My Arrow

Too many times I have written or spoken about those “hard” moments of parenting my 5 year old. They truly are few and far between. It’s just in those moments though it feels so heavy and all consuming. But the majority of the time she is kind, compassionate, sensitive, hilarious, witty, and fun to be around. She is a gift and a precious soul and child of God. It is a privilege to be her mama. I wanted to share some things that happened this week with my sweet Sophie that have bolstered my spirit and encouraged me greatly.

Sophie and I were sitting outside while MK was napping. I was doing my bible study and she was coloring. We weren’t talking about anything and then she just started this conversation….

Sophie- I know some people don’t believe in God. I believe in God.

Me- Why do you believe in God?

Sophie- Because I WANT to believe and obey

Sophie-But daddy doesn’t believe. Why?

Me- Some people are blind, they just can’t see

Sophie- They just can’t see the Light of Jesus, but I see the Light of Jesus.
It’s the most important thing to believe mommy.

Sophie- Daddy isn’t doing the right thing because he doesn’t believe.

Me- A lot of people don’t believe. But instead of saying daddy is wrong and we are right, what should we do?

Sophie- Pray. I’m going to pray and it is going to happen just like that (she makes a snapping motion). God will make the people stop not believing mommy. One day He will.

Me- God loves us and one day yes, all people will know He is who He says He is. God sees your faith and belief in your daddy believing and it is a precious thing to Him. And to me.

I love these conversations with her. I don’t know what all she understands and what all her little heart is experiencing but Jesus knows and this little girl shows me what the “faith of a child” looks like.

“But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all. ” And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them.” Mark‬ ‭10:14-16‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Later that day we prayed for a friend who had a minor surgery and had some complications from it that had her in horrible pain. This women just lost her husband and is a widow caring for 4 young children. We were praying for her foot and her healing. Sophie knows she lost her husband and when we finished praying she asked if her husband was in heaven. I said yes. She said she was glad he was there with God. She then asked if people who don’t believe in God will go to heaven. (She has asked this before). I told her God is a loving and good Father, and we don’t know how His plan always works out but we know until a person’s final breath, they can still choose to turn to Him and repent and believe in Jesus Christ and then they will go to heaven. She said she hopes her daddy chooses to believe and she will pray until his last breath. She still loves him unconditionally and looks up to him and knows she has a wonderful daddy. His unbelief doesn’t change her love for him. And she also doesn’t shy away from speaking about God and asking her daddy questions. What a sweet picture of evangelism.

I never expected my greatest encourager in my unequally yoked marriage, besides the Lord, would be my 5 year old daughter. Her simplicity and faith and hope is so beautiful and encouraging and an amazing gift from my Abba Father. This little girl has a heart that is opening wide for Jesus I believe, and I can’t wait to see all that He will do in and through her. He is already ministering to ME through her. I pray she comes to know Jesus with a saving faith and continues to believe. Her middle name is Grace and He is certainly pouring it all over this family through her.

After we prayed she started singing “I’m in the Lords army, yes sir…”

She has started singing her own songs as well, just free flow making up words and singing them out. I video taped her doing it this week without her knowing while she was drawing on her big easel dry erase board. She was sitting there drawing and singing, I transcribed what she sang…

“Whoever don’t believe I want them to know that God is with them always
He’s here to protect us and to be with us everyday
He’s here to help us, he’s here to love us
He knows that He made everything
He know that humans are nice
But some of the person do not believe, do not believe
And that’s not fine with me
They have to know that God is around
They have to know that God is around

He wants us to be His sheep
He wants us to be a glory to God
He wants us to be a love for others
And if you do believe Oh Oh if you do believe
If you know that God is here
He knows that we’re with Him
And we know that He’s with us
And if you do know that you get it
He is the most powerfulest in the world

You got to believe that He is possible
If you don’t believe that’s not fine with me
Whenever He’s coming to help one another
He’s gonna come and help us everyday
He wants to know how much we love Him
He wants to love us so much today”

I do not “push” what I believe on her. I tell her what the Bible says and what Jesus did and I pray that the Holy Spirit will convict her and she will have faith in Him and a personal relationship with Him that backs up all that she sings and prays about now. I’m thankful God let’s her heart be open to the gospel and she is able to speak and sing about Him AND love her daddy and come to understand there are believers and non believers. Just as I am sensitive to how others speak about “them” (non believers) I pray she also will be able to shed light and love into the world, with compassion and grace, not condemnation and judgment. And pray. Oh let her be a prayer warrior for the lost!

It’s been a sweet week with this little arrow of mine. Thank you for letting me share how she is a daily encouragement and gift as she lives with compassion, sensitivity, and boldness.

“Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth.” Psalms‬ ‭127:4‬ ‭NASB‬‬

 

Boone

Today is my husband’s birthday. His presence in this world is a gift to me. I wanted to honor him today because I do not do it nearly enough. He will be the first to say it’s not needed, and that is just one of the hundreds of ways he amazes me. So many of the traits and qualities he has show humility and putting others first.

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;” Philippians‬ ‭2:3‬ ‭NASB‬.

My husband doesn’t believe in the Bible, yet he acts out and lives out what scripture says in many ways. That is a grace gift from God. God’s common grace poured out onto my husband. I believe my husband was made in the image of God and that truth doesn’t require him to believe in the God that created him. He bears his image because he is His! He is loved by God just as I am. Just as we all are. I pray that one day these many attributes my husband displays will truly be reflections of the Light of Christ in him. He is not going to want any of this recognition but I write about my life and what God is teaching me and this man is a big part of that and I believe it is okay to publicly show appreciation to him and thank God for him today.

Back to this sweet man and the many ways he loves me and our girls so well. We are in an unequally yoked marriage. But my husband didn’t bail. He didn’t say “okay that’s enough you crazy holy roller, I’m out”. He doesn’t try to change my views. He engages me in conversation to try to help me see what he believes and asks me to ponder, research, and consider but he doesn’t do that in a way that is a detriment to our relationship. He supports me and my beliefs in many different ways because he loves me. He loves every part of me. Even the part he doesn’t understand or agree with. That is commitment. That is unconditional love. He came to my baptism and  he gifted me with a cross necklace that day. He has gotten to know my “church” friends and continues to be open to meeting them and being around them. He has even become friends with some of them and serves them and gives his time to them when a need arises. When we first started dating I remember one thing I noticed about him was that he wasn’t just kind to me, he was kind to my friends and family as well. That continues to this day. On random Saturday mornings he will go to Kristy Kreme with SG and get a few 6 packs of donuts and deliver them to various homes. Some of the people he delivers them to are my friends from church. He loves “my people” as he calls them because he loves me! It brings tears to my eyes just typing that.

