Friday, October 26, 2012


I'm reviewing Mary DeMuth's book, Everything, for, currently in chapter four, Let Go of the Giants. So far, I like her candour and agree with her for the most part--at least I concur with her general premise and message.

Here's a good quote I read from the book this morning:
“Simply put, when we think of other people as our center and fulfillment, we live frustrated lives. Constantly disappointed, some of us use this as a reason to control people, only to find that most eventually find a way to rebel against our desires. Some, like me, value others' opinions so much that if they turn on us, we despair, feeling abandoned. But to become more like Jesus we must understand that the only growth we can be in charge of is our own. We can't make people grow. True growth involves the activity of the Holy Spirit and an act of someone else's will. But we can lead Holy Spirit-enticing lives that produce in others a longing to change. It's all about our mind-set, freeing others to blessedly be themselves and determining to trust fully in Jesus for our strength and joy."

I couldn't agree more!

Check back for a review of this book in the near future!

Right now Mary's running a contest to win a FREE KitchenAid mixer! You too can enter by clicking the button above.

*Note on Bible Translations: I believe in using the King James Version of the Bible. Mary uses various Bible translations. Be sure to look up the verses she cites in your own KJV Bible.  One simple reason, beyond the usual arguments, is to avoid confusion. You're not as likely to remember the verse if you read it in a different version each time. Memorization through repetition is always easier if you stick to one version of the Bible. If you compare, you will notice that other translations do not always convey the same meaning, which gives me great cause for concern. But then, that's a whole other topic for an entirely new post!! 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Not Perfect; Just Forgiven

I often see bumper stickers and t-shirts with the phrase: Christians aren’t perfect; just forgiven.

Frequently, one will hear the phrase, “Well, I’m only human…” At times I get the impression that it is an excuse to act or respond a certain way.

Someone once asked me this question: How do you deal with and respond to people who think that because we are Christians we should be perfect?

I believe that my Authority, the Bible, teaches that I should simply respond with an apology if they feel I have offended them. Depending on the situation, at some point I may be able to quietly clarify that being a Christian doesn't automatically make me perfect, but I would not even say that, if that statement will merely be perceived as a fight.

“Being human” does not make it okay to do wrong--even with good intentions. And I don’t know about you, but I always want to be judged by my good intentions! ☺ My "humanity" does not excuse me automatically, and it does not exempt me from apologies, even when the other person owes me an apology! Jesus said to turn the other cheek to those who hurt us. I believe this could be applied to word barrages as well. The longer I "live the difference," not retaliating, but humbly admitting my wrong, even asking forgiveness if I were perceived as wrong, or misunderstood, the better I am able to reach people and build relationships. God keeps the books. He knows if I did wrong on purpose or if it was an honest mistake.

If it's someone with whom I am in close relationship, there may come a point when I would need to pull back a bit from them if they continue. However, I would bathe that in prayer for a LONG time before making such a decision. I do not believe the Bible teaches that we should arbitrarily cut people out of our lives. That's not what Jesus did; that's now how He lived. We can clearly see that in the Gospels.

If it's a marital relationship that is verbally abusive, that's another ballgame, but the Bible still obviously applies. (*See the note at the end of this post.) I am told to follow Jesus' example. When He was reviled (criticized, berated, etc.), He did not retaliate with criticism or word barrages.

I Peter 2:20 says, “For what glory [is it], if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer [for it], ye take it patiently, this [is] acceptable with God.”

He's saying, so what if I am criticised or mistreated for real failures and I take it patiently? But if I am doing right and I suffer for it, that is what is really pleasing—“acceptable”—to God!

 This is only accomplished by living by Jesus' faith (Galatians 2:20), yielding myself to His Holy Spirit, so that He lives through me. Humanly, I cannot do this. He can do this through me, His yielded vessel! (For more on this, read The Life That Wins by Watchman Nee. I highly recommend lots of reading on this topic!)

Check out the next few verses: For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 
(I Peter 2:21).

