Marveling the sweetness of God and His provisions… our yard is filled with things that seem to be here for ‘whateverailsya’!! Sweet that He would provide for me very specific herbs/remedies in abundance.
♫ Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.
The more I study (and read the labels on my *purchased* tinctures) I see what the Lord has *already* provided here in abundance!! Massive abundance! I am brought to tears at the goodness and mercy of God on my behalf. Incredibly, different herbal remedies I have needed (and have purchased from my healthfood store) are here in abundance. Just to consider this is so humbling. As I consider my favourite flowers… Hydrangeas! Well, the hydrangea root is an ingredient in a tincture I regularly use for kidney/bladder issues. Then I think on many other ingredients listed on the bottles and tinctures I have in my cabinet and fridge. Garlic. Burdock. Dandelion. Juniper berries. English Walnut. Black Walnut. Cleavers. Raspberry leaf. Chickweed. Plantain. Lavender. And, ta-dah! Just discovered the medicinal benefit *willow tree* bark – acetylsalicylic acid – aspirin! Isn’t this incredible to ponder?!?!
Before we bought this home, during the search for a home for our family, my sister-in-law suggested that I make a list of things to present to the Lord — a list of my heart’s desires for our family home. On the top of that list, I asked the Lord for a willow tree and space for the children to run and play. How sweet of the Lord to provide for me in ways I knew not — and gave me desires He would later fulfill or reveal. All the while we’ve lived here, year after year I’ve discovered new things about Him and His precise provisions for me – for my husband and children. Interestingly, it seems I’m just discovering them as I need them—-generally after I’ve purchased an herbal remedy, I will look up the different herbal ingredients and that’s when I discover that God’s already provided what I need and mercifully shows me what to do next. His care is unending and His love, eternal.
I pray the Lord will be your All in all, your provision and peace and that He’s demonstrating Himself strong on your behalf today. May you always be blessed.
It’s so subtle and is happening so slowly and smoothly that it’s hardly noticeable to some people—the faint shift from day to day to the acceptance of immorality. Think for a moment about the church growth “movement” of the last decade or two. Consider the shift from Christ centered to man centered theology and from Biblical principles to marketing strategies for growth. Then take into account the music that fills the minds and the airwaves… no longer Christcentric but egocentric. Consider the shift from Bible study to “focus-groups” that address “felt needs” or personal interests or individual crisis. And then mull over the ramifications of the “AIDS crisis” over the last twenty-five years. Very gradually we’ve been “indoctrinated” to accept people where they’re at—to not condemn or judge behaviour and certainly not attribute to sin the consequences of certain behaviours. So that’s been engrained steadily over time by advertisers and the massive machine of Hollywood—the pseudo social and political experts, the change agents and shapers of cultural norms–the destroyers of family and morality. Hollywood’s been very cleverly working to redirect the thinking… the subtle washing, the crafty work of emotionally moving videos. I reflect on two movies I’ve seen this year… the characters which command acceptance. The lifestyles that demand tolerance—so cunning is the inclusion of two women as parents of a boy in Kicking and Screaming… Two men as a couple in The Family Stone… and in another movie which we did not/will not see was the assaulting of the sensibilities by a pair of cowboys. Over the years, homoseuality has been slowly creeping into movies and television so that it’s like the proverbial frog in the pot… slowly, as the heat is increased, the frog boils to death—never jumping out of the pot because of the slow acclamation to the heat.
So all this has happened and the church nods off. All this is happening and the church is busy building bigger barns and catering to felt needs. Reading paraphrases of paraphrases of the Bible. Singing inane songs with sensual tones and repetitive lines of few words. And then, taking into consideration the enormity of church “attendance” and the extraordinary availability of Biblical information, helps, guides, studies, buildings, buildings, buildings, seminaries, and Bible schools, it is deplorable that there’s isn’t notable Christian influence and appearance in this nation. There really ought to be a difference… there ought to be distinctively different look and action of Christian individuals… individuals who are not their own—individuals who’ve been bought with a price, redeemed from the curse of the Law.
