Saturday, June 22, 2013

A Word for Today

During my devotion and prayer time today, I felt the Lord deliver this word to me.  I feel it applies to us all. 
We often see the warring of Satan as a direct result of our drawing our own swords to protect and defend.  The Lord says, "Put down your sword, that I may fight the battle for you." The word of the Lord (in my situation) is sharper than any double edged sword.  It will devise our plan and divide soul and spirit.
Come to the River, the River of Life, and drink freely.  It makes glad the city of God.  The Spirit searches all the things of God, so you come boldly to the throne of grace.  Freely you receive, freely you shall give.
Praise the One who has made ALL THINGS available to us through His son, Jesus.  Nothing shall be able to separate us from the love of God.  We are more than conquerors, being able to withstand anything.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Raising up Disciples

In my home, I take the issue of discipline very seriously.  I don't take lightly the responsibility that I have in raising up Jesus freaks.  I often feel the pressure of impacting my children for the better as an almost impossible task.  Since Kindle's birth, I have prayed countless times for The Helper, Holy Spirit, to lead me case by case.  And He has been there every step of the way.

I know most of my friends are in the same boat as I watch them, from a distance, becoming the best they can be out of love for their babies.  Having children really is the greatest motivator on the planet to be the best you.

This morning, I was drinking my VENTI coffee that normally powers me through my cleaning day, and the Holy Spirit laid understanding of my current parenting situation on me so clearly.

To give you a quick background to what I have been dealing with..... Kindle has found her attitude.  Immediately upon any type of frustration, she will let out a blood curdling yell, growl, grunt, whatever you wanna call it. As mommy, I have been doing my normal discipline routine, which is Room or Fun. (She can have fun with me out of her room or she can be ugly by herself in her room.)  Room or Fun does solve the immediate need of discipline, but it certainly hasn't addressed the root.  In fact, this very morning she rolled her eyes! Yikes.

I am very aware that I could just spank the mess out of her, which is how I was raised.  I'm not debating that to be right or wrong.  I'm simply stating that whatever discipline is in place, it is a response to the action short term.   

So what about this root I'm dealing with?... What do I do?  This is a question I have been mulling over time and time again for about a week or two.  Then the Lord spoke to me.  I know in my heart that there are times where my children need to feel my boundary set as they test my position as mommy, but there are REAL times in their lives where they are in discovery mode of different paths available for them to take.

I know that parenting often takes the form of my relationship with God.  Afterall, He is my PERFECT Father, and I am his daughter.  There are those times the Lord will speak correction so clearly; yet, there are times he allows us to continue on our unknown detour until we realize that we are on the wrong path.  At that point, He is never far away.  In fact, it seems He's there right at that exact moment, just a heart cry away.

WHY? Why does it  happen this way?  I believe sometimes we need correction (direction..discipline) and sometimes we need to find connection with God.

As a parent, I don't always want to give direction.  I'm not wanting to limit the power in my children to find goodness and love within themselves.  Sometimes, I realize that I would rather wait out her showing some attitude in order to feel the connection of her preferring my feelings...ultimately, choosing connection versus immediate self-gratification.

So this is where I'm at as I work very hard to take case by case with my children.  I need to observe and assess their hearts and all the factors in every given situation.  Mothers very closely imitate the role of Holy Spirit in the lives of their children.  We are the nurturer, the comforter, and the helper they so desperately depend on as young children, and my goal is to establish this faithfully to them in order for them to transition to Holy Spirit with their whole hearts yielded by faith and trust that they found in mommy. 

My ultimate question is this...What is my goal?  Whatever my answer is to this, Holy Spirit will help.  I believe in the goodness of my daughters.  I seek to pull it out of them as young children.  I'm willing to let them walk through things within the safety of my protection in order for them to find relationship and connection to be the most valuable thing they possess.  I have learned that sometimes they must walk through it to get to the other side, and other times, they must hit a wall (correction) and make a sharp turn.

