Friday, March 24, 2017

Titus 2 Friends and Mentors

This is a devotion I gave for the women's ministry: Soul Café.

Like every time I have to give a devotion, I have a great idea.  I say something like, I know exactly what I want to talk about.  The problem with this statement is that, every time God says, this is not about what you want, it is about what I want.  So I intended to talk about fixing things.  How as women we want to fix everything, and we think we can, but we really should just be fixing our eyes on Jesus and trusting him to take care of things.  God in His wisdom, has laid this on my heart instead for you’ll tonight.  

As I look around at the faces of the women gathered here, I am sure we could hold a contest. That contest would be who is the most tired?  Who has run around the most?  Who has the most to do?   When I listen to women talk, time is always an issue.  Where are we putting it? Or it never feels like there is enough. Or just a general feeling of disconnect because we are partially plugged into so many things, but we are connected to none.

It used to be that women did things together.  They would get together without an agenda.  Better yet the only agenda was to help each other, to share real friendship and to mentor one another.

I don’t know about you but I have 407 friends on facebook.  I can get text messages all day long.  I check on people and share minor moments, but many times even with all the technology around I still feel disconnected.  Who can I really tell the truth about me to?  Who can I share my fears with?  Who can I share my broken heart with?  Who is going to pray with me or for me when I am just not able to pray for myself?  Who will be my friend when I am simply unloveable?  There are very few people I am truly connected to, people whom I am willing to share the ugly side of me. 

As women we often struggle alone, trying to balance the act of mom, wife, daughter, daughter-in-law, employee, and friend, because when it is all said and done, our friendships are polite acquaintances.  It takes time to let anyone know the real things that are happening in our lives, and most of those moments take place between carpool or dinner, or whatever other obligation we have committed too.  Sometimes we don’t even stop to ask each other, how are you? And take the time to really listen because we are always on the go.

What does the Bible says about being a Godly woman, Proverbs 31:10-30

10 [b]A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
    and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
    and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

So we spend our days quite like this, trying to accomplish this laundry list of things that a Godly woman should do.  I don’t know about you but I fall short.   The passage is overwhelming to me, and I don’t even know where to begin.  I’ve always wondered how can one woman do all of this?  So we try and we run from place to place missing something very important.  A older wiser woman finally shared with me the secret to this passage, she told me, it is not written as a day or a week in the life, but as different seasons in the life of a woman. 

The thing about today is that we live in a world that wants us to do everything in a day, and it wants us to do it alone, to have no mentors and no real friendships.  The world wants us to feel comforted by facebook status, and a number of friends, even though it is hollow and lonely.  The world is pleased that our time is swept away and that no one is reminding us of real friendship, fellowship, or mentorship.

Titus: 2: 3-5

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

You see we live in a time where we do not make time for mentorship, or friendship the exceeds a surface level.  We don’t call each other anymore, we text.  We don’t visit each other because our time is spent working, carting kids around, and making up all the home responsibilities we put off to be at work or somewhere else.   We often look at older people from afar, and don’t make time to value their experience.  With Google at our finger tips we can search for any answer we might need, instead of seeking out the advice and experience from the women around us.  We don’t want to be exposed for not knowing, or needing help.  We don’t want to recognize that God uses His people to help in audible ways, so like the famous story goes, we drown on the roof waiting for God to show up and missing the boats or opportunities He sent.

Now a lot of people ask me about my relationship with my mother in law.  They wonder how we have the relationship we do.  She would say, she just decided she was going to like me no matter what.  I would say, I decided I was going to include her, because she never had a daughter.  She is one of my best friends.  She has been the friend and mentor that I needed at almost every step of my married and adult life.  She has been brave enough to tell me the hard things, and I have been wise enough to listen and not be condemned.  We have shared a Titus 2 relationship.  She has taught the things I missed growing up.  She and I are balanced, she is the good cop and I am the bad cop.  She encourages me to stand up for myself and say things I would never without her pushing.  She brings the best out in me, even when it hurts.  She adds a dynamic to my daughter her granddaughter that cannot come from me or someone of my generation.  In response, I share, I love, I forgive, I listen, I pray, and I respect her, even when I don’t agree or am offended.  You see we have learned that our friendship makes us both better.  We learn from each other, and as a result we grow in our faith through the gifts God has shown us in each other.