I’ve been thinking of some different letters I’ve received concerning movies, the sales of clothing with clearly anti-Christian symbols, the legislature and other topics where there is clearly an open antagonistic and sometimes hostile view of Christians—not so much of religion per se, not anti-God, but anti-Christ. It’s actually kind of chic to be religious–not Jesus-religious, but yoga religious, christian-science religious, new-age religious, mystic religious, and the whole gamut of sorcery sort of religious—anything but Jesus. It’s very common for people to accept talk of God—but totally bristle at the mention of the Lord Jesus—which is totally bizarre —considering the awesomeness of the LORD God—not the pseudo-god who is known as the “higher power” in the world of Emmet Fox, Norman-Vincent Peale or Robert Schuller or all the people currently influenced by them—but God, the God of the Bible, the God of the Universe, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Isn’t it amazingly ironic—the God is so cavalierly held in mind, esteemed so common as to be used as a household expletive. So, God is acceptable—sort of the universally accepted -word- but not the God of the Bible.
“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.” John 15.18-21
Our lives ought to be–-must be—different because of the terrific price paid on our behalf: Titus 2.14 “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” But, sadly, our lives are often not all that much different at all. Our behaviour, words and appearance really ought to outwardly reflect the inward change of our lives. I was thinking back on a situation recently where we were attending a program and I distinctly recall watching the men watching the women in attendance. The “holiday” attire was alluring and the line of distinction between modest and immodest was blurred. But what saddened me the most was the tightly packed row of teenagers immediately in front of us. Throughout the evening there seemed to be a constant preoccupation with the pants and the tops–so involved in making sure the tops were meeting but not covering the top of the pants, the victoria’ssecret tag in view, and then when sitting down, it was painfully obvious that the pants were too low. I was embarrassed for the young ladies; I found myself feeling sorry for them as they were more concerned with their view of their appearance than with the statement their appearance was really making. I felt sorry for the obvious distraction they were to the young men who kept glancing and then looking away. I felt sorry for the lack of understanding of modesty—not just in appearance, but in behaviour. I was sorry for the parents who were not in proximity to the young people and weren’t watching the situation. And seemingly hadn’t been part of the purchasing process, either.
So, when I think of all the anti-Christian rhetoric and the slurs and insulting music, movies and merchandise, I guess I consider the Word and what the LORD has said would happen, I consider the state of the church today–its message, in many places, so anemic. I pray… come, Lord Jesus—for He is the only One who can save— Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
I wanted to go back and grab a couple of entries…. I’m linking back to these to show just how far society has gone in just a very short time. In light of one of Voddie Baucham’s keynotes at the Christian Heritage Homeschool Conference this past weekend: ‘ Gay is NOT the new Black ,’ I’ve decided to repost a couple of things I originally posted in my blog in 2006. My desire is not to be sensational, alarmist or divisive, but to encourage very wise and careful thought and examination regarding the avalanche of lies, myths and social/societal manipulation. And, truly, it is going on. And, further, the church is being duped into following right along swallowing and promoting lies regarding this volatile issue. Let us be in the Word and on our knees.
Another slicing of a lie February 10, 2006
Remember: repeat a lie often enough, and people will begin to permit it to be common and then begin to accept it as truth. Such is the case with the so-called “homosexual movement.” This, from Worldnet Daily: “A leading homosexual activist group is blaming a deranged teenager’s violent rampage through a “gay” bar in Massachusetts on “hatred and loathing” fueled by Christian groups and leaders such as James Dobson.” And then, the article went on to describe the individual responsible for the attack. In addition to the mean-spirited and unfounded attack on Christian individuals and groups, there was a description of items found in the home of the attacker. There was no mention finding a Bible, or a Focus on the Family Magazine or anything else remotely “Christian.” So, why the slander against Christians for the atrocious behaviour of that individual? I’ll tell you why… contrary to the claim by Matt Foreman of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, that “The hatred and loathing fueling this… vicious attack on gay men in New Bedford is not innate, it is learned… And who is teaching it? Leaders of the so-called Christian right, that’s who. Individuals like James Dobson of Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, the Rev. Pat Robertson and their ilk are obsessed with homosexuality.” Do you see the conditioning? Do you see the dialectic praxis? The rant that “their ilk are obsessed with homosexuality.”
