Category Archives: obedience

Only the beginning

God is wrecking my life with exposing my pride.  And wow, it is embarrassing to realize and admit that!  While this is only the beginning of this journey, I am already understanding the blessings of working through this deep rooted issue.

Last week God began showing me that many of my responses, conversations, and contributions are rooted out of pride…especially when I feel like I should tell someone what I think they should be doing…

And what does Lilli (my mentor in Mom Life) say about that?! “Pride defends itself”

Then I’m watching the sermon series FREE by Andy Stanley and realizing that I AM but DO NOT HAVE TO BE a slave to sin

Then The Better Mom blog has this post this week………and I see how pride effects every part of me and every relationship around me – and I have SO MUCH CONTROL over that! (By God’s grace!)

And my Beth Moore devotional….which read “We have little defense against the destructive nature of the enemy without the power of God working in our favor.”  And going on to quote from Psalm 4:2: “‘How long will I turn Your glory into shame, O Lord?  How long will I love delusions and seek false gods?’ Expose the delusions and false gods in my life, O Lord, and set me free!”

Which coincides exactly with the prayer Sarah challenged me to pray: “God, please change my mindset and my thinking patterns to reflect YOU and not satan or myself.”

And on Sunday God spoke through sweet Lydia in our small group to challenge us about where our treasure is and where God wants it to be…which spoke to me in that I need to expose my excuses for why it’s ok to have wealth (in many forms) for what it is: an excuse!  God is not silent and His commands are not elusive – they are straight-forward.  It is me, the sinful human that twists and adds to and takes away from them to make it align with my lifestyle (that I struggle to let go of – irony – it’s not really mine in the first place!)

What do you think – is God confirming in my life that I am a slave to pride and need to be a slave to Him and rid myself of this junk in my heart?!

Lastly, God called me to memorize this verse this week: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves”  -Phillipians 2:3

I don’t know about the rest of you – but I know this is really tough for me.  To stay at home and have 12-14 hours of working (parenting) a day and continue to show grace, mercy, love, patience, kindness, humility, etc to my precious children and my servant husband.  But all to the glory of God!  And if He wills, I’ll get to work on all this again tomorrow 🙂

What’s God been doing in your heart lately?!

 

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Why the challenges?!

Have you entered the AWARENESS RAISING GIVEAWAY?!

It ends on TUESDAY and the winners will be announced WEDNESDAY!

 

It’s March and we’ve begun our FOOD CHALLENGE

Since we posted our ‘unofficial list’ earlier we have changed out RICE for BANANAS

Anyways, that’s not the point of this blog

I want to talk about WHY we are challenging ourselves in different ways, what it is doing for us, and how we hope to be changed for the future

 

Since cookies, ice cream, cookies, rolos, cookie dough, and cookies are not on my list for my food challenge, I am pretty confident I will fail.

(Debbie downer, huh?!)

Actually, I know I will failif I am not putting my faith and trust in God to transform my self-control and discipline…I have no hopes of succeeding!

And I know that if I try to succeed with self-discipline alone, I will fail!  We are coming together, in community, to radically challenge each other with self-control and discipline.  We are holding each other up in daily prayer and contacting each other with regular accountability.  The clothing challenge was a tight-knit group of 5 gals.  This food challenge has grown from 5 gals to 9! (7 ladies and 2 of our husbands).  In April the challenge will be related to marriage and I hope that even more will join in on the vulnerability, sacrifice, discipline, fellowship, and growth!

Along with the Late Night Girls Bible Study where the idea for these challenges grew – I have been reading lots of literature that has been tugging on my heart and convicting my spirit to make radical, lasting changes in how I view my possessions, my wealth, and my capabilities

One of these books is Radical by David Platt

If 7 by Jen Hatmaker rocked my world (the book behind the idea for the challenges), Radical pretty much crumbled it

We listened to this a few times in 2011 and I recently bought the book so I can pour over it’s words and write my thoughts in the margin

This book stirred our hearts towards adoption

This book helped us think differently about our God’s possessions (that we are merely stewards of)

This book turned our hearts towards seeking out more of THE BOOK (The Bible, in case you weren’t quite sure if I was refering again to 7 by Jen Hatmaker again which I’ve mentioned in at least 5% of my blogs)

