Relish the Moments

Let my soul be at rest again,

   for the Lord has been good to me.

A Different World by Liga Klavina
A Different World by Liga Klavina

He has saved me from death,

   my eyes from tears,

   my feet from stumbling.

And so I walk in the Lord’s presence

   as I live here on earth!

Psalm 116: 7-9

 

I find myself relishing the moments lately.  It’s such a great place to be, to recognize the gift that the little moments can be in a crazy, hectic time of change.  My nephew gave me a gentle reminder of this yesterday.  We were laying on the floor watching Pooh and every couple minutes, he would roll over and tell me to shhh and then put his forehead to mine.  I just found it so soul filling and stilling.  It is as if he was telling my soul to be still, everything is good.


It is such a good reminder that God is always good in everything.  He guides us and holds us.  We just have to walk in His presence, seek Him, and let our souls be at rest in His presence.

-S

Not So Politically Correct

A fool’s mouth is his ruin, And his lips are the snare of his soul. The words of a whisperer are like dainty morsels, And they go down into the innermost parts of the body.…Proverbs 18:7-9

A lot of passionate political conversations have taken place in our home lately.

We don’t all agree on some pretty major topics (which is aggravating).

But it is also wonderful that we can have discussions/debates and walk away knowing we love each other, God, and humanity (even if we do think the other one is an idiot for a little while).

The main thing that gets me more annoyed than anything during these debates though is this:

People listen (and agree) with Shauna WAY (I mean –way-) more than me…and we have almost the exact same views.

We do not however, have the exact same approach. (This is why she’d be great in politics and I’d piss people off).

The old adage “you get more flies with honey,” is true.

We can feel equally passionate about a topic and she can calmly and quietly discuss it without angering the other side and swaying them to eventually agree, if not with her entire view, at least in part.

not politically correctI, on the other hand, get loud and emotional.  Then I get written of as angry and unrealistic. When I’m saying the exact same thing as Shauna…just louder and with more emotion.

I refuse to categorize these qualities as flaws any longer. Although they aren’t helpful in debates, they are equally valid and should be considered so.

I will never be as politically correct as my sister in our delivery.

I will also not keep quiet. My voice is important, even if the passion (volume) behind it is annoying to some.

However, I did read something today that keeps coming to the front of my mind:

“Is my voice subtracting the peace or adding to it?”

Sometimes my opinions may anger those around me, but ultimately they do add to overall peace…

And sometimes I’m just arguing because, gosh darn it I’m right and you should see it.

I guess in conclusion my point is this….i don’t think it matters how politically correct your delivery is or how passionate your volume gets to. What matters is that you’re using the voice God gave you to promote peace and love.

-J

David’s Directions for Us (too)

“And Solomon, my son, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the Lord sees every heart and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him. But if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. So take this seriously. The Lord has chosen you to build a Temple as his sanctuary. Be strong, and do the work.” – 1 Chronicles 28: 9-10

David gave these directions to Solomon, his son, before his death.  However, I feel like it applies to me directly, to all of us directly.  There is so much in these two verses that I should be doing consciously and incessantly.

4cf59b3c237848747a3b9a4be66318e1Worship and serve. I do both of these in moderation, but I think it’s fair to say that I am pretty comfortable in the ways that I do these.  So, how can I stretch myself to worship and serve more or in new ways?

With your whole heart and a willing mind. This is important because it requires both and I can often get caught up in one or the other.  My heart can be totally committed to worshipping God, and then my mind wanders.  My mind can be completely in the action of reading the Bible, but the words and meaning don’t penetrate my heart.  I have to take the time to stop, focus, and truly meditate my heart and mind on God, his many blessings, His nudges, and serving Him in all I do.

The amazing thing in this is that all we have to do is seek Him and we will find him every time.  When I truly stop and center my heart, mind, and soul on Him, that is when I most clearly feel his nudging.

While Solomon may have been chosen to build a literal temple for God, we are also called to build temples for Him.  Our bodies are temples of Him that we should take care of (which on stressful ones like I’ve been having, can be quite the challenge).   Beyond that, though, we are called to make temples of refuge and love all around us.  Places of sanctuary that beckon people to Him, people who will serve and worship Him.   This can be a challenging task, but David ends this part of his directions with an important reminder…

Then David continued, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. He will see to it that all the work related to the Temple of the Lord is finished correctly. The various divisions of priests and Levites will serve in the Temple of God. Others with skills of every kind will volunteer, and the officials and the entire nation are at your command. – 1 Chronicles 28:20-2

We aren’t supposed to know all the details.9c6d0a42ae75a1222718c7d6dd23cd5f  We are supposed to respond and do the work that God has called us to do.  He will make sure we have everything we need in ourselves, in others, and in supplies.  He is in control, not us.  We just have to act to His nudges.

-S

Stay Strong Mommas!

No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.

So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees…

Hebrew 12:11-12

no disciplineSometimes a verse finds you at exactly the right time.

When your son is adjusting to daddy leaving for work by no longer sleeping…making him cranky all day – plus teething and the glorious diapers that come with it.

