Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I'm Taking This!

One of my favorite movies is Liar Liar.  Jim Carrey has me rolling in almost any movie he is in, but I especially love Liar Liar.  One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when Fletcher (Jim Carrey) goes to pick up his car that has been towed and becomes angry because his beautiful convertible has a scratch on the side of it.  Fletcher, enraged, argues that the towing company put the scratch on his car and of course, the towing company employee denies this fact although we all know the scratch was not on the car before being towed.  Realizing the towing company was going to do nothing about the scratch on his car, Fletcher, in an effort to retaliate, grabs a hanging pine tree car deodorizer off of the display right in front of the employee, sniffs in the scent and proclaims...

I'm taking this!

This morning as I was searching for a new Bible verse to memorize in February, I came across 2 Corinthians 10:5 and each time I saw the word we, I replaced it with I.

(I) demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and (I) take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Never have I experienced our enemy prey on our minds in the way he has recently.  He has pulled out all of the stops to convince us that our inadequacies and shortcomings only represent our fullest potential.  In fact, for many of us, he has initiated a full-on assault against our thinking, our living, our loving, our being.  In a world where we are taught that our self-worth is rooted in our abilities and outward appearance, it is no wonder so many of us live in a constant state of failure.

Today, as I read the verse above, I realized I had the power, with God's help, to extinguish once and for all these thoughts and these lies that paralyze me from being effective and fulfilling the purpose for which God created me.  As I read the words in 2 Corinthians 10:5, I imagined myself being like Jim Carrey in Liar Liar.  For each negative thought that comes my way, for each lie the enemy tries to throw at me, I have decided to grab it by the throat and proclaim...


I am taking this thought captive and making it obedient to Christ. 

If you find yourself today being haunted by thoughts that you know are not of God, won't you join me?  Join me today and decide ENOUGH is ENOUGH.  Jesus is the Navigator of my life and He is for you if you have surrendered your life to Him.  One of the perks in that is no longer having to carry the burden that comes from our sin, from our thought-life, from our past.  He wants to relinquish you from that.  Be willing.  And with the authority that comes from the Holy Spirit living inside of you, take those thoughts captive! 

You are loved,

Friday, January 25, 2013

Occupational Hazards

Every job has some sort of occupational hazard.  I am a stay-at-home-mom and yes, I even have occupational hazards.  In the early stages of my career, such hazards looked a lot like overloaded diapers, a baby sneeze followed by a spoon of peas, a colorful load of what used to be white towels as a result of a crayon being left in the pocket of a certain four-year-old.  (Ok, that last one hasn't happened to me, but I threw it in here for the poor mommas who know what I'm talking about.)  And PLEASE don't make me go into the hazards of cleaning a little boy's bathroom.  Yuck!

The joys of motherhood, right?  Totally.  But to tell you the truth, these are the things that don't bother me all that much.  Seeing evidence of my little ones around the house reminds me everyday to be thankful for them.  After the awful school shooting in Connecticut, I thought often of the moms who came back to their homes only to have to clean up toothpaste spit left behind after their babies brushed their teeth for the very last time that morning.  Perspective, right?  It's all about perspective, and I couldn't be more thankful for that toothpaste spit or those dirty pairs of socks.

But there is one particular occupational hazard for which I was not prepared.  When you stay at home everyday, all day, you stay quite busy.  The work seems to never get finished.  And just when you finally tackle that huge load of laundry, another one awaits you just a couple of days later.  You can't even enjoy a clean house for very long.  Here's the deal, though.  It doesn't require intense brain power to complete these endless tasks.  In fact, it doesn't require much thought at all.  Although the work is endless and there are days when you feel like you never even sit down, it is quite possible and even quite easy for your mind to remain idle. 

"An idle mind is the devil's playground."  Have you ever heard that saying?  It can be so true.  This was the part of being a stay-at-home-mom for which I was not prepared.  Even with all of the laundry and the homework and the cleaning, I have way too much time on my hands to think.  Way. Too. Much. Time.  I stay busy, mind you.  Don't even think for a second that we stay-at-home-moms sit around all day watching T.V. and eating Bon Bons.  In fact, those are fighting words around these parts.  Grin.  But even as I stay busy, my mind wanders.  And wanders.  And wanders.

There is a reason why the Lord instructs us to fill our hearts with His Word.  I have found over the past couple of years that this is MOST critical to my sanity.  In those moments where I tend to obsess over the smallest thing...a phone call gone un-returned, an email sent where no response was given, or even passing a friend at church who chooses to not speak or make eye-contact...it's in those moments where I have to rely solely on the comfort of God's Word.  If I don't, I'll have myself convinced that no one likes me, I have zero friends, I am completely ineffective in my ministry endeavors, and my personal favorite...my age is starting to completely march across my face!