Big Picture:

This is about the health of my heart and my emotions and my mind
We have the luxury of buying whatever we want…even extremely expensive healthy whole foods that are great for us – but we don’t have to hardly blink about the cost because of our surplus of money!
I want to meditate on the world and what I choose to stay blind to…how they are not just hungry but DIE from hunger
Kids, exactly like mine, all over the world, that will die today because they are hungry…something that can be so easily rectified…
How I can eat less or a smaller variety of diet and avoid gluttony, and over-indulgence, and SELF-indulgence?
And begin to concentrate on self-control, and my body-image in Christ, and being world-focused?
I know as we open our hearts to be more radical – and diligently hide more of The Word away in our hearts, we will continue to be pulled towards God’s plan for our lives and how our sole purpose is to bring Him glory
God, help us rid ourselves of gluttony this month and meditate on eliminating waste of food and get back to nurturing our bodies with a conservative and respectful diligence that keeps us globally-focused on those that will die today from not having the luxury of consuming the scraps that we throw away from our table…
Help us die to ourselves so that YOU can take us over and accomplish your greatness through us!
If you want to be challenged and need some accountability and fellowship – join us in this month’s challenge!  Just a leave a comment and let me know 🙂
If you want some literary ‘food for thought’ pick up Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst and be enlightened to transform our God-given desire to crave from food and other worldy distractions, to God and His Word that will benefit and feed us eternally.
And DON’T FORGET TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!

The Food Challenge

So we’re wrapping up February and the Clothes Challenge!

I’ll have 1 more post at the end of this month by a Guest (my friend Sarah) and a GIVEAWAY!

Check back on Thursday 🙂

 

Before we wrap up the clothes, I want to prepare us for March’s FOOD CHALLENGE

This month’s challenge can look any way you want…fasting from a particular food, type of food, way of spending ON food…or being more intentional about what you are purchasing or what you are eating

My sweet, spectacular husband and I are going to be choosing 10 food items to eat from for the month of March

Here is our unofficial list:

chicken

eggs

broccoli

apples

peanut butter

onion

berries

bananas

bread

greens

What do you think?!

I’m still trying to figure out our ‘freebie’ list…

It will include salt, pepper, and olive oil…but still deciding if including salad dressing or vinegar is acceptable…plus juice for smoothies and milk for every day consumption

Thoughts? Feedback?

We also have a few situations where we may momentarily stray from our foods…but I have my gals giving me feedback on those circumstances and then I’ll reveal them to you for your judgment thoughts and views

Prayer request for this month: THIS IS GOING TO BE HARD.

You’re reading a blog from a gal who LOVES her sweets.

Since Novemeber I have uncovered an obsession love for baking…to accompany my long-time friend of over-indulgence enjoying desserts 🙂

So pray that I don’t crash and burn daily with this challenge.

After considering my list, however, I realized that I will be able to enjoy me some homemade peanut butter banana ice cream! I think I may be able to survive…

 

So – who’s with me?!

What will your challenge be?!

What do you think of our list of foods?!

I’m really excited to see what God does in my heart this month…coupled w/the groundwork he’s laid during the clothes challenge and the scripture memorization we are challenging ourselves w/in Late Night Girls Bible Study – it is bound to be a gloriously difficult month of growth!

 

Reflection on what we worship

What do we worship?

This month’s challenge has been so revealing…

I have 71 articles of clothes hanging in MY part of our closet

And 14 pairs of pants and shorts

7 ‘pajama’ pieces

17 folded t-shirts

12 pairs of shoes/boots/tennies

8 pairs of sandals

and an entire 5 drawer dresser full of undergarments, and workout clothes

40 pairs of earrings + 33 other accessories

And I didn’t get out my box from under the bed to count the clothes that are only ‘summer’ worthy

OR MY 2 BINS OF MATERNITY CLOTHES

Yikes.