He says, this is what you were called to: to follow Christ, live as He lived.

Well, how did He live?

Verse 22: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: (I Peter 2:22). 

He says, Christ didn't commit sin at all, did not sin with his mouth/words.

Verse 23: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed [himself] to him that judgeth righteously: 
(I Peter 2:23).

Then I, as Jesus did, am to commit myself to the Person Who righteously judges everything: God. He keeps the records, and He can set things straight in His own time. Sometimes He wants me to learn a little humility. Always He seeks to conform me to the image of Jesus (Romans 8:29), which is my calling and purpose in life (Romans 8:28)!

Realizing my purpose and living free to yield to the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit living inside of me is a wonderful life! It is so freeing to realize I don't have to retaliate when someone criticizes or attacks me. I don't have to stew inside. My liberty in Christ Jesus allows me to simply talk to my Father about it, committing it all to Him, the Righteous Judge. He is always fair, and to top it off, He loves me! ☺

*Note: There are certain situations, such as ongoing physical or mental abuse, that may require third party interventions. Matthew 18 teaches that if someone has something against me (or perceives they do, and in turn becomes abusive), I should first try to resolve it between the two of us. If that does not work, Matthew teaches me to take a fellow Christian with me to confront the abusive person. If that does not resolve the issue, I would need to take it to the church leadership, and possibly the church body, per the pastor’s decision in the matter.

If it is an abusive dating/courtship relationship, I believe one should run as fast as possible in the other direction! Marriage will only intensify the issues!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Thoughts All a Dither

Ever realized that you're a mess? Thoughts all a dither*?

*Dither (Mirriam-Webster):  a highly nervous, excited, or agitated state 

Image: Christine Martell, VisualsSpeak
I have come to this realization quite often. My emotions are a mess! (It might have something to do with the fact that I'm a woman!) 

Too many times I allow my emotions to direct my thought patterns, instead of disciplining my thought life to line up with the Truth (God's Word). I begin to tell myself stories that are completely fictional, with no foundation or backing. I tell myself stories that say people are mad at me, stories that say I am a failure, stories that say I am better than the next person, stories that say I will never learn, stories that say I am trapped, stories that say I can't help but be like I am... stories, stories, stories... all lies of the enemy of my soul.

For the enemy hath persecuted my soul**; he hath smitten my life down to the ground; he hath made me to dwell in darkness, as those that have been long dead. (Psalm 143:3)

**"Soul" in this case (Strong's Concordance): seat of emotions and passions

Proverbs 16:3 says, "Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established."

Whenever I find my thoughts all a dither, the chances are high that I need to make a choice. I need to "commit" (or recommit) my "works"--whatever job or project that has my attention, as well as its outcome, to the Lord. Whatever has me worried or upset probably has to do with my taking control of the thing. Wanting to control its progress or its outcome. Wanting to manipulate someone else's behaviour to suit my needs. 

From a fleshly point of view, the solution is not easy, and yet it is simple. Once, through the power of the Spirit, I make the decision, choosing to rely on Jesus and trust that He is in control, no matter what it looks like, I come to peace, and my thoughts are established, settled. I can breathe. I can even sing. I'm no longer in turmoil. I have "laboured to enter into rest" (Hebrews 4:11). I have returned to a state of rest in my soul (Psalm 116:7). And I suddenly realize the Lord truly has "dealt bountifully with me"!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Be Still

If I pause to listen, I will hear it. If I pause to notice, I will see it.

Sunlight on grass and leaves
Birds singing
Morning breeze
Varieties of beautiful plants, flowers, and trees

Thank You, God, for Your gifts!

My cat Espresso and her five cute kittens’ small voiced mews
Robin on green grass
Light dancing on the wood pile
Eyes to see
My warm, cosy robe against crisp morning air
Pretty tray with my breakfast and coffee on it
Bright colours

Thank You, God, for my health today.

Thank You for Your infinite, beyond-my-understanding love!

