Monday, December 30, 2013

Resolutions vs. Revelations

Oh hey 2014...did we skip over 2013? Flew by me somehow.

I'm wondering what you think of when you hear people talking about New Years Resolutions. Do you shrink back in defeat? Feeling like you're setting yourself up for failure? Do you not even want to try? Or maybe you're one of those people who muster up all the resolve in the world to really, really accomplish your list this year.

Me? I'm kind of in the middle. I try my best not to beat myself up on the ones that didn't get accomplished. Or if any of them got accomplished at all. (yeah that happens more than I'd like to admit.) But I also find myself typically in a place where I want to better myself, I want to set some goals, I want to at least try. But not yet.

I urge you-as well as myself-before a single goal or resolution is set. Before you buy the gym membership or the fancy new Bible devotional book because this is the year you are going to read through the Bible in a year. Take it before God. Take some time out where you can get alone with God and seek His will over your year. What does He want you to accomplish, what areas is He asking you to lay down and completely surrender to Him, what things really need your focus and what things need to be set aside for awhile? Pray. Seek. Ask. I believe with my whole heart there is a place for goals or resolutions-but only after they've been revealed to you from your Heavenly Father.

Now after that-I wanted to share a way that I approached my 2013 goals because it was unlike any other year and I found it more effective. (Note: I didn't say perfect...I still didn't get everything accomplished. But I feel like I did make progress on many of them, and any progress is better than no progress right? Right.)
So after praying about different areas that God was leading me to work on this year, I grabbed a notebook and made a page for each "area" I was working on. Such as...

Page 1: Spiritual
Page 2: Marriage
Page 3: Home
Page 4: Business
Page 5: Personal
Page 6: Health

On each page I list different things I want to work on or goals I want to make in that area. Underneath that I list each month of the year with a couple of lines in between each one. That way each month I have a place to come back to jot down my progress. This was a really fun way to track how I was doing on my goals and see it broken down by month. At the end of each month I went back to this journal and wrote down how that "page" was going.

Each page has probably 4-5 different goals, and while most of them are very personal between just God and I, there are a few I'd love to share!!

Personal page-
*Read 10 new books...5 Fiction & 5 Non-Fiction (Taking suggestions on that one by the way!!!)
*Tell people on Facebook Happy Birthday more. (Seriously I know this one is ridiculous-but really, it's so simple and makes someone feels special! So why don't I ever do this?!)
*Create more-just for fun
Marriage page-
*Date my husband more.
Spiritual page-
*Memorize more scripture (I have a certain number I'm aiming for.)
*Read through my Daily Chronological Study Bible
*Drink more water!!
*Get in better shape overall
*Find a good cleaning schedule & stick with it!

Hope this helps!! Happy almost 2014!!!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Scripture Sunday

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

It's late here, or early-however you may see it.

And as I washed my foil tin pie containers for cinnamon rolls my mind was swirling with so many thoughts, and you were one of them.


The community, the friendship, the love and fellowship I have met through this little blog of mine.

And while my dough is rising for our Christmas morning cinnamon rolls, I had to stop and say a little something to you all. I'm picturing you like I often do, sitting across the kitchen table from me with a cup of coffee. Tonight we're at my parents house, the Mr. is already snoozing away in their guest room, and surely in a few hours I will join him. But first, rolls must rise...and words must be shared. And if you're anything like me-a few tears as well.

My heart is full tonight thinking about the Baby in the manger. Friends-has there ever been a night such as this? All of the anticipation is weighing on me heavily. It's not just the Baby in the manger that my thoughts seem consumed by tonight-even though the miracle and wonder of that alone could keep me awake all night. Do you know what really has me awestruck?

God came.

Ya'll, we weren't just sick. We were dead. Dead without Him. Apart from Him I am nothing but shackled to this world and sin. And no matter how hard I try, no matter how many New Year's resolutions I set or how much resolve I muster up
I can never break free from the chains.

So I imagine God discussing eternity with His Son, the wonders of heaven and the reality of hell. I imagine Him saying something like...You know the only way they will ever get from the darkness of that world to the light of this world is if You go there.

Leave there. And come here.

To exchange the perfect holiness with the Father to the utter despair and darkness of this world. To put on flesh and dwell among us-dirty and beat up sinners who have had the life knocked out of them by someone or something and are making a mess of life. To rub elbows with them, wash their feet, love on them-the worst of them. After He came He lived the perfect sinless life we couldn't live and died the cruel harsh death we should've died. And all of that puts a lump in my throat bigger than the moon. But tonight I'm consumed with 1 single thought---

He came.

No matter where we are in life or what season or trial we may be going through-that 1 fact changes everything. Everything.

Merry Christmas friends. May you be lost in wonder as I and caught up in the goodness that is Him & Him alone.

Linking up with: Caroline, Emily

Thursday, December 12, 2013

When it rains it pours

I'm torn. All I really want to do is make this post fun and happy and Christmasy. I've got diy projects & recipes to share for crying out loud!
But my heart isn't in it tonight. The promise to myself and you all to remain real-no matter what-is pulling my heart in a different direction.

My heart is heavy. I shared a bit why in my last post here.
The holiday's after losing a loved one is just plain tough. No matter how many twinkly lights I hang around our home or how many Christmas memories & traditions I try to make for my own family, there's no escaping it. It's hard, and comes with many, many tears. And sometimes you just need to stop trying to make the best of it and let the tears flow freely by glow of a Christmas tree.

My sister is battling a lot of deep personal problems right now, and besides praying for her, there's not a lot I can do about it. I miss her something fierce. I keep telling will get better, I will get her back, He will restore, He will heal.
But some nights I still find myself weeping thinking...why wasn't it today Lord? I need my sister.

My dad is a member of Baptist Disaster Relief. For anyone who may not know what that is, they are a team who gets called up after a natural disaster to help clean up, rebuild, feed people, pray with people. Minister. They usually get the call and have to be ready to go in a matter of hours. It's a calling that I know my dad feels very strongly about and I'm so grateful for his heart. Last week he got called up to get to a place where a winter storm had absolutely ravaged a community, and he had to leave so quickly I didn't get a chance to hug his neck and tell him goodbye. It's a small, seemingly insignificant issue. However it has tugged at my heart ever since. This morning as he worked to pull large oak trees from people's homes, he had an accident, and he was thrown from the ATV vehicle he was working on.
My heart sank.
He should be ok, and although very sore, is recovering tonight.
But tonight I find myself weeping thinking...I can't lose anybody else Lord, please.

Ultimately these are all the things I'm feeling. My heart is feeling heavy and broken. But these things I know...

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him." The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. -Lamentations 3:21-26
And that is all that's keeping me going.
And it is enough.

Monday, December 9, 2013

The struggle

Disclaimer: This post brought to you by many tears (ugly cry face).
Let's talk "pet sins".
If you're like me at all, as soon as you read that phrase a particular struggle with sