Friday, July 26, 2013

Are We Going To Fight This?

I am just one mom that has been affected by pornography. But according to these statistics, I know I am not alone.  I am so encouraged to see other people who's lives have been torn apart by this terrible epidemic, speaking out and warning others. This generation and the generations to come are going to be raised in this kind of world. Don't be afraid to face it. Don't think, "my kid would never look at porn". Please, please don't be that naive. Educate yourself so that if you stumble upon something your child has been viewing that is shocking, you will be able to come alongside your child and lead them towards healing and forgiveness.

Wake up CHURCH!!!

(On my sidebar there are several websites that you can turn to for help if you or a loved one is addicted to pornography. Check it out!)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Confessions of a Guilt-ridden Mother

The definition of guilt is a feeling that you have done something wrong or bad or let someone down, or the state of having broken a law.
  1. The state of having done a wrong or committed an offense; culpability, legal or ethical
  2. A painful feeling of self-reproach resulting from a belief that one has done something wrong or immoral
  3. Conduct that involves guilt; crime; sin
Wikipedia says “Guilt is an effective state in which one experiences conflict at having done something that one believes one should not have done (or conversely, having not done something one believes one should have done). It gives rise to a feeling which does not go away easily, driven by conscience".

I think women in general struggle constantly with guilt. I know I do. I wish it would go away. It tends to suck the joy out of my life. Today I decided to face some things I feel guilty for. Some are big, some are small, and I feel different levels of guilt for each one.

-I don’t pray enough for my family.

-I get angry and sin.

-I am not “quick to listen and slow to speak”. More often, I am already speaking before my kids even finish their request.

-I don’t play enough with my kids.

-I am impatient and expect perfection (even though I say I don’t).

-I am inconsistent with my discipline and seem to change the “rules” on my kids constantly.

-I sometimes feed my kids processed “convenience” foods. I don’t shop in the organic section much.

-I can’t serve in my church as much as I would like to.

-I lack faith in big and small areas. I wish I didn't get discouraged so quickly.

-I didn't spend much time in the classroom with my kids last year, even though I said I wanted to.

-I pick up after my kids constantly, because I don’t want the fight.

-I sometimes pretend I didn't hear the disrespectful look or tone because I just can’t deal with it right then.

-I warn and lecture, warn and lecture because I don’t want to follow through and discipline my kids.

Well, there you have it! Here is a very honest list. The problem is that many things on this list are generalized. True guilt is when you have done something specific wrong and the Holy Spirit reveals it to you.  The enemy, Satan, is the one who throws these kinds of lists of generalizations  in our faces and tries to get us to feel guilty so that he will discourage us and render us ineffective.

So if I go back and examine this list again, I will actually find that yes, I fail sometimes. I have a lot to work on. But that’s the key! I am working on some of these things. There are things that I have to do on this list that are out of my control, such as not being able to serve in my church or at the kid’s school. It’s a season and it will change someday. I can’t help it if organic food costs 2/3rds more than regular food. I am doing the best I can do grocery shopping on a tight food budget. 

Let’s go to the prayer thing. I pray every day for my kids. What is the deal  with feeling guilty about that? Is there some kind of magic number? No! I need to get over this perfectionist type of prayer. It isn’t godly and no matter how much I pray, God will allow trials to come into their lives and I have to remember that my children have such a thing called FREE WILL.

In truth, I am working constantly on my anger and impatience with the kids. It is a process and I am better this year than I was last year.

Yes, my faith is lacking sometimes, but then I look at where I am spiritually today from just a year and a half ago and I can see that I have had tremendous growth.  Refinement happens when you go through some big trials.

I was feeling guilty the other day over something. I was worshipping and felt the Holy Spirit stir within me. I confessed it immediately, confessed it again before taking communion (just to be sure God heard me), and I was still feeling guilty during the message. I kept asking God to take it away. By faith, I knew I was cleansed by the blood of Jesus, yet that twinge of guilt was still there. I got home and called my sister. I confessed my sin to her and she was able to counsel me. You know what she said? “Get over it! Move on!” I guess, I just needed that extra push because I hadn’t let go of it in my mind yet. I hadn't really accepted God's forgiveness. 

What are you feeling guilty over? Can you relate to anything on this list? Is your guilt generalized or specific? When you have identified some of these things, confess it to God! Stop trying to be a perfectionist (like me) and start walking in some freedom. 

Look at the good things you are doing! Are your children fed, clothed, and kissed and hugged? Are you imparting spiritual truths to them as you go about your day? Perfectionists can't see the forest for the trees. Focus and acknowledge the "right" things you do.

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me-put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."-Phillipians 4:8-9

Get over it and move on into effectiveness!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

How Quickly I Sink...

The only way I can describe how I've been feeling lately is through an entry in my journal.

Lord, help me to remember all I have learned.

"One day at a time."

"Easy Does it."

"I only have control over me."

"I am only responsible for my decisions."

"If God knows about it, then I don't have to worry about it."

