Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Designed for a purpose

As a special treat today, I was able to take an hour out of my work day and attend Mi2, a group for moms that meets twice a month at our church. As a mom who works full time outside the home as well as inside, I don't get to spend much time with other moms. Not even my own. Most moms, I would venture to say, feel some level of isolation due to their occupation - spending enormous amounts of time with those "mini adults" - and the demands it puts on their time - bed time, nap time, play time, dining times, etc., etc. Then there are those moms who also work outside the home. The isolation changes because their time is now divided. They get interaction with adults, but still not the interaction they necessarily need.

What do I mean by that?

Humans need to know they are not alone. As we battle through day-to-day living, we can begin to collapse under the weight of it, especially if we feel isolated, like no one knows what we're going through. This is true of everyone. Now take a mom. There are 24 usable hours in every day. Most of us would love to be asleep for at least 8 of those hours, but we'll be a little more realistic and call it 6 (that is a really good night). If a mom gets up before her kids, let's say she's up by 6, so she went to bed sometime around midnight, but probably before because her precious 6 hours was broken up by needs. OK, so it's 6. Now she gets ready for her day and then she spends it with her kids, caring for her kids, cooking for her kids, cleaning up after her kids, going shopping with her kids, eating with her kids, putting her kids to bed and then hopefully taking a little time for herself from 8 until she collapses into bed. And for most women there is a husband that goes along with all this madness. And I mean madness in a good way.

Take a mom who also works outside the home. She gets up at 6, gets ready, gets her kids ready, takes her kids to their care-takers or school, runs to work, works with people who aren't necessarily interested in what her plans are for dinner, what her daughter said that morning that was so cute, or anything else for that matter, picks her kids up, cooks, eats, spends a few minutes playing, puts her kids to bed and then hopefully takes a little time for herself from 8 until... You get the picture.

Sleep. Wake. Repeat.

Hopefully in the midst of all of this there is a phone call, an email, a coffee date, someone to eat lunch with, etc., someone, anyone, who cares about this mom - stay at home or no - and can listen, pray, laugh, cry, and simply be there for her. We need each other.

But here's what I learned this morning. Get ready because it's big.

I am designed for my life. I was created as a help-meet for my husband, the good man that he is. I was blessed with the privilege to bear our child, and I have the compassion, love, care and instinct to care for her. BUT ONLY WITH GOD'S HELP. He clothes me with strength and dignity (Pr. 31:25); He gives me the ability to speak with wisdom and kindness (Pr. 31:26); He designed me, He goes before me, He upholds me. Being a wife and mother can be exhausting. We are always on-call, rarely acknowledged, often sleep-deprived, and at times (for some of us most of the time) worried. But God designed us to be that encouragement and burst of confidence our husbands need. He designed us to be the band-aid dispenser and professional cuddler while also teaching good manners and living a life of example before our children. He gives us the energy, the drive, the rest, and the HELP we need.

So that is what I realized this morning. I cannot do anything apart from Him. Why do I think my marriage and parenting would be any different? I cannot allow myself to feel or remain isolated. There are a lot of women who are in the same place I am, or who have been there. Women who can walk alongside me and remind me of who I am, what I have been given to do, and that every day, every challenge, every heartache and joy is one more opportunity to love, be joy-filled, peaceful, patient, kind, good, gentle, faithful, self-controlled; opportunities for me to point back to my creator who gives me all I need.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Reflections on Middle School

Middle School. Typically when one thinks of that bridge between the great fun of Elementary School and the challenge and adventure of High School, there is a knot in the stomach, a headache forming behind the yes, or a simple scream sounding from somewhere, though one typically denies the source is one's own heart.

Those brief years that take us from ages 12 to 13 or 14 are full of so many changes, both physical and emotional, that people usually give it a bad rap. Middle schools are treated as haz mat zones and their occupants as ticking time bombs.

I spent my two years in middle school on two continents, in two schools, speaking two different languages, living two different lifestyles. As if there isn't enough to deal with in middle school.

