Showing posts with label My Heart. Show all posts
Showing posts with label My Heart. Show all posts

Monday, January 21, 2013

Forgiving Grace

"You are my hiding place; you shall preserve me from trouble; you shall surround me with songs of deliverance."  ~Psalm 32:7

God is our hiding place!  How sad that so many feel they must hide from God...even many Christians believe this to be true.

An unbeliever has much to fear if they are defying God and His word.  They will face devastating consequences.

"If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned."  ~John 15:6

However, the believer need not fear God but take refuge in Him instead!

"For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion;  in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me;  He shall set me high upon a rock."  ~Psalm 27: 5    
God is a loving and merciful God to those who don't blatantly disregard Him.  He wants to "preserve us from trouble" and He uses the Holy Spirit to speak warnings and guidance to our hearts.

For those with addictions or struggles that need to be overcome, He wants to surround them with "songs of deliverance."

"Blessed is he who's transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.  Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit."  ~Psalm 32:1-2
We don't have to live in fear of God's judgments if we have trusted Jesus for salvation and forgiveness of our sins.  Unfortunately, many of us, when faced with the shame of our sin, distance ourselves from God because we're afraid our transgressions have changed God's feelings toward us.

Believing Christian, next time you feel that guilt that tries to push you away from God, I encourage you to come close to Him instead.  Rather than the wrath you're afraid of, you'll find Him singing over you a cleansing song of deliverance!  

Hope In Every Season is on Facebook!  If you like what you've read here, please follow me and keep up with the latest posts.

 This post was featured in Issue 98 of The Christian Home Magazine.

Linking with:
Teach Me Tuesday @ Growing Home 
Titus 2sday @ Time Warp Wife 
Tuesday Linkup Party @ Courtship Connection 
Women Helping Women @ Teaching What Is Good 
Wisdom Wednesday @ Simply Helping Him 
Wholehearted Home Wednesday 
Encourage One Another @ Deep Roots at Home 
Wise Woman Linkup @ A Wise Woman Builds Her Home 
Desire to Inspire @ A Royal Daughter 
Legacy Leaver Thursdays 
Essential Friday @ Essential Thing Devotions 
Inspire Me Monday @ Create With Joy 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Pinocchio Complex

Pinocchio Complex:  Question made to confuse, or befuddle someone.

If Pinocchio says, "My nose will grow now." What happens? A great Cretan once said; "All Cretans are liars." Is he lying or telling the truth?"

Ok, so this article actually has nothing to do with the Pinocchio Complex---but it is about Pinocchio.  I just thought the idea of the Pinocchio paradox was pretty awesome.  You can come back and think about it some more when you're done reading...

"Oh come, let us worship and bow down;  let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.  For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand."  ~Psalm 95:6-7

I've slowly been reading the story of Pinocchio to the kids over the past couple of months.  We're only half way through and it's a wonderful story---but hard to read sometimes as well.  Not only is the language translated in sort of an old-fashiony way, (it was written in 1883 in Italian and translated to English in 1892) but the character of Pinocchio is much less likeable than the cute little puppet boy we know from the Disney cartoon.
Pinocchio finds himself rebelling against his father at every turn.  The real clincher (so far) comes when Gepetto sells his own coat to buy his son a spelling book so he can go to school.  Pinocchio turns around and sells the book so he can attend a puppet show.  After reading this part and sneaking a peek at the astonished looks on my kids' faces, I took the time, of course, to point out the sacrifices that good parents make for their children.  Even horribly selfish children who break their poor parents' hearts!

Every now and then, Pinocchio's "conscience" will pop up and try to steer him the right direction, but he's pretty good at beating it back down again.  I have a feeling that conscience is going to win, though.  We just got past the part where the ghost of the conscience tries to reason with him.  That "spirit" just won't be defeated!  (Maybe it's a Holy Spirit, hmmm???)
Oh, but aren't we all just like that self-centered Pinocchio?  Instead of being grateful to our Maker and obeying Him because of His great love for us, we often toss out His precious blessings in favor of our own pursuits.

Thank God for the Holy Spirit who relentlessly attempts to guide us back home to our Father!