Friendship is hard.  It takes work and it takes time, and these days’ time and friendship are two things that are hard to come by.  God in His wisdom knows how important fellowship with likeminded believers is.  We are instructed to encourage each other daily.  1 Thessalonians 5 talks about because we are in the light and not the darkness we should encourage each other and build each other up.  Hebrews 3:13 says:  But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.  We must tell each other truth.  We must create a language of truth, and  encourage each other with God’s word.

You see, as I look around at the faces tonight.  I see young women, I see older women, I see women who are new Christians, I see women with grown children, babies, and everywhere in between.  We are all struggling with time and connection.  We are all trying to figure out something.  We need to be brave enough to let someone in.  We need to be brave enough to listen to truth, and not feel condemned.  We need to speak truth, and love.  We need to lean on each other as a fellowship of Christian women. 

I always like to leave a challenge on the table.   Tonight I ask each of you to look around, find someone you can mentor in Christ.  I challenge you to be brave enough to speak truth in love to each other.  I challenge you to be brave enough to accept friendship that goes deeper than, “I am fine.” I challenge you to make time for Christian fellowship without agenda, but a fellowship of friendship and encouragement that will grow you in Christ.

Philemon 1:6, has this prayer that I want to make our prayer for tonight:

“…and I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ’s sake.

Thank you for coming tonight. 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

My almost 40 life crisis

So for those of you I keep up with on a regular basis, you know I have been claiming to have an almost 40 life crisis.  So here is how the story goes, well my version of the story.

This passed Friday, I got dressed for work.  I chose a shirt that had been hanging in my closet over a year.  I found it on the sale rack at the feed store.  I thought it was cute,  it is a black, of course, with  3/4 length sleeves and a lace trim.  It has been hanging in my closet with tags on it because, I just never had anything to wear with it.  I finally broke down and wore it on casual Friday with jeans.  I looked in the mirror and from the front, it looked cute, and BONUS, it covered my chubby rolls. I felt good!  That is until I got home.  When I stopped at my mother in laws house to pick up my daughter she said, "Miranda!  Your back and bra are showing!"  What? my voice at first as if this were a joke, but one look at her face and then I said again, WHAT? this time with terror in my voice.  I have been in this all day!  Are you serious?  She snapped this picture:

My mind is racing.  I AM LIKE THE PEOPLE OF WALMART!  Almost 40 year old chubby moms, DO NOT let this hang out AT WORK!!!  I work for a prestigious law firm, known for a well know CHRISTIAN endorsement.  This was beyond embarrassing.  I never once turned and looked at my back in the mirror.  I was embarrassed and I felt totally stupid.  So then I called my much younger, 20 year co-worker and said, why did not you not tell me I was uncovered!  She is dying laughing on the other end, as I gave her these future instructions: if I have toilet paper hanging off my butt or IF THINGS ARE SHOWING that should not be showing PLEASE tell me.  Her response was, "I just thought you were being risky!"  RISKY RISKY!  I am a chubby almost 40 year old mom, risky is staying up past 10 on a school night not showing my back AT WORK ALL DAY!  Then in my mind I made the courageous decision to call my boss and apologizing for not looking at my back in the mirror and potentially being totally inappropriate at work all day.  Thank God for grace because the laughter ensued and the comment," I just thought you were going clubbing," was made.

OH dear Jesus, no thank you!

Fast forward to Sunday.  I have signed my daughter and I up for this Bible based program called daughters of the King, or better known as Club DOK.  Club DOK is a Bible based program that teaches what God says about Modesty and character.  Today's lesson, outer beauty.  This program is  for 4th and 5th grade girls, and it is to help them focus on what God says about them not what the world has to say.  Today the object lesson was this, take two post it notes. On note 1 write something you are insecure about regarding your outer appearance. On note 2 write something you like about your appearance.  Then there was a ceremonial tearing and throwing away of note 1, AKA the insecurity, but coupled with that, the girls had to stand in front of the mirror and say that they were created by God, and they were created to be the way HE wanted.

