Inadequate? Thank-you Jesus!

I heard a lady say recently in a bible study…with such honesty and transparency, which I treasure…I feel so inadequate.

I loved the bible study leader’s response and began thinking about the topic of inadequacy myself.

The bible study leader responded with the truth that we are all inadequate, and that we can be ok with that because God is fully adequate. If we were adequate, we would not need God.

My thoughts continued as I thought…we should thank God for our inadequacy.  He knows we are inadequate to do everything we are called to do.  We know…we feel it…we ARE inadequate.  So what?  So, we have joy in knowing that our fully adequate God gets to show up all the time in our life proving Himself to be everything we dreamed Him of being.  And we can learn to trust Him and love Him and believe Him more and more.  This sounds like a win-win situation to me 🙂

 

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What does whole look like?

This is a very serious post, not just a reflection, but a cry for God to work miracles.  A call to brothers and sisters in Christ to reflect with me and respond.  I am going to be more transparent about what I have recently written about…I sense that this is the time and place.

So often lately I have thought…what does a whole person look like, what does a whole marriage look like?  So often I have pursued that wholeness, through Scripture, through bible study, through prayer, through extra practical reading, through exercise, through healthy eating, and trying to think good, positive thoughts…but all the time wondering, can I achieve wholeness here on planet earth?

I think I have learned and continue to learn that we will always be broken here on earth…broken perhaps in clear ways and sometimes in ways we cannot even see.  I think Brian and I have realized over this past year–his return from a year deployed to Afghanistan and a quick move immediately upon return….and the following months we’ve been stationed here in a new place…Georgia…we were broken in ways we could not see and our marriage was broken in ways we could not see either..particularly from so much time apart…so much pressure and stress upon each of our shoulders, but I know the stress brings out the impurities that need to be refined…like silver and gold.   Often, I’ve felt like we’ve had a strong marriage.  My mind can return to many of the times and places I’ve felt that way.  There are so many moments.  But, there have been hard times too.  Right now, we are in the hardest place…the best way I can describe it is a PIT that we are stuck in.  I’m trying desperately to crawl out of this pit in any way I can…but my sweet husband is stuck and doesn’t want to crawl out with me or at all.  I think we can choose to focus on the good, or we can fix our minds on the bad–real bad and made up bad….and if we do that, everything deteriorates.  Crumbles.  Is Destroyed.  It reminds me of that verse that says the Enemy has come to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10).  I am also reminded that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, authorities, and powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12).

If you know my husband and love him (how could you not?) please call him or write him THIS week and let him know what an amazing man he is and what a wonderful wife he has 🙂  Please remind him of all the wonderful moments you’ve seen our family have.

I spoke of miracles for Christmas, but the miracle I was hoping for did not happen.  My prayer is more desperate than it has ever been…for God to save my marriage. My husband plans to serve me divorce papers next week.  He told me 3 months ago on September 30, one month into my master’s degree.  I was shocked, but that shock turned into a desperate call to fight for my marriage.  Now, I feel quite powerless to watch something I have delighted in and invested in crumble before my eyes after almost 11 years of marriage…and a family with 3 beautiful sweet kiddos severely impacted….simply with one other person saying “no more.”

My conclusion tonight is that a marriage can work if two broken people, who realize they are both broken and in need of Christ daily, come together to commit to, accept, love, and encourage one another through life no matter what, and who turn to the Word continually for guidance…it can work.  It does take two.  It does take commitment.  It does take humility.  It does take a tremendous amount of love that can only come from God.

I pray God’s love and power save my marriage and put us back on track focused on Truth and honoring our commitment to one another as well as help both of us remember all the GREAT THINGS HE HATH DONE for us and our family.  Part of that is recognizing all that He has done and truly being grateful and not entitled.  I KNOW IT IS WORTH IT.

Truly, though, I feel powerless to do anything but pray and believe that God will take care of everything.  This is the Lord’s battle. I have to trust in Him.  If it doesn’t work out, I know I must submit to His Will.  God is a gentleman and He does not force us to do His Will.