Perennials in my yard from previous owner

Thank You, God, for my wonderful, understanding, forgiving, gracious husband.

Thank You for this quiet time outside!

Breeze in the trees rustling
Turtle dove’s mourn
Mango, sweet and sour, tasty, bright orange
Fire pit for family times

Thank You, God, for headache-free days, for discoveries of food that makes me feel well.

Robin’s alert—cat!
Grass so green—pristine—reminds of Ireland!
Hostas getting big
Coffee with hazelnut
Sun on a barn shed
Lines and character in an old hunk of wood

Do you see? Do you hear? 

Do you thank?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

I Have Heard... I Have Seen...

Ever feel like quitting?
No one notices or appreciates what I do anyway. 
© 2011 Harpo

In the whispers of the morning when I'm so tired my eyes just want to close, and I ask God, "Why am I so tired?"... 

When my heart is hurting, and I wonder how long...

When I'm overwhelmed with responsibility, and I would love to just run away and hide...

When I'm crying, and I don't even know why...

My God answers me, as He answered King Hezekiah in II Kings 20:5: 
"... I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee..."

I want to share this devotional excerpt, a reminder for my spirit, my heart, my soul, my emotions...

It is a new day, and as the foggy vision of sleepiness clears, the mountains of clothes to be laundered looms into view. Then come the thoughts of floors that need mopping, furniture that needs dusting, and that pie you promised to bake. Not to mention, of course, the whole routine required to get the kids off to school. It seems that before your feet ever touch the floor, you're tired again. 

Sometimes it's the menial tasks of everyday life that an take the most out of women. Perhaps because of its repetitive nature. Or maybe because our efforts are not always noticed. Not even paid. It is here that satan hopes to defeat us--to distract us from the proper perspective, which (as in all things) is still found in Christ. 

For Jesus Christ knows what it is to serve an inattentive and ungrateful world. The King of all creation actually washed His disciples' feet. He died for people who didn't even like Him. What an honour, then, if is for women to be able to serve others in the same capacity as Christ. Whether it's wiping little noses or cleaning off countertops, the more things we have to do, the more opportunities we have to bring Him honour. Though no one else may see or care, God does. And He receives each effort as a gift of thanks for the incredible sacrifice He gave us--Christ Himself.

Source: Heart Reflections Devotional, by Nanette Kincade

Hagar was in the desert, wanting to die rather than be subjected to her "boss's" abuse
But God found her! 

Genesis 16:7 says, "And the angel of the LORD found her..." He cared enough to initiate the conversation! Then He promised her that the baby she carried would live and prosper!

"And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me?" (Genesis 16:13) 

God sees you, exhausted homemaker... weary wife... single mom... praying nana... selfless grandma... God sees all that you are and all that you are doing. And that is all that matters. 

He. Sees. You.

"... I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee..."

Growing Home

Raising Homemakers

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Building Personal Trust in My Father

TRUST: 1. Reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety of a person or thing; confidence.

Trust is something that is earned, right? The more we know someone, the more (or less) we trust him/her.

So what about God? Do I really trust Him?


How well do I know Him?

His Word has proven true. He has never failed me. When it seems that He has let me down, I later come to understand that He had a purpose. Which is what He told me in the first place.

And we know that all things (not just some things) work together (multiple "bad" things together) for good (even when I can't see any good) to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose (His perfect plan) ~ Romans 8:28.

Did you notice my emphasis on "the called"? I am the called one, according to His purpose and plan. There is no one else who can fulfill that plan in the same way. And what is His purpose?

Verse 29: " be conformed to the image of His Son."

Did Jesus suffer? Did He not "learn obedience" by the things He suffered (Hebrews 5:8)?

Wasn't Jesus reviled... mocked... verbally abused (I Peter 2:21-23)?

How did He respond? "Committed Himself unto Him that judgeth righteously" (God, His Father)!