He works so hard. His work ethic is strong and he enjoys his labor throughout the day. He feels the need to provide for his family and does that beyond what is required. He is passionate about his work and that drives him to be involved in so many areas and parts of his work community. He wants to contribute and do above and beyond what he is asked for the betterment of his colleagues and students and community. Valentines of 2016 he gave me an amazing gift. Even though he doesn’t completely understand I think, my desire to stay home with my children full time, he came to a place where he wanted to honor me and let me stay home. I was staying home with them during the day but was working nights and weekends. He saw the value of me being home at night and on the weekend and what working those hours was doing to me physically. So he made a way for me to stay home full time. Which meant he worked more. He picked up extra classes and continues to work diligently for his family. On top of that, he shows me grace when I haven’t always done my best to help keep us on a tight budget to help with this transition. The Lord is working on that in me, showing me ways I can help him out more and honor this gift he has given me.

He is compassionate and wants to see the viewpoint of others even if he doesn’t agree or understand. He has opened my eyes to areas I have been judgmental and haven’t seen things from others’ viewpoints. He is passionate about social injustices that have happened in our history and continue to affect and shape our view today. He has pushed himself to see that his status and privilege in life isn’t the reality for everyone. He continues to learn and educate and support the efforts to make available opportunities for everyone.

He loves our girls. So perfectly. He is calm with them. He plays and make them laugh and laugh. Daddy is the fun one. He is protective of them. And I know he will love them in the same way he does me in regards to whatever their beliefs become. Our oldest already has conversations with her daddy about his views on God and he is patient and understanding and doesn’t take offense or get frustrated. He pushes her and questions her but in a way that gets her to think, not trying to sway her one way or another. He loved our youngest MK from the moment he set eyes on her and never sees her as his “adopted” daughter. He never tells anyone that part of her story unless it comes up naturally or is someone that was there with us from the beginning. There are several events in the community that reach out to and support parents licensed with our local DSS, one of them is a baseball day. We went this past year with some friends but when we were told to go to the booth and get a free gift that was for all foster/adoptive families he declined. He said we don’t receive “prizes” for having our oldest daughter so he doesn’t want to be rewarded for having MK as a daughter just because she is adopted. He knows she is his daughter, not for praise or special treatment, but his prize is his beautiful child that shares his birthday. I believe support and help is absolutely okay in the foster/adoptive community but I do love my husband’s view on the issue and appreciate his love for her that transcends how she physically came to be with us. His heart continues to be opened to future adoptions, seeing the need, and putting aside selfishness. Again our reasons come from two different starting points but I am so thankful he shares in (and sometimes is even more open to it!) my desire to take care of orphans.

My husband has to live with three women. Enough said right?? On top of that I have a worldview different from his. On top of that I struggle with control and not keeping my mouth shut enough. On top of that I write about our life and share it with others and minister to other women in unequally yoked marriages. On top of that I am very involved with my church and have bible studies I’m in and Lifegroup and other ways I serve. On top of that, I messed up in a lot of ways in the beginning of our marriage before I was saved. Through all of it he forgives me, loves me, supports me, encourages me, showers me, makes me feel adored, grows with me, is dedicated to me, challenges me, and demonstrates love as an action not just a word. I am amazed and blessed and cannot believe he is the husband I get. Some of you reading this know him and love him for his tie-dye and Boone Dip and silly words, and Clemson orange pride, and his crazy math tricks, and his generosity and his Jagerbombs and his happy head-butts, and his bald head, and his musical talents on the drums and his karaoke skills. Others of you only know him because you know me and you know about our situation and marriage because of what I write and you know how much he loves me and how much our marriage is a testament to restoration and redemption and a sovereign God with a sovereign plan. All of you I hope will celebrate this man with me today and thank God for who he is in my life. Besides my salvation, he is the greatest gift in my life. You are loved Mr. Boone and I am so privileged to be your bride. Happy Birthday!

Garland of Grace

“Prize her, and she will exalt you; She will honor you if you embrace her. “She will place on your head a garland of grace; She will present you with a crown of beauty.”Proverbs‬ ‭4:8-9‬ ‭NASB‬‬‬

During my HOUR of uninterrupted quiet time at a retreat I went to recently, (what a gift to a mom of two littles!),  I found myself in front of the verse above. I couldn’t get away from it and continued to search it more and more. As a mom, as a wife, as a human being, doesn’t that sound enticing?? This garland of grace.

God gives us a garland of grace which is His wisdom. Wisdom found when we fill our hearts with His Word.

He gives grace to answer the hard questions. He gives grace to get up when we fail. He gives us grace to teach, instruct, and encourage our children and those around us we influence.

His garland of grace gives me wisdom in those moments when I’m not sure what to do when navigating parenting with my husband who is not a believer. Our world views are different. That can make it tricky BUT not impossible when parenting. So how does that work? It works by God’s grace. It works by seeking God’s wisdom. It works by being convicted from His Word and repenting when I totally let my pride and selfishness take over. It works by filling my head and heart with the Word of God, which became flesh, and revealed to us the magnificence and glory of our Creator. I can breath in the breath of life with each verse I read, with each truth I believe, and with each step forward in my faith as I trust Him and act on it. The “what would Jesus do” bracelets don’t quite get to the heart of what I need in those moment. Instead of what would Jesus do I need to remind myself who Jesus is. The way. The truth. The life. My redeemer who made a way for me to go to God and beg Him for understanding. His crown of thorns enabled, produced, secured, and guaranteed my garland of grace.