Pray with me tonight.  Tomorrow I go to celebrate a precious family member’s 90 years of life.  I am glad to be present to celebrate with her.  I am glad for a respite from the emptiness of my home and heart right now.  I have done all the projects I can possibly think of to do here!  I come home in a few days to a house full of my 3 precious kiddos after 9 days without them.  That is the longest time I’ve ever been away from my kids…and without my consent.

The only option when you have no choice is to surrender.

 

Rebuilding Walls…..

As I made my first meal yesterday in 4 weeks, I really couldn’t believe God’s overwhelming provision to us…the meals lasted a whole month.  I feel ready now to return to being a mommy and homemaker…just as the last meals are eaten.  Doesn’t God know our needs so perfectly?  His timing is beautiful.  Just a few days ago, little Emma decided to regress in sleep and cry for several days and nights…I felt like I had PTSD from Hannah….and prayed fervently for my peaceful baby to return.  She has returned, but still isn’t sleeping as well as she was at night.  I know sleep will come soon.  I am thankful my body has adjusted to less sleep now and that my head doesn’t hurt so much.

As Emma’s cries riveted the once peaceful home, I felt my stress level reach its peak.  Hannah had loose poo poo and was going constantly, Lew was struggling, Emma was screaming, and my head hurt from lack of sleep.  The Lord told me, “Be devoted in prayer, be watchful and thankful.”  He warned us it was an attack in several ways and that we needed to be prayer warriors and on alert.  We did our best, but the enemies darts did some damage.  As the walls came tumbling down, God showed us how to rebuild them—as Nehemiah went to rebuild the walls of his home, and Josiah read the scroll that was rediscovered with the Word of God engraved, the Lord showed us–knock down the idols in your hearts and read the Word continuously.  I realized it had been a few days since I had read the Word…and when I don’t read, I struggle.  Lewis and I talked about idols, both kids asked me yesterday to read the Word to them at separate times…and I tried to read the Word the past few days, even if I was falling asleep doing it.  I realized that even if I am not excited to do it, even if I don’t understand what I am reading, just reading the Word and being obedient makes a difference in my heart.  God’s Word is perfect.  It penetrates the heart and marrow.  It convicts.  This was powerful to me, because I crave understanding, but I realized, His Word doesn’t need my understanding, it just needs to be read.  God will help it make sense in due time.

God is giving us stronger minds and hearts for Him.  As Lewis finished up VBS this year (it was SO exciting seeing him do his first VBS as a big kid!!!), I noticed the theme said, “Kingdom Rock–Where Kids Stand Strong for God.”  I love how God ties events in our lives, with verses, to construct themes He’s working in our hearts…..how He brings the puzzle pieces together to form a big picture in our mind of what He wants us to focus on…

STAND STRONG FOR GOD.  Knock down those idols.  Read His Word.  Know the LIFE and POWER of His Resurrection.  God is the eternal Rock.  Stand Strong on this Rock.

Standing Firm…Our strong deliverer is IN ACTION!

This morning, as I listened at PWOC and prayed with other sweet ladies, I sensed God wanting me to stand firm.  There has been a lot of spiritual warfare going on lately in my heart and home and as I cried out for His help, Christ asked me to stand firm.  I pondered what “standing firm” meant, and taking each thought captive to Christ and standing firm in His Word came to mind.  He wanted me to guard my heart and mind from the enemy and refuse any ground to Him!  My identity in Christ flooded my mind and I rebuked much of the thoughts that have been coming into my head.  I can be depressed at the thoughts or simply rebuke them, saying, these are not my thoughts, these are the Enemy’s!  I learned once again, the importance of being a Warrior Princess for Christ—learning how to fight in a battle that seems and is too big for me, but not for my Savior.  It is wonderful for Christ to achieve victory for me when I am in those times of intense spiritual warfare.  I am asked to resist and stand firm. He literally does battle for me!  I am weak and He is strong, and I am called to RESIST!  And that takes a lot of strength in the midst of battle.  His strength is un-ending.