"However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak;  and He will tell you things to come."  ~John 16:13  

Hope In Every Season is on Facebook!  If you like what you've read here, please follow me and keep up with the latest posts.

 This article was featured in the 97th edition of The Christian Home Magazine.

Also linking with:
Teach Me Tuesday @ Growing Home  
Titus 2's Days @ Time Warp Wife 
Tuesday Linkup @ Courtship Connection 
Women Helping Women @ Teaching What is Good 
Wisdom Wednesdays @ Simply Helping Him  
Wholehearted Home Wednesday
Encouraging One Another @ Deep Roots at Home 
Homemaking Linkup @ Raising Homemakers 
Wise Woman linkup 
Legacy Leaver Thursday @ Leaving a Legacy 
Essential Friday Link-Up @ Essential Things Devotions 
Desire to Inspire @ A Royal Daughter 
Inspire Me Monday @ Create With Joy 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Scrapbooking Sweet Memories --- Homemaking Link-Up Weekend

Happy Friday!
Lately, I've been in the mood to do some scrapbooking.  I have SO many supplies but SO little time! Ha!  The last time I worked on scrapbooks, I was inspired by this sweet picture of Selah.  One day last year, she dressed up pretty, had Lynzie do her hair, and asked me to do a photo shoot!
When I was going through the pictures, I was reminded of this one we took of her when she was just a few days old.  This was her first day at church and she was wearing Lynzie's red baby dress.
Jamie bought me this pretty Victorian scrapbooking paper with pinks and reds and beautiful roses.  In fact, he's bought me a bunch of this over the last few years but I've not used it as much as I would have liked to.  So, one day I put together this layout featuring her in the red dress...
...and the baby dress!  Why oh why do they have to grow up so quickly?
I made a couple other sets but have yet to fill them with pictures and embellishments.
This one is my favorite but I think I'll change out that weird white bow at the bottom left of the page on the right.  The lace was sent to me by a good friend from Finland whom I met on Bookcrossing.com.
What kinds of pretty projects have you been working on lately?  Do you have a favorite of my three layouts? 


I'd love to have you join me for my Homemaking Link-Up Weekend.  Please link up your favorite posts and share the button on your blog so your friends can join too!


Hope In Every Season is on Facebook!  If you like what you've read here, please follow me and keep up with the latest posts.


Linking up with:
Homemaking Link-Up Weekend
Beverly's Pink Saturday @ How Sweet the Sound
Made With Love @ Sew Chatty 
What's In the Gunny Sack

Monday, January 7, 2013

Hold Your Peace!

A peaceful evening in Morrow County, Eastern Oregon.
"You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.  Trust in the Lord forever, for in Yah, the Lord, is everlasting strength." ~ Isaiah 26: 3-4

"The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace." ~ Exodus 14:14

Hold your peace!

That's a phrase we use when we want to tell someone to "calm down", "get a hold of yourself"...or, simply, "HUSH!"

Surely there was a little bit of that connotation associated with the phrase in chapter 14 of Exodus.  The Israelites had just left Egypt and had found out that Pharaoh was pursuing them.  Instead of trusting God and his miracles thus far, they were freaking out and accusing Moses of leading them out into the wilderness to be murdered by Pharaoh's army.

However, there's another truth we can extract from these words.   

"The LORD will fight for you"...

How does God's method of doing battle differ from ours?

"You shall hold your peace"...

"Hold" = retain, hold on to, don't let go of

How much more peaceful would our lives be if we let God handle those things that rile us up?
The best of relationships will face frustrating times now and then!
Often times, my children will become frustrated with one another---usually it's one of the little ones not "obeying" an older one.  The angered child will try over and over to make the irritating sibling bend to his/her will.  When they finally realize the other is not giving in, there are usually raised voices and resentful attitudes.

I've been training them to try to discuss the issue nicely once.  If that doesn't get the desired result, they're to come to me and let me decide if they should let it go or if I should mediate and help them out.  This makes for a much more peaceful atmosphere in our home.

I think this is what God desires to do with us.  He is willing to mediate our disagreements---and to fight our battles---so we can hold on to our peace.

Since He is the Perfect One---and we are the messed up ones---wouldn't it make sense to let Him?

Hope In Every Season is on Facebook!  If you like what you've read here, please follow me and keep up with the latest posts.

