Seasons of Grace

It’s nice to be back in the blogosphere again. I took off a few weeks after Christmastime to regroup and re-prioritize life. I got back on track regarding food after eating baklava for breakfast a few days in a row and overeating in general during break. It was a treat and oh so yummy. But there were a few more inches on my waist than I would have liked there to be, not to mention I was feeling sluggish. Spiritually speaking, I was needing to really seek out the Lord’s will and so I made a time of fasting, study, and prayer. As I expected, I renewed my mind and received some revelation. Plus I’m down some pounds and feeling more energetic.

I tackled a lot of to-dos when we got back. I got all of our check-ups planned out for this year- 2 dental visits and a check up for 7 people means you have MANY appointments. Then, we mused about where we might like to go on vacation for this year. So, we settled on the Ark Encounter, Creation Museum, and Horse Park in Kentucky for spring break. Lord willing, I will make a trip to Washington D.C. with Autie in April to check out the sights and see to Joyce Meyer teach a conference. In June, I’ll be making a hiking trip with my mom, aunt, and the Dawn to Hike Inn near Amicalola falls in the summer. Then, I figured out what topics I was going to pursue in my continuing education hours for nursing this year. I also dropped a part time business that I was not loving anymore. It’s so nice to get things straightened up. Last year, I was in no state to do such things. We were in a crisis mode that lasted for months and months. I’m so thankful that the Lord provided a way for us.

We ended up being sick a few weeks during Christmas and then the week following New Years. That is never any fun. It stinks to feel isolated when you are quarantining yourself from others and it’s below 20 degrees outside. The first week that we were back to school we ended up having something to do every evening of the week and miraculously everything got cancelled so that I could have a full blown sinus infection (the kind where your head feels like it is going to pop off). Then the next week with a fairly normal schedule and some breathing room there were snow days and a course of anti-biotics for myself.

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Photo by Corinne Kutz on Unsplash

So this week, all is well (for the moment) and I am thankful. The gutters are going back on after the December snow. Various parts of my house are clean. And it’s laundry day. I caught myself getting stressed out around lunch time when I was managing the barking dog, the gutter men, dentist appointment, laundry, feeding people, and then getting school done. Then I remembered for a minute what I told someone just yesterday. Give yourself some Grace.

I had an opportunity to visit with a lady last night who is going through a similar crisis season that I have had to deal with in the past. We have been connected just since Christmas and I am so thankful that I am now able to comfort another Mom with the comfort with which I was comforted. When she was telling me last night that her homelife had taken 10 steps back and things weren’t getting done like she expected, I reminded her that she is in a special season right now (something I’ve had to hear from others in the past). Yes, it’s crisis from day to day and there are still things that need to get done. The key is in prioritizing and giving yourself Grace. Keeping your eyes on the Lord when difficult seasons come will make or break you. Giving yourself grace will make or break you. I’ve been both made and broken at times.

The word crisis originates from the Greek word krisis meaning a testing or judgement. We enter into crisis periods in our own lives where we have a chance to use faith and trust as Jesus teaches or go for our own “man made” solutions (I’ll try harder, I’ll brainstorm, I’ll google it).

I think that Moms in general have difficulty with this topic. Being a home-manager and teacher-at-home right now, it feels like I work for myself. I keep my hours and my expectations and am constantly revisiting my goals. When I fail, I am my worst critic.

Many people know the bible verse Romans 3:23, “ for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (WEB). But have you ever paid attention to the rest of the sentence?? We can quote bits and pieces of scripture here and there but really applying the message in context is where we find the meaning. Here it is in context:

“But now apart from the law, a righteousness of God has been revealed, being testified by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ to all and on all those who believe. For there is no distinction, for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; whom God sent to be an atoning sacrifice, through faith in his blood, for a demonstration of his righteousness through the passing over of prior sins, in God’s forbearance; to demonstrate his righteousness at this present time; that he might himself be just, and the justifier of him who has faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:21-26 WEB

**Now we are looking at Romans 3:23 and the sentence it belongs in. Plus a sentence before and a sentence after.

So, all have sinned yes. But pay attention, this is the good part: All are “being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” You are justified freely by God’s grace. You are made right by God’s grace. You are righteous by Faith in Jesus Christ.