So I pray I continue to find the right balance of correction and connection to raise up disciples of Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 1:1-4
To know wisdom and instruction, to perceive the words of understanding, to receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity; To give prudence to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Do What You May, The Lord has the Answer.

I don't know about you, but there are several things that I have been asking of God.  Not too long ago, I began praying for manna.  Manna that is what I need daily and often what I know not of in the moment I ask.  There are a couple other things, though, that I consistently bring to him.  Partly to bring my heart's desires to Him, but also to bring forth important life issues to God to keep myself in check and attain God's perspective on the topic.

I believe, really believe, that God wants the VERY BEST for me.  It is easy to say, but it really packs a punch in making it a part of my reality.  Trusting God with everything that I have is something that has really transformed my life.  I find myself in a greater depth of contentment and thankfulness.   I'm so thankful for food, hot water, air conditioning, reliable vehicles, family...the list could go on and on.

I'm constantly reminded of God's faithfulness as I examine my sweet four month old, Rebekah Nell.  She is fed the best food on the planet for her; yet, I never even leave the house or pay to attain it.  She is never in lack.  When I find myself doubting God's provision or timing, I'm reminded of this simple miracle that really puts it into perspective.

Just as God fed Elisha with the ravens, he will do the same for me.  Just as God provides food for the birds, He will for me.  I find so much comfort in resting in God's provision rather than in my own or my husband's ability to provide.  I also believe that as God's children, we aren't just to believe for our next meal.  Ephesians 3:20 says that God will do "EXCEEDINGLY ABUNDANTLY ABOVE all that we ask or think."  Wow, I'd say that pretty much covers it.  Whatever I ask and whatever I think.... I pause just to let that sink in once again.  I don't know about you, but I want to really receive that Word and claim it.

Why?  Why would He do this?  What makes this God's agenda?....  "to Him be glory by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever."   Our life is made great because it brings Him pleasure (glory).  This is another topic that is hard for me to grasp...How such a magnificent God takes such pleasure in me. One word, overwhelming!

I know that God spoke to me as I was praying about the issues mentioned earlier.  I heard Him so clearly tell me, "In Due Time."  If you are somewhere around the place I am in asking God for your manna, this may be a word for you as well.  Knowing that whenever (not if) God does provide, it is His timing!  The assurance of that will give me patience in waiting but also faith in the now.  His spoken word literally formed the worlds.  Let us all ask Him to speak on our behalf specifically.  Proverbs 21:31 reinforces this principle. It says, "The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord."  Due what we may, God has the answer.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Passion for Jesus

What is keeping me from being passionate for Jesus?

I find myself in mental turmoil as I ask myself this, because I've always considered myself to be a lover of God.  I've come to a point where I'm questioning why I know God today almost exactly the same as I have through the last couple of years.  I need to be growing, stretching, and maturing.

Corey Russel preached a sermon that awakened this cry of my heart to go deeper, reach further, and grow stronger.  You can listen here.  I highly recommend in it WILL NOT be a waste of your time.

-I don't trust God.  There, I said it.  I trust in Him for salvation, but with my entire LIFE?... It's extremely difficult for me to do or even imagine. 
-We have become more faithful to God financially, and I'm slowly walking towards a trust in Him that I've never known.  This isn't like when I tithed faithfully in high school.  This is a one income family, paycheck to paycheck, I could use this money to put shoes on my daughters' feet kind of thing.  Doesn't God see the sacrifice I'm making by not working?....EXCUSES didn't pay off.
-Since beginning to be faithful 100% of the time, God has really shown up and shown out.  So what does all this mean?... I CAN trust Him.  He does care for my day to day.  He not only gives me food and shelter, but an assurance that He will meet me EVERY SINGLE TIME.