Now, I can give you a lot of scripture about being Chosen by God.  I can tell you and have in other blogs, that flaws are natural and God knew them and still chose you.  But there is something to say, when you hear what I heard today.....  After the mirror each mother and daughter were given two sheets of paper, one was about ourselves, and the other was about either mom if you are the daughter, or daughter if you are the mom.  We were instructed to write 5 things down that we like about the outer beauty of each other and ourselves.  As I sat there thinking, and thinking of the things I liked about myself, the lady gave an example: maybe it is I feel cute in a certain outfit.  WELL,in light of Friday that wasn't going to work for me because, I felt cute until I realized it had no back!  BUT, in that moment, I turned to my daughter and this is what she was writing about me:

I love my mom's T-rex arms.
I love that my mom is short......

My daughter had listed everyone of my insecurities out on her page as things she really loved about me.  Now if you have never met my girl, she is kind and loving, sensitive and sweet, the polar opposite of me in so many ways.  Her heart is not dark, like mine can be, she doesn't see flaws or imperfections as a stumbling blocks.  She truly sees the world with the eyes of God.  She sees potential and value.  She sees value in all of my insecurities. 

It was like she set a lightbulb off in me.  I can't help but think God is and has been teaching me something in my almost 40 life crisis.  He keeps telling me to stop looking at all the flaws; stop obsessing over the things that are not perfect, stopping looking for something to be wrong and look at the potential.  For those moms out there, who are working so hard to find a balance in life, thinking that there is this perfect place, but you are just missing it, I am here to say there is no perfect place this side of heaven.  There is one flaw after imperfection after mistake, after flaw, after imperfection, and mistake again and again.  The only thing we can hope in is to know the love of Jesus, who sees us as potential.  He sees us as valuable, just as we are, and sometimes we are lucky to get a glimpse of His sweet reminders in the most unlikely places.

Proverbs 31:28

"Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her...."

Maybe in the midst of the hurry, and the midst of the imperfections and flaws, we are missing the REAL things that bless our children and families.

This week, I hope and pray that you can experience the blessing, even if it comes in T-rex arms and a short package.

This is my mindset, now let me hear yours!

 14For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-19

Monday, June 13, 2016

A lesson in trust

Have you ever been in the place where God is yelling at you: MOVE!  A place where it is undeniable that it is time to get out of your comfort zone and do something in HIS will.  That is where I am right now. 

Joshua 1: 9 says: "Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

I use this verse all the time. I tell my daughter, don't be afraid, God is with you wherever you go.  I say things like be strong and have courage.  You are not alone, God is always with you, and then I send her off to do this or that, and expect her to have the courage to do whatever I've asked her to.

Then there is me.  I make plans.  I put my ducks in a row.  Some may even say I like to control things.  I like my schedule, and I like my box.  Have you ever noticed, that is NOT how God works?  God almost never picks the likely person for the job.  David, the youngest of all Jesse's sons will be King.  David also the smallest soldier will slay the giant.  Saul a well known persecutor of Christians, is set apart and changed to Paul to be a major proponent of the Gospel and writer of several New Testament books.  Gideon, self proclaimed weakest of the weak, is sent to lead an army of men.  Jonah a guy who can't stand the people of Nineveh is the messenger God uses to give them one more chance.  All of this to say, God does not call us to be in a comfortable box.  He calls us to listen and obey when He is ready to move.

As the story goes, it was the last week of school.  As the Director of Development I was already preparing for back to school.  I was setting up fundraising dates and beginning of the year events.  Then God gave me a hiccup.  I was informed that my job may be either eliminated or modified based on necessary budget cuts. My immediate response was this, I am going to take a couple of weeks to think about how I want to proceed, and I am going to pray about it.  My words were exactly this, I want to make an intentional decision, not a reactional decision.  Having said that, I began to think and pray about what God's will was for me. I had no idea what to do.