You aren’t righteous by your to-do list. Not your done list either. None of the lists make you righteous. You are made right by Faith and FREELY by Grace.

If God is going to give you so much grace while you were in the muck and mire can you give yourself some Grace this year? Can you not beat yourself up about goals that you haven’t met yet? Laundry and dishes piled up because you are sick? Messed up schedules because of weather? Things are going to come at you, it’s inevitable. Somethings this year might be devastating others might be plain annoying.  It’s what you do in the times of trail that will matter most. Did you yell, scream, pout? Did you use your self-control, keep your faith, and pray?

“Being therefore justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; through whom we also have our access by faith into this grace in which we stand. We rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only this, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope: and hope doesn’t disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were yet weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man. Yet perhaps for a righteous person someone would even dare to die. But God commends his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we will be saved from God’s wrath through him. For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we will be saved by his life.” Romans 5: 1-9

God doesn’t send the yucky stuff our way. Suffering is a part of living in a fallen world. Yet, He provides for us a way to live through Him and to rejoice. He provides a way for our suffering to be made into perseverance, then character, and lastly hope. Hope won’t disappoint!

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Photo by Ron Smith on Unsplash

“Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. “ Isaiah 30:18 NRSV

Say it with me!!!

“This year I will open myself up to His grace. I will be ready for Him to rise up to the occasion no matter what situation comes to me. I will remember that I hope in Him and that I stand justified in His eyes because of Jesus.”

Praise God today!

Seasons in Life

In general, I love the holidays. It’s not decorating, or event planning, or gift giving that I love so much, but spending quality time as a family is what I love the most. After Thanksgiving, I have the hardest time doing anything but fun. So, it is a trying time to fit school in, in between the parties and exciting events that are planned. Come December 1st, after Thanksgiving has been given its proper time of celebration, I am ready to be in the Christmas spirit. Our Christmas tree is Charlie Brown-esque. It’s packed with elementary craft decorations that do not coordinate-but I love it. And it reminds me of the variety of my children. The lights are basic but they are warm and inviting. It’s doing things together that makes it so much fun. We’ve already taken the kids to a lights show, a Christmas performance, and a live nativity. What is great is that I am having a good time too this year, not just the kids.

Christmas is a time of spiritual renewal and excitement for me. I’m often on the verge of tears considering Jesus’ birth and it  makes me so emotional. I am enjoying an Advent devotional by Ann Voskamp right now. I happened upon it in a stack of free books at the church where my homeschool group meets.

This is a quote from her devotional by Stuart Briscoe:

“The spirit of Christmas needs to be superseded by the Spirit of Christ. The spirit of Christmas is annual; the Spirit of Christ is eternal. The spirit of Christmas is sentimental; the Spirit of Christ is supernatural. The spirit of Christmas is a human product; the Spirit of Christ is a divine person. That makes all the difference in the world”

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Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

 

The Holy Spirit is cultivating a stillness and peace in my heart and mind even though there has been plenty of turmoil and change in my life recently. For this reason, I’ve neglected to post for about 2 weeks. Since then, I’ve been contemplating Ecclesiastes Chapter 3. A good friend directed me to this book at one of our recent spontaneous prayer and bible study sessions at the YMCA.

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

2 a time to be born, and a time to die;

a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;

3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;

a time to break down, and a time to build up;

4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

5 a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;

a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;

a time to keep, and a time to throw away;

7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;

a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

8 a time to love, and a time to hate;

a time for war, and a time for peace.

9 What gain have the workers from their toil? 10 I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with. 11 He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live; 13 moreover, it is God’s gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil. 14 I know that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it; God has done this, so that all should stand in awe before him.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-14

I am pondering how to maintain joy in my life, and enjoy my toil at the same time.

This time of year especially I’m yearning to simplify things. Maybe I just want to simplify the little bit that I actually have control of. Christmas inevitably brings loads of items into the house. So, I’ve got the kids doing a “one toy a day” giveaway until Christmas. Do some quick math and almost 100 items will be exiting my house. Joy!!!

