Much To Be Thankful For

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I try to write down things I’m thankful for throughout the year. My lists have changed over the couple years I’ve been doing it. I’ve grown and learned even the “bad” things are worth thanking the Father for in the end. Sometimes what we’re thankful for may surprise us.

Sometimes the Father opens our eyes to see the truth in a situation.

It can stump us.

It may anger us.

It can even sadden us.

We may have a choice to make or an adjustment to make with what He’s shown us. Making that choice may lead to our thankfulness. The truth may not always come with a joyful response at first. We may not want to be thankful to begin with either. It could be painful, but if we open our hearts up to Him and the truth He has shown us, we will become thankful.

So as I look back and reflect over the last few months, I can say that I’m thankful for the Father opening my eyes up to some truths in my life. It was painful and it wasn’t what I wanted to learn, but I see that it’s best and it’s what I needed to know. I’m also thankful for another year to gather with family and friends to love, laugh, and feast. I have lived a very blessed life. I complain way more than I should.

I have way more than I deserve and it’s not so much material things I have to be thankful for, but…

for a husband who works and goes beyond to make sure we have all we need,

for boys who are healthy, happy, and love us more than we know,

for family who loves us and supports us, who stands by us and prays for us,

for friends who walk on this journey with us, cheering us on and loving us,

for a God who does not throw this broken vessel away, but continues to mold it into His beauty.

We all have something to be thankful for. So as we gather, I pray we will remember where all good things come from, our heavenly Father, and will give Him praise.

Father, You are so good. Words really cannot give you the credit You’re due. Thank You for Your mercy towards us. Help us to allow You to create a thankful spirit in us. Our circumstances may not be worthy of thanks in our minds, but help our minds yield to Your Spirit so we can thank You no matter what. Open our eyes to all You have for us and all the blessings we have obtained. Help our hearts and minds to become thankful no matter what is going on around us. We desire to please You and a grateful heart does just that. We praise Your awesome name and give You thanks! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 


Shout triumphantly to the Lord, all the earth.
 Serve the Lord with gladness;
come before Him with joyful songs.
 Acknowledge that Yahweh is God.
He made us, and we are His —
His people, the sheep of His pasture.
 Enter His gates with thanksgiving
and His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him and praise His name.
 For Yahweh is good, and His love is eternal;
His faithfulness endures through all generations.

Psalm 100

 

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Word-Filled Wednesday

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A few weeks ago, our boys found some baby Sparrows. They came running in with excitement, proclaiming they had rescued the babies. On the other hand, they were upset that the mother bird had just left them in the brush, near the back of the yard. They wondered how they would eat and survive. They insisted on us keeping them and feeding them until they could fly. I explained to them that the Sparrows were probably at the stage in life where they were being taught to hunt and live out of the nest. I assured them that the baby birds were fine and that the mother was probably teaching them to hunt. No sooner than I said that, the mother came back to the spot where she had left them with a worm in her mouth. The boys hurried and put them back so she could teach them. It was an exciting encounter for them and me.

It made me think about the Father and us…

So many times in life we can feel as though we have been abandoned and left to ourselves. Don’t you know, those baby Sparrows probably felt the same way. They were in the wood line and it could have been their first time to be out of the nest with no mother in sight. I know there have been times in my life where I felt God had forgotten about me and my family. We have had some hard trials come our way in our 10 years of marriage. In some of those trials, I felt angry and scared. I wondered where the Father was and how could He leave us? The comforting truth is, He always came through. He had never left us at all. He is all knowing, unlike us, and He knows what we need in our life to draw us closer to Him. He wants to teach us how to live and be a vessel for Him.

Once the baby Sparrows were back where the mother had left them, she came back to them right in front of our eyes. She led them deeper into the brush and they willingly followed. She was teaching them how to live and hunt so they could live and survive one day. The Father wants to teach us more about Him in each trial we go through.

He wants us to know how to abide in Him through the good and bad.