  This article was featured in Issue #96 of The Christian Home magazine.

Linking with: Teach Me Tuesdays @ Growing Home
Titus 2sDays @ The Time Warp Wife 
Women Helping Women @ Teaching What is Good 
Courtship Connection 
Modest Monday @ The Modest Mom 
Encourage One Another @ Deep Roots at Home 
Wednesday linkup @ Wholehearted Home 
Wisdom Wednesday @ Simply Helping Him 
Homemaking Linkup @ Raising Homemakers 
Wise Woman linkup 
Legacy Leaver Thursdays @ Leaving a Legacy 
HomeAcre Hop @ The Self Sufficient HomeAcre 
Matrimonial Monday @ A Proverbs 31 Wife 

Friday, January 4, 2013

My Precious...

"He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life." ~ John 12:25
When we have something precious, we tend to hold on to it very tightly---not necessarily because we are selfish, but because we are so afraid to lose it.  What would my life look like if I lost "my precious?"

I know I need to work on my attitude and willingness when it comes to serving others with my life---especially in the area of hospitality.  When the opportunity for serving outside my role as wife and mom comes up, I often look for an excuse to avoid it.  In most cases, this is okay.  My ministry is to my husband and our nine kids---and with 10 people to serve, any other time is pretty limited.  However, God likes to test my heart now and then and I'm not as ashamed as I should be to say that I usually fail.

I think I'm just holding so tightly to "my precious" life that I don't want to share it with anyone.  What if the moments we're spending on other people are the last moments of our life together?  Am I the only one who tries to control every aspect of her life to make it just perfect?

"To whom much is given, much is required." ~ Luke 12:48

I used to think that this verse was just about responsibility.  However, I'm finding out that God wants me to do more with the life he's given me than just manage it responsibly.  He wants me to share the happy times with others, to use it to provide a witness of His goodness and provision, and to "offer hospitality without grumbling." ~ 1 Peter 4:9

Hope In Every Season is on Facebook!  If you like what you've read here, please follow me and keep up with the latest posts.


This article was featured in The Christian Home Magazine, Issue 95. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Antique Plate Hanger for the Homemaker's Uniform

Today I want to show off this cute apron hanger I made for my two pretty pink aprons.  Armed with my hot glue gun, it only took me a couple minutes to put this together.  I just grabbed a pretty antique saucer, glued an antique glass drawer pull to the middle, and glued a pretty vintage-looking button to the middle of the drawer pull.  I glued some ribbon to the back for a hanger and even fixed a pearly embellishment to the nail in the wall!
On it, I've hung this patchwork apron that I won in Connie's giveaway at Living Beautifully, along with a pink apron that I purchased from Mrs. White at The Legacy of Home---she hand-stitched the whole thing! 
I love wearing aprons around the house---not only are they practical for shielding against grease splatters, soap suds, and baby spit-ups, but they also serve as sort of a homemaker's uniform!  When I wear my apron, I know it's time for business and it motivates me to focus on the things that need to be done around my home for my family's sake.  You will not find me sitting here in my bed, snuggled up with my blanket and writing---with my apron on!  Ha!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Burden of the Blessed Life

Survivor's guilt

Have you ever felt guilty for being blessed in a way that many others aren't?  Perhaps you've experienced a life-threatening situation and came out unscathed, while others suffered less desirable fates.  Maybe you've been healed of a sickness that many are still suffering from.

Many times in life, we find ourselves sitting in the good seats watching, often without any ability to help, while our friends and loved ones walk through very tough times.

This is where I'm finding myself lately.

I've got parents divorcing.  I've got extended family divorcing.  I've got good friends divorcing. Even more heartbreaking, a dear friend just lost a much prayed for baby to miscarriage.

My soul hurts for these people that I love---that I have relationship with---that are going through such a very difficult time.

What can I do to help?  I can't save a marriage...or a baby.  I want to pray.  But have I been?  Not as much as I should be.

To be honest, I'm experiencing wallowing in survivor's guilt.

Of course, everyone's got problems;  but when I look at the petty things I'm walking through right now, in light of what's happening to those around me, I see there's just no comparison.

