Category Archives: Spiritual Lane

My Journey Back

Proverbs 1- Wisdom calls aloud in the street, she raises her voice in the public square, at the head of the noisy street she cries out. How long will you simple ones love your simple ways?

I’ve been drowning in a bittersweet pool of daily chores, school work, teaching, mothering, wifing and all around trying to be a put together human being. I’ve been so busy keeping all of my blessings in check that I have forgotten to remember who gave them to me in the first place. I have forgotten to give credit where credit is due. I’ve blamed my lack of sleep on the children, who for the most part sleep through the night, sometimes in our bed but they still get a solid nights sleep these days. I blame my lack of quiet time in the Bible and a real relationship with God on everything from my checklist when really my checklist is, well let’s face it….. Crap!

I believe that being in the Bible daily and having a moment (and sometimes that’s really all it will end up being, just one moment) with God will change the course of my day. I believe this because I’ve lived it. Before I let this world get ahold of me, before my list of priorities became somewhat skewed, I’ve felt that change, that strength, that patience, that love, all those things that can only come from a growing relationship with God course through me when I needed it most. (Usually around 2:00 everyday) But for the last several months I’ve been more irritable, I’ve been biting my tongue a lot more when my son isn’t figuring something out as quickly as I think he should throughout our school day. When in all reality I want to be able to possess the grace and the compassion and the patience that I try to instill in my children everyday. How can I do that when I am lacking those qualities myself?

I’ve known I’ve needed a change and I’ve known how to fix it for awhile now but still my priorities weren’t quite cutting it. I wasn’t making the changes that I needed to. I just kept my worries and yearning for something more bottled up inside of me. Do you believe that God puts people in your life at just the right time? I definitely do. I’m sure it’s happened a lot more than I’ve actually noticed but this time around I definitely did. I’m 31 and I have a new friend. A person who I’ve gotten close to just within the last few months and we have both realized how much alike we actually are… but I think she is much lovelier. She is so kind and considerate and thoughtful. Well a few nights ago she invited me on a trip with her to Hy-vee to pick up some groceries she’d ordered online. Haha she admits that it was kind of an odd invite but I said “sure, I needed to pick up coffee.” So away we went, on a Friday night I believe. What else are two moms to do on a weekend? Anyways, she got to talking and then I got to talking and I finally worked up the nerve to ask her what kind of devotion or study she uses to motivate herself to get up at 6 am every morning and spend time with God. I wanted that so much but honestly I’ve never been all that open when it comes to sharing my spiritual needs with someone else. Well, she made some suggestions and by the end of that trip to Hy-vee I had a new skip in my step. I felt lighter within my soul. I’m not sure how to explain it but I knew that confiding in someone else who has this beautiful heart for God and letting them in, helped me. I knew that I would wake up the next morning (I’m still working on getting up at 6am) at least a little earlier than usual and open my Bible, open my notebook and just spend a little time with God.

And I did.

Starting in Proverbs, with a chapter a day. So far I haven’t had to search very hard to feel lead to write down parts of the chapter that moved me. That have inspired me. (There have been so many.) I felt like the first chapter of Proverbs was fitting to get me started on my journey back to God. To building on a relationship that I’ve let slip through my finger tips. I’ve found that searching for wisdom and guidance and love is only possible through his word, it’s only possible when there is a relationship there. An ever growing relationship that is so much more important than my timeline, my comfort, and my sleep schedule.

 

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Rise and Shine

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(Photo by Amber D. Duff Photography)

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

Today I woke up and actually felt myself giving glory to God. I will confess not all mornings are like that and sometimes I fail to give God the glory that he is due daily. Oh how I love those mornings that without even a thought I wake up thanking him.

I took a little peek into my daughter’s unusually quiet room and found her laying on her tummy playing so nicely with her Minnie Mouse dolls. I couldn’t stop myself, I got down on my tummy and wished her a good morning and wrapped her in my arms and thanked the Lord for this little blessing.

My oldest is hit or miss with the touchy feeling stuff but he asked me to hold him this morning and I squeezed with all my might with thanksgiving and love.

And my littlest, well he’s pretty much my little stress ball. He’s, round and squishy and loves those hugs and I try not to miss one second. Stressed out or not, he’s my little happy hugger.

This morning I woke with a kick in my step and joyfulness in my heart. I sang “Rise and Shine and give God the Glory Glory,” at the top of my lungs while making breakfast. I stopped when my oldest son started covering his ears with his hands. He’s very much a lover of singing but I suppose he too has his breaking point.