Friends, if we could just remember that God wants to use our lives, but our lives are not ultimately about us.  When our emphasis is on ourselves, that is truly when we lose our effectiveness.  Although we moms spend our days taking care of others, it's quite easy to fall in the trap of Me, Myself, and I.  Be cautious.  And if you have found yourself lately obsessing about things other than the Lord, ask Him to fill your heart with thoughts of Him.  Do what you must to guard your heart against the strategic tactics of our enemy.  Memorizing Scripture and hiding its truth in your heart is a great starting place.

I pray this brings you encouragement as you wrap up another work week.  We moms must stick together.  In a world where females only feel as valuable as they are sensual (thank you, Beth Moore, for that reminder), we must fight together as Princess Warriors representing the King of Kings.  In Jesus' name, we press on!  Have a great weekend, friends!

Laundry calls.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Rose

Please click on the following video clip.  It is about 3 and a half minutes.  Please.  Listen here and then come back to continue reading...

Click below on The Rose...

The Rose

I have no idea of actually knowing who reads this blog.  This fact, alone, can overwhelm me at times.  What is more important is that if you have found yourself on this blog today having just heard that video, it is no coincidence and I want you to know something...

#1 You are that rose.

#2  Jesus wants the rose.

I am that rose, too.  And as much as we sometimes like to fight the idea of God, His Son, and what that may or may not mean for us in the afterlife, I would simply like to ask you to just quit.  Quit fighting.  We were designed to know in our hearts that something bigger than ourselves exists.  To me, it's worth the risk of being wrong about God.  To be right, I lose nothing.  In fact, I gain much.  To be wrong, I lose it all. 

Is it worth it to you?  Is it worth the risk to be wrong about the Author of Life and Death?  You are a rose.  A rare one, at that.  And Jesus wants you.  He really does.  Quit the fight.  All He wants is a willingness on your part.  Let Him do the rest.  Won't you ask Him today?

Lord, if you are real and I want to believe that you are, help me to know you.  Please come into my heart and take up residency.  Forgive me for failing in this life.  Help me to accept that I am to you, indeed, a rose.  Help me to understand that you love me, that you want me, and that I am worthy enough to have a relationship with your Son, Jesus.  Help me to understand who you are.  Help me to love you.  Teach me about your love for me. I want to belong to you.  I want to know you.  In Jesus' Name. -Amen

If you prayed those words, tell someone about it.  Get yourself a Bible and start reading.  The book of John is a good place to start.  You are loved, my dear sweet rose.  I am praying, praising and thanking God for YOU.


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

All I Have To Be

As a girl, I found junior high to be especially difficult, and I don't mean from an academic standpoint.  The loss of innocence coupled with puberty equaled a whopping dose of insecurity.  My mother swore, with time, things would get better.  And they did, truth be told.  But the insecurity?  It really hasn't left me alone since then.

As I approach my 35th birthday, I find myself weary from the torture brought on by insecurity.  In fact, I believe I've suffered more with insecurity in my 30s than my junior high, high school and college years combined.  So many things are wonderful about becoming a wife, a mother, and a grown-up.  But none of those roles come without torment from insecurity.

As I wrestled with these thoughts on the last day of 2012, I asked the Lord this...

Father, please help me to become the better part of who You made in me.  Help me to embrace her warmly and to not make apologies for the good parts of who I am.

It's hard for us girls to accept the good part of who we are.  Depending on your path in life, this may be downright impossible for you to accept.  Rejection, unworthiness, nonacceptance are just a few of the ghosts that haunt the hallways of my mind.  I don't know about y'all, but I am ready to exorcise the demons.  With the Lord's help, I can.  You can.  We can!!

This, of course, doesn't mean life will be easier.  Just last night, I had a personal set-back that completely rocked my little world.  I was heart broken and overcome with emotion.  But this morning, as I sipped my coffee in an effort to wake up, the Lord reminded me of a song I once loved years and years ago.  The lyrics are listed below.  They are short and simple.  As I wrestled with sadness and insecurity, the Lord sang over me.  Here were His words...

When the weight of all my dreams
Is resting heavy on my head,
And the thoughtful words of health and hope
Have all been nicely said.

But I'm still hurting,
Wondering if I'll ever be
The one I think I am.

I think I am.

Then you gently re-remind me
That you've made me from the first,
And the more I try to be the best
The more I get the worst.

And I realize the good in me,
Is only there because of who you are.

Who you are...

And all I ever have to be
Is what you've made me.
Any more or less would be a step
Out of your plan.

As you daily recreate me,
Help me always keep in mind
That I only have to do
What I can find.

And all I ever have to be
All I have to be
All I ever have to be
Is what you've made me

(All I Ever Have To Be  by Amy Grant)

I pray you find comfort in these words.  It's easy to make things more difficult than they are.  All you have to be is what God has made you to be.  This year, ask Him to do just that.  And as He does, don't shoo away the gifts, the talents, the abilities He's made within you.  Embrace them warmly and make the best use of them.  That's all He asks.  Just be who He made you.

Happy New Year,