Currently… Avoiding Everything I’m Supposed To Be Doing

fullsizerreading: Exodus! Doing a 100 day challenge where we started in Genesis and are seeing how far we can get in the bible by reading and journaling about it everyday. I did read the new Stephanie Plum novel, and the Jack Reacher novel that the newest movie is based on over thanksgiving break. Those were so good!
watching: My kids??? Does that count?? I haven’t had time for much tv recently. I did catch up on NCIS last off days… I may be behind again though…  I want to start watching This Is Us, but again no time
eating: Lot’s of junk… We’ve had 3 parties in 3 days.. Two Christmas, and a birthday… Lots of sweets, lots of candy and soda, the boys had pizzookie tonight and will have it the next two nights (so many birthdays)… Nothing good
laughing about: something my kids have done or said…
loving: my job! My kids are awesome, and I just am so thankful I get to be a parent like figure for them…
researching: nothing… I don’t have time to research lol… I googled how much an iPod shuffle was for one of my boys.. And the other day I looked up the elephant sanctuaries in Thailand where you can go and hang out with elephants sign me up!
thinking: of my to-do list and how long it is… But let’s just avoid it some more with this blog :)… Really I just needed a little me time.
listening to: The sound of my fan… I should have turned on Christmas music while I was doing this…. Also I just finished this sermon series on my runs last week, it’s really good and I think something we all need to hear, so check it out!
planning: my week out… runs, parties, paperwork, sleep, errands, bible study, meetings, kids, youth group calendar… life is busy right now but good! And will slow down after this week!
sniffing: nothing!!
feeling: all the feels! Seriously!

Tidbit # I lost count

So I know I said I would post the tidbit’s I send out at work here.. But I’ve been a little behind the eight ball with it… So I’ll slowly but surely catch up.. Here is this weeks though!

“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:19-25

I wish I could just put the entire book of Hebrews in this tidbit, but that would be too long. So for those of you who have not read Hebrews, I challenge you to do it! It is a book all about who Jesus is and then what that means for us. It’s so good!

The above verses are kind of the shifting point in the book. Anytime you see a sentence that starts with the word therefore you should go back and see what it’s there for. This therefore is a big therefore in my opinion. I think it’s the writer taking a big breath after describing Jesus in depth and says because of everything I just said about who Jesus is this is what you should do.

Since I can’t put the whole book of Hebrews in this tidbit I’ll summarize a little of what the writer has said about Jesus. He starts out the book explaining that Jesus is his son, and is fully God. It states that Jesus is higher than everyone, or thing because it was created through Him. It talks about how God chose to speak through the prophets in the old days but in these days he chose to speak through His son. And because He chose to speak through his son, we better listen a little more carefully because Jesus is better than the prophets, better than Moses, and Joshua. Then he goes into how Jesus is a High Priest. And not a high priest from the line of Levi, but a high priest from a better order. It goes into how Jesus’ sacrifice was better than the rams and the bulls because those continually had to be offered for sins and Jesus’ sacrifice of his own body was once for all! The writer basically describes how Jesus is better in every respect than everything that has come before, and that the new covenant he established with his death and resurrection is so much better.

The writer says because of all that let us draw near to God with confidence, let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, and make sure we meet together and keep encouraging others.

So how do we do this? How do we practically live this out? I think we make sure we are spending time with the Lord, and when we pray we pray in confidence that He hears our prayers, and that He answers prayers. We remember that God is still in control, even when things seem like they are out of control, when things are so uncertain.

Instead of focusing on each other’s faults, or weaknesses, or the latest gossip, we focus on how to stir one another up to love and good works. Elsewhere in Hebrews it talks about how we should exhort one another every day, and that doesn’t leave much room for non-edifying talk. When we meet together let’s keep all the negativity out and lets focus on Jesus, and how to be more like him. Instead of tearing each other down let’s encourage each other.

My challenge this week is for us to pick two people a day and intentionally encourage them, or show them love, in some way. Whether you send an email, shoot a text, make a phone call, or say it face to face.

Jesus is better, so let’s strive to be like Him!

The Hard Moments

If you follow me on Instagram you see a lot of the fun moments, the crazy moments, the silly moments of my job. But you don’t see a lot of the hard moments. And believe me there are lots of hard moments. I’m not saying this to complain, but as a reminder to mostly myself that while it’s my job, its real life for my kids.

Parenting is a blessing. Parenting is hard. Parenting is fun. Parenting is exhilarating. Parenting is exhausting. It’s joyous, heart breaking. Every emotion can be used to describe parenting. And this last month I’ve felt every single one. There have been times of great fun, like Canadian Thanksgiving, playing outside, bedtime stories, etc. But there have also been moments where I felt like I was putting a band-aid on a bullet hole knowing more needed to be done but it was all I could do.

