Tag Archives: enemy

Crazy Dayz

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Yes, ‘Crazy Dayz’ is my address these days. Don’t misunderstand, not every day fits this description, but many as of late. I know I’m not alone. Parenting is no easy task and I am constantly reading parenting books ’til I feel I myself could be a counselor (for others’ kids, that is!) but more than that, I am constantly asking God, begging actually, for wisdom.

Ever feel like you are ready to try something new with your child only to discover it’s just not the right time? I’m not talking sports or even school activities, I’m talking church activities. Programs that will build character and biblical knowledge into your child. Yeah, that!

Let me illustrate, if I may. Not long ago, I felt the desire to build biblical knowledge into our son. While we work on it at home, and have him in church, I researched 2 different programs for him. One involved me learning alongside him, though separated by our ages; the other involved me dropping him off more or less for someone else to teach him. After much thought and consideration, I came to the conclusion that I would try the choice of learning alongside each other. I was so excited, as this was something I’d even done in the past pre-child. I was eager to learn and be in that environment again, not to mention the wonderful pouring into my son.

Alas, the big night arrived! My son and I traveled somewhat of a distance to the church where the Bible study was to take place. Suffice it to say the evening was a disaster. Let’s say it together, DISASTER! Now I’m not going to bore you with the minutia of details in poor behavior choices displayed that night, but trust me, I left the building in tears. I was embarrassed and overwhelmed. I was upset that I couldn’t control my child’s behavior. Again. I felt ashamed and disheartened. Unfair, I thought to myself. Can’t I take him anywhere without this outlandish display of naughtiness? After all, at one point, there was a search for my son within the building as multiple women with walkie talkies mind you, were scouring the hallways and stairwells for my boy. Unacceptable!

We continued going for an extra 3 weeks, with my husband accompanying us from the parking lot to my son’s classroom. Embarrassment was my first name. We encountered minimal success, up until this now last week, has demonstrated to me that the time is just not right for us to do this together. Upset doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt after I’d showered, dressed, prepared, managed to get him dressed in proper clothes and into the van to head out for our evening….only to have to turn around. I had reached my limit of frustration for the day. For the week. For the month. Yes, we returned home for him to receive due punishment for the actions displayed. I couldn’t bear the weight of the stares and subsequent irritation another night.

Behavior that demands discipline is tough water to navigate. Not any one thing works for all children. This, for me, has been the hardest part! Trying to understand how the child thinks, paired with the state of their hearts leads to much scratching of the head on our part, as the parents of said child. When spanking, taking away toys, electronics, TV, contents of his room, even parties doesn’t yield a change of behavior, it’s time to move on to what WILL work. Consistency for sure but promoting discipline to cause a change of behavior is the goal here. I’ve learned that it looks different for every child, even siblings raised together.

Peace is a luxury at our house. I’m not kidding. I wish I were! We strive for it, ask God for more of it, try to create it, and seek to train our son so that he will choose it for himself. Easier said than done. Amen?

Let’s just say that as my husband so eloquently told me earlier in this trying week, “the devil is getting into your head”. And, I concur that that is the case. Our enemy whispered lies into my head, ‘you’re not a good mother‘  to ‘what made you think you’d be a good mother?’ and ‘why bother? ‘ even ‘just give up‘ and ‘your life is a joke‘. Lies from the pit of H-E-(double hockey sticks), as I like to say! Thankfully I know enough about the enemy’s lies that when I’m clear-headed, I recognize these thoughts are not from God. The enemy loves to isolate us and make us believe that we are the only ones in the particular predicament we’re in. Our enemy loves us to feel defeated, embarrassed, powerless, judged, unable to rise above the issue, and most of all hopeless.

Whether your issue is similar to mine, or something completely different, allow me to say that YOU ARE NOT ALONE in your struggle. The Lord knows and He sees. He lavishly pours out wisdom when we ask for it. He sends us wisdom through trusted friends, family, our pastor, solid books, Sunday School, and most definitely, His Word. BUT, we have to be tuned in to His channel to hear it and then ask Him to help us to apply it. I’ve learned there are no “magic formulas” in the parenting books we ravage. The answers are found within God’s Word, as we quiet ourselves to hear His still small voice. There are no shortcuts.

I’m still learning, still struggling, still seeking and praying. I don’t have the answers, but He does. We are not an island to ourselves. Beware of the devil’s schemes, his lies, and triggers. Join me in filling your mind with the things of Philippians 4:8 and press into God’s heart. For this is the secret to all of life.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4:8, NIV)

 

 

What steps?

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What steps?

