Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Ugliness Inside

I'm struggling with my sin today.  I don't understand why I can't just run away from it. Why can't I resist the temptation, flee, purge myself of this ugliness?

My sin is me. My selfishness. My pride.  My hard heart.  It's hard to run away from yourself.  It's hard to deny your own thoughts.  Why is it so difficult to escape the self?  How can I be confident that God has got my back and not worry about what is fair?  I tell my kids all the time, "life is not fair."  Yet, truthfully, I still struggle with this myself.  I have so many excuses as to why I struggle with it.  Our culture and society, our marketing and advertising, Facebook and Instagram.  Everything I see and look at around me tells me I have a right to have it all and think of me first.  Though, knowing those excuses, doesn't really help me do better.  The verse Luke 9:23 comes to my mind, "Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”

Deny myself.  How do I really accomplish that?  How do I purge the thoughts of what about me?  When's it my turn to relax?  If I give and give, who will give to me?  I want to enjoy that, too.  I don't want to forgive again.  All those thoughts can be so consuming, making me feel as if I will drown in them. 

First, I know when I haven't spent time with the Lord, my selfishness rises so easily to the surface.  He does have my back, and when I give him my time, He always gives me so much more.  I have to remind myself, that the things I struggle with, often put me on my knees in prayer more than once.  Sometimes hourly shouts for help are needed, but I can't make those shouts if He is not my focus, and He will not be my focus if I don't spend time with him.

Secondly, when I am reminded of some of my heroes in faith, my perspective is shifted.  George Mueller, Gladys Alward, Bruce Olson, Amy Carmichael, and my mom, to name a few.  All these peoples' lives are marked with selflessness.  Not just thinking of others first, but loving them more than themselves.  I am reminded of another verse,  "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” John 15:13.  To mark the world as these people have is a gift that I can only dream of.  (If you don't recognize some of those names I encourage you to find out about their lives.)

Thirdly, knowing that I have an adversary out there who wants me to drown in my thoughts of self, is eye opening.  We are not alone in this world, there is a roaring lion prowling around ready to devour us.  I can not forget him.  When I dwell on me, he rejoices.  I do not want to be responsible for his celebration.  I do not want to give him a foothold into me.  I do not want him to have any success.  

My selfishness is not going to go away, I'm sure I will struggle with it until the day I die, but naming it and becoming aware of it are the first steps to my freedom.  So, when you approach me and find me on my knees in prayer, you will know that I am asking God for forgiveness and His help to conquer this sin.  His Grace is sufficient for all and He is mighty in power.  He is who I want to serve, not myself.

2 Corinthians 12:9
Job 9:4

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Who's Watching You?

As parents, we have so much influence over our children. Influence that we can use for good or bad.  Not only are the words we say influential, but also the actions we do.  I'm sure you've seen this throughout your parenting from time to time, kids mimicking us while pretending to be like us. I can remember my girls playing house and putting their baby dolls to their chest, pretending to nurse. Hmmm..... who did they get that from? Could it have been me nursing their baby brother? 

Now that they are older, hitting those teen and preteen years, what will they choose to mimic? Will it be my attitude I give their dad when I'm not happy with one of his choices, will it be how I yell at them when they pushed me to my limit, or possibly, will it be how I roll my eyes at someone when I am appalled at their words. Quite honestly, the list goes on.  Will they copy how I spend my money, my time, my giving patterns, my laziness, my phone usage, my TV habits, and on and on. I am overwhelmed. How can I possibly measure up to be a good role model?

I wish I had all the right answers, but truth is, I don't. I was reading this morning in my quiet time in 2 Chronicles about how King Ahaziah was evil because of how his mother advised him. "He also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother advised him to do wickedly," 2 Chronicles 22:3.  That's a lot of power given to that woman, and I have the same amount. That makes my heart beat a little faster, my hands become a little sweaty, and my tongue a little dry.