I’m also in a season of adjustment. My youngest boy was diagnosed allergic to dust mites, dogs, and cats 2 weeks ago. So it’s changing the way he interacts with the outside dog (that he loves), I’m trying to get rid of his allergic rash from the dog and see if I can keep it at bay. I’ve also been learning about dust mites. I’ve figured out where they are and what to do with them. I now have to find and extinguish. So now I have new loads of laundry each week to do not to mention dusting. I’m on load 8 as of 4:30pm.

I’m in a new season with my book publishing excitement; I am down the the hard part of marketing now. Which to me is the most uncomfortable salesy part and the least exciting. It was a blessing to have a large amount of people read the book in the first few days. Now it is time to put the book into the hands of people who will be helped by it. So, I will begin this in the new year and until then I will be doing a lot of relaxing. It is encouraging to see people still reading my devotional daily via Kindle Unlimited and I can keep track of their views. The book has opened new avenues for me to minister to others, but also for me to form new friendships and partnerships.

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Seasonally, we are approaching winter. It was a wonderful early December surprise when we had about 6 inches of snow at our house this past weekend. The snow was really beautiful. It was deep and the wind was quiet. It was perfect to play in. The littles played for hours outside. I prepared for a power outage and thankfully there was none. But we did lose the back half of the gutters on our house due to the heavy weight of the snow. And our deductible is $1000. Gulp…

I’ve been working on intentionally seeing the beauty and blessings in all things. I catch myself complaining about things and I immediately go to finding things that I can be thankful for. I won’t make a list for you. But family and friends have really come through for me as of late. They have been there for me in numerous trials. Little bits of love are just shining in my life right now. I have met new friends who are loving on me and my family. As my community grows, I’m seeing that the church is so much bigger than I have previously understood it to be. God’s grace is becoming so evident to me in all the little circumstances in life: keys locked in the car, lulls in my schedule, special conversations. I’m at a place where I am peacefully walking knowing that He is in step with me and I am in step with Him. I can’t quite describe it but I pray this is a season that lasts a long long time. Maybe there is something new and amazing around the corner, maybe not. Whatever may come, it is nice to be at a season of resting and peace in my soul.

What do you do to help yourself be at peace despite the hustle and bustle of the holidays?

 

 

The story that didn’t make the book

Having never written a book before, I did not know how deep and personal I was going to get with my audience. I made what is called a mind map and wrote out one or two word prompts for the big ticket items that made up my foster care experience. You can read my devotional here. There was a very important thing that happen to me that I just wasn’t willing to make public. Granted, this story is not a secret. I told it publicly at my girls adoption ceremony in 2011 and have told it to select friends. But the story is deeply personal and I didn’t feel up to sharing it in the book.

Dealing with the “system” is difficult and the goal as a foster parent is to serve the children in need. It’s difficult to do this and keep our minds on Christ during this time. I had what I would call a “God moment” before we got our girls. It was big when it happened. But as time went on, I would forget about it and enter into a state of doubt and overwhelm when faced with the different aspects of foster care.

Of course, when we shared it at our adoption ceremony, God was on our hearts and in our minds. We were so thankful and hopeful and ready to start our life together as a family. Once again, as time went on, this story fell from the forefront of my mind. At a very low and pitiful moment in the last year, I shared my doubts and overwhelm at the situation of our oldest daughter to a group of sisters at a Bible study. One friend, who had been to our ceremony and remembered my story, hugged me close and told me that God had put me with them and that I had what I needed to take care of my child. She reminded me of the story that i had forgotten as I was so bogged down in the present and defeated. Since that moment, I have reminded myself of this story and used it to persevere through my trials.

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Photo by Nathalia Segato on Unsplash

I was winding down a road in my subdivision in the summer of 2011 when I heard on the radio a very unfortunate story about a local murder case involving a young child. Just hearing it pricked my heart and I started crying out to God. I was praying, “Lord, here I am wanting to help children who are needing homes. God, if you would give me children, I would love them so much and take care of them.

Fast forward two weeks. I get a call from our child placement agency while I am in my car. The first words from her mouth about the children were, “You might have already heard a little bit about their story, it’s been in the news.” I knew that exact moment who they were and tears filled my eyes. I pulled over to talk to her on the phone. I got to know their ages and my husband got on the phone with me to give his “Yes” also. We were on our way to welcoming the girls into our life.

