Archive for the ‘faith’ Category

Repost: I am going through some things personally and this is what registerd with me after reflecting upon yesterday’s sermom…

I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety. Psalms 4:8

Lately I have been thinking deeply and meditating hard on how to conduct myself mentally, emotionally and spiritually while waiting patiently and faithfully on the Lord to deliver through on a promise made. Last night my pastor touched briefly on Paul’s ordeal during the shipwreck and how even though things didn’t look so good, Paul held on and firmly relayed the message delivered by the angel, that all would be safe. Everyone on the ship believed him and felt safe in Pauls words of encouragement. Then my pastor’s wife made a comment that hit me like a ton of bricks, she said ” Paul believed in God’s word, and so the people believed in him, but then the ship wrecked and tore apart” What do you do when the storm tears up your ship before you are brought to safety? Good question.

Now we all know how the story ends, the ship wrecks yet they are all saved, the people on the island treated them well, Paul healed the sick, and fast forward three months later they set sail again with donated support from the locals. Now did God keep his promise to Paul? Yes it’s very obvious. But if you rewind back to the passage where the soldiers on the ship tried to save their lives by lowering the life boats and Paul tells them “no one will be saved unless we all stay on the ship” You will see that this is when the battle between confidence in God and human reasoning to save oneself because there is no good end in sight originates.

Imagine being in this situation, someone has told you that they were told by an angel that everyone will be fine, so you assume the storm is going to let up, and all will be fine. But soon after that the storm gets worse, you see no good ending in sight, so you do what comes natural, you try to save yourself from the storm and hope for the best. During the midst of the worse of the storm as you are trying not to drown you’re told , no one will make it unless we stay on this ship. While on this ship that is being battered by a horrible storm, you have a decision to make in that split second. You can trust what you have been told and ride it out or, you can jump ship and try to save yourself forgetting about the promise for your safety that was hand delivered by an angel of God to a minister of God. Not only that, but even when you trust him and stay on the boat, it still wrecks and breaks in little pieces, now you are stranded. Where is the promise of safety? Who is going to rescue you? You can’t turn around and go back, YOU HAVE NO BOAT!

I have been here many times, and many times my faith fails in this one single area. God has promised me something, given me his word to stand on, I claim it, hide it in my heart and patiently wait, then things don’t ever seem as if its getting better, it starts to get worse then I question my faith. I question if I am really going to get out of this situation? I start doubting myself and my relationship with God, I start to wonder did I pray amiss? Did I really hear God on this? Did I find this scripture myself to support what I want or did God really reveal it to me? Am I deceived? Am I still in God’s will? I could go on and on with the things that run through my mind.

But after reading this story and really, I mean really stewing in meditation, it really registered
that even though we go through things in this life, and God promises to deliver us, or to make us stronger, or that we need to just wait on him, that things can actually get worse for us before they get better. It doesn’t mean that God has forsaken us, or forgotten us, or that we didn’t receive a promise from him. He’s testing us. He is testing us to see if we will get off the boat that is about to crash into a million pieces in the middle of nowhere during one of the most fiercest storms of the season. That says a lot right there. It shows us where we are in our faith, where we are in our human reasoning, where we are in our trust. Think about how powerful Paul’s testimony had to be, not only did they trust him as he trusted God, but even after they wrecked, the soldiers wanted to kill all the prisoners for fear of escape, but because of the favor given to Paul, it didn’t happen.

There will be people around us who only look at our outward circumstances, they only see us as a prisoner who may try and escape, but God can give us favor with those who can save our lives and the lives of those just like us. People may never understand, empathize, sympathize or even care about us. They may just want to cast us aside and write us off. But it is our trusting in God through the most difficult of storms, shipwrecks, and castaways that gets us through.

It’s hiding his promise in our hearts when the pregnancy test comes out negative again and you know he has promised you a child, or when the husband neglects you yet another time but you know God promised you a marriage after his heart, when you have trusted in him for financial blessings that are direly needed, but the main breadwinner becomes un-employed, the mortgage is in foreclosure, the baby won’t feed from the “free milk” and you now need formula that costs the same as a utility bill. Through all of this, God is trying to see how close you are to him, how well do you know his voice, how fast will you look for a way out of your own, and how loud you cry to everyone but him during your time of distress.

