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But Mommy Can I Have One More Chance . . . Please?!?

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My kids cannot tolerate much sugar. These past few weeks I’ve been noticing the effects of sugar on their behavior and as I have made a connection between them acting in extreme disobedience and their eyes glossing over when I try to discipline them I realized I am battling a similar battle as one trying to reason with a drunk. It’s not their fault, it’s the sugar. They can’t control it and help themselves and who gave them the sugar in the first place? Well I did of course and now here I am pulling my hair in frustration over these uncontrollable wild and crazy kids! So my natural response is to cut out sugar. Only on very special occasions and in smaller quantities. Now here comes the test . . . daily I hear “mom can I please have a piece of candy after lunch? Can I please have juice for breakfast? Can I please have dessert, I ate all my dinner? Can we please have a special drink, we’ve been really good at the store?” And these pleadings come from 4 different directions and they all gang up on me! Well, after all they did eat all their food. . . They have been doing good at the store . . . Okay you can have some sugar. Then all of that goodness and any clout I thought I had to my consequence goes flying through the roof and we’re back in that state of uncontrollable sugar high. Why can’t I just say no and stick with it?!? Why do they have to gang up on me and beg and use reasonable arguments to plead their case?!?!

I was reading this morning in Deuteronomy 3 and God blessed me with a little golden nugget of encouragement. In this chapter Moses and the Israelites are fighting their way to conquer Canaan and claim the Promised Land as their own. Moses was not able to enter the Promised Land because of an act of disobedience in Numbers 20. Moses is here asking the Lord to change His mind and give him a second chance to enter the Promised Land. After all it was Moses right? He did lead these people out of Egypt and spoke face to face with God and spent 40 years in near perfect obedience among a group of complaining idolators without ever faltering and just giving in to the majority rules. He really did deserve another chance right? 

Moses begins his pleading by trying to butter up God: “Then I pleaded with the Lord at that time, saying: ‘O Lord God, You have begun to show Your servant Your greatness and Your mighty hand, for what God is there in heaven or on earth who can do anything like Your works and Your mighty deeds? I pray, let me cross over and see the good land beyond the Jordan, those pleasant mountains, and Lebanon.’ ” I would equate that to my kiddos saying, 

“Oh wonderful mother, this dinner you cooked was so delicious. Thank you for all of your hard work, what mother is like you? You are so wonderful . . . now we beg you, could we please have some dessert, some delicious, mouth watering dessert that you baked so lovingly?” 

Um . . . Ok. My response: “Ok, just this time because you guys are doing so good. Now remember to show me you can handle your sugar.” And we all know where that leads. Now here’s God’s response to Moses’ pleading: “But the Lord was angry with me on your account, and would not listen to me. So the Lord spoke to me: ‘Enough of that! Speak no more to Me of this matter.’ ” Wow. God you are so good. You are perfectly wise knowing when to extend grace and when to not falter on your word. There’s no changing God’s mind here. I also appreciate that Moses just took God at his word here instead of pressing the issue. This is my encouragement to stand up to the battle against sugar : ) My word is final. Do not beg and plead with me or butter me up. I can think of so many other areas of disobedience in my kiddos I need to extend this knowledge to.

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The Battle is Not Yours, but God’s

“Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord…
Then Jehoshaphat stood… and said,
‘O Lord God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven,
and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations,
and in Your hand is there not power and might,
so that no one is able to withstand You?…
Here they are, rewarding us by coming to throw us out of Your possession
which You have given us to inherit…
For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against  us;
nor do we know what to do,
but our eyes are upon You…’
Now all Judah… stood before the Lord.
Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel… and he said…
‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude,
for the battle is not yours, but God’s…
You will not need to fight in this battle.
Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord,
who is with you…
Do not fear or be dismayed;
tomorrow go out against them,
for the Lord is with you…’
Jehoshaphat stood and said… ‘Believe in the Lord your God,
and you shall be established;
believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.’ ”
2 Chronicles 20, selected verses

The Lord showed me some amazing things through this passage in regards to a battle I am in the middle of. The context behind this verse is King Jeoshaphat was coming up on a battle against the Moabites and Ammonites. There was a great multitude and he was afraid. The battle seemed too big for him and his nation and he did not know what to do. So he feared the Lord and remembered the amazing things God had done in the past and confessed his position of helplessness… and then he waited. Not only did he wait but all of Judah waited and stood before the Lord. And guess what… the Spirit of the Lord came. They waited and God showed up. And God gently reminded them that the battle is not theirs but His. He will fight for them. But they must believe Him. God didn’t ask them to stay inside and just hope for the best. God told them to position themselves so they may see the salvation of the Lord. They still had to go out against the army, but God would show up. And God did show up. In fact He ambushed the armies… no one had escaped.

