Mommy Behind the Blog

Here it is. My very first blog post, and I’m tingling with excitement! I’ve debated on how to start my introduction. Should I go with something semi-funny but mostly cheesy like, ‘Hello Blog World!’? I decided against it. Definitely more cheesy than funny, so direct it is.

I’m a stay at home mom of 3. For several months the idea of writing a blog has been growing in the back of my mind. I asked my bff/niece her opinion and she said, ‘Go for it! Why not?’ Why not, indeed! Her encouragement has led to me filling your time with my thoughts and madness.

As a mom of 3 it gets wild at my house at times, as you can imagine. But my heart is reaching for more than just my hilarity. (And let’s face it, if you know me, you know that my life is hugely insane. You can’t make this stuff up!) Amongst the chaos, I want to leave encouragement along the way for the other moms and women out there roughing it in the sloughs with me. In the world we live in today, it’s so busy and demanding that it seems like we don’t get a moment’s peace. There’s violence in the news, Kid #2 just spilled chocolate milk on the floor, Dad is working late again, your Facebook feed is filled with opinions of other people’s opinions, and your coffee is getting cold. (That last one is enough to send anyone over the edge!) The devil is working overtime to rip apart our families and fill our home life with chaos. But don’t worry, Moma. It’s not just you! We’re all in this boat together, and we’re all paddling overtime to meet the demands placed on us. My day started quiet with coffee and prayer and turned into a rat race. I came close to writing this first post this morning, and I had a grandiose idea of being witty, hilarious, and totally readable. But as the day wore on, all I could think about was the verse in the Bible where Jesus said, My peace I leave with you. Ah, blessed peace! Something women with and without children alike long for. Oftentimes it’s hard to find that peace in the chaos of work, spilled milk, diapers, grocery shopping, laundry, and life in general. It’s in those little bits of in between times that we have to remember, Jesus left his peace with us. He knew what this world was going to come to, and he knew the demands life would saddle us with. So clean that mess up, end your work day like a champ, and remember the laundry will always be there later.

‘Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.’ John 14:27

 

 

 

 

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The Potter Knows the Clay

This blog has been written for several weeks, but I didn’t feel like it was ready to be shared. At the time I wrote it, so many thoughts were rolling through my mind. Finding the words to adequately express how I felt in the midst of turmoil felt nearly impossible. My mind was telling me I should fear while my heart was urging me to lean on the everlasting arms. When the fire is hot on every side, its hard to look at it believing that God will make a way. My eyes often will tell me that there is no way. Desperately I turned in circles, searching anxiously for an exit, an opening in the fire that would free me from the heat.

Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. The pressure from the inside of the fire feels like more than I can bear, but I’m not holding all of the answers to the questions why. Only the Potter can see the clay and know if its been in the fire long enough. Are there still cracks that need to be fixed? Is it strong enough to come out of the fire? Will it survive, or is it too early yet? Sure, I want Him to reach down and pull me out. Nearly all of me wants to shout, begging Him to turn down the heat, to pull me out of the fire. Then I remember all of the times I’ve prayed for Him to use me. To make me like Him. To mold me. To try me and make me beautiful like gold. To strengthen my faith. It is then that I stop and ask myself, “How did I think He was going to do that?”

A friend sent me a song a little ways back, reminding me that God always knows what we’re going through, where we are, how much we can take. The song was called ‘The Potter Knows the Clay’ and it has been on my mind constantly for days. The chorus goes like this:

But the Potter knows the clay,

how much pressure it can take.

How many times around the wheel,

’til there’s submission to His will.

He’s planned a beautiful design,

but it’ll take some fire and time.

It’s gonna be okay,

because the Potter knows the clay.

It was such a timely reminder, and something I don’t often consider. If He’s the Potter and I’m the clay, then He absolutely knows just the right amount of fire and pressure I can handle. He knows how much I need. He knows that if He takes me out of the fire too soon, I won’t be ready. I looked up a little bit of information on baking clay. One place said something so interesting. “Under baked clay is not only less flexible, it is susceptible to breaking and crumbling.” If He turns down the fire, if He removes me from the fire too soon, He knows I may not be as strong as I need to be. I could crumble if I don’t stay in the fire long enough. Maybe worse, what if I’m not flexible enough? When the Potter tries to mold me, will I bend, or will I break?

He knows the weaknesses that I have. He knows if I need to go around His wheel one, two, half a dozen more times. His masterful hands know where I need to be mended, to be worked on more. He knows the areas of my life that need a little more molding, a little more pressure, to get me where I need to be. His work isn’t for naught. He doesn’t mend and mold without a plan or purpose. He not only has a design, He has a perfect, beautiful blueprint for my life. There’s no part of my life that He didn’t know would go awry, not a day that He didn’t already know would happen. He knows me. He knows my life, my struggles. He knows the mountains I’ve climbed and the valleys I’ve walked through. After all, He was with me every step of the way.