Out of my 10 pregnancies, I've only lost one to miscarriage.  Losing that baby five years ago was the most difficult thing I've ever gone through---but I've been healed--and I think 1 for 10 is pretty good odds.  The baby I'm currently carrying is, as far as we know, healthy and strong.  So why, instead of thanking God for blessing our children with health, do I feel such guilt that they're healthy?

As for my marriage, Jamie and I just celebrated 14 years!  We've known each other since we were 13 and have been very best friends since we were 16.  We have walked through all kinds of heart breaking situations together.  At times, it's been a really rough road---but we're together.  Neither one of us is going anywhere---nor can we fathom anything that would be big enough to separate us.  Why then, instead of glorying in that, instead of thanking God every day for holding us together, do I harbor such fear that this beautiful bubble that I live in is going to pop any day now?

I feel helpless to offer prayers, advice, encouragement---especially in the situations where my loved ones are, (in some cases) so easily willing to end their marriages.  Marriages that, in each instance, began in a church, asking for God's sustained blessing.  I feel guilty talking about my blissful marriage when these others are having such a hard time.  I feel guilty sharing happy milestones of my pregnancy when one of my dearest friends is mourning the loss of her own.

Can a person who is living the blessed life really imagine themselves in the shoes of their hurting loved ones?  I say yes.  Absolutely.

The reason it's called survivor's guilt is because those who feel it are the ones who've survived.  We've spent time in the same den of lions but somehow, by the grace of God, we've come out in tact.  However, unlike the Biblical Daniel, who came out of the lion's den untouched, we survivors have not come out without scars. 

SO many people tell me that I have the perfect life.  Many see me as having a perfect marriage. Perfect children.  They say I am doing everything right to ensure a "til death do us part" marriage and children who grow into godly, law-abiding adults.  As flattering as that is, it's not true.  Nothing, outside of God and his plan, is perfect.  As much as I desire those wonderful outcomes, I'm human---as is the rest of my family---and we all make mistakes that tarnish our lives and leave scars.

The reason that people probably see me this way is that I don't share my personal problems publicly.  When I have issues with my husband or kids, I go to them.  Not to Facebook.  Very rarely do I share a personal issue with my own mother---other than that, there's no one that hears our private junk.  I am, however, very quick to praise my husband or brag on my kids.  I want others to see them in the best light possible.  Would I want my husband or kids broadcasting my flaws outside these four walls?

The problem with all of this, and the burden of the blessed life, is that others think I can't relate.  They think I have this "perfect life" because I have steered away from every possible sinful thing out there.  They think that devastating circumstances have passed me by.

The truth of that matter is very far from this thinking.  I am very much able to offer support, advice, sympathy.  I can very much relate because I have survived.  More than that, I've been healed of the hurt that many of my loved ones are experiencing right now.

I remember the devastation, self-blame, anger, and fear that come with the loss of a child.

I know the feelings of confusion, hard-heartedness, and inadequacy that follow a betrayal.

I have thought the grass was greener in someone else's pasture and have even tested the theory to find it sorely lacking in substance.  More than once.

I recognize the scary cycles of an addiction that seems impossible to overcome.  I'm still cycling.

I've experienced a depression so deep that leaving my family or even ending my life seemed like very logical answers.  Several years of it, in fact.

Many people think that those who are living the "good life" are unable to be of any assistance to them when they're going through tough times.  They think that we live in some la-la land and can't relate.  They're sick of hearing, "well, just trust God and it'll all work out fine."  (In reality, we should all definitely trust God---but that doesn't mean it's all going to work out fine.  Sometimes it all falls apart and it really sucks...but he's still worthy of our trust.)

While there are many who will read this and either relate to where I'm coming from or will roll their eyes and say, "she has NO idea", what I really want is for those who know me to read it and understand something.  I can relate.  I want to help you. 