We’re talking close to 300 THINGS that I own (or do they own me?!) to cover myself with and in

That’s not to count that since I read 7 by Jen Hatmaker in October I have probably halved a wardrobe that I naturally am constantly reducing…

I wish I had a tally of what has cycled in and out of my closet in the last nearly 5 years since I’ve lived here…of how many articles I have mindlessly spent money on to wear/use for such a short period of time

So, while I can say that this challenge hasn’t been difficult to actually pull off…it has certainly been mind-altering and life-changing

Please, God, let it continue to change my life!  Do not let me return to impulse-online-shopping…to finding my worth in adorning myself to impress others…or to cover up the ugliness that is really in my heart – not on my skin

Transform me.

Watch this music video by Jimmy Needham – Clear the Stage (Thanks, Rachel, for sharing this!)

The halfway point…

Our halfway point of the clothes challenge was Thursday!

By now we have 16 days past us and 12 to go 🙂 (Hello, shortest month of the year!)

I wanted to compile some thoughts from the 4 other gals doing this challenge with me to recap how God is moving in us and using this to challenge us!

Some candid comments:

Day 2: I said “I hate this” (very classy of me, huh?!) and after many emails and jokes and encouragement, Lydia blessed us with this perspective:  Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves…       1 Peter 3:3-5

Day 5: From Lilli on the topic of having jewelry/accessories when speaking in front of a Mom’s group: “I don’t think anyone noticed. Good lesson for me. We think people care more than they do”

Day 11:

Lessons from Lydia:

1) I really don’t need as many clothes as I think are necessary…I’m actually getting along pretty easily with only 10 items!
2) I’m saving time and energy b/c I don’t have to think about what to wear.
3) People really don’t care about what i’m wearing
4) It’s OK to leave the house in sweats…dirty sweats…and stained up clothes.  Most people don’t even look twice 🙂
Lessons from Rachel M included:
1. The struggle to keep everything clean!
2. Overall boredom with what we chose (HERE, HERE!)
3. Really pay attention to the ‘rules’ because socks DON’T count……oh poor Rachel…one pair of socks for the first 7 days and sacrificing them some days so they’d be clean for others… 🙂
Lessons from Stephanie:
1. No one really cares what I have on – no one.  No one has said a word.
2. I can get by with a lot less – however, today is maybe not such a good day to ask because I’m just kind of annoyed – I know – it’s not a godly characteristic, but I just wanted to put on something different today and more layers.  I’m freezing!
3.  This challenge does make me thankful (although based on the previous paragraph one might not hear that.).  I am thankful to live where we live, to be able to provide for our family, but by no means does this give me permission to be greedy and frivolous.  I’m just realizing that I take it for granted that I can just go to my closet and yank another shirt off a hanger and throw it on b/c I get food on it or someone wipes grimy hands on me or I lift the beaters out of a bowl to soon.  I’m thankful for the laundry we are able to do so easily and quickly!  Thank you God for all the provisions you give me & my family – help me not to take them for granted and to share with those who have so much less than me.
Since then:
I had sent out an email a few days prior to Valentine’s Day suggesting we get a ‘pass’ for a date night with our hubby…and after hearding everyone’s response’s, especially Lilli’s (Lilli, you are so superior to us…so much holier… 🙂  ), I decided that maybe I wouldn’t take the pass…or maybe I’d wear some accessories (my poor neck and ears have been BARE from scarves and earrings!) to spice up my very dull nice outfit (black shirt and jeans).
Anyways…all of this to say – is that what started out as somewhat inconvenient has turned out NOT to be difficult for me at all.  Many of us had previously cleaned out our closets and I bet, come March 1st when we re-enter those closets and stand in open-mouthed wonder at what lies in front of our eyes, we’ll be cleaning them out again 🙂
I pray that I will be moved to not spend my money so freely on clothes and shoes and accessories in the future, but to really meditate on what I NEED vs. what I WANT…and to take those desires to God.
It’s all about seeking out what is in our hearts…and the reasoning behind our motives…

And for those of you who are curious – March will bring us to the food challenge!

More on that, soon 🙂

Heart condition

Lately God has brought this theme (‘heart condition’) up over and over and over again:

Enemies of the Heart by Andy Stanley

The Well-Trained Heart by Ray and Donna Reish

Homeschool Mom’s group

and of course, Scripture!

Man, is this something God is working on in me.