He knows me. He knows how much I can take, what I need to get stronger, to be more like the vessel He wants me to be. He knows how desperate I feel in the fire. He didn’t leave me when the fire got hot. He’s still here with me. He simply can’t remove the heat until I’m ready. If I desire to be more like Him, to be a vessel that He can use, I have to endure some pressure. The pressure isn’t fun, it isn’t comfortable. My growth won’t come in comfort. It is in the fire, the pressure, in the midst of chaos and turmoil that the hands of the Potter can mold me into what He wants me to be.

As always, my words come from a place I’m in, or have been. The fire is hot and feels like it may never end. But I remind myself that He knows me. He has only my best interest in mind. He only wants what is best for me. He’s teaching me, molding me. I just have to hold and trust the Potter’s hand. When He does pull me out of the fire, all I can think about is the blessing, the glory, the way He’s going to use me! The isn’t for nothing! He has a plan for me, to use me. Anointing can’t come without hardship, and more than anything I desire to be an anointed vessel that He can work through.

So no matter what you’re facing or going through, remember that the Potter knows the clay.

When Your Mountain Won’t Move

“When You don’t move the mountains
I’m needing You to move,
When You don’t part the waters
I wish I could walk through,
When You don’t give the answers
As I cry out to You
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You.”

Many of us are probably fairly familiar with this song by Lauren Daigle. It’s certainly a personal favorite. I’ve heard it many times, but the last day or so it’s been on my mind and the words are taking on new meaning. There have been SO many times in life that I see a mountain and think, “God if you will just love this mountain, everything will be just fine!” After all, doesn’t His word say to speak to the mountain and it will move? Surely there’s some fine print there that we don’t read, telling us that occasionally there’s a mountain in our way that simply isn’t meant to be moved. At least not for right now. God doesn’t work on time scales like we do, and the mountain we think has to be moved right now might not be meant to move just yet.

What am I saying here? I’m saying sometimes I stand at the base of the mountain, or on the shores of flood waters, wondering why God isn’t moving. My Bible tells me He has done it. My heart tells me He can do it. Yet my eyes tell me nothing is happening. My faith begins to wonder why He won’t move on my behalf. My mind questions my worth, my situation, and doubt begins to creep in.

Maybe that’s too transparent, but at some point we’ve all stood staring at a mountain we KNOW God can move, and we wonder why it just isn’t moving. It only takes a mustard seed, and surely our faith is that big. Still the situation looms ahead of us, and we begin to doubt everything we see.

This is the point where I usually remind myself that what I see isn’t all there is to my situation. The side of the mountain I can see isn’t the only side the mountain has. While I’m waiting on God to move the mountain, He may be waiting on me to climb it. What if this side is just strength training to help me grow and get to the blessings on the other side? The flood waters I stand and gaze across with no boat in sight may be God’s way of teaching me to swim. Better yet, what if He’s going to teach me to walk on water? Peter never would have walked on those stormy seas if he hadn’t first taken a step out of the boat. As long as I’m on the shore or in the boat, I’m safe from the risk of drowning. I’m also blocked from the miracle of walking on the waters to get to Jesus.

I’ve said before that sometimes we can’t base our actions on what we see, but rather what we know. Sometimes I have to take those words and point them back at myself, reminding myself that what I see isn’t all there is to my situation and to my God. Just because God doesn’t move a mountain when I think He should doesn’t mean He isn’t good or faithful. It’s because of His goodness that He doesn’t always remove every hardship in my life. How can I grow stronger if I never get any resistance? My faith muscles will never grow if they are always pushing against the same weight. It’s when more weight is applied that they begin to work a little harder before and in turn start growing and gaining strength.

Just as Lauren sings, I’ve also stood crying out to God with questions only to get a silent reply. At the rate I talk, probably more questions than He wants to hear. The poor angels at His side probably have a hard time keeping up with me. Even now I could tell you that there are areas of my life that I have big questions marks on. Questions I have. Answers? Not so much. It’s easy to get stuck here in the valley of the unknown, easy to wallow around in a dry place. Eventually my spirit starts yearning for some water, and that dry place just isn’t good enough anymore. (Speaking for myself, that dry place is usually my pity party where I feel sorry for myself and why God just won’t tell me what I think I need to know. Feel free to insert a childish foot stomp here.) Just like a teacher isn’t going to tell you the answers to a Math test before you take it, God isn’t always going to give you every detail of every step He asks you to take.

