Not So Simple

not so simple filter“look for ways to serve the Lord” – actively pursue and search for AND act in ways that serve the Lord.

 

Small ways. Big ways. Simple ways. Complex ways. Self-sacrificing ways.

 

Anyway you can, say yes when God nudges. Anyway you point others towards His light, His love – that is serving the Lord.

 

Part of being a Christian is learning to be a mindful thinker, giving our fleshy impulses to the Holy Spirit and leaning on His power to act accordingly.

 

notsimple filterHarnessing my tongue, the strongest muscle in the human body, the smallest weapon I carry with me daily, connected directly to my thoughts; my heart.

 

My tongue is the number one way I do not serve the Lord.

 

I do not filter my words or my tone with one simple question, “will these words serve the Lord’s purpose or mine?”

 

All words serve a purpose. Very rarely are words purely superfluous. Are mine serving my own agenda, fueling my wants and desires to be heard and seen and understood?

 

Or do my words speak truth, and compassion and love, and point those I’m closest to, as well as passerbys, to God’s love and purpose?

 

Can I learn to filter my tongue with this one guiding principle? Will I spend my whole life trying?

Only with God’s grace every day…

– J

Advertisements

Eyes Wide Shut

I have a lot to learn about love and how to love. My kids are teaching me anew everyday.

 

We had a rough night (shocking). I haven’t showered in 6 days (if you’re a fellow mom to a bear cub and lady bug you understand).

 

Long story short, I’m laying in my bed praying Nici goes back down. That doesn’t happen, instead he starts rubbing my arm, and gently talking in his high pitched nice voice. His face approximately 2 inches from mine, his hands are now on my face examining it as well. Taking in each line. I look over at him and his eyes are shut.

 

He is seeing me with his words and his hands. And sometimes we see better with our eyes shut.

 

God made us for community. Real community equals real vulnerability, though. Eyes squeezed closed takes care of pride and judgment real fast.

 

eyes-wide-shutI’m not promoting eternal blindfolds or zero accountability. I’m thinking eyes closed love lends to faster grace granted, not because we can’t see or feel their flaws, but we are acutely aware of our own vulnerable state.

 

There is a lot of ugly in the world, there is a lot of ugly in my heart.

 

My two year old doesn’t see it. He loves me, enough to blindly caress my face at 3am despite the numerous confrontations we dealt with in the previous 24 hours.

 

I have a lot to learn about loving, loving past the ugly, loving despite the differences. And embracing relational, vulnerable community the way Christ intended.

  • J

He Sees Me

He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mothers with their young.  – Isaiah 40:11

 

The fact that Jesus loves children is undeniable, written repeatedly, shown through his actions, even foretold in this scripture, “holding them close to his heart.”

 

This verse isn’t about the children though. Jesus loves the mothers. He “gets” us and our weary blessings. He holds our young tenderly and leads us gently.

 

A lot of words could have been used to describe how he leads us moms, how he loves us.

 

But, He loves us gently.

 

he sees meI take great comfort in knowing he sees my mom soul; the messy heart, the exhausted energy, the crazy emotions. He knows I need a gentle touch, a kind hand to guide me as I try to guide my children.

 

He knows I too need to be led. This mom stuff is hard, but if I let him he will take the lead, he will even carry my children close to his heart. The outcome is not of my doing but His.

 

What a blessing and an example. I fail daily and still he leads gently. I throw adult sized tantrums and he bends low and meets me in grace, again.

 

Oh, that I can react in such a way, leading my babes gently, getting on their level, seeing their needs and not my own, meeting them in grace. Again and again.

 

Lest I forget the kind of shepherd leading me.

  • J

But I Linger

I like to tell myself that I always listen and respond to God’s nudges when they come, but when I fall into the trap of believing that, I’m fooling myself.  Ultimately, I am human and thus consistently and constantly fail to fight my inner selfish nature.

Yet, I’m so blessed to have a God that showers me with grace.  There are times He lets me fall because He knows thats what I need and times He gives me no other choice, but to follow His will.

In my journey through Genesis, a different part of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah stuck out to me in this lens.

In Genesis 19, angels had told Lot that Sodom and Gomorrah were going to be destroyed.  So, he needed to get his wife and daughters and leave immediately.

You know what Lot’s response was?

But he lingered. Gen. 19:16

He literally had angels in front of him giving him directions.  And not in a general, you should think about this kind of way, but entire cities are going to be destroyed.  He had even them do a miracle by causing blindness not to long before this….and still he lingered!

You know what God’s response was?

…so the men [angels] seized them [Lot and his family] by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him.

God saw his slow, stubbornness and saved him anyways.  God had the angels seize him by the hand and lead him out anyways.

PD60000979-meme-6-FBEven when we’re slow, reluctant, and stubborn, God shows us mercy and grace.  I wish I could say I didn’t, but there are times when God has to kind of shake me and strong arm me into doing what I know He is calling me to do.  I wish I could say it’s easy to follow His will when you know what it is, but it isn’t.

I know I consistently fall short of the glory of God, which makes the blessings of His love that much more amazing.  How lucky I am to have a Father, serve a God who loves me enough to never give up on me…even when I linger.

