. So what is this nagging inside? This, I need some sweets. I need some coffee. This Let's take the kid's to Chuck E Cheeses and have a good time! This let me just go get a workout in. I'll feel better if I do that. Timotheus, let's just go and do SOMETHING!! Unrest is another great way to describe it.

Friends, I see clearly now what was happening. I was trying to fill this God space in my soul with worldly things. Whatever I could, food, friends, laughter and good times, exercise, my husband. I hadn't run to my Father, I had run to the things of this world.

My spirit is thirsty and unless I'm going to the living water that He says He is, the nagging will not stop. More money, more success in ministry, more beautiful babies will not stop the thirsty soul from longing for His living water. 

All the while, the days are rolling by. Each opportunity I have to live life on purpose is passing me by because I'm distracted with trying to quench this thirst. What a sly trick of the enemy. Stealing my time, precious time, having me looking around on the ground instead of bowing down and looking up to the Father. We must stand guard against this daily!

Here's a conversation Jesus had with a Samaritan woman about living water.

Jesus answered, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water." "Sir," the woman said, "you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?" Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life." John 4:10-11,13

And when this verse was read in Bible study, everything became very clear to me.

"My people have committed two sins; They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water."

I'm not absolutely sure when, where, or why I started to drift, but I began to scramble for something that felt good. (always a red flag in my book) Something, anything that would make me feel better for a few minutes. I was praying and reading, but I wasn't communing with the Father. I wasn't surrendering my heart in that time. I was going through the motions of what I knew I was supposed to do. Did I mention, this is the exact text my husband preached at the IMPACT conference on the 29th of December? Funny, I didn't see it clearly at that point. It took a few more days and coming from the mouth of Beth Moore.

I'm overjoyed to say that little phase of distraction is over. I've gone to the Lord and told Him how sorry I am that I made what seemed to me to be such an elementary mistake. Now, my friends, He has me focused and seeing things very clearly with spiritual eyes. I'm taking in those moments in each day. I'm breathing them in slowly, enjoying them, and exhaling in peace. Satisfied. If I had only known, He would have given me living water. Now He has and I will not so easily forsake Him next time.

So what about you? Any broken cisterns you're trying to create and keep filled? Do you KNOW the gift of God to turn to? I hope you'll take some time today to examine your heart. It's always worth it. Don't waste any more time, for our time here is SHORT! More on my FOCUS for 2013 soon!

Thanks for reading!

A 5 Yr Old Shares the Gospel