He will fight for me. This was one of those still small voices moments for me about 2 years ago. God whispered this in my heart and brought the rest to my weary soul that Scripture talks about. In those 2 years I have often tried to take control of the battle myself and in doing so have experienced the weariness, stress, anguish and anger. These emotions come when the battle is clearly too big for me and I don’t know what to do. Instead of fearing the Lord I just keep trying different tactical methods all the while excluding God and just trying to get by on my own. God used this passage in 2 Chronicles 20 to remind me that the battle is not mine, it is God’s. He will fight for me. I just need to recall all the things He has already done and then believe on Him to show up and bring salvation.

Are you in a situation where you feel like you need to muster up all you have and fight for something… maybe to stay home with your kiddos, to earn more money at your job, to convince a loved one to believe your position about something, to instill obedience into your children? Have you been weary trying all you have to get these things to go your way? Are these battles too big for you? Let me encourage you… that battle… it is not your’s, it is God’s. He will fight for you… but you need to let Him. I don’t need to scream and yell and claw tooth and nail to try to get my voice heard and opinions changed and to try to advocate for myself… God will do that for me. I can do my part in sharing my voice and sit back and let God fight for that voice to go where it needs to and to affect what it needs to affect. I just need to stand before Him and believe Him and wait. All the while I will be resting, knowing it’s in His hands.

” ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude,

for the battle is not yours, but God’s.’ ” v.15

 

“What do you want Me to do for you?” – Jesus

“As He (Jesus) went out of Jericho with His disciples and a great multitude, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the road begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ Then many warned him to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’ So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called. Then they called the blind man, saying to him, ‘Be of good cheer. Rise, He is calling you.’ And throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus. So Jesus answered and said to him, ‘What do you want Me to do for you?’ The blind man said to Him, ‘Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Go your way; your faith has made you well.’ And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road.”

Mark 10:46-52

I went to church this week and found myself to enjoy our main service but God used my time volunteering in children’s ministry to really speak to me. Faith like a child, right? Sometimes it’s the simple messages that speak profoundly to us. This is what the children’s ministry message was about… blind Bartimaeus. Now while they focused on Jesus having power over sickness God spoke some great things to me.

I often feel like Bartimaeus. Not physically blind but spiritually blind. When God brings me a revelation about my sin or my relationship with Him and He opens my eyes I am in shock and amazed at how blind I was before. Bartimaeus knew he was blind. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t know how spiritually blind I am. Sometimes my sin is so extensive and complicated and overwhelming that I don’t know what to pray for and I’m left feeling somewhat blind to it. So I begin calling out to God to give me wisdom to see things clearly, to give me strength to persevere in victory over my sin and just like the multitudes told Bartimaeus to be quiet, the devil and my flesh and the world all tell me the same. Shhhhh. Don’t ask Jesus for something like this. He’s got bigger problems on His plate. You should be able to handle your sin on your own, after all you probably were the one who got yourself into this mess in the first place. And often those messages get the best of me and I begin to silence myself. God doesn’t want to hear me come again and again to Him with the same thing.

But Jesus stood still and called Bartimaeus to come to Him. Jesus had somewhere to go. He had people following Him who were now forced to stop and wait before they could move on. But nonetheless Jesus stood still. He stopped at the voice of Bartimaeus. Why did He call Bartimaeus to Him? Why didn’t Jesus just go to Him? Jesus may call us but if we don’t stand up and walk away from our old stuff and walk towards Him then we can’t receive what He has for us. Come to me Bartimaeus. Come all you who are weary. Come. Come. Jesus is there with an endless supply of whatever we need whenever we need it… but we have to come. This is where the victory or defeat comes. I have experienced both. I have chosen to stay put. Jesus I want you to come to me. I don’t want to take any steps and get up and do anything. Can’t you just change things from where you are and then I’ll get up and come to you? I want to be more like Bartimaeus when I am calling out to God and He answers and asks me to come to Him… “throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus.” He did not want to sit back and miss his one amazing opportunity to interact with Jesus. Bartimaeus knew Jesus had the power to heal Him. He had heard about Jesus and was thrilled that Jesus was walking right past him. This was it. The moment he had hoped and dreamed about for who knows how long. There’s no way he would just sit back and let Jesus pass. He threw aside what he was carrying and came to Jesus when he called.