Days like these are reminders of how awesome God is, and yes I sometimes need a reminder because I get so caught up in the lists and the ins and outs of our day that I forget where the main focus of my day should be in the first place. The shining light that is the reason for the joy in my heart is just dying to shine through wherever it can. I can show God glory with my kindness, with how I treat my husband (even on days when I’d like to keep to myself), I can show it with the patience I show my kiddos (even during the most craziest of tantrums). I can show God’s glory with my compassion, forgiveness, love and grace towards people who I don’t understand or who have hurt me. Today reminded me of all the good that God created me with. I want to pass the goodness and love around, like he intended for me to do.

To wrap up, it was one great morning!

Here’s to rising and shining and giving it all to God!:)

Children of the Day

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So excited to dive into this new season of women’s bible study at church. We are using Children of the Day by Beth Moore as our guide through 1st and 2nd Thessalonians. I’m only on day 3 and already feel God’s presence. To be honest I struggle to get deep into my bible reading when I don’t have a study of some sort to work off of or follow along. I love reading the word but I tend to slack off if I don’t have a plan in place. Can’t wait to hear God as I move through Thessalonians with a wonderful group of women. Such a blessing!

Happy Wednesday!

A Mother’s Heart

“I have been commissioned by God to be their mother. Being a parent may seem like a commonplace human relationship, but I will not be lulled into downplaying it as ordinary. My role as a mom is a deliberate strategy initiated by God to rear young boys into godly men. And I am resolved to fulfill this calling- to be for them what God needs me to be during this critical stage in their lives.”                                             -Priscilla Shirer

This thing happens when you become a mother, this thing that no one can really prepare you for and it has nothing to do with how much love you have for your child or how little sleep you get when you have children, those things I actually had some idea about but of course not to the degree in which they would come. But this thing I’m talking about is this uncertainty and this mentality that begs to ask questions like “Do I really have a purpose?”, “Is there something more I could be doing to contribute to the world?”, “Am I supposed to be doing more for God?” These are the questions that I struggle with and I’m sure that I’m not the only one and I know that almost everyone comes across these questions or questions similar to these in their lives even if they aren’t mothers but for me they started more as a mother, maybe because I stay at home with my kids and some days I really do want to rip my hair out or let the toys and the crumbs pile up until someone rescues me from the mess that is never ending. This does not mean that I love my kids any less those days and it does not mean I’m less of a mother for it. (it did take me awhile to figure that last one out). These questions come most often when I’m listening to a sermon or in a bible study and the questions arise… Are we intentionally living for God? Are the things in our life pleasing to him? Are we doing what he is asking us to do in our life or ignoring it to fulfill our own plans? These questions stump me at times because I think well I should be volunteering or I should be spreading the word of Jesus proudly every single chance I get but as a stay at home mom those chances are very limited so I become stuck in this rut of questioning my choices and my purpose for living. I’ve been stuck in this rut the last few months and it’s totally my own doing because I haven’t been reading my bible as much as I should and I haven’t had the kind of relationship with God that I know that I can have with him and so doubt settles in. Self-deprecating doubt that tends to build up and kind of nestles it’s ugly little self into the pit of my heart or head or gut and it pops up now and then, reminding me that I’m not worth it. I can usually contain it for awhile- on those days that my children learn something new and I see the awe in their eyes as they look at me in excitement. When they tell me they love me and that they are happy I’m here. When the cuddling never seems to end, well those days are pretty dang good and I forget about that thing growing inside of me and then  comes the mundane, the dishes, laundry, constant toy picking up and it rears it’s ugly little head and I start doubting myself not only as a mother but as a woman and a person and for some reason I can’t rid myself of it until I let God in.

Today I started the fall women’s bible study at my church and guess who popped into my heart and cleaned out all that doubt that I’ve been letting grow in there for the last several months…. Gideon! Well, God through Gideon through Priscilla Shirer who is the author of the book we are studying this season. So far it has been inspirational and I only just started it. It not only reminded me that I am part of a divine story of redemption just as much as anyone in the bible but also that… I will use her words here “I have been commissioned by God to be their mother. Being a parent may seem like a commonplace human relationship, but I will not be lulled into downplaying it as ordinary. My role as a mom is a deliberate strategy initiated by God to rear young boys into godly men. And I am resolved to fulfill this calling- to be for them what God needs me to be during this critical stage in their lives.” This is it, this completely wipes that doubt away and this makes doing dishes for the 3rd time in a day not seem so purposeless. I hope parents, yes you fathers too matter just as much, I hope that these words take away any doubt that you may have about yourself and your journey as a parent. We are made for wonderful things and right now it is paving a life of intentional living for our children. Intentional living for God and letting that shine through us to our little ones.