Ya, this momma has tired hands and weak knees.

And sometimes (no, a lot of the time) giving in would be so much easier.

That’s the thing with being a momma though; there is no such thing as short term. It’s a lifetime commitment.

Yes I’m raising a little boy right now; while simultaneously raising a man.

The choices I make today directly affect the character of the man he’ll be tomorrow (because we all know in a blink of an eye he will be too old for my liking).

Don’t get me wrong- by all means, please choose your battles!

They grow too fast and the hard parts of life come too qiuickly! Let them be little and fiercly guard their innocence as long as you can.

discipline is not enjoyableBut stand firm on shaky feet and take a new grip with your tired hands. You are their momma first and their friend second.

It is our job to enforce manners, make them share, follow the rules, choose healthy foods over dessert (most days), show compassion…etc.

It is our job to discipline – not because it is fun or easy; because more than anything I desire a peaceful harvest of right living for my babies.

And it is my job to teach him how to harness his unending passion into the glorious path God has for him….

With great love comes great responsibilities.

Stay Strong Mommas!

-J

I Take After Peter

But one of the men with Jesus pulled out his sword and struck the high priest’s slave, slashing off his ear.

“Put away your sword,” Jesus told him. “Those who use the sword will die by the sword. Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly?

Matthew 26:51-53

When the other disciples saw what was about to happen, they exclaimed, “Lord, should we fight? We brought the swords!” And one of them (Peter) struck at the high priest’s slave, slashing off his right ear.

But Jesus said, “No more of this.” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.

Luke 22:49-51

like peter2I take after Peter- not just ready to fight, but so eager to fight I cannot wait for orders.

My fights are generally noble, justice prevailing, peace producing goals…

Amd although I havent literally cut off a man’s ear for Jesus, I think our goals are somewhat similar, fighting for Jesus…

And yet our instructions are clear “put your sword away,” “no more of this”

Fighting leads to more fighting- nobody’s ear may be cut off, but disagreements will grow larger, death creates more death, hurtful words create more hurt.

But Jesus goes even further than just not fighting…he HEALS his enemy. The very men coming to take him away!

To lift up the very person who is in the process of hurting you or your loved ones?!

I am a fighter. It is in my nature, my blood, my wiring.

And yet- God says to adjust my battle tactics. No more swords, no more dagger words, no more fighting.

We are called to a lot of things in this life, especially as warrior women.

But one simple command trumps them all:

Faith , hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

Especially with all the upheaval in the world today I must learn to slow down my battle cry. To stop and listen to my commander…

And when I am called to the front line, to act, to fight, in love.

-J

Take Up Your Cross

Dad, Mom, Chris, myself, Jessi, and Nici
Dad, Mom, Chris, myself, Jessi, and Nici

Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. – Matthew 10:37-39

This is one of the most challenging passages in the Bible for me personally.  Not that I have to love God more than others, but I have to love him so much more than others that I am willing to give up everything else.

I have to love him more than my dad.

I have to love him more than my mom.

DJ and I (since he's not in the other picture)
DJ and I (since he’s not in the other picture)

I have to love him more than DJ (my brother).

I have to love him more than Jessi.

I have to love him more than Chris (my brother).

I have to love him more than Nici (my nephew).

I have to love him more than Ainslee (my niece).

 

My life is the list of these people.  I pour out much of who I am and what I have for them – as they do for me.  God is calling me to give up my life?  So, does that mean I have to give them up?

Yes and no.  They will always be there, BUT I cannot choose them over God.  I cannot allow my devotion to them to limit God’s trajectory for me.

So, maybe God’s trajectory will allow me to remain geographically close.  Maybe it won’t.

Either way, I have to love Him enough to take up my cross and follow Him anywhere or stay anywhere.

-S

Show me the right path, O Lord;

   point out the road for me to follow.

Lead me by your truth and teach me,

   for you are the God who saves me.

   All day long I put my hope in you.

Remember, O Lord, your compassion and unfailing love,

   which you have shown from long ages past.

Psalm 25:4-6

Life Changes, Welcome Gramma

Life changes.

That is a simple fact. It changes fast, without warning. And then it changes slowly so you barely know it’s happening.

It changed nonetheless.

And our life is about to change.

life changesGod works in mysterious ways and it will be a busy spring of transitions as we get Gramma settled into her new home with us and finish preparing for Baby Girl.

A new member of your home always changes things…this spring we are welcoming two!

Truth be told it was a curve ball, but how boring would life be without the occasional curve ball?!

And despite the craziness of preparation, how blessed are we that we can open our arms and home in love?

We have a peculiar tribe growing here: mom, dad, 2 kids, 2 dogs, a Titi, and now Gramma…

Transitions are ahead. Some will be glorious days, and some will be head banging days.

But we have a house full of love, built on love, carried by faith…we can’t go wrong with that foundation.

So heres to opening arms and homes, to expanding households and deepening relationships,

Consciously making the choice to live out love every single day – in the big and small ways.

A few days left and we can’t wait to have you Gramma!

-J