That usually doesn’t happen when things are great, but when things seem bleak, we draw near to Him. It may seem as though He would love to see you fail, but that’s so far from the truth. Hardships can teach us so much about the Father and ourselves. He says in the Gospels that His eye is on the smallest of animals, so why would He leave us? He won’t and He hasn’t.

He knows exactly where you are in life and He hasn’t forgotten you.

He sees you and He knows best for your life.

Take comfort today that we only grow outside of our comfort zone. Just like those baby birds couldn’t reach their full potential in the nest, we can’t reach our full potential in our comfort zone. Let the Father grow you and amaze you with His ways and wonder.

Father, thank You for knowing exactly where we are in life. Thank You for seeing us through every trial that comes our way. Help us to know that You are always with us and that You know best for us. Help us to surrender our whole being to You. May we know You care about every detail in our lives. Thank You for growing us through hardships and for taking us out of our comfort zones. Help us to embrace the places that aren’t comfortable and let You work through us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Investing In the Worth While

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Everyone has so much going on now days, that it can just suck the life right out of your marriage. Have you ever felt that way? I know I’ve been there.

Life can throw a lot at us it seems, which can cause our marriages to get put on the back burner. Raising children, working in or out of the home, ministry obligations, and so on can push our marriages to the side. We take our husbands and our marriages fore-granted so much today. It’s so easy to do for anyone, but there is hope for our marriages and there are ways that we can revive our marriage.

The word revive means to bring something back to life, health, or to make strong again. So if your marriage needs reviving that means it once was alive. That’s hope you can hold on too. It can be easy to think that it’ll be fine once the kids leave home or work slows down, yet that’s not true and deep down we all know that. We can’t let our marriages go to the side and expect to have a fruitful one. We have to invest in them now. We have to water the grass or unfortunately it’s going to wither.

Anything we consider important is worth investing consistent time into.

One way my husband and I invest in our marriage is by monthly date nights. We try to keep this up and not miss a month. It’s something we always look forward too. We go to the nearest city and find something to do or hang out at home. We just love spending time together alone. We can talk without interruption and focus totally on one another. I love that we get to do that. Some months, if we the boys aren’t able to stay away overnight, when they go to bed we pick a movie and watch it. The point is to spend quality time together.

We need this time to connect as husband and wife. You can choose how you spend the time with your husband, but I just encourage you to make time. Don’t forget about your marriage in the daily routine because it’s very easy to do. Once the children are gone (and they will be) you will want a relationship with your man still. There is life after kids, though at times, it may not feel like it some days.

I also encourage you to go to the Father in prayer for your marriage daily. It’s a sacred thing. Finding ways that will help you invest in your marriage is very important to not only you both, but also to your children and those after them. God doesn’t want your marriage to go to the side and be mundane. He wants it to be alive and well!

Father, thank You for marriage. It’s a sacred thing You instituted. May we cherish our marriage. May we cultivate our marriage. We desire that Your will be done in our marriage. Help us to be the wives You desire. May we not let our marriages go untended. Help us to invest in our husbands and our marriages. Help us to find ways to connect and bond with our husband so our relationship doesn’t suffer. We want a thriving marriage that honors You. We want to be good examples for our children and those around us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


 

I am my beloved’s, and his desire is toward me.

Song of Solomon 7:10

Serving With Joy

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Life can get so busy at times that we forget there are others outside of our homes that need serving. I know for me, having a husband, three children, and a home to run, I tend to forget there are hurting people outside our four walls. I don’t think we intend on being that way, but with the business of life it does happen. While doing my study one morning I realized this.

I know I’m doing my duty as a wife and mother taking care of my family, but is there more I can do? I am a full time stay-at-home wife and mother. So most of the needs I meet are for my husband and children. Cooking, cleaning, teaching, washing, and etc. are the things I do daily, multiple times a day. The Holy Spirit showed me a little something.