So what is there to do in those moments? In the nitty-gritty hard moments where there is no magic answer. When you see your kid beating themselves up because they keep making the same mistake, when your kid is aching for a love they don’t even know how to accept. When the disrespect is at an all time high and it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with their real families drama. What do you do?

It’s easy for me in these moments to lose hope a bit. Easy for me to start doubting my ability to do this job. Easy for me to give in to the lies of the devil. But God is bigger. Yes I have no idea what I’m doing in these moments most of the time. But I know that I have a God who does. I have a God who cares about these kids and knows every part of them. I have a God that I can go to in prayer and petition for these kids. I have a God who is going to use these hard moments for His glory and for His good!

Please join me in prayer for my kids, as the holidays are coming and emotions are running high. It’s a hard time for them and they are already feeling it.

 

Adults Throw Temper Tantrums Too

I’ve heard it said that the Lord uses your kids to teach you about Himself. I’ve always believed it just because people I’ve been close to have said it. But now I can believe it because it happened to me the other night.

I’ve kind of been in a funk with my relationship with the Lord lately and not been spending much time with him. As a result I’ve been down in the dumps, discontent, and really negative. A few days ago I reached bottom I guess you can say. I knew the Lord was patiently pursuing me, and waiting for me to repent, surrender and turn back to Him. And I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t turning back to Him. So of course I asked the Lord for help. To show me where my sin was, so I could turn away from it. And like always, He did, but He used one of my kids to do it.

On Saturday while one of my kids was in the midst of a fit they screamed “You guys don’t love me because you don’t let me do what I want, I never get to do what I want, You let all the others do whatever they want but I always get no answers!” My first thought was “I hate the devil.” I was thinking that because this kid, like so many in this generation, has a distorted view of love. They think that love is getting whatever they want regardless of their behavior. The devil just keeps on spinning that lie.

As I was thinking about that the Lord just knocked me to my knees. He brought me to the realization that I was acting toward Him just like my kid was acting toward me. I was mad at the Him because He wasn’t giving me the yes answer I wanted. And I threw a fit just like my kid. I stopped spending time with Him and started trying to fill the place in my heart that only He can fill with human things. I was exchanging the creator for the creation. Which only led to heartache and pain, which caused more anger at the Lord, just like the consequences my kid earned made her more mad at me.

What is there to do in that moment other than to repent, and praise Him answering prayers even when we don’t deserve it?

 

 

 

The story of tattoo #2

Since yesterday was the 6 year anniversary of getting my first tattoo I decided it was finally time to share the story of tattoo number 2. I have multiple blog drafts saved about this topic and haven’t been able to finish any of them… Why you ask? Well because the story of this tattoo involves a lot of hurt, and I just haven’t been able to share that hurt honestly and in a way that is edifying. But I think I can do it now… So here goes
11102625_10100562751508571_5011736061697326537_nThis tattoo is about five years in the making. I knew I wanted a tattoo on my left wrist but I couldn’t ever find a design that fit. I searched and searched, then would let go of the idea of getting one. Only to start searching again a few months later. I wanted it to encompass the two ways I try to live my life for the Lord. Love Deeply and Take Big Risks. Last November I finally found a picture of a tattoo I could get on board with. I sent it to Lydia and asked if she could draw it out with the changes I wanted. She did! So then started my waiting period. I always wait a few months after finding a design to see if I really want it. And this one stuck through those few months. So in March while I was in California for Normy’s bridal shower I got it.

Now you may be thinking man there isn’t any hurt in that story, minus the pain of getting the tattoo… And I would say you are right… But the story of this tattoo doesn’t end there. Where the hurt comes in is when I got back to Texas and the months that followed….

Many of you know I work at a Christian group home for kids from families in crisis. I am one of many teaching parents. We all love Jesus, but have different convictions, traditions, and things like that. Totally fine, the Holy Spirit guides us in our own. But we are to remain one as a body as it says in most of Paul’s Epistles. That idea is where the issue arose.

The night before I got my tattoo one of the married couple teaching parents that I worked closely with sent me a text stating their conviction against tattoos. I did not have a problem with receiving that text or the conversation we had following it about our different convictions. It was good dialog and stayed edifying for the most part. Having that conversation didn’t change my mind about getting the tattoo. I figured we would be able to stay unified as a body in Christ through our different convictions.

When I got back to Texas with my tattoo, there was major tension between this couple and I. And I wasn’t sure how to fix it. They did not approve of the decision I had made and it caused a rift in our team. I wanted to stay unified, but I wasn’t sure what that looked like, or how to do it on my part.

I had gotten called into managements office to discuss my tattoo, which was not against policy, but that had caused a rift in our team. They wanted to find a way to keep our team together for the kids in the cottages sake. And while this is what I wanted, I felt like I was the one being made to do everything to get rid of the rift. Granted I was the one who got the tattoo, but short of getting it removed I wasn’t sure how I could change the feelings of other people. So why was I the only one being asked to change anything?

