Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Heaven: Through the imagination of a child.

This morning I thought I would give you a glimpse of Heaven through my child's imagination.
Here is her mansion in heaven! She loved this craft (with some glitter control help from mommy)! And she had true excitement about one day getting to be with Jesus in Heaven! I just love it!
My artistic niece also participated in this craft. I must say that I adore the fact that she has a "Jesus" sign posted at this mansion (it's Jesus' mansion)!
The idea for our craft came from our morning devotional. Each day before school starts, we take some time out to spend time in prayer and getting our hearts prepared for our day. Here comes my plug for a great Bible for kids...
My First Message
by Eugene H. Peterson
Each Bible story is written on a child's level of understanding. Also, a few questions are printed throughout the story. At the end of each section, there is a portion that leads you to Pray with your child and an idea to Live it out. This is where we were given the idea to draw what we thought Heaven might be like! Great Book!

Thought you might enjoy a light hearted post this morning! With our economy in such a critical place, and our nation under such stress, let's think of something today that brings us joy...why not start with HEAVEN!

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Anxiety Update

It has been well over a week or so since I have had an "episode." Praise the Lord! Now, if you read my previous two posts, you might have an idea about the process I have been through. Since I posted about my sickness, I have ran through a gammot of emotions. Initially, I was going full force to try and diagnose myself. I prayed a lot! But, most of my praying and work was about me finding out what was causing the pain and then doing the work to fix it. My ultimate goal was to feel better. So, I can tell you that, even though I felt my relationship with the Lord was growing stronger each day, changes in my thought patterns were happening, but, my symptoms of pain also grew stronger and stronger. I didn't quite get it! I fell apart one night and wanted to know WHY I was having to go through such pain. I had worked so hard! Well, the Lord answered me. He said, I have chosen to have you go through this for now. I'm not taking it away at this time. I want you to praise me anyway. Stay close. Trust me. So, that is where I am right now...trusting and praising. Since I have made that choice, the Lord has actually given me several days with no major physical pain. But I will stay humble and willing to let the Lord take me to pain again if it is for His glory. I know that things can change any moment and the pain can come back. I pray that I will remain in Him no matter the cost.



Thursday, September 25, 2008


Have you ever felt like you have worked so hard to only feel continually defeated? I have. And I've gotten down right mad about it. Just a little over a week ago I was DONE! I was tired of the work. I broke down, cried, and beat my pillow for a little while. But, it didn't last long. Jarrett was with me, he even did a great job of having sympathy for me. He was so sweet. He wanted me to feel better. But, even through the self pity, God shook me. He said, "that's enough!" I felt Him telling me that it's never time to give up. All the work I had been doing was not for ME. It was not to achieve the goal of feeling better. In fact, the Lord spoke to me and told me that I may always struggle with my physical pain. He may have me endure this pain forever. And guess what...I'm supposed to Praise the Lord for it! I didn't understand at first, but, the more I praise Him in the storm (good song by the way), the more I fall in love with Jesus! Yep! It's been quite the journey these last few weeks. I know that my goal is to serve the Lord always. I thank Him for His incredible power and ability to heal. But I also must thank him for his discernment in choosing to heal or NOT to heal. That's right. He knows more than me. And I want my ultimate goal be to love and praise the Lord for His Majesty no matter how I "feel!" It hasn't been easy. And Satan will take advantage when I am weak to fight and make me believe that I should just give up. But my strength is in the Lord. I'm asking the Lord daily to help me have the endurance and strength to make it through every storm.

So whatever your storm is, children, marriage, physical pain, sickness, etc....know that He has got a plan. The fire we walk through is only to strengthen us. He may choose to save us from the fire, stand in the fire, or even die in the fire. It is all for his Glory! I don't always like it. But today is a good day and I praise Him for it!



Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Thy will be done...

Prayer is an amazing, amazing, amazing privilege and experience! I love REAL conversations with the Father of Life. An intense personal relationship with Jesus can be founded and strengthened by prayer. Reading the Bible, serving others, and good deeds are all great things but not what I believe are the most essential elements to becoming closer to really KNOWING the Father. Prayer, for me, has created such an incredible bond between me and my savior.

My prayers have evolved quite a bit over the last few weeks. Without major reconstruction detail, I can tell you that my prayers are much more focused on His Will than mine. I am continuously urging the Father to teach me how to be at peace among the storms raging in my life. I know that my current "life happenings," rather good nor bad, have been moments that the Father has given to me to become who he has created me to be. I can say that I have often thought I would be happy if my requests were met. If I got my way, I would miss all of the incredible molding that the Potter needs me to undergo to be prepared for the future.