I can trust Jesus--He has already endured everything I go through in this life (Hebrews 12:2-3). Yet He never sinned (Hebrews 4:15). I can trust Him to understand my overwhelming feelings. I can trust that He knows how much I can bear. I can also trust that He is my advocate with the Father (I John 2:1).

I can trust God my Father--He has a reason and purpose to everything (Romans 8:28-29), and He makes everything beautiful in His time, not mine (Ecclesiastes 3). He loves me with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3)! Underneath me are His everlasting arms (Deuteronomy 33:27)! He rejoices over me with singing (Zephaniah 3:17)!

God picked up a sparrow 
That could no longer fly 
He brushed off its wounds 
And then watched it soar into the sky 
If He's mindful of creation,
On this I can depend: 
I am His child 
And I can place all my trust in Him! 

I can trust Jesus, 
I can trust Jesus-- 
He never once has failed 
To meet my needs; 
He is my strong tower, 
The strength in my weakest hour-- 
I can trust Jesus, 
He takes care of me! 

I have prayed some prayers, 
And felt they never were heard, 
But I held to God's hand, 
And kept right on trusting in His word; 
My wants and God's desires 
Don't always agree, 
But I lean on His will 
For He always knows what's best for me.

I can trust Jesus, 
I can trust Jesus-- 
He never once has failed 
To meet my needs; 
He is my strong tower, 
The strength in my weakest hour-- 
I can trust Jesus, 
He takes care of me! 

~ Gerald Crabb

Friday, March 16, 2012

Migraines--Follow Up!

I have suffered from migraines for many years. You may have read my first post on migraines a couple of years ago. I would like to share a compilation of the info I have accumulated thus far on my journey, in case it may help someone out there...

Weather-related Migraines.
Combination salt tablets (I use Dr. Schussler's) are amazing at preventing many of my migraines, especially the weather-related ones. I take four under my tongue per day (I stay on these all the time, every day). If I know there is a weather pressure system coming or if I feel the beginning stages of a migraine, I take four more tablets in about an hour. It is also recommended to take BioStrath drops every day to aid in the absorption of the tissue salt tablets. I stay on these drops every day just as one would a multi-vitamin.

Another help to me has been my neti pot. I put 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and 1 tablespoon aloe vera juice (to lubricate) into one cup of filtered, boiled and cooled water. You need double recipe to do both sides. You can watch how to do this here. Neti pot helps to keep sinuses clear so there is not so much pressure to cause a migraine when the barometric pressure gets intense or otherwise.

I do have medication (sumatriptan) from my medical doctor to take if I happen to get one, because if I don't ward it off right away, I start vomiting and cannot stop.

From the pharmacist, I learned that migraine medication actually contains very strong salt, among other things. This was interesting in light of the helpful, natural salt tablets!

Hormonal Migraines.
Another help I have found for my hormonal migraines is magnesium bisglycinate. This was on advice from my naturopathic doctor, and has cut down most, if not all, my hormonal migraines. Just two a day. Chasteberry is another herbal help. I am planning to get some tests done soon to see if I'm low on estrogen.

Stress-related Migraines.
Another huge help to me has been Stott Pilates exercise. Any exercise will help, but Pilates involves stretching muscles we tend to forget we have. We carry stress in many areas of our bodies, and we can forget those areas. So I find that a good Pilates workout helps me to release those areas and this releases toxins. Learning to utilize stretching, even throughout the day, helps a lot. Example: Concentrate on stretching the shoulders when you realize you are tense.

Note: I do not recommend yoga or acupuncture. Some have claimed benefits from these. However it's my understanding that intermediate to advanced yoga leads you into meditation and anti-God worship, and acupuncture is also an avenue for demonic oppression. You can read more about potential demonic entry points here.

