Tag Archives: faith

Day 60 or so and…

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So I’m just reviewing in my mind how thankful I am that God’s grace has been upon me while we figure our “homeschool rhythm” out.  As I am a re-covering perfectionist I was nervous that teaching my children their entire education would trigger a relapse, and I would be educating, but it would not be the good kind.

To begin with I have to say that homeschooling thus far has been one of the best blessings God has given our family!  We love it!  It has brought us closer together, grown confidence in my kids, allowed us to live…not rush from this activity to that with little time inbetween to slow down and live in the moment (that moment that we will never get again), allowed us to nurture relationships outside our immediate family, allowed me time to nurture my husband, taught us how God spans across all subjects and grown our faith!  Wow, and that’s all happened in only about 60 days!!

Yes there will be days (and there already has been) that will make me want to pull my hair out…but honestly I was pulling my hair out way more when they were in public school and I was trying my best to make sure we did all we should do, cleaned all we should clean, served everywhere we could serve, and held tight to the home teaching I needed to do to make sure public school didn’t slip in there and educate them on things untrue or destructive to our faith.  I’m so glad God is such a genius!   And even more glad that my own humanity is not what fuels this.

I wish I could sing praises to God all day long for all that He has done for me and my family.  And when He delivers such blessings as this, I am so humbled and in love!  I fail all the time.  I lay in bed some nights and wonder if I’m teaching them enough, pushing them to hard or how I will ever teach them algebra!!  But then I step back from circumstances and look thru my God glasses and see that I’m not the one running this thing (bc if I was it would already be in the ditch), so I go to sleep, wake up, talk to The Man, get my orders and carry on.

That’s what I keep doing and He continues to be faithful.

I know there will come a day when we have to get a little more structured, spend a lot more time in studies, and plan better…but right now it’s like I was given my kids back.  It’s like I’m mom again, not the lady that manages the taxis, cooks and shops for food, the maid, the scheduling assistant, and on an on and on.  I’m mom.  That’s what I was made for.  That’s what He designed me to do.  Somewhere in the midst of life we lost the intentionalness of reaching the goal I knew we were supposed to reach.  We were being swept by the current and unaware that we were floating out to sea right along with everyone else.  And then God very lovingly opened our eyes and we paddled over to the shore, got out of the lazy river and began discovering the joys of being intentional.  We are able to put our faith in God first, our family second and everything else falls somewhere behind that.  I remember writing answers to “what my priorities are” in bible studies.  They were written correctly, but I wasn’t living what I wrote.  Now I am, at least most days!

My best days are the ones that I try to teach like Jesus taught.  He didn’t plan 30 weeks ahead with visual charts, powerpoint presentations and cue cards.  He didn’t compare His planner with all the other homeschool mom blogs and think how inadequate He was.   He looked around and saw where the need was.  Sometimes the need ran up and begged for help.  Sometimes the need lay waiting to see if He would notice.  Sometimes He was tired, hungry, thirsty and had too many emails/texts to answer…oops that’s me.  But regardless of how He felt or what may have appeared urgent at the moment He used wisdom to “intentionally” line up His priorities with those of the Father and teach the things of real value.  He saw the souls that He was teaching, not just the curriculum.  Can you feel that  moment?  The moment you realize the satisfaction of doing what  you were meant to do and watching it pay off?

Appropriately enough my worse days are the ones I have an agenda to fill them with curriculum/knowledge and not teach their souls!

This brings me to why I wanted to start this line of journaling.  I want to remember to teach their souls not fill them with knowledge.  I want our homeschooling to bring glory to God!  I want to remember the beauty in watching God correct my family and lead us down a path of awesome blessings.  I want to remember that it’s  not my hands that bring them goodness, it’s His.  I want to reassure myself one day when I re-read this that we did this because God told us to, therefore it’s up to Him to provide what we need.  I want to finish reading all those super mom blogs with this one so I know that I’m not damaging our kids bc we don’t have a garden planted yet, haven’t won the noble peace prize, nor do I even have tomorrows lessons planned, but we are doing the will of the Father.   He has brought me out of all my other fires; He will deliver me from this one, assuming I go to sleep, wake up, talk to The Man, get my orders and carry on.