Before you get too impressed by the third item listed, you should know my seventh grade class was a "German Immersion" class in which we were to learn everything but math and English in German. It didn't really work that way. To this day math and English are my best subjects.

When I think of middle school, these are the words that come to mind: clique, bully, imagination, cat fights, sleepovers, humility, lessons, change, stubbornness, pride, friends, isolation, crushes, Greek Mythology, Algebra, field trips, my rock collection, Linda, Amber, Shae, Lindsey, Stella, Austria, "Ich bin ein Berliner," sign language, Mia, drama class, Twix, tornado warnings, I could go on and on. But do you know what I see in this list? My life. My friends. The iron that sharpened me. Experiences that shaped who I am to this day. There are multiple stories connected to each word, and every single one - the good, the bad and the ugly - is a part of who I am today.

Middle school is given a poor reputation. Truly. Think about it. Yes we were stubborn and trying too hard during those years, but we still had fun, took the time to be silly, listened to those wiser than us, enjoyed the small things. Yes we took things too seriously sometimes and thought the world was crashing around us she we didn't get our way, but we learned through mistakes and hopefully grew through those times. Boys and girls in middle school don't need another person telling them to shape up, they need people to laugh with them, cry with them, encourage them. Tell the girl turning into a cat to lighten up. Tell the boy falling in love with himself the story of Narcissus. Take them to an amusement park and let them be kids a few more years.

I honestly think the experiences my friends and I went through in middle school kept us from turning into those nasty girls you want to avoid. It was a rough lesson, but I wouldn't trade it. It's a part of me. I want to thank those friends in Germany I listed above. Thank you for being my friend through some of the most challenging years and being a part of who I became. I'd like to thank my 7th grade math teacher for telling my parents I would never be good at math. I'd like to thank Mia for befriending me, that weird American from Europe. I'd like to thank my mom for making me do that song from Starlight Express in drama class, that my teacher told me "took guts."

Hug a middle schooler. Seriously. They need it. Ignore the eye roll and do it. And remember that they may be boy crazy, full of themselves, awkward, falling out over seemingly stupid things, throwing their school work across the room, yelling, slamming doors, spending their money on silly things, and eating a lot, but that's a part of growing up. Remember that they are learning through it all. You were there once. Think back. Don't flinch away from the memories. Embrace them. Middle school is crazy, but if it didn't happen when it does, I think it would be that much harder. God knows what He's doing. I doubt Jesus' friends had TeenBop posters plastered on their walls, but they went through changes that made their parents roll their eyes. What we call middle school, they called growing up. Sure there are things about middle school in America that make it a bit more dramatic than it has to be, and we try too hard to grow up too fast in all the wrong ways while ignoring the important things, maybe, but it is all a part of becoming who we are to become. I for one am thankful for middle school. They are actually, surprisingly, some of the years I miss the most.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Let him who boasts boast in this...

I started this blog entry a while ago. It was birthed while I was thinking about raising a daughter. She needs to understand that it is not her beauty or her intellect that matter in the long run. She cannot put all her stock in either, but rather must turn to the Lord for provision and her identity and worth. A good reminder for her mother as well!

Jeremiah 9:23-24
"Thus says the LORD: 'Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches,
but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.'"

Proverbs 31:30
"Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised."

Isaiah 44:24-25
"Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: 'I am the LORD, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself, who frustrates the signs of liars and makes fools of diviners, who turns wise men back and makes their knowledge foolish'"

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Some things one might not think of

As a mom working outside the home, I have learned that there are challenges I did not expect.

1. I actually socialize with my parents and in-laws less than I'd sometimes like. At first I thought it was great because I was seeing so much of them, since we are blessed to have them as our full time child care providers. Then I began to realize that it was like living in proximity to a grandparent that isn't quite far enough away. You get frequent visits, but not lengthy ones.

This is due in part to their having taken care of a child all day, I imagine, and partly they don't want to "keep me." These are valid, but I miss actually sitting down to talk.

2. (not unexpected, since we feel busy in every age and stage of life) I often feel rushed and if I stop for too long I'm being selfish or missing something I should be doing. I don't handle this well.

