Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Thankful Tuesday's- My Husband's Heart

Today as I sit here thinking of a looooong list of thing's I am thankful for only one of those sticks out as the thing I am most thankful for today! 

I am most thankful today for my husband's heart!!! I am thankful for everything about him, but today it is his heart that has captured my attention. Often times I allow little irritation's and small offense's cloud my vision of who my husband really is. I am blessed with a good man.  He may do thing' s that irritate me and we certainly don't always agree on everything, but when it comes to the thing's that matter there is no reason to complain. 

Jonathan is 100% on board with raising our children in a godly, loving home. He's dedicated to the heart's of our daughter's and seeing that they are guarded and protected until the day he gives them away. He works hard with me to instill morals and values in them and is so unbelievably patient and gentle. I admit that even at times he is the one calming me down and reminding me to speak gently.

 He loves the Lord with every single inch of his heart, no one can take the place of God in his life. He lives a life full of thank's to God for his many undeserved blessing's and remind's us all often that God owes us nothing, he already gave it all. No matter the storm or the anguish he hold's tight to God and doesn't waver. Jonathan also long's for a pure heart. I am blessed to be married to a man that has requested that I don't request Victoria Secret catalog's because he will see them in the mail. He refuse's to put before his eyes any unclean image and I've been with him 9 years and have not seen him falter. He won't so much as look at a lady on tv in a bathing suit. He takes purity seriously and thus will help instill that in our children because it is something he is passionate about. He takes his walk with God so very seriously and has a reverent fear of God, which is a vital  aspect of a relationship with Christ. Jonathan also has a heart full of laughter and is always making me and everyone else around us laugh. I do more laughing than anything else.

 Finally, for whatever reason, his heart beats for mine. That man has forgiven much and loved much even when it is completely undeserved. He gives out the same unconditional love that God has given him and without question or a clause. I don't have to do anything to earn his love, he just loves me in all of my mess and imperfections. It is like he see's something in my heart I don't see myself. 
I can't forget that it was also this loving heart that took the time to befriend a lost soul in college and lead her to the cross. Yes, my husband is the one who led me to truly and wholeheartedly with understanding, commit my life to Christ. 

Incase you don't know already, the below video is my husband. :)

Word of God Speak: Jonathan Cox with True Change Band 

What are you thankful for on this Tuesday?

Monday, March 18, 2013

A Laundry Pile Prayer

Even in the midst of chaos, God offer's peace!
Today is Monday. It is raining, incredibly dreary outside and freezing! Only in NC do you have two day's of warm ( near 70's) weather with sunshine and then wake up to 40 degree weather. My girl's are very fussy and crabby. I have yet to figure out why Monday can be such a battle with them.
All I figure is that they are tired from Sunday, they miss daddy because he went back to work and their routine was thrown off the day before and they don't do well with that. Whatever the reason, today with them has been tough. Addison is teething 4 teeth at once *yes* and she tend's to be mean when she's teething. She isn't cuddly and pitiful, she's angry at the world. Ava Grace woke up on the wrong side of the bed and has been growling today when she doesn't like something. We have been emphasizing the importance of respecting one another and what God's word say's about respecting parents and those in authority, growling at people really doesn't say "respect." I've spent a lot of time correcting the growling and explaining how we should deal with anger and disappointment in a way that doesn't involve sounding like a rabid dog.  Of course because both of them are crabby and irritable they have spent the majority of the day fighting and whining with each other. I was facing four loads of laundry when I got up this morning so I feel like in-between breaking up fight's, cleaning up messes, wiping tears and giving time out's all I've done is wash, dry and fold laundry.  All of this leaves me one frazzled, weary and frustrated mommy.

Can you other mommy's relate?? (Please say yes!) I have had to ask the Holy Spirit to redirect my thought's and my attitude a LOT today. I've asked God to trade my frustration for thankfulness and my irritable attitude for joy. He answered, every time.

Isn't it wonderful, being able to stop and pray and instantly feel the peace and strength of God? The situation's haven't changed, my kid's still teething while the other one growl's at me, but I have HIS peace and I'm being sustained. Like the picture I am surrounded by chaos, but I'm in my own little world filled with his presence. (Praise music really does have a powerful effect if you can listen to it) What an amazing gift to be able and convene with the God of the universe and his Holy Spirit right here in my kitchen. Sometime's I forget what a privilege that is! What is even more mind boggling is that Almighty God cares about me in my little kitchen, he hears me and answer's my cry. My need for peace and a change of attitude isn't too small or mundane a task for him. I am his daughter and I matter to him, my need is important to him. So weary mommy, be encouraged today! God hear's your plea from the laundry pile, the room full of toys or the sink full of dishes. He hear's you and he stand's ready to answer you and fellowship with you. Walk with him, talk with him even as you go through the day to day. He cares and he loves you!