Sheep

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So yesterday I haImaged the privilege of spending some time learning about the interest of two little girls I consider my “adopted daughters.”  They are into showing sheep.  And I knew nothing (and still don’t know much) about this sport.  I watched and tried to learn, but I think one needs more than what the eye can see to understand.  As I asked some questions and started to get a small understanding of what was going on, a bigger thought came to me.  Jesus called us sheep many times in the bible, so I started observing the sheep and their characteristics, because I wanted to see what Jesus thinks of us.  It doesn’t take long to be around sheep to start getting the idea that they are pretty oblivious to what is going on around them.  And that they are very vulnerable and easily “handled.”  I don’t mean that they mind well or that it was easy for my 9-year-old “adopted daughter” to make them behave.  What I mean is for a larger animal she was able to push it where she wanted it to go and get a hold of its head to get control of its will (you might be starting to see where I’m going).

Myself, being an animal lover, wanted to look into the eyes of the sheep to see if more was going on than what appeared.  As I searched the eyes of some of these animals I really didn’t see a lot of depth.  I saw that they were maybe a bit frightened.  I saw that they were concerned with the baaa-ing of the other sheep.  I saw that they paid too little of attention to their care-givers.  I saw that they tried to escape from their owners.  I saw that they didn’t really have a long view of their day, they seemed to be pretty short-sighted.  I also noticed that they would give way to almost any that decided to gain control and lead them.  There was very little resistance to switching leaders, regardless if that leader was a child or a seasoned sheep owner.  If there was any resistance, it seemed to be purely impulse and not due to loyalty to a particular handler.  They seemed quite impulsive period.

As I sought to put application to these findings I was both humbled and disappointed in us.  Let’s face it, many of these characteristics are easily seen in us humans towards our Shepherd.  Sheep are sheep, God didn’t create them to be genius’, but they are very much a picture of our obliviousness to what is going on in our world, and the perspective we too many times have about why we exist.

It was a neat thing to watch my “girls” ‘do their thang’ with these sheep.  I love being a part of their lives and seeing my naturally born daughters experience new things with their friends.  However, as I was reminded thru these animals of my inadequacy, I did feel sad that this is the view our Lord has of us.  In my mind I was hoping He saw a faithful steed, or a loyal “man’s best friend” for those that truly were seeking to follow Him…not a vulnerable, easily swayed, short-sighted sheep.

On the other side of the fence, however, were ‘sheep-people.”  The people showing, leading and caring for these sheep didn’t care that they had lack of depth.  They loved ‘doing their thang.’  They didn’t need loyalty, great intelligence or strength from these animals to make them want to care for them.  They didn’t seem to need anything from them except that they be.  The sheep’s value was not in what they produced so much as it was in what they were in the sight of their owners and judges.  Now this application was uplifting.

As I apply those characteristics of the “shepherds” to our Great Shepherd (our Owner and Judge), I was overwhelmed with thankfulness.  Happy to be loved not for what I produce but just because I be.  We only need trust in our Savior to be one of His sheep.

I also got a new understanding for the verse Roman 1:20 “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and deity; so that they are without excuse:”  When we are looking with the right desire we can see God and His plan everywhere, all around us, and in all things He created.  I pray for those who are not His sheep, to look around, call out to Him, know that He desires to be your Shepherd and you to be His sheep.  But unlike the literal sheep, we have to make a decision to depend and trust on Him in order to be in His flock, because He desires His sheep to love Him back thru acknowledgement of His unconditional love for us.

Thank You Father for allowing me to “have eyes to see” and for the fellowship of friends to take me to new places.

May your Sunday be blessed with “eyes to see” and fellowship with the brethren to be taken to new places.

Raise your hand for heaven…really?

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So I’m laying in bed overcome with what I believe is righteous anger for about the last hour.   As I replay all of those times I’ve been sitting in a sanctuary and heard, “Now if everyone will bow their head and those that wish to have Jesus and go to heaven will raise their hands and recite this pledge (they usually say ‘this simple prayer,’ but pledge is much more honest), we will welcome you into God’s family and you may grab a bible on your way out.”  I WISH I COULD SCREAM LOUDER THAN CAP LOCKS!!!  I really can’t see Peter at Pentecost telling THE REAL CHURCH to raise their hands and sit quietly in their seats while they get their hell immunization.

Yesterday morning my preacher stood yelling “IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU!  OUR PURPOSE IS TO GLORIFY HIM!  STOP MAKING OUR LIVES ABOUT OUR COMFORTS AND START MAKING THEM ABOUT HIS GLORY!”  That shouldn’t be so newsworthy, but it is!  That is exactly what we do.

By his own account, Billy Graham said only approximately 5% of those professed salvations at his preaching were true converts.  Another 20% was added as local pastors followed up with those that came forward.  Wonderful, but what about the 75% that came forward and were still headed to hell and didn’t know it?  AND THOSE 100% ACTUALLY WALKED THE ISLE!!  So now in modern-day convenience and “me” religion we’ve decided to shorten the path and add numbers.  Did we do that so that those poor sinners that don’t want hell won’t damage their self-image by coming forth in front of the “body of Christ,” or was it so the “body of Christ” could keep their lunch plans?  Or maybe it was just simply to pad the numbers?  Take your pick, but none of them sound like the God I love.

