Monday, April 29, 2013

For Every Season There is a Time... Part 1

I was blessed this weekend to be able to go see Beth Moore at a "Living Proof Live" event. Although I've been doing Beth Moore studies for probably around 10 years, it is exciting to see her in person. I feel like she is my personal Bible teacher and God has used her approach to studying Scripture to bring so much repairing and healing into my life. Her enthusiasm is contagious! She loves God so much and is passionate about getting women to study it and get excited about what God is doing in and through their lives.

I'm going to type up the mess of notes I made during the event. I've decided it is too much information for one post, so I will be breaking it up into three parts. I hope to be able to convey her main points and how I personally applied it to my life. My prayer is that you will find something in here that will jump off the page and God would speak to you as well. So here we go!

1. "Snap out of it, be alert and start believing!" This was an amazing Word God gave Travis, her worship leader. God used it to set the tone and helped me realize that I had stopped believing God in some areas of our situation.

2. The main theme was "time". She explained that in the Bible "time" doesn't go, "time" comes. "But when the time has fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons."-Galatians 4:4. This was truly a new concept as I feel like I am constantly losing time. I'm losing time with my children. I am losing time as I look in the mirror and see wrinkles and a few grey hairs! Time seems like it is going, but it is actually coming! We are not on a countdown, we are on a count up. What makes all the difference is that we are not running out of time, we are running toward something coming! That something that is coming is Jesus! 1 Peter 1:7 says , "These have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed."

3. She made the point that to exist in this world, we grapple with time. God has set eternity in our hearts. She did this amazing history lesson of how time was measured from the ancient times until now. It is amazing to see how as we approach the coming of Christ, the more obsessed people have become over time and time management. We feel like the clock is ticking and the sand is running out.

4. She landed on our main text which was Ecclesiastes 3:1-11. It is super-familiar to most of us who have been studying the Word of God, but I have never heard a lesson on it. As we read through this list, I want us to think about what "time" you might be in right now. There are 48 "times" or "seasons" to choose from!

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love a and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

What does the worker gain from his toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end."

I asked God to show me what season I was in right now. I felt like I was in three of these seasons, the first being , "A time to tear down and a time to build" (God allowed our family to be torn down to it's very foundation and is now building it back up His way and in His time).

"A time to weep and a time to laugh" (I am able to laugh again. I can laugh at the enemy knowing what "he meant for evil, turned into good. His plans to destroy our family and our children backfired so badly when we chose to follow God through the process of obedience, forgiveness and healing)

"A time to mourn and a time to dance" (as I learned to worship when our devastation first happened, I questioned every word I sang. Did I really believe it? Is God faithful? Is He good? The songs about ripped my heart out but even when I couldn't sing them because my heart was broken, in faith I sang them in my heart. I mourned and grieved. I questioned and railed. It helped me get to a deeper place of healing. Today, I can truly dance with joy before my Lord. I can praise Him for what He has done. It still hurts and things aren't resolved or completed (not by a long shot) but through His abundant provision and protection He has shown Himself to be faithful and good. I feel closer to God then I did before this happened. He honors my praises and loves to see His child dancing with joy after a season of grief.

For Part 2, click here

For Part 3, click here


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Husbands and Church Revisited...

Are you feeling discouraged because your husband doesn't seem to take an interest in church? Do you feel light years ahead of him spiritually? Maybe your husband is a believer but just doesn't seem to really make an effort. Are you waiting for him to take charge of the home and start being the spiritual leader that you have been dreaming about? Girlfriend, you are not alone!

David Murrow writes in his book Why Men Hate Church, "Women attend church in greater numbers than men. This is true all over the world, in nearly every branch of Christianity.... Women are more serious about their faith. They are much more likely than men to participate in the life of the church beyond Sunday morning worship services. They are also more likely to practice Christian disciplines such as prayer, discipleship, and evangelism."

He encourages us to do a few things that just might bring the men back to church. Here they are, Ladies!