I love time spent with my closest of friends. Whether we shop, have dinner, drink coffee, or talk on the phone together, I am blessed to have a very small gathering of close, godly, prayerful friends in my life. I am confident that I could call on any of these select few and they will be available to help. What a privilege to have a friend! The Lord is so good to place those in our lives to help encourage and pray for each other. He certainly knew what He was doing when He created us for fellowship.

While having dinner together, one of my “besties” and I were sharing our hearts and prayer requests with each other, as we typically do whenever we meet. We both were feeling a little fearful of the future and where it might take us. My friend reminded me of a scripture. It’s a fairly common scripture and one I’ve read dozens of times throughout my life but the Lord must have known it was then that I needed to be reminded of it. It brought me so much comfort and encouraged my soul at a time when I desperately needed this truth planted in my heart.

We make our own plans, but the Lord decides where we will go.              (Proverbs 16:9, CEV)

This scripture reminded me of the truth of God’s Word, which I was desperate to hear. You see, my emotions were starting to take over, threatening to drag a dark cloud over me. Overwhelm was trying to sneak into my mind, causing my already anxious heart to fear the unknown. Once again, the enemy was on the ready to deceive me, cause me to doubt, and throw the spear of fear my way. Reminded of His Word, I was quickly jostled back into God’s economy, where peace overcame me once again.

I needed to be reminded that sure, I can and should ponder, pray, prepare, and make some plans based on how the Lord is leading me. Having a constant awareness of His presence helps me to see His perspective, rather than my distorted, short-sighted one. I need to know that it is He who directs me and orders my steps. Also insightful are the additional references that Matthew Henry’s Commentary provides on this particular scripture:

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:14-15, NIV)

Now may our God and Father Himself, and Jesus our Lord guide our steps to you [by removing the obstacles that stand in our way]. (1 Thessalonians 3:11, AMP)

So, as you forge ahead in the new year, remember to ask Him to yield your will to His, and to open and close doors of opportunity according to His perfect plans for your life. His way may look completely different from the plans you’ve desired for yourself; in fact, they may initially look absurd. Rest assured, He knows best, so we can release our desire to control into His very capable hands. As I continue in my daily reading of His Word, I feel more confident of the unknowns in my life for it is He who goes before me.

 

 

“Happy Mother’s Day!”

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These words used to bring tears to my eyes. Tears for a couple of reasons, actually. I had a wonderful, loving, godly, fun, best-friend kind of Mom for 23 years of my life. She was the nurturing type, full of mercy, peace, and grace. She poured into me, sacrificed in huge ways, and most importantly led me to Christ. God called her home at 47 years of age. For many years, I was conflicted with ‘why God did you take her from me when I loved her and needed her so much?’ and thoughts of being at peace knowing she was safely in the arms of her loving Jesus, free from pain. Sprinkle in the tormenting thoughts of ‘why does Jesus heal some, and yet others have to suffer, gaining their ultimate healing?‘ If I’m being honest, I still struggle with some of these emotions, and probably will until Jesus takes me home.

As time passed, after *marriage, I never thought I’d hear the words “Happy Mother’s Day!” I watched and celebrated my friends who were celebrating their pregnancies and subsequent births of their bundles of joy. While I was truly happy for them, I found it increasingly more difficult to hide my own feelings of desperately wanting to be a Mom and have a child of my own. Eventually, we found ourselves on the path to fertility treatment. It was a lonely, depressing world of disappointment upon disappointment; not to mention the thousands of dollars spent on a hope unrealized.

God had other plans for my husband and me. Unaware at the time, we faithfully prayed and trusted Him for direction and wisdom. The Lord kept opening our eyes to adoption. While it took me awhile to warm up to the idea, God slowly prepared me for a new journey. I have to admit, this path is not for the faint of heart. We went to training in and out-of-state, completed physical exams, psychiatric exams, interviews, background checks, counseling, mounds of paperwork, home visits, and created a book of pictures introducing our family to birth mothers who would then choose a prospective adoptive couple. As my husband jokingly says, “we did everything short of having a body cavity search”.

Nearly two years into our process of becoming a “waiting family” or “paper pregnant” as they call it, we found ourselves fighting disappointment when we still hadn’t been contacted by our agency that a birth mother had looked at our profile, wanting to meet us. It was then that God showed up in a big way! The Lord led us to our precious birth mother through some friends. Ironically we met with her for the first time near Mother’s Day. It was this initial meeting which led to accompanying her to doctor’s appointments, long chats over lunch, meeting her family and at long last, joining her in the delivery room as our baby boy was born! Truly, what at first appeared to us as our “Plan B” quickly turned into God’s “Plan A” for our family. We could not have asked for a more beautiful story had we written it ourselves. God was in every single detail.

I struggled trusting God that He would answer our prayers for a child of our own. The enemy hurled doubt left and right. The Lord, however, held our hands and affirmed us throughout our journey to our son even when our fears threatened to take over. The Lord continued to speak to us not only through our own prayers, but through others as well. We felt encouraged and edified, almost as if God was carrying us through til the very end. He was faithful and would not let go.