I don’t know about you, but I am in the process of tearing apart all my little lifeboats. I am asking God to help me keep a calm piece during the midst of my storms, and to know that while storms don’t last always, they certainly can become more tempestuous before they end. I want to have the same peace as Jesus, when He and the disciples were also on a ship during a bad storm and during the storm Jesus was asleep. I don’t want to be like the disciples running around frantic and frustrated waking Jesus up out of his slumber to quiet a storm that only requires me to have the faith as His to ride it out in deep, peaceful sleep.

Stay Blessed and Encouraged.


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My Good, Bad & Ugly Self

I, am a realist…. I believe the only way you can address a problem is to admit you have one. I believe that life is full of teaching moments which can be categorized into three faucets….The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. This is my fundamental belief, it’s my mission statement, it’s my mantra.

I have been absent from blog land for a long while. My hiatus was intentional. Some of it was because I battled depression during certain seasons and I just didn’t want to bore the world with endless “woe is me” writing. I had several Edgar Allen Poe “Tale Tale Heart moments”. I went on a dark and twisty places within my carnal nature and attempted open heart surgery and to dismember the selfish person who I thought was dead only to find out I was not.

Don’t get me wrong,there were some good times, plenty of them and many more than the dark times during my absence, but by that time I’d lost my zeal for writing. Juggling the priorities of babies and tweens somewhat threw my writing off it’s organizational orbit. When I did write I would go back and find awful grammatical errors. Then blogger allowed all these spam comments that seemingly overtook my blog like cancer , toss in the fact that my selfish ego took a bruising when spammed comments overtook reader comments voila’ I just became very pridefully and selfishly indifferent to my blog.

But God with his all loving, heart pricking, soul tenderizing, chastening self decided to deal with me on my talent I was hiding in the ground. The talent I was not investing in for his glory, the one I was becoming a horrible steward with. I tried to crawl back into written expression via Facebook, but it’s not the same. I still use it for a platform, but I miss blogging. I had to remember that I write for God first, my husband second, me third and everyone else falls in line accordingly.

I have tons of things to write about mainly the journey of my marriage. We passed the year two mark and are on our way to year three. It has been the sweetest most painstaking experiences I have yet to endure. I don’t say endure lightly either. Marriage is an endurance sport. It’s not a sprint, it’s not a leisurely stroll, it is a marathon. One does not wake up one day and run the Boston Marathon trust me, and I learned that marriage is the same. I have had to undergo rigorous training, pushing myself way beyond limits my mind and heart wanted to go. I have realized things about myself that I thought were dead, and God has often reminded me of the list of “giver uppers” I swore to if only he blessed me with a husband!

Don’t get me wrong, I am completely, utterly, absolutely, overly in love with my Mark. I love that dude’s dirty drawers ( as we say down here in the south), but loving him correctly, in lockstep with God’s word, and loving him more than I love Jamala has been a work wrought within me! I thought things would just fall automatically, but you really learn what true love is when you love beyond your selfishness when you are forced to love beyond what you feel is fair and reasonable. Marriage is truly defined when you truly sit down and ponder on what the “for better of a person, and for worse of a person” really means.

I have and still am learning that even though we are one, we still both have an individual nature that if left unattended will result in a Pushmi -pullyu . Remember that animal character from the Dr. Doolittle series? When one tried to go left the other went right, or when one tried to go north, the other went south? Yep, this is exactly the type of animal Jamala was fighting against becoming. And it’s easy to turn into a Pushmi-pullyu when you allow the little things to distract you from the word of God, from your vows, from those sweet promises you made to each other while honeymooning, from the duties you have been given as stewards of a family.

My strained gnats like (submission, obedience, love, and patience with one another) was at times overshadowed by the swallowed camels (like bills, unplanned babies, exhaustion, feeling pulled in upteenthousand directions coupled with expected husband/wife marital duties, and my sometimes really hidden desire for equality and balance in the marital hierarchy); and all the while the elephant/camel in the room was ignored. I simply did not want to admit that I was given a place, a lane to stay in and I simply at times was not in it. Oh I wasn’t openly toe to toe arguing with my husband, no none of that, but was I perfoming my duties with a willing, cheerful heart? Was I outwardly honoring him while inwardly feeling very unappreciated and jealous of his God given role and honor? The answer is yes, at times I found myself behaving on the inside like a jealous child.
Yep, I am openly admitting that this has been my journey. I have found myself at times walking the same path that I said I would never travel. Instead of the small narrow way, I often times found myself off path, not quite on the broad way, but off that path that is “tight but right”.
I thank God for giving me a loving, patient husband. I thank God for introducing me to a handful of Godly women that keep me grounded even when I had to cringe when reading about my “almost” behavior through their writing. I thank Him for a community of women who hold up the banner of Godliness, and of the true ways of a Godly wife. I have so much more to say but I will save my experiences for another post but for now I will leave you with this just dessert. It’s a picture of Tabron Reese, who is such a sweet, quiet, baby who is also her daddy’s mirror. She fills our days with gummy smiles and deep belly giggles. We are truly blessed!