I did not know that these girls existed when I called out to God that day in the car. There was nothing about them on the radio story. I’m not sure how it all works spiritually speaking but I think God knew that he was giving them to me. My spirit knew that I was receiving them. I made a space for them in my heart that summer’s day. Two weeks later, with God’s intervention, we made a space for them in our home. This “God moment” I like to call it, is a sign of providence and his hand in our lives. It spurs me on to continue to parent them as I was chosen to do, when I know without a doubt that they were meant to be with me. The scripture Romans 8:26-28  (NRSV) agrees with this principal.

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”

I hope that this encourages you. I know that you have God moments in your life too. I’d love for you to share them with me.

God is making moves in our lives all the time. He is touching us and anointing us for special things when we are ready to receive the call. I learned most importantly in the last year or two, to remember his calling on our lives. If we do remember, it will spur us onto great things. It will encourage us when we are feeling defeated; it will strengthen us when we are down.

“I will call to mind the deeds of the Lord; I will remember your wonders of old. I will meditate on all your work, and muse on your mighty deeds.Your way, O God, is holy. What god is so great as our God? You are the God who works wonders; you have displayed your might among the peoples.” Psalm 77:11-14

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Photo by Zac Durant on Unsplash

It’s difficult when you are in the thick of your problems to forget how far you have come. Praise the Lord today for his goodness. Pray for a remembrance of the times that he has shown himself in your life, the times he has pulled through, and the great joy you have experienced in the past. Hope expectantly today for a breakthrough in the issues that you are experiencing, the sanctification you are needing, and the change you are desiring. God will provide a way.

Why now?

It’s been almost a week since my devotional was published and what an exciting week it was. If you have read it and haven’t left a review yet, leave one here. It will help other foster parents find it and be uplifted.

I have already heard back from a handful of people about how much they have enjoying the book and it is very encouraging to me.

I love to read and if I am enjoying the book that I am reading, I really love to devour it. I would encourage you, however, that if you often devour books, that you eat the devotional as you would an elephant- one bite at a time. Let the scriptures soak into your soul and spirit. Watch as the truths manifest in your life by giving you joy and peace, that can only come from God.

You can get the book here. I have lowered the price to $2.99 this week.

I wrote the book over a period of a few months. During my little kids “quiet time” and my big girls’ “free time”, I would sit down in my recliner and study my bible. Then I would open up my laptop and get to writing. I’d spend a time writing down the memorable stories from my foster care journey- the tough times and then the happy times. One by one, I would relive the moments. I would put myself in that place and uncover old emotions and right the wrongs that I felt in my life.

I was also ministering to myself through the Word as I tackled the troubled situations that I am experiencing in my family. I was coming to terms with a decision made years ago, to love hurting children. I am still committed to loving hurting children, even more so now than ever, I am realizing that the first step of fostering was a big step, however, choosing to continue in daily love and commitment to these children is what carries me further in my ministry and faith. Living life and loving life with peace and victory instead of fear and defeat is my goal.

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Photo by Kiwihug on Unsplash

I want to get upfront real quickly and let you know that my life is not perfect. I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139) but not a spiritual superstar. The past year or two have been difficult for our family; we have had difficult circumstances and difficult decisions to make. Our oldest girl (13) whom we adopted and have been with for 6 years, has had severe mental, emotional, and social struggles. This has impacted our family tremendously. I won’t get into the gory details but needless to say, it left us feeling like our world was turned upside down. I questioned everything: myself, my decisions, and even the character of God.

I never doubted His love, but I doubted His plan, His sovereignty, His promises. I was so confused- “Why was this happening to our family?” It left me topsy-turvy and literally sick at times. Luckily, I received healing spiritually and physically after getting back on track and digging into the Truth of His Word. I was approaching these circumstances all wrong. As I studied God’s truths I discovered the lies that I had been believing. I realized that I had made the correct decisions for my family the whole time. I needed to live by faith and continue on in this ministry- with the joy and peace of God. Jesus promised to give us his peace and that we could have abundance. It’s up to us to use this peace in our lives.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” John 14:27 NRSV

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Photo by Davies Designs on Unsplash

I know that you have probably had the wind knocked out of your sails on more than one occasion. Problems in life can leave you feeling defeated, miserable, and lonely- we need to be reminded that we can weather the storms with Jesus’ peace.