3. I am starting to really feel the effects of not being with friends. People think, because I work full time, I need all my free time with my husband and daughter. I agree that time with my family is important and I don't get as much as I'd like, but we need time with other people, too. If we are left in isolation then we are left to parent alone and we need others to help us be better people, better parents and a better couple.

I enjoy my time alone with my daughter, and the times we get to hang out as a family, but I also enjoy time with my daughter when I have friends and family around. So I am thankful for the friends we do see and the times we get to spend more than five minutes with our families.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

When I grow up...

Of all the blogs I have waiting in the wings to finish, this is the one that seems the most important.

As our daughter grows up before someone else's eyes, I struggle with the reality that I am her mom. Little things remind me and encourage me, such as: when I realize Paul and I change more diapers on average, the strained "Mama" I hear at 6:30 a.m., and the fact that no matter how recently she's eaten, she is always hungry when I pick her up at the end of the day. On the whole, though, I am usually fighting the feeling that I am simply a night-watchman, a babysitter, or a wet nurse to this precious child.

A major source of encouragement comes from those loving hearts that are watching her grow and change: my parents. Not just the couple that raised me, but the couple that raised my husband as well. When I say something particularly discouraging, they endeavor to express to me that what is happening is normal and assure me I am doing OK. They always talk about how delightful she is and share stories of her day with me. Although they each have had their experiences raising five children, they always ask me before they expose our daughter to something new, be it experience or food (which really is an experience in itself). The most amazing thing is that when I start talking about what I'm learning and how I want to do this or that, they listen and don't rush to say, "I know" or explain why I'm off my rocker (and believe me, they know everything I'm telling them and they have their opinions). Between them they've raised 10 kids, and they patiently listen to me tell them how to raise our daughter. For a know-it-all, this is a humbling realization that literally (right this moment) brings tears to my eyes.

So here I am 30 years old still learning from my parents. I am so thankful to have them to learn from and always serve as an example of how I want to be when I grow up: patient, understanding, loving, knowledgeable, teachable, giving.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Have a glass of wine and a laughter-filled conversation and call me in the morning

In a recent class my husband watched a video about stress. In this video they talked about the health benefits of community. Not only do company, compassion and laughter reduce stress they also release hormones that rebuild the telomeres of your DNA, which are shortened by stress, decreasing your ability to replicate DNA and increasing your genetic aging. So the biggest enemy in the midst of stress is that we isolate ourselves when we feel overwhelmed. In reality we need people. We need to serve others!

I found this an interesting lesson, especially in America where our busy schedules make even meeting together in community a thing to stress over. When our stress often gives us excuses to avoid situations where we may serve others. We do not typically sit for hours at a community table every day or find ourselves in easy company by chance. We eat on the fly, rushing from one thing to the next. We fight for hours if not days trying to set up times that work for everyone to get together or even just one other person to meet for coffee. And then when we succeed typically there is something else to get to or a cell phone constantly reminding us of the time, etc., so the time we spend in company is less relaxing than it could or should be. We are also so focused on our own schedules we miss seeing the needs of others.

Maybe it's just me.

I do find it fascinating that God designed us for relationship. So much so, it would seem, that community not only makes us feel better emotionally but physically as well. I knew my crazy schedule was missing something.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Do not fear...

This week hits me hard every year. When I heard about Columbine's lockout on Monday, I got angry. I don't want students to have to deal with this stuff. They should be able to go to school every day without fear. As I wrestled with that, it struck me that we are one of the few nations that can boast such a freedom. And yet the true freedom from fear comes from one source.

We truly have no right to freedom from persecution or danger, but we do have freedom from fear. This is a difficult truth for me, I am ashamed to say. Perhaps that is why my youth pastor gave me Isaiah 41:10 as one of my three life verses when I graduated:

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

Saturday, April 14, 2012

2 down...84 to go

I set out to use Lent as a time of preparation for this new season of life: Paul in nursing school. I don't know how successful I was. Mostly I don't know that you can fully prepare for something like this. I think I learned more in the first week than I did over Lent. The lesson that repeated, though, was that God is in control and His strength is the only way we can get through anything in our lives. Definitely what I need to remember.