What a lie and that lie is gaining momentum day by day. The truth is not that Christians are obsessed with homosexuality, but rather that people who commit homosexual acts are obsessed with homosexuality! Christians simply present a dilemma to those who promote homosexuality and the dilemma is that there is a war in the conscience of those who choose acts that are in conflict with God’s moral laws. And to combat the conflict or to deaden it, they must necessarily lash out at those who reflect God’s design—they have to hate Christians because Christians represent the very One they cannot deny—but they must deny God in order to continue on the immoral path they travel. Bullies always throw stones, they always attempt to discredit those they seek to intimidate so that they can continue garnering support even through intimidation in an attempt to validate themselves and their plan and then to saturate it with victimization or the emotionally laced oppression intensifies the effect of the protest and the charge . That young man with his swastika tattoo and with the “Neo-Nazi” and white supremacist materials in his home is no representative of Christians. And they know it. Clever and sly—they know it. That was just a bit of harassment aimed at further demonizing and marginalizing Christians and ultimately attacking the Creator—the One they must face
Suspending adulterers February 8, 2006
In the news…
Seems that in Florida, according to this article, because of the number of incidents and the resulting problems, Sheriff’s deputies who get caught cheating on their spouses or sleeping with another person’s spouse in Pinellas County, Fla., will be suspended from work for the behavior.” I couldn’t agree more that there ought to be consequences. In fact, I’m wondering if there’d be a dramatic decrease in the number of cases of adultery if they were suspended… from freeway overpasses. [note: just imagine... adulterers suspended from overpasses would serve as a deterrent. This was not intended to be mean-spirited]
I’ve had lots of time to read magazines in waiting rooms lately and decided I’ve been there too often when the same issues of magazines are still on the tables or in the magazine racks. So, yesterday I was glad to have David Kupelian’s book The Marketing of Evil with me. I wish I could properly convey the absolutely incredible value of this book as it is truly a “must read” book. Really! Order it and read the book!! Even reading the first pages of the book will refute the lies and expose the gross manipulation that permeates society. The book is well written, well documented and will, no doubt, forever change the way things are perceived. The exposing of lies, the uncovering of a cleverly orchestrated agenda, and the explanations for countless atrocities, trends and beliefs will leave readers contemplating for hours the incredible influence of media to perpetrate evil. But the trickiest part is that the evil is accepted as light and truth; the lies are cleverly designed to appeal to your mind and emotions and convince you of truth—but it’s not truth at all. What I am saying probably sounds like some unfounded, garbled conspiracy theory, but as I stated a moment ago, this book is no conspiracy—but it certainly does expose the agenda of those who hate God, those who hate good and Truth, those who seek to cover their own consciences by assaulting those who expose them. Taking a stand against things that are accepted by many people is a sometimes risky thing to do—risky if one is concerned about personal status or if one is concerned about offending critics. I’m not concerned about them. I *am* concerned if I offend a brother (or sister) in the LORD—for I know first hand that “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.” (Proverbs 18.19)
A clean home is a happy home. I know, I know, if ever there was a guilt inducing statement, that is it! But, seriously, think with me for a moment… consider some of the very best homemaker feelings/accomplishments. Doesn’t a ship-shape-top-to-bottom tidy give you a great feeling? How about a thoroughly cleaned out garage, a freshly cleaned and ordered pantry, fridge or bedroom closet? If you stop and think about these sorts of things, you’ll probably quickly remember how great it felt and how smoothly things seemed to run in your home. Remember?