"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7

"For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:15-16 (an absolute favorite!)

"Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken." Psalm 55:22

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Do you care?

What is with this saying, "I don't care what anyone think's about me." ? I hear that all too often and it is worded in various ways.  I've also seen people be really rude and then say "what? I don't care what people think!" I've been guilty of it myself in the past. My almost four year old's favorite phrase is "I just don't care." Boy that's been fun to correct. I've never liked the saying in question and then today I heard it again and this time Holy Spirit immediately brought to my mind Ephesians 5:1 and I knew, he was trying to tell me something.

I don't think, that as christians we should buy into that way of thinking. We represent a BIG God. For some people we are all the Jesus they will ever see on this earth. Have you ever heard this quote by Brennan Manning, DC Talk used it in their song "What if I stumble," "The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, then walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle." If we walked around with the mentality of not caring what people think about us then it will effect our actions and lifestyle.  
As Christians we shouldn't worry about what people think of our clothes, the cars we drive, the homes we live in or anything else of material value. The quote does fit on the end of that mentality. We shouldn't be consumed about what other's think about us to the point that we are numb with fear and can't do the work of the Lord. You know what I mean, like when God want's you to speak to a room of people and you suddenly forget how to talk. That is a different topic for a different day. I digress. 

In Ephesians 5:1 it say's "Imitate God therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children." -  Imitate: 1. To follow or endeavor, to follow as a model or example. 2. To mimic, impersonate. 3. To make a copy of, reproduce closely. 4. To have or assume the appearance of, simulate, resemble. 
We absolutely need to worry about what people think of us because of who's name we claim to follow! One of my favorite scripture is Hebrews 12:1 "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles…" We are surrounded by witnesses. Every place you go, every word you speak ( or write) or share on Facebook is being witnessed by everyone who hears' ( or see's) you claim to follow Jesus Christ. It can kill our witness to not care. I have also heard people say that they don't care what people think and that God know's their heart." God also know's that you live with the mentality of not caring what anyone think's and use it as an excuse to do, say or go wherever you please. (that one stepped on my own toes.) 

I for one want to be known by the fruit that I possess. "Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit." Matthew 12:33-37. In Jeremiah 17:8 "He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” And again in Psalm 1:3 "He is like a tree planted by streams of water…" As Christians we are tree's and are we bearing good fruit or rotten fruit? What do the people around us think?
I care a great deal about what people think of me because of who I am representing.  If I worked for some big name company my boss's would expect that I would represent them well and with right conduct. If I was seen drinking heavily with my name tag from work on and I'm confronted about it, I couldn't give the excuse "well I don't care what people think about me or this company." It is in my job description to care. In my own life, I have worked for a Brand before that made employee's sign a form concerning our conduct on social media websites, because we were a reflection on that company by working for them. While I was at work I always had to care about what every costumer thought of me, because I was representing the brand and everyone who worked above me.

Returning again to Ephesians 5:1, we are supposed to be imitating Christ in everything we do.  The "I don't care mentality" will effect and hinder our ability to properly imitate him. Wrong thinking lead's to wrong actions.  If I don't set a standard for myself I won't follow through. We have to ditch this careless mentality and set a standard to care what people think of us. What people think of us is in large part going to be what they think of Christ or christianity as a whole. 

As my pastor said recently, Lord redirect our thoughts', redirect our speech and redirect our feet. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Thankful Tuesday's

I'm working on themes for the different day's of the week and 'Thankful Tuesday's" keeps coming back to me today. So that will be the theme for Tuesday's. 

Today I am thankful (actually way beyond thankful) for these two bundles of complete and utter joy!!! These little blessing's are my whole life, my world and my heart walking around outside my body ( as the quote goes.) I don't have a clue why God thought I was worthy of such gift's. I am so honored to be their mommy and even more honored that God chose them for us. 

They have their moments, but they are truly rays of sunshine like seen in this picture. They are full of such love, joy and sweetness. I thank God for their hearts that already love him. I am also immensely thankful for the opportunity to be home with them every single day, loving on them, playing with them and teaching them. I can't think of a better way to spend my time.

Motherhood is a blessing and though the hardest job I've ever, ever had, it is worth it and I'm so thankful for this season! No matter how hard it gets nothing can compare to the joy in the midst of it. Last but not least I am thankful to God for being my rock every day and for the leading of the Holy Spirit. I'm thankful that in my weakness he is strong and that when I fall short he picks me up and extends forgiveness and mercy. I'm thankful for his word that revives me each day (Psalms 119) and the grace he gives me to keep on keeping on. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

When I realized that I am a brat!