  • S

Control, Again

Control. Again. It all comes back to it somedays.

Makes sense though. Essentially I’m a single parent when my Chris is at work. (3-4weeks out of state at a time). It’s exhausting. And hard.

And I am momma aka the one in charge. I make every executive decision. What’s for breakfast, when it’s nap time. Can we play outside. Can we have dessert. Is it time for the zoo or train station. Do we have to clean. Can we skip baths. Are the bills paid. Did the birthday cards get sent. When do we need groceries…

Every single decision, big and small, is mine for the making.

It’s no wonder I have control issues. It’s the nature of my 24/7 job to be in control. And not just “in charge” for authority’s sake, but relied upon to raise kind, respectful, healthy, happy, God fearing, God loving, humans.

The stakes are very high.

It’s easy to forget my little daily decisions are not about control.

And that in the scheme of life they are just that, little daily decisions.

I’m well aware of my failures daily. I choose poorly a lot. I react even worse.

However, I’ve been taught it’s ok; grace isn’t given because of my works but because of His love.

And despite it all I try to make that my foundation of motherhood. Grace isn’t given because of their deeds, but because of my love.

I screw up a lot, make the wrong decisions. I pray I always err on the side of love. Make the best decision I can, with the information I have at the time, and then let the rest go.

Could have, would have, should haves don’t matter. Ultimately I’m not in control anyways, I’m just guiding tiny lives the best I can. And God will use my efforts for good.

It is in His control. He made these littles, I was just the vessel. He is shaping their destinies and hearts, I was just honored to guide them.

So guide them I do, with all of my heart. And I pray I loosen my novel grip on control enough to enjoy these days and keep an eternal perspective, my little daily decision add up, but do not give me any real authority. The power and the blessings belong to my King

So like a servant I bow low, unworthy of the tasks granted to me. The love given directly to me, and the love grown in me that I’m allowed to foster and witness.

And at the end of the day I’m aware it’s not me being glorified by my faulty works, but my King.

  • J

Glorious, Unlimited Resources

I pray that from His glorious unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his spirit…your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.  Ephesians 3:16

Those who follow our blog know I’m currently in a rough spot (is life ever smooth?)

And that’s ok, that you know, and that I’m here.

The thing with rough spots is it makes the light brighter, cheesy but true. Don’t get me wrong I’d switch to smooth sailing right now if I could, but even the storm has moments.

And the beauty of the night is in the moments, the people, the clear perspective.

Taken as a whole its overwhelming, debilitating.

unlimted resourcesBut there are sweet moments. Minion laughter. Aqua booty. Quiet tea. Surprise visits. Guacamole dinner. Puppy kisses. Bug claps. Life is full.

Moments to grow, moments to grasp.

Even in the night there is light. And the people who touch you in the dark, they’re the ones I want in the dawn.

To hold, to hug, to thank, to life with.

Life is hard but I am blessed, and the anxiety runs high and the kids happen to nap (together!) and I find this verse,

“glorious unlimited resources” are working in me, for me, right now. I can breathe. I can keep going, I rely not on my own strength or motivation. Even in the night my roots are strengthening.

And dawn will come, I can see the light, and until then, the moments.

  • J

I’m Homesick

Sometimes, as Christians we are our own and each other’s worst enemies.  I’ve been thinking about that especially in regards to mental health lately.

Depression can be biological and situational.

When I faced my darkest depression cycle to date I could recognize that I didn’t have a reason to be that way by any logical standard, but the chemicals in my brain and my emotions didn’t care.  That is why it was depression-I could recognize it shouldn’t be and yet the darkness was all consuming and all but debilitating.

Sometimes Christians give the message that if you believe in God enough and follow Him you wouldn’t be depressed and/or you could just snap out of it.

WRONG.

My struggles (and anyone else’s struggles) with mental health is not a reflection of my relationship with  God any more so than someone else’s diagnosis of high blood pressure.

In fact, in many ways, it has fueled and grown my relationship with God and has provided different ways for Him to use me with others who struggle in a variety of ways.  Because I may not have the same experiences as others, but I have felt the depth of despair.

As I was reading Psalms this morning, it suddenly hit me in the middle of Psalms 42 that David fought depression.  (This may not be news to many of you since, when I did some research, I found that A LOT has been written about this.)  Throughout the book, you can literally read his cycles of darkness and hope.  These were like a reflection of my soul when I put the pieces together – the coexistence and mingling of swimming in the darkness of despair while knowing there is hope in your heavenly father;knowing He will come rescue you despite the fact that you feel utterly alone and abandoned.

And David was a man after God’s own heart.

b48134908e54f5f306e638e508d8f287
Hebrew 13:14 (from CrossRiver Media)

So, what’s the point I’m trying to make?  I’m not even really sure.  However, if you are there, in the darkness right now – know you will come out, but also know that it is okay to be there and it is not a reflection on you or your strength (or your relationship with God).

There is something important to learn and just experience in the darkness itself (not just in coming out of it).  So, much of who I am was formed in the darkness.

This is not our home and I really view my depression as a form of homesickness – a sickness I will continue to experience (and even be proud of) until I am home with my heavenly Father, at peace in my eternal home.

  • S