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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Pouring out

First, a link: Daily Dose of My Utmost for His Highest. And, you can like them on facebook.

Second, a quote; "Never hold anything in reserve. Pour yourself out, giving the best that you have, and always be poor. Never be diplomatic and careful about the treasure God gives. This is poverty triumphant." Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

I am called to pour myself out. This applies to me in so many ways, but one spot that is hard for me is the pouring out of my energy when I am already tired.

I hold back sometimes, carefully measuring out my energy and attention, with the thought that I need to keep some back so I don't run out. How shall I meet that next need if I don't save something back?

I am poor in energy at this point in my life. It is hard to pour out the last drop without hesitation. But there is triumph in the pouring out of the last drop. I see the truth in that phrase. I have experienced the truth of that phrase. When I love so freely that I pour it all out with no thought for from where my strength for the next job will come- I am triumphant in Christ and find that my strength flows freely from Him.

I want to give my best to my family. I want to pour out the last drop of my energy and attention and then see the miracle of being filled up again. I want my children to learn to give the best of themselves. I want them to see the miracle of God's never ending grace and riches.

I want to live in poverty triumphant.

*Where's your treasure*


Friday, June 21, 2013

Since I lay my burden down

Desperate Chapter 8
Galatians 6 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

We need to be real with each other and truthful so that we can see each other's burdens and help. There is danger in that and vulnerability, and the darkness tells us not to let others know our struggles because that kind of sharing will come back to bite us.
But without authenticity, we bear our burdens alone, and when we fall there is no one there to pick us up.
Which is exactly where the enemy wants us; alone, weeping, in the mud.
I am not a natural self-discloser. I do not open up. Joe does. He makes me so uncomfortable sometimes when we are in social situations and he just puts it ALL out there.
I am an introvert. I like to play my cards close to the vest. I like to talk to Jesus and my journal about stuff. I don't need anybody else's opinion to feel fulfilled.
But where does that leave me when the days grow dark? In the dark, by myself.
I will never be one who shares all my inside stuff with lots of folks, but God has slowly taught me to trust a few folks with my struggles. And it is good for my soul.

We are all in the same place, with dark spots in our hearts that we think no one will understand. Not so. There is no temptation except what is common to man.

Now, what are your burdens? Find a trustworthy someone somewhere and lay those burdens down. Let your sisters (or brothers, hey GUYS!) in Christ pick you up, brush you off, and cheer you on.

Shine a little light on someone you suspect is strugging- be lavish! God is. And enjoy the results- in their life and your own.

God Bless!

Also, might I suggest watching Because of Winn Dixie this weekend? It's my favorite.

Have a song!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Laying it down, picking it up

“Greater love hath no man than this: that he lay down his life for his friends.”

From Desperate, p. 90-91

“Jesus emphasized self-sacrifice as the greatest love. Are you willing to give up all your rights for the sake of blessing those around you?”

Short answer: Nope.

Long answer: I'd LIKE to be able to do this. But sometimes its hard to see the 'blessing of others' part. Sometimes it just feels like pointless doormat behavior. That would be a lie, obviously. God will happily use any unselfish behavior on my part to further His kingdom. I have written about this before- and it is just hard for me to always say, especially to other professing followers of Christ, “Okay, your turn to be selfish (again) and I'll be unselfish (again).” Happy happy blink blink.

It is easier to get over that hurdle with my kiddos because they are small and helpless and developmentally correctly self-centered. And, I can say to them, “Hey! You're being selfish, and I'm not and here's why: Jesus says. Now, go, and do the same.” And it's relatively easy with folks who don't give a rip about Jesus. It's almost easy because I have a hope that the light of the gospel will shine through my smile and patience.

But anyway, giving up all my rights can be relatively easy, medium hard, and close to impossible, depending on the situation.

“Are there any particularly important rights that are difficult for you to give over to God?”

Short answer: I think yes.