With the advent of our son getting married a couple of weeks ago, a bit of space was freed up in our home. And, well, as you can imagine (especially if you’ve got a lot of children still home), the ideas and possibilities seemed to explode and the enthusiasm to clean out, paint, rearrange and clean up bedrooms was at an all time high. And at the end of a few days, when the bulk of the work was completed, the bedrooms were nearly all set up. Fresh and clean… and happy.
I have an idea for you… something that might add a little fun to your cleaning schedule — and maybe even to help you set up a cleaning schedule and give you some time saving ideas, to give you some inspiration and to make it fun.
You’re going to need a few supplies, first. I’d suggest that you get a binder or a piece of paper that you’ll add to your kitchen binder / log / whatever. Make a list of all the different chores you know must be done. Then, go back an prioritize the list into groupings of least to most important (or vice versa). The reason I’m suggesting that you write this down in a binder is that you’ll then have a written record that you can consult every time you’re going to do seasonal chores or monthly chores. If you don’t have a kitchen binder or a home/time management binder, then, most sincerely, I’d suggest that you get one, and begin to load it up with your family/home information, plans, important lists, etc. And, yes, I do mean paper, pens and a plastic/metal 3-ring binder. You’ll keep this with your cookbooks, etc.
After you’ve written your necessary chores list and arranged them in some order of importance, then you’ll need to get some wide craft sticks or tongue depressors and two jars. Then, write the chores – individually – on the sticks. I have written with Sharpie pens so that the ink won’t run if the sticks get wet – and I can reuse them many times this way. I may give an estimated time to complete the chore – or an asterisk on the stick to indicate importance or priority.
It really doesn’t matter what you do, it’s just a matter of doing what you know you must do and determine to get those things done. This stick method is but one method you might use.
This isn’t meant to put you in some sort of chore bondage, or to dictate that you must do it this way — and, believe me, this method is not the key you’ve been searching for to get your house in order once and for all. The order — once and for all — deal doesn’t exist. But you can learn ways to bring about a semblance of order that makes for a more smoothly run home and a more orderly way of keeping and caring for the things we all need to have/use in our homes.
So, maybe you’ve got the idea of making the lists in the binder and you’ve even imagined that you could write out the chores on the sticks… now what? Simple put the sticks — as many as your chore load dictates — in a jar. And then, establish a cleaning segment of every day and pick sticks each time, do the task on the stick, move on to another and another as time allows. STOP working when your allotted cleaning time is up. Plan to work the next day and the next — starting and stopping at the planned time, and so on, until the jobs you need to complete have all been completed. Put the completed chore stick into the empty jar and see how quickly you can get the sticks transferred from the first jar to the next. After a few days, you’ll be amazed at how much you can do AND how much you’ve gotten done. Save the sticks in your cabinet for the next overall house deep-cleaning and a couple of months (you can also make chore sticks for daily work or weekly/monthly work).
This will go much faster if you’ll mobilize your troops! Seriously! Teach your children to love to work and to work hard at it! Your attitude and zeal will be very motivating for them. And the daily allotted time deal? It’s a real loving incentive and doesn’t break morale —if— you’ll but stick to it. God bless you and your clean, happy home.
Do you ever stop and wonder what the Lord has spared you from facing or what things He prevented or protected you from? Have you ever wondered about ‘near misses’ or things that would have happened had God not intervened on your behalf?
I’ve been thinking about these sorts of things again today as I reflect on an incident that happened yesterday. I’d changed the sheets and bedding and was just finishing tucking in the quilt when something caught on my shoe. Looking down to see what it was, I could find nothing and so I got down to smooth my hand over the carpet to feel for whatever it was that had caught on my shoe. Much to my surprise (and amazement, really!), there on the carpet was a needle. I marveled… here I had been sick in bed for days, many times a day up to the bathroom or out to the kitchen and back to bed again, day after day. And, day after day that needle had to have been right there — right there were I stepped down over and over again — but, obviously, I never stepped on it.