What ever it is you are struggling with, and can we admit, we are ALL struggling with something. Whatever it is… are you a single mom, do you not have a spiritual leader in your home, do you have a child who has turned away, do you have a difficult relationship to navigate, are you not sure how to disciple another women? Whatever it is, hold on to the garland of grace we are given as we look to His Word for our answer. Our answer isn’t a 3 step process, it isn’t a checklist, it isn’t bullet points on a page, it isn’t a detailed outline of how to exactly handle every situation. Our answer is searching the active and alive Word of God to seek His wisdom, His person, His nature, His characteristics, His grace, His mercy, His truths, so that the Holy Spirit can move in our hearts to CHANGE US in those moments when it’s hard. To GROW US in those moments when we hit a wall. To ENCOURAGE US when we feel we don’t have the strength to do this. This garland of grace is walking with God, washing our hearts and our minds in His Word, in such a way that our decisions we make are aligned with His will of humble service. This wisdom we are to be searching for like gold, we will find those nuggets and they’ll stay with us so in those moments when we don’t know what to do this garland of grace will help us. What we have discovered in His Word, what we have meditated on in our hearts, what we have let change us and shape us and mold us, that is what is going to help. Not just an article on “10 ways to be a better Mom…”. Not a checklist of do’s and don’ts. It’s knowing what to do because it is the Lord’s will.

“But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, That shines brighter and brighter until the full day.”Proverbs‬ ‭4:18‬ ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Just as we are continually being sanctified, this wisdom grows in us until we will be FULLY glorified, in the presence of and worshipping our Savior. As He leads us on this path of righteousness and we search and live out His Word, it becomes more and more of who we are and how our heart responds to those around us.

That’s the kind of wisdom I want and that’s the kind of wisdom I need. Proverbs tells us that when we treat her like a treasure, when we treat her like a precision gift, we will receive her. The death and resurrection of Jesus for our sins is what enables us to go anywhere near this. We are able to be in God’s presence, we are able to hold His Word, to read it and to understand it and to see His love for us and have our love for him grow. That crown of thorns allowed for this to happen and that crown of thorns has led to us to be able to wear this sweet beautiful, powerful, helpful, needed, life changing, garland of grace given by His wisdom.

Christ gives His bride this crown of beauty to wear, as our lives bear fruit of the gospel, and as we live out His story through our testimonies and our sanctification.

“My son, if you will receive my words And treasure my commandments within you, Make your ear attentive to wisdom, Incline your heart to understanding; For if you cry for discernment, Lift your voice for understanding; If you seek her as silver And search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will discern the fear of the LORD And discover the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.”Proverbs‬ ‭2:1-6‬ ‭NASB‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Proverbs 2 tells us to receive it, treasure it, be attentive, cry for it, seek it, search for it, and we WILL discern the fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God for the Lord gives wisdom.

Father we are crying out to you asking us to open up your Word in a mighty way. Help us to see in each moment of our day how we can be your humble servant, how we can pursue wisdom and righteousness by dying to ourselves and letting your wisdom and love take hold of each situation we face. Let us never take for granted how the cross enabled us to receive this garland of grace so that we can follow you, lay our lives down at your feet, and live out our salvation in such a way that is worthy of the calling you have set before us. Your grace is the only way we can do that. Help us to recall your Word, to receive and believe your love and mercy, and to walk in obedience throughout our day. Lord help us to keep our perspective and our gaze on you, not on us, not on our inconveniences, not on our story but on YOUR story and YOUR work and YOUR plan and YOUR sovereignty that we can trust. Help us to receive it, treasure it, be attentive to it, cry for it, seek it and search for it. In Jesus name we pray, AMEN.

The beginning of wisdom is: Acquire wisdom; And with all your acquiring, get understanding. “Prize her, and she will exalt you; She will honor you if you embrace her.”Proverbs‬ ‭4:7-8‬ ‭NASB‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Hope

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.”Proverbs‬ ‭3:5-6‬ ‭NASB‬‬‬‬

I continue to see ways God is leading me and “making my paths straight” as I discern how to live as a Christian with my unbelieving husband and how to raise our daughter with different beliefs guiding us. It truly has been amazing seeing prayers being answered and seeing the truth of God’s Word unfold before my very eyes. It helps me to BELIEVE and grow my trust because God is showing me how His Word is always the answer. That prayer is always the way when I am lost in the middle of a struggle or temptation. That Jesus Christ is not just my example but my Savior and always where my gaze should be as the Holy Spirit sanctifies my heart through this perfect Word of God.

A lot I said there in theory, now let me share with you specifics because this is so good and I pray it helps you see God working in your own life, every day with every thing He IS working. I often times hear people say “that’s a God thing” or after a specific “good” blessing I’ll hear “God is working”. Those are true but God is ALWAYS working. Not getting what you thought you wanted is God working. Being in the middle of a heart wrenching trial is God working. Yes, the blessings and sweet times are God working also but I believe He is always working because He is sovereign and He is omnipresent and so He can’t be separated out of the events of our lives in any way.

“For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” Romans‬ ‭11:36‬ ‭NASB‬‬.

Our hope is in Christ, who never changes and never goes away. So no matter the circumstance we are always in the middle of a blessing because God is always with us. He is always working it out for our good, we just might not see it yet in our terms and our limited viewpoint.

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;” Romans‬ ‭8:28-29‬ ‭NASB‬‬‬

Okay, back to specifics. I have continually prayed for God to grow my desire for Him through His Word. That He would help me to understand and grow in love and knowledge. The fruit of that being so I would get to know my God and love Him more but also that when asked by my husband I would be able to articulate the gospel and the surrounding narrative of the Old Testament. ‭

“but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;”1 Peter‬ ‭3:15‬ ‭NASB‬‬

God has delivered and given me an appetite for the Old Testament starting last year and I LOVE seeing Jesus Christ all throughout the Old Testament and the immense love God has for us. Recently my husband thought it would be fun to give me a quiz that came up on his Facebook about Biblical knowledge. He wanted to see what I know. It was so fun! He read all 40 questions to me and as I was answering each one, a lot pertaining to the Old Testament, I was realizing this sweet gift. My husband was surprised at what I knew. He said “wow, you really know this stuff”. Now the point of that isn’t head knowledge, please don’t look at it that way, the point is that my husband was seeing that my belief and faith comes from my own belief not what someone else told me. He thinks most Christians only believe what they are told by their parents or what others tell them. He was seeing that I have read the Bible, studied it, and found great value and truth in it that helps reinforce my belief and my relationship with my Savior because it is THE Word of God. That is an answered prayer. My husband is an atheist yet he spent 30+ minutes asking questions from this quiz, reading parts of God’s Word in the questions, hearing the answers and learning things he didn’t know, and it was his idea (actually God’s idea!). Sometimes I don’t know when and how and how much to speak to my husband about the Bible and my relationship with God. This time it was handed to me on a silver platter. God continues to deliver moments like this.