A good friend, Jason Beard, posted this on Facebook and it convicted me and stirred my inner man.  I know this convicted me.
"Many try to claim the blessings of God while never meeting the covenant conditions of seeking Him and following Him with their whole heart.  It all comes down to loving Him and being in obedience to His commandments." 
In Corey's sermon, the topic of hunger arose all of this in me.  Do I hunger for God to the point where it is all I want.  Above all else, I seek to fulfill this desire!  I want my deep to call out to His deep.  Hannah in 1 Samuel is a great picture of this.  All she wanted was a son.  It says that GOD closed Hannah's womb?! What??!!....Why would God do such a thing? 
So how did Hannah quench this undying thirst for a son, she brought it to God and left it there! Hunger & Trust.  I'm so guilty of bringing it to Him, but not leaving it there!  So Hannah did those two things, and in the process of time, her heart's desire was granted or as Corey would say, "God gave her a blank check."
Ok, I'm inspired but I need practical tips on giving it to God and LEAVING IT THERE (TRUST).
Why/How to Trust as Shown in the Word:
-Psalms 33
v. 18 - the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy.
v. 21 - Our hearts will rejoice BECAUSE we have trusted in His holy name.
-Psalms 34
v. 7 - He encamps around those who fear Him.
v. 8 - Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him.
-Isaiah 26
v. 4 - Trust in the Lord always, for God is the eternal Rock.
-John 12
v. 46 - Putting trust in God will no longer allow us to remain in the dark.
-Ephesians 3
v. 17 - As you trust, God makes His home in your heart.
-1 Peter 4
v. 19 - Trust your lives to God, HE WILL NEVER FAIL YOU.
I hope this speaks to you on some level.  I know this is just the beginning of a new life in Him for me. To God be all the glory forever.
Love ya,

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

"Kindle Knows how to use the Potty!"

Kindle knows how to use the potty...She really knows her stuff!!
Kindle knows how to use the potty...Cause now she's big enough!

Those are the lyrics that I use to the potty song that I sing each and every time Kindle uses the potty. I also, very dramatically, stomp my feet and wave my hands.  I've decided to blog this ongoing adventure we know as Potty Training!  I've read countless blogs and articles on the topic and have spent hours researching the latest products and potties. 

Two things that really stick out in my mind that is universal:
1. Every kid is different!
2. Let your child lead the way...they know when they are ready. (I have also found that this point will help your child to know that they have chosen this has not been forced.  This is particularly helpful on those days he/she just gets tired of the entire process.)

When my daughter was 22 months, we ALL were ready for NO MORE DIAPERS...mostly because I have a three month old also in diapers!

I decided to do the rigid three day method after I would lock us in the bathroom with her potty and water.  It just didn't click with me or Kindle to go potty then return to a diaper.  It only made sense at that point that we were DONE with diapers, except at night. So we started potty training that day!

In this post, I hope to just tell you my experience and let you know the things that I feel like I had learned the hard way...

This is the potty I chose.  Many people encourage you to let the child be a part of the experience, but if your child is as young as mine was, it's just not that easy for them to pick and communicate their choice, nor do they even know what it's gonna be for!
It is also advertised as a stool when you close the lid.  What I don't particularly care for about this potty is that the hole really isn't the right size.  I realize that it needs to be comfortable, but unless Kindle sat on it just right, she would either peepee all over the front or there would be no room for #2 in the back.  I would also choose a toilet that is all plastic like this one from Bjorn. It gets GERMY to say the least with all the stuff going on with it!  It just makes it easier to clean for it to be plastic.   Also, the less pieces they can take apart during play time the better. Kindle loved to take it all apart! 
When it comes to big girl panties, we chose some Minnie Mouse panties.  However, we really only use them when we go out.  When we are home, she does tend to stay completely naked on the bottom so that she can just go when she wants.  This comes with her being so young.  If she were older and way more verbal, we would be able to use panties all throughout the day.  For us, it just causes more confusion, because she will sit on her potty and go with her panties still on...
I personally do find it helpful to pump them full of juice and/or water the first few days so that you can make the most of those first few days.  It does require alot of attention, but if I can do it along with taking care of an infant, I'm sure you can, too. :)
After I started backing off pumping her with liquids, I bought one of the toilet seats that go on top of the big toilet.  I do highly recommend just the very basic ones.   The handles are in the perfect place, and it is very easy to clean. 

We still use both types because sometimes when I'm cooking or taking care of my other baby, she will just go over to her potty and use it.  Now that we are a couple of weeks into this adventure, I can pretty much predict what her body is doing based on how much she has had to drink, etc.  So during the day, I place her on the toilet seat where she will go.  The more we work together, the less we use the potty.  I intend to phase out the potty so that she will just be able to use a stool and sit on her seat.

Each and every time she goes, I will sing our song, request a high five, and give her a tootsie roll.  I even incorporate stickers for her doing something at the next level like going #2 or communicating to me that she had to go, etc.  If you are somewhat in the same age bracket, it is good to take this opportunity to teach them how to say "yes" and "no."  Kindle learned this quickly just so she could avoid being placed on her toilet seat when she didn't have to go!
During nap time, I've done a few things.. I have left her in there with her panties on, but she has gone both peepee and #2 that way and it's a MESS.  She seems to have way less accidents when she isn't wearing anything..  I know this sounds like a recipe for disaster, but I keep a towel under where she lays and I watch her on our video monitor until she goes to sleep.  After she is fully asleep, I will make sure she is on the towel, and if there is an accident, I can just wash the towel.
So, it came time for us to go out in public! The walls were beginning to close in on us, and we had to get out!  The first time, she went in her car seat, but honestly, with big girl panties and shorts, the seat really didn't get wet.  After our first outing, she got the idea...since then, she has successfully went peepee and #2 in public.  It's hard to be flexible, but you really can't predict and always time errands perfectly to be at the right place at the right time. She did handle the larger potty better than I expected... that was a very easy transition.  This really taught me to just take the problems and situations as they arise and to not anticipate problems for the future.
If your child is anything like mine, there will be ups and downs!  I've cleaned up my share of accidents, that is for sure.  It is critical for Kindle, that I don't turn potty training into a pressure cooker!...and if you give up diapers entirely, like I did, that isn't always easy.  Accidents require patience and realizing it's a learning experience for everyone involved, especially parents doing this for the first time.
Kindle didn't master this in three days like the popular trends state, but it's going very well.  From very early on, we would be accident free for days at a time...and most accidents are just peepee.  I encourage her, pray for her, pray for me...anything that I can think of to make this as peaceful as possible.
One of our biggest obsticals is her carrying on our routines with her daddy.  She adores her time with her daddy, and the last thing that she wants to do is stop to potty!  It did require me having a long conversation with Dustin about how I do things so that he could continue what I did during the day while he was at work.
I hope this is making sense to you, and somehow encourages you along your journey with potty training.  I hope that you find what works for you like we have...without too many tears and frustration.
Last thing, I know this is totally random, but I am all about sharing advice and tips that I wish someone would share with me.....  I am huge quality freak. I will totally spend way more money for quality than just getting by with something cheap.  So here it is, very random but very true! Great Value version of Windex is BETTER than Windex itself! Yep, it's true! Plus, I noticed it was significantly cheaper!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

It's Where our Help Comes From

I have come to a place in my life where I find rest.  I'm certainly not meaning physical rest because being a mother of two girls under the age of two is well, CHALLENGING.  I'm referring to a place where my spirit begins to find direction.  It's a place where I feel like I have been on a Tilt-A-Whirl and have begun to get a feel for the ground and stabillity again!  It feels NICE! 

I'm beginning to find that my identity really is something beautiful and doesn't require me to pour out like I had originally thought.  I believed that in order for me to be of worth, I must be DOING DOING DOING....that somehow I would hear God more and look more presentable to Him if I had my hands in stuff.  I've always had this image of ministry and platforms when it came to my calling.  I'm so glad that I've gone through so much these past few years to find myself right here, right now.  If you would have asked me two years ago what I wanted to do, I would have given  you a long that included counseling and deliverance ministry.  Today, I can say that what I want from life is to just be a pleasure to be be someone that is beneficial to know.  I want my inner circle of people to see the fire of God in my eyes and to hear joy in my laugh.