All of the issues in our family right now are not solved. Week after week there are hiccups and bumps in the road. Now, I am learning how to whether the storm- not by simply hanging on in the storm, suffering with my eyes closed, because I can’t bear it. But now I am opening my eyes and looking to God, seeing the storm in my mind, and commanding it to be calmed. I’m praying for God and his ministers to calm the storm in my daughter’s life also. We are learning better ways to parent her and ways to set boundaries for our family’s sake.

I hope you will find comfort and peace in this message. Next week, I will tell you a story that didn’t make the book. It will help you to get to know my story even better. Until then, I will leave you with this scripture:

“For this reason, since the day we heard it (of the church’s new Faith), we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God.  May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled  you  to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” The Apostle Paul to the Church at Colossae (Colossians 1:9-14 NRSV)

 

 

Nothing is impossible….

As I turned the calendar from October to November last week, I had to smirk just a little bit. Here’s what I found:

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This saying couldn’t have been more relevant to my life right now.

When I set to the task of writing a book a few months ago, (Yes, it only took a few months. If you’d like me to blog on my method, let me know.) I knew it was next to impossible. Lack of free time, a steep learning curve, lack of free time: these were all in my way.

I didn’t believe it was impossible though.

For nothing will be impossible with God. Luke 1:37

I did it and now it’s done. Yesterday, I launched my first book Fostering Feelings: A devotional guide to navigating the ups and downs of foster parenting. And I even wrote a second “baby” book to go along with it, for prospective foster parents, Feeling out Fostering: 10 questions to ask yourself before foster parenting. Check them out here.

But I am not yet finished of course. The first task was to write them, the second to compile them, and now the third is: to disperse them. What good is an unread book…

Very often, throughout this process, I have pictured my self as a bicyclist or runner approaching a large hill. I used to run and bike in the past-I only chase children now.

The best thing to do when you are in that situation is put the bike in low gear and just keep peddling. If a runner, put one foot in front of the other and run. Eventually, you will reach the apex of the hill. You will reach your destination if you do not give up.

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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Perseverance is key in any situation. I have doubted myself at times during this process, but I am overcoming the odds of failure before me. People- I had to learn how to computer program, build a website, and so many other things I have never done before. I kept on going when my brain hurt because I knew that I have a message that God has given me. Now time to share that message.

The below verse has helped me in my perseverance. It just so happened to be in the sermon I heard this weekend.

Continue reading “Nothing is impossible….”

The Sweetest Thing

Every morning, I watch Baby Girl (almost 2 1/2) on the video monitor to see if she is stirring. When she starts wiggling around, I go upstairs to get her out of bed and take her to the potty. I pick her up out of her bed and put her blankie on my shoulder. She lays her head down on it, thumb in mouth, and tucks her face in between my cheek and shoulder as I carry her down the stairs.

But recently, as we descended the stairs the sweetest thing happened. She said, “I love you Mommy” and patted me on my back. “What is this blankie that you have on you.” She had never seen my robe before and was stroking it and then trying to take it off of me to wrap herself up in it, “I want to get in it.” I found that so funny. She is a lover of all things soft and a snuggler to boot.

It was so precious to hear her say that she loved me. She, no doubt, has heard it countless times from me and others. But an amazing thing is happening to her developmentally: She is recognizing the feeling of “love” inside herself and then using words to express it. And I get to hear her “I love yous”. She’s now telling Daddy, her siblings, her bear, and the dog how she feels about them.

It’s so lovely to be loved.

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Photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash

Then there is the flip side.

The not-so-sweetest thing.

When someone we love tells us that they hate us.

Eventually, as we grow up, we learn how to hate. It’s not what we are made for but nonetheless, hate finds us. It finds us when we are wronged or it finds us when we see injustice. And then we learn to articulate our hate. Just like this precious 2 year old, who hears “I love you”, feels love, and then says “I love you”, eventually she will have a date with hate.