“What do you want Me to do for you?” Hmmm. I’m pretty sure Jesus already knew. Why did He ask? I’m sure there are many reasons and one sticks out to me for how it relates to my walk and experiences. Humility. It’s along the lines of when we ask someone to forgive us. Forgive us for what? We need to tell them what we did wrong and ask them to forgive us. Not just “I messed up will you forgive me”. When we are specific it gives power and victory over those words. It lets us and those around us and Jesus know that we know what we are asking and what our expectations are. “Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.” He could’ve asked for more money when he begs. He could’ve asked for a comfortable covered home. But he knew Jesus was bigger than that. Heal my blindness! Bartimaeus had never seen the light of day. How audacious of him to ask that of Jesus. But he did and he should have and I’m glad he did.

“‘Your faith has made you well.’ And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road.” Can you imagine how Bartimaeus must have felt?!? Seeing for the first time and now a part of the multitude that had shushed him up on the side of the road. Walking in step with Jesus not even knowing where He was going and what they were going to see. Have you ever had your eyes opened from spiritual blindness? There is a power, a freedom, an excitement. I can see! I get it!

I am praying from this message that God will help me to earnestly call out to Him for my blindness and that I will shush up the world, the flesh and the devil when they tell me to be quiet and stop calling out to God. I am praying that the second Jesus calls for me to come to Him that I will throw aside what I am clinging on to and come to Him. I am praying that I will ask Jesus specifically what I want Him to do for me (according to His will) and that when He does it that I will receive it and follow Him.

The Discomfort of Grace

I don’t like to be uncomfortable.

Most of us don’t.

We try to correct situations where we feel discomfort. Pillow top mattress, a jacket in the winter, tylenol for a headache, a bigger house, a new car.

Grace makes me uncomfortable.

I try to correct that feeling. Working to earn it or refusing to accept it and rather opting for self inflicted punishment of shame and guilt. Because that’s what I know and sometimes what we know may feel comfortable just because we’re used to it. New things take time to get used to, no matter how good they may be.

Why not embrace the discomfort of grace? After all embracing the discomfort makes us all the more aware and grateful for the remedy. Once you choose to embrace the discomfort of trying something new, with time and devotion and trust that new thing will become a part of you. It will become your normal and while you may have hesitated at first because it felt awkward and you didn’t think it fit you or looked good on you, it will eventually become you and characterize you.

Think of becoming a mom or a wife. Or even a nurse or a college student. Or a licensed driver or an employee at a business. At first you may excitedly but hesitantly proclaim your new title. For me I struggled with unbelief that this was actually me now. How blessed am I?!? I still feel so young and not even worthy for these titles and this happened so fast and what if I mess something up, etc., etc. I was initially a little uncomfortable with the new title. But once I embraced it fully it changed everything. It squandered all my doubts and gave me the confidence to boldly proclaim my new title. And not because I worked so hard to earn it but because God gave it to me, allowed it for me, blessed me with it.

I want that for grace in my life. I don’t want to be hesitant to accept it or give it. I want it to be me. My new comfort. My title. I want my initial discomfort of embracing grace to become comfort and be replaced with a discomfort when I am disgraceful. When I choose in moments to not receive or extend grace and suddenly find myself uncomfortable with that and needing to find a remedy… and that remedy being the comfort of grace.

20 “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. 21 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.

22 “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. 23 And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, 24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.

The Prodigal Son – Luke 15

Stuck in a Rut

I am in a rut. Have you ever been there? I know this rut that I’m in is because I am choosing to be there and my choosing is walking in disobedience. Disobedience to some actions I know God is asking me to take, disobedience in my attitude I know God is asking me to change, disobedience in my view of Him and trusting Him and in His promises that I know He is asking me to believe. I am trying to do this thing on my own and it is just digging a deep deep rut.

This morning God showed me a foundation of this rut… my pursuit of Him.