So, when I pray, remembering that the scripture tells us in John 15 (my favorite daily reading), that we must remain in Him and bear fruit. Then the Father will give us whatever we ask in His name. So, what does this mean? Well, for one, it means my requests change. We don't ask for things for selfish gain. All I should ask for is for His will to be done. And second, if we are walking with the Father, the desires of our heart automatically change. We don't even have to try and figure our what to ask for. It becomes natural to ask things only in His name.

My current prayer -

"Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." Luke 22:42

And recently, this prayer has radically energized my life!



Saturday, September 20, 2008

Worshiping with the Nations!

Tonight I experienced something incredible...

Worshiping with hundreds of believers of many nationalities in the heart of New York City.

Heaven is going to be WONDERFUL!



Wednesday, September 17, 2008

John 15:18-27

I'll admit it, I don't like to be disliked. I can't stand it. I tend to be one of those "people pleasers." So, reading the second half of John 15 is hard for me. I've read the Bible and seen the many stories of hatred towards our Heavenly Father. It has always saddened me deeply that His creation would turn their back on their maker. But, Jesus didn't flinch. He didn't worry about if someone would like him or not. He did what His Father told him to do. He did what was right. The world hated for no reason.

I am once again challenged! If Jesus wasn't a "people pleaser," what on earth am I trying so hard to for. I am no greater than my master. Just as Christ was hated, I am hated. And I don't want to belong to the world. We have been chosen to be out of the world. I should consider it an honor to persecuted for Christ's sake. Stand firm! Testify!

18"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin. 23 He who hates me hates my Father as well. 24 If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. 25 But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: 'They hated me without reason.' 26 "When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.

Father, the one I want to please is You! May I live my life apart from this world. I want to abide in You, remain in You!



Monday, September 15, 2008

John 15:1-17

What am I reading these days? Well, for now, it is John 15. I have been trying to read this every morning. I believe strongly that my life would look a lot different if I lived it out this way. A few weeks ago, I had touched on the subject "Abiding." The Lord has been teaching me so much about true worship and being a disciple. A great place to start with worship and discipleship is in John 15.

My morning didn't start off so well today. It's time for me to take a few minutes and read.

John 15
1"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8 This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
9"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

I will be posting about the remaining verses of John 15 tomorrow.



Thursday, September 11, 2008

Let's NOT talk about Simple!

Why is it that life has become more difficult with all of these new technological inventions that are supposed to be making our life easier?

Thanks to cell phones, I now have allowed everyone easy access to me ALL day long.

Thanks to voicemail, I now have several messages that require call backs because I didn't have time to answer my cell phone while I was unloading children and groceries from my van.

Thanks to the Blackberry, I now have a husband who is ALWAYS at work.

Thanks to the internet, I can waste several precious hours trying to diagnose my current diseases and sicknesses.

Thanks to FACEBOOK, MYSPACE, and BLOGS that take up so much of my time by keeping me connected with others and reuniting old friendships.

Don't get me wrong, I love my camera phone, having the world at my fingertips, and maintaining friendships. But sometimes I wish they were never invented! Weren't all of these things created to simplify life?

"Home Sweet Home"

As the summer has just recently come to close, I look back and see what a fun filled, busy few months we had. Weekly, we went to Free Movies, the Library, Swimming, did Gymnastics, and more. My oldest daughter greatly enjoys getting out and DOING! She so often gets bored at home and is always asking when we are going somewhere.

Well, now that we are full force in our homeschooling routine, I hope to slow the pace down quite a bit. My husband, Jarrett, and I are constantly evaluating our schedules to make sure our family spends more time at home together. You would think that we would have a great amount of quality time together now that we spend the majority of the day home. Unfortunately, I find myself a little overwhelmed with the activities of the day! With cooking, cleaning, teaching, and cooking and cleaning some more, I feel like I've lost those memorable moments with my kids.

I want more time sitting beside them and playing with them. I want more cuddle time with them to read books. I want to get back to spending time with Annalise in the kitchen as she helps me cook. Ultimately, I would love my home to be a place where memories and traditions are continually being made and built. I know that most kids really enjoy being at others' homes, but I want my child to love spending time at home.

In these next few days, I am going to be focused hard on setting aside more ways to spend good quality time with my family.

I want to embrace each moment! (Hint* If you click on that link, you might just see the sweet family I'm talking about)



Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Time to Declutter!

I do this often. I take a trash bag and go hog wild on our home. I start with the obvious: paper, eggs on the floor (scrambled, that is), old magazines, things that look smelly, etc. Then it's time to move on to the unnecessary things that clutter my home. I take a basket to load for the salvation army and start by tossing in old clothes, things that we no longer use, and stuff that's just a waste of space in our home. We don't have a very big place but, somehow, we have accumulated more junk that we just don't have room for.