To pass a test, one must study. So I study the Word. I study how to stretch my faith. I feed my faith muscles some miracle grow by reading about Abraham, Noah, Esther, and Gideon. I get rid of my pity party by going back and remembering Job. Listen friend, we’ve all stood looking up at that mountain. Maybe at this point you’re yelling at it to just get out of your way already. Maybe you’ve exhausted yourself and you’re sitting down, leaned up against this huge thing that just won’t move. You know what? That’s ok. Let out your frustration. Take a moment to regroup. One thing that I’ve come to realize lately is that whatever we’re feeling, God can handle it. He already knows, so why not share it with Him? Give Him your hurts and frustrations, your fears and disappointments. Hand them over to Him at the bottom of your mountain and then take His hand and start climbing. Stretch your faith muscles and follow Him even when the path isn’t clear. Trust Him when the answers aren’t evident and you have no idea how you’re going to make it through tomorrow. Lean on Him when your tomorrows are too much, because yesterday nearly did you in.

I don’t have it all together. I don’t have all the answers. I have mountains and seemingly no climbing gear. I have water with no boat in sight. I have question marks with no replies. I have a God Who is bigger than the sea, the mountain, the storm, and Who holds all the answers in His hands. And if I’ll let Him, He also holds me. It’s easy to be intimidated by the mountain. It’s easy to doubt if we’re going to make it through. Anybody can do that. We all do that. What separates the little engine that could from the little engine that can’t is the willingness to try harder. The willingness to take a chance and believe that I can make it and that I WILL make it. What separates a winner and a loser in a foot race? I’m going to say it’s that last push, that extra burst of “I can make it!” You can make it, sister. We don’t need the answers, the maps, or the plan. We need only our faith in the God that is on our side and to place our trust in Him. When you start putting your trust in Him, eventually those mountains start shifting and the waters start receding. Who knows? Maybe it’s not the mountain that ever needed to move at all. Maybe it was you and me. ❤️

Grace Sufficient

I should be brushing my hair and getting kids ready to head out the door, but I’ve got something on my heart this morning that I need to get out. (So everyone pray I’m not late because I was typing instead of brushing! Haha!) I found myself thinking about grace this morning, and how often I’ve been given it and how often I’ve given it. I’ll be honest when I say I’ve probably gotten more than given and I KNOW that my sweet Jesus has given me much more than deserve.

Though there have been plenty of times I’ve not extended grace when I should have, I thought of all the times I have given grace. None of us deserve grace, and I didn’t show grace because someone deserved it. It was because I’ve been given grace undeserved and Jesus expects us to return that grace. Now don’t get lost here and think I’m pinning roses on myself with grace-giving, because here’s the catch: I don’t always want to extend grace. There. I said it. My little secret of the grave I’ve given and will give. I don’t always want to show grace toward others, especially when I don’t feel like they deserve it, have earned it, or even worse, when they don’t seem to care or want it. In those cases the grace given isn’t always so much for them as it is for my heart, and then that grace covers my heart and keeps seeds of bitterness from being able to take root.

There have been times when I knew I had to show grace, and have grace, in a certain situation and I sincerely felt like my we’ll of grace was empty. I felt as if I would send that bucket down to retrieve a heaping abundance of grace only to reach the dry bottom with nothing more to give. If I had relied solely on myself and my abilities, that would have been the case. Thankfully, the grace I’ve been given but never earned or deserved, came from a Heavenly Father who never runs out of grace. I can run to Him in those times when I feel like I’ve given all that I can, and He’s sure to replenish me with His own grace. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says:

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
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He has grace enough for each of us no matter the situation or the circumstance. Maybe you’ve been wronged and you have a hurting heart. Maybe hard feelings are welling up inside of you. Perhaps you’re just struggling with grace in a general sense of having it in every situation possible. I know I do. I can’t count the times I wish I had let my mouth and my mind respond with grace first.

2 Corinthians 12:9 says that His grace is ‘sufficient’ for me. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines sufficient as being ‘enough to meet the needs of a situation or a proposed end’. His grace covers sins, shortcomings, failures, seemingly impossible situations, apparent hopelessness, hard hearts, bitterness, hurt, defeat, and all of the large and small things our human hearts hold and struggle with. God is more than just a supreme being that doesn’t onownor understand the fears and struggles, the pain and frustration that we experience as humans. He robed himself in flesh so that He could walk among us, and He felt the same hurts we feel. He cried tears just the same as you and I. He was betrayed by those closest to Him. He was laughed at, mocked, mistreated, and abused just like some of us have been. He knows and understands every part of our lives and He has grace sufficient for each of us and what we face. His grace won’t run out. His grace won’t ever end. There’s no place we can be that His grace can’t reach us. There’s no situation that is so impossible that His grace can’t cover you, and in extension cover that situation for you. There’s no hurt deep enough that His grace can’t heal and help you overcome.