Why do I pursue God? Well… I am pursuing Him (if you could even call it that) to get something for myself. I want the external blessings. I want to pursue Him and walk in obedience so that my marriage will get better, so my husband will start treating me better, so that my kids will be more obedient to me, so that God will provide finances so I won’t have to consider working again, so that a best friend will just pop up on my doorstep for me, so that we will find a church that is awesome and has everything we’re looking for, so that, so that, so that… How selfish is that? If my pursuit of God is dependent on my external circumstances changing and then they don’t… well, it doesn’t take a math genius to figure out that equation. I will stop pursuing God. It just simply doesn’t seem worth it. If my life isn’t “feeling” and “looking” any better then what’s the point. After all it is a lot of work to pursue God. To try to mentally remember all the things He’s teaching me and all the areas I’m falling short and then the lists of what I need to do to fix those areas and make them right. And in the midst of that I’m breaking up sibling rivalry, and failing in teaching my daughter to read, and my husband and I just had another fight, and another woman I thought could become a good friend doesn’t have any time for me, and I burned dinner. What’s the point to all of this? Maybe I can do this thing better on my own instead of trying so hard to get things to change by God’s path and it not working.

Failure was never His plan.

Frustration was never His plan.

Ruts were never His plan.

Perfect external circumstances were never His plan.

Easiness was never His plan.

Okay. So God what is your plan? What is the point in all of this? What do I do and where do I go from here?

“One thing I have desired of the Lord,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord,
And to inquire in His temple.”

Psalm 27:4

“O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.
So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
                                                                       To see Your power and Your glory.                                                                        Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.
Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.

When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches.
Because You have been my help,
Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.
My soul follows close behind You;
Your right hand upholds me.”

Psalm 63:1-8

So what is the point in all of this? Jesus. It has always been Jesus. Jesus never promised an easy life. He promised hardships and exertion and persecution. While I would not say I am being persecuted in the name of Jesus I would say my life does not meet up to the world’s perfect standards or my standards for that matter. So I need to stop pursuing that and instead pursue Jesus, simply for Jesus.

I want my soul to long for Jesus. I don’t want to long for a perfect homeschool day, for a full time gig at home, for a husband who always acts and responds perfectly. Because we live in a sinful fallen world. I will face disappointments EVERY SINGLE DAY. If I long for that then I will constantly be dissatisfied and discontent. But if I long for Jesus. In the morning when I rise if I ask for Jesus, He will show up EVERY SINGLE DAY and Jesus does not disappoint.

Then when I am faced with my little petty trials every day I can turn to Him to receive what He has to give me… strength in the moment to press forward when I want to give up (Phil 4:13, Romans 5:3-5, Isaiah 40:31), contentment when I am wishing for bigger and better or more (2 Peter 1:3-4), patience when the kiddos are pressing every last minute and the lock button on my bathroom door seems to be broken (Phil 4:13), a satisfied belly and a thankful heart when making yet another PB & J sandwich to save a little money (Matt 6:25-34).

No More Spiritual To-Do Lists

“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.” 2 Peter 1:5-9

When I’ve read this passage in the past I would get stuck on the first verse and turn it into a to-do list. Okay this week I need to work on diligence, faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love. But God is showing me something great about only claiming to know Him and what growth in Him really looks like. Our church has been focusing on this the past two months as well. That in order to fuel your spiritual growth it is not about a new and exciting bible study or a to-do list of faith virtues or a stronger accountability session or finding a mentor. It is about remembering that we have been cleansed from our old sins (v. 9) . . . And what’s that? It’s the gospel. The good news. The news of Jesus and the power and purpose of His crucifixion and what that means for me.

When I meditate solely on that and remember that and allow that to invade my life then things like brotherly kindness and love and perseverance and self-control begin to flow out of me naturally because I am not barren or unfruitful in my knowledge of Jesus Christ (v. 8). If I am impregnated and fruitful in the knowledge of Jesus then these things are mine and will abound (v. 8)! This is so simple!

“I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2:2.

I Don’t Know Anything but Jesus

“For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2:2

I often struggle with wanting to be more mature in specific areas of my Christian walk. I will focus on one thing and think about it constantly for a few weeks and maybe read a book and some articles on it and if I’m really determined I’ll pray for that area a lot. I will find that I do a little better in that area or at least I can pretend well but inevitably my flesh will kick in sooner than later and I find myself filled with discouragement that I am so far in my spiritual maturity and wonder if I will ever be a child of God that grows and pleases Him.

Take for example patience with disciplining my children. I will be convicted about my lack of patience and start praying for God to make me more patient and read some blogs about discipline and maybe start a book or two on discipline and each opportunity I will focus and try really hard to be more patient. I’ll do better for a couple days (or sometimes just a few hours depending on what the day brings!) but inevitably I begin to fail. I become impatient one or two times which opens the floodgates and before I know it I am more impatient than I’ve ever been with the kids! I then feel so discouraged and begin thinking of all the areas I’m failing and how in this world can I ever be a pleasing Christian to God and how will I ever grow and mature in my walk when I have so much to work on!!