It's so refreshing to walk through my decluttered home (even though it may be temporary)! Off to work I go!!!

...if only I would work on decluttering my heart and life more often...think of how refreshing that would be!



Sunday, September 7, 2008

A Problem with the Picture

In my teenage years I created the perfect picture of what my life would be like when I was "older." I made it a goal. It was going to be just as I planned. I would work hard to paint this picture. Along the way, there were things that would spill on my painting. But, sometimes it was okay. I would paint over it. Yep, I would fix it. Then I would get right back to painting my piece of art. Well, I've done that a whole darn lot! And frankly, I'm tired of fixing spill after spill after spill only to get me nowhere. How can I fix this and stop the spills?

Well, here is something that was absolutely ground breaking for me...I can't stop the spills, but I can ask the Lord to change my picture! I've been painting my own picture instead of asking the Lord what HIS picture is! "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails." Proverbs 19:21

This truth seems so simple to follow. I've heard it over and over again. But, I'll be quick to admit that I have rarely found myself joyful in the midst of failure. What I have to remember is that the Lord is in control. To fail could be a blessing in disguise. I can't imagine what a mess my life would be if I made the plans! "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

I want to live for the purpose that will prevail! What a difference it would make in my life if I would change my focus onto the Masterpiece that my Heavenly Father has painted for me.

"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:12-14



Friday, September 5, 2008

It Goes Deeper

After my previous post, I spent some more time in the Word and praying to my Father about the "root" of my disease. As I begin to do the hard work of letting the Lord show me how to get to the bottom of this, He has given me another focus of where to do some major reconstruction. It' s time to work...Hard Work. Yes, I struggle with perfectionism and control. But Why? The temporary and non-lasting solution would be to just look at the symptoms. I'm so tired of replacing the band-aid over and over again, I have to find the bug that created it.

The Lord has shown me at least one major lie that has been planted directly in my life by the enemy. And it has to go! I wish it was a one time thing...that I could just say, "Here Jesus, it's yours and not mine." I believe it is going to be a long process. It's going to take ACTION that I must do daily...better yet, each time one of Satan's lies enter my thoughts.

It's amazing the things we can begin to believe about ourselves...Lies that we have placed as truth. You can be raised in a Christian home. You can know all the right answers. But if Satan can find a weakness, he's going to use it. I can do my best to convince myself of the truth. But, I can't do it on my own efforts. That's why I have a Savior. And I'm glad He reminded me of that this week. The Word must be hidden in my heart. And I must be equipped for battle. The enemy lurks. And he seeks to destroy.

Jesus, I am ready to dig deep and reveal even more lies that must be destroyed. I don't know what it is going to look like, but I'm willing to take a peek. Give me strength through the tough times. I know it won't always be pretty. Equip and train me Father to be ready for whatever comes my way. My hope is in You!



Pray for me.

I suffer from Anxiety/Stress attacks. For the past few weeks, they have increased. It's not debilitating but I suffer greatly from them. For the most part, my body takes a toll on the inside. I feel a rapid, hard heartbeat...can't seem to take a deep breath...and I have a dull pain in my chest. It can last all day. Fortunately, I can hide it from most people. I like to pretend that everything is okay. When I'm not trying to hide it, I'm trying to control it. The control part normally doesn't work. I decided that I HATE it and I want it gone!!!

I have taken this to the Father on so many occasions. But, this time, instead of just asking for healing, I have decided to give it to Jesus for Him to take control. I want Jesus to take control of my life. I believe my attacks are brought on by my desire to control. When I lose that control, my health reacts. So many times I have prayed for Him to "Order my Steps, take control, etc." But, I honestly feel that looking back...I never gave it to Him. My priorities are not in the right place. Please pray that I will release FULL control to the FATHER. That these will not just be words, but my life.

Also, I have self-diagnosed for long enough. In the next few days, I will be seeking professional counsel, along with taking up my cross daily and following Him. Please pray. I hurt.



Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Abide in Me

For awhile now, I have been in pursuit of successfully obtaining the Fruits of the Spirit. I'm so stupid! If you know me, I'm sure you are quite aware that my goal has not been reached. What I have been coming to the realization of over the past few days is that these fruits aren't something we try to copy, mimic, or achieve. But, rather, these fruits flow abundantly from our lives if we abide in him.

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. " - John 15:1-5

So, I think it's time to start focusing on abiding, not bearing fruit. It we abide, the second part comes naturally.