Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Fighting for Marriage

This morning I woke up with my mind spinning. It wasn't the normal groggy mess that sort of stumbles through the normal routine of a Wednesday morning. It was alert and it was clear. Marriage was on the mind.

Not just my marriage but Christian marriages in general. There was a sense of urgency that I was not able to shake. As I continued to lay in my nice warm comfortable bed and desperately tried to play opossum, the thoughts of marriage raced through my mind demanding my attention.

As I was laying in bed a thought kept repeating it self...
“Fight. Fight for marriage. Fight for other people's marriage. Hold on for one more day and keep fighting.” This was odd. My marriage is currently doing well. So what gives God?

I know that we have all heard the comparison between a marriage and battle before, for some it may feel as if they have heard it too many times. But just stay with me for a moment. While contemplating the need to stay in the marriage, to not give up, to fight with everything that's in you... Moses came to mind.

(story from Ex 17:8-16)
I remembered the time where Moses told Joshua to choose some men and go out and fight with Amalek, while Moses would go stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in his hand. Moses held up his had and Israel prevailed, and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. The part of this story that really was sitting home with me this morning was that Moses was not alone. He had taken Aaron and Hur with him. So when his arms became heavy they put a stone under him so that he may sit and then THEY JOINED MOSES. Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side, and Moses' hands were steady until the battle was over. Joshua and his men had won the battle.

Now I want to stop here for a minute. I understand reading this story in context it is not literally talking about the issue of marriage. But the full story does talk about the players who fought the battle, the faith to preserver when the odds where against them, that there is a glorious hope that God can be victorious. And in order to be victorious there must be a battle that is fought first.

Moses knew there was going to be a battle. He had faith, he had a glorious hope that this battle could be won. But he DID NOT DO IT ALONE. So many times we think we can will ourselves into a victory. We try hard not to burden other people with our stuff that we just wearily march forward in whatever issue we are fighting. We were not created to be alone, especially during times of tribulations. Moses took two men who were willing to be with him through it all. It wasn't just about Moses anymore, it wasn't just about Joshua and the men fighting on the battle ground, it wasn't just about Aaron and Hur. It was how God used many people to accomplish a victory. Could God have done it on His own? Yes. But He chose to use us and the skills and gifts that He has given us to be apart of his glorious victory. When we take part in God's plan than we are able to have a tangible connection with Him.

I am rambling. Let me get to the point. Marriage is not about two people staying committed to each other. For I did not just make the covenant with my spouse on my wedding day but I made it with God and with other people. Maybe you are the couple who is fighting on the battle field, or maybe your standing on the side lines praying with your hands lifted up, or maybe you have a friend who has a friend whose marriage is falling apart... INTERCEED. GET INVOLVED. We live in a day of age where we don't want to over step our bounds. This is hogwash. When we are in relationship with each other we are journeying this life together. So fight. It might be fighting on our knees, it might be talking with a counselor, it might be being honest with trusted friends who will join with you. But pray without ceasing and allow people the honor to join with you in carrying this burden. The statement of not wanting to burden people is said out of pride. Fight for a marriage. Pray for protection. Let it be a new day.

I end with this thought this morning: Gal 6:1-2
“Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

So my question is : Am I really fighting for the marriages that are around me

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Jar of Gratitude

I wrote this recently to a person who has done an amazing job of blogging about Thankfulness. I wrote to the author about a gift that I received from a dear friend. I wanted to share this only because it has been such a blessing to me and to the others that have participated in the Jar of Gratitude. Thank you Sarah K. for your inspiration that has inspired me to focus on God all year round. I am indebted to you more than you will ever understand. 
This is what I wrote: 
"As I was prepping my house for tomorrow morning (Thanksgiving 2010), I brought our jar to the kitchen table... This jar is the Jar of Gratitude. A dear friend made me this as a Christmas gift and has been a year of blessings that I have received from it. The whole family, even the kids, would write down a blessing or a thought of Praise and Thanksgiving. It has a year of answered prayers, a year of heartaches but reminders of how good God is, a year of scripture that the Holy Spirit used to encourage, to heal, to sharpen us with, and a year of growth for our family. Tomorrow as we gather around our morning breakfast we will go around and open the jar. We will read, or help a child to read them out loud... (some might be paraphrased for young ears). I am excited to be reminded about the grand wonderful things God did and also reminded how He faithfully met us in the small and day to day things. A funny thing happened with this jar. I started out using it all the time something good happened or something made me joyful. But somewhere along this journey I began writing in it when times were tough, were scary. Now don't get me wrong, I still talked with God. But it became this thing that no matter what was going on, God would bring to mind at least one thing to be joyful of. And somehow writing it out made me release the other stuff I was focusing." 