As my husband and I often tell our son, “God made us a family”. And, He did. Undeniably one of the most difficult holidays of the year for me, Mother’s Day, has now become one of the most joyous days of my life. God heard our cries for a child and He answered our prayers. God’s ways are often not our ways; His plans are not always our plans, and His timing is often not our timing. Know that He can be trusted with the longings of our heart. He is a good, good Father.

*marriage-another God story of how God brought my husband to me in His timing, not my own.

The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does. (Psalm 145:17, NIV)

So, my very dear friends, don’t get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures. (James 1:17, MSG)

For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. (Psalm 57:10, NIV)

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7, NIV)

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,… (Ephesians 3:20)

If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath. (Psalm 34:18, MSG)

I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.          (1 Samuel 1:27, NIV)

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

don’t be fooled!

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I love some good Bible studies and teaching from God’s Word. I have several favorite teachers, including of course, our church’s pastor. As much as I enjoy taking part in women’s studies whenever possible, I’ve come to realize more and more how crucial it is for believers to check everything against our standard: the Bible.

But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping. (2 Peter 2)

One of the best ways to know whether a teacher, author, and even a pastor is sound in his doctrine is to go to God’s Word to determine if what they are saying is in fact accurate. Additionally, ask God for His wisdom and discernment. Anyone worth his salt will say, “don’t take my word for it; go search it out for yourself in God’s Word”. Unfortunately, people will manipulate God’s Word to read or interpret it to fit their agenda. It’s vital to ask the Holy Spirit to help you read the Bible. It’s important to read God’s Word in the context in which it was written.

Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many. (Mark 13:5)

For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.  So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.    (Mark 13:22-23)

Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. (Matthew 7:15)

My husband, who has the gift of teaching, has cautioned me on more than one occasion that just because a book is stocked and consequently sold within a Christian bookstore doesn’t mean it is sound doctrine. In fact, many years ago, I worked in a Christian bookstore and quite often customers requested a particular & very popular book that the owner would not carry because he believed it to be inaccurate teaching. We have to be careful to remember that there is an enemy who is alive and well who seeks to steal, kill and destroy. (John 10:10) Our minds have been said to be the battleground. What better place for our enemy to attack us than in our minds. (2 Timothy 1)

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.    (2 Tim. 1:7)

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)

Clearly, it is evident why we need to be familiar with God’s Word so that we can discern the enemy’s lies from God’s truth. My childhood pastor illustrated it this way: ‘if you wanted to create a counterfeit dollar bill, how would you go about it? You would study the real thing‘. I wholeheartedly believe this is our enemy’s tactic. He (the enemy) wants us to be confused, so busy that we can’t take the time to discern for ourselves, distracted, and consequently exchange the truth for a lie.

The takeaway: Don’t allow yourself to be fooled and duped. Seek out the truth by studying God’s Word for yourself, with the Holy Spirit’s guidance. He loves to give us wisdom and knowledge but we must ask for it.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. (James 1:5)

Your word I have treasured and stored in my heart, that I may not sin against You.            (Psalm 119:11)

 

 

PRiDE

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P  R  D  E: Notice the “I” in the middle of this word.

Webster defines it as an inordinate self-esteem; a feeling that you are more important or better than other people.

Have you ever thought of yourself as being a prideful person? I mean really? Down in the recesses of your soul? To be honest, I never thought of myself as having a problem with this particular issue. After all, I have plenty of other issues. Perhaps the enemy was deceiving me to believe otherwise.

Let me explain…several years back, I heard a rather popular speaker at a Women’s Conference and she spoke on this very subject. This is when I first realized that I’d been duped into thinking this issue didn’t apply to me. Then, recently, someone I respect shared her testimony. I was again reminded of this being true of me, too.

This wise, older Mom who has already raised a set of fully grown twin boys and another daughter, shared how she would stay in her house when she was a SAHM (Stay-at-Home-Mom). She didn’t invite people into her life or her home nor did she ask for help or advice from anyone who might be able to support her in her motherhood. She confessed it was all pride. She begged those of us she was speaking to, to not to make this same mistake.

Does the enemy try to convince you that your home, or whatever you have to offer, isn’t good enough? Or, that you don’t measure up? This is pride. In essence, you are thinking too much of yourself. Wow! This has been an eye-opening revelation to me. Don’t allow yourself, or anyone else for that matter, to dupe you into believing this lie. For it is just that, a lie. Everything we have is a gift from God.

Every generous act of giving and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father who made the heavenly lights, in whom there is no inconsistency or shifting shadow. (James 1:17, ISV)