The Role of Your Gut.
The role of your gut is important to consider. You are not healthy if you are not having two, preferably three, bowel movements a day. And, not to be gross, but those BMs should float, not sink to the bottom of the toilet. So if this is not true for you, the first and foremost thing you should do is to focus on drinking more water. We always hear it, but it's true. There is no better thing you can do for your body than to drink at least eight tall glasses of water per day. One thing that has helped me with this is to get a water bottle and figure out how many of those I need to drink in one day. You should be drinking half your body weight (pounds) in ounces (i.e., if you weigh 100, you should drink 50 ounces of water per day).

You should also consider getting on a very high count of pro-biotics. It should be one with 50 billion cultures per capsule. These can usually only be found, refrigerated, at a local health food store. (It's usually better to go to a privately owned store, not a commercialized chain such as GNC. I get most of my natural health supplements at Maya Natural Health store in Woodstock, Ontario. Secondarily, I shop at Zehr's in the natural foods section, because sometimes they have the same products at a lower price.)

Another helpful benefit (again, not to be gross!), is coffee or plain water enemas. If you massage and block off the part that goes into your stomach, and allow the water to back up to that point, you can dump the toxins in your pancreas. You'd be amazed how you feel after a coffee enema! Just don't do it in the afternoon or evening... You won't sleep that night!

The Role of Your Neck.
Another thing that has greatly helped me is chiropractic care. A good chiropractor will not take you quickly "in-and-out" of his/her office, but will carefully spend time and seek to find the source of your pain, rather than just treating the symptom of pain. He/she will methodically adjust the whole spine, including the top vertebrae (C1 and C2)--I think it feels as if they are actually in your skull! I also sleep on a "water" pillow from the chiropractor now and use a horseshoe shaped pillow for when I'm on the laptop in the recliner--I have to be very careful with that! Anything being out can definitely cause migraines, but especially the top vertebrae. Click here for an explanation of chiropractic care and a diagram of the spine.

A friend of mine (Chandra) shared: 
My [chiropractic] x-ray showed I had a "head forward position." Instead of curving like a banana, my neck was completely straight. We started going three times a week ... and within THAT WEEK my migraines were gone! I was at the point of having several migraines a week. With three kiddos, it was not fun. I would get migraines when the weather changed, when the time of the month came, and any other time it just wanted to rear its ugly head. I have not had so much as a Tylenol with this pregnancy!! I have been migraine free for almost one year!! I honestly cannot believe the difference it has made. We still try to go two times a week, but sometimes just can't make it. But even if I do miss a week I have not had one reoccur, which to me is a miracle!! 

Calendar and Food Diary.
There are so many paths on the road to alleviating migraines! The first thing to begin doing is to keep track of your migraines on a calendar so that you can begin to see if there is a pattern. You may even need to keep a food diary in order to pinpoint any food allergies you may have.

I know how you feel! If you need to talk to someone who's been there, message me. I understand, and I will pray for you!

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Okay, I know it's been too long, but last post, I promised I would share the H.A.L.T. concept that has helped me.

There are four areas in which I need to be aware of a need to halt:


If I am feeling hungry (especially with blood sugar issues!), I need to halt whatever I'm doing and grab a handful of raw almonds, put some nut butter on a multi-grain cracker, or grab an apple... Get something in that stomach.

Can this affect my spiritual walk? Absolutely! When I am hungry, and I force myself on, not meeting that need, I can become grumpy. Next thing you know, I've bitten a family member's head off or I'm just an emotional wreck. All because of hunger. The direction ongoing, unmet hunger takes us can affect our spiritual lives.

Note: Another reason for feeling hunger at times is simple thirst. Most people (myself included) do not drink enough water. You might be amazed how much better you would feel if, when you feel hungry or unwell, you would simply drink a tall glass of water in about 15 seconds! I try to make it a practice to do this first thing in the morning.

Hungry and thirsty, their soul* fainted in them. Psalm 107:5
*Soul=mind, will, emotions!