If we can’t serve those in our home, how can we ever serve those outside of our homes?

Ouch…That really stung.

I know I complain at times when my boys and my husband asks me to do something. Either I’m in the middle of doing something else or just don’t want to do it at the moment.

Some days I’m just tired of dirty floors having to be swept or vacuumed, so I fuss at my boys.

Other days I’m tired of cooking three meals a day and I don’t prepare them with a servant’s heart.

I should serve my family joyfully even when the things are mundane and not easy. They depend on me and they need me as much as I need them. When I learn to serve my family in this way, I will be ready to serve others. Until then, I will serve others begrudgingly too.

When I have that attitude towards those I love, what attitude would I have towards those I don’t even know? Think on that. That’s not something that pleases the Lord. He wants us to serve our families, but He want us to do it with a good attitude.

So before we can serve others joyfully, it starts at home, everything starts at home. Once we realize that, I believe our society will change.

Lord, thank You for the examples you give us in scripture about serving others. Thank You for serving us and giving Your Son to die for us. May we serve our husbands with joy. May we love them and respect them. Help us to serve our children with a cheerful heart. May we love them and teach them the way You desire. We want to serve how Your Son served. We want to be able to serve others as well as our family so continue to grow us. We are so thankful for your mercy towards us when we fail You. Thank You for never giving up, but always pricking our hearts. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


 

Bring joy to Your servant’s life, because I turn to You, Lord.

Psalm 86:4

A Heart of Obedience

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One prayer that I think I’m always praying is for our children to have a heart to obey. With children it seems like I’m always remind them to importance of obedience. Some days I do tire of having to remind them over and over. I feel like that if they love me, they should want to obey. I also try to remind them that they’re not only obeying me, but they’re also obeying the Father.

Just like we are with our children, is how the Father is towards us. He longs for us to have a heart of obedience. He has instructions for our daily life and He knows they’re best for us. Yet we keep choosing disobedience over obedience. Don’t you think He wonders if they love me why do they keep refusing to obey. The same desire we have for our children to obey is how He feels. All that He tells us to do is good for us and for a reason. We can absolutely trust what He instructs us to do.

Putting feet to our faith is essential for us and our children.

I’ve told our boys that if you love me, you’ll show me through your obedience. To some that sounds like a works based love, but that’s totally not true. If the Father only spoke of His love for us, but didn’t show us His love with actions, we would second guess His love wouldn’t we? Our children need to see us heeding the Father’s instructions.

So the next time we’re continually reminding our kids the importance of obedience, let’s not forget to take our own advice and have a heart to obey our Father in heaven.

Father, You can teach us so much about ourselves through our children. As we instruct our children, help us to remember how You instruct us. Help us to have a heart of obedience and a desire to please You. Help us to set the example for our children to follow. Our love for You should compel us to obey. Create that love in our children so they’ll desire obedience. Empower them to obey us and You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


 

But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

James 1:22

 

Humble Women

 

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As women today, we have a lot to live up too. We’re supposed to be supermom and wonder wife that can do everything and then some. We’re to hold the world with one hand while conquering our own affairs. We’re to be proud of what we can do and flaunt it. If we admit that we can’t do it all, then we are called weak and maybe even mocked.

This misconception is prevalent in today’s culture even though it’s so far from the truth of God’s Word. God calls us to be clothed with humility and to be humble. That’s so against our nature isn’t it? To admit that we are weak and that we need help. Yet, it’s just what God requires of us.

The children of Israel had to rely on Him for all that they needed, especially in the wilderness. It’s not supposed to be any different for us today. We cannot obtain humility on our own. It’s not our nature. It goes against our very sinful nature. Our nature is to stay strong and never admit that we need help with anything in life. We’re told a lot of times from society to figure it out and go on with life.

He requires something from us that we can’t accomplish on our own.

Why is that you may ask? It’s because it humbles us. We have to ask someone stronger, wiser, and smarter than us to help us. If we could do things on our own, why would we need a God? A Savior? The Holy Spirit? There would be no need.