Who else is really glad that a lot of times God doesn't deal with us the way we deserve to be dealt with?  Who else is thankful that with loving grace he leads us to realize our sin(s) and then accepts our apology and repentance? I know that I am!

Last week I was reading one of my favorite encouraging mommy blogs when I saw a link to another blog and the title of the post jumped out at me. It was titled "Diary of a spoiled brat." As I read her post I could relate on almost everything she was saying and it was like she had been in my head all week. A really long story short, by the end of her post I had read a beautiful story of a woman who realized how incredibly blessed she really is and she had a new perspective! She told this story...

"Last week our missionary friend Maurice (who serves endlessly and feeds nearly one hundred children every night) found a man laying limp on the side of road. Thinking he was dead, Maurice went over to search for vital signs. There was a faint hear beat so he lifted the near-death Haitian and carried him to safety. It turns out the man was starving. Malnourished and ill from years and years of living on the streets.  He was painfully poor, never having lived in a home his whole life. Maurice had little to give, but offered that he could stay in the generator shed and hung him a hammock and gave him food. The Haitian was overjoyed – completely overtaken with gratefulness because he had never in his whole life slept under a roof." The Unplugged Family. 

After reading everything before that portion of her post and then reading that, I was a mess. God started to break my heart and I sat there in tears as I realized I was a brat! I had been walking around with a stinking bad attitude for 3 days, determined to not like the change coming for our family. I wallowed in self pity and a woe is me mentality. I was angry that we were going to have to give up our beautiful home, (the one I worked so hard to make beautiful), for my husband to attend Bible college ( wow, really Tiffany??) I was angry that we are going to be moving into a house that needs work, just as this one did and isn't "move in ready." I complained and complained. I picked apart every reason why "the new house sucked." It didn't matter that it is two times as big as the house we are in now, in a good safe area and a sturdy, safe home for my family. It didn't matter that it was a huge financial blessing from God so my husband can answer the calling on his life. I deserved the wrath of God as I complained about his blessing for us and told him why I didn't like it. I deserved a spiritual spanking for my bad attitude and lack of thankfulness. However, God dealt with my gently and allowed me to read that post. I walked away broken in my sin and ungratefulness and completely thankful for a new roof over my head and running water in our sink's. Here I was complaining when a man in another country was rejoicing for a shed with a hammock. Perspective! God reminded me of the Israelite's and how they so desperately wanted out from under Pharaoh and God delivered them from his rule and performed miracle after miracle, even providing mana from Heaven and yet they complained. I want to go to the next level, but I didn't want it to be inconvenient. My beautiful mother-in-law reminded me that most of the letters Paul wrote that are in the Bible, he wrote from a prison! Perspective! And that when Paul wrote about contentment and joy, God's grace being sufficient that he either wrote it from a prison or following one trial after the other.

My joy can't be in the car I drive or the way my house look's. My joy can't be in what I possess that will burn. My joy and thankfulness don't come from what surrounds me or what the circumstance's in my life are, my joy comes from Christ! My joy comes from knowing that I'm bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ and I have been saved from my former self and my old life. If my whole world washes away, I still stand saved by the Savior and filled with a daily hope and promise of an eternal life in his very presence! What more could I want, need or ask for? Perspective!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Trusting God with my ducks!

For the first time since I gave my life to Christ I was being asked to trust him in a way I was not comfortable doing. Before you even say anything, I know that isn't a right attitude. That is why I'm here writing this. My. attitude. stunk! I was completely uncomfortable trusting the Lord the way he wanted me to. Who even knew if it was going to be a season or if it was going to be my life, my whole life. I was frozen in this feeling of uncertainty and I hated it.

I am a type A personality all the way across the board! I figure out a plan and I work my plan. I'm scheduled, organized and systematic. I hate chaos, uncertainty and anything to disturb my plan. I don't like change, I don't care for riff's in the system and I don't like not having it all figured out. My ducks have to be in row! The problem is this doesn't work in the life God's called me to. My husband felt called as of last year to go to Bible college and be a pastor. What? We have two small children, he has an excellent job and he just wants to STOP in the middle of it all and veer far right into the completely unknown? This didn't jive with me, if I'm being honest, and I am...I was thankful that he is doing what he feel's called to with such conviction and sacrifice, but couldn't we just fwd and not go through the season of him getting there?? It was completely scrambling my ducks that were all sitting neatly in a row! 