An Unexpected Break

I have not forgotten the blogging world, it may seem like I have forgotten but I haven’t. I took a break that was not meant to be taken but was much needed. A few days after my last post about potty training my husband came home to tell me that he had lost his job that day and as a stay at home mom the world around me crumbled just a bit. I made him go into our room because he was upset and my then 2 year old already had a look of panic on his face. So off to the bedroom we went where he preceded to tell me what happened. While I won’t go into details I was not at all upset with my husband. I did not blame him nor did he need to be blamed but I will say that I was shocked and worried and although I stayed strong for him because that is what a spouse is supposed to do, stay strong and let the other lose it for a second, as soon as that was over I jumped in the shower and cried for about 30 minutes and then I was done. I was done getting upset and while I knew the worry wouldn’t always stay dormant I also had a peace that everything would be ok. Luckily we actually had a savings which hardly ever happens but somehow there was actually money in that savings account and for three months we lived off that while he looked for a job and guess what, the same month we were going to be out of money and have to sell an already paid off truck he got a job. A job that doesn’t pay as well but he loves and will be able to move up and around the company. A job that was our saving grace! Those three months were scary with two children under 2 and trying to live on no income but we did it and we are both still sane and I credit that all to God. I had faith, we had faith and after that first shock we sucked it up and did our best and tried to stay as faithful as possible besides the occasional snap at each other or brief frustration God got us through it! I can’t possibly give credit to anyone else especially myself because if I didn’t have him then I would have been a wreck the entire time but low and behold here we are, in one piece and happier for it! So the reason for the break from blogging…. well I don’t know. At first I was ashamed to tell anyone, even a blank screen that we were unemployed and then something more happened. I finished writing a novel about 5 years ago. It took me about 3 years to write because well, it was my first novel and I started as a teen and well, I’ll let you figure out the rest. Anyways I began reading it again. I started rewriting as I saw fit and I fell in love with writing all over again. Now I’m not claiming to be a good writer. The book may actually suck…. but I’m not giving up on it. So my husband got a job and I picked my passion back up off the table and discovered it all over again. I think this last 4 months have been amazing! My family is healthy, we are all happy, we have each other and no amount of money or lack there of will change that. This is my last year of my 20’s and my goal is to rock it’s socks off!

That thing called Relationship

I had a lot of goals for 2014. A lot! My first priority/goal was to have a closer relationship with God. With this being my #1 goal for 2014 it’s only natural that this is the last thing I’ve started working on this year, isn’t that unfortunate. While very unfortunate and sad it actually gave me inspiration for this post and inspiration to start with a bang! Here we go….

I believe that a relationship with God is something that takes work,  sometimes there are days when I have no desire to open my bible or I think I’m too busy for prayer. I find that on these particular days (there’s been a lot lately) it takes hard work and determination to make the time and find the desire. I’ve also discovered that when I make the time and muster up some desire, my days are filled with a little more joy. On those days when I barely have the time to peek into my bible but do anyways I’m more likely to be reminded of all the blessings God has bestowed upon my family. Just the fact that I’m able to read the bible and serve God should be more than enough everyday! After days like that, when God strikes me with such awe and love and joy how can I go another day without the desire to dip into his word and praise him? And yet those days come. I really struggled with this last year and I’m hoping to make some major spiritual changes everyday, not just this year but indefinitely.

I believe surrounding yourself with the word and other believers more than just once a week gives you inspiration and perhaps more desire to grow closer to God.  This season in our small group we are doing a study by Andy Stanley called “Christian, It’s Not What You Think” Our first meeting was about being disciples, rather than “christians” of God and showing love to everyone and through that love others will know that you are a disciple of God. I’m also continuing in a women’s bible study with our church. Beth Moore’s study  “David, Seeking a Heart like His”. While I’m excited about both studies and look forward to learning and growing from them, there’s something that matter’s more… I know that even if I go to a bible study every day of the week and a good church and I have all these great godly friends that I get to hangout with but don’t have a relationship with God then I have nothing.  I’ve missed out on what it’s all about. Everyday we talk to God, everyday that we praise him and spread his word and die for him is another victory in furthering his kingdom and knowing that gets me really excited!

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” Revelations 3:20