Friday, November 30, 2012

Sleepless in Stressville

OK, so I don't feel overly stressed, but I suppose if I write it all out it would seem that way.  I just have a lot on my plate right now.  It doesn't make me freak out or get grumpy or, like I said, even feel majorly stressed.  It just makes me feel like I have to keep going to get it all done, like I need a digital recorder attached to my brain so that I don't forget anything.

Want to see a sample of what my schedule looks like for the next 13 days?
We have my family's Christmas tomorrow so I have a lot still to do to prepare for that including wrapping, laundry and packing as well as some food prep.
Sunday is my niece's birthday party and we'll have to leave very early from it to get back for dress rehearsal by 2.
The rest of the week is normal busyness with MOPS on Monday, gymnastics on Monday, daycare kids through the week, I volunteer at the school on Thursday and have dress rehearsal Monday and Tuesday nights.  Wednesday is our light day with only 1 daycare kiddo and an evening at home.  Thursday is Opening Night for the musical going all through Sunday afternoon.  The following Monday night is more gymnastics, plus Noisy Man's school program and Tuesday I have a packed house of daycare kids and we leave that night for Omaha to get on the plane to Disney the next morning!
YIKES!!  Lots to do.....

So with all this on my mind I have NOT been able to sleep.  My to do list keeps replaying in my head and I wonder how I will get it all done.  So, today, instead of reading along in my normal trend in 1 John, I decided to take a look more closely on how I can find my rest in Him since I am not getting it through myself. 

Matthew 11:28
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Exodus 33:14
“My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
Psalm 73:26
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
Psalm 61:1
“Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.”
Psalm 62:1-2
“My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”
Isaiah 40:28- 31
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
Hebrews 4:16
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Psalm 127: 1-2
“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord guards the city, the guard keeps watch in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives sleep to his beloved.”
I think I'll paint these on the ceiling above my bed and just recite them at night instead of going through my to do list.  Any other ideas?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Little Clarity and Purity

I read a few verses for today and felt a little perplexed.  That is how I have felt through most of my reading in 1 John.  I think John is a bit deep for me, but I know that there is plenty of good stuff I need to figure out.  So, I did what I usually do when I am stumped by what I read and know that there is something I am missing.  I hopped on over to and read it in a few other, more modern day wording, versions. 

I love how The Message translation put 3:1-3 "What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are. But that’s also why the world doesn’t recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who he is or what he’s up to.  But friends, that’s exactly who we are: children of God. And that’s only the beginning. Who knows how we’ll end up! What we know is that when Christ is openly revealed, we’ll see him—and in seeing him, become like him. All of us who look forward to his Coming stay ready, with the glistening purity of Jesus’ life as a model for our own."

What great points.  Now, yes, it is easy to figure out the children of God part.  That is pretty plain in all of the versions.  But what amazing love that is, that He would adopt us as his own children.  As Jeff and I have been prayerfully considering adoption or different possibilities of being involved with adoption on another level, I have been thinking about how hard adoption really is.  To just bring someone into your family that you don't really know (of course God doesn't identify with this because He knows every hair on our head) has to be very difficult.  The adjustments that have to be made, the behavior and language barriers that exist, the learning curve, figuring out how it all works.  It is hard stuff, but God does it with perfect ease to each and every one of us.  It is amazing. 

The second thought is on how the world doesn't really know or accept us for who we are because they don't know who He is.  They don't understand why we make the decisions we do or live the way He commands us because they don't know those commands or the love that drives us to follow them.  It is a love that cannot be comprehended unless personally experienced. 

And of course the majesty in meeting and fully understanding Christ and then becoming like Him.  I'll just stop there because that speaks for itself.  I mean, seriously, how can you not get goosebumps thinking about how amazing that will be?

And last, "the glistening purity of Jesus' life".  Love this!  What a word picture of perfection!  And what a challenge each and every day to model our lives after His.  That is what He commands us to do.  We are to love like Him.  If you do that and only that, love like him, everything else falls into place.  Selfishness can't take over if you love like Jesus.  Pride can't take over if you love like Jesus.  Sins can't take over if you love like Jesus.

So go, use the glistening purity of Jesus' life and love as a model of your own. 

Monday, November 26, 2012


I have been on another blogging hiatus lately.  For one I have been busy and tired so for this very sad reason I haven't been as good about getting in my quiet times.  Lame excuse I know and terrible of me to put my quiet times off instead of the other busyness.  I know which is better for me.  Why do I choose the wrong one? 

