Monday, April 26, 2010

1000 Gifts: Putting on the New Self

He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside still waters, He restores my soul.  He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
Psalm 23:2-3
0313. A last minute getaway to my favorite oasis, a place in the mountains, to see my BFF and her parents.
0314. A three hour drive, alone in the car, listening to music, lectures, and quiet - to be alone with my thoughts.

0315.  The surprise of a special treat taken to friends who have been without Bruster's ice cream  because of distance.

0316.  A husband willing to keep the boys at home and care for them so mom could get some rest.

0317.  Hearing the words - strong and convicting though they may be - that insecurity and fear are unbelief.

0318. Commissioning each other - committing to one another and encouraging one another to be what God has intended us to be - (Love you, Heather!)

0319.  "Mom, I'm so glad you're home!  We missed you!"

0320.  Another 5 year old boy, wanting to make the drive three hours, to come home with me - to see my boys and visit our home. :)

0321.  The generosity of the Wagners - always willing to open their home to me and treat me like family - THANK YOU!

0322. New plants from an expert's garden -- generously given to brighten up our outside.

0323. A new resolve - remembering that I have been changed and bought with a price... and this time to start living like it again. 

  Ephesians 4:22-24  
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Proverbs 31 Ministries: Devotion for Today

  This devotion speaks to me everyday.  It is amazing what God has revealed to me through these women who write about their experiences, their fears, their inadequacies, and their triumphs in Jesus.  And typically, Holy Spirit uses them to reach me - amazingly everyday.  Their circumstances may not have been mine... but their stories and the feelings behind them are used to minister to me regularly.  
If you would like to subscribe, follow the link and you can receive the daily devotion right into your email inbox.  For now, here is today's devotion.  I love that God has taken me, a broken and tattered being, and has made me beautiful and has used me as something to confound the wise and shame the strong - all to give glory to Jesus - that none may glory in HIS presence.  
Enjoy - and have a great day!

Feeling Weak?
Mary DeMuth, She Speaks Conference Graduate

"For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God." 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 (NASB)

I didn't know that when those older boys pinned five-year-old me to the earth, my backside poked by brambles, that someday God would choose that frightened little girl, sexually abused for a year, to shame the wise. But He chose a shattered me.

I didn't know that as my childhood home filled with drugs and unsafe parties, God would rescue weak and scared me. But, eventually, He salved my fears.

I didn't know that as I ran from other predators, the boys' marks on me like a beacon, I'd someday limp into the arms of a Savior. I felt debased, unworthy, ugly, dirty, ruined. But He welcomed me.

I didn't know that as my earthly father slipped from this earth, my Heavenly Father stood nearby, open armed. Though my earthly father's death left me fatherless, my Heavenly Father didn't orphan me. He grafted me into His family.

I didn't know that as I considered different ways to kill myself in junior high, as I faced a third parental divorce, that Jesus' own beautiful death provided a way of new life for me. He rescued me from taking my life.

I was all the things the apostle Paul wrote about in today's key verse, and then some. Neglected, needy, pained, lost, small, frightened. And yet God took those negatives and beautified them with Himself. That's the great paradox God brings to all of us, no matter how "easy" or hard our upbringing. It's not that we're strong and sufficient and wise, it's that He is.

Perhaps you've looked back on your past and shuddered. Perhaps you've questioned God about why He'd allow atrocities in your life. But consider this: God gets the most glory in the life fully surrendered to Him, and it's hard for a self-sufficient person to submit. He does the most work in our helplessness. (See 2 Corinthians 12: 9, 10).

Our weakness and frailty are not merely places of desolation; they are dance floors—holy places where the God of the universe is allowed to freely move in our lives. Our own lack allows for and welcomes this sacred dance where God's talent outshines our capabilities, where only He receives the glory.

Will you lay down your past today? Will you trust Him with the mess, the memories, the mayhem? If you do, He will take the marred pieces of your life, reassemble them, and make you fly. So you (because of Him) can shame the wise.

