Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Not So Far From Stupid

Its one of those things that you look at from the outside and go, "Seriously?  How in the world do they not see how stupid they look? or how stupid they are being?"  Yes, I realize I could find a nicer word to use, but when it comes right down to it, that's just what it is.  Stupid.  We see things like it all the time out and about in this crazy world we live in.  People who are about to wipe out because they aren't paying attention.  People who make scenes in public places.  People who make questionable clothing choices.  And so on.

This thought came upon me again while reading on through Revelation and the seven trumpets.  You know, the plagues and all that yucky stuff.  Blood and locusts and falling stars and burning things.  Scary stuff.  Serious stuff.  Stuff that makes me think, "I am so glad I will not be around for this!"

At the end of the Sixth Trumpet John tells us, "The people who did not die in these plagues still refused to repent of their evil deeds and turn to God." (Rev. 9:20)  It goes on to list their many, terrible sins, and my mind immediately went, "Seriously?  How in the world do they no see how stupid they are?  How did they miss these obvious signs from God.  Could it be any more 'in their face'?"

But then the Holy Spirit threw in one of its "stop being so high and mighty on yourself" thoughts in my head.

It is so easy to judge from the outside.  "Why do people continue to smoke?  Don't they know it can kill them?"  "Why is she wearing that shirt that is obviously two sizes too small for her?"  "How can you not see God the seven trumpets' plagues?  Isn't it pretty obvious how powerful He is?"

We see these things and make our quick judgments, but fail to stop and think about other factors that might figure into the big picture.  Maybe someone they admired got them hooked on nicotine and now they don't have the resources or know how to kick the highly addictive habit?  Maybe she is a single mom who has put on some weight due to the high stress of supporting her family on her own and cannot afford to buy herself new clothes because her kids need them more? 

I can't really come up with a good explanation for the people who don't see God, but it has to be there.  And really, I know I have things that are pretty obvious, in-my-face, things that I know I should change in my life too.  But it is hard.  It is so hard to change things that you are used to doing.  It is hard to stop things that aren't good for you but you enjoy them anyway. 

The Holy Spirit opened my eyes.  I have things that I know I should change, things I pray about changing, things I want to change, but I continue on down the same road without changing them because the change is too hard or inconvenient, or it admits a weakness or failure.  Change that we know is best, but don't really want, is hard.

So, I find myself thinking, "I'm not that far from those stupid people who went through those plagues and still did not turn to God.  I'm just stupid in another way." 

We all fall short of the glory of God. (Rom 3:23)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Mama's Mouth

I'm struggling here, folks.  Grumpiness has taken over.

Now, I have never been a super patient, always using soft tones, tolerant type of mom.  But lately things are getting a little ugly. 

How can I tell?  I hear it in my kids.  Ouch.

Yesterday, I sent a crew of them out on a scavenger hunt I had put together for them (Now, don't be impressed by this little activity.  It took all of 3 minutes to write down, explain and gather materials for.  All with the intention that they would be outside, occupied, away from me for at least half an hour).  It was a nice day so the doors and windows were open and I could hear most of their conversations and such.  All of a sudden I hear my oldest hollering at his sister and one of my daycare girls about how they weren't doing it the right way.

People, I tell you, he sounded just like me when I get short with my kids.  Lord, have mercy, it put a sword through my heart to have to go stop him and have a little conversation with him about why he shouldn't do that.  Talk about feeling like a hypocrite.  Cripes!

And today, we spent a long day at the YMCA for my daughter's gymnastics classes, so by the time we got home an hour past nap time, this mama was once again a growling bear, completely oblivious to the revelation I had just been given the day before.

I sat down and read a few verses in Revelation, when God started convicting me of my behavior once again.  So I decided to change gears for a bit and see what He had to tell me about yelling.

Knife.  Pain.  Need a change.

Luke 17:2 tells us "It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin" and I am falling down that slippery slope.  Who cares about me right now, look at the junk I am teaching my kids and the ways I am causing them to slide as well.

My temper is short, my words are harsh, I am being selfish with my time and activities.  I have become a complacent mama with a mean mouth and I am starting to hear it coming from my littles as well. 

While, I might be slightly harsh on myself, I can't keep making excuses.  I need a change or my kids are going to remember nothing about their childhood except for the fact that mom was super fun and nice when things were good and easy, but when they weren't you better take cover. 

I have known these facts for long enough.  I was raised by a person just like this.  It is still how I see her today.  While I love her to death and am so very thankful for the sacrifices she made to raise me, she is very much a two sided person.  Super fun and sweet when the mood is right, but when it isn't, just steer clear.  I don't want to be this way.  Please don't let me be this way.  I don't want that for my kids.

I have wanted to change forever, but I just can't seem to get it done.  I do OK for a few days, but then seem to end up down the same path.  I can't do it.

I feel like the words to this song "Worn" (yes, another song, bear with me) are just what my heart is saying.