The Bible says:

“Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8
"Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him."  James 1:5

This is what God gave me.  He gave me a church sermon called: What to do when you don't know what to do.  I have told this story a couple of times and it was like the lights dimmed and the spot light was on me, and the voice of the Lord, which sounds like James Earl Jones in my head, said, MIRANDA...... listen.  By the end of the sermon, I was crying and I knew what I needed to do.  I knew that I needed to resign from the comfortable spot I was in.  I knew God wasn't just hinting around, he was ready for me to MOVE.

The thing is, it was a hard decision because there is a guilt (Not of GOD) about leaving work in a Church/ Christian environment.   There is also a Spiritual blanket that people cover themselves with, saying that they are doing the Lords work so they need to stay, even when it is time to move on.  I don't think either of these mentalities represent what God wants us to feel.  I think He wants us to listen to Him, be passionate about Him, and then move as HE sees necessary, especially when it is outside the church walls.  If we never move out, how can we bring people in?

In my decision to MOVE there are a few things God laid on my heart:

1) God is not a God of left overs.  I have a thing about left overs.  It is my personal hang up.  I think I often get the left overs and settle for them, because that is what I THINK I deserve.  God is clear in his plans for us.
Jeremiah 29-11 says: For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
His plan is greater than I could ask or imagine, and God does not want me to stay, for staying sake.  He wants me to move, to grow, and to continue to be refined by HIS plan, not my own.  Some one told me to have faith, and that is what I am doing, taking a leap of faith that God's plan for me is so much better than the plan I had in mind.

2)  God wants me to Trust HIM in everything, and not pick and choose when and where I want to.  The thing about this whole situation was I had a plan.  That plan included Christian education for my daughter.  It included keeping her in what I deemed a safe environment where I know everyone.  God was clear on this, as He put it on my heart, that controlling Mackenzi only limits the opportunities God has to grow her and bless her.  That if I truly give up Mackenzi and trust God with her future, she will be far better off than any plan I had for her.  Trust is not something I fall into easily, and especially not with my precious daughter.   I keep reading the Psalms over and over looking at verses to remind me, God is my/her protector, He is my/her shield and my/her rock, and that His love is never ending.  In the midst of all this change and chaos, I have peace, and know that trusting God with Mackenzi is so much wiser than trying to control a plan that isn't His.

3) God wants me to TRUST HIM.... just incase you didn't catch it the first time.   It is not only the plan for Mackenzi, but it is the job and plan for me.  I have to work.  Turning in a resignation with no job, is CRAZY in my book, BUT GOD, well He works in a different economy.   My God is not only a protector, a shield, and a rock, but HE IS A PROVIDER.  I turned in my resignation and emailed a few of my contacts.  God is so good that with in the first 10 minutes I had two responses, and a third followed later.  I received a request to talk, a request for my resume, and a job offer.  THAT IS GOD!  He confirmed my decision many times over, and has helped remind me that TRUSTING GOD is the safest place to be.  Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths. Proverbs 3;5-6

God is moving in my life right now, and the truth is all I can do is trust Him and watch where He is taking me.   He continues to give me confirmation in so many places and people.  A sermon just this week  on NO REGRETS confirming that a life of no regrets, is a life that perseveres TRUSTING in God.  God is really with me wherever I go, and He is so good!

This is my story and I hope that it blesses you.  We live in a crazy world where  many people are lost.  I hope in some small way, this tiny real life story will encourage you to TRUST in Jesus today.  He is the author of love and the creator of hope.  Until next time I leave you with this prayer:
16 I never stop giving thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. 17 I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, would give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. 18 I pray that the perception of your mind may be enlightened so you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the glorious riches of His inheritance among the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power to us who believe, according to the working of His vast strength. Ephesians 1:15-19

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

End of the Year word of Encouragement

I was asked to give a devotion for the teachers.  Here is what I said:
As we near the end of the year, often we enter a time of reflection.  What was good about this year and what was bad.  We think about what we should of done or could have done.  We look to our graduating seniors and we want to send them off with hope for a bright future.  We want to encourage them to take on the world.   I don’t know about you but when I look in the mirror at this time of the year, I find I am without.  I am tired.  I am done.  I want school to be over soooooooo bad I can taste it.  I am not full of hope or encouragement, I am full of survival.  I am just surviving.