Now, if you know me, you’d know that this is one of the things I am nearly psycho over: needles. Sewing needles, that is. I’m generally meticulously careful to keep them put away, and everyone in my family hears this line when anyone is sewing: Have you ever heard about the times when I was a little girl? They glaze over and nod, mmm hmmm — probably thankful I don’t repeat the whole tale. But they know it.
For when I was a little girl, we’d just moved into a new home and as I was putting things away in my new bedroom closet, I felt the stick of a needle in my foot. Shocked, I went to tell my mother that I thought I’d just stepped on a needle! Thus, a trip to the hospital where an x-ray revealed that, indeed, I’d stepped on that needle and it had broken in my foot and needed to be surgically removed. Obviously not too traumatized by the incident, I continued to go barefoot — it was Southern California, after all.
Well, just a couple of weeks later, while visiting my father in a nearby city and after being there a just a few days, I again stepped on a needle — in the other foot. I didn’t know it at the time and would later learn that he couldn’t handle and/or was very dramatic about anything having to do with pain or blood or crying. I was taken to the hospital to, again, have a needle surgically removed from my foot. Interestingly, what I really recall from that was that the needle insertion for the anesthetic was more painful than stepping on and breaking that needle in my foot. And, the ride home included ice cream and the next day for a preplanned trip to Disneyland, I had to ride in a wheelchair and be carried onto each of the rides.
So the point is that that needle had been right there beside our bed for some time… a week? two weeks? longer? And the Lord had protected me from what has been a lifetime concern. I took time to acknowledge that yesterday when it happened and have many times since… just thanking the Lord for His watchcare over me, for His mercy and kindness and for saving me from and protecting me from things I’ll never know. And today I’ve continued to think on different things that He’s spared me from, different “near misses” from accidents, to missteps, to consequences for foolish actions and on and on.
Last night as I went upstairs to the different beds to say goodnight to the children (I know… they’re mostly all grown now, but since they’re still home I try to be there to tell them goodnight). As I walked around the girl’s bedroom where they were all ready for sleep, I said to them how grateful to God I am for giving them such a safe and peaceful room, such a pleasant place to rest — that He has been guarding and guiding them.
And as I returned to our room, the thought washed over me that God has done this for all of us. Wherever we are, whatever we’re doing, wherever we go… He’s already there – already watching over us. He’s already gone before us and whatever happens has first sifted through His capable Hands and has already been part of His providential plan for us.
Maybe you can think of different times where you know that God clearly intervened on your behalf and spared you or provided for you providentially such that you know that you know that only He could have done that… that He alone is the Lord.
It’s sure a beautiful Springtime day here in the Snohomish Valley — it’s the kind of day that puts thoughts of rains and flooding to a very distant memory — though such a great possibility only a few short months ago. It’s funny how quickly a current reality can totally erase or totally eclipse another, isn’t it?
As I walked around outside for the first time in a week, I stopped at each of the different garden beds and then on out to the vegetable garden where my initial delight was slightly dimmed by the vision of all the weeds… all that needs to be done. And you know what song came to mind? The House at Pooh Corner song: “… So help me if you can, I’ve got to get – Back to the house at Pooh Corner by one – You’d be surprised, there’s so much to be done – Count all the bees in the hive – Chase all the clouds from the sky – Back to the days of Christopher Robin and Pooh…”
And then it stuck me that there’s nothing more to be done than what’s been needed in years past. Same thing. From the beginning, year after year, it’s the same thing: we pull the weeds, we till the ground, we plant the seeds and water them well. Yet, each year I say the very same thing… sort of the inane, “you’d be surprised there’s so much to be done…” statement. And then I smiled at the thought of counting all the bees in the hive. But life’s like that — the surprising things that need to be done are generally more than we can do — like counting the bees in the hive. And yet, has God truly given us more than we can do? I think we’re the ones who lay on ourselves more than we can do and what God gives us to do is not more than we can do — because if we would remember: it is God that works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure. In that same passage, the following verses admonish us to: “…do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.” — Philippians 2.14-15
So what does the simple storybook song have to teach me in this? The things I fret over getting done: I cannot possibly get done. But what God gives me to do, I will seek to do without murmuring or complaining — for what He calls me to do: He will equip me to do. Ergo, if He hasn’t called me to do it, He hasn’t expected me to do it and, at this moment, hasn’t equipped me to do it and those frets and expectations came not from Him but from somewhere else! So then, I have to ask, if I’m fretting, murmuring or disputing over things I’m doing: am I doing what I’ supposed to be doing? Or, perhaps, am I doing things out of selfishness? fear? pride? envy? guilt?