a mobile phone pic of Tabron’s first smiles

Graci at her Otolarynologist appointment after her surgery
Pushmi-pullyu image taken from this internet site.

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Thorns, Grace,& Thick Skin

2 Corinthians 12:7-97 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me.8For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.9And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me

Many times when we think of being tempted or temptations, we think of a big obvious pulling for us to do wrong, but I am starting to see that it is not always the big things that tempt us, but the little subtle temptations to not die out to our will that ends up being a big battle. For me lately I have had to stay before God and ask him to give me the grace to continue to remain in his will in dealing with someone who I feel is a thorn in my side. A very hurtful thorn that is just scratching away at my skin, which I now know is not as tough as it needs to be.We know that as saved Christians we are supposed to show love to everyone at all times, even our enemies.

I have been thinking a lot lately about really having “thick skin” spiritually. I don’t know what it feels like literally to have a thorn in one’s side, but I imagine it is extremely hurtful. I have scraped my thumb on a rose thorn or something like that and it hurt like the dickens, but to have one stuck in my skin and to have the doctor tell me ” we can’t remove it, but we can give you something to make it more bearable” would seem crazy to me. But this is what God told Paul, he told him, “No, I won’t take it away, but I will give you the grace to withstand it”.

We repeat that Scripture over and over in our Christian walk, but I am actually meditating upon it. These are just some examples of the No’s God has told me.

  • NO: I won’t make that person be nicer to you; but I will give you the grace to show extra kindness even when they are becoming more vindictive.
  • NO: I won’t make your financial situation change at this moment; but I will give you the grace to be more resourceful, appreciative, frugal, and I will make you cleave to closer to me for your daily portion of bread.
  • NO:I won’t make them understand your point of view; however I will give you the grace to take and hold fast to your faith unwavering and bold.
  • NO: I won’t make your child become first time obedient; but I will give you the grace to grow in first time obedience to me and leave an example for your child to follow.
  • NO: I won’t take away all your pregnancy ailments; but I will give you the grace to endure and to love this child even more for your sacrifice.
  • NO: I won’t make your life as easy as you want it; but I will give you the grace to be content in the state that you are in.
  • NO: I won’t give you support on that issue that you are seeking, but I will give you the grace and mercy to see that you are wrong and I will turn your feet around to the right path. I will keep that person in your life who will tell you my truth, and I will give you the grace to measure up to it.
  • NO: I won’t allow you to receive the appreciation you feel you deserve; but I will give you the grace to realize that you are doing all things unto me and not unto man. I will also give you the knowledge and understanding that I am a rewarder of those who diligently seek me.

None of us likes to hear the word NO. If we say we do all the time, then we are not being totally honest. But the good thing about that is, that we have a Father who not only may tell us NO, but will help us through surrendering our hurt, swallowing our pride, and yielding unto his will in order to receive a higher blessing of His grace.

Scripture tells us to heap coals of fire on their head and to love our enemies. This also applies to our loved ones who are not our enemy, but may not be treating us as mandated by Scripture. If we know and believe what we read, how then does this become a test for us; and how does it become a test not to fall victim to our own will and retreat to our turtle shell of protection? We protect ourselves in many ways, we lash back, we render evil for evil, word for word, we whine to others, we sulk, pout and stomp our feet until we get our way, or worse, we retreat into our shell of silence and distance. Flesh by far does not like to be hurt, not even a slight nick or scratch, but our tests are only to make us stronger and if this is the case, then we should be seeking God for a total strengthening of our mind, body, soul, even skin.

Just as the skin on your body is an outer layer of protection, so is your spiritual skin. If it is too thin and dry, then it will tear and little infectious things will start to penetrate through and work on deteriorating your heart, and mind, and eventually your soul. If your skin is thick, then it will protect you from tears, and things will not be able to penetrate it as easily allowing you to remain focused on God’s will and not the annoying pain of dry, scaly skin.