He knows…

when we humble ourselves, we are ready to serve Him and others.

when we humble ourselves, possibilities become limitless.

when we become humble, we’re becoming more like Jesus.

He will work in ways you didn’t realize He could. And I don’t know about you, but I need Him. I need His strength, His wisdom, and His mercy. I cannot do this alone. I can’t be the wife and mother He desires without Him continually helping and growing me.

So remember humbling ourselves is admitting we are weak and there’s nothing wrong with that. It enables God’s Spirit to do what we can’t do.

Father, thank You for Your Word that instructs us on how to live and how to act, even how to think. We treasure that You care so much for us. Thank You for giving us Your Holy Spirit that empowers us to do things beyond ourselves. May we cleanse ourselves with Your Word and be very sensitive to the Holy Spirit. May we humble ourselves and call on You for help. We are weak and we do need You. Oh how we need You! Help us to accomplish what You desire from us, Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


 

Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

I Peter 5:5

He’ll Catch Us If We Fall

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While reading about Jonah in my boy’s home-school lesson one evening, the Holy Spirit began to speak to me. Jonah willingly ran from God’s command to go to Ninevah. He not only ran, but He told God he wouldn’t go. Most of us know the story of how Jonah was thrown into the sea and swallowed by a big fish. If not for the big fish Jonah probably would have died we can safely assume.

Despite Jonah’s blatant disobedience to God’s command, God still had a rescue plan for Jonah.

How amazing! That just blew my mind. It reminded me so much of myself. When I willingly disobey God, He still extends salvation to me in some form. It’s overwhelming how much God loves us. His love knows no bounds. It’s deep and wide. For Him not only to pursue us, but ensure our safety when we’re His children, is so humbling. I’ve been there many times. I chose to disobey willingly and God caught me. He didn’t let me destroy myself. Much like He did with Jonah. He rescued Jonah even when He disobeyed.

It reminded me of my boys. Moms, we have a huge responsibility to raise our children to honor the Lord. It’s a battle that goes on daily. They may willingly disobey us, but we’re there to catch them when they fall. How much more do you think God is there for your children? We can trust Him with our little and big ones. If they are born again by His Spirit, they’re safe with Him. It’s so hard to remember that, especially when we can’t see the whole picture of what’s going on. God will catch them when they fall. He will have a rescue plan. He knew Jonah was the man for the job, but He also knew Jonah had to go through the trial and die to his wants.

God set forth the plan of salvation through Jesus Christ long before it actually took place. He knew that His creation would willingly disobey Him and that they would need to be rescued.

How gracious is He?

How wonderful is He?

How loving is our God?

Our sweet Father longs for us and He desires our love back. It really amazes me that if I’m His child, that He is always watching out for me.

Don’t give up on your children. Keep praying for them. Keep teaching them. They need our prayers and more than anything they need to be born again by the Spirit of the Living God. It’s not easy, but God is bigger than anything they may face.
Lord, I thank You for Your love. Oh it is so amazing. It’s so overwhelming. May we never forget the depth of Your love for us. May we always remember You are there to catch us when we fall. Let us also remember how much You love our children. They’re so precious to us, but even more precious to You. Help us to give them over to Your hands and to cover them in prayer. You may let them endure trials to build character and rid them of selfishness. Help us to trust Your hand in their life. May our children choose to honor You in all they do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


 

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8

Word-Filled Wednesday

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It’s so exciting to read back over some of Paul’s letters and the epistles. They lived in some exciting (and scary) times. Our study of I Timothy has been really enlightening so far. Honestly, I thought that book is sort of not real equipping for someone like me. I’ve always been told it was for Pastors and deacons, but after the first day I was blown away. There is much wisdom packed away in this letter from Paul to Timothy. Much of it does deal with leaders and those in authority, so while some doesn’t apply to me, there is some that does.