There is truly nothing that His grace can’t overcome. It’s up to us to reach for that grace, allow it to wash over us, and apply it to our lives.

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Storm Without Warning

It was such a lovely day
The sun was shining bright
The gentle wind was blowin’ my way
Not a storm cloud was in sight
Then, suddenly without warning,
A storm surrounded my life.
Bu even in the storm I could feel the calm,
And here’s the reason why.

I know the Peace Speaker, I know
Him by Name
I know the Peace Speaker, He controls the wind
And the waves.
When He says, “Peace, be still,”
They have to obey.
I know the Peace Speaker, Yes, I
Know Him by Name.

There’s never been another man
With the power of this friend,
By simply saying, “Peace be still”
He can calm the strongest wind.
And that’s why I never worry
When the storm clouds come my way,
I know that He is near to wipe
Away my fears
And I can smile and say 

I know the Peace Speaker, I know
Him by Name
I know the Peace Speaker, He controls the wind
And the waves.
When He says, “Peace, be still,”
They have to obey.
I know the Peace Speaker, Yes, I
Know Him by Name.

Lyrics to “Peace Speaker” by Geron Davis 

Yesterday a thunderstorm rolled through at my house. I’ll be honest when I say I didn’t know one was on its way. I had spent most of the day painting my kitchen and letting the small ones run free-range, so when the first drops began to fall I was cleaning up the aftermath of Hurricane Little Strebecks. What at first seemed to be just a little shower, soon turned into thunder and occasional flashes of lighting. Every time we thought it had passed my husband would ask me, “Is it raining again?”

This morning as I looked out of the windows and saw the still cloudy skies and rain soaked ground, that ‘out of the blue’ thunderstorm reminded me of how life often goes. So many times we’re busy just living life, going to church, raising our families, trying to do well both at job and home, and just Bam! All of a sudden we look around and the winds are blowing and thunder is booming. We don’t always see the storms of life coming. We’re not always going to get a week’s worth of life storm coverage brought to us especially by Jim Cantore. We won’t know how hard the winds are going to be, we won’t know it’s about to make landfall. Sometimes they just hit, and they hit hard.

My family and I have been trying our best to take steps to get to another level spiritually. That includes the members in my home, and the immediate ones outside of my home. We’ve been binding together in prayer, we’ve been pushing to do more than we’ve done before. Then suddenly without wanting, a storm came.

I’ll admit that just like when the rain fell and I was not-so-blissfully sweeping my living room unprepared, I wasn’t totally prepred for this one. A couple of times since it’s knocked me around a bit, causing me to totter around and hold on tighter. But held on I have. I’ve held on to the promises that God has made me time and again. He’s given them to me in His Word, and in the last few months He’s given them to me through friends that were sensitive to Him. Looking at the details of my life and how things have gone the last couple of months, I know that this storm wasn’t a surprise to God. He intentionally situated me in places and with people that would be beneficial to me and help me to anchor myself tighter through this storm.

I didn’t see the storm coming, but God knew from the beginning. He prepared me for it even though I couldn’t see. Maybe even now I don’t see all that He’s trying to teach me or show me in this storm. One day I will. I don’t believe that God is ever caught unaware, and I don’t believe these things are without rhyme or reason. Sure, maybe to me it seems unfair, and just a random storm that myself and my family shouldn’t have to endure. But God knows. After all, doesn’t the Word say He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End? He knows the start of the storm from the end of the storm, and He will be there from beginning to end and every moment in between.

Im learning more and more that it’s in times like these that I have to draw nearer and trust Him more. I could trust Him solely on the promises and wonders that I find in the Bible, but those aren’t personal to me. When I fight through my own storms, I have my own testimony. I don’t have to rely on the testimonies of David and Joseph, or Esther or Ruth. I can tell someone else going through the storm, “Just hold on. He’s faithful to His children, and He’s trustworthy. He did it for me time and time again.” When I endure my own storms, I’m able to give my personal account of how God brought me out, how He pulled my family through, how He made a way when there simply was not a way. Every storm we encounter will not only grow us, it enables us to help someone else in the future. We can’t relate to those in the storm if we’ve never been through one ourselves.

I don’t know why I felt the urge to share this. Maybe someone else is in the midst of a storm and needed a reminder. I know I’ve needed one several times lately. God gave me just the right people to share their storms with me, or to remind me of His faithfulness to His children. A storm doesn’t mean He’s left us or doesn’t love us. I think sometimes a storm may even be something the devil wants to take us out with, But God! But God takes that which was meant for evil toward us and uses it for good. He’s the Master of the winds and rains, and He can grow us through any situation. So if you’re facing a storm, especially an unexpected one, just keep holding on. Tie yourself to that Anchor with His Word and hold fast to His promises. He’s never failed me yet, not once, and I know He won’t fail you.

Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes?

I had the opportunity to hear Sis. Vesta Mangun speak this past weekend. I was rather surprised when she told us that she is 92 years old. 92 and still preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. 92 and still doing a dance when the Spirit moves her. 92 and still giving all she’s got to the Kingdom. Many times before I’ve thought about how my generation has to step up because we now have generations coming up behind us, watching our walks and our lives. Now I look around and marvel at how many elders have already gone on.  The elders that made impressions on my life as I was growing up, they’re gone now. I can’t be slack and defer to them. The Bro. Morrissons and the Aunt Billies are slowing running their races and reaching the finish lines.

Which begs to question: who’s gonna fill their shoes?

How many of us are willing to pick up mantles that are lying unused and dormant? How many of us are dedicated enough to the work of God to step up and say, “Here I am, God! I’m ready to take my place on the front lines of battle!” Somebody is watching you. Somebody is watching me. There’s an entire generation coming up behind me that’s depending on me to tow the line for them. How terribly disappointing it would be for them to one day reach a point in the path where no one is around for them to follow after. Someone has to fill those shoes and make foot prints for those behind us to follow.

There’s an old country song that asks who’s gonna fill their shoes, talking about the classic country singers. Today I don’t wonder who’s gonna sing at the Grand Ole Opry. I wonder who’s gonna be the next foreign missions leader? Who’s gonna be the next youth minister? Who’s gonna be the next heart burdened for lost souls? Who’s gonna be the next man/woman after God’s own heart? Who’s gonna be the next prayer warrior? Who’s gonna be the Moma that her kids grow up to tell stories of hearing her pray and travail? Who’s gonna be the wife that can say she prayed faithfully for years and saw God answer her prayers to save her husband? Who’s gonna be the next Sunday School teacher? Who’s gonna be the next praise singer, praise leader, musician? Who’s gonna be the next worshipper??!

Is it you? Is it me? Are we aware that the torch is being passed on to us? This is heavy on my heart today. Many times I’ve felt that what I felt God was calling me to was better suited for others, the ones before me that were already grounded in their ministries. No, it’s my turn to pick up the plow, turn a row and plant seeds for the kingdom.

If you’re reading this, know this: it’s up to me and you. We can’t sit on the sidelines any longer. It’s time to get involved in the battle, and take our place fighting the enemy of our souls. Think about the elders, the people you’ve looked up to all your life, the ones you’ve admired and strived to be like and ask yourself this: Who’s gonna fill their shoes? IMG_8997

*This is a photo of myself and my Aunt Billie on the night that I graduated from High School. She taught me more than I can ever say about living for God and trusting Him. From the earliest memories I have of her until she was gone from this earth, she leaned on Him and worked for Him. My heart’s desire is to work all my days to bring Him glory, and to one day be an Aunt Billie to another girl, especially my sweet daughter. (If you ever see me stomp my feet or get a little Holy Ghost sass about me, I probably got it from her! 😂❤️)

I Hope When I Cannot See

“For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:24-25‬ ‭KJV‬‬

I like the book of Romans quite a bit. I’ve been a little off on my Bible reading lately, wondering what I should read, where should I start, what should I study. This week I’ve seen so many posts about the book of Romans it just seemed like God was saying, Hey! I’m trying to tell you, but you’re not listening! So this morning, to Romans I went! I found myself reading Chapter 8, and soon realized why God was trying to get me there.

Honestly, the last couple of days might have been easier for me if I had already dug into this book, this chapter. Chapter 8 alone holds so many nuggets that are speaking directly to me, right there where I’m at right now. As I was reading verses 24 and 25, I felt God trying to get me to understand that just because I can’t see, doesn’t mean hope is gone. That’s when my hope picks up, when my faith steps in.

It seems like lately things are being thrown my way from every side. I know I’m not the only one, the devil is on a rampage and he won’t go down without a fight. So many of my friends, fellow praise singers, church members, we all seem to be battling every way we turn. Most of the time I handle that fairly well. I’ve never been a big worrier. On the darkest of days I could smile and shake my head and know that God was in control. This week has been different. I’ve had to battle in my body and my mind. When one gets weak, the other goes with it. What a perfect tactical plan on the enemy’s part! Get me so weak in one area, that I’m unprepared for an attack in another area. I’ve had to battle my mind this week, and that’s ok. Because this morning in Romans 8, God reminded me that I’m not alone.