 I know I need
To lift my eyes up
But I'm too weak
Life just won't let up
And I know that You can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left

My prayers are wearing thin
I'm worn
Even before the day begins
I'm worn
I've lost my will to fight
I'm worn
So Heaven come and flood my eyes

Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That You can mend a heart that's frail and torn
I wanna know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that's dead inside can be reborn
‘Cause I'm worn

I'm too weak, too stuck in my ways to make this change.  It is just the same things, over and over again.  My temper snaps, my patience disappears and mean, mouthy mama, rears her ugly head.  I can't do it.

But God can. 

I am going to use His words.  I am going to plaster all the verses I found in my "yelling" search around my house to remind myself that God will get me through this. I can discipline my kids without shouting at them.  I can control a situation without getting out of control.  My kids will listen to me even if I am not yelling if I un-train them to only listen when I do.  God can train me.

So. Very. Hard.  But I must get better.  I don't want to be that mom.

Will you please pray for me?  I'll try to keep you updated on how things are going.

Here are some of the verses I found:

Proverbs 31:26
When she speaks her words are wise and she gives instructions with kindness.

Proverbs 15:1                    
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Ephesians 4:29                    
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Ephesians 4:15                    
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Not many people probably think of Stevie Wonder when reading though Revelation, but chapter 6 and the beginning of 7 had me singing his 1970s hit "Signed, Sealed, Delivered."  If you haven't figured out by now, I am a music person, so music is the best way to get through my thick skull.

So, as I hummed the one line of the song I knew and I read all about the first six seals on the scroll and the 4 horsemen, the angels, the judgement, and the earth shaking, I realized the song had more to do with what I was reading than I originally thought.

OK, not so much the apocalypse part of it for me, but chapter seven goes on to talk about how those who belong to Christ will be sealed so that they are protected.  It made me wonder what the rest of the words to the song were, so I looked them up.  The first two stanzas aren't really good with my analogy so I started at the first chorus. (You'll have to trade the "baby" and "girl" for "Lord," but other than that it seems to work well.)

Here I am baby
Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm yours
(You got my future in your hands)
Here I am baby
Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm yours
(You got my future in your hands)
I've done a lot of foolish things
That I really didn't mean, didn't I?
Seen a lot of things in this old world

When I touch them, they mean nothing, girl

Oo, baby, here I am, signed, sealed, delivered, I'm yours!

Oowee baby, you set my soul on fire
That's why I know you're my heart's only desire
Now to explain, because you might be a little confused as to how in the world I got to this point.
Anyway, reading through all of these seals just had me singing the song since I was reading the word over and over.  But, really, I am signed; into his book of life.  I have accepted Him as my savior and He wrote my name down for eternity.  He has sealed me as one of His followers and I will be protected froon the day of judgement. I will be delivered to Him into eternity when He comes back for me or He takes me to be with Him.
This song works because He does hold my future, I want my soul to be on fire for Him, I want Him to be my heart's desire, and the things of this world do not pale in comparison to Him.  I want to wear His seal proudly so that I will be delivered someday into eternity.

Monday, June 3, 2013

When God Speaks

It happens more often than you'd think.  You know, those times when God gives you a direct and, actually, audible answer to what you have been praying for or working on?

One of those moments about brought me to my knees last night, and it certainly made my neighbors look at me a little weird.

I had just finished running.  I have been working on my 5K times lately.  I am trying to get it down below 27 minutes and it seems as if the best I can do is 27:15.  Last night I was just certain I would make it to my goal when I looked at my watch at mile 3, only .1 left to go, and only had 9 seconds or less to sprint it in order to make my goal.  Well, I am not Jackie Joyner-Kersee, so there was no way that was happening.  I finished with a even worse time of 27:24.  It would have been a bit faster but I kind of gave up the last 30 meters and just jogged it to the end because I knew I wasn't going to beat my time anyway.

I was pouting and kicking myself in my thoughts the last few meters of my run with things like, "I'm just not cut out for this stuff," "Why do I push myself this hard when it doesn't do any good?" and "Ugh, this sucks.  Why bother?"

While thinking all these 'lovely' thoughts to myself, "The Voice of Truth" started playing on my iPod.  I didn't hear the first part of it because I was too busy pouting and feeling sorry for myself.  But the second that I reached my 3.1 mile mark and stopped my watch the words coming through my earbuds stopped me in my tracks.  The amazing voices of Casting Crowns rang through to my very soul as I heard them relay a message straight from God.

"The waves are calling out my name and they laugh at me.
Reminding me of all the times I've tried before and failed.
The waves they keep on telling me
Time and time again. 'Boy, you'll never win!'
"You'll never win"

But the voice of truth tells me a different story
And the voice of truth says "Do not be afraid!"
And the voice of truth says "This is for My glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth"

I was telling myself I'd never win and reminding myself of all the times I had failed.  But God showed me this and told me to stop.  He told me to listen to Him and focus on Him rather than myself, to do it for His glory, not mine. 

I will choose to listen to His voice.  I will choose to believe Him.  I will choose to glorify Him.  This needs to be my focus, not a clock I am trying to beat so that I can look like a better runner.