Friday, August 20, 2010

Choosing to Worship

Worshiping God does not require that we understand or approve of what God has allowed into our lives; it simply requires a heart that desires to trust God and a will that is bent toward obedience to God regardless of our feelings. We worship because He is worthy, not because we necessarily feel like it. And as we worship in the midst of our pain, we are able to gain perspective on that pain. This is costly worship - which makes it all the more worthwhile and precious to God.

Nancy Guthrie

"I Will Rise" by Chris Tomlin (with lyrics)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Gift of Living Without

I ran out this morning to go to the grocery store, post office, and drop off something at our realtor's office. As I got Olivia into the car, I felt EXCITED. Now this might sound strange to the average ear unless you know that I have not had a car in over eight months! I put the "home" in stay at home mom these past few months. Rain or shine, bitter cold or scorching hot; Olivia and I could only travel as far as our bike would take us! The first few weeks were awful and I thought I was going to poke my eyeballs out from boredom, but slowly God taught both livi and me to be content at home. Then two weeks ago some dear friends of ours offered to let us borrow one of their cars while the husband is deployed. What a gift! I used to loathe grocery shopping and getting Olivia in and out of the car, but living without a car has taught me the joy in getting out of the house! At this point you might be wondering why in the world I am sharing this with you. What I am learning is this. Sometimes the seasons in life when God calls us to "live without" are blessings in disguise. When we have to live without something we had become accustomed to having or something that we really wanted, we learn to be content where we are. The loss of a job can open our eyes to what a gift a job is, even if we didn't enjoy it. The loss of trust in a friend can open our eyes to what a rare gift a true friend is. I have often said that the greatest thing that Samara and Nadia taught me is to truly enjoy Olivia. When I think about how I will never get to nurse them, or rock them to sleep, or even put them on timeouts; it makes me treasure the days I have with Olivia. God knows our hearts and He knows how to take even the worst of situations and teach us something Good. Whatever you're having to "live without", ask God to help you be content and then know that the best is yet to come!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Hope Stealers

In walking towards hope, I have stumbled upon two big obstacles in the road. I believe these two road blocks to be a few of satan's most powerful tools.

The first hope stealer is fear:
Fear is a feeling that gives satan and the angels of darkness more power than God. It leads us to believe that death, sin, or pain are great enough to break us. This feeling holds us back from fighting sin victoriously, embracing the freedom that trusting God gives us, or enjoying the life we're living today. By choosing hope, we give God our trust and place our confidence in what He can do instead of satan.

Fear leads to

Depression: The feeling of hopelessness that consumes everything. We often feel swallowed by the darkness and fear the power of that darkness.

Defeat: By believing sin to be greater than God, the battle is won in our hearts before we ever even face it. We choose to sin because it seems to be our only option.

Spiritual impotence: By giving fear more power than God, we surrender to satan as being in charge. When we give satan power, God cannot use us.

The second hope stealer is bitterness:
Bitterness is a root in our hearts that stems from a wrong done to us. Left unchecked, bitterness chokes out all joy and the chance to be merciful to others. It consumes us in a way that we cannot see, but everyone around us feels. No matter the source of the wrong done, bitterness always is directed at God. Bitterness makes us believe that God is against us, therefore He is not trustworthy.

Bitterness leads to:

Self absorption: Since bitterness keeps our eyes focused on the wrong that was thrust upon us, we often spend out time telling other people about it, meditating on it alone, and setting up every boundary we can in order to not be hurt again.

Judgementalism: Bitterness keeps us focused on the wrong done to us and the wrong done by and to others. In giving sin greater power than the forgiveness and freedom Christ offers, we begin to judge as only God should judge. Bitter roots always give room to the soil of pride

Spiritual impotence: Much like fear, by listening to satan's lies and focusing on the "power" of hurt and pain gives satan more power than God. When we give sin more credit than the mercy and forgiveness of God, He cannot use us.

Friends, I have seen both of these hope stealers at work in my life. Anytime I contemplate getting pregnant again, I am seized by an inexplicable fear of losing another baby. When I hear a pregnant woman complain about anything related to the child within her womb, I am overwhelmed with bitterness that she gets to be pregnant instead of me. These are satan's tools to keep me enslaved to my flesh and my feelings. God longs to set us free! By acknowledging fear to be a valid feeling, but proclaiming God to be bigger than any of our fears, we give Him the glory He deserves. This also opens our hearts to be encouraged by His Holy Spirit. By acknowledging the bitterness that longs to spread out in our hearts and asking God to forgive us, we open our hearts to receive His mercy and then extend His mercy to others.

The next time you experience fear, read this verse aloud. " if we live, we live for the Lord or if we die, we die for the Lord. Therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lords." Romans 14:8

The next time bitterness threatens to choke out all joy read these verses aloud.
" Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you along with all malice. be kind to one another tender hearted forgiving each other just as God in Christ also has forgiven you." Ephesians 4:31-32

Monday, August 2, 2010

A song for my two girls

When I close my eyes I can see your face
See your soft lips and smell your hair
And I drink it in to fill the place
That your leaving has left open and bare

But in my tears and in my sorrow
I know this is true
Jesus holds you up in heaven
Waiting for me to come too

So, I'll wait; yes I'll wait
Though waiting is so long and so very hard to do
Yes, I'll wait; oh I'll wait
With my heart held open wide, knowing the emptiness inside
Is going to be healed soon
After all this waiting for you

Often in the moments when my grief calls me to cave
Despair leads me to think that all is lost
Giving in to thoughts of self pity, anger, even rage
My heart is weak and beckoned to forget the power in the cross

But in my tears and in my sorrow
I know this is true
When Jesus died He made a way
for me to come see you

So, I'll wait, yes I'll wait
Though the waiting is so long and so very hard to do
Yes, I'll wait, Oh I'll wait
With my heart held open wide, knowing the emptiness inside
Is going to be healed soon
After all this waiting for you