His blessings are being poured out–

I am delighted to see a PWOC study for this Spring that is exactly where I am headed spiritually: “To Live is Christ, to die gain.”  It is wonderful to have confirmation that I am headed the direction that God wants me to go spiritually.  There are so many verses, so many directions, many of them so wonderful, I am thankful for His direction and guidance and to hear His voice clearly, so I can pursue the path on which He wants me to be.

I am so thankful for this amazing time with my husband and family to adjust and settle in before his course begins.  It has been an incredible blessing for us.  He has been home often the past few months with an easy work schedule before we left and in-processing the past few weeks upon arrival….I cannot fathom what I would have done without him…God has poured out his blessing and grace to us and we are so thankful.  Brian starts his first graduate class tomorrow.  He is excited to begin “work” again.  Although, this job is going to be very different—he will have to read a lot of books!  Then he starts his ILE (intermediate level education) course the week after.  My heart feels settled and secure now.

I am thankful for so much.  I even had a chance to clean this beautiful home for the first time tonight!  I love the look and feel of a clean home 🙂  And I loved making smoothies with Brian and the kids afterwards!

I loved eating at a wonderful Korean restaurant here with Brian on our date night the other night.  We are trying to get as much time together as possible before this baby arrives 🙂  6 more months or so until he or she arrives!  We love our time together, but can’t wait to meet this little angel 🙂

I love seeing little Hannah blossom into a ‘little mommy.’  It has been my greatest delight.  She loves taking care of her babies, giving them baths, brushing their teeth, singing to them, reading them books, and rocking them to sleep.  Hannah is longing for a sister.  And buddy is longing for a brother…but would be happy with another sister too!

I love seeing Lewis’ heart get settled now.  He asks about his friends in Sandy Basin a lot..and wishes they could come visit, but he is making new friends and loves his new room, and new home.  I love seeing him grow in obedience and really take ownership and be so proud of himself when he listens and makes right choices.  He loves building others up right now and it is so precious to see.  We see strongholds that have been a battle for him for quite a while being demolished.  Prayer is so powerful–his prayers (he prayed on his own at the dinner table tonight to have a heart like Mary’s…so humble and obedient…) and our prayers for him…and THIS is Brian and my delight right now—to pray for strongholds in our children and our lives to be demolished.  God is so quick to answer such prayers!

WE ARE PRAISING GOD FOR HE IS OUR STRONG DELIVERER!!!!  WHILE WE STAND FIRM…HE IS IN ACTION, FIGHTING THAT BATTLE FOR US!!!

 

 

 

 

God Equips for BATTLE!!!

A very tangible and appropriate message at AWANAS yesterday that fortifies God’s message here often to me in the desert….much of it is about how to fight the spiritual battles that are so ever present and intense here.

Here is how Christ’s Warrior Princess fights her battles:

With the ARMOR OF GOD:

* The Belt of Truth

– Wrapped around our Waist, firm and secure, immovable, coming from the Word of God.

* The Breastplate of Righteousness

The Lord’s righteousness, that He bestows upon us, as we seek and follow Him, protecting our heart and lungs, our most precious, vital organs.

* Sandals of Peace

Our feet, guided by the Lord’s spirit of peace, spreading the gospel of peace wherever we go.

* Shield of Faith

The gift of faith that God gives us and develops in us will PROTECT us from the Enemy’s attacks.

* Helmet of Salvation

The crowning gift of God, so freely given from the sacrifice Jesus has already made for us…seals our names in the book of life and protects us from the Enemy’s attempts to have us live with him in hell for eternity.

* The victorious Sword of the Spirit: God’s Word

The only offensive weapon we have to fight the Enemy’s attacks.  We must memorize it and use it, as Christ did, when He was led into the desert, to counteract the lies the Enemy tells us all day long, every day.  It is POWERFUL and the Enemy always flees from the Word of God.  We must know it, to recognize the lies, and then proclaim it to make the Enemy flee.