Another time when this happened was during a struggle; this was a hard one. Our daughter was being disobedient in an area that we are just stuck in, bedtime. It seemed we were over this hurdle and now it is back. Praise God it is! Because in this struggle one particular night I was coming undone. I had to walk away and tears were flowing. My husband came in and sat down and closed the door so it was just the two of us. We began a conversation discussing how to handle her and discipline her. I just wanted to be on the same page and really wanted my husband to tell me what to do. In the middle of our conversation I said “Fathers (or mothers in my case) do not provoke your children to anger”. Then I just kept saying more “ train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it”. I said a few more “be anxious for nothing…” I was opening my mouth and God’s Word was coming out. My husband said, “that sounds like pretty good advice, where are you getting those from?” I told him the Bible. He asked which men wrote those and I told him Solomon wrote Proverbs 22:6 and I am in the middle of reading 1 Samuel and started talking to him about what I was learning about Solomon and his wisdom. Since we were talking about discipline he started asking where in the Bible it says parents should “hit” their kids. I talked about the passages about the “rod” and others. This led to him asking me about “stoning” and isn’t that what the Old Testament was full of. Now here is where it gets good…I was able to talk to him about the Old Testament law and the purpose of it to show us that we can’t obey and that Christ came to fulfill perfectly the law for us since we cannot. He took every “stoning” or other punishment we deserved for the sins and disobedience we displayed. Now two years ago I would not have been able to speak to my husband about the correlations of the Old Testament and the New Testament but this night I was able to. I was able to speak with conviction because God has shown me as I have studied His Word. Also in speaking this to Boone it spoke to my heart as well. When I said the words “We can’t obey, it isn’t possible for our flesh to perfectly obey” Boone’s eyebrow raised and he got an “I told you so” look on his face. As soon as the words came out of my mouth I knew. YES! I need to remember this in the middle of Sophie struggling with her obedience. Why do I forget that??!! It was just so cool to have my husband there with me in that moment, as he was able to see something God was doing in my own heart to minister to me in that moment which was delivered by a conversation with my husband about Old Testament law. God is making a way for my husband to see what I need from God’s Word to help me in those moments when I am tempted to be anxious. I just can’t tell you how thankful I am for my daughter’s tantrum now!!!!! I pray I remember in every hard and uncomfortable moment that God is working. I may not always see the fruit of it as quickly as I did that night but that shouldn’t change my belief that it is all working together for my good.

One of the biggest struggles in an unequally yoked marriage is not being able to share with your spouse THE most important thing in your life. The excitement of understanding and studying God’s Word, the sanctification of your heart, the personal and life giving relationship with Jesus Christ, the HOPE and PEACE that surpasses ALL comprehension, and not being able to know they are your brother or sister in Christ. But all of that being said, can you see how God is giving me and showing me that the limitation in this is mine. He doesn’t put limits on my marriage. He made a way for my husband to talk with me about God’s Word. He made a way for me to speak to my husband about how God is working in my heart. He made it possible for us to use scripture when discussing a parenting issue with our daughter. Praise God that He is so much greater than I, that He is sovereign and in control, that He is continuing to turn my marriage into a miracle, a fruit bearing testament to the TRUTH and POWER of God’s Word. Christ died for this. He died so that I would come alive through Him. He died so that I could abide in Him and He in me so that there would be fruit that would GLORIFY GOD. I think about His death on the cross for my sin in that moment with my daughter. My anger and frustration and anxiousness rising. But then He rose from that death, from that grave, so that I could be made new and no longer a slave to that sin. All of this happening with my husband by my side, not separate from me.

My husband doesn’t believe Jesus did that powerful work. He doesn’t believe God exists. He doesn’t believe God’s Word is true and perfect and infallible. My hope isn’t in my husband’s belief. My hope is in Jesus Christ who made a way for me to have these moments, these gifts from God. My hope is in eternity where I will be surrounded by God’s glory in a way that eclipes the glimpses of it I get to see in my marriage and makes them pale in comparison. My hope is in a God who loves me and will and has done EVERYTHING for my good. All of this lets me rest. God knows the desire of my heart, because it is His desire as well, that my husband would be saved. My marriage is a reminder to me that NOTHING is impossible and God will work and do things I can’t even imagine or see coming to bring about His perfect will and His purposes.

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.” Philippians‬ ‭4:4-5‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Let us REJOICE in everything and always be in a posture of thanksgiving for the joy we have in knowing Him, our Abba Father. The Lord is near! In whatever you are in the middle of He is there. His Word is there to teach you and train you and encourage you in the difficult moments and so that others can hear of this hope you have!

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter‬ ‭1:3-5‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Open It

“On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?””
‭‭Mark‬ ‭4:35-41‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I’ve read this passage in the Bible, loved this passage, quoted this passage, memorized part of it, but recently saw it in a whole new light. I love that aspect of the Holy Spirit, that He illuminates His Word which reaches us on a deeper level and sheds light in a new way to our understanding of Christ and our relationship with Him.

At first, the main part of this I zeroed in on was “Peace, Be still!” or another translation “Hush, be still.” Knowing the powerful and mighty attribute of Jesus that allows Him to command the sea was my focus. If He can do that He can do anything! Knowing I need to believe that He can calm anything raging in me or in the world. Knowing that if Christ is in my boat, I will be okay. Yet, I didn’t look past what happened after the sea calmed.

But NOW I have a new favorite part of this verse that has made me get this knowledge from my head to my heart in a much deeper and meaningful way….verse 35 says, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” That seemingly simply statement from Christ jolted my heart in a whole new way when I read it. It is not simply that Jesus can calm a sea, it isn’t simply that we should have faith He can do that, it isn’t simply that we should be comforted and at peace when Jesus is in our boat, it is that when Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior of our lives says He is going to do something, all aspects of our faith should rest in that.

If He says we are going to the other side then we are going.