What Paul writes here in 1 Corinthians is so encouraging and convicting. “I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” If I keep my focus on Christ and His crucifixion and solely focus my time and energy and study on Him then I will naturally become more like Him. We can only resemble God’s character when we study it and know it. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” Proverbs 1:7a. Not the fear of impatience is the beginning of knowledge or the fear of unkindness or unfaithfulness, etc. But the fear of the Lord.

And there is no disappointment in the knowledge of God. No days of discouragement. The more I learn about Him and what His death on the cross means for me the more encouraged I am and I begin to naturally live out the reality. I need to stop trying so hard to live holy because it’s not my strength or resolve that makes me holy anyways it’s Jesus’ death on the cross and His blood that makes me holy. Instead of feeling like this Christian walk is so hard and I’m never going to get anywhere I need to be encouraged that that’s never what it’s been about. If I focus my eyes on Jesus “the author and perfecter of (my) faith” (Hebrews 12:2) and less on me and my strength and my capabilities and my growth then this walk will no longer be exhausting and filled with feelings of failure but instead will be joyful and victorious. Praise God for what He did on the cross!!

“And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.” 1 Corinthians 2: 1-4

Joseph Robert’s Birth Story

So Baby Jo is now 6 months old but I decided it was time to write out his birth story : ) I love having record of his story and I hope some day in the future it will bless all of the kiddos to have their story written down of how they entered this world.

Joseph Robert was born 6 days late on January 8th. I was torn the whole week before because we were thinking we were going to have to induce since he was already so late but I really wanted a similar birth experience to Lydia’s and actually experience spontaneous labor. Our Dr. was willing to induce us from the first day past our due date but I kept waiting per the suggestion of our previous Dr. with being a VBAC and allowing your body to naturally go into labor as opposed to pushing it along with an induction. So we kept waiting. Every day past the due date seemed so long and left me doubting and questioning if we should call to schedule an induction. I also had a weird battle because Adam and my anniversary is the 7th and I really didn’t want our baby born on the same day. It seemed like until that child was out of the house it would be hard to celebrate our anniversary on the same day as that baby’s birthday (I still think it will be tricky but God has His own plans and reasons for doing things).

Well we finally reached the max amount of overdue days and schedule our induction for the morning of the 8th. I still kept hoping to go into labor that night but no such plan happened. I was also remembering our scheduled induction with Amelia and how we showed up to the hospital an hour before and they sent us home because they had no room! I really didn’t want that to happen again… well… it did! We called at 5 AM and they said they were full and they’d call back when they were ready for me. Now since Joseph was originally due on January 2nd he felt all along like a Christmas baby… being told there was no room in the inn made it even more real!! I tried calling again after their morning shift change to make sure I wasn’t getting left behind and the not so nice nurse told me they knew who I was and would call me when they were ready just like they told me at 5 AM. Ugh! Don’t tell an overdue woman that it’s going to be longer! Well we dilly dally’d at home for a few hours and they called at 9 AM saying they were ready!!

We headed out the door and got checked in and dressed and ready to go. They broke my water at 10:30 AM to see if anything would happen naturally from that. No such luck. About 11:30 they started me on Pitocin as nothing was really progressing. They came in every 30 mins. or so and increased the dose to help my contractions get stronger and closer together. Around 1:00 I started getting pretty uncomfortable and had an epidural in place by 1:15 : ) I started relaxing a bit and closed my eyes for a few mins. Right around 2:00 I started feeling some pressure like I needed to push. I was just turning around to hit my nurse call button to have her come see where I was at when the nurse walked in and said she was looking at my contractions on the monitor and wondered if I was starting to feel pressure! She checked me and we were ready to go! My Doc came in and everyone got ready. I started pushing at 2:15 and by 2:30 this giant boy was out!!! What a blessing! Another quick and easy VBAC delivery!

Baby Jo came in a whopping 9 lbs 6 oz and 21 1/2″ long!

VBAC # 2 and almost 10 lbs. !!!

Receiving Strength for the Task

“By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised.” Hebrews 11:11

Have you ever been asked of God to do something that by yourself you thought there’s no way I can do this. I am not strong enough or I already have too much on my plate or I’m too old for this or whatever it might be that hinders you from obedience to the task or even belief that the task can be accomplished or that God’s even asking it of you.