Long answer: My right to raise and direct my family as I see fit is the hardest right for me to give over to God. I have a plan and a vision and when some outside force presents an obstacle to that vision. I have a tendency to dig in my heels, grit my teeth (with a smile?), and hold on tight. The hard part with this one is that in some cases this behavior is absolutely appropriate. Sometimes that's my JOB, baby, so back off. But sometimes, oh sometimes, it's not an imperative. Sometimes it's just a strong desire on my part to have my family traditions look a certain way, or to have my kids not consume HFCS or red dye number 40. That's when it's hard for me to loosen my grip on my right to raise my kids MY WAY and extend grace and blessings to those who have a different way. Wow, I have to take a deep breath now just thinking about it. It's a trust issue, a faith issue. Do I believe that God has full ownership and responsibility for my children and that I am just a steward for this time? Do I believe that He will be at work in their lives regardless of my perceived level of control? Do I trust that He will bless them and keep them? That He will make His face to shine upon them and be gracious to them? That He will help them grow in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? That goodness and mercy will follow them all the days of their lives and that they will dwell in the house of the Lord forever? That is my constant prayer for my kids. Do I have faith that God will do it? I need to loosen my grip when it comes to letting go and letting God.

So, there is ample proof that I have a lot of dying to self left to do. But, God is faithful to complete this work He has begun, so I am hopeful.

And if God can help me, He can help you too- just ask. “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Oatmeal Quick Bread

Oatmeal Quick Bread

1 C oats

1 C milk (I used flax milk)

2 eggs, beaten

1 stick melted butter (I used 6 T coconut oil, 2 T olive oil)

1 t vanilla

1/4 C brown sugar

4 T maple syrup

2 C flour

2 1/4 t baking powder

1/2 t salt

2 t cinnamon

1/3 C raisins

1/3 C slivered almonds

Preheat oven 350.

Oats and milk in a bowl, let sit 5 minutes. Add ingredients up to the maple syrup, mix well. Add flour through cinnamon, sift with fork, mix well. Add raisins and almonds. Fold in.

Bake in greased, 8.5X4.5 loaf pan 1 hour, 350 oven. Serve warm with butter and a tall glass of milk! Yumma!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Grace (Or, Pineapple Armpits)

Desperate, Chapter 4.
"All soldiers are trained to expect and anticipate war, so they are not surprised when the battle starts. Moms need to understand that this is the reality of life with children in a fallen world. Getting angry and upset for children being selfish and demanding creates stress and havoc in the mind, emotions, and body of a woman. Prepare yourself for the battle and accept the limitations of your husband, children, and home--and of yourself. And then dtermine that you will, in time, subdue your home, overcome in the fight for the hearts of your children, and find God's joy and blessing through your obedience." (p. 49)

This chapter is my favorite, I think. The message is SO needed in my life. My despair always stems from discouragement when serious troubles arise.
I am surrouneded by stubbornly sinful people, including myself.
I am glad to see the verse "In this world you will have trouble" directly applied to motherhood.
I love the completion of the verse- "Take heart! I have overcome the world!"  There is hope!
My own sinful selfishness combined with my kiddos' sinful disobedience can cause my heart to feel overwhelmed.
But this chapter (I should read it once a week at least, until Arwyn turns 20) reminds me that al this naughtiness is par for the course.
I love Sally's husband's question, "At what age did you stop sinning?" That gives me a good perspective on dealing with my kids naughtiness.
I have a tendecy to think I am failing and all my efforts futile when my tiny people keep doing the same wrong thing over and over. But then I remember that so do I, and I have a firm belief that there is hope for me.
Grace has become so real to me lately. I must run to the throne for it over and over.
The hymn words keep coming to me;
"O to grace how great a debtor
daily I'm constrained to be.
Let thy goodness, like fetter,
bind my wandering heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it;
prone to leave the God I love.
Here's my heart O take and seal it
Seal it for thy courts above."
I'm a grace beggar.
I hate that I can't do it right. I hate that I have to constantly ask forgiveness. I don't like to remember that MY SIN is what kept Christ on the cross.
But I am pretty sure that that is right where Christ wants me. Totally dependent. Perpetually humbled.