There are situations in my life that I can’t see a way out. I’m sure someone reading this has those, too. Maybe you can’t even see a hallway at this point, much less a way of escape. Revelations 3:8 says

“I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.”

If God can open doors no man can shut, doesn’t it make beautiful sense that He can open doors that no man can see? If we just keep a little strength, push just a little farther, those doors are going to open wide! It’s in the times that we can’t see or possibly understand that we hope. If we knew God’s plan, if we could see what He had in store, what would we hope for?

I wrote before about the waiting, and having hope is right there holding hands with waiting. We have to hope while we wait. God isn’t slack concerning His promises. He’s never failed us or left us, even in those times when we couldn’t see His plan. Many times in my life I didn’t see where He was leading me until much further down the road when I looked back and I could the masterpiece of my life He had knit together.

I’ve told so many people that God always has a plan. I believe that. I don’t think He is surprised by anything, nothing throws His plan off course. Even if we have made mistakes, we are not in ourselves powerful enough to change the course of God’s plan. So if you’re waiting, or if you don’t see anything that makes you think there is a plan in place for you, dig up your hope. God is teaching us hope, to rely on Him and strengthen our faith when we can’t see. If I could see His plan, I wouldn’t have to lean on Him so much. So while I wait, while I can’t see, and I don’t know what’s ahead, I will hope. Because Romans also tells me all things work together for good that love Him, and that we are more than conquerors through Him that loves me. With promises like that, what do I have to fear or worry?

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Cumbered About

But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭10:40-42‬ ‭KJV‬‬

According to Bible Study tools online, the Biblical definition of cumbered is: to be distracted with cares.

In essence, Martha was distracted with cares. Clearly she wasn’t being distracted by her draw to Jesus. Quite the opposite, she was distracted by the cares of the world. Making sure the food was hot. Taking care that the table was set just so. Flitting around sweeping up dirt behind Jesus and the disciples as they came in. Now look, we’ve all had company come calling. Wanting your home to be clean and presentable is a normal thing, especially for us women. It’s also especially hard when you have children running around, can I get an amen? But this is JESUS we’re talking about here. This isn’t cousin Joe and Aunt Barbara coming for supper. Martha literally had the Savior, the Christ, in her home, and she was cumbered about, distracted by cares.

Now fast forward a few thousand years to year 2018. It’s Monday morning and you’ve overslept. You barely had time to throw clothes on and grab coffee on your way out the door. Or your kids woke up extra early and, like children do, started begging for breakfast immediately. Because they obviously haven’t eaten in a week and they’re starving. (Again, can I get an amen from the mom corner?) So you run out the front door headed to work or you shuffle into the kitchen and start baking some muffins. Drink your coffee and check your Facebook. Drink your coffee and listen to the radio show on the way to work. Just like that, before you know it, your day has started and what’s been left out? The same Savior and Christ that Martha was too distracted to spend time with.

Does that hurt a little bit to read? Maybe it’s just me. I was reading my devotional this morning and Martha was mentioned. The last part of the devotional said to just sit and spend time with Jesus, to ignore that urge to jump on social media. Then when I read those verses and looked up the definition to the word cumbered. Boy, I knew. I knew that I had been making mistakes. The same mistakes Martha made. Maybe not the exact situation, but I’m being distracted by the cares of this world.

It’s easy to look at the story of Mary and Martha and think, “I would never do that. I would never be too busy to sit at the feet of Jesus.” It’s ok to admit that you’ve thought tha. I have at times before. What a joke! I was completely kidding myself. Daily I neglect to sit at His feet. See, the physical body of Jesus may not be in home like He was at Martha’s, but what is here? Jesus left His spirit with us. He is literally with us at all times. I have Jesus for company every day. Or at least I should. Some days I’m too busy cleaning the kitchen or checking Facebook to spend time with Him. I get distracted by the cares of life and push Him to the side, even if I don’t mean to.

I think this may be why so often I’ve heard people say the devil loves to keep us busy and distracted. Well why not? Like Martha, if we’re busy and distracted, cumbered about, then the devil doesn’t have to do any work. He doesn’t have to try and drag us down or defeat us. We’re shooting our own selves in the foot by not spending time with the One who loves us more than anything. Our Master. My Father. Our Savior and King.

What a reminder today, that I can’t afford to let myself get distracted. I NEED time with Him, sitting at His feet and soaking in His presence. When I’m distracted by the cares of this life, I don’t get that time with Him, and when the devil does come calling I’m not as strong as I should be. Spending time with Jesus isn’t a casual thing. It should be a daily, constant, ongoing communing with Him. Just as He walked with Adam in the garden of Eden, He desires to meet me here, and spend time with me. How it must feel to Him when He settles in for a conversation with me, His child, and I’m too busy for Him.