Angry feelings are a signal that something needs to be addressed. This does not mean that dwelling in the anger is justified. But ignoring it or denying it is not the answer. If I don't know why I am angry, I need to get alone with the Lord and ask Him to reveal to me the root. Once I'm aware of the root, with God's help and His Word, I can lay an axe to that root. Does this mean I should just cut off from my life the person who made me angry? Is that "dealing with it"? I don't believe so. Jesus said to love our enemies (Luke 6). In the same passage He told us to be merciful as God is merciful, because God is kind to the "unthankful and to the evil"! That kind of love in action is only done through a "yieldedness" to the Spirit of God within me. And that's a whole other topic for another blogpost! Ha ha!

Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Ephesians 4:26
The heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy. Proverbs 14:10


There are times when I don't realize I am lonely, but if I stop and think about why am I feeling sad or why I just generally feel "yucky" emotionally, I realize I am lonely. God created this need within us first and foremost, so that He could meet the need! I need to acknowledge God as my sole provider of comfort and friendship. He is all I need. My husband can't be with me every second of every day, and even if he is there, he is human and cannot possibly meet every single emotional need I have! So I have to turn to the Source of comfort. Secondarily, there are many times that I need to reach out to someone, even when I don't feel like it. Maybe I need to say hi to a neighbour, take some cookies to them, or set up a time to meet a girlfriend for coffee or have her over for tea.

A man [that hath] friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend [that] sticketh closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24


Sometimes, I'm just plumb worn out! Moms tend to burn the candle on both ends. So I need to be sure I'm getting enough rest. Maybe that's six hours for you. Generally it's seven to eight hours for me. If something interferes {ahem, a three-year-old girl!}, then I need to take a nap when she does.

[It is] vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows*: [for] so he giveth his beloved sleep. Psalm 127:2
*Interesting that lack of sleep is associated with sorrow!

Next time you are feeling "yucky" spiritually, physically, or emotionally, and you cannot seem to find a reason, remember this little acrostic: H.A.L.T. There is an answer.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Priceless Simplicity

Side note: I just ran across this on another blog and loved the sense of humour... click the button... but please come back!

As you can see, I don't blog every day, or even every week. I do try to at least post once a month. Usually more often than that. But I don't want my blog to become a drudgery, I don't want to become a slave to it, and I definitely don't want it to become a tool the enemy uses to keep me from my responsibilities and ministries.

"Let all things be done decently and in order."~ I Corinthians 14:40


I love the sound of that word!

It's right up there with calm and peace!

I have a blue wipe-off board on my refrigerator. At times I write notes to family members, usually noting what leftovers are available in the fridge for them. Please eat the leftover pasta before it becomes a science project... Please and thank you!

Lately though, I've taken to putting up a Scripture or phrase of which I need to be reminded.

If you come into my kitchen, this is what you will see on the board:

The Simplicity that is in Christ

Some may consider that a strange "reminder" phrase. Let me explain. As most pink people in the world, I tend to be a complex, emotional woman! That's not all bad, because God made me pink for a reason! Just as he made my husband  blue for a reason.

(If you're wondering where all the pink vs. blue comes from, read Love & Respect  by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs... one of the best books on marriage! It helps you understand members of the opposite sex in general.)

Well, being pink, as I said, I can be quite emotional. And when I yield to those wobbling emotions over what Christ says, I can complicate life. This is what the enemy wants!

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. ~ II Corinthians 11:3

I'm a mess when I start telling myself a bunch of stories (about myself, about someone else, or about a situation). And things get complicated in a hurry.

Here's how this has worked at times in the past... Do you ever do this?

  1. Someone doesn't say hi to you at church, so you think they are mad at you.
  2. Then you wonder what you did.
  3. Then you start to mull it over and try to figure out what you did.
  4. When you can't come up with any offence, you become irritated. She always acts that way. I don't know what her problem is!
  5. Next thing you know, you have a story built up in your head about how much this woman hates you.
  6. Later you feel depressed for seemingly no reason.
  7. You start crying at the drop of a hat. You lash out at those you love, or withdraw from them.
  8. Your husband can't do anything right.
  9. YOU can't do anything right or accomplish anything.
  10. Your kids are a pain and inconvenience.
  11. And the hobbies you used to enjoy just aren't fun anymore.