If anything comes to us in the middle of the sea, that shouldn’t change our faith on the fixed goal of what Christ said He will do. It is another example of why we should be studying and reading God’s Word as a whole and in context, not just pulling out verse 39, ‘Peace, be still!”. There is great power in verse 39 and there is a wonderful picture of who Christ is in verse 39, but for me that knowledge goes deeper when in context of verse 35 at the beginning of this scene and after the storm. Mark 5:1,  “They came to the other side of the sea… ” – They arrived!

Do you see? Do you see why it is important to open the Bible, to study it, to read it, as a whole. Yes there are times that just knowing Christ can calm anything that rages around us is a comfort to me, the Holy Spirit can use that verse for sure in my life. But I rejoice greatly that the Holy Spirit grows my knowledge and understanding by illuminating another layer to this well known miracle. That leads to a stronger view of who Christ is which leads to a growing relationship with Him which leads to a deeper faith which leads to movement in sanctification, ALL by His grace ALL leading to the glory of God on display!

The application of this verse is now much more significant for me as well. Do you live in a spiritually unequal marriage? Do you impatiently tell God that you’ve had enough and want to jump out of the boat and swim to the shore by yourself? Or do you stand firm in the middle of it praising God for Jesus in the boat with you. The shore is coming. Do you struggle with parenting your children? Are you trying to stick your weak, feeble arms out of the boat and paddle your children to the shore yourself? Or can you rest in the fact that the only one who can save them is Christ, not you. The shore is coming. Do you suffer from anxiety and fear because you cannot control the _____ (insert the trial you are going through here)  and that scares you? Do you try to hold an umbrella up over yourself and cower and tremble in the storm? Or do you see your hope is in Christ alone who has asked you to step out into the light and trust Him. The shore is coming. NOTHING will stop what Christ is going to do in our lives. NOTHING can separate you from the glory and eternity that is coming. He simply asks us to trust that.

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans‬ ‭8:38-39‬ ‭ESV‬‬.

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians‬ ‭1:6‬ ‭ESV‬‬.

“do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭ESV‬‬
This miracle in Mark can hold the weight of these other verses. The shore is coming, we are getting to the other side because Jesus says we are. So we can believe He will complete it, we can believe nothing can separate us, and we can believe the peace of God will guard us.

The more this happens in His Word the more work God is doing in my heart. So I MUST open His Word, we must! Do you see why? Do you see the work He can do when we study the living, breathing Word of God? Do you see how it is active and alive and the Holy Spirit works mighty wonders when we fix our eyes and our minds on these glorious words? The more the Holy Spirit illuminates scripture for me, like what happened in Mark, the more my appetite will grow, the more the Word will conform me, the more I will fall in love with my Savior, again ALL by the grace of God. This book is about God. This book shows us who He is, how much He loves us and the hope we can have in our Savior. This book is the most incredible gift anyone can receive. Open it, tear it wide open with more anticipation than Christmas morning or any other pretty thing wrapped in a bow. Take refuge in Him by opening and studying the gift He has given us.

“Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭30:5‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Decision

I had a decision to make tonight. I have been putting it off all week, assuming as the day drew nearer I could make a decision. This wasn’t a big deal, no major crisis, no one would really care either way what I decided. I had been invited to two different gatherings on the same night. So I had to decide which one I would go to. At first I was just trying to decided on which to attend. One was a girls night, some at-home shopping at a friends’s house. The other was a dinner with those from a ministry I’m involved in. Both inviting, both I wanted to attend. I mentioned it to my husband, that I had two things going on Thursday night and I had to choose one. Mid week I still just couldn’t make a decision, I wanted to spend time with all of the people involved and didn’t know how to pick which group. The night before I realized there was a third option; stay home with my family. I know that was God showing me I needed to put my family first tonight. As the day progressed, the decision was being made, yes, I will stay home with my family. Now this is not to say there is anything wrong with a girl’s night or a night of spurring each other on with a dinner and encouragement. There have been nights that I of course have done those things and there will be more in the future. What is so cool is that God steered me in the way I should go. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. Psalm 32:8. Up to this point I was thinking about what I would miss out on if I didn’t attend one of the gatherings but now I was looking forward to that chosen time with my family, and let me tell you the fruit of my decision was bountiful!

We have been going through an intense time of teaching boundaries and discipline with our daughter as she pushes back and struggles with obedience. Progress is being made and my husband and I are working together (the snow days gave us some extra time of full days of parenting together which was good!) and I just saw that staying home tonight would help since I have to go back to work for three nights in a row starting tomorrow. I texted my husband at 3:00 today that I would be staying home tonight and told him what was on the menu for dinner. He replied back with a smiley face 🙂 Just that simple little gesture reassured me I had made the right decision. It meant something to him that I made a choice to stay home. When my husband got home SG set the table and dinner was served. Right before I sat down SG said “mommy can we pray first and can I say the prayer?” Now she has prayed before. She prays at night or after we’ve had a moment that needed forgiveness, and sometimes when I ask she will pray at dinner but she never has asked to say the prayer at dinner on her own. She reached for my hand and her daddy’s hand and started her prayer “Dear God, thank you for this wonderful day, thank you for this family dinner, and thank you for my mommy and daddy, in Jesus name, Amen.” Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Psalm 127:3 That moment right there was worth every contraction or labor pain times a million. My husband looked at me and asked if she always prays like that. I told him she does pray but has never asked to do it at dinner without my prompting. He told her that was a really sweet prayer. Usually when he is home for dinner I say it really quickly with her before he is in the room or we don’t say it at all. I think SG may have just changed that.

She then asked if we could turn the lights off and light the candles so we could not only have a family dinner but a “candlelit family dinner”. So we did. We proceeded to the living room after dinner for ice cream and games. I asked my husband how much work he had to do tonight and what did he need to get done and he replied “I’m not doing any work tonight”. I believe he was honoring my decision, my choice, to stay home when I could have had a night away, by making his own choice to put work away and savor this sweet time we were having. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3:14. My home was in perfect harmony tonight. Each one of us loved the other well. God showed me to put my family first tonight and His mercies and gifts showered us the rest of the evening. SG bowed her head to God in thanksgiving and sweet blessings flowed from that. My husband, by God’s grace, saw the importance of a puzzle and games over TV in the background or work.

God works like this every day. This was a beautiful picture tonight but He also reminded me that there are moments that aren’t this beautiful that are still filled with His mercies and that we are to Rejoice always! May I remember to rejoice always even in the disobedience, because it brings me closer to seeing my own disobedience and a closer relationship with the Lord. Rejoice always even when the boundaries are pushed because I see her as my little arrow then and the gifts and strengths God will use in her future to bring Him glory. Rejoice always even when I wonder if I am teaching her enough to prepare her for the battles and decisions she will face in the future because tonight she showed me it is sinking in, she is hearing me and she CHOSE to thank God tonight, in front of her daddy and it hit a sweet spot with him.

Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed and overflowing with gratitude. Colossians 2:6-7 I am overflowing with gratitude for the union I have with Christ, that rock, that firm root that allows me to abide in Him which results in being able to make a decision that seemed to be small and not important but that was part of God’s plan to pour love on us tonight and draw me closer to Him and bring him much glory. Praise God!

Favor from the Lord

God has brought His Word to life for me today in such a specific way. I want to share with you how last month He convicted me, led me to obedience, blessed that obedience and then reassured me in His Word today that He is in control. I am overcome with His goodness. I just spent time, after this great teaching happened, laughing and crying. Tears were streaming but I was also joyously laughing at the amazing love God pours on me. He truly is love. Grace and love and power are just a few of His attributes I was able to see today. He is always all of these things.

Let’s start with last month when I was convicted that I really needed to tread carefully in how I was speaking to my husband about his work. It was a “tear down vs. build up” lesson that God has been teaching me and spotlighting this year. The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down. Proverbs 14:1. I decided, by God’s leading, that I would no longer mention or coerce or give my (negative) opinion on the amount of time and energy he gave to work. It used to look like this, “You are taking on too much. You are doing things that you don’t have to do. You are bringing your work home and never really being present, etc…” No change happened. Is that a surprise to anyone? I had preconceived notions of what I thought his time at home should look like and how he should manage his time and what and when he should do what and when. Those of you that know my planning and over planning tendencies can see this being an accurate depiction right?? So my new way, God’s way to speak to my husband about work is this, “Thank you for working so hard for us. Thank you for going above and beyond to provide for us. I appreciate all the many things you do for this family.” About two weeks ago I purposefully started speaking these words of truth to build him up instead of the negative words of destruction. We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor,(or husband in this case), for his good, to build him up. Romans 15:1-2. Now wait for it. Change happened! Most importantly in me, not my husband, but yes there was change in him also.

First, I began to see that my husband is under so much pressure. He is teaching several classes,  he is the director of a new department, he is on several committees, and on top of all that he is a student getting his doctorate. He takes on all this to provide for us and takes on extra volunteer responsibilities at work on committees and such to establish himself among his peers and bosses. So much pressure. He needs no more from me. After my speech changed, he changed. He was so intentional about getting little projects done around the house. He redid my entire bathroom after it had been sitting with a hole in the drywall for a year. Now it is finished and beautiful and he even added special personal touches hanging on the wall. For three days in a row now he has come home, eaten dinner with us, and not taken his computer out of his bag once. No answering emails or texts. He has been home with us, playing, being a family. God can change my husband’s heart. The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it whenever He will. Proverbs 21:1. On this same note, last month God reminded me that He can use my husband to change me. God can use him to sanctify me. My husband isn’t a believer, but God is still my God and he is my husband and His design for our marriage is the same as anyone else. The above verse reminds me of that. God can change my husband’s heart and in this case He changed it in response to my changing attitude. God is so good!

Now here comes the part that I was overcome by. I am doing a bible study and the section I did today was called Building Up or Tearing Down. The very lesson I had  received earlier in the month from God, I was now reading about and every scripture I was now reading was confirming the work God had done. The scriptures that I am referring to today are all from this study and they all applied to my situation that happened earlier in the month. God’s timing is spot on perfect, every time. He knows what we need, when we need it and He sure does write an amazing story in our lives!! The verse that I read that immediately caused the tears and joy filled laughing was Proverbs 18:22 – He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord. When I read that word favor, I realized God is doing a good thing in my husband. He is doing an amazing work in our marriage. Every good work He is doing, every promise He is keeping, every conviction of my sin, every time He works and softens my heart in obedience is preparing us to bear much fruit in our marriage and that will glorify God and that is what all of this is for! God is the ONLY way our marriage is working and thriving. My husband doesn’t believe in God. The gravity of that hits me sometimes but then, like today, I am reminded of the power of God that is greater and more powerful than anything and my God is working on my husband. I love being able to see that. I pray that our marriage is already glorifying God by his great power and grace and anticipate how much even more so it will bear fruit when my husband knows and loves God and Jesus Christ as his savior. His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence. 2 Peter 1:3. Most importantly this marriage, what God is doing in my heart, how He convicts me and uses my marriage is preparing me for the day I am with my Lord, my King, for eternity. My eyes are lifted to that truth. That, above all else, is what matters.

Our Banner

The word “banner” has been placed in front of me twice in one day. I have started over reading the bible chronologically and am reading Exodus. Last night I came to the story of the battle against Amalek.

So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose men for us and go out, fight against Amalek. Tomorrow I will station myself on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought against Amalek; and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. So it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands were heavy. Then they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it; and Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other. Thus his hands were steady until the sun set. So Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write this in a book as a memorial and recite it to Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.” Moses built an altar and named it The LORD is My Banner; Exodus‬ ‭17‬:‭9-15‬.

My study bible points out that Moses holding his hands up was a symbol of appeal to God for help and enablement. And the “banner”, recalling Moses’s petition with upraised hands.

Friends, some of you have hands that are getting heavy, growing weary, as you are holding your arms up, displaying God’s banner as you cry out to him for deliverance. Deliverances with trials of health, marriage issues, parenting concerns, depression, addiction, day to day weight of the world. Some of us have been doing so for years, some not as long. There will be seasons we grow tired, BUT God! Just as he delivered Aaron and Hur to Moses we can support each other as we walk side by side in this battle. He has given us a community, He has given us mentors, and most importantly He has given us His Word to guide us in truth! We can encourage and testify to the power of God in defense of His people, just as the Israelites did, led by Moses. We can help hold the hands up of those growing weary at the trial or phase of life they are in. For me, I can be tempted to grow weary in my spiritually unequal marriage. By God’s grace He is enabling my faith to grow stronger and my weariness to grow less.