When you're going through hard stuff, don't be so quick to make assumptions about the people around you who want to help.  There's a reason they've survived and their survival skills might be just what you need.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Contentment Part Three: Finding Joy In Our Unique Circumstances

We took the kids to the park for baseball and a picnic on Sunday morning.  Me and baby Kynthia took the picture!
Hebrews 13:5  "Let your conduct be without covetousness;  be content with such things as you have.  For He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you or forsake you.' "

This is one that I don't feel like I deal with so much at this time in my life, though I've definitely dealt with it before!  I honestly can't think of anything that I covet.  Yay!!  This is a welcome reprieve for me in this series on Contentment!  Monday, I talked about worry---that was a convicting one.  However, yesterday's discussion on complaining was the big whammy!  It sounds like that one made an impression on others, as well, since I got a lot of feedback about it!

Anyway, back to coveting.

Mom taught me that the grass is not always greener on the other side, and it didn't take much life experience to prove that to be true!  With other people's "stuff" comes other people's junk.  I think the main reason why I don't deal with a covetous spirit very often is because I've come to realize that God uniquely made me to be able to handle/enjoy the blessings and trials that are in my own life.

The circumstances of my own situation dictate what sorts of things will be beneficial for me.  I don't have designer clothes like some because I have a new baby every year who would spit up on them and stain them! (I couldn't fit into them anyway since I'm always pregnant or recovering!)  However, I do have a lot of cute maternity things, as well as the ability to design and sew my own clothing, so I don't feel like I'm always donning a shapeless parachute!

I don't have a fancy sports car---because what I need is a 15-passenger van.  I don't have a sprawling mansion---because what I can manage is a modest, 4-bedroom home in town.  I haven't been blessed with extraordinary beauty and a flawless figure---because I have a personality that desires attention and the Lord knows that wouldn't be beneficial to me or my marriage!

I don't struggle very often with discontent in the area of greed because I am peaceful and happy in the life God has given me!  I know that God will never leave me nor forsake me---therefore, I can be content in knowing that he is working out the perfect set of blessings for my unique circumstances!

Did you miss Part One on Worry??  How about Part Two on Complaining?  Check them out and be blessed!

Linking with:
Loving Our Children Tuesday at Teaching What Is Good 

This article was written for the 61st edition of The Christian Home Magazine.  Check it out and be blessed!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Contentment Part One: Finding Contentment Instead of Worrying

A peaceful place near Wallowa Lake in Eastern Oregon
Contentment:  an uncomplaining acceptance of my currently unchangeable circumstances

Worry and anxiety cause discontent in our lives.  If we are anxious about our current state in life: husband's job, medical issues, children's disobedience, we miss seeing the good ways that God is providing for us and sustaining us.

Matthew 6:25, 34
  "Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink;  nor about your body, what you will put on.  Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about it's own things.  Sufficient for the day is it's own trouble."

In most cases, there's nothing we can do to fix our problems on our own.  When we turn our worry into contentment, we are in a better frame of mind to see the true magnitude of an issue and hear God's direction on how to deal with it.

We've heard that God will supply all our needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.  Futhermore, 1Timothy 6:6-8 reminds us "Now godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world, an it is certain we can carry nothing out.  And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content."

If we put aside our worry that we will not have the basics we need to sustain our lives, (food, water, shelter) we can begin to focus on our other anxieties ans see that everything else is an issue of trusting in God an being content with his plan.

Do you have a rebellious daughter?  What else can you do but pray for help and follow God's leading?  God's answer will be better than anything you can come up with on your own, so be content while he works it out.

Is your financial peace buried deep in unmanageable debt? All you can do is seek God's direction and follow his steps to get out of it.  Be content while he works out the process.

Matthew makes a good point when he writes, "Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?" (6:27)

We've got nothing to gain by giving into anxiety.  In fact, it's a major hindrance to finding peace and accepting the place God has us in for today.

What are some ways in which you practice giving your worries to God and being content where you are?

This article was written for The Christian Home magazine, Issue 59.  Check it out for lots of great articles from other talented Christian authors!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Invitation

This morning, I was looking up some past posts to help a new friend and found this one that I wrote in 2008. This was written about nine months after we lost our sixth baby in November 2007. It blessed me so much to read this and know that I have been healed of the heartache and anger that came after that horrible experience---the very worst day of my life. I thought I'd make a couple of tweaks and republish it. I know it will be a blessing to many. If you'd like, you can also read Hope, a beautiful picture that God gave me to give me peace about the life our baby is now living. Even though you may not have gone through the exact same situation as me, I know that God can use the words I wrote below to heal the hurts from any type of loss. Be blessed today!

