Monday, August 27, 2012

Moving Past our Devastation With God (Part 3)

This is Part Three of a Series on "Moving Past Our Devastation with God". If you wish to view Part One and Part Two click on the links.

"A healthy fear of God draws us toward Him. An unhealthy fear of God draws us away from Him. A healthy fear of God bows to His holiness and obeys His precepts but all the while is compelled like a magnet to the source of its fascination. It seeks Him like hidden treasure...To know the unknowable till faith turns to sight." -Beth Moore. After our devastation, I started to be afraid of God. I thought does He really care? Does He really see my tears and are they really recorded on a scroll? (Psalm 56). Was I being punished? Did I commit some unknown sin? Even though I wanted to shrink back, I still felt compelled to run to Him, to read the Psalms and to remind myself of His promises. I would come to a promise that seemed to make no sense in my situation and I would cry out to Him and He would tenderly answer me sometimes within minutes, other times within days.

"We're scared to live fully surrendered to God because we're afraid it will kill us. If only we understood that any part of us crucified in doing His will, becomes a hotbed of resurrection power. Where we die to self, the Spirit of Christ is raised in us...Two results of David's fear of God (2 Samuel 6:9-12) might suggest it had temporarily taken an unhealthy turn. He became unwilling (v. 10), and distant (v. 11). " I had tried to live a life of consistent obedience for over 13 years. I wanted to distance myself from God, but I couldn't. He was my best friend. He is the one I ran too when I had a problem. Even as hurt as I was and as unprotected that I felt, I knew I still needed to obey Him. I knew there were blessings to be found in forgiving a betrayal,  blessings in loving the unlovable, and blessings for praising Him and proclaiming His goodness even when I didn't get my way our situation.

"Likewise, when you and I grow unwilling and distant after devastation, even in subtle ways no one else would recognize, our healthy fear of the Lord has momentarily taken an unhealthy turn. God alone knows the number of people in full time ministry-pastors, missionaries, worship leaders, and counselors-who have suffered terrible trauma they never worked through with God. They may have remained in their vocations (after all, they often had no other training), but they withdrew their hearts from God and purposed simply to do their jobs." Let this not be said of us!

"With the news of God's favor and blessing on his neighbors and a brief passage of time to regroup, David became willing again and most anxious to have the ark-and God's most manifest presence-as close as possible. You know He is life to you and that a sense of His presence is the height of all human experience. " It is time to regroup. It is time to be willing to keep going with God. Fight the depression and fear that threaten your confidence in your Savior. Seek Him and find Him through His Word and prayer. Find a few prayer partners that can hold you up when you are weak. Do not gravitate towards people who let you stay in your devastation, but people who will remind you of the faithfulness of the Father.

May God bless you!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Moving Past Our Devastation With God (Part 2)

This is a series, so if you are interested in reading Part One, then click here. Again, I am giving quotes out of Anointed, Transformed, and Redeemed Bible study and then my own commentary of how I am learning to move past my devastation with God.

After experiencing devastation that I didn't think I would ever be able to handle, I questioned God a lot. I was offended by Him. I knew He could have stopped my son from making the choices he made. I knew that  God could have had me open the door quicker, or check the history of my child after he was on the internet. Why didn't He? Where was He? Why did He not answer my prayers of "Do what it takes" or "if they are sinning, let them get caught" before the consequences were so horrible? Why????????????!!!!!!!!!!!! I would scream it, cry it, and finally whimper it into my pillow, wet with tears. What do you do with that kind of pain? Some of you have lost a parent or a child. Some of you have been through divorce, your parents or your own. Some of you have had loved ones who are addicted to substances, porn or food. Some of you have unrepentant prodigals. Some of you have been spiritually abused by religious parents.

When you feel offended by God's choices do you distance yourself from Him? Do you stand back, withholding yourself almost like you are punishing Him? This is what the enemy wants us to do. Instead we have to PRESS in, obey when it doesn't make sense. Praise Him when it really is a SACRIFICE.

"Jesus is the essence of spiritual, mental, and emotional health. He is wholesomeness. He is healing. Even without all the answers to my questions, He is the answer to my life. He is my wandering soul's truest quest. I cannot imagine ever leaving His side, scarred for me, even when my heart is broken by something I think He could have stopped. Should have stopped. Even if I tried to back away, He will not budge from me." -Beth Moore.

In 2 Samuel 6:12, David was reminded that another man's household was blessed because he held the Ark of the Covenant. There were blessings to be had. The presence of the Lord is the blessing. God is good and He is faithful to us, before, during and after our devastation. Sometimes there is a bigger plan that we cannot see.

"We were assigned purpose and placed within a God-created system where no pain can come to us unless it serves that exact purpose. We need to know that the events we find so baffling don't mean God has forgotten about us or forsaken us. Perhaps, if we'd stretch our hearts and minds to perceive it, He has instead trusted us." -Beth Moore

The first time I heard this, my pain was so raw I wanted to slap the person who said it to me. Are you kidding me? I've been chosen for this? Thanks a lot, God. This is not what I had in mind for a ministry. I wanted a cushy Titus 2 ministry. I thought I would be spending my days encouraging wives and mothers to love their husbands and be faithful keepers of their home. Now it seems I am barely home enough to make dinner for my family, let alone clean my house. Our lives have been so interrupted with therapy, counseling and doctor appointments, I don't even have time to homeschool. That was my dream, Lord. To teach my children to walk with you, to shield them from the world until they had a good foundation.