God’s grace to me today…

The past few days I have not been feeling well, and this morning I woke up with a sore throat, aching body, and terrible headache.  It felt like the flu or step throat.  I was bedridden much of the day.  It seems I had gotten my monthly sickness, along with the kids this month.  But, this one was really tough.  I have been plagued by bad thought patterns here…my joy seems many times a distant memory.  It is a constant battle…and one that I have lost many days.  As I lay there on the couch today while my AWESOME husband took my son on adventures all morning, and my sweet Hannah walked on her little feet all around the house (she’s walking everywhere now!!!) singing the softest, most beautiful little songs..with the sweetest, most precious smiles….I couldn’t help but feel loved despite the physical pain.

It is hard to feel loved by the Father when so many things seem to be going wrong…when so many dreams seem to be going down the drain…and so many longings going unfulfilled.  This hasn’t been an easy duty station.  I often think back to our last duty station when joy seemed to come SO much easier.  I often think about what I did then vs. what I am doing now.  What changed?  Things are very different…and joy may not come easy right now, BUT, the Lord still wants me to be GROUNDED in Him, to be thankful in everything, joyful always, and to pray unceasingly.  That came much easier before.  But, here, I am learning to make a deliberate choice.  To make committments so that I don’t turn back.

As I lay in pain, I prayed, “God help me not feel sorry for myself again.  I can think of countless reasons to feel sorry for myself right now.  None of them keep my focus on YOU: your resurrection, your calling, your redemptive plan for all your children.  I want to be focused on You.  I want to do Your will, no matter what crazy circumstances seem to allow otherwise.  God, please help me start thanking you right now.”  As I thanked Him, I finally drifted off to sleep (I was in too much pain to get up and get tylenol…so going to sleep seemed like a good alternative until Brian got home).  I woke up again in pain, the onslaught of thoughts returned, and again, I prayed and thanked God.  This time I prayed “God, it is almost dinner time and I cannot imagine my sweet husband cooking dinner and watching our two little energizer bunnies at the same time…please heal me so I can GET UP and serve my family.”  I drifted off to sleep again and woke up to my sweet husband and little Hannah (who slept 4 hours, amazingly so!!!)…and feeling better already, I took the tylenol and felt even better.  I was able to make tonight’s dinner and tomorrow’s (just in case, right?).  I am SOOO blessed to receive really incredible healing in the same day (doesn’t happen often this way for me!) and so blessed by my sweet family.  Sooo many reasons to be thankful.  I am making a choice to be joyful always, pray unceasingly, and to give thanks in everything.  Anything other than that is darkness….and I have had my taste of darkness here….and it is terrible.

The Lord has told me often to walk in the light here.  I think, from my limited understanding, that He wants me to walk in the light of His fellowship and the fellowship of other believers….and I cannot have either if I choose to dwell in darkness…darkness of thought.  NO MATTER WHAT THE CIRCUMSTANCE!  (I can really come up with some good excuses as to why I should be grumpy!)

Praise God for His Sovereignty…Praise Him for His GOODNESS.  Give thanks to the Lord for He is GOOD!!!  Always!!!

Weeping Woman

I have really identified with the weeping woman a lot here in the desert (Luke 7:36-50).  I find myself coming before the Lord in tears nearly everytime I come before Him.  I cannot stop the tears.  I find myself often at an impass.  He is calling me to accept my circumstances and CHANGE.  He is refining me and testing me so much.  I fear I cannot pass any of His tests….All I can do right now is humble myself before the Almighty God.  I have prayed often for humility lately, knowing the prideful thoughts deep down inside me….and He is working so deeply in my heart…into places I don’t even know.  It is so painful. 

