Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Hope and strength found in the Lord

Last night was an awful night... Ryan was up a million times, and I slept terribly. (This is an ongoing issue.) So, first thing this morning I was tempted to complain and feel sorry for myself... but instead I begged God for grace to make it through the day.

I could hear Brandon stirring, so I went into his room to get him out of bed. He asked me to sit with him in the rocking chair, so we sat and sang a few praise & worship songs together...

"Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord...
Our God, You reign forever
Our HOPE, our strong deliverer..."
(Everlasting God by Chris Tomlin)


"I will wait for You, O Lord
Because You have filled my heart with joy
You lift me higher and higher
You're my one and only desire

"You put a new song in my mouth
A hymn of praise to You
All I want to do when I wake up
Is spend my day with YOU...
You put my feet on the rock, Lord
I'll put my trust in You..."
(Psalm 40 by Newsong)

Through worship, God is refreshing my spirit and helping me get my heart right! I determined not to complain—after all, how will I effectively teach Brandon to "do everything without arguing or complaining" (Phil. 2:14) if I am?? Then I prayed with Brandon, too... "Help Momma to 'be joyful always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances...' "

During the night, I felt pretty angry and bitter about still losing significant sleep after 4-1/2 months (since Ryan was born). I wondered, "Why is this happening? Is God punishing me? Does He get some sick pleasure out of seeing me suffer? No. Maybe He's trying to grow my character. Lord, couldn't there be a different way that's not so hard??" I considered a few other scenarios of trials that would cause character growth but seemed, somehow, less difficult than sleep deprivation... like persecution from a neighbor or something. Then I thought, "Yeah right! I'd be crying through any trial!"

I guess I realized I need to stop trying so hard to escape the trial, and let God do His work in me—to surrender my desire for a solid night's sleep and allow Him to show me His strength and tender mercy by carrying me through the day.

"Be JOYFUL always. PRAY continually. In all things GIVE THANKS, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
(1 Thes. 5:16-18)

This is what will help me abide in Christ all day long!

I also claimed Isaiah 26:3—

"He will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are SET on Him."

And Psalm 34:8b-9

"Oh the JOYS of those who trust in Him! Let the Lord's people show Him reverence, for those who honor Him will have ALL THEY NEED."

In the midst of my bitterness and despair, only God could give me hope and strength to make it today—and He is showing Himself faithful! Should I be surprised? (No!) :)

Sunday, February 24, 2008


My mom sent me this joke via email... and I find myself able to relate in a few ways!

An elderly man was grocery shopping with his grandson. The toddler was crying and at times screaming at the top of his lungs.

As the elderly gentleman walked up and down the aisles, people could hear him speaking in a soft voice...

"We are almost done, Albert... Try not to cry, Albert... Life will get better, Albert..."

As he approached the checkout stand, he gently brushed the toddler's tears from his eyes and said again, "Try not to cry, Albert... We'll be home soon, Albert..."

As he was paying the cashier, the toddler continued to cry and a young woman in line behind him said, "Sir, I think it's wonderful how sweet you're being to your little Grandson Albert."

The elderly gentleman smiled slightly, blinked his eyes a couple of times, and said "My grandson's name is John... I am Albert."

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy "Heart Day"

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 8:38-39)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Out of the mouths of babes...

Ever notice how kids have such an amazing memory? Well, I decided to take advantage of that fact and start imprinting some useful Scripture in Brandon's mind! We've been working on whining/fussing and tantrums, and last week I began reciting a Bible verse to him in effort to help get the point across. So as part of the training process, I been having Brandon repeat after me: "Do everything ... without ... arguing ... or ... complaining. Philippians ... 2:14." The first couple of times I explained to him that complaining was the same as having a tantrum.

Well two days ago, I was just sitting on the couch with my sons—Ryan in my arms, and Brandon next to me—and Brandon started saying, "Ev-fing" (everything)... so I started reciting the verse...

ME: "Do everything..."
BRANDON: "Ev-fing"
ME: "Without..."
BRANDON: "Fuh-out"
ME: "Arguing..."
BRANDON: "Ar-gwing"
ME: "Or..."
BRANDON: "Com-paining." [He remembered the next word was 'complaining' on his own!]
ME: "Philippians..."
BRANDON: "Fip-peens"
ME: "Two, fourteen"
BRANDON: "Two foh-teen."

Then a few hours later, I heard him talking to himself in the kitchen... "Ar-gwing oh com-paining. No fuss." Isn't that cool?! It's starting to sink in! Halleluiah! :)

Also, last night Brandon was sitting in the glider rocker in his room singing, "I Can Only Imagine" while Daddy was filming—we were both almost in tears, it was so precious. :)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Keep your head in the game

"Keep alert and pray. Otherwise temptation will overpower you. For though the spirit is willing enough, the body [the flesh] is weak." (Matthew 26:41)

For me, this verse ties in with yesterday's verse about being faithful. There is always the temptation to do something other than what we should! The temptation to be complacent or lazy, procrastinating. The temptation to complain, to be ungrateful. The temptation to be selfish. The temptation to live for entertaining ourselves (especially by viewing things that are not edifying and glorifying to God—not just porn, but media that promotes anything ungodly—gossip, materialism, impure actions, immodest dress, violence, etc.). Etc. Etc. Etc.

I love what the Life Application Bible Commentary says about this verse:

"Jesus used Peter's drowsiness to warn him to be spiritually vigilant against the temptation he would soon face. The way to overcome temptation is to stay alert and pray. This means being aware of the possibilities of temptation, sensitive to the subtleties, and resolved to fight courageously. Because temptation strikes where we are most vulnerable, we can't resist alone. Prayer is essential because God's strength can shore up our defenses and defeat Satan."

To me this shouts: KEEP YOUR HEAD IN THE GAME! You can't afford to doze off spiritually. You've gotta be checking in with God all the time—and relying on His strength to do what you should.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


"The master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful in handling this small amount; I will put you in charge of many things. Let's celebrate together!'" (Matthew 25:23)

I want to be faithful with what God has given me. I want to invest my talents and abilities in the Kingdom—serving in my church, in my home, my friends & neighbors, etc.—there is great joy and satisfaction found in using my "natural resources" for His purposes! I want to be faithful with the responsibilities He has given me—being a wife, being a mom, my health (eating & exercise), etc. I also want to be faithful with my time—how I use it—and the situations I get into—by making right choices.

This is no easy task! The "easiest" way I can see to be faithful with my life is to ask God what He wants me to do, and then do it! (Seems to me this directly relates to a person's life focus: am I living for me or am I living for God?)