The other reason is that I haven't felt overly inspired to write too much.  I seem to be falling a little flat with connecting with John.  Don't get me wrong.  This is God's Word and it is always filled with good stuff that I need to know, I just haven't felt much 'connection' to what John has specifically been saying at this current time.  I know God will use it at some point though, so it is good to know where it is.

Today I read about confidence.  Confidence is something I am not too great at.  I have always been a people pleaser so I don't want to step on toes or disappoint anyone, so I have always been a bit hesitant to do things out of the 'norm'.  Now, this statement might surprise some who know me now because I am usually one who isn't afraid to get up in front of a group or take charge of this or that.  This could be construed as confidence, but I assure you that I have just gotten used to making a fool out of myself over the years and it just doesn't bother me as much anymore.  I still finish and think about how silly I looked or what I said or did wrong and then fret and fret over this and that. 

But, of course, John wasn't really talking about this kind of confidence, but rather the confidence we need to have when Jesus returns.  We need to be able to have confidence and be unashamed when we stand before Him on that day.  I am so thankful for this confidence.  I is one that I never have to question myself about or fret over.  I know that the day I stand before Him, He will look at me and know that I love Him.  He will know who I am because I try my best (sometimes better than others, of course) to spend time with Him and get to know Him better.

Now, this isn't to say I never screw up and have to run back to Him begging forgiveness.  But I know that as long as I repent and try my best to do better next time, I am washed clean of that sin and no longer have to be ashamed of it.  He will not bring it back up on the day that I meet Him because as soon as I ask and He forgives, He forgets what it ever was.  I can have the confidence of complete forgiveness and love from Him on the day I get to see Him face to face.

This is a confidence worth striving for.  It is eternal.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Seeking Peace and Great Things

I am doing something new tonight.  I get to share my testimony at a MOPS evening out.  I am a little scared (and that might be a understatement).  It is one thing to share with others in one-on-one situation or even in a small group, but to stand up and share to 25 plus or your friends and peers is a tiny bit intimidating. 

I have everything ready to go, including Kleenex and waterproof mascara.  Would you please pray for me and the other two gals sharing tonight?  We need peace of mind.  Knowing that sharing our faults and sordid pasts is how God wants us to connect with the women attending is an awesome power, but getting to that point is tough.  We need His words to be our own.  It is so hard to know what parts of your story are part of the big picture and what are just unnecessary details.  We need to focus on Him and how His love has changed us and share that amazing power with the women in attendance.  We need it to build our relationships with them and theirs with eachother. 

Pray that the women who attend would have open minds and hearts to hear about Him and what He means to us.

Most of all, we need this night to be about Him.  To glorify His power, His forgiveness, His healing.  We don't want it to be about us, but only about how He has made us who we are today and is still continuing to mold us. 

(And if it isn't too much can I make one more request? - I need steadiness.... when I get nervous speaking I shiver.  Pray that I wouldn't shiver please.   ;)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Its Gonna Happen

I grew up reciting the verses I read today in church every week.  It wasn't until I was in college and started a real relationship with Christ that I learned they actually came from the Bible and weren't just part of the "Lutheran Book of Worship." (The verses might have been cited in the LBW, but I just never paid attention.  I might have to check that out next time I go to church back home.)

"If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and His word has no place in our lives." 1 John 1:8-10

I love these verses now.  Back then, it was just part of the routine; what you said in church because everyone else did. (Now, don't get me wrong, some Lutherans might actually understand this and mean the words, I'm just saying the majority of the ones I was around didn't.)  I love these verses because here, through John, God tells us that we are screw ups.  He isn't going to sugar coat it or hide it under a rug.  He flat out tells us we are sinners, and if we try to deny it, it is akin to denying Christ. 

So, I don't love the fact that I am a sinner, and God isn't giving me permission to sin, He is just telling me He knows its going to happen and as long as I fess up to it and try to do it right the next time, He will forgive me. 

It is the fessing up part that gets a little tricky.  I hate to admit when I screw up.  I have this little pride issue.  But God tells me here that it must be done.  The other issue I have with the general "recitation" of this passage is that, while confessing you sin, it isn't confessing the sin itself, which I feel is a major part of the confession God desires.  We have to recognize when and where we sinned and let God know that we know we messed it up.  (Somewhat like a catholic confession, only I am all about cutting out the middle man and going straight to the Savior Himself .) 

Now, I am not saying that I know this to be a hard fact, but it is my interpretation of what I have felt the Holy Spirit teach me about what scripture tells me about confessing sins.  Please feel free to share what you have learned on this topic as well. 