I did not yet know the extent of my selfishness before this began. Truly. That is one thing I learned the first week. I probably still don't. Things were bumpy until I forced myself to think about all of this from Paul's perspective and encourage him the way he needs it. Not being surly but rub his shoulders, make meals, keep the coffee stocked. There are and will be other things we need to work through together, but the first lesson is learned: this isn't easy on either of us and part of my job is to help.

I actually have successfully prepared meals and kept the kitchen clean. I get to work mostly on time despite having to take V somewhere every day. I realize two weeks is nothing in light of 21 months, but it gives me hope for all of it. Only by God's strength, though, because by Thursday I'm beat! And only by His strength, presence and mercy can I continue to pour into my home all the encouragement, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, love and respect my man and baby girl need. 84 weeks? This is the rest of our lives!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

I love learning

Today I was asked a question about the Seven Spirits of God that are mentioned four times in Revelation. I confess I knew nothing. So I looked up the Revelation verses, checked out a commentary or two and looked up the Greek. There is nothing special about the words used. Seven means the number seven and Spirit is the same Greek word used every time the Holy Spirit is mentioned in the New Testament. So why "seven spirits"?

Apparently there are differing viewpoints. One drew me to a passage I had forgotten about, Isaiah 11. These verses speak of Jesus. Verse two talks about the Spirit: "And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD." But only six things are listed here. Apparently that's why not everyone agrees this is what is meant.

My favorite description is that the number seven is used to depict completion and perfection. So the "seven spirits" simply emphasizes the fullness of the Spirit of God. In Revelation 1 He speaks with the Father and the Son. In Revelation 3 and 5, Christ has Him. In Revelation 4 He is before the throne with the Father. Naturally my interpretation could be wrong, but it was fun to look into and consider. In fact through this He seems to be all the more a part of the Godhead. Here you can see the "Trinity," as it has been titled. And it was nice to reread Isaiah 11 realizing that same Spirit dwells in me, and the promises of that chapter are true! Christ has fulfilled the prophecies!

Relationally speaking

I have been given the opportunity, along with a fellow youth worker, to field questions from the boys in our youth group regarding relationships. This will round out a series the youth pastor has been doing on dating, marriage, sex, etc. In thinking about Sunday, I cannot be sure of the questions we will be asked or how we will get the ball rolling on the discussion, so I keep coming back to these questions:

What do I want my daughter to know? How do I want her to behave? How do I want her to treat herself?
What do I want the boys and men in her life to know? How do I want them to behave? How do I want them to treat her?
What did I want?
What do I wish I'd known?
What have I learned from my relationships and experiences?
Is there anything I wish I'd done differently?

There is so much! What follows is but a fraction... I'm writing a book on the subject...or I was. Targeted to girls, of course. In fact, this is the first time I've thought about it in terms of guys because of what I could get asked on Sunday. All we can really do to prepare is pray. God is the one in charge, after all :) I just have a strong desire for these men and women to recognize that God is the author and perfecter of everything good in their lives and they do not need to chase after the world to get what they think they want when God has all they would ever need.

Girls, you are precious in God's sight and His opinion is the only one that truly matters. You can have a healthy, growing relationship with someone that doesn't involve physical contact. Whether you know it or not, you are a temptation to boys in your life. Respect them, respect yourself. You have such power you wield with your words, your looks, your body. Be aware. The words "I love you" are precious and hold more weight when used with care. Your body is the temple of God and He dwells within You. Guard your heart. Don't feel the need to tell everyone everything. The more you grow in your love and knowledge of the Lord and who He has designed you to be, the more you will be ready for life, no matter what that holds for you. Contentment cannot be bought or found in a relationship, it is a choice that is made by placing all of our hopes on the One who can make them reality. No man will fulfill your every wish and dream. They are imperfect. Only God gives you exactly what you need because only He knows exactly what you need.