Then I came across these verses:

Deuteronomy 6:5-9

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.  6 These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart.  7 Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  8 Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead.  9 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” 

You see so many times in life, I am unsure.  I make decision after decision for my home, for my family, for my job and most of the time it is an educated guess.  Earlier this year I was reveling in a mistake walking around telling myself how foolish I was and basically telling myself I was no good for making it.  Then I had an epiphany!  If I am truly living my calling, in this job, in my home, and as a parent; then I am exactly the one God has chosen.  You see, God knew before time.  He knew that I was going to be in this position; He knew that he was giving me a family and home to care for.  His knowing all of these things also means that He knew my flaws and picked me anyway.  I am hopelessly flawed.   He knew.  He knew that I would make mistakes, but He picked me anyway.

I am chosen and so are you,  and as a chosen followers of Christ, He asks  us to love my God with all my heart, all my soul, and all my strength.  He doesn’t ask for  perfection.   He doesn’t expect it.  He wants us to trust him, and love him.  He wants us to take His words and hide them in my heart,  for those times when we question what am I doing.  He wants us to use HIS words about us and His calling for on our lives, so that in Him we can be secure, not in ourselves.

Then as we settle into the security of knowing we are chosen, He says, “Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up .”   I love that!  As teachers you get to repeat this to His children everyday.  You get to share His truth, but today, you need to take His word, and believe it for yourself.

One thing I have learned over my Christian years is that the world will fill you up with everything that is wrong.  The world will tell you, you are failing.  It will say you are fat.  It will say you are not beautiful.  It will give you an excuse to not try.  It will celebrate your failure and reward your laziness.  BUT GOD has a very different view of His chosen ones.  God says all things are possible for those in Christ Jesus.  He will say that we are loved with an everlasting love.  Psalms 91:11 says “He will give His angels orders concerning you, to protect you in all your ways.”  Did you hear that, the GOD of the UNIVERSE orders His Angels to protect YOU! The Lord says ask and you shall receive, knock and the door shall be opened.  He says that condemnation is not for those in Christ Jesus.  If you talk about God’s word all the time, then there is no room for the condemnation and negativity of the world.  “Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead.  9 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”    In other words, live the words God gives you every day!  Do not conform to the patterns or words of the world, but be renewed by God's word as your guide and as your value.

As we close out this year, while we may be tired, and while we may feel defeated.  We may need school to be over soooooo bad we can taste it.  I say let’s finish strong and in truth.  Let’s show our students that even until the end we can be an example of God’s word.  Let’s show them that the future is bright and promising, and that even in our flaws, God has chosen us to love Him, to Love one another, and to Trust His plan for us. 


Monday, December 7, 2015

The mom my daughter sees

The holidays are a notorious time for me.  They often make me sad.  I long to feel them like a child, and not like a responsible adult. Today was one of those days.  I walked around my house thinking of all the things I am not.  I walked around wishing I had more self control, wishing I was better and I even thinking I am not good enough.
Then I had an epiphany.  I stopped and thought, oh my gosh I sound like my mother!   The thing about my mom is this, she is partly cloudy with a chance of  hurricane.  She can not see the good when it quite literally lands in her lap.  She has spent so long thinking of all that could go wrong, she has missed all the things that can go right.  You see a few years ago I read this blog that said something like, watch what you say in front of your daughters because your daughters want to be you when they grow up.  I never wanted to be like my mom. *** Disclaimer, my mom is a talented and very accomplished woman.  She has achieved many things almost completely by her own ambition.  However, she has never celebrated her accomplishments she has only focused on those things about herself she doesn't like. As a result, I never wanted to be like her. ( I just know she is going to read this and miss the bold and underlined section, and think I am condemning her, when I am not.)
As I walked through the house today finding fault in myself, criticizing and rethinking decisions I've made, having a mini melt down, Brent stood there trying to help.  He gave me words of encouragement, that were met with anger and a leave me alone attitude.  He looked at me and told me how much he loved me, and I stood there and thought how can you love a mess like this? I realized that I was repeating the celebration of condemnation.  I was laying a foundation for the things my daughter Mackenzi will hate about me or worse think she is, because she is mine.  She still looks at me and says things like you are the best mommy ever.  I love you and I want to be just like you when I grow up.  If all sher hears me say is that I am fat or not good at this or that, then what will she take in?
The Bible is clear on condemnation.  Romans 8:1 says: "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" 