So I must swallow my pride, own up to my actions and ask for His grace and mercy once again.  Praise Him that He gives it so freely!!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

In the Light

I often struggle with those in my life that claim to know Christ and believe in His death on the cross, but do not live their lives any differently.  I struggle with knowing whether or not they will join me in heaven.  I struggle with not knowing how to make them understand the difference.  I struggle with not wanting to make it seem like I "know better" or "am better" than they are because I recognize this difference and they don't think it is important or that they are just fine where they are.

1 John 1:6-7 are some of the verses that back up my worst fear with this situation.  The fear that 'head knowledge' of Christ is not enough and many of my loved ones will 'miss the boat'.  It is a full-life change and heart change that must occur to really truly know Christ.  He states, "If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.  But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin."

These verses tell us that our lives must change after receiving the blood of Christ for our sins.  We cannot go on living in sin or as if nothing has changed.  We have to make the decision to live in His light and for Him.  This takes change.  It means recognizing the sin and making a conscious effort to rid it from our lives.  It means making sacrifices and different choices and seeking Him first.

I also love how this passage makes it clear that accepting Christ fully does not mean that we cannot sit or won't sin ever again.   It clarifies that His blood will purify it for us when it does happen.  And it will.  We are all human, and no matter how much we seek God with our whole hearts we are bound to screw up at some point.  If we could live sinless lives we wouldn't have the need for Him, but trying our hardest to reach that point brings us closer to Him in the process.  For both of these things I am very thankful.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Rest In the Light

As I grow weary of the junk mail, phone calls and bickering TV ads finally ending today as we vote, I am all-too-often reminded of all the darkness in the world.  Crime, corruption, lies, drugs, unemployment, divorce, hungry and abused children, and so much more.  Darkness.  It is hard to get away from it all.

But there is one place I can always turn to find the light.  1 John 5 reminds me that, "God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all."  God IS light.  He IS hope.  He IS love.

So when my heart grows weary, when darkness tries to creep its way in, when I get stressed out and want to crawl in a hole to hide, I need to turn to and rest in the light.  In Him there is no darkness and His hope and love can bring me up from the depths.

So, find the light.  Turn to Him and have hope.  And go vote!  :)  But most of all remember this:  No matter who is President, God will always be the King, the true light of the world.

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Work In Progress

I am working on writing out my testimony for a thing we are doing at MOPS.  Once I get it all done and perfected I will be sure to share it on here.  In the meantime, I have been trying to figure out a 'main message' of what I have learned through my journey.  I'm pretty sure I have settled on 'insecurities'.  We'll see where that takes me.

However, I am sometimes reminded that even though I have made significant progress in many of my insecurities over the years since being saved, I am still a work in progress. 

I was put in a stressful situation the other night being forced to choose between what my kids needed and an activity I had made a commitment to.  The commitment is usually not an issue but this particular night my husband also had something come up.  I explained that I would appreciate if I could get my parts done and be able to leave a bit early.   My requests fell on deaf/unsympathetic ears and I was left standing there stewing about what to do.

The insecurities crept into my mind, going crazy with thoughts like, "no one else ever has scheduling issues like I do," and "this person has never really liked me anyway, so now I am just annoying him once again and confirming that I am not good enough," and "if it was this other person I am sure they would make sure she could get out of here when she needed or they would tell her it was OK to leave instead of saying, 'I guess you need to do what you need to do (hearing definite hints of which one they think I should do)'"

I let these thoughts take over as I stood there watching the clock tick, feeling very inadequate and I finally caved and left in tears (added to my insecurities has been a very busy and stressful week which always makes me overly emotional anyway).   Then I felt even more insecure thinking of what everyone I left behind was thinking about the drama-queen-cry-baby that just walked out the door. 

Ugh!  Why do I do this to myself?  Why did I stand there and let those thoughts take over my mind and heart?  Why do I care so much about what others think about me and what they think I should be doing?

Granted, this used to be a daily occurrence that made a huge part in daily decisions that I made and I have moved well past that.  I have to remember to look at it as "imperfect progress".  I have made huge improvements, but still have minor setbacks here and there.

It is times like these that I am ever so thankful for a husband who swoops me up and coddles me at times that I melt down, then threatens to go "have a word" with the people involved (even though he won't do it, it riles him up enough to think about it and makes me feel very protected). 

I am also very thankful that God's Word reminds me:
1.  "destroy speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ"  2 Cor 10:5
2. "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving let present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." Phil 4:6-9
3. "be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil." Eph 6:10

I need to stop listening to the insecurities that the devil tries to convince me are true.  I need to, instead, stand on and trust in what these verses tell me are true.

Do you have insecurities?  What verses help you in those times (also read as: "searching fore more verses to use in my testimony")?  (hehehe)