Wednesday, May 18, 2016

A Slight Wardrobe Modification

In the past couple of days, with my personal studies and with the Women's Bible Study I am in, I have been constantly reminded of one thing.  This thing seems easy enough to know, often feels like a no brainer, is something most some people do not struggle with...  The thing?  Simply, God's Truth.  I'm going to come right out and tell you that I don't always run to God's truth, most especially when I absolutely should. It's embarrassing really, to put this out here, but I don't.  In fact, I will run to myself (the thoughts I can conjure up and the picture I can paint it into - I'll come back to this), my friends, my spouse, other books, but never straight away to the one thing I should run to.

In our Bible Study we are doing Priscilla Shirer's: The Armor of God, and are just now on Week 2.  First, Week 1 was intense and humbling and scary and necessary and well, just do me a favor and run out and buy it, Ok? Or better yet, grab a few of your girlfriends and journey it together.  Anyway, back to Week 2; it is about the Belt of Truth.  I'll skip all of her explanations (because you really should get it) and hit a couple of the highlights. To start, the belt, it wasn't an accessory. I know, belts can be so cute!  Instead it was big, bulky, and structural.  It was meant to support the core, or center, (picture those bulky back braces delivery drivers wear) to help one stay upright and carry a big load, if necessary.  So, we'll have to skip the cuteness and accept the functionality.  Next, the belt, well, it wasn't really physical.  I know...shocker! This belt was and still IS so much more than that; so much more important than that -- it is the Word of God.

My mind is moving in a hundred different ways to bring you what is on my heart.  Phew!  Guess I really need to get this out.  When I started this post, I told you that I run to myself.  How many of you have done that?  Still do that?  It's ok if you are raising your hand no one can see you, well, unless you are in a Starbucks somewhere then that may be slightly awkward, but moving on!  Week 1 we learned that the Devil is tricky and he knows our weaknesses, he knows how to paint things to look like truth and gets us (notice I didn't say makes us, he cannot make us do anything - that is how tricky he is!) to hold onto those thoughts and miss out on the real truth.  You know what he knows about me?  Something I'm going to share with you - I get stuck in my head.  I do.  I hate it. HATE. IT.  I will take something that would be considered completely innocuous and turn it into 50 shades of muck and mire.  I will hear what is not said, I will dissect what is said and make it not at all close to the actual meaning, I will bend it so completely that I am just certain it comes back to tell me what I've always felt true about myself.  (You see what I did there?)  What do I feel true about myself?  I think I am nothing.  I think I have little to offer and that in some way if I do not: raise perfect children, do a perfect job in my work, explain that if anything is not "right" it is due to this, that, and the other thing - most especially when they know and I know, there is no way I could have impacted the outcome anyway, fit an ideal of what everyone thinks I should be, then, well that makes me nothing. That is what my brain does.  It cripples me.  It keeps me in a constant state of inferiority that I live an a bubble of insecurity wrapped in "why in the world am I even alive".

And you know what?  I know it isn't true.  NOT A SINGLE THOUGHT OF IT!  I have the Devil's card on this one.  In fact, my God tells me in Jeremiah 1:5, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you."  He knew me BEFORE!  And he still chose to give me life.  I am alive, here today, because, again, He tells me this time in Jeremiah 29:11, " 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."  You guys!  Do you see?!  THIS. IS. TRUTH!  Not the yuck that my brain thinks up.  While I may not know exactly what my future holds I do know who holds my future.  How?  Because His truth tells me and His truth sets me free!

Ladies, (and guys if you are reading this too), don't you see, without this truth at the center of who we are, we will  never be able to carry a thing.  We will fall back on whatever it is that trips us up and keeps us living in inferiority and crippled-ness. I'm not going to lie, I will struggle with this.  This war, between almost 40 years of thought processes and God's word rewiring what is broken, will take work and time.  But!  Yes, always a but, I know this is a weakness.  I know! And he has that covered.  He always has it covered.  In fact, 2 Corinthians 12:9-11 reminds us, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."  And in this weakness of mine, if I go to the source of strength he will be there.  He will always be there.