My prayer for myself today is that I become less distracted and more aware. More aware of where I’m spending too much time and not enough time. More aware of His presence in my life, and of the areas I need more of His presence. More aware of the changes I need to make, the things I need to lay down on the altar. I want to be more aware of Him. I want to lay down a little of my Martha, and pick up a little more of my Mary.

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The Waiting

This blog may feel a little all over the place, but I’ve got thoughts going every which way and I’ve got to get them out! Something that’s been on my mind lately, and a topic of conversation, has been about ‘the waiting.’ I’m sure you’re wondering exactly what I’m talking about. The waiting is that place between receiving a promise or word from God, and the place that you see it come to fruition. I call it the waiting. Because what else do you feel like you’re doing! Like when you’re standing in the post office waiting for someone to answer the bell. At first it’s fine, then after a few minutes it begins to get uncomfortable and you begin to shift your feet. You start craning your neck to see if someone is coming, or if they’re even there. You fight the urge to ding the little bell again.

Admit it. You’ve been there. You’ve felt that. Nobody likes waiting. It’s awkward. You’re just in this limbo of should I stay or should I go. If we’re both honest with ourselves, we’ve been that way with God, too. We receive a word or promise from Him, and we are flying high on Cloud 9. Our promise is coming! That was my confirmation! Doors are going to open, and man are we excited. Until a few months pass and nothing new has happened. It seems like the promise never came, like God got busy and forgot. (We both that’s not true!) We’re humans and waiting is not naturally ingrained in us.

So we begin to get antsy. And the enemy begins to get excited. See this place is where he could do some serious damage if we aren’t careful. He could set us back a few light years if we don’t keep our eyes where they need to be. Waiting is hard. I get it. I’m in the waiting now. Open honesty? I don’t like it. It’s not fun. It’s not comfortable. But it’s necessary. When we’re waiting, what are we keeping our eyes on? Most of the time, we begin by keeping our eyes on the promise, of course! It’s the light at the end of the tunnel. Is the next step, the end of this path and the beginning of the next one. Oh, how wrong I’ve been when I’ve done that! The promise isn’t the most important thing here, the Promise Keeper is. The One who made the promise is where we should keep our eyes. That’s why the devil can come in and knock our feet out from under us. If we’re solely focused on the promise, when it doesn’t come like we expected, we’re disappointed. We’re weak and we’re deflated. We begin to question the promise. We begin to question the Promise Keeper.

The waiting isn’t for naught. It’s not unnecessary. We both know, you and I, that God doesn’t do anything without rhyme or reason. The waiting is a season of growth for us. Quite frankly, the seasons of waiting I’ve been in where I was more focused on His promise than Him, I was growing in maturity. I was learning that the promise will come, but only in His timing. God doesn’t know the limits and boundaries of time like we do. It’s been 10 months since I got my promise, God. What’s happening? Ok? So? 10 months is the blink of an eye to Him! I had to learn to keep my eyes on Him, the Promise Keeper, and let me tell you friend. He IS the Promise Keeper. Don’t ever get yourself confused or let the enemy sell you the lie that God is a promise maker. God doesn’t make promises. He keeps promises. His Word is filled with beautiful promises to His people that He has kept over and over, generation after generation. What makes us think He would stop now?

So, where am I going with all this? The Waiting. What are you doing in the waiting? Are you stuck in that post office limbo, not leaving but not staying? Or are you committed to where you are, giving your all to the works you already have before you? I read something the other day that just did something for me. “Give God something worth watching.” Wow! In the waiting I feel like God is just out there somewhere, not gone, but not too close. Perhaps it’s because He’s watching. He’s watching to see what I do in the waiting. If I can’t work with all my might in the waiting, how can He trust me with the other side of the waiting? Work while you’re in the waiting. Pray more. Fast more. Dive into the Word. Let God grow you there. Don’t stunt your growth by being still and dormant because you’re so focused on what’s to come. The waiting is important. It teaches us. It strengthens us. It causes us to grow.

If you’re in the waiting, don’t be discouraged. It simply means that God is preparing you for more. Don’t despise the waiting. Embrace it! We’ve all been there or will be there at some point. Honey, I’m there now! We can’t let our impatience with the waiting hold us back from what God is trying to do in us and for us. Break out in the waiting and watch God grow you to heights you never dreamed.

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Be Intentional

This thought came to me a couple of weeks ago during a message my Pastor was preaching on being a witness. He had made the point that wherever we go, we should always be alert to those around us, ready to strike up a conversation with them. He gave several examples of conversation starters, ways to engage with others, to open the door to tell them about Jesus. I began to think of all the times I go to Wal-Mart, or the grocery store, and how many people I actually come in contact with. While I always try to have a smile and be polite and kind, how many times have I determined that I was going to do my best to not just ‘be’ a witness, but open that door and actually witness?