Where will we live? Don't know. Where will he work? Don't know. Will I have to work part time? Don't know. Will we have to move closer to the college? Don't know. Will he have a job after school? Don't know. Will we have to move out of state for a new job after college? Don't know. 

As it was then I could answer all of those if we stayed on the path we're on. We will live in the home we have lived in since Ava Grace was 9 months old, our home. He will work where he's worked for 4 years. I won't have to work part time. The other questions would be N/A. On this path I have certainty and stability.  Now I know that no one has real certainty and stability because it can all change at the blink of an eye. See, I know this stuff but then it was head knowledge and not heart knowledge or else I would have been all on board for the adventure. Adventure, something else I don't like....

So why, knowing how I am would God call me to this?? See, I know the answer again. God cares more about our character than comfort. He loves to call his children into the unknown, desiring that we take a faith walk ( not a cake walk) as Peter did and keep our eyes on him. But I'm comfortable here on this side, I never asked to walk across water. There is that word "comfortable" again. 
So when it all boils down to it, I accepted Christ as my savior and I desire to live for him. I strive to daily bring him glory and honor. I want to move mountains in the Kingdom, but I want to always be comfortable, stable and certain at the same time. Oh and I don't want to sacrifice my ducks that are in a row! That wasn't going to work!

You know how it is when you can really feel the Lord whispering the same thing over and over again? He just continued to say "trust." "But Lord, my ducks are scrambled!!!! The next year is a blank page!" "Trust." "What if he can't find a job that allows him to go to school? Everyone is unemployed and he will join them! Will lose everything!" "Trust. Trust. Trust. Trust Trust...." I also knew that a year from now I would have some ducks neatly in a row again and some sense of a plan or certainty, but the getting there is what I was scared of. I would love to tell you that I had a breakthrough and trusted the Lord with all of it and felt much better. I would be lying. Truth is, I had a complete fit. I reacted out of fear and uncertainty and attacked my husband. I didn't act Christ like, I didn't trust and I didn't act like a Godly wife either. :-/ I went into a spiral of anger and rebellion declaring "I am not going to be a part of this." ::sigh:: Oh goodness, if given the chance I would definitely have responded instead of reacted and I would have prayed before even opening my mouth. I would do what God had been pulling on my heart to do for MONTHS and I would have trusted him. I would have trusted my husbands discernment and wisdom. I would have trusted God with my husbands heart and mind. I would have trusted that even if we fumbled on our path, God would still be in control and steady us! I would have trusted that even though it was a huge life change it was my husband answering the call to ministry and that God was all over it! Instead I blew it. I failed the test, giant F on the paper in red ink and all. :-/ Thank God for his mercy and grace and his blood that washes away our sins. It was with a repentant sorrowful heart that I had to face God and ask for forgiveness. 

Of course God has it all worked out and had a plan for us!  God knew it all along and all I had to do was trust. Now I am trusting God with all of it. I am trusting that it will all come together and work out and yes, some thing's are still uncertain, but this time I am trusting! 
It's okay, you can move my ducks!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The mommy in this picture is ME!

I say it time and time again, I LOVE to write and I aspire to blog more often and just share my life.
I am also told at least once a day to write a mommy blog. I am going to strive really hard to keep this blog updated and interesting as I face the daily JOYS  and struggles of parenting two little girl's and being the keeper of our home.

I am a mom who doesn't have it all figured out (yet) and lives day to day hanging on by the grace of God and usually with dried food on my clothes! Yep, these days my life isn't that glamorous and I must admit that I have more day's when I feel defeated then I do triumphant. However, it is in the days that I feel triumphant that I can then appreciate the defeated days, I see how it helped my character and growth in Christ. There is never a TESTimony without a TEST! It has also taught me the meaning of "My Grace is sufficient, for when you are weak I am strong." AMEN!

So this time around my blog might be a little messier, a little less poetic and a lot more nitty gritty. This is where I am at in this point in my life. I'm daily growing as a woman of God and a wife/mother and not without temper tantrums ( me usually, not the kids). I feel some day's like my life has no meaning ( ah the deceptions of the enemy!) and sometimes I would love to go find a corner and rock in it ( as long as that corner has coffee). That isn't to say that I don't have a lot of JOY in every day and that I don't LOVE this season of life I'm in. I'm just stating the fact's...it is hard, hard work to do what I do and I'm not going to lie about that. The JOY of the LORD is MY strength ( praise the Lord) and at this time in my life, God is enjoying reminding me of that!

I want to interact with my reader's, so please leave a comment below and share how God is working in your life during this season, If you're not a mom, still share! We can all use the encouragement in knowing none of us have arrived yet! (2 Corinthians 3:18)