Now, what happened?

You just got taken down in a round by the enemy!

We need to start recognising these things for what they are: attacks of the devil! He does not want us to have victory in Jesus! He wants us to be miserable. He can render us ineffective and steal our children as well in this way.

Life in Christ is simple. Christ is not complex. I do not mean disrespect here. It's true that His "ways are past finding out," and we will never know it all until we get to heaven. What I mean here is that we don't need to run around like chickens with our heads cut off in life! Settle down. Calm down. LET the peace of God rule in your heart!

Let's work back through our scenario and see how we could have let His peace rule.

  1. Someone doesn't say hi to you at church, and you may think they are mad at you.
  2. You may wonder what you did.
  3. You ask the Lord if you did offend this person, if you are imagining things, or if it's their issue.
  4. When the Lord does not reveal any offence, you pray for the person.
  5. You may go to her, privately, and ask in sincerity if she's okay (as appropriate to the person or situation).
  6. She may respond and ask you to pray for her, and realise that she has a true friend who really cares about her.
  7. Later you feel happy, free, and released because you have listened to the Lord's leading, not to your unstable emotions!
  8. You are free to love those you truly love, and draw closer to them, as well as to this fellow church member.
  9. You believe you have the best husband in the world! You are content and grateful for the blessings in your life.
  10. You believe you are right where God wants you, accomplishing all the things that He wants you to accomplish. This is fulfilling.
  11. Your kids are a joy, and you enjoy being with them and teaching them the principles of God, because you are truly seeking to practise these principles yourself.
  12. You enjoy your hobbies to the fullest.
  13. You have a greater sense of your God-given purpose in life.

See what a relief that is? Jesus is the answer. Yielding to HIM is the answer. Setting your affection on things ABOVE is the answer. Let's purpose to change our responses and not go down the wrong emotional track!

Next time we'll talk about an acrostic that has helped me: H.A.L.T.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Nothing Changes... Yet Everything Changes...

Are you grateful for your life just as God has ordered it?

Sure, of course, I'm grateful. Right?

But am I really?

What if my family were taken away from me? Would I be grateful for the time I had with them?

What if my good health were removed? Would I be grateful for the relationships and tangible blessings still in my life?

You see, I've been thinking about gratefulness lately because I spent quite a few months this past year ungrateful and downright angry.

Yes, I'm not proud to say this, but I have to be honest. I was inwardly railing on God for things He allowed into my life this year. 

Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! (Isa. 45:9)

I'll explain. I've never been a mom. For whatever reason, God never allowed me to give birth to my own baby. This, for years, was a source of pain to me. I would inwardly and later privately weep when I was caught in a group of women chatting merrily about childbirth and rearing children. I just could not understand why God had kept this from me when I desired children so much, having chosen names for three children when I was yet a very young adult. Actually as a teen, I had chosen one of these names, and it had never changed in my mind.

So, fast-forward to January 2011. One year ago. 

After a long road, I felt I finally worked through the emotions of never having my own baby, and actually began seeing some of the reasons why God had chosen not to give me a child of my own. I literally felt it leave my emotional plate, and I began to settle into married life, just enjoying the freedom of being a couple.

Then with one phone call, everything changed. Suddenly we had a little two-year-old full-time... in the middle of potty training! And I went from wife to full-time caregiver... actually parenting.

Well, I didn't appreciate it. After all, this isn't on my terms, God! 

This is a selfish statement, but I have heard it from other parents as well: 
I felt that all my freedom was taken. 

I once enjoyed hopping in the car and going to town whenever I liked. Now I have to work around morning and afternoon naps, and when I do go, I have to buckle-in-buckle-out a little tot at every stop. Every errand takes twice as long. I was not used to that.