God's grace is sufficient for me. His mercies are new every morning. Through his strength, I can do all things. When I remember God's words, my breathing slows down and a new peace overtakes me. Not on my own can I do this thing called parenting, mentoring, being a role model, but through Him I can manage, I can learn, and even maybe thrive. God gave me my little ones because he knows that I am the best person to be their mama. He thinks the same of you and your kiddos.

I will not take lightly this job of mothering. I will do my best and give my all, but I will rest in the knowledge that God's strength, grace, and mercy are my greatest tools.  As I pray for myself in advising and training my kids in this life, I will pray the same for you and that you will feel God's grace, mercy, and strength throughout this journey.

2 Corinthians 12:9
Lamentations 3:22-23
Philippians 4:13

2 Chronicles 22:3

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Can I Remain Faithful?

June 22, 2017

“Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.””
‭‭I Kings‬ ‭19:18‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Even in the timeframe of Ahab and Jezebel, where they killed all the prophets of God and only Elijah was left, people remained faithful to God.  Death and famine filled the land.  They had to have been frightened on a daily basis.  Yet they stayed true to their Creator, never bending a knee to Baal.

We could compare that period to now, 2017.  Maybe, we don't have the same extremes of death and famine, but as a Christian, you are out numbered in our American Culture.  You are told you need to compromise your beliefs and God's Word on a daily basis.  You are told you need to be tolerant and loving of other people's choices that are not pleasing to God.  You are told that sin is good.

The idols of Baal and the Asherpoles on the high places surround us.  Money, careers, materialism, foul language, immodesty, abortions, sex outside of the marriage bed, homosexuality, transgenderism, hobbies, pleasures of every kind, tolerance for every religion but our own.  What will you bow the knee to?  Would you be one of the faithful 7,000?  Are you strong enough to be a part of that elicit group?

None of us have the power to be a part of that 7000.  Temptations are too overwhelming.  Knowing that we are in a battle zone, and fighting for our lives and our children's is a starting place.  Second, you need the whole armor of God.  Girding your waist with truth, having a breastplate of righteousness, shodding your feet with the gospel of peace, using the shield of faith, dawning the helmet of salvation, and piercing with the sword of God's word.

Remember, as a Christian, our life is not all about protecting ourselves, but there is an offensive move that we are to do.  People will not change, our communities will not change, our culture will not change without Jesus in their lives.  I encourage you to use God's Word and create relationships now.

Being part of that 7,000 is something I desire.  I want to be called one of God's faithful.  I want to not falter on this stage of life.  I want to be one of the last ones standing.  When I look back, I want to know I did my best for the One who loves me more than life, remembering that this world is not my home.  I will fail.  Getting back up on my feet and trying again, and again, and again is the goal.

In 2017, in the United States of America, the idols are present, the false teachers are real, and the battle is raging.  How will you fight for your family, your friends, and fellow citizens?  Will you remain faithful?

1 Kings 18-19
Ephesians 6

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Tobyn's First Haircut!

Tobyn is 22 months and I finally got him his first haircut. It was not something that I was excited to go do. That's probably why it took me so long to do it. It just seems like every little baby boy who gets their first haircut, comes looking back like a big boy. And well, I'm just not ready for Tobyn to not be my baby! Oh well, life does happen and thus we got his hair cut! Here are the before and after pics!

The front view

the back view the side view
He was not very happy at the idea of sitting in the chair by himself, so we compromised and he sat on me. He was very somber the whole time, but he did a very good job at sitting still.

The after pictures. He really wasn't to sure about the end product!

Here he is after we got home and after he had his sucker! Daniel wasn't quite impressed with his haircut as I was. He thought a little more would come off, even though I had them take off an inch and a half! (Actually Daniel still thinks he needs another haircut!) Oh well, I like it! He still looks like a baby and he still has his curls! A mom can only do so much at one time!

Spring Break

We were so blessed to be able to take a trip to California over spring break. We spent the first part of our trip in the San Diego area and then we went up to Monterey to spend some time with family.
Here are the kids on the balcony of the condo we were staying at on Coronado Island.