I write often, so that I can remember ALL that God is doing DAILY! Just as Moses was commanded to “write this in a memorial and recite it to Joseph”, I want to write and memorialize God’s faithfulness. My flesh, my sin nature, can so easily forget. I can complain and grumble just as the Israelites did so often, right after God delivered in a big way. That is why I MUST write it all down.

If I keep my focus on God and not my circumstances I can see blessings upon blessings, I can see daily answered prayers and deliverances, I can see refining in myself and forgiveness by God on my road to sanctification. Those are all the things I want to memorialize.

A friend, a godly mentor, has a prison ministry. He sent me a message recounting his latest visit and that he was moved to the “red unit”, the worst of the worst where they send all the gang members from the other prisons in the state. He was anxious on his first visit in that unit and said “as I walked in the main area there, it was loud, demonic, people crying out in cursing, loud banging and echoing all around. I sat on a plastic chair and opened my bible to Romans and began seeking our God in His word.When my anxious thoughts multiply within me Your consolations delight my soul. I ask our Lord for His sword in remembrance through His Spirit.” After that he had encounters with different men where God’s Word pierced their soul. God provides our protection in EVERY situation by the sword of His Spirit. The second “banner” message I got was at the end of his email to me..

“The Lord has cause my heart to established a banner in His name, and of this I will declare, There is no power of man, nor is their any who can alter nor refute the power and might of His gospel, through the blood and the word of His only Son.” He didn’t know I was reading Exodus and the very same night I read that story of the Amalek battle I got his email.

I am excited to see all that this message of “The Lord is my Banner” will produce in my life. I want to encourage you that when your hands get tired and weary, waiting for the battle to end, waiting for our spouse’s eyes to be open, waiting for “it”to get easier waiting for whatever we feel will make it better, the only TRUE thing we KNOW that needs to lead our life is Christ. We don’t have to wait for that, we already have it!! Sometimes I feel like the waiting defines us. The unequally yoked marriage defines us. The balancing act we have to be ever so aware of defines us. But only if we let it!!

Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew‬ ‭11‬:‭29-30‬. I want my identity to be in Christ ALONE.  Our circumstances do not define us. The saving work Christ did on the cross to bring us into God’s graces defines us. We are children of the King!!

Respectable Sin

Oh friends, I just have to share what happened yesterday. So much so that SG is on the couch watching a movie so I can have this time to write! So let’s see if I can get this done before the movie is over…

I decided to try out the Killing Sin Worksheet from the Well conference that my LG leader shared with me since I wasn’t able to attend. I wasn’t sure what sin I was going to write down until I sat down and prayed about it and God began to open my eyes to an area I wasn’t even focusing on. I wrote “I need to put to death the sin of belittling my husband and second guessing his work and parenting decision.” Then, it happened. The floodgates opened from His Word and God laid out a step by step plan of how He was going to conquer this sin in me. It is so good, HE is so good. The passages He used to convict me and even the order of how I read them was a perfect plan of how to accomplish this. Amazing!

First I read Proverbs 21:23, one of the first scriptures I memorized, He who guards His mouth and his tongue, guards his soul from trouble. After my confession my soul WAS troubled. It was deeply torn apart about what I was doing to my husband under the guise of “helping” him. I wasn’t helping, I was tearing him down each time I gave “advice” or my opinion that came from a prideful spirit and not a humble spirit. I wasn’t speaking harshly or out of anger so I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong. But God!!! He opened my eyes to this sin that I commit with my mouth and reminded me to guard it closely and for me it boils down to… listen more, talk less.

The second verse was Ephesians 4:29 – Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment so that it will give grace to those who hear. I know this verse well too, but this time when I read it I was reminded of how God had cleansed unwholesome words from my mouth before. I used to have a filthy mouth. A vulgar, dirty, mouth. Once God brought me to salvation that was a big change He did in me. Those words are no longer a part of my vocabulary, they don’t even come to my mind and when I hear them at work they make me cringe. Most people at work try to be respectful of me and not say things around me but I still hear it every day. The fact that they are offensive to me now just shows the POWERFUL cleansing God can do and will do in ALL areas we give to him. So the way I was speaking to my husband when we talked about his work or issues with our daughter was not edifying and were not necessarily needed for the moment. But God!!! He can and will cleanse me from that. So step two in the plan is ask myself, are these words needed in this moment and to ask God to remove all the words from my mouth that are not good for my husband just as He removed all of the filthy words from my mouth I used to say.

Verse three is 1 Peter 3:1 – In the same way you wives be submissive to your own husband so that even if any of them are disobedient to the Word, they may be won without a word, by the behavior of their wives. The Holy Spirit is so powerful, because I again, knew this verse well but yesterday was shown a whole new part of the word “submissive”. I need to be submissive minute by minute, not just in the big decisions. I need to be submissive about all aspects of our marriage by my attitude of humility. I wanted to be submissive except in the areas I felt I was better. Pride. Oh the damage pride can do in a heart. I was being rebellious, the opposite of submissive. I thought I was being submissive because I wasn’t badgering him about our spiritual differences. I wasn’t trying to change him, so I thought. But around every corner I was there to second guess his decision and let him know all I thought about what he SHOULD be doing instead. How he made a sandwich, how he fed the dog, how he dressed SG, his relationship with his boss, his relationship with his students, when he should be on his computer, when the TV should be on, what he left in the car, what he forgot to do, so many things I point out to him about what I think he needs to do differently. The biggest area I can show my submission to my husband is how I speak to him and support his decisions and when it is time for me to help in a decision or give some insight it HAS to be done prayerfully and with God guiding my words, not letting my flesh guide me and spitting out all that I want to say.