I certainly have a number of times and may even be facing this right now.

This is such an encouraging little excerpt from Scripture. This is from Abraham and Sarah who God had promised children more numerous than the stars in the sky (Genesis 15:5) and as the majority of their years were filled with barrenness they certainly had time to doubt God’s promise over their life. I’m sure based on this Hebrews passage that as Sarah’s age grew older she did question and doubt how she could hold up in a pregnancy so late in life. How would she have strength to make it through delivery? (Remember there were no epidurals and delivery aids back then!) And how would she have the energy to raise a young child in such an old age? I’m sure this was a great temptation to doubt God’s promise or at least her ability to fulfill His promise over her. BUT SHE RECEIVED STRENGTH TO CONCEIVE SEED, AND SHE BORE A CHILD. God met her where she was at and provided for her need and fear.

God will not promise something for us and ask something of us without supplying us the strength to accomplish it.

Are you weary and exhausted today and wondering how in the world you’re going to do it? He will give you strength … open your heart and receive it.

God is good all the time.

Garage Sale Crockpot – A Gift From God?

This morning God very sweetly nudged me and brought something to my mind that brought some great conviction. I shared with my family yesterday how excited I was at my garage sale find last week. The very day before I found this delicious recipe for some seasoned carrots that I wanted to make. However, the recipe was for the carrots in a small crockpot. I only have the giant crockpot for big meals and roasts so I began thinking how I wanted a smaller crockpot for side dishes and dips and what nots. So I thought to myself (this was Friday) that maybe on Saturday I could check out a few garage sales and hope to find one or else maybe try the thrift store next week. So that day passes and Saturday morning rolls around and lo and behold our next door neighbors are having a garage sale (this means I do not need to wait until all 3 kiddos are awake and fed and then pack them in the car to get to the sales) so I walked over all by myself and what was sitting there right in the middle of the first table? A small crockpot!!!! I couldn’t believe it! I snatched it right up, gave my cash and walked home beaming!

Now stuff like this happens to me ALL THE TIME! And here’s what I attribute to it. Adam and I have always lived on one income ever since we were married so we have had 7 years of practicing living a frugal life. Now that we have 3 kiddos and are homeschooling and still on one income the intensity of our frugality continues to increase. I have really enjoyed this being an aspect of our lives although of course there are the temptations of thinking about what we could do on a double income but either way we know we are where the Lord wants us and He will honor that. With this frugal life I have always pinched pennies and we’ve held back on a lot of things because of finances. This is a part of the excitement for me because I do love a good bargain and used things so it’s always fun to see what you can find for so little!

Now I’ve always wondered what God had in store for us for our years of trying our hardest to be good stewards of our finances. We have learned some wonderful lessons along the way that I know have been blessings from our situation and secretly I’ve wondered if some day we will have loads of money and that will be God’s way of blessing us for our years of stewardship… haha! Not likely but sometimes a thought in the back of my mind. Well this is what God has been showing me… He blesses my desires for stewardship to Him by placing sales and deals just for me all over the place… hence the crockpot at the garage sale! I can’t tell you how much money I’ve saved and how many wonderful things (books, clothes, food, decorations, shoes, etc., etc.) God has allowed us to add into our home when we never thought possible. Now here’s where the conviction kicker came. Whenever I excitedly share with someone my new find… I share just that… MY new find. I don’t say… guess what God brought to me at the garage sale this morning! He allowed me to see it like this. Wouldn’t our feelings be hurt if we continually showered little gifts to our children (surprise candies or presents or new books, etc.) all over the place and all the time and they never once acknowledged us as the giver? What if Amelia came downstairs and said mom! look what I found! This brand new dolly! Isn’t that great! and then just went on with her day. Of course I would find joy in her joy in the little present but one day when she begins to wonder where all those things came from and realizes it was from me I think it would hurt my feelings if she never said thank you and always told people about the things SHE found when she was little. I pictured God beaming at me beaming at His surprise and then feeling a bit sad when I completely left Him out while sharing with others about MY find. Oh how I wish I was better at this! How I wish I would consistently give Him the glory and Him the praise! What a testament to others about how uniquely personal and caring and loving our God is that He would be in the little things like a crockpot find at a garage sale. That may make all the difference in how an unbeliever might view our great God.

“Not to us, O Lord, Not to us but to Your name be the glory for ever and ever Amen!” Psalm 115:1