The beach was right out the back door and the kids were in love!
There was an unusual line of clams all the way up the beach. The kids had fun scooping them up.

Dad's helping them dig for the deep clams.

Taylin's my poser!

Rayna is proud of the clams she has found.

Tobyn loved all the ships and helicopters that went by!

This was the condo we stayed at!

Stay tuned for Part 2!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Spring Break, Part 2

While we were in San Diego we had a fun day at the San Diego Zoo. It was beautiful weather and we enjoyed viewing lots of animals.

I was attempting to get all of the kids with this giant polar bear statue, but it didn't go so well. With the other people around and the attitudes of my children, this is what I came up with. Oh, well.

A moment with Rayna while waiting for Daniel to bring our picnic for lunch. Some of the animals.
We all got a kick out of an orangutan that we found chewing gum. He was pulling it out of his mouth and stretching it and then putting it on his nose. It was actually very entertaining to watch him. To bad I was so entertained that I didn't even think about taking a picture of him!

Rayna was so excited to see the Panda bear, but by the time we finally got there she was passed out and I couldn't wake her up. It was a very full day!

But face paintings always make up for disappointments! I think this was the highlight of the girls trip to the zoo.

Rayna was right at home in the petting zoo.

Tobyn was a little shy at first, but he warmed up.

Taylin on the other hand, never quite got over the smell!
An attempt at a partial family photo.

This was a Point Loma's lighthouse. It was very cool and fun for the kids to walk through.
It was rather cold that day! Daddy's trying to keep them warm!

The fog did burn off while we were still up there, and we got quite the view of the San Diego Harbor.

We liked the old fashion ship in the background.

In Monterey, we were able to see a portion of Daniel's family. One of the nights we celebrated Shawn's (our brother-n-law) and Daniel's birthday. It was quite fun and great food thanks to his sister Christine! So, here is a picture of the birthday boys, their cakes, and of course all the kiddos!

I always got to get a picture of the brothers. They have a strange, unique, loving relationship that I guess only brothers get!

Lovings with Daddy!

Little Jude loving his desert!

Sweet Carys!

Baylie being nice to Auntie to stop to pose for a picture, but really she just wanted to eat her cake! But hey, can you blame her?

Even though your on vacation, you can't forget your Sunday afternoon siesta!

The Phillips boys with their grandma!

How sweet the girls were! And how instantaneously they were best friends!
Auntie Zoe won over everyone with a fun girly time with nails and make up!

"Come on!" says Jude!

Tobyn getting friendly with Grandma Victoria.

Grandpa Luke spoiling the girls.

Tobyn became pretty friendly with everyone, but he really took a liking to Grandpa Luke. He was his bud!

It's always sad to leave good company. We hope we'll be able to go back sooner than later!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Things the Kids Say

The talk around our house these days are precious. There are quite interesting and funny conversations that happen to take place between my children and us. Here are a few of them that I can remember.

After reading a story to the kids about Winnie the Pooh, Tobyn was taking some time looking at the pictures. Trying to encourage his vocabulary I was pointing at things and saying their names. So, I pointed at Pooh and said "Pooh." He looks at me and points to his bum and says "Poo," and then continues to point back and forth between Winnie the Pooh and his bum and saying the word "Pooh." I couldn't correct the difference because it was just to funny!

Over hearing the girls conversation while playing (playing heaven I guess?) I heard Rayna telling Taylin, "Yeah, and the streets are golden with Pearly gates and there are jewels everywhere! It is sooo beautiful!"

I don't really remember how this conversation started, but somehow we were on the subject of heaven (I guess heaven seems to come up a lot in our house) and Rayna was very disturbed. She asked, "Mom, how will Jaden know who I am when I see him in heaven? Like how will he know that I am his sister?" Can I say I was almost brought to tears by that one.

Listening to Taylin and Rayna as they were playing dress up I overheard Rayna ask, "Taylin, is rich pretty?" Taylin, "No, rich is when you have lots of stuff." "But Taylin, all the things I have is pretty," replies Rayna. "Rich is like money and stuff," says Taylin.