If you haven't a jar or notebook or bulletin board of thanksgiving, wouldn't Thanksgiving Day be a perfect day to start a visual praise and thanksgiving???

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Gianna Jessen... What is my life's sermon?

        This is the story of Gianna Jessen, and yet as she speaks, somehow it surpasses the issue of abortion or Pro-Choice. Yes, that is the umbrella she speaks under... but when listening to the video I hear the battle cry for all Christians to stand up and take ownership of their faith with God. 
         "... I did not survive so that I can make everyone comfortable". 

Not a people pleaser. There is a battle of life and death. And when you step back and examine your own life, which side do you really truly stand on? I am speaking beyond the issue of abortion. I am speaking and asking about the spiritual life? Are we apathetically walking through our faith and allowing the silent holocaust to continue on with our loved ones? What I am asking is what is your life story, or sermon?
         " ... I am hoping to be hated... not that I look forward to being hated but along my journey I know that I am already hated because I declare life..." 

Can I really say that? Do I really stand up in the morning and say today I will not compromise my God. Can I honestly say I will not be PC about the God of the universe? Speaking as a first class People Pleaser, I know I have staid silent too many times in the name of not wanting to offend. Not wanting to be 'judgmental'. But where is my line in the sand? Maybe the issue is not abortion or Pro-Choice, it could be another issue... the point being do I stand up? Do I speak a life of boldness of who my God is. A God of love, a God who has a purpose and creates purpose into his creation. At the end of the day am I willing to be hated, or do I make it all about me or you? 

My arrogance in thinking that I am in complete control. It is the mercy of God that sustains me. I do NOTHING in this life on my own power. 

Gianna touches on how she is weaker and yet it is I who crumbles. Look at this woman of God. Look at her strength! She has rooted herself firmly on the promises of God. It is clear that she has a living relationship with God. He is not merely knowledge or a distant thought. He is her Father. He is ACTIVELY moving in and through this amazing life called Gianna. And the mind blowing part... He desires to do this with all of us. Not so that we, ourselves, would be glorified, but so that His Glory may be known. I weep at the thought of how this God who created this universe, this world, this very being is patiently waiting for me to tell my sermon. My sermon of my GREAT MERCIFUL GOD. 

"We misunderstood how suffering works... God has a way of making the most miserable things beautiful". 

Men you are made for Greatness, for kindness, to defend what is right and good

Women you are made to know your value, to be fought for

Do you want to be obsessed with your own glory or to be obsessed with the Glory of God? 

Lord may I love you and stand for You with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, and all my strength. God, write my sermon for YOUR Glory. 

Gianna Jessen Abortion Survivor in Australia Part 2

Gianna Jessen Abortion Survivor in Australia Part 1

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Beautiful For Me

I took the kids to a movie today ($2.50 a person score!). The movie was Sweetpea from Veggie Tale. It was about what true beauty is all about. Good movie. Highly recommend it. However, there was a song that really struck me by Nichole Nordeman called Beautiful For Me. If anyone has a daughter, this song strikes a cord. In fact, if anyone is a daughter, this song will hit your heart. The longing to hear that we are beautiful and was a made out of purpose, is something every girl desires to hear. There is a reason that the princess theme markets to the masses so well. here are the lyrics. You can click on the link included in this blog and scroll half way down and see/hear the video of Nichole's Beautiful For Me

Nichole Nordeman
Every girl young and old has to face her own reflection
Twirl around, stare it down
What’s the mirror gonna say
With some luck, you’ll measure up
But you might not hold a candle to the rest
“Is that your best?” says the mirror to the mess
But there’s a whisper in the noise
Can you hear a little voice
and he says