When the words come from your children’s mouths the blow is hard. It’s unfair. It’s unnatural. Unfortunately, I have, at times, had some children who I have loved me dearly and others who have hated me with passion.

How can I deal with myself, when I am loved by some and hated by others? When the ones I love don’t love me back?

It’s so hard to not be resentful when hatred against you is unfair, unwarranted, or unnatural. And at these times, I look to Jesus. Because I remember how hated he was and how much love he had for those who hated him. In the 5th Chapter of the book of Matthew, Jesus is debunking all of the common twists that have been made on God’s laws at that time and he deals with hatred.

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Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash

 You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:43-48 NASB

We can’t just love those who love us. His charge here is next to impossible though. How do we manage this task, Jesus?

I believe that he is teaching his disciples the how in John, Chapters 13-15. I’m not going to post both chapters but they are a great detailed read.

 I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.  If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.  Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.  If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.  These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” John 15:5-11 NASB

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Photo by Rohit Tandon on Unsplash

How can I love when I don’t feel lovable? How can I love when I am hated?

The how is to remain in the love of Jesus.

If we only love when other’s love us, what is the love that we have? If we only love ourselves when we are lovable, what kind of love is that?

If we want love for others and ourselves to remain, we have to remain in Jesus. Our self-worth is not dependent on who loves us or how lovable we are. All of these things can change; hormones, bad days, temper flares, illnesses, worry. Our roles come and go and so do our relationships. Nothing stays the same.

Our intrinsic value depends on value that God has assigned us. He has assigned us his love and it is a love that will stay.

What happens when we sin? His love stays. When we act-a-fool? His love stays. Jesus knew the flaws of the disciples that he addressed in our passage. No doubt Judas Iscariot was among the hearers, doubting Thomas, and denying Peter. They were imperfect people and he was declaring his love to them despite that.

If you’ll read the John excerpt again you will see that our job is to remain in his love. We remain in his love by keeping his commandments.

Praise God that his love remains with us no matter how others feel about us. We can remain in his love through our obedience to him. Spend some time clinging to him through his word today!

 

 

 

 

Can’t Never Could

I was having ‘one of those days’ a few weeks ago.

Baby girl was up really early and not in the best mood. Sometimes she does not want to go potty after waking up and she was pitching a fit.

“I can’t deal with this crying right now”.

I put her in my bed with her thumb and blankie.

I had woken up groggy and the boys were now raring to go full force. There’s only so much quiet they can do in the mornings.

“I can’t deal with your noise right now, y’all go down to the playroom and play before I get breakfast ready.”

And then I checked my email to find a shipment that I forgot to delay was coming my way. I quickly called their customer service and got the delivery canceled. And then in a state of overwhelm, I cancelled the subscription.

“I just can’t manage this anymore.”

In a time frame of 30 minutes I had said “I can’t” three times. It was then I caught myself. It is very unlike me to talk this way. So I called the kids to the table. “Coloring time!” and set them to an activity that would be little mess or danger.

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Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

I took a breather on my chair in my room and had a meeting with myself. I had started of my day in a state of defeat. This was uncomfortable and I was not going to let all my day be this way. So I decided that I would not say “I can’t” again.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21 NASB

I’ve lived long enough now that I know that the above verse is true. I’ve spent days saying every overwhelmed thing that pops into my head; taking self defeating thoughts and bringing them to life with my words. I am done with making a habit of it. That’s not to say that it is no longer a struggle to watch what lies I’m believing and the words I am saying. But I wholeheartedly believe that the words I say and the thoughts I think become who I am.

“Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you a deceitful mouth. And put devious speech far from you.” Proverbs 4:23-24 NASB

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Photo by Melissa Askew on Unsplash

 

Jesus even warns us to not be defiled by our words.

“For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil.” Matthew 12:34-35 NASB

I can choose to take those thoughts of overwhelm and defeat and give life to them with my words. I’ll be ensured a bad day. Or I can get a change of heart. I can replace the bad thoughts and words with God’s word. He can make my heart flow with life; I have his forgiveness when I am wrong and I have his love unconditionally.

And my just about second to Jesus grandmother has been offering this advice for some time; “Can’t never could”, and I believe that she is right.

How do you restart when you have a day that is on the downward trend??