Boys, you are powerful and hold such potential for harm and for good. You are a son of God and He loves you and His opinion is the only one that matters. Your actions can promise something you never intended. Be aware of how you treat the girls in your life. Those girls will grow up to be wives someday, and they will not all be yours. How do you want your wife to be treated? Girls are emotional beings. The more you ask of them and the more you tell them, the more they feel a part of your life and heart. Physical contact is not necessary, in fact, it is dangerous. Respect yourself. Respect the girls in your life, even if you have to do it by requesting they stop doing something that makes you uncomfortable. God is the source of all you will ever need. He has such plans for you that you cannot even imagine. Give Him the time and energy towards preparing you for His purposes. Guard your eyes. Fill your mind with what is true, pure, right, good.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Digging deeper

One reason I keep a journal and blog is that I feel quite forgetful. It seems to me that I learn something and then no more than three weeks go by and I reread and think, "oh yeah!"

From March 4th: "how I treat my husband is an act of worship; how I treat our daughter is an act of worship. Humbling thoughts." So I must ask myself how I am worshiping. With my own desires in view or with Paul's best in heart and mind? To worship well what should my behavior be?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

More good advice

2 Peter 1:3-11

"His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

I am afraid of my own selfishness. For it has no place: faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, love. I fear this new season lastly because of my own potential for failure. But I have all I need: "His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness...." What a promise!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

"a dot fell to the ground"

"Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple." 1 Corinthians 3:16-17

When I read 1 Kings 5 and 6, the description of the preparation for and the construction of the temple, I read of the care, the costly materials, the beauty. I read God's promise to Solomon. And I think, "You are that temple."

I am of no use to anyone if I do not first recognize my worth in the eyes of my Creator. As Eli the woodworker says in Max Lucado's You Are Special: "you are special because I made you. And I don't make mistakes."

Monday, March 12, 2012


"What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me-practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you." Philippians 4:9

What does my daughter see and hear? What will she learn? We dedicated our daughter publicly on Sunday. One of the verses we chose for her was Philippians 4:8. All day today I kept thinking about 4:9. This is what we would like to be able to tell her. Live such that she can practice her life as she sees us living ours out. Wow.

I am so thankful, as I know Paul is, for family and friends who will not only help us live as we ought, but will also be examples themselves for our daughter all her life.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

For V

May we live these verses out for you to see. May you choose to live them out in your life.

2 Timothy 2:15 "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth."

Philippians 4:8 "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things."

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Enlighten my eyes!

I am currently studying Psalm 13 with my mentor. In it David prays to have his eyes enlightened. This terminology has occurred before in our studies, in Psalm 19:8b- "the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes." I wasn't fully sure what this meant. What does it mean to have my eyes enlightened? A dying man's vision grows dark. So in a sense it is to regain life? Psalm 13 is about God forgetting us, but this is not the truth, merely our view of our circumstances. I like what the author of the book we are using says:

"I believe that David is suggesting that the problem of a forgetting God is in our view of Him. When we feel that God has forgotten us, then we need Him to answer our prayer, which we learned to pray from God's servant David: 'Enlighten my eyes!' We need to have our eyes refocused on the character of our God."*

"God has answered the prayer of David. He has 'enlightened his eyes' by providing a new view of His character....In our own day of distress it would be a mistake to look for a new revelation of God from a priest, a prophet, or any other source. For we have a complete revelation in the Scriptures of God, something David had only in part. We need not new words, but a new insight into and a fresh understanding of the old words. Our problem often is not a lack of revelation, but a failure to appropriate the revelation we have. ...We look for a new level, or a fresh reminder, or a new understanding in the Scriptures of God."*

The Word of God is living and just what we need. I am thankful for it, though I do not show my gratitude well. The promises of Psalm 19 are uplifting: "The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever." It is not trite to say "pray and read your Bible" when we are going through rough times, it is the best prescription we can be given. All we need is to go into it with a contrite heart, ready to hear what the Lord has for us.