Now, there are times when we do things or must do things that we feel we cannot possibly do but we know we’re to do them — I can think of many examples of this, and you probably can, too. These are steps we take in faith — but inherent in this is the fact that we lean on the everlasting Arms and trust in Him for His provision. These are the: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” times. You see? If we’re doing we’ve been called to do, even if we feel as though we cannot do them, He’s already there, and by faith, we are IN Christ by the faith OF Christ and HE has said HE work in us to will and do to of His good pleasure. That’s great and blessed assurance.
So when I see all that needs to be done, when I think of the many other things that also need doing, I have a couple of options. I can (and very easily so!) become overwhelmed at all there is to be done –OR– I can observe all these things, and acknowledge they are out there and evaluate them for what they are. And then, the Lord being my helper (calling to mind again, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” –philippians 4.13), I will do that which He guides me to do and leave off doing those things which are motivated by those other sources that are not of Him. This is hard sometimes because the spirit is willing, but the flesh is so weak. We’re so often more controlled by what others think than what God thinks — but, truly, you and I must consider our motivation when we list out all that we (think) we must do.
It’s been brought to mind so many times for me over the last week as I’ve not been well and have spent so much time in bed… all my fretting over what I shouldda, couldda, wouldda been doing had I not been laid low all these days… all my fretting didn’t get those things done and didn’t get me out of that bed any sooner. I realized as I was reading in the Book of John several days ago that the Lord had something for me there (and for such a time as this)… something for me to let sink down in my ears, to really take in: Jesus repeated, on many occasions, that He did only the will of the Father. And so must I: for the express purpose of being Christlike: doing that which the Father directs–doing the will of God. As I purpose to concentrate on health, I must also concentrate on motivations — the what and why of all my doings. I hope you’ll be encouraged as I am for the will and work of the Lord in each of our lives… and that you’ll join me in waiting on His plan and purposes in His time. So let your light shine…
Earlier today I was reflecting on some of the unlikely ways God conforms us to the image of His dear Son — and some of the unlikely tools He chooses to use to work that conformation in us (and maybe even through us from time to time). I asked my dear mother in law if she’d send me the quotes she was sharing with me as we talked about God’s work in our lives — I’ll share them with you when she sends them.
I’ve been sincerely amazed at the ways God works His will and His purposes in my life / in our lives. It seems the most impossible, difficult and maybe even painful situations are the ones that bring the richest, choicest fruit in our lives. But they are, indeed, the situations or incidents we’d most likely attempt to avoid (or choose differently) or reject. But God doesn’t choose differently, when He works a work or plans to work a work, He has very precise purposes for the things He allows to happen in our lives — even, and not surprisingly, our most foolish or careless decisions can be used to bear rich fruit for our good and His glory.