I began to feel very hurt, and very bitter at the entire situation. I started to question whether I should have gotten the tattoo when I did. Maybe I should have waited. I found it hard to love my tattoo when it caused all this drama. I let bitterness have a foothold in my heart, and it took over. Especially when I realized I wasn’t going to be able to stay in the cottage. I threw a major fit in my heart. I didn’t want to leave that cottage, and I was mad at not getting my way. And I sat in this for way longer than I’d like to admit.

In the midst of my inner tantrum I chose to change cottages. Because despite what I felt I knew the Lord was working and leading. He was closing the door to being in the cottage whether I liked it or not and opening the door to work in the other cottage. I followed His leading, even though I was kicking and screaming the whole way.

Since switching cottages I’ve been trying to work on my attitude, on letting go of bitterness, on forgiving, and on trusting in the Lord’s plan. You see I am 100% sure that even if I hadn’t of gotten my tattoo I still wouldn’t be working in that cottage anymore. There were other issues within our team that would have torn it apart.

More importantly I know the Lord was leading me to this other cottage. I have seen traces of this throughout the summer working in there. None more clear than through the text I got two days ago stating that the couple who works in there is leaving. This cottage has been through so much change in staff in the past year that it breaks my heart. But I am so humbled that the Lord led me to that cottage to walk with these kids through yet another abandonment and to love them through it.

 

 

Lent 2015

As Ash Wednesday was approaching this year I was unsure what I was going to give up. Last year I gave up naps and it drew me closer to the Lord more than anything I had ever given up before. I knew this year I wanted something that would do the same thing. I wanted to do social media, but it wasn’t something that I was feeling led to do, I just knew I was wasting a lot of time on it for no reason and wanted to break my habit.

As I was praying about it and thinking on it a lot I realized I didn’t really feel “led” to give anything up. I thought it was strange. So I decided to give up social media. Then in a conversation with a co-worker about what we were giving up we decided to give up bread.

Today after celebrating Jesus’ resurrection at church I was hanging with the girls in the cottage and reflecting on what I learned through the season of Lent, and how giving up bread and social media drew me closer to the Lord. To be honest… They didn’t really… dun dun dun…. But here’s the thing… Through the last two months the Lord has been teaching me, growing me, and opening up so many good conversations with friends about Him.

Yes giving up social media made it easier to use my time during the days wisely, yes when I went through bread withdrawals I needed to rely on Him for strength, but that wasn’t what drew me closer to him. What drew me closer was the choice to spend time with him daily and to be in His word, and to read good books that fed me spiritually.

So as I look back I realize why I didn’t feel led to give anything up. Turns out it wasn’t strange. It was just that the Lord was using other ways to draw me to Himself. He was using other ways to grow me, challenge me, and allow me to fall deeper in love with Him.

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Learning to use my voice

I asked a friend the other day what my next blog post should be about. I ask this question to a lot of friends because I lack inspiration these days. The response I got this time was different from any other one before. This friend didn’t know I blogged and they didn’t know what I blogged about. So the topics they chose were all informational learning blogs… Which is not me at all. I don’t think I could write an informational learning post to save my life… Unless it’s about movie quotes just go to the category archive and click on movie quotes. Or ask my brother about our movie quote wars.

Anywho all that to say it got me thinking about why I blog. In the last four years or so of having my blog it has morphed a couple of times. I started it to keep people from Oregon and California updated on my life in Texas, the posts were few and far between with updates about life. Then I got into a blogging groove. I was blogging 3-5 times a week about I don’t even know what. Then in the last two years I’ve gone back to few and far between posts.

Reason why? I struggle to use my voice. I didn’t realize I had a voice until my advanced writing course in college. The conversation went something like this “But I don’t have a voice so I can’t write it out,” -me “Just write it out,” -my professor “But I don’t have a voice,” -me “Just write it out.” -my professor. Then that evening in my room staring at a blank word document the light bulb clicked. I had a voice, I was using it to tell her I didn’t have a voice, so I could use it to just write it out. There began my journey to learning how to use my voice.

But that’s just what it is… a journey… One that I’m still very far from the destination. Some days I’m better than others. So how does this relate to my blog? Well the year I was in my blogging groove? I wasn’t struggling to use my voice. I was doing really well. Then I let my insecurities take back over and I fell. I stopped using voice in real life and then it filtered in to my blog as well.

But I’m tired of letting the fears and insecurities win. Because in reality they’ve already lost thanks to Jesus’ death on the cross. So here is to a new year learning to use my voice and living in the victory of the cross.blog

 

 

Likeness of God

For the third year in a row I committed to reading through the Bible in a year. Last year I failed miserably at staying with the plan. But this I’m determined to stay with it this year. But with reading through I want to make sure I’m reading it as if for the first time. I want the Lord to reveal to me new things in his word. Things I’ve never seen before, or things I’ve seen but not realized the depth of. As I come across these things I want to share them with you all. So here is the first of many to come.