For instance, leading. I think of leaders as Pastors and strong men. Those absolutely are, but if you think about it, we’re all leaders in one way or another. Husbands, obviously lead their wives. As women, we lead our children. Since we’re at home with them the majority of the time we have the biggest influence on them. We lead by our actions more than our words. People are watching us closely, more so than you may think. So how are you leading?

If one teaches a principle, but doesn’t follow it, how sound is that?

If one promotes a product, but has never used it, how rational is that?

That’s foolish, misleading, and not following the example of the Father. We can’t be that way with our advice and lives. If we’re “preaching” advice or morals to someone, we have to be taking our own advice. A quote from our study was “Leadership matters, because leadership models.”When we lead, we have to make sure we’re following our own advice, which should be from the Word of God. We have to stay in a state of doing because in reality, we all lead. We won’t be perfect and when we miss up, we have to repent, confess, and go forward.

We’re all called to be ambassadors of Christ, so we should be aware of our actions or lack thereof.

So though we may not lead a huge congregation or a nationwide business, we’re still called to lead with humility. As women, as Christian, we are called to show His light, not just speak of it. We’re leaders whether we like it or not, so we might as well lead well. Lead a life that is hidden in the Father and brings Him glory.

Father, leading is a part of life for us all. Some have a bigger realm of influence, but we all lead. Help us to look to You for how we lead and live. We want our words to match our actions. Convict us when our words do not match our actions. We don’t want to be living a double standard life. We want to be honest and true. We have people watching how we live and we want it to bring Your the glory, not ourselves. Give us wisdom to know how to lead well. Strengthen us to be doers of the Your Word and not just hearers. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

It’s Worth Protecting.

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Think of a precious stone that’s been given to you. It’s shiny, beautiful, and special. You would take care of it with the utmost importance. You would make sure it’s protected and wouldn’t get lost. More than likely you would polish it as much as you could to make sure it keeps that beautiful shine. Now, think of your marriage. It’s just as precious as a beautiful stone and we should seek to care for it even more.

The assault on marriage has been going on for years and will continue until eternity comes. It’s not always a comfortable topic to talk about for some, but it’s needful and important. The enemy’s aim really hasn’t changed, which is to destroy marriages and individuals, but we still have to stay aware of his tactics. We should fight to guard our hearts so they will honor the Father in our marriage. I want to touch on some areas that are vital to our marriage and  areas we should strive to guard ourselves in.

Unwholesome Talk

Words are important in our lives. They can change our moods in a split second. They can trigger anger, sadness, joy, and so many more emotions. We should be careful how we talk to others concerning our husbands. Not only being aware of not bashing him, but we should also guard against unwholesome talk that could lead to ungodly actions. Our bodies aren’t ours to give away to anyone else other than our husband and that doesn’t just mean physically. Our dress alone can spur thoughts that lead to talk that lead to actions if we’re not careful. Our intimacy should be between us, our husband, and God, not the whole world or the neighbor next door. Jokes or comments that leave others wondering aren’t the best witness if we’re claiming to be followers of Jesus. Our talk should be pure, wholesome, and filled with integrity.

Lingering Looks

This is one that Jesus spoke about very openly. He definitely didn’t abolish instructions from the Torah (Law/Word), but he upped the instructions in the Torah. He speaks of even looking on a woman (or man) with lust. So thinking it, is as bad as acting on it. That’s a pretty high standard we may think to ourselves, but the Father knows us better than we know ourselves. We are human and a handsome guy will definitely catch our eye, but we shouldn’t let him keep our eye. We shouldn’t go looking for something better if our grass doesn’t seem greener. Most of the time our looks will change, but that shouldn’t change our loyalty. If you do let the look linger, repent immediately and get in the scriptures. Our eyes should be for our husband only and vice versa.