I hope that as I start to blog again, that I am able to send forth messages of encouragement for both you and me!  I find that my relationship with the Father has become something sweet and blissful...I find that just about everyone I come in contact with is a well-intentioned person seeking goodness.  I want to honor you in my words and reflect love to you.  I'm not afraid of what lies ahead as I become volnerable once again.  I've seen what happens when godly people erect walls in response to hurt and offense. The truth is that no one has control over someone else.  Jesus is my source for love and acceptance so I find a new bravery to love without restraint.
Sometimes I sit in my tub with my head against the wall trying to figure out what's the most important thing that I need to ask God for at that time because I'm so wiped out and drained mentally that I could never fully request all that I need.  I think of friends that need prayer. I think of people that are desperate and my beautiful daughters that have their entire lives ahead of what do I ask?? How do I prioritize this mountain of needs so that this ten minutes of solitude can be fruitful?..  The answer is for me just to look up.  I need to look up to my Father and ask for my manna for today.  God is where my help comes from.  He knows everything.  What's going on is I need to sit back, rest in His love and seek His face to be more like Him.  He is love, and afterall, He has endured it all.

I've heard that when you take care of God's business, He takes care of your business.  Well, this may be true, but I know that His perfect plan is for us to yield to Him personally.  I forsake the mentality that I must do in order for Him to act on my behalf. As I wind this post down, I pray for each reader (probably like three people..haha) to find a place of rest...a place of trust with the Father.

I sense God asking, "Do you need help?...Look to me, you will find it."  I pray, in the name of Jesus, that each of us find the face of our Father in our time of need.  Whether it be help in finances or just to be a better mom and wife, I ask that we find our way by seeking Him first.  I ask that we phsyically feel a release of power and strength as we open our hands and hearts to just let go and trust.  I'm so thankful for all that has been made available to us through Jesus.

Colossians 1:19-20 - For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. 

Psalms 37:40 - And the Lord shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in Him.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Keep it Clean

As I was praying today, I felt the Holy Spirit guiding me through the dark places of my heart.  The places that embrace bitterness and unforgiveness as well as selfishness and want.

Here is my findings through prayer and meditation:

-It is vital for me to keep my wounds clean.  As with a wound to my physical body, I must provide attention to it.  It is prone to infection the more it is left unattended.  When those dark places in my heart are left unattended, they will become infected and won't heal....In some cases, infection can be deadly.  I can't imagine how many people have turned from faith because wounds left with flesh eating bacteria had gone unattended too long.

Lord, help me to keep my wounds clean.  Give me grace to scrub away the deadness and let your healing balm spread over my wounds without resistance.  I open myself to your care, trusting You to make me whole again.

-I need a taste for the beauty of Christ.  My faith will grow when I find The Treasure - God.  I believe I am left in want when I place my happiness in a new home or in material things or perhaps even in prestige.  Jesus came that we would come to know the Father.  When I find him, my tastes change and the things that I loved in darkness become stale and bland in comparison to the riches of God's perfect love in my life.

God, I place my whole life in your hands.  I seek Your presence first and foremost, knowing that the finest home and earthly riches would still leave me in want.  There is nothing that can fill the place in my heart that You inhabit.  I make it a priority to ensure that nothing tries invade that place in my life.

-I've been on a quest for wisdom for my family and me for a long while.  As I was praying, I thought of the ants and immediately went to Proverbs 30:25.  It says, "The ants are not a strong people, yet they prepare their meat in summer."  As I looked at this verse in commentaries and in it's context, I find that to prepare means for us to establish ourselves for the future.  In the Hebrew, it also says that meat refers to our bread.  I find it so enlightening to find that to be establish also refers to becoming respected in industry.

Thank You, God, that You gives us a healthy balance for the desires of our heart.  Even though I forsake this world's riches to follow You, I find wisdom through preparing and praying for our future.  I am believing for big things that Satan would easily want me to confuse with selfish wants and ambitions.  Through Your Word, I set it back up straight.  As we (Dustin and me) devote our lives to holiness, we ask for Your grace to establish us in this world but not of this world.  Thank You, for bringing balance and clarity to my heart.