I know that if I had continued to work (or rather, go back after a maternity leave w/Sully) I would have completely ignored the tugging of the Holy Spirit to work on this area in me.

I would not have let myself have the emotional space for intense heart work – and I would have suppressed this issue in my life, probably causing my anxiety to explode into panic and misplaced fears.

Thank you, God, for discernment, support, encouragement, and obedience (and for 8 months of counseling a year ago!)

So, now that I have been home with 2 babies for over 7 months…I can honestly say that a majority of what I have ‘struggled’ with has been related to the anger that seaps out from my heart into my mind and out of my mouth and it is UGLY!

What little girl wants a mommy who is mad?

Or an infant with a mommy who is frustrated and tired and distracted?

Whew – not me, nor do I want to be that kind of mommy…

We are so blessed to have a living Redeemer who continues to redeem every day situations!

I have begun reading She’s Gonna Blow by Julie Ann Barnhill as recommended by a friend to shed some light on the taboo topic of ‘mommy anger’ (look for some posts coming about that next month)

And just this week, God blessed me with some great reminders of how I am to guard my own heart as part of being blessed to be a mommy of Mylin and Sullivan:

1. Understand our need for God’s help – apart from Him we cannot do this

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.  It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and wordly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.” -Titus 2:11-12

2. YIELD to the work of the Holy Spirit in my life

“The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in hes heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart.  For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks” – Luke 6:45

(which, by the way, is our memory verse this week…so if you see me, ask me what it is!)

“Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes.  He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts.  At that time each will receive his praise from God” -1 Corinthains 4:5

So as we are the mothers and teachers of these young, precious, impressionable souls – we must remember to guard our hearst and keep them:

Teachable

Enlighted – wise and discerning

Aligned – walk in truth & trust God – NOT ourselves

Caring – compassionate

Humble – but aside pride

Righteous – pure & maintaining integrity

Steadfast – firmly established

“Test me, O LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind” – Psalm 26:2

Let us always yearn for truth and righteous change in our lives, never being blind to our faults and growth areas

If you are in a spot where you need more support or a different kind of support than you are already getting – please let me know…I can help you find a counselor, a group, or a friend to talk to!  All of these have changed my life at different stages and multiple times! I believe in it 🙂

Goals.

I just love a new year

All the hope, expectation, yearning, desire, optimism – it’s infectious!

We are just the same: looking forward to a year with great expectation, planning, and goals

In the past (2011 post and 2012 post) we’ve desired simplicity, accomplishment, and growth in many areas

This year is no different!

Yet as I read through goals of the last 2 years I am in awe of how empty they were and how much more rich and full God has made us since then

We do not merely desire completing degrees or weight loss goals (though both of those are admirable and good!) but long for habits and self-discipline that reach deeper – are more eternal…

Don’t get me wrong, I’d LOVE to lose 10 lbs and be the same weight I was when we got married and before I birthed 2 babies 🙂

I want to read even more books than I did this year

I’d love to start playing the piano again…and I’d like to own a sewing machine 🙂

BUT…all of that aside…I have GOT to get my own self-discipline under control

I have to spend time in the Word daily.

Joel and I need to be praying together (w/o the kids) more often

I want to make sure we are making time to get to know and serve Virginia, our 93 year old widowed neighbor

I want to spend less time on facebook and less time texting and more time being fully present with my kids and showing Jesus to them

I want to surround myself with like-minded friends (which we already have) and make time and space for them, not filling it with have-to’s like product parties or family time that seems like an obligation and isn’t a time of learning, teaching, fun, and enrichment

Sometimes it seems easier to make a list of things we will be saying ‘no’ to instead of things we want to change…(Read this blog by The Better Mom on simplifying your goals)

I think the key is leaving space for us to say ‘yes’ to what is most important…serving our children right where they are, serving our neighbor right next door, late night phone calls of friends in crisis, last-minute dinners with friends and their families, bible studies, Sunday morning church, date nights!

In order to make these a priority we must continue to simplify all other areas that cry for our attention

There may be a season for that later, but for now, these things are what is important

Happy 2013 🙂

“Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all things; for this is your will in Christ Jesus”

-2 Thessalonians 5:16-18

What are your GOALS for the new year?!