I was reading this article about temptation and how just as Jesus had only the word to use on the enemy, we too must use the word and the word only to fight him and to fight ourselves when tempted to yield unto our understanding, feelings, or will. We have to find those skin thickening scriptures and say them out loud at times in order to fight the hurt from those thorns that Satan uses to buffet us. Some thorns God may not remove, but I truly believe that as our skin thickens, the thorns buffet us less until eventually we will not even know they are there.

Be Blessed today, and Stay Encouraged and Spiritually Nourished!

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James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.KJV

When I started to struggle with things while in the newness of my spiritual life that I could argue or debate against the technicality of Scripture, this is the scripture that would come to me. I started asking myself could I just submit and do or do with out the thing for the glory of God until I received clear direction of his will. Is my defense of how I see things so important that I can’t just try the opposite of my will to have the ability to walk circumspect with the Lord ?

I stared to find out that Once I submitted and said ” Lord I don’t agree with or see this matter that is weighing on my heart but I will humbly submit and see where you lead me”, begin to do so then I felt free and clear about the matter and received that needed direction and conviction in my heart about where God will have me to stand on the matter.

As I sit sometimes and read many blogs and blogger comments, I often wonder If on those things we read that we think of as too extreme, or an over-exaggeration of Scripture do we have an obligation to stop and ask ourselves is God trying to tell me something? Is there something he’s showing me? No, I blatantly disagree with this sister’s point of view but why Lord is it weighing on my heart so heavy? Why am I feeling drawn to devote my time to prove her theory wrong, could she be right? Or, are we so sanctimonious and caught up in our stands and beliefs that we could never entertain that we could have been taught wrong? Or do we just think that certain beliefs calls too much for us to step outside our comfort zone because Salvation doesn’t require all that?

I know that we all have different interpretations on Scripture, we have different doctrinal view-points some of them have similar foundations but just a little different structure, but one thing holds true, we all feel that we are blogging in the will of the Lord, to spread a ministry and enlighten the world on the biblical principals that concern us as wives, mothers, and godly women. We jostle each other’s creative juices with thought probing posts and revelations but then there are times when we just don’t see or agree with another sisters’ ministry. Scripture doesn’t mean that to us, and things become a tad bit legalistic, or extremist. So who’s right? We say search the Scripture to see if what we read is relevant to us and God’s will for us; but if we are searching the Scripture defensively with the hopes of debunking another sisters idea are we then keeping an open heart, mind, and will for God to show us that what we have been taught, or discerned from the Scripture was maybe wrong, or maybe needs to move up another level?

Could God show us one thing for one season or period in our lives, and then direct us outside of our comfort in that area to prepare us for another season in our lives? Could there very well be a teaching or way of thinking that makes no sense to us now, but could possible save our children or grandchildren 20yrs from now?

Trust me, I am not naive enough to go out there and try any and everything I disagree with, but in being honest with my one soul there are those things that only God and myself know about that burdens my thoughts and my mind. I am honest with myself about these things, and I take it to God to see if he is trying to show me anything. So many times we think that we are in the Scripture but the interpretation that we get from that Scripture is what we pull from it to satisfy our own will and desire. My biggest fear is that I will become deceived by my own interpretation of Scripture because I want it to fit into my box.

I often think of the story in the gospel Luke where Jesus confronted Simeon Peter after they had spent all day fishing with no desired result. He told them to launch out into the deep. It is evident by their response to Jesus that they were tired, it was nighttime and they could see no way possible to catch any fish but they trusted Jesus and tried the opposite of what they thought they knew and were blessed abundantly. This is the testimony that I want. Lord when I don’t see it, when it goes against practicality, can I just do the opposite and launch outside my way of thinking and become abundantly blessed.

There is so much that we can learn from each other, but we need to always have the mindset and expectation that the one thing that we set out to learn may very well not be the thing that God is trying to teach us. Think of the rich young ruler who had obeyed all the commandments but when Jesus told him the one thing that he lacked, he couldn’t see himself doing it and he went away sorrowful. Our one thing may not be riches, it may homeschooling, points of view on modesty,make up or jewelry. It could be not working outside the home, or living frugally. Whatever it is that we just outright disagree with due to a scriptural shade of gray, just ask yourself if you are emulating the rich young ruler? Is it that one thing that could possible keep you out of the kingdom of heaven? In my heart of hearts I believe that each and everyone of us has the main mission of making it to heaven and with that mission we should always remember that the road we have mapped out for our journey may involve a few twists and turns that we never saw coming but will lead us there quicker and safer.
All in all we should live every day of our salvation with the same mindset we had when we first came to the knowledge of Christ. The same eagerness to please him and the same child-like humility.