It’s a good thing we don’t choose the tools of our training or the methods of our sanctification — well, I’m thinking if we did/could/do attempt to choose them, our attempts would/do fail to accomplish His purposes. First, we’d reject the tools and then we’d reject the method — thinking and reasoning that our method and our tools would be easier better wiser. Our ways always seem at the time: mo bettah. A fool is wise in his own eyes…
Today I was thinking of the ways the Lord has taught me to love my children in the way He loves them. For it was easy to love them in the way I could love them. But along the way, He’s allowed situations to occur to teach me to love them in His way. He’s allowed situations to occur or come to pass that would mold me or are molding me into the woman He’s created me to be. The Lord has sought to use tools I wouldn’t have chosen — actually can’t choose to use. And yet, in His mercy and in His kindness He is working that I might be conformed to His image. He’s also lavished grace on me (and them!) that I continually can be used in their lives, that I can continually grow and adapt as the mother they need me to be — doing what HE would have rather than what I might choose or neglect to choose to do. And by His grace, He enables me to press on in faith that He who has begun a good work in me will complete it…
He seeks to conform us to love, to be forbearing, to be kind, to be patient, to be peaceful/peaceable, to be gentle, to be temperate and so on. All of these qualities are the fruit of the Spirit – and we all desire to have these characterize our lives -but they’re not the fruit of self, they’re the fruit of the Spirit and they’re not planted, cultivated or increased by the flesh — again, they’re of and by the Spirit of God.
So as I was seeking answers/fruit in some different areas, it seemed to hit me today like a ton of bricks… the answers I’m seeking — the fruit I’m desiring — is not [going to be] my doing! It’s God’s doing! It’s God’s work: in His timing, by His will in His way. And so as I was seeing the dawning of His work in some specific areas, I began to see this truth: God chooses the fruit and He chooses the tools He uses to bring it about. I want to be so yielded to Him that I will not resist the methods of His choosing and the tools He uses as He works His marvelous will in my life.
Have you noticed that you tend to think of things or do things sort of by rote or without giving much thought to what you’re doing or thinking? I’m doing this a lot lately… and I didn’t want to do this – be this – act this way. I didn’t want to just make it through life – you know, bide my time and let the days pass by. I always wanted my life to be something, mean something and not just be run of the mill or mediocre. I remember as a little girl thinking that one day I’d be famous — that I’d do or make something great.
But alas, that didn’t happen — the famous part, that is. But you know, what did happen is that the Lord used me to be part of something great: He gave me the blessing of being called Sweetheart by one extraordinary man and Mama by eleven terrific children. There are more blessings than I could ever count or recall and more incredible stories of God’s merciful kindness than I could ever relate. But, I’d like to begin telling you about some of them in this, my autumn season of life. As I share different things with you, I hope the Lord will use my stories as a sort of springboard for you to recall your own. And, maybe in this way, you’ll see Him in ways you’ve not seen Him before or in ways you’ve forgotten. The power of story is intense… I hope mine will be used to give Him glory and be of some encouragement to others. That would be something greater than all the great things I used to think would be great things to be or do.
That might sound like a strange title to the message I want to share with you today, but perhaps by the time you finish reading this letter, you’ll have an idea and perhaps realize some things you’ve been wanting to take care of for some time.
So, what’s pulling on your apron strings? You know… the thing or things that nag at you or that seem to be pulling at you from one direction or many. You may be attempting to work around your home and keep having interruptions or distractions that prevent you from accomplishing what’s really needful. You may have plans or schedules, or wish you had plans or schedules, and yet every day something, or many things pull on your apron strings and prevent you from meaningful or notable accomplishment.
I know I have these same feelings or experiences from time to time –sort of as if nothing seems to go right or nothing measurable ever seems to get done. It’s as if at the end of each week I have relatively little to show for my efforts and certainly none for the fatigue I might be feeling. Yet, my apron’s dirty and the strings are raveled at the end.
Over the years I had great ambition for great things. I wanted to spend time individually with each of the children each day; I wanted to spend time reading aloud, fixing their hair, assisting them with schoolwork, chores and prayers. I had lofty aspirations that we would do projects, tell and record stories: that I would pass on valuable stories, life-lessons and a rich heritage…
But then, many days –most days– I would come to my bedside and realize that, once again, yet another day where I’d failed to reach my glorious ambitions. Instead, we had just spent another day –another hum-drum day. Together.