*Quoted from Praise! A Matter of Life and Breath by Ronald Barclay Allen

Sunday, March 4, 2012

ALL - what I gleaned from this morning's sermon

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength....You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Matthew 22:37, 39

Heart - all affections are centered on Christ. Everything else flows from that love.
I love my family out of the overflow of loving Christ, out of my obedience to Christ. I cannot love them without first loving Him.

Soul - all emotions must be brought to worship and poured out; it permeates everything.
Every decision I make, every emotion I feel can be poured out to the Lord and consecrated as worship. My soul is eternal. I must know how to worship Him eternally.

Mind - all of our knowledge of God must become obedience. Take every thought captive; pursue truth.
Knowing God is the goal, not just knowing of Him. If I know Him and take my thoughts captive, pursuing His truth, I will not be weighed down by the worries of this world or let the lies of the enemy take any kind of hold.

Strength - all of our time, talents and treasure need to be consecrated to the Lord as an act of worship
Once again I think of my work being done for the Lord alone. I also wrestle with knowing my talents and using them.

Neighbor - we last forever and therefore the way we treat each other is worship. Jesus laid down His life for us.
My interactions with coworkers, friends, strangers on the street, are all acts of worship. I have never considered this. But what strikes me most about this, especially in light of desiring to prepare myself for the next season of my family's life, is that how I treat my husband is an act of worship; how I treat our daughter is an act of worship. Humbling thoughts.

All of life is worship. Not just what I can muster. I cannot use being tired or busy or distracted as excuses. I must simply live a life of worship, consecrated to my God and King. What a beautiful thing this must be.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Social graces

I have been thinking a lot lately about how much is too much to publicly display, emotionally, I mean. Are we being destructive socially by publicly displaying emotion before it is under control? Mostly I am thinking of times of disappointment or irritation. Disagreement or anger. At one point in history such emotions were displayed only, if at all, in private. Now we react before we have a chance to process. Perhaps it is just me. Is it truly false of us to take in information in mixed company, process through it privately or with those closest to us before expressing some part of the original emotion, now hopefully under control, publicly? And then only when necessary! Surely there must be a way to do so without constantly pretending to be something we are not.

I over-express. I'm a drama queen. It comes naturally. Sometimes I play it up purposefully. I fear it stopped being amusing long ago. There is something to be said for accepting what is before me, internalizing it well, keeping a calm exterior and waiting to deal with the emotion from the situation at a suitable time. Not everyone and their second cousin twice removed needs to know how I feel about every single thing in my life.

Stress simply breeds more stress. If I have to have an emotion that plagues those around me, it should be joy. If I have an attitude that rubs off on others in my life, it should be thankfulness. I want my home to be a place of joy and thanksgiving, filled with laughter and talking, curiosity and learning. Perhaps if I stop myself from overreacting in the moment, I will stop overreacting period. Miracles do happen, my friends.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

"the LORD made it succeed"

On the 19th of February, near the end of a particularly difficult time for me emotionally, I read the story of Joseph's time in prison. Genesis 39:21-23 stood out to me:

"But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison. Whatever was done there, he was the one who did it. The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph's charge, because the LORD was with him. And whatever he did, the LORD made it succeed."

It amazes me how God continually turned Joseph's horrible situations around for good, not only in his own life, as character and faith building, but in other's lives as well. We can never fully know what God is up to. He has everything masterfully written.

Father I am not in prison, as Joseph was, but the two years he spent there between interpreting dreams makes me think of the next two years and what they hold for my family. I can't do this without Your strength. Only with You working in me and through me will I be able to be the wife, mother, secretary, daughter, sister, aunt and friend that I need to be. I want to change, but I am stubborn. As Joseph grew in his trust in You and in favor with those around him, grow my trust, Lord. Use these two years, and indeed every year, to shape me into the woman You have designed me to be. Be with me, Lord

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

In whose name?

Colossians 3:12-17 is excellent marriage advice; good advice for any relationship, really:

"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."