So as with a lot of read through the Bible in a year plans part of my readings started in Genesis. There are two things so far in Genesis that I want to share.

First is in Genesis 1, which is the creation account. What stuck out to me when reading this is when God comes to create humans he says “let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”

This is not news to me. I wrote my advanced writing paper in college about being made in the image of God and what that means. But what was news to me this time is that the text itself emphasizes this. Previous to this verse are verses about God creating all the animals. And it says he creates them after its kind. It says that about all of them. But then he comes to make humans and it’s not after their own kind. It’s after his kind. When something is repeating in scripture and then the pattern breaks usually you should pay attention to what it’s saying when the pattern breaks. The text is drawing emphasis to it. I’ve never noticed that before.

The second is in Chapter 3, the fall of man. We all know the story. The serpent comes to the woman tempting her to eat the forbidden fruit. But what he says is what stuck out to me. He says “You will surely not die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (italics added by me).

Wait a minute… The woman was already like God. She was made in His likeness. She forgets all about this. She trades the truth of being in His likeness for whatever fake likeness she will get from the fruit. The crazy thing is, to this day we are trading the truth of God for the lies of sin.

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Answered Prayers

This morning at church one of the missionaries we support gave the sermon. It took about maybe 2 minutes, if that, into his sermon for me to realize the Lord was speaking directly to me. He made slight mention to his main point and I knew what he was going to say and knew it was the Lord answering my prayers!

The back story:

Back when I was in high school I started spending time with the Lord daily. I would be super consistent until I could no longer “feel” the Lord right there with me. Then I would struggle and doubt and all that jazz. Then between my junior and senior year of high school I went to this month-long camp at Hume Lake called Caleb. We would have a quiet time every day. I struggled with “feeling” the Lord a lot during those times. We were studying Ephesians that month and one quiet time at Jenny Lake where we had backpacked to I came to Ephesians 2:6, where it talks about how we are raised and seated with Him in the heavenly places in Christ. And it just hit me that it didn’t matter if I could “feel” him or not I was seated with him already.

After that moment whenever I didn’t “feel” Him and that doubt would come I would go back to that verse and it wouldn’t matter anymore.

Flash forward to recently… I’ve been trying to get consistent with my quiet times again but have been struggling. I’ve been distracted, super tired, feeling fake during my times, and all the other excuses you can come up with. And because I know a bunch of these are excuses and I know that the enemy would rather me not spend time with the Lord, I’ve been taking these struggles to the Lord.

The sermon today was out of Exodus. When God first called Moses, he couldn’t come near and he had to remove his sandals. Then later on in Exodus what did he have to do to commune with God? He had to hike a mountain. It wasn’t just easy peasy. He had to put in the effort to hike the mountain to commune with God. But God was there ready to meet with Moses every single time he hiked up that mountain. The point the missionary was making is that our relationship with the Lord takes work. Spending time with him takes work. We have to be willing to put in that effort. God is faithful and meets us every time!

So all these struggles I’ve been having? I just need to persevere through and keep putting in the effort to commune with God. Because He is so worth it! And thank you Lord for hearing my prayers about my struggles and providing me with the answer!!

 

You’re the one who conquers giants

Awhile ago as I was driving home one night a song came on the radio and the Lord used it to knock my socks off. The chorus came on and I was bawling in the car and praising Jesus. I couldn’t not sing at the top of my lungs to Jesus while the tears streamed down my face. It was a moment that Jesus met me in the car.

The back story? I had been very bitter and angry for a good couple months. I refused to forgive and was having my own pity party. I finally realized the only person this pity party of un-forgiveness was hurting was myself. So I started to forgive, and live in that forgiveness a few weeks before this night in the car. Not by my own strength by any means, but with God’s help I was working on it, and choosing every day to live in forgiveness. Because of this I started sensing all sorts of spiritual warfare. The enemy was throwing lots and lots of arrows at me. Through that I started to worry and stress about things that looking back really didn’t matter.

It was in the midst of that worry and stress that the Lord met me in the car through this song. The chorus says:

You’re the one who conquers giants
You’re the one who calls out kings
You shut the mouths of lions
You tell the dead to breathe
You’re the one who walks through fire
You take the orphan’s hand
You are the one Messiah
You are I am
You are I am

All of a sudden, as this song chorus was playing and I was singing at the top of my lungs with tears rolling down my face, the worries and stress just melted away. My God is the one who conquers giants, this worry of mine doesn’t come close to a giant so He has it covered, I don’t need to worry. My God is the one who shuts the mouths of lions, my stress is not as big as a lion so He has it taken care of, I don’t need to stress.

My God is I AM!!