Has anybody told you you’re beautiful?
You might agree if you could see what I see
‘Cuz everything about you is incredible
You should have seen me smile the day that I made you beautiful for me
If it’s true beauty lies in the eye of the beholder
What my life and what’s inside to give him something to behold
I want a heart that’s captivating
I wanna hear my Father say

Has anybody told you you’re beautiful?
You might agree if you could see what I see
‘Cuz everything about you is incredible
You should have seen me smile the day that I made you beautiful for me
Close your eyes
Look inside
Let me see the you that you’ve been trying to hide
Long ago, I made you so very beautiful
So I ought to know you’re beautiful

Has anybody told you you’re beautiful?
You might agree if you could see what I see
‘Cuz everything about you is incredible
You should have seen me smile the day that I made you beautiful
You’re so beautiful
Beautiful for me
So beautiful for me
Has anybody told you?

Monday, July 26, 2010

when I am weak...

As many of you know Greg is in Uganda Africa until Aug. 6. He left the 21st of July to help lead a team to serve alongside with DELTA ministries. I ask that you continue to pray for the team to be open to what God's agenda is and that the Holy Spirit will have room to challenge all that are involved with these ministries during these next two weeks.

Now... moving onto more of the point of why I am writing. Today, Monday July 26 was hard. Today, I felt weak. Today, I felt inadequate. Today, I felt incompetent. Today, I felt that I lacked in every possible way. Today, God and I conversed all day.

I have to start off by saying, my children were great. They were patient with me. They were sweet to me. It was a joy to watch them play with the water outside while the weather was hot and sticky. And yet my heart was distracted. I was distracted at how I couldn't meet the needs of my youngest. For some reason she has been throwing up after each feeding for the past 24 hours. For some reason today she was desiring to eat all day and yet not being able to get much from me. She was still unwilling to take a bottle from me when I began to feel desperate. Here I am, as a woman, and I couldn't meet my baby's basic need... Food. So though there were moments of great delight, I was continually haunted by the fact that my body wasn't working the way it should. I can only imagine that I am not alone in feeling that something must be wrong with me. Today, I felt broken.

I have tried a bunch of different things to help with milk supply and getting my daughter strong enough to work on her mouth muscles so that she can eat, which in turn would help her grow. I have been to the lactation specialist every week, except for 3 of them, since my daughter was born. Zoey is 11 weeks old. That means I have gone 8 times. 8 times!! And it is only  2 1/2 months in! My mind is tired. The desire to quit is starting to creep in, and yet my heart wants to fight to the death to be able to breast-feed. This is my last child. I want to cherish that bond as long as I can. To be more honest, I want to hold onto the perfect picture of child-rearing that is still in my head. Yes, I understand there is no such thing as perfect child-rearing... but my heart is having a hard time of letting it go.

So, here I am, tired, frustrated, concerned, annoyed at myself and my body; and then God does something amazing. I finally put a bottle together walked out to the courtyard and asked a friend to feed my baby. And as the two women began to ask how I was my eyes filled with tears and told them that today I was struggling. They patiently held my baby and fed her. In that same moment a dear friend of mine called and was checking up on me. I began to cry again as I told her of my heart's struggle. She listened. She prayed on the spot for me and Zoey and Mak and Zeke. When I finished that phone call I went back out to the courtyard and I saw a husband of my neighbor was holding Zoey and feeding her the bottle. I sat down on the grass with my friends and I watched as one person after another took turns taking care of Zoey. And in a moment that could have made me feel like everyone else was taking care of my child why couldn't I... I didn't. What I felt was joy, honor, and humbled by these people's love for my child. God was so gracious to me and to Zoey in that moment. In that moment He reminded me gently that He sees me, He remembers me, and He is taking care of me.  Who am I that He would remember me? I felt so loved in that moment.

God thank you that you remind me daily that You have not turned Your face away from me. You have not promised me an easy life, but You did promise to be with me. Thank you that you tangibly love me through human hands. Thank you that you have designed a system where, we as humans, can be your hands and feet, and mouth and ears. God I love you. Lord, I am weak please grant me the strength to remember who is in control and to bend to Your helping hands.