Today I received an invitation from the Lord.

Lately, I've really been struggling with the loss of our baby 7 months ago. I've been desperately running after many different distractions as I've been trying to find a way to bury this pain and disappointment. Today, as I visited with God's angel in the form of a special friend, I came to realize that I've been running from the very thing that would heal me. The grace of Jesus.

I have so many questions for God. I want him to explain this to me. I want to know why he would give us a baby if he knew he was going to take it away. For years I've believed that he was the giver of good things. So, if he is the author of life, it would seem that this miscarriage was completely under God's control. It would seem that he knew about it before it ever happened. You'd think maybe he'd know how much it would hurt me and how much I'd grieve and how it would turn my entire world upside down.

For years I've believed that God loved me. That he wanted the very best for me. That he only wanted good for me. And now this...

But, the truth I've realized tonight is that losing that baby was not the defining moment in my relationship with God. It was not a punishment from him...he did not intentionally allow my baby to die so he could speak something to me. However, he is intentionally using this heartbreaking situation to speak to me.

There's a song that goes, "sometimes he calms the storm and other times he calms his child". Just because God allowed my baby to die doesn't mean he willed it to die. He is taking a devastating circumstance and using it for the good in my life. Or, at least, he's trying to.

So, here comes my choice. I have the opportunity here to be vulnerable, to give myself wholy to the Holy One. I can surrender this hurt and confusion and disappointment and desperateness and allow God to make something strong and beautiful and workable with it. Is it worth the risk?

What would happen if I said no? What if I decided it wasn't worth the risk...that I wanted to make sure I was never hurt again? I could take control over this situation, couldn't I? If I just harden my heart and stuff the pain back down, won't it eventually go away? That's what I've been thinking for 7 months now...it's still not working.

After I got off the phone with my sweet sister today, I drove in to town to pick up my husband. On the way I turned on the CD he already had out. It was Steven Curtis Chapman's Speechless. How ironic, I thought. Chapman's family recently lost their young child in a horrible accident. I began to wonder how his faith had been shaken over this terrible death. I thought that surely he must have all kinds of questions for the God that he'd devoted his life, family and career to. Then, his song, Great Expectations came on and I knew the answer.

He's grieving, just like me. He's broken and confused and disappointed and feeling like his entire world has been turned upside down. Just like me. He has all kinds of questions for this holy God who holds us in his hands. I bet he wonders now and then if God might be punishing him for something...

But he and I have something else in common. We both serve and love and are devoted to a God who turns ashes into beauty. A God who gives strength to the weary and grace to the humble (read: vulnerable). And deep down, we both know that God allowed this but he did not will it.

Me and Chapman, we've received an invitation. We've been invited to believe the unbelievable...to receive the inconceivable...to see beyond our wildest imaginations.

So, to Chapman, and all the rest of you out there who are grieving and confused and heartbroken: let's lift our eyes up...let's turn our faces to the Lord. Let's allow his grace and love and mercy and peace to wash over us. He will restore our soul and heal our brokeness.

Come Lord Jesus, we invite you....I invite you, once again, to be the lover of my soul.

Great Expectations by Steven Curtis Chapman

The morning finds me here at heaven's door
A place I've been so many times before
Familiar thoughts and phrases start to flow
And carry me to places that I know so well
But dare I go where I don't understand
And do I dare remember where I am
I stand before the great eternal throne
The one that God Himself is seated on
And I, I've been invited as a son
Oh I, I've been invited to come and ...
Believe the unbelievable
Receive the inconceivable
And see beyond my wildest imagination
Lord, I come with great expectations
So wake the hope that slumbers in my soul
Stir the fire inside and make it glow
I'm trusting in a love that has no end
The Savior of this world has called me friend
And I, I've been invited with the Son
Oh I, I've been invited to come and ...
We've been invited with the Son
And we've been invited to come and ...
Believe the unbelievable
Receive the inconceivable
And see beyond our wildest imagination
Lord, we come with great expectations

This post was featured in The Christian Home magazine, Issue #57.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Awake O Sleeper

Proverbs 19:15:  "Laziness casts one into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger."