Pulling at my apron strings were all the wouldda, shouldda, couldda’s and few of the atta-girl’s, way-to-go’s and wahoo’s of life. At the point I realized that all those marvelous and coveted accolades were simply unrealistic, I also realized I truly was getting all those atta-girl’s, way-to-go’s and wahoo’s of life. I truly had them… I just wasn’t seeing them, that’s all. I wasn’t seeing the “atta-girl” in my son’s: “Mom, will you fix this for me? I can’t do it.” Or, in my daughter’s: “Mama, you’ve got to write down these recipes for me or I will not ever be able to cook like you!” Or, “O, my mom will do it for you, she’s right here!” Or, probably the sweetest gift of all I just received and it was contained in a letter, reading: “Mama… You are the best friend I’ve ever had.”
See, I missed the blessings by being concerned about the unimportant things or on my failings instead of what really was important for the day.
Often, pulling on my apron strings are all the things I’ve done wrong as a mother, wife or friend. Pulling on my apron strings are the things I don’t do well or the things I don’t have (as compared with my friends) or all the ways in which my children don’t *seem* to measure up (again, compared to others’ or compared with a high ideal or whatever).
Everyday, nagging thoughts creep in and occasionally pull me here and pull me there… and even get me all tied in knots sometimes over the silliest things – all tied up over things only the LORD can take care of or only the LORD knows about. Sometimes all tied up over things I *imagine* to be so. And then, I stop and think: wait a minute… should these things be pulling at my apron strings, pulling me down in despair? Should I be letting those thoughts come in and flood my mind, or should I take those thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ.
I know this to be a truth: I have never given to the LORD –any thought, desire, motive, whatever that was then rejected by Him.
He has never yet, will never, can never: fail me. So then, I consider at thought or a pulling on my apron strings and I ask: is this of You, LORD? Or I say, I know this is not of You, LORD, and I ask You to take this thought, desire, fear (or whatever), from me and I ask You to guide my thoughts, guard my heart and mind and help me to see only You. Please hide me behind Your Cross, LORD.
O, sure, other women are going to have bigger, better, more than you or I; and sure, other families are going to have newer, brighter, more attractive homes, children, lives, accomplishments, etc., etc., than you or I. But you know what? They don’t get to be you—they don’t get to be me. You’re uniquely you created by God, saved by Him unto faith and good works. He loves you with an everlasting love and underneath you are His everlasting arms and in you is His eternal Spirit and surrounding you is His eternal joy of salvation in Christ Jesus. Wow. Now those are some pretty wonderful things. Did you know you had all those treasures tucked in the pockets of your apron?
So, next time something starts pulling on your apron strings and you know it’s not simply one of the little blessings the LORD has given you, you just reach in your pocket and pull out one of the Truths of God’s Word and His love for you.
The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. Jeremiah 31.3
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.” 2Corinthians 10.3-6
I pray the LORD will just bless you and bless you over and over and that you will be assured of His great love for you and that He will guide your steps and guard your thoughts.
I’ve been using a little ‘bloglet’ on FaceBook to give Quick! cleaning incentives, tips and encouragement to mothers at home each day. I’m going to post them here first and they’ll show up there, too. In this way, my Twitter friends can join in.
So, here you go: ♥ Quick! ♥ 100 things! ♥ As quick as you can, put away 100 things! Then, clean one drawer or one shelf. Ready, steady, Go! Quick!
One of our greatest obstacles to prayer is ANSWERED prayer. We assume we know how God will answer - how He will work -- that because He has answered in a specific way in the past -- He will do thus now. We must seek what God *will* do, not just on what He *has* done. If we prayer for what we think God can answer, we limit Him to our own imagination instead of being open to *whatever* HE will do or however HE will answer and lead.
welcome home around the world
A Happy Home...
And a few more blogs
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