Do I sound angry?  You dang right I’m angry!!  I serve a God that is powerful enough to move a sinner into sorrow and repentance and abandonment to their own self enough to walk anywhere to receive the beautiful gift of grace He offers.  And piling up in a heap of brokeness at His altar is only a start!  My bible teaches that we come to conversion thru sorrow and weeping, not joy and celebration.  I didn’t celebrate my sin when I realized it against the backdrop of the cross the first time and I don’t celebrate it now!  Walking with the Lord surely brings joy and celebration, but that first time of seeing my wretchedness in contrast to Christ’s sacrifice was sickening.  Yet we want to sell this “it’s-all-about-you,” “free-ticket-ride,” religion so that we can appeal to more?  Whatever!  I want to have a better night’s sleep after I leave an altar call.  I want to see brokeness, a change of life, a new creature and a REAL fellow christian.  The plan is simple, not easy!  The gift is free, not painless!  And the Lord is merciful, not your genie!  Jesus really died!  He was really beaten!  He really felt the pain of bearing our sins!  And He actually sacrificed every minute of His precious time here to teach someone about the Father or to save someone who was broken.  He went hungry to talk to a woman at a well, He lost sleep to pray, He didn’t have an American dream to chase and He bled so that we could live.  Does that sound like an emotional guy or does that sound like true committment?  Because I don’t think an emotional response to hope that someone will come in and clean up your life is what He is looking for.  I think He is looking for all-in committment and whatever-it-costs-me sacrifice.  Conversion only takes a second, but preparing the heart to be “good ground” takes time, sacrifice and the ability to see beyond ones self…and here I’m talking about the body of Christ not the lost person coming forward.  Once we’ve got our “free-ticket” we hide in our houses, our families and our busyness and forget about tilling the soil.  Sure we want to see people saved, as long as it doesn’t cost us anything.

We want our dinner in 15 or less, our coffee hot but don’t inconvenience us with having to blow on it, our TV with no commercials, to raise our kids with no sacrifice, and grab our ticket to heaven as we roll on to the next idol in our life.  It’s wrong, it’s sick and I pray that those that raised their hand because of an emotion and pledged to a preacher will be touched by conviction from the True God before they face Him holding nothing but a church document.   Lo, you preachers that spread that false doctrine!  For my bible teaches that you will stand in a higher account for those souls.  And lo us christians that fund and support that heresy!!  I’m not shouting to offend, I’m shouting to shake loose this idea that we can have it all and have it for no cost, with no committment, with no change.  I want someone to stand up and say, “No we won’t do those loose alter calls anymore.  And if the whole church has to stay here all day to “till the ground” or teach salvation to a lost soul then that’s what’s going to happen!  And furthermore if that’s not the kind of church you want, then you might need to go somewhere else.”

The conviction that God lays on a lost person to accept Him is heavy and won’t be escaped except by those that are very hardened.  So relax, sacrifice your time and stop trying to create a church like we now add friends to Facebook.  There is no “like” button that you can painlessly press from your comfy home on the bible that makes you a friend of Jesus.  Neither can you buffer yourself with a computer and call it ministry.  We’ve got to get uncomfortable sometimes, we’ve got to get OUT sometimes and we’ve got to care more about God than us ALL THE TIME.

That walk down the aisle is the first work of witness those truly converting will have…don’t steal it from them and don’t ease the work of God.  Instead reap the blessings that working for that God, thru His power and our weakness brings!  Surrender!  Don’t be afraid!  He is good.  He will enable.  It might hurt, but man it is worth it!  It might cost but dear God let me pay, for my cost is nothing in comparison to Yours!!  True conversions have fruit, sometimes painful fruit.  True conversions also have joy and free consciences when in close fellowship with the One that saved them.  True conversions will see the inside of heaven for eternity.  We all fight selfishness, but none of us believers want to watch a soul getting sent to hell because we were too busy, because we had lunch plans, or because it was easier to let them believe they conveniently received Christ from their seat than to take the time to till the soil or test the fruits.