Each day is met with new spiritual attacks…and some old ones…but as I watched in Cinderalla last night with the kids (I love that story!!!)…she was attacked, persecuted, and humbled…she chose to be obedient, kind, trusting, and she didn’t have high expectations.  Our God will LAVISH us with dreams beyond our imaginations…but not if we demand it or expect it.  This hit home with me last night.  I see how high my expectations are…and how all my expectations and all my hope need to be continuously in the Lord…not people, and not my circumstance.  It is not going to be a walk in the park here…but it can be FULL OF JOY and FULL OF GRACE.  By the time we leave here, I hope to be leaning on Him and having all my joy come from obedience to Him….and no more unglorifying thoughts coming in between the two of us.

A faith unswerving

One of my favorite people, Mother Theresa, according to a book written about her- “Come Be My Light,” lived in darkness to lead those in darkness into light.  I have always been drawn to Mother Theresa–her work, her calling, her heart for Jesus.  God is showing me more and more to be faithful despite my feelings.  I am learning to not rest on my feelings that particular day or week…and simply know His commandments and obey them.  I know what is right.  Just because I may not “feel” particularly Godly one day…or “feel” His presence…doesn’t mean I should obey any less than on a day when His Spirit is enabling me.  I am learning to obey in that darkness that feels like an absence of His presence.  I know He will not forsake me and will never leave me.  I want to show Him my love for him no matter the feelings I have inside.  My heart is deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9), but His Word is EVERLASTING.

Holy Spirit’s Return

Some days I feel as though I don’t feel the Spirit’s guidance as much…and it always makes me sad.  I wonder why.  I wonder where He’s hiding 😉  I wonder when He’s coming back….I pray, pray, pray and repent and seek…I know that some days are just going to be like that.  However, today I realized that when I don’t feel His presence, or feel overwhelmed by sorrow or stuck in a rut of sin…the quickest way for me to feel His Spirit’s return are for me to do the following two things:

1) Speak God’s word over the areas/thoughts I am struggling in. (Memorize, speak, and Pray His Word)

–usually it is a thought pattern that I am getting stuck in and cannot seem to break…I need to find the verse that defeats the Enemy’s lie to me and speak TRUTH…and keep speaking that truth…until the lie goes away…sometimes the Enemy lingers because He thinks I’ll give up speaking the truth after a bit and start believing that lie again.

2) Make a right choice, regardless of my feelings.  (Obey His Word)

–I find that once I make a wrong choice, I get stuck in a cycle of making more wrong choices until I am feeling quite defeated.  Sometimes, the Enemy gets me stuck here by telling me to try to reason my way out of it…but the truth is, I use the wrong reason and draw the wrong conclusions and get stuck deeper and deeper into that cycle of wrong thinking (I usually reason by playing the blame game or trying to understand why I am doing something).  My husband advises me oftentimes with my son, “Don’t ask why, he doesn’t know why he did it!” Sometimes, we just don’t know why.  We can’t see the spiritual battle taking place…and asking why oftentimes leads us to draw the wrong conclusions in the moment when we are clouded with emotion. The Lord, in time, shows me the error in my thinking…but I simply cannot figure it out in the moment oftentimes.   The best thing I can do is cast it all away and make what I know to be a right choice based of the Word that I’ve read or memorized or know from past experiences and NOT from my feelings.

Would you know that once I do these two things (and the third below) and do it faithfully, the Spirit almost always returns?  He can see that I have passed the test and won’t give away to my flesh’s desires, but will choose Him, regardless of my feelings…and He energizes me once again.  Mind you, the Lord will not forsake me and will never leave me, but sometimes, I just cannot “feel” His presence.  And during these times, the two decisions I make above, as well as the one below, restore me to the Lord and being filled up by Him again.  This last one is similar to the first, but is a good one to do again after the Enemy is defeated to prevent Him from coming back.

3)  I fix my thoughts on heavenly things/uplifting things (Speaking/Thinking/Meditating/Praying His word):

–The last thing I do, in order to fill the hole (once those negative or frustrating thoughts leave, there is a hole to fill) that might be in my heart that day for some reason (only God’s Word can fill that hole, lest is be filled with something else that is never enough to bring lasting contentment), is to live out Philipians 4:8:

 “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.”