I don't know what your weakness is, and honestly this is but one of mine, but it is the biggest one which leads to all others, for me.  I just want you to know that you are not without support, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  I pray that today you can rest firmly in the knowledge of Christ's unending love for you and His unfaltering desire to have a close and personal relationship with you.  

And hey, if we happen to cross paths and for some reason I forgot to wear my belt, just remember I'm a work in progress and God's still got this!

Much love, 
M


Sunday, May 15, 2016

some Small things with Great love

Oh my stars, you guys!  I have been so busy with work, school, and raising Littles, that I've sort of left this blog all by its lonesome.  I SOOOOO need to catch you up on a few things!!!  Bare with me if I start to ramble, but I promise to circle back and leave you with a solid! 

About two months ago the Mr. and I decided to finally accept the invitation extended to us by my dear friend, T, to visit the new church that she had found.  Now, I'm going to remind you of a character trait of mine,  you know in case you've forgotten by the lack of posts from me lately, I DO NOT LIKE CHANGE! Nope. Not. One. Lick!  However, he and I decided to give it a go on a week that we knew the Littles would be in service at our "home" church (which for those who don't know, or don't experience this with your gaggle of giggling goofballs, sitting still for an hour and half is not easy - read that as exhausting).  Since we knew T's family would be there our Littles were happy they would know someone and, well, truth be told, us too.  I'll skip all the smaller details, but to let you know one of the biggest (and for those with teenagers you can relate), my oldest paid attention.  Did you read that?! No, really!  As in - put her sketch book and pencil down, didn't fall asleep, sat on the edge of her chair, paid attention.  (BIG!!!) The other 4 attended the Children's Service.

After a lot of prayer the week following that Sunday and struggling with the uncertainty of attending a different church (fear that I would be punished for not going to my home church, or that people would stop liking me because I didn't attend my home church) we decided to go back again, this time our weekend without the Littles.  Fast forward - We stayed.  As you know, I am a person who feels they have to justify or explain EVERYTHING.  It's like if I give a person an opportunity to interpret anything for themselves they are going to interpret it with he worst possible reasoning and outcome (whether true or not).  Anyhow, ALL the people in my house asked to go back!  All of them.  (Well, I must admit my middle Little started to get homesick and has asked to go back to our "old" church - she's a lot like her momma, she doesn't do well with change. I'm praying she will come around and grow to love it too.)  Since then, we've joined the Wednesday evening Bible Study, my oldest Little and I go to a Monday night women's group and she has joined the worship team.  It is still a young church (6.5 months old) and there aren't a lot of children's clubs/studies/activities - YET - but I am certain, with all I am, God has big plans for this place!

All that said, there is a main reason for this post which I want to get out there to you all.  Something which I know I have shared time and again over these years and something I have definitely learned a time or two, myself, over the years. Church, God, all of it, will never make an impact if you aren't actively involved.  I've spent so many years learning and studying and searching and going, but not so much with the doing.  Now, it isn't that I haven't had an option or desire, but each time I would try I was knocked down before I ever really got up.  I can't say that some of it wasn't my own fault, I mean after all, when you need people to be the strong image of togetherness and you know that inside they are a crumbling pillar then you don't want them to be in a position others look up to. I cannot fault the decisions made because of that.   And, yes, this is a thing.

Despite that, I am learning something about me.  I am learning that no matter what I was, what I've been through, and what I battle with today, God can use me.  Most importantly I am learning that my baggage doesn't need to cripple me.  No.  In fact, the person I am, the me that has been battle torn and scared, the me that is still hanging by on the grace given only by the Lord, the me that knows I am a sinner bought by the blood, the me that longs to help bring to others the peace of knowing God's amazing love, that me is engaging, is seeking, is trying.  Why now?  Perhaps because I know that I don't have to be afraid of the years worth of built-up perceptions that have been placed on  me by others or myself because they don't matter.  They do. not. matter!  I am someone to Christ.  He will use me.  Even if it is just taking 5 little souls to church each week that I can, he is using me.  Even if it is ensuring the coffee carafes are full and there are enough stir sticks in the container, he is using me.  Even if it is to drive our Littles to events and activities and practices at church, he is using me.  And that, that alone means I have a purpose and am someone God can use.