For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter. I Cor 7:11

Be Blessed and Stay Encouraged!

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Lying Low & Soul Searching

Psalms 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Well friends, as you can see I have been lying low for the past couple of weeks. Part of it has been for reasons within my control, the other for reasons beyond my control. I still can’t receive Internet access in my neck of the woods, and unbeknownst to me blogger access is restricted at our local library. At first I was a little anxious, but then I got to thinking about all the desires that I had for my home and my spare time once I settled into my stay at home role and decided that it was probably best that I just spend time focusing on those things and less on blogging.

The past few weeks have been a very humbling experience for me. One I have been ill and was forced to rest and totally depend on my husband and children, the other being that I had time to sit down and be quiet with my thoughts. The latter proved to be a test of the wills. I found that during all of my years “on the go”, I really never had taken the opportunity to sit down un-interrupted with all of my thoughts. All of my hopes, fears, insecurities, dreams and ambitions. Once I did this, I realized that many of them were just as I mentioned, my thoughts and not God’s reality for me.

I’ve had all of these ideals about my life, my career, raising my children, and even being married and what I found is that even though I thought I had acknowledged God in these areas, I honestly did not. What I did was, I informed him of the things I wanted to do, I searched my heart and the Word to see if my ideals lined up with the Scriptures and when I didn’t hear the ever so clear NO then I just went along making plans for my life, and my family’s life.

The truth is that I never heard NO from God because I really and truly didn’t ask him. I kinda sorta asked, you know how your kids do when they tell you they are getting ready to do something in hopes that you won’t disagree or question. Well that is what I found I was guilty of.

Now the work lies in reprogramming my mind. Actually having the time to sit still and talk to God, listen to him and for him, and to trust in him is the starting point. I realized that the unhappiness in my job was simply because it wasn’t from God. The repair in the relationship with my kids exist because I put all other things first even when I didn’t realize it. Sometimes we make mistakes, honest mistakes, most are very unintentional, but the thing about mistakes is they will show up sooner or later and they have to be corrected or they will fester and cause more problems than the actual fixing.

I have even had to go in and reprogram my thinking about my marriage, my role as my husband’s wife, and our role in God’s design for us. I had to really seriously dig deep and ask God to help me have the right goals for my marriage because I have no clue what marriage entails. I know its a positive thing in my life, but now I am not working, now there is a larger burden on my husband what do I do as a wife to be a blessing to him and unto you.

I have a whole new respect for David when he asked God to search him because once you ask with a humble heart there is no turning back. God is faithful, he will show you things you want to see, and things about you that you necessarily don’t want to accept. The good thing is that as long as he is showing you, he is talking to you, it means he still loves you, and he wants you to have everything in those thoughts that he has for you ( Jer 29:11-14).

I hope to post more, I have found a quaint little cafe not far from my home that has free wi-fi, so I plan to be back Lord willing. As for now, I just wanted to check in, drop a line, and let you all know that all is well. Be Blessed and Stay Encouraged!

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Where Do I Begin??

Well friends, today is my first official day as a stay at home wife and mom. Truth be told, I don’t even know where to begin. Today I just decided to take the day off. I am at my parents something I haven’t done since Christmas, and today I am going to hang out with my dad and the girls. We are going to do some school shopping with pa-pa, and later on I am going to take him to the doctor, again something I have never had the chance to do. Tommorrow I can tackle the house chores, and menus, and other ripping and running, but for today I will just enjoy life at a slow pace, again something I haven’t done in a while!!

My pastor preached last night about remaining in the firey tests so that God can perfect us. It is a good thing not to be removed so quickly from some of our hottest battles. Being unemployed naturally can only help me perfect my home, train up my children, and nurture my husband and while it can be a test not to worry about the second income, and how things will be paid, I can certianly welcome the thought of this chance to increase my faith and expunge myself of all hidden doubts and fears. I don’t know if God will lead me to return back to the workforce, or if he will bless my husband with an increase careerwise, I do know that Romans 8:28 has become my hiding place in the word. Thank you again for your thoughts and prayers and I am off to spend some well deserved time with two little girls who I haven’t seen for most of the summer!!! Be Blessed and Stay Encouraged!

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