I ask the Lord to fill my thoughts and heart with things that uplift my spirit and things for which I need to be thankful.  I focus my heart on them and the wonderful feelings and words come back associated with those thoughts.  What a beautiful and helpful verse.  I am really starting to see the power of the spoken word and thoughts that lead to those words.  Words can have the power to destroy (remember the Enemy is listening to your words and can decipher his method of attack more easily from what you reveal to him through your words).  And words can have the power to uplift and heal.  These are OUR words!  Can you imagine what speaking God’s word can do?  Wow.  I am excited to put this plan into action more often.  It is a deliberate effort that I have to be reminded of again and again.  This is my part and I want to do my part!

I am learning out here in the desert, more than anything else, how to fight the spiritual battle.  Speaking God’s word out loud when attacked, memorizing it (storing up that good for the moments where it is needed), praying God’s word (saying His word back to Him), and using it to help other people in the moment’s God provides to teach, help, encourage, uplift, etc.  It is all about HIS WORD.  We must continually pray (for ourselves AND other Christians), with His word in mind/mouth, and use God’s word to fight this fight.  Remember:

10 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”  -Ephesians 6:10-18

 

1 Year Anniversary: The Battle

Our Battle is with the Enemy and We have the Sword of the Spirit
This past Thanksgiving was our one year anniversary of being in the desert here in California.  I reflected that morning about God’s purpose for me and our family here in the desert over the past year.   It has truly been a time of testing and refinement.  It has been a time where the Enemy has attacked.  It has been a time where we have been shown how much sin there is in our lives.  It has been humbling, challenging, lonely, and a BATTLE. 

If there is any one word I could use to describe this past year for us…it would be a BATTLE.  I have been battling making the right choices.  Parenting our son has been one long 3 year battle…(ok 2 year battle…).  I have questioned so much and God has clarified…but in a painstaking way!  Most of His answers to me have been to wait, surrender, or trust and obey.  He has shown me His hand to me in the past and how things would have been a little different if I would have made better choices in the past…but He is also showing me His amazing grace and redemption right now and for the future–that there truly is nothing that can separate me from His love.  God is stripping me of everything and rebuilding me from scratch.  He is teaching me some really important lessons here.  It is so painful! 

The Storm Wages, but His Grace triumphs and makes our steps graceful and smooth. He paves the Way.

BUT, where there is a battle…and if the Lord is involved…there is VICTORY!!!  This is the sweetest part of this past year.  God is giving me victory over so much sin in my life.  He is reforming my perception of so many things.  He is giving me glimpses of the future, but then testing me to wait.  I kept saying all day the past few days to Him, “I want to pass your tests!  You are going to help me pass your tests!”  I am so tired of falling prey to the Enemy.  I am so tired of his age old ploys to tempt me to be a slave to sin.  I don’t want to sin anymore.  I am so sick and tired of sinning!  I don’t want to be easily tempted.  I don’t want to be fickle or weak.  I want to be STRONG in Him.  I want to be lovely, vulnerable, delicate, graceful, and gentle and quiet…but STRONG!!!!!  This is my greatest desire right now.  I don’t care what test the Lord has for me right now.  I want to pass it.  I don’t want to complain.  I don’t want to have pity for myself.  I don’t want to think about all the “whys”, “if onlys” or “what ifs” anymore.  I want to be CONTENT in what He has for me right now.  I want to focus on Him and what He wants me to do RIGHT now.  He will help me with how to process the past (in good time) and how to plan the future (all the things that He has planned for me).  I know He is going to help me and carry me.  I know His love for me is unfathomable.  Now is the time to trust.  Now is the time to have faith.  Now is the time to be resolute.  No challenge that comes our way is going to take our eyes off our Savior…by His grace.  NOTHING can separate us from HIS LOVE.  NOTHING. 

He will go before me and pave the way.  He will make my steps graceful and resolute.  And when I cannot go any further, He will pick me up and carry me.  He is my King.

Be all your King has planned for you to be.   Trust in Him.  Hooah 🙂