1. Be willing to let your husband choose a church that meets his needs.

2. Allow him to gather with other men, without any women around.

3. Meet with other women to pray for your husbands (avoid complaining though).

4. Stop dragging your husband to church with you-Jesus never forced anyone to follow Him.

5. Be more real and less saintly and religious.

6. Do not serve in a ministry to which God does not call you-you may be taking the place God has assigned to a man.

7. Seek to be humble and compassionate, rather than demonstrating attitudes that belittle or come across as spiritually superior.

8. Don't hold back from following Jesus with your whole heart.

9. Give up your fantasy of what your husband will be like when God gets a hold of him, and start genuinely loving him and appreciating his strengths now.

10.  Teach your children to obey and honor their father, to serve Him, respect his advice. Mothers often turn their children's hearts away from their fathers because they don't understand how their actions are impacting the home. (Thanks Mindy, for this!)

Wow! I am so challenged by this. If you want to read my testimony called "Husbands and Church" click here. I can't believe how many of these things I have done or not done. We cannot give up hope, but we also need to face the fact that God has a plan for your husband. He knows what it takes, not you. The more we push and prod, the more they fight us and God and then our marriages suffer. It took years for me to figure this out. Younger women, don't panic and think, "if he doesn't believe then statistics say my children won't believe either." God is bigger than that!!!!

I am reading an amazing book by Nancy Meyer Sebastian called Spiritually Singles Moms. It is for anyone who has an unbelieving husband to the husband who is "just not into the church thing much". It is very honest and candid. She even talks about being jealous of her friends' "godly" husbands and how to answer your children when they ask about their father's spiritual beliefs. It is packed full of Scripture.

My hubby comes to church when he can. Sometimes he is up all night and wants to sleep when he gets home (he's a firefighter!). He used to force himself to come to church not because he wanted to, but because he knew I would be mad at him.

 He loves our new church and although he is not involved other than attending, I can tell that he is interested, and feels at home there. Even though it was extremely hard leaving our old church (due to some hard circumstances) God has blessed us immeasurably with a new church family.

I will appreciate when he comes and I will let go of the days when he chooses not to. My husband is in God's hands. I want him to come to worship out of his own will, not because he wants to please me.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

One Day at a Time

"To find Joy in this day, you must live within its boundaries. I knew what I was doing when I divided time into twenty-four-hour segments. I understand human frailty, and I know that you can bear the weight of only one day at a time. Do not worry about tomorrow or get stuck in the past. There is abundant Life in My Presence today." -Jesus Calling

I took a breather last weekend and met my twin Sis, Jackie at my mom's house. It was great to be able to spend our birthday weekend together. We shopped at thrift stores and found some great deals and watched Season 3 of "Downtown Abbey". It was so much fun!

The week before was a hard week. My son, Marcus, tore his ACL and popped a chunk of bone off with it. It happened on Easter. The next day, my Grandpa Fay, who is 91 years old, had an accident with his wagon and team of horses. He broke his neck, two bones in his back and six ribs. He tore a good chunk of his cheek off too. It was a miracle that he survived! He is up and walking around and back home in less than a week. Unbelievable! I haven't lost my granddaddy yet.

Marcus ended up having surgery last Thursday. It is a six month healing process. He is flat on his back with his leg up in a full leg brace. We have lots of physical therapy ahead of us. Not good news to someone who is already swamped with appointments.

I am learning some valuable lessons. Hold your plans loosely. Live one day at a time. I am also learning that I cannot control my circumstances in any way shape or form. I can't control people either. My husband or my children are responsible for their choices. How freeing! My job is to nurture, teach, love them and guide them. I am learning to not panic and get into flight or fight mode. I am learning to go with the flow more.

How do I do it? I am learning to enjoy the quiet moments of life. In between running kids here and there and everywhere, feeding my small army and going to appointment after appointment, I am learning to recognize a quiet moment when I see one. Turn off the radio. Breathe! Listen to His voice. Pray a problem through. I am taking a short walk when I can. I am enjoying His creation. My walks are in between two orchards that are in full bloom with blossoms from cherry trees! I pause and see the new bulbs that popped up in my flower garden.

I think of where I was a year ago. Living in frightening uncertainty surviving day to day with a torn and worn heart that I thought would never heal. Yet, I raised My Ebenezer Stone and cried out "Thus Far the Lord Has Helped me!"

Live one day at a time...
It's all I'm asked to do.
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