In awe…

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I sit here in awe of the faith building, kingdom adding, miracles of God that He has shown me in the last few months.  Sometimes I am in this place where I pray that the Lord would come back to save His sons and daughters of pain, and also those children that would be safe because they are not yet accountable.  The view from human eyes looks dim, so we focus there and forget how powerful God is.  I see broken families that I pray desperately for, sisters and brothers that fall away from their faith, pain come to those that are following their faith, children with open hearts squashed by worldly parents, physical illness hold the elderly in a prison, salvation offered and rejected and I wonder…when will You come?  When will You stop the evilness that runs wild here?  Selfishly I wonder when He will stop my pain?  My children’s pain?  My husband’s?  Oh but how joyful I am that I am not in control, nor do I make those decisions.  Because my blindness is His wisdom!  He has plans, He has people to make His children, He has lives to grow His love inside, He still has wounds to heal for some, and wounds to inflict on others so that they might grow in His grace.  He has a Kingdom to run, I have NO idea the lengths or depths of how that is done.  What I do know is this when we are faithful He will bring fruit.  And that fruit is worth the pain suffered.

Just 2 days ago I was blessed to have the Lord show up in the lives of 12 little girls and 2 big girls.  The last day of GWAP for this year was a MIGHTY ONE!!  I was prayed up, and I thought, prepared and expecting the Lord Almighty to show …and show up big, but my little mind had no idea!!!  We started class and had another awesome time of questions and answers.  And in the Sr. class they were big people questions…such as, ‘what is worldliness?’  ‘how do we not sin?’  ‘what does propitiation mean?’  ‘how does showing too much skin lead to impurity?’  and on and on.  I felt that we discussed some real “meat.”  Then it was over to the big church to worship and praise God with our voices.  Something about that many girls gathered at the altar of God singing about how His great name heals all, saves all and loves all is indescribable!!  As we sang I told them verses to apply to the songs so that they could relate that we weren’t just singing, we were praising and celebrating the goodness of God.

Now God had impressed on me that He was gonna do something big here, but what I discovered was that big to me and BIG TO HIM are two different things!!  I should back up a week.  I had two girls tell me the week before that they asked Jesus into their hearts at home…well I didn’t have the chance to talk to them one on one before they had to leave that week.  So I had been preparing to talk to them 1st, before class started.  I did, and really felt that these girls sincerely received Christ and were now God’s children.   That was my idea of big.  Here’s God’s:  As we were singing and praising girl after girl began to be stirred, then convicted and when it was all said and done 3 more girls surrendered to Christ and ALL of them were convicted and crying about something.  Some were too young to understand the conviction, some didn’t have the knowledge to apply to it, some were too scared to receive it, for some they just didn’t have words…but all were moved by the mighty hand of God!!   Including their 2 big girl teachers!!  My sister-in-Christ Eryn and I were speechless.  We were overwhelmed.

I had promised a pizza party after our worship and as I drove across the street to buy the pizza I had waiting, I was shaking and couldn’t put 2 sentences together because God’s bigness is more than we humans can handle.  We just can’t get it.  As much love as I feel for God and as much reverence as I feel for God I cannot begin to come close to giving Him what He deserves.  I can’t imagine being in His presence.  I can’t imagine His glory.  And I can’t imagine how overtaken I will be just to be in heaven with Him.

Sometimes I think our over-valued egos lead us to think we are “something.”  Let me be the first to repent right now…with the cross in the background and His work in my life in the foreground, I am so little…so small and yet still sooooo loved.   I marvel at how a God so big, so powerful, so important and so busy has time to hear the tearful, small voice of a wife/mother/teacher/friend and follower of His Son beg for His help to tend her flock.  Beg for Him to cover her mistakes.  Beg for Him to change her impurities so that she can serve Him more wholly.  Beg for Him to provide what she absolutely does not derserve…and then deliver results like I saw Friday.

In the voice of Bill and Ted…”I AM SO NOT WORTHY!”

Thank You Father for hearing me, acting on my behalf and the behalf of those children.  Thank You Father for taking the time to love me and include me in things that I could never do myself.  Thank You Father for saving eternity for 5 little girls and encouraging 2 big girls to keep fighting, praying and loving…no matter how dim it might seem.

Hallelujah!!  Hallelujah!!  Hallelujah!!!!

To my dear wild at heart Jaylee-

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Wild at Heart      

by Traci Danker

She sits staring into the open sky,

She prays one day she’ll see him from up high,

The wild stallion that glows with strength,

The mane his glory and the tail; such length,

To see his eyes up close would scare,

But only a glimpse of his soul that cares,

His herd, his pride, his purpose in life,

To lead, not follow nor cause great strife,

The Lord gave him beauty, power, and heart,

Determines his end and also his start,

The wind in his face; he’ll always be free,

To dance in the meadows below Calvary.