As a mom, I am constantly thinking what am I doing to her?  Or She is going to need therapy because I said or did this or that.  I've look at her and pray these desperate prayers, please Lord, don't let me ruin her.  Let me remember she is yours first, and that no matter what I do, you have control in her life.  Lord, let me not stand in the way when she has a lesson to learn.  Being mom is exhausting, on top of all the other things we have to keep track of.

It is so easy to get caught up in the desire of perfect living. I am not delusional enough to think that anything that I do could be perfect.  I would like to feel as though some things I do are great, instead of feeling like all the things I do are ok, just enough to pass.  I have said in my blogs before that I am atrociously flawed.  I am haunted by the Proverbs 31 way of life.  The model by which we church women aspire to be.  It is easy to read it and feel the weight of inadequacy, and think I am not accomplishing enough.  It is easy to get lost in the verses and pick apart all the things I am not,  and all the things I don't want to do. Someone once told me that Proverbs 31 represented seasons in a woman's life and it was not a directive for everyday.   I am not sure that theory is biblically accurate, but upon review I find that I am not failing completely and that I can claim a few verses. 
Proverbs 31:Mixed Verses

A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.            

12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.
Today, I witnessed my husbands confidence in me, and I did him no harm, regardless of how much I wanted to.
14She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.
Today, I went to HEB with the rest of the world, by the time I was done it felt like I had been afar on a ship of crazies.

18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.
Today, I paid bills, and made sure there was money left over for groceries next week.  I stayed up late so I could write this blog in attempt to make me feel more productive.

26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
Today, I've been in the word, and application of the Bible helps me feel wise, secure, not alone in my journey, and encouraged.

27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Today I have not watched tv.

30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
I can honestly say, I believe beauty is fleeting and so is youth!  I do fear the Lord, and I honor Him, for giving me His word of encouragement to remind me I am not what I think I am sometimes.

The thing is that this life really is not about me, while sometimes in this mood, it feels like it is all about me and my failures and flaws.  The truth is this life is about God, and others.   The Bible is full of examples of the blessing found in serving and loving others in the midst of being a flawed and feeling insecure.  Often in the Bible when the main character of the story is most scared, lost or afraid, the biggest impact is made for God. 

With that in mind, I am the mom in my story who often feels lost, scared, and unsure of the way I am raising and the decisions I am making for my kid.  I am the character God is using to develop her story, I am the person who must show her that on the other side of the flaws, there is a blessing in obedience to God and His calling on my life.  His calling is for me to be the mother of Mackenzi, whom He gave to me.  He gave her to me knowing I am not perfect, but I am the one He has called, the one she needs, and she needs me just the way I am.  She needs me to not get worked up in all that I am not, but to show her all that Jesus is through me.  He designed me to show Mackenzi that my flaws are just stepping stones building a faith and a life dependent on Jesus for my true needs and for her true needs.