The last verse Proverbs 31:10-12 – An excellent wife who can find: For her worth is far above jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, And he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life. THIS is the sweet promise I received yesterday. If I follow God’s plan He has promised that my husband will have “no lack of gain”. And that I will do him “good and not evil all the days of my life”. I thought this was my desire before, I thought I was living that out, but I was so off the mark. I thank God for giving me this new desire. I WANT to do my husband good and not evil. I WANT him to have no lack of gain and God has opened my eyes on how to do that, truly. I have often described my husband as the best unbeliever there is. He supports me in many ways that a lot of husbands don’t in spiritually unequal marriages. That is a gift from God. But even though I say our marriage is good I think I am really thinking, “it is good enough”. For the situation I am in it is good enough. In spite of our spiritual differences it is good enough. Compared to others in my situation who have it a lot worse, it is good enough. But God!!! Yesterday after confessing sin, asking him for nothing except forgiveness what He gave me was a promise of MORE! He has so much more for my marriage than just “good”. If I follow His plan He has shown me that He has something far greater waiting for me and my husband. What a loving God we have. When I thought that we were in a good place and I had settled in to this place in our marriage God said, oh no dear child, you just wait and see what I have in store for you. My submission to my husband is submission to God. That is what I desire more than anything, even if I receive nothing. But God still continues to give and give and give blessings to me. Why me God?? Why are you so good to me?? You are so good to me and shower me with blessing and goodness and always bring my perspective back in focus when I have wandered. The answer to why He is so good to me is because He is God. A perfect Father. A perfect example of love.

After this encounter I could only do one thing. Get down on the ground on my knees with my head down worshipping God. I sang the chorus to one of my new favorite songs, “Holy Spirit you are welcome here, come flood this place and fill the atomosphere, Your glory God is what our hearts long for to be overcome by your presence Lord.” I was overcome by His presence. It was a glorious afternoon of worship and tears as on offering to God and other than the words of the song all I could say was thank you God, thank you Father.

If we confess our sins He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

It is Finished

Lighten Darkness Light Clouds Sky Cross Dark Nature Wallpaper Ios 7Today is the day before Christ was crucified 1,982 years ago. Circumstances played out today that remind me of how much I need that saving day. Today has been a meltdown of epic proportions in parenting. Today I have felt confused, at a loss, not confident. I have felt broken, vulnerable and overwhelmed. I have felt guilt and fear. I have let myself sink into a spot of deep muddy water, a mire of doubt. I have been greatly humbled today and at more than one time was brought to my knees in tears, crying out to God for direction and help. I think you are clear on how my day has gone.

I came upon this scripture after I wrote this and LOVE the words God led me to that delivered so perfectly His love and understanding to me and I prayed the same idea behind this prayer before I read it. Amazing.

I have sunk in deep mire, and there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and a flood overflows me. I am weary with my crying; my throat is parched; My eyes fail while I wait for my God…But as for me, my prayer is to You, O Lord, at an acceptable time; O God, in the greatness of Your lovingkindness, Answer me with your saving truth. Deliver me from the mire and do not let me sink; May I be delivered from my foes and from the deep waters. May the flood of water not overflow me nor the pit shut its mouth on me. Answer me, O Lord, for Your lovingkindness is good; According to the greatness of Your compassion, turn to me, And do not hide Your face from Your servant, For I am in distress; answer me quickly. Psalm 69:2-3.13-17.

The key words to me in this are “your saving truth”. His truths are ALWAYS the answers I need.

Tomorrow marks the day that Christ took care of all that I experienced today. Tomorrow marks the day that enables me to even go to God for help, that I am even allowed the privilege of being in His presence. We celebrate the remembrance, tomorrow at 8 a.m., of the three words that changed the world, and me, forever; “It is finished.” He took all my doubt, guilt, fear, confusion, self-consciousness, anxiety, all of my sin, and he carried it for me. He took it up on the cross; he nailed it to the cross and said it is no longer yours to carry. Tomorrow reminds me there is no self-righteous judgment on me from man or law but perfect righteousness cleansing me. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9. Tomorrow reminds me there is no mistake that can condemn me for life, there is only forgiveness.

Today was a “dark” day for me. But what is the good news? There is light!! Three days following his death Christ rose from the dead. He took my sin, he died for it, but he conquered it. He now lives in me, the Holy Spirit guiding me, and this day of darkness in my life will be conquered, the sun will rise again. Now the God of peace who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever, Amen. Hebrews 13:20-21. I will not be defeated because I have the fountain of living water in me, it is not muddy, it is not a mire, it is clean and pure and full of knowledge and wisdom and love. The scriptures God has taken me to, the power of going to Him in prayer, and the words I am writing out now, have already brought light to my day. Oh that I would remember immediately, so that there is no amount of time I languish.

I praise God that He ministered to me so quickly and answered my prayer. At first I was praying for my daughter to be changed, “change her heart”, but then quickly saw I needed to pray “change ME Lord”, and He did! This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him. 1 John 5:14-15 What I really needed was perspective and to be gently nudged to loosen my grip on the control I thought I had and see that only His strength and His ways and His guidance are what controls my life and His sovereign plan is what I must yield to and rest in when raising a 3 and a half year old. I also must remember only HE knows her fully and only HE created her so I MUST go to Him for help BEFORE I get to the point of my muddy mire.

I also realized, after all the battles today, that today is the one year anniversary of when I was held up at gunpoint. Read about that here. Maybe I have emotions tied into that today, only God knows, but it is another beautiful reminder to look back and see ALL he has carried me through and to know and believe He will continue to carry me through every single day ahead. When I stop myself, when I take every thought captive, I do thrive in the great joy of knowing God and receiving His love. It has been a while since I have had a day like today where I let myself dig a deep hole of self-pity. It is NOT all about me; it is ALL about Him, my King, My Lord. I am thankful God used that to humble me, to draw me close to Him, and it couldn’t have come at a better time; the day before the anniversary of the wonderful words, It is finished John 19:30.

I was able to speak to my husband about the importance of tomorrow morning for me. I spoke to him about the sermon from last week and the history my pastor shared with us and told him Friday at 8 a.m. was the 1,982 anniversary of Christ saying “it is finished”. His replied,  “Where would you like to be tomorrow at that time, I know it is important to you and I’ll watch SG if you want some alone time”. I am amazed at the way God softens my husband’s heart to support me in the things that are not important to him. What a blessing from the Lord that he would allow my husband to honor me and honor HIM in that way. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassion never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23. Thank you Lord for every provision and for every blessing and for every testing you put in my path. You are true and faithful and good!

My day started off dark but nothing compared to what Christ went through. Because he went through that, for me, my Savior, I am filled once again with hope and joy and my head is up worshiping my Lord instead of gazing down at my “problems”. Oh and they seem so silly and small now compared to what so many others are going through. They are my battles to overcome and they are in God’s hands, the hands He uses to mold me for His glory!