Tag Archives: Word

in the trenches

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If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my years here on this earth, it’s that parenting is not for the faint of heart. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade being a Momma for anything. It’s the hard lessons, discipline, tears, and endless work needed to accomplish the end goal of raising an independent, well-adjusted, God-fearing child. The saying, “the days are long, but the years are short” resonates in my head this morning as I ponder the next right steps to take. I am reminded of the scripture, “A man’s mind plans his way [as he journeys through life], But the Lord directs his steps and establishes them.” (Proverbs 16:9)

I have been diligently pouring over God’s Word in this particular trench my family finds itself in. I find such comfort in the Psalms. He can be trusted, when it seems all others fail or aren’t there for you. His Word promises He will never leave or forsake us. I believe that and place my trust in Him.

Stay in the Word, press into Him and don’t give the enemy a foothold. He desires to break apart families, marriages, and homes. Don’t wait until you find yourself in crisis mode to seek the Lord. Be in His Word, take it in like a vitamin for the body. Call out to Him, hide His Word in your heart. Let go of a desire to control and release those reigns into His hands. He will carry you and me through times of trouble.

In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, And He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way]. Proverbs 3:6

The Lord is my Helper [in time of need], I will not be afraid.
What will man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6)

I will never [under any circumstances] desert you [nor give you up nor leave you without support, nor will I in any degree leave you helpless], nor will I forsake or let you down or relax My hold on you [assuredly not]!” (Hebrews 13:5)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time Out=New Perspective

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Let’s just be really honest here. Being a Mom is oftentimes hard. Who am I kidding? I mean really hard. Yes, there are plenty of (thank goodness!) good days as a parent but somehow when the days turn angry like the clouds in the sky, those days tend to overshadow the good ones, if we’re not careful.

I’m not one of those gals who paints a rosy, Christmas-letter type picture of my life on social media. As a matter of fact, I tend to scroll right on by the “fake family news” as I call it because it’s just that: FAKE. No one lives a life of glory and joy-filled moments day after day after day. That simply does not exist. People are people and let’s face it, people are people, so there’s that. Imperfect people cannot be perfect no matter how you slice it.

Laying myself out there as bare as I care to dare, today was an ugly, angry cloud day in my house. Yes, there I said it! It started, I don’t know, like by 8:30 this morning, to be exact. There were a few golden moments offering peace, giggles, and fun mind you, before it quickly gave way to disrespect, a sassy attitude, ungratefulness, and downright unkind words. Before I knew it, those angry clouds brewing in our home started to leak. That’s right, I lost it and the tears started falling like a rainstorm. And of all days, FRIDAY! My favorite day of the week had gone south on a bullet.

clouds-194840_640.jpgIt wasn’t long before negative thoughts began ruling my mind. True, I hadn’t had my time in the Word to transform those negative thoughts, which was my first mistake. Nor had I offered my day to the Lord asking Him to fill me with His spirit, power, grace, and love equating to my second mistake. Not being a morning person per se, means I tend to bump into the devil before my feet leave the bed, if you know what I mean. It’s no wonder why Jesus got away with the Lord first thing in the morning. I believe there is something to that. Duh!

Sadly, the sports camp my son was in all week, affording me some much-needed peaceful moments, ended yesterday (Thursday), to my shock and dismay. Yeah, that nightmare hit me like a fast-moving train in the middle of the night! So much so, I jumped out of my bed to verify it on my computer only to discover that my bad dream was indeed true. In my effort to get back to ‘La La Land’, I managed to come up with some alternate plans for our day: hunting down some fresh peaches, a Costco run, followed by a trip to the pool. Sadly, none of those things took place. Instead, I found myself driving around our neighborhood in search of my son who chose naughty behavior by sneaking out of our house without my knowing. The results: a prolonged time-out on his part back at the house so I could take a shower (yeah, I was driving around in my nightgown for heavens’ sake!) and try again, only to be met with more shenanigans contributing to the downward spiral of our day.

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Before I knew it, I put myself in my own time-out, giving my brain a chance to cool off, re-focus, and gain a better perspective. I’ve learned “Mommy time-outs” are the best medicine when you find yourself home bound with a child who successfully manages to push all your buttons at one time, multiple times throughout the day. You can better believe I’ll be setting my alarm extra early to get up, have a little coffee, spend some time with the Lord and His Word from this day forward. I’ve learned my lesson!

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some days you just need reminding

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some days you just need reminding

I’m sure you, like me, need some good, old-fashioned reminding of what is TRUE and RIGHT. Our enemy sure knows how to sneak in our thoughts to deceive us and bring confusion, frustration, doubt, anger, and even try to paralyze us with fear. However, and I am so thankful for this truth: our Lord is faithful and more than able to overcome these lies, if we will ask Him to cover and fill our mind and heart with His truth.

On a rainy day, like today, I’m feeling a tad pummeled by the enemy’s lies. So, I’m pulling out my armor! Here’s what I’m asking the Lord to fill my mind with:

But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control; and here there is no conflict with Jewish laws. (Galatians 5:22-23)

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.  (Psalms 4:8)

For we are not fighting against human beings but against the wicked spiritual forces in the heavenly world, the rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers of this dark age. (Ephesians 6:12)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.             (Proverbs 3:5-6)

The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent. (Exodus 14:14)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  (Galatians 5:22-23)

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. (Psalms 56:3)

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.                                    (1 Corinthians. 10:13)

But if we confess our sins to God, he can always be trusted to forgive us and take our sins away. (1 John 1:9)

The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)

The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. (Proverbs 18:10)

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!   (Matthew 7:11)

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. (Psalms 28:7)

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. (Ephesians 6:10-18)

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, (2 Thessalonians 2:16)

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. (Psalms 119:11)

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. (Deuteronomy 11:18)

Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings (Psalms 17:8)

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)

And do not give the devil a foothold. (Ephesians 4:27)

Rescue me from my enemies, Lord, for I hide myself in you. (Psalms 143:9)

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psalms 119:105)

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)

My prayer for you is that you would seek to feed on God’s Word to transform and renew your thinking. He is a good, good Father.

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.