That’s when it hit me that I have to be intentional. The definition of intentional is: done by intention or design. A few synonyms are: conscious, deliberate, purposeful, voluntary, willful, and knowing. How many times have I been intentional when I walked into the local market? When I begin to chat with the person in line behind me, was I deliberate in what I said, so that I could shed the light of Jesus? I absolutely believe in those things that happen that we call ‘a God thing’, but we must have action on our part. Are we voluntary and willing to open our mouths and witness to those around us? Or are we too busy to sensitive and discern the needs of others around us?

We have to be intentional. We have to be purposeful. Deliberate. Willing. Oh, do we have to be willing. I admit, most days when I’m grocery shopping I have three kids with me and I’m usually just trying to get out alive. Can any other moms out there relate? Or maybe you don’t have kids and you’re just trying to run in and out and be done with your errand running. I get that, too. Nobody buys milk and toilet paper for fun, really. I just can’t let myself forget that there’s a world out there so much bigger than me. Other people out there are hurting and hungry. Maybe they’re in need of a prayer from someone in the checkout line, desperate for a stranger to give them a glimmer of hope that there’s more to this life than what they’ve experienced. We were made for more! We weren’t created to just live and die. There’s so much to be done in between.

I can’t forget that I’ve got truth and hope. God has done far more for me than I deserve, and I can’t neglect to tell others what He’s done. Somebody needs to know that He brought me out of a pit, and He can bring them out, too. Somebody needs to hear that they have a Heavenly Father that loves them more than life itself, so much that He gave His life for them. Somebody needs to be shown mercy, so they can see that they are worth it, that they are never too far gone for God’s love to reach. Somebody is hurting. Somebody is lost. Somebody is scrambling in darkness seeking a light to lead them out.

That’s why I can’t neglect to be intentional. I can’t think that even something as simple as a trip to town isn’t an opportunity to be a living, breathing, talking witness tonthose around me. We have to be intentional in our witness. We can’t just think that because we’re living right, that’s enough. Part of living for Jesus is spreading the Gospel. To be salt and light in this world, we have to be intentional.

Be intentional today, friend. Engage with that waitress bringing your drink. Spark up a conversation with the boy bagging your groceries, or the girl checking you out. Show them what an intentional Child of God looks like, willing and purposeful in their witnessing endeavors to be the hands and feet of Christ.

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Sold Out

This morning that phrase has been on my mind like a cd set on repeat. ‘Sold out.’ I find myself wondering, Am I sold out? Do we know what it means to be sold out? What’s keeping me and you from selling out to God?

Merriam-Webster gives the definition of ‘be sold out’ like this:

to have sold the entire amount of something

Now, I don’t know about you, but that’s exactly how I feel about my Jesus. When Satan comes at me with his wheelings and dealings and conniving plots against me, there’s nothing there for him but a big sign reading: SOLD OUT.

All that I have, all that I am, all that I hope to be, it’s all found in Jesus. Oh, be certain, I fail miserably every day because I’m a fleshy human. That’s to be expected no matter how hard I try. But I always get back up, wipe the dirt off my knees, and press on. My sold out sign never comes down. Because all of me belongs to Him.

Quite frankly, there’s nothing in this world that’s worth my walk with Him. There’s nothing worth turning around, giving up, or stalling out for. I’m searching my heart looking for things that I might have placed too high on my list of priorities. I’m digging around in the corners of my life for ways to grow closer to Him, and further from the world.

You see, I’ve got three little people following after me. They’re watching me, listening to me, and they’re going to be molding their lives after me. As this phrase just continually rolled through my mind this morning, I began to think about my life from my kids’ point of view. What do they see when they peruse Mom’s life? Do they see someone who is sold out to Jesus, living their life in honor and service to Him? Do they see the joy of submission to Him in my life? Or do they have to question the path I walk down, the things I say and do?

I want to be sold out. Completely. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. I don’t want anything to come between me and the One who created me. There’s another phrase that came up when I was searching for the definition of sold out. It was ‘sell out.’ It means: the compromising of a person’s integrity, morality, authenticity, or principles in exchange for personal gain, such as money.

I have no intentions of selling out. This world has nothing to offer me that is worth my soul, and the souls of my children and family. God has brought me too far for me to turn back now! He’s simply been too good to me and loved me too much, even when I was unlovable. He gave His life for mine, and I’m glad to give mine in return. Today I ask this question of myself, and of you: are we sold out? Or a sell out?

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