I've been slowly reading through the Proverbs since August (yep, THAT slow!).  I want to really take in and process what each one is saying.  I want to get these truths into my heart, so I've been reading and journaling about almost every one of them.

Sometimes I really have to think on one of them to get the full effect.  This was one of those that caused me to stop and ponder the depths of the message.

How has laziness cast me into a deep sleep?  I know this doesn't happen in the literal sense, not for me anyway.  With 8 children aged 12 to infant, I don't get much sleep at all---and I don't think I've slept deeply since I was about 19 years old!

However, laziness has caused me to be "asleep" to some things that are going on around me.  It has caused me to be in denial about certain parts of my life that need attention.  Laziness keeps me from seeing things that need to be done and changes that need to be made.  These can be things as simple as household chores, or as important as correcting my children's behavior.  It is sometimes so much easier to just let the laundry pile up (either dirty in the basket or clean on the dresser) or let the kid's bad attitude go unchecked than it is to put the effort into fixing the problem.  I am ignoring the problem and I'm ignoring the future consequences that I know this laziness will bring.  What kind of example is this to my children and other people in my life over whom I have influence?  What kind of legacy am I leaving?

Pretty soon, my laziness turns into apathy.  I just don't care anymore.  I settle in my ways and am asleep to, and ignorant of, how much better life would be if I'd be proactive.

How will I suffer hunger from being idle?  To figure this one out, I need to think about what sorts of things I'm hungry for.  Here are a few big ones on my list:

*A more regular Bible study time
*A happy and peaceful attitude
*A healthy and fit body
*An organized home
*A more consistent homeschooling schedule

Every one of these things is not being accomplished in my life the way it could be because of idleness.  I become slothful and the apathy creeps in.  Often times, it's easier to stay in the place that I am than it is to step out and change.
However, God doesn’t want me in this place of idleness and apathy!   Instinctively, I know this---but this can be such a hard habit to break free from.   When I imagine what God says to me in this place, I remember Ephesians 5:14: “Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” 

Just a few verses before that, I’m encouraged to walk as a child of the light and to find out what is acceptable to the Lord (v. 8-10).  How else can I do this but to dig deep into His word and to spend time in prayer, calling on Him for help?

Looking back to my list of things I’m hungry for:  we’ve all been taught that God wants us to spend time in His word.  We know that he desires for us to have joy and peace in our life.  But, did you know that it matters to God whether or not my home is organized and my homeschool runs smoothly and my body is healthy and fit?  He knows the calm and contentedness that these things will bring to my life.  God really does care about these things that we often think he’s too busy to deal with!

Ephesians gives us some practical steps to start and continue walking as children of the light.  Verse 16 encourages us to “be wise and redeem the time.”  I love what Matthew Henry says in his Commentary about this phrase.  I know this is a little long but stick with me---it’s good stuff:

redeeming the time (v. 16), literally, buying the opportunity. It is a metaphor taken from merchants and traders who diligently observe and improve the seasons for merchandise and trade. It is a great part of Christian wisdom to redeem the time. Good Christians must be good husbands of their time, and take care to improve it to the best of purposes, by watching against temptations, by doing good while it is in the power of their hands, and by filling it up with proper employment—one special preservative from sin. They should make the best use they can of the present seasons of grace. Our time is a talent given us by God for some good end, and it is misspent and lost when it is not employed according to his design. If we have lost our time heretofore, we must endeavour to redeem it by doubling our diligence in doing our duty for the future.”

How encouraging is that!  Our time is a talent given us by God.  What a great measuring stick by which to check ourselves and evaluate our days.  In another part of this section of commentary, Henry talks about the Christians who would “stir up themselves to their duty.”  I don’t know about you, but this encouragement makes me want to get up and buzz around this house, cleaning and singing and hugging my children! It motivates me and makes me want to kick laziness and apathy out the door!

It’s true that “the days are evil” as verse 5:16 goes on to say---they’re also short and time gets away from us faster than we’d like.  As Henry encourages, let’s all “endeavour to redeem it by doubling our diligence in doing our duty for the future.”  Think of the amazing legacies we could leave!

This post was featured in Issue #55 of The Christian Home magazine.

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L.A.C.E.  Wednesdays
A Wise Woman Builds Her Home
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