My heart has healed a bit since then. I have seen that God is for us and not against us. I have seen Him root out sin and heal a heart so given over to shameful desires that the "secular" therapist can't even believe the changes they have seen in my son. God is in the business of healing and redeeming.

"David then went back for the ark and took every ounce of his shaken heart to the God he'd loved since childhood. A bruised heart that chooses to beat with a passion for God amid pulsing pain and confusion may just be the most expensive offering placed on the divine alter. He esteems yours as much as He esteemed His beloved David's."-Beth Moore

My heart was shaken to the core, but what is coming out of that heart are things that I have never known to be there. Strength, grace, mercy, love, forgiveness, compassion and love. I have been given a chance to live in the Spirit. To live strength to strength, to encourage others who can only see their devastation. My shaken heart has found out that I love Jesus more than I ever thought I could. As idols and fear were stripped away, I realized I really did trust Him, and "He will never let the righteous fall".

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Moving Past our Devastation With God (Part 1)

I have been studying 2 Samuel 6 in my Bible study, Anointed, Transformed and Redeemed by Kay Arthur, Priscilla Shirer and Beth Moore. If you have been devastated by life, you might find this to be helpful. The quotes are from the Bible study, whereas, my comments are not in quotes.

"Nothing has the capacity to cause more destruction in a believer's life than an occurrence that makes us question everything we thought we knew about God. A heart can shatter in so many pieces that we don't think even God could put it back together again." -I've wondered this many times, can God really put this family back together again? What will it look like? When will it happen? What time frame are we talking about, God?

"He longs to be gracious to us and restore us with His unwavering love."

"Every inch of ground we refuse to take with God, we surrender to the enemy. Satan has no greater agenda than to talk you and me into believing that God is not good after all." If he can convince us of this, he has rendered me impotent. I will live a powerless life. If God is not good and can't be trusted, what is the point of all this? I KNOW God is good, because I have experienced miraculous changes, provision, and comfort that could have only come from Him. I have seen a cycle of defeat and sin be broken in my oldest son's life. I am watching him love the Lord and experience true VICTORY over lust and pornography. I am seeing the power of God in Josh's life! He is refusing to give the enemy anymore ground.

When we are devastated, we need to have the freedom to pour out the toxic parts of our hearts to God. If we don't we will never reach the tenderness that God has towards us. "Our hearts need pouring out more than when they're filled with the toxic waters of bitterness. David, the psalmist, knew that the lifeblood of a relationship with God was constant and conscious openness to His love, His presence, and His restoration."

After Uzzah died (he reached out to steady the ark when the oxen stumbled), David was shocked, angry and afraid of God. David had two choices, "He could either sit down in the dirt, throw a handful on his head, and refuse to get up or he could pour his heart out, bawl his eyes out, catch his God-given breath, and cling to Him for dear life."

"At times in our lives we will have two options. Sometimes we arrive at a place where we can either lose or gain ground, but returning to life as it was before is no longer an option. Change has stormed the gate. We will decide over the days and months to come if it will be positive or negative and whether we will glorify God or, Lord help us, vilify Him. Beloved, God's ways will always be higher than ours, but we don't have to understand Him to settle the matter in our hearts that we can trust Him."

We can fail backward like Saul did, or we can fail forward like David.

(This is Part One of a series)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Hailey's "Little House On The Prairie" Party

 For my niece's fifth birthday, she asked if she could have a" Little House on the Prairie" party. My sister, Jackie, is all for themed parties. She is one of those mom's who loves to incorporate these things into her homeschool. She started reading all the Little House of the Prairie books to her kids and they came up with a bunch of fun ideas!
 Miss Lily Pie in a pretty pink frock. 
 The older girls had ringlets in their hair. They called them "Nellie" curls. Notice Ma's checked table cloth in the background.
 Jackie and I were thrilled when we put together these beautiful vases of fresh flowers. I thought the sunflower was the perfect touch.
 Remember when Laura and Mary made button necklaces for Carrie? We set up some craft stations, one of them was button bracelets. Jacob is putting his together.
 Jessica is putting together her paper patchwork. Jackie took everyone's patchwork square and turned it into a small quilt that Hailey could hang on her wall.
 Andrew was pretending to be Almonzo. Here he is grinding coffee beans with his Uncle Michael.
And the highlight of the party was when the pig's bladder was revealed! Yes, you read that right. In the book, after pig butchering time, they blew up the pig's bladder and kicked it around. Oh, you should have seen the commotion as my nephew, Josiah, started chasing the older girls around with it. You could hear the screams for miles!

What a fun day we had. Lots of memories made. So far Jackie and I have put on a WWII party, Civil War party, Revolutionary War party, German party, and a Samoan Luau. The next party she does  will be a WWI party for Josiah. I won't be able to make it but I can't wait to see the pictures.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Jessica's Spa

 The other day I was called into the bathroom by Jessica. Apparently, she decided to have a "spa day" with Lily. She looked so cute, I had to grab my camera!

 I bought Jessica some spongy curlers. We have had so much fun with them! Lily is also very patient and lets Jessica curl her hair with a curling iron.
 Their Nana Diana made them these beautiful old-fashioned nightgowns for Christmas.
Even though there is large age difference, I love how close they are. Lily adores Jessica and Jessica is very, very patient with Lily. They are blessed to have each other. There is nothing like a best friend in a sister.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Finished Product

 Here is the swing set in all it's glory! 
 Even adults have fun swinging on it!
 My dad had a great time swinging with Andrew.
What a blessing this has been to our family. Our children play and play and play outside now!

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