Being the grace junky that I am, and being filled with that grace, you'd think I'd be good at extending it to my kids. But, instead, like the jerkface who was forgiven a billion dollars, and then went and demanded the 5 bucks he had loaned someone else, I can be stingy with grace toward my kids.
Lord help me! See? Grace beggar.

Praise God for His Grace, His goodness, His forgiveness, and His strengthening Presence.
I pray that the Holy Spirit will just overwhelm me and make me pop out all over with fruit of the Spirit. (I'm talking apples dangling from my ears, strawberry rings, raspberry ankle bracelets....pineapples in my armpits! Imagine how awesome it would be if everywhere I went I trailed sweet fruit! I think people would want to follow me around, just waiting for the mangoes. just call me the fruit lady.)

And, the good news is, Jesus tells us that all we have to do is ask, and the Father gives good gifts! He gives to all of us LIBERALLY.
Happy day.

Monday, June 10, 2013

The talk...

I gave "The Talk" to Anastasija a few months ago because she is 11. At the end of the conversation she said, "Thanks for telling me this, mommy."

I gave "The Talk" to Brilyn today, because she found a pad and asked what it was. So, I told her how the uterus is like a little baby crib. When you get a crib ready for a baby you put in a mattress and sheets and a blankie. When your uterus gets ready for a baby it adds extra nutrients and blood that are good for growing a little miracle. Finally, I explained that when those extra nutrients and blood have been in there for while and no baby comes to live there, your body gets rid of them and the pad helps so you don't get blood in your underwear.

Up until that point she had been thinking this whole thing was pretty cool. But once we got to the end there, her face kind of wrinkled up, her eyebrows up in her hairline, her finger over her mouth.

"AWKWARD." says she.

Friday, June 07, 2013

God made you special

Quote of the day!

So, sweet YOU; be yourself.
Be the best and most excellent self you can be, but live in the freedom of God's call and design on your life.
I love who you are and how God uses you.
When you learn to hold His hand and walk by faith and obedience,
you just might find yourself in the Hall of Faith of those who followed hard after Him and were allowed to tell a story of faith in their lifetimes.

(from me, but Sally wrote it, p. 37) :)

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Finding a mentor

Chapter 2 has me thinking about a mentor, and I think for me, the most important aspect will be that I really like the lady's kids. Because I probably won't take to heart any advice from someone whose kids are not the kind of people I want my kids to be! Obviously, I understand that some kids will go down their own path no matter what the parents do, I'm not looking for perfection here.  It's just that I want my kids to turn out to be people who seek God, know God, trust God, follow God, I want to find a mentor who has those same priorities. 

That can be hard to find. A lot of people have different priorities than me, I realize that I am pretty counter-cultural (strange, abnormal, Jesus-freak-ish,etc).
So when I think about a mentor, one lady comes to mind. I haven't told her this yet, LOL, I wonder if she reads my blog....
She has, oh, 8 kids I think. (I need to hear how to (sanely) run a large household).
They run a small farm (I need someone who can give advice on so many aspects of that- how much is too much? should we scale back? is the sacrifice {no vacations, ever} worth the dividends? )
They homeschool (I need someone who won't say "You're overwhelmed today? Send them to SCHOOL." I need to hear, "It's worth the effort, dear, buck up.")
Her girls are hardworking, feminine, cheeful young ladies who love Jesus and don't care what this world thinks of them. (That's what I want.)
She's also honest and funny. (BONUS!)

So, now I just have to put the time and energy into forming a friendship and see if she wants to hang out with ME!

 3 the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— 4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. ~Titus 2

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Birthdays, school days, spring days

School girl
C is for Cade
5 for 5 (whoops, he's 6, my bad)

Happy Birthday man!
Addy goat

Run, kids, run!
We found a wild rose...

And a fawn. Shhh!

Brush it off, walk it out.