I want to remember all You have done. I am so tired and worry, 'but You, O Lord, are the strength of my heart and my portion forever.'

Keep my eyes on the blessings. You are God and You are holy. You have our lives in Your hands. You have this, Lord.  You are watching my front and You are also watching my back. Strengthen my heart and help me in my weakness. Help me to not be afraid when disasters and inconveniences happen.

Help me to face my reality again. I am in a season of reconstruction of my family. It takes time.

Keep me away from self-pity. it only leads to discouragement and a lack of joy.

Your refuge and strength will always be mine. I pray for that today. Deliver me from my enemy who is too strong for me.

Psalm 77:19 says "Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were unseen. You led your people like a flock..."

God give me more faith. You are leading me through a raging sea, You are parting the way, one step at a time. I can't see You but your physical footprints are invisible, but the results can only be You. You continue to provide for us in amazing ways.

Lord, in Psalm 78:22, You were angry with Israel for not believing and trusting in Your deliverance. Help me to believe and trust You for ours.

Forgive me, Father, I had taken my eyes off of You and turned them upon my circumstances. Place my eyes back on the One who can deliver us. The One who always has our good in mind. The One who gives me VICTORY! Give me contentment and take away the struggle in my heart. Help me to not surrender to the circumstances, but to surrender to You.

How quickly I sink when I cease to trust You to work everything out for Your glory. I start feeling anxious, worried and I can't seem to stop crying. I felt like I was always on the verge of tears.. My spirit had moved from feeling strong to feeling so fragile that even small incidents sent me over the edge. I became angry, impatient, unkind, selfish and immature. The waves kept rolling over my head and I felt like I could barely catch my breath before another one hit.

I praise You, Father! I felt my self drowning and I didn't like it. I cried out to You, O God, first in my mind (while I was under the water) and then out loud when My heart finally bobbed up for a breath. You reached for me, longing for me to have the faith to walk on the water beside You. The second I started to trust You again, believing that You can do all things, I felt my body, spirit and mind being raised out of the deep waters. And if that was not enough,  Jesus, You let me feel the lightness of joy in my feet as I started to walk with You in the water that is ABOVE my circumstances.

My prayers is for You, O Lord, to help me stay there.

I love You and praise Your Holy Name. You are the Great Rescuer. Thank you...
I was reminded once again, just how quickly I can sink.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Rustic Vacation Part 2

 More antlers on the cabin.

 The kids are always flocking to my parent's camper. Nana has always has something yummy for them to snack on!

 This old homesteader's cabin is on the other side of the old road.

 One of the barns, you can see the low clouds on the mountains.

 An old milk can behind the cabin.

 The girls going over the "board" bridge.

 These girls never left each other's side. It was precious listening and watching them play. They are such good friends! They were constantly playing in the creek. I would just set up a chair and watch them. It was so relaxing sitting in the sun and vegging out!

 Here is the pretty little creek that had all the crawdads in it.

 There was this beautiful patch of lupin flowers across the creek. 

 The old school house won't last much longer. That front part was kind of scary when we peeked in. I loved imagining all the kids learning inside of it. I loved how the windows were strategically placed high, so the students wouldn't be able to look out. Smart! Wish I could have done that when I was homeschooling :)

Jackie and I had fun running around on the four-wheelers taking pictures of the scenery! Here she is taking another pictures. She is truly a gifted photography. Here is her blog if you are interested.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Rustic Vacation Part 1

 We were so blessed to be able to go up to a cabin on the edge of the woods. Each year we go, the more memories are made. My sister and I saw this old one-room school house and I got this shot of the teasel in front of the siding. Loved it!
 Nana got the kids each a fake mustache to wear around. It was so funny, because she even gave them to the girls. This one is my favorite because Jacob looks like his dad.
Papa enjoyed sitting on the porch, drinking his coffee.
I love some of the rustic touches of this place. Antlers are everywhere in this cabin! It is a definitely a man-cabin. Hasn't had a thorough cleaning in awhile. I prefer the tent. I KNOW what is in my tent!
A new activity this year was trapping crawdads. Josiah (my nephew) brought a crawdad trap. I think they caught up to eight of them! My kids had never seen one, so Josiah had to give them a lesson on holding them so they wouldn't get pinched.
My brother, Jerry and sis-in-law, Sonya, brought up their two little ones. It is so fun having all the cousins together! My brother rocks at putting up and tearing down my tent! It was pouring down rain when we got there, so we had to put it up fast this time.
Jackie (my twin), gave me some lessons with my camera. We have the same one, but she is way more into photography than me. I loved having the time to play around with some of the farm equipment that has been left to rot.
The first day was very raining. We had mud everywhere, which can be kind of fun when you have a four-wheeler! There are so many beautiful places to ride. I am in the process of thawing out my frozen shoulder, so I only took one really good, long ride. I was sooooo sore the next day, but it was worth it! I love riding four-wheelers, especially in pretty country.
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