The world continues and the demands from the world continue, and I am going to continue and remember that condemnation is not of God.  That God loves me enough to leave me His words of love and encouragement for times when I feel like this.  He is constantly refining me, and  growing my walk, showing me ways to love more abundantly, honestly, and Godly.  That love not only applies to others, but I am reminded that I am loved that way by Him as well. He has called me just as I am.  Let that sink in, just as I am, not asking me to be anything more, but asking me to trust in Him for whatever more I need.
 As life continues, I want to encourage the other moms out there.  Don't get stuck being the flaws that scream at you in the mirror or in your head, but be encouraged, that God calls you to be mom, JUST AS YOU ARE.  Embrace it, have a bad day, but don't stay stuck there, be who you are and let Jesus do the rest.  If he can take a few fishes and loaves and feed thousands he can take you and give you what you need.  Ladies, today I ask you to be the mom that your daughter (son) sees.

This is my mindset, now let me  hear yours!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Christmas Prayers and Mama Ramblings

I find myself sitting here tonight on the heels of rushing through homework and dinner so my husband and daughter could make their first basketball practice.  I have been gifted with a rare night alone.  I have almost 2 whole hours.  While typically I would try and watch a TV show that is neither a cartoon or a kid friendly show, I find myself reflecting on all the goings-on in life.

Thanksgiving has just past and we are headed full steam into Christmas. Parties, concerts, gifts, and gatherings all pulling everyone in a mad frenzy to end the year well.  In my precious alone time I find myself lost in prayer asking the Lord for meaning.  As I write that, I want to clarify, I do not need definition.  I am defined by my Father in heaven who loves me and calls me to love.  This frenzy, this time, I need to remind myself of the meaning and purpose, because in the hustle and bustle it all seems to get jumbled.  I find myself praying that the things I do, still reflect Christ.  Lord, help me to glorify you in my actions and words.  Lord, help me to teach my daughter to know her worth in you.  This is a  desperate prayer bogged down by the sounds of a retail Christmas where, "Every Kiss Begins with Kay."  This is a cry out, how am I going to keep myself and family from being swept up in the intoxication of Amazon and it's impending 2 hour same day delivery?  I ask the Lord open my eyes to see the details you need me to see.

Then I see it.  Everyone knows the story of the manger, and the humble beginnings, of a baby King, celebrated by angels.

Luke 2:10-14
1The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I am bringing you good news that will be a great joy to all the people. 11 Today your Savior was born in the town of David. He is Christ, the Lord. 12 This is how you will know him: You will find a baby wrapped in pieces of cloth and lying in a feeding box. 13 Then a very large group of angels from heaven joined the first angel, praising God and saying:  14 “Give glory to God in heaven,  and on earth let there be peace among the people who please God.” 

Jesus the baby came as a gift for all people, to forgive sins.  How am I celebrating Jesus?  Am I inviting those with no place to come in, even into a barn?  (Technically yes, because we actually do have an Uncle living in our barn.  This story is for another time.)  Am I greeting people with love?  Am I celebrating God's Glory and goodness?  Have I experienced God's peace?

What an interesting concept in these verses about the birth of Jesus, that the phrase, " let there be peace among the people who please God." A this time of year, there seems to be no peace for those who celebrate Christmas.  As I cry out Lord, don't let me be swallowed by the business of Christmas busyness.  

Tonight I stop, in my two hours of alone time and reflect on how I want to celebrate Christmas and the birth of Jesus.  Do I want to be seduced by the smell of cinnamon and the lure of a good sale, or do I want to be have the peace of God fill me to content?  My silly side says, I want both (add Maniacal Laugh Here).  In reality I want peace.  I want peace on Earth.  I want goodwill to all men.  I want the peace that passes all understanding.  I want the comfort of not owing more than I can afford after Christmas. I want to look at my child and know that she knows that Christmas is about Christ, and that true gifts are found in good character and service to others.  This is my prayer, not exactly my reality yet, but it is certainly my prayer.

In closing I pray that this Christmas there will be peace.  Peace among men.  Peace in the midst of the broken hearted.  Peace for the widows, orphaned, and alone.  I pray for the peace of God's sweet sovereignty to reign in our hearts and homes.

This is my mindset, now let me hear yours.

PS.  I know it has been quite sometime since I wrote anything, I hope that you enjoy my thoughts outloud!