What do I live for? In what name do I do things? In other words, who gets the glory? What example do I offer for someone "living for Christ"? If I actually do everything I do in Christ's name, do I honor Him or shame Him?

Monday, February 27, 2012


I am reminded of my inability to communicate my desires well. Typically I would like my husband to plan dates without being asked, to help with dinner just to spend a little more time with me without being asked, to acknowledge my greatness and self-sacrifice without being asked :/


You notice the pattern: I don't want to ask. Why not? Does asking truly make it less special? No, the not asking just frustrates him and leaves me hurt that he didn't miraculously do what I wanted.

Of course the more savvy among you also noticed my real issue: I think I am great and self-sacrificing. Pride: the thorn in my side. I must acknowledge the Lord's work in and through me and work to respect my husband and serve him. This is especially important as we head into a period of our life together when we won't see a lot of each other and how we feel and what we need must be clearly communicated.

There is a book out about the love languages, but how do men feel respected? I can't be 100% sure, but I believe one way my husband does is to be heard out and let his ideas have a chance before they are dismissed. This may not extend to bungee jumping at the moment, but still he has a point.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Definition: enough to meet the needs of a situation
(source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary online)

"My grace is sufficient for you"
2 Corinthians 12:9

Conclusion: What more do I need?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

"all things"

What does Philippians 4:13 really mean? I suspect just what it says: "I can do 'fill in the blank'...." But that is not where the thought ends. The most important part is what follows: "through Him who strengthens me." Without Christ I am done for. But with Him I can manage anything life has to offer. I simply must remember that it is NOT by my strength nor is it for my glory. I must live for His glory. All I do for my husband, everything we teach our daughter, it must all be for His glory.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Power of the Spoken Word

This morning my Bible study focused on controlling your tongue. I was reminded of the power of words through the Proverbs, but then again this evening when I returned home.

I found some time I hadn't been expecting after work, but rather than getting to do something "special," it simply freed up my time for me to go to the store and get food. I realized as I scrambled to get the shopping done and get home before my daughter needed to eat again, thinking all the time of what needed to get done and in what order to get dinner done at a reasonable time, that my husband was at home. This in itself is not unusual; we often leave the gathering of V up to me to allow him some time at home to get things done. It was then I realized I never get time at home alone. I do not really wish it; I want to spend time with my family and working full time does not allow for much of that. But though I want to be with my family there is also the desire to have a little time to myself in my space to get things organized or to simply sit in my home and read a book without the clock breathing down my neck to get dinner cooked or get to bed or do the dishes or or or.

I recognize this is a desire of parents everywhere. I am not unique in it. And that is precisely my personal lesson for the day. When it was a thought in my head it was simply something to be discussed with my husband and a possible consideration for some afternoon or other, but when I got home it became something else. I started brooding and as soon as I spoke the words they were my worst enemy. What a consideration! To never have a moment's peace! The villainy! Then from there it got bigger, suddenly no one cared about how much I had to do or what my day looked like. No one wanted to know how I was doing.

As I forced myself to regain my good mood and composure I realized I had allowed myself to get worked up out of purely selfish motivations. Yes I can have time to myself, I simply need to talk to my husband about it. But as soon as I started complaining it took on a whole new life. The lies were flying all over. The spoken word has such power.

When I spend my time in thanksgiving, I am much easier to live with than when I wallow in self-pity and complaint.

"Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits." Proverbs 18:21

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


I have thought a lot lately about seasons. Seasons of life. The "new normal" as it has been tagged. Today is Ash Wednesday. Rather than giving something up for Lent I have decided to take something on. With as little time as I feel I have, this could seem foolish. Perhaps it is. However beginning in April my family will be entering a new season of life as my husband begins his journey through nursing school. I'm not looking forward to that normal.

So I take Lent as a season of preparation. My desire is not only to be actively learning during this time, but to share what I am learning and the blessings that come through my everyday life and lessons. I challenge myself to read the Word and blog daily, to not despise myself when I fail, to share with others the blessings God is showing me during this season of preparation, to encourage others to share their stories as well, and above all else to praise God for His faithfulness, provision and love.