And so, though I'm not proud of this, I admit I became angry and bitter.

This isn't fair!

Thankfully, God in mercy kept me from taking the anger out on this precious child, though I am not so naive to believe that she remained completely unaffected by my spirit of anger, and that saddens me!

Doest thou well to be angry? ~ God asked Jonah (Jonah 4:4)

After the dust settled from my ranting (when I actually became exhausted in my anger), God began to show me the blessing in the midst of the unpleasant. God, Who works all things together for good to those who love Him--for His purpose, not ours--began showing me the beautiful: His purpose.

Christ is the model upon which the Father is developing your life...   
(Henry Blackaby)

Every event that God allows into my life is for His purpose: conforming me to the image of His dear Son Jesus. That's what the verse after Romans 8:28 says. His purpose isn't some pie-in-the-sky idea that I can just back burner if I truly love Him. When you love someone, you want what they want. And God wants to make me like Jesus.

What does all this have to do with being grateful?

By God's patience and grace, I am learning that this is a mindset. I do not mean fake. I mean a choice. The Apostle Paul wrote to the  Colossians, "Set your affection on things above." (Col. 3:2)

On a side note: It saddens me also that with my affections set on getting my own way and reclaiming what I perceived to be my own freedom, I made things hard on my husband as well. We have all heard the phrase, "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!" We women do set the climate in our homes, like it or not. (Check out Courtney's convicting blog on being a porcupine wife!)

Choosing to be grateful for the good--embracing the good--causes the nasty somehow to become less so. God began to show me the beautiful in this situation when I chose gratefulness.

Once I chose to be grateful in this situation--to focus on the good, to embrace the beautiful, God-given opportunity--my emotions (eventually) no longer felt angry, resentful, bitter, and vindictive. I began to see that God, for an indefinite period, has given me a little girl to dress in frillies and do her hair, just as I dreamed. And I began to enjoy things again... things that I used to enjoy but I quit doing, because I thought I no longer enjoyed these activities. I began to actually enjoy the daily tasks of caring for a child, as well as daily household chores I thought I hated! Resentment is a horrible thief.

It's a daily choice: Gratefulness... Nothing changes... Yet everything changes!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Applying My Heart...

Thank God for new beginnings! We don't even have to wait for a new year to have a fresh start with God, but I'm glad He allowed us to have a calendar so we could have a greater sense of a new start. 

Many who have been in solitary confinement have sought to maintain sanity by keeping some sort of crude calendar, scratching notches into the wall, or whatever way they could find to keep track of their days. 

The lack of sunlight and having no schedule and nothing to do was enough to drive them crazy. Nowadays and in our culture we feel enslaved by the calendar at times, but when you consider the alternative, a calendar and schedule truly are blessings!

While a New Year causes people look forward to many things and make goals and resolutions, for others, it can be discouraging, as they allow themselves to think and dwell upon their painful or sinful past. 

God says: 

Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, [and] rivers in the desert. ~ Isaiah 43:18-19

A friend on Facebook posted a reminder today that we not focus so much on our past that we miss what God is saying and doing in our present and what He wants to do this year.

God has new wisdom and knowledge for you and for me this year! I don't want to miss what He's saying.

Proverbs 1:5 says:
A wise [man] will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:

Proverbs 2:2 says:
So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, [and] apply thine heart to understanding;

Too many times I do not apply my heart (mind, will, and emotions) to understanding His ways. His ways are not my ways. His thoughts are not my thoughts. I want my fleshly defaults to become less and less my default; I want HIS way of thinking to become my default. I am His lamb, and He loves me so tenderly. Thank You, Jesus, for pursuing me.

Jesus and the Lamb, Photo credit

My prayer today: "Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth..." (I Samuel 3:9) I want to incline my ear to Your wisdom. I want to apply my heart (my mind, my will, and my emotions) to understanding You and Your ways--the way You would have me listen, speak, move, breathe, live my life, and relate to others in my life.

Raising Homemakers
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