Bonding Conversations

We even have to be careful with our conversations with other men. I’m not saying we can’t speak to other men, but we have to be careful not to share so much that we feel a connection or a bond. That bond should be for our husband and not other men (or women). Conversation bonds people, it just does. Communication is the key to relationships. So if we’re communicating more with another man more than we are our own husband, it is going to lead to problems. It will be a road that you do not want to go down. We should be very aware of what we share with other men and anything intimate shouldn’t be shared. That may sound drastic, but our marriages are important. The enemy comes in subtly. He won’t come in with his plan laid out, he is deceiving and conniving. That means we have to be extra careful. If you find yourself enjoying a conversation more with someone other than your husband, it’s time to put a stop to that and seek the Father’s help.

The topic of protecting our marriage is a vital topic we should be engaging in on a daily basis. Now days it seems the “rules” of marriage are heading down a slippery slope, so it’s important to have some guidelines not to be crossed. These are the top ones that I think of and try to remember daily.

Don’t let the enemy lull you to sleep. Go pursue that man. Love that man. Pray for that man. Laugh with that man. Just don’t let go of that man. Your marriage is a foundation, one that your children will likely model in the future. I would say it’s well worth fighting for.

Father, marriage is a beautiful picture of Your love for us. We want to guard our hearts and minds so we can honor You in our marriage. Give us a desire for our husband only and a heart towards him. Help us to be careful in our relations with other men, even if they seem innocent. Help our eyes not to wander, but to stay fixed on You. When we do sin against our husband, help us to confess and repent. We want our marriage to be all You desire. Give us strength and wisdom to protect this precious gift. Help our thoughts and actions be pure in all that we do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 


 

The perverse in heart are an abomination to the Lord,
But the blameless in walk are His delight.

Proverbs 11:20

No More Guilt, No More Shame

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Thinking about our past failures a lot of times can cause us to hang our head in shame. It can cause us to cringe and maybe even hide if a certain topic is brought up. Paul had a lot to be ashamed about after becoming a follower of Christ. He persecuted Christians with confidence and a smile. He hunted them down and made sure of their torture or execution. If you read any of his letters he doesn’t hide those sins though. He is very open about his past sins and how vile he was, even calling himself chief among sinners. He took the chance to praise the Father for His mercy anytime he talked about his past. He didn’t let the shame bury him, instead he turned it into a message.

So if Paul can do that, can’t we? Instead of running from our past sins, we can own up to them and praise the Father for His mercy and grace. Of course, we can be discreet to protect others we may have sinned against, but we can boast on how merciful the Father was to us. Satan wants nothing more than for us to hide our sin and run from it. He wants to hold it over our heads and make us feel shameful. He knows the power in sins being brought to light and how it can help others.

Paul shared his mess to further God’s message.

Maybe that’s another reason Paul spoke of his past sins so freely. Maybe he knew there were others who had murdered and lived a life of wickedness. He may have been showing them that there was hope for them. If Paul, of all men, could be redeemed and forgiven, then couldn’t they? He was so confident of Jesus’ death on the cross and the blood that was shed. He knew he was a changed man because of mercy extended to him. So may be he wanted others to know that he was once where they found themselves.

Too often I think non-believers look at us and feel inferior. We share the good in our lives and we leave out the bad we have done. They feel as if they could never be who we are and they stay in bondage. Like I said, we can be discreet, but we don’t have to hide our past failures.

You never know when the Father will use your past to change someone’s present. Boast on the Father’s mercy and how He redeemed you from who you once were, giving hope to those around you.

Father, thank You for never giving up on us. You saw something good when we saw something worthless. You want to use our past to reach others. Help us to allow You to use our past for Your glory. We don’t have to hide in shame, though we aren’t proud of our past we can show others that there is hope. We don’t glory in our sin, but we glory in Your redemption and mercy. Help us to fight the feeling of guilt and worthlessness. You reached out to us so we could be a vessel of honor and a city on a hill. So do Your work in others through our failures and bring them to your redeeming love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


 

This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.

I Timothy 1:15-16