Lord, I confess I've seen my own injuries as reasons to blame you and keep You far from my heart. I'm sorry. Help me instead to see my weaknesses as a place where You can demonstrate Your strength. I welcome You into the painful places. Do something new and miraculous. I don't want to be embittered. I want to be free. And I want to give You all the glory. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Monday, April 19, 2010

1000 Gifts: Mondays

How is it that I'm not in the work force anymore, yet Monday is still my least favorite day of the week?  Monday means my extra set of hands that my husband provides with the boys during the day are back to work.  I guess it is then so appropriate to be extra thankful on Mondays - to bring praise and glory to Jesus which turns my focus off of me and on to the only ONE who is WORTHY to receive it.

In a loud voice they sang: "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!"
Revelation 5:12 

0299.  waking up to a glorious morning of quiet

0300.  quickening

0301.  making the choice to trust
0302.  warm air

0303.  a much needed embrace

0304.  gearing up for Vacation Bible School

0305.  chicken in a crock pot to provide meals for the family

0306.  freedom

0307.  loose teeth

0308.  the dim glow of a hallway light while checking on my blessings before bed

0309.  a comfy pillow and much needed rest

0310.  a clean kitchen

0311. a handsome young man in a tie on Sunday morning becoming more grown up all the time

0312.  the generosity of a friend - replacing a broken printer

For these and many other things I praise the LORD.

Monday, April 12, 2010

1000 Gifts: All things Beautiful

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from the beginning to the end.
Ecc 3:11

0288.  Springtime officially in full bloom

0289. a son apologizing for wrongs committed

0290.  a much needed two hour nap while the boys are on an adventure with dad.
0291.  3 year old logic: "Mommy, you need to swallow a toy so the baby has something to play with in your tummy."

0292.  a growing tummy - indicating new life
0293.  thriving

0294.  mercy
0295.  the healing of forgiveness

0296.  seeing the end of school in sight
0297.  a chat with a friend

0298.  knowing that Jesus is with me ALWAYS...praying over me and directing my steps 

Saturday, April 10, 2010


For the past week I had been feeling especially overwhelmed... my husband was doing some freelance work which kept him working and away from the family for an extended period of time this week.  Ultimately, that meant that I was with my boys 24/7 for the entire week.  Because this was the week after Easter our normally scheduled activities that would have afforded me a breather were canceled.   So these things happening altogether left me feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. 

This morning, Jeremy headed off to the men's breakfast at church. I was left with the mommy role by myself again.  I love being a mom.  But I just needed a few minutes of being alone. To breathe.  A few minutes of refreshment. To regroup.  To collect thoughts.  To remember why I love being a mom.

My boys were playing wonderfully together in their room, and were even quiet.  I took the opportunity to call my best friend to chat.  We used to see each other all the time until 4 years ago. She moved north because of her husband's job.  Calling her was my breath of fresh air.  My opportunity to regroup.

It's amazing what chatting with a good friend can do.  God purposefully puts special people in our path to edify us.  Folks who are familiar with our station in life.  Individuals who know what its like to be in the trenches and have thrived, not just survived.  Those who can encourage us just by being there.    It's amazing how much better I felt after our conversation was finished.  I felt so good I went back to doing the dishes, washing laundry, and picking up after my blessings feeling much less overwhelmed.  Ahhhhhh!  Thanks for the chat, Heather. :) 

Monday, April 5, 2010

Happy Birthday!!!!!

On this day, six years ago, we were blessed to welcome our firstborn into the world! 
God has so richly blessed us with our Monkeyman.  He is a spirited, intelligent, inquisitive, tenacious, tree climbing,  sword wielding, running, karate-chopping, Jesus loving boy.  I am so blessed to be his mom.

We love you Monkster - more than you'll ever know.  We are so proud of all of your accomplishments.
We love how you love Jesus.
Happy Birthday number 6!  
It has gone by so fast. 

Friday, April 2, 2010

It's Friday... but Sunday's coming!!!!!!

Today we celebrate the ultimate sacrifice.  It seems odd sometimes to call it a celebration... Jesus was brutally beaten beyond recognition almost to the point of death.  Then, made to carry His own cross, He trudged up the hill to Calvary with you and me on His mind... loving us with every. single. step. 

Blessing this Good Friday... just remember -     SUNDAY'S COMING!!!!!