Ecclesiastes 4
The Value of a Friend
9 Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
But how can one be warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

I love that passage; it's so true. And I am kind of an introvert, content to be by myself and think through things and struggle through things on my own. But when I read verses like this, it makes me realize my need for others. It gives me the focus of making it a priority to develop and maintain friendships.
When I am tired and discouraged, my natural tendency is to retreat into myself. But, that is not always what I need. Sometimes I need a friend to pick me up!
I have two close friends who I trust immensely, with every cruddy aspect of myself. I know that they will love me even if I tell them I yelled at my 15 month old to just shut up.

So, if you are still reading and not thinking I'm a bad bad person, let me just say, my guilt over stuff like that can overwhelm me. "I'm a horrible mother! My kids are going to need so much therapy! I'm supposed to be modeling the love of Jesus and I'm a schmuck!" But then a friend can wipe those cobwebs away and lead me back to the grace of Jesus and say, "Hey, yeah, that wasn't your best, but get up and try it again, I'll be praying for you."

Pray for a friend today!


Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Find Rest, My Soul

Matthew 11:28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

That verse just makes me breathe deep and slow. It reminds me to lay my burdens down at the feet of the one who can actually make it all turn out right in the end. I don't know why I ever pick those weights back up, but somehow the enemy convinces me that it's my job to hold on to them, and that if I don't it will all go south and it'll be all my fault. ugh.

So, I am thankful today for the book Desperate, by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson. Because they remind me to lay it down and let God do it.

They reminded me that this, motherhood, is my ministry right now. That God gave these people to me. God gave these people to me. 1. It's God's job to direct their growth and development and personhood and keep them safe, because they are His. 2. He chose these specific people to be my children. He hand picked them to be in my home. 3. He chose ME to be their mother. Every time I feel like I am failing these children, that I am not enough, that is a lie. God decided in His wisdom that I should raise these kids. They will grow to be who God wants them to be through their relationship with me as their mother. God said something like, " Anastasija, Brilyn, Cade, Jessup, and Arwyn....let's see- yes, right here, Ah! Jocelyn. Jocelyn should be their mother. Perfect."

If I do nothing else- bake no pies for my neighbors, write zero notes of encouragement, direct no choir, lead not-a-one worship service, I am still doing immeasurable work in God's kingdom. I cannot fathom what impact my work this day (serving food, teaching math, changing diapers, correcting subject/verb agreement, encouraging the letter L to sound like lalala not wawawa) will have on my children as they grow, much less what impact it will have on people near and far who will interact with my kids as they grow, and what impact it will have on generations to come! God has this ability to take a small offering from the hand of broken weakling (that's me) and multiply it using infinity math. Suddenly, one small act of obedience becomes the beginning of a great plan of God. (see Abraham and Sarah for a mediocre example.)

The authors also reminded me that motherhood is no joke- it's hard, it's hard, and it's hard. And! It's important, important, and important. "Understanding that the best and most lasting "work" I would ever do was wrapped up in my call as a mother gave me a grand scope for my life such as I had never known before....I was just beginning to grasp how profound God had created the role of mother to be." (p. 11)

They also suggest that you get a group of women to surround you in your role of mother. People to keep truth in your mind, and to gently wipe away the dark lies. On my own, in my own strength, I end up facing failure, anger, stress, and exhaustion. With a community of lovely ladies around me, in God's strength, I find grace, joy, patience, and hope!

I asked for prayer a few weeks ago during worship practice. I can't even remember what my request was. But after we said "amen" one of the worship team members said to me, "You know, as we were praying, I just got the feeling that the word for you is "rest" God wants you to hear, "rest."

To this exhausted mama of 5, that word spoke some sort of peace to my soul that is hard to dscribe. It brought tears of relief to my eyes. Like a cool drink on a hot day. Seriously. And that rest is found in Jesus. He takes my fears, anxiety, and weakness and gives me rest. Amen to that!

So, lay it down, mama. God's got this one, okay? Pray for wisdom, BAM! It's yours. Go to Jesus, BAM! Rest for your soul.

Enjoy that. :)


About Me

About Me
I love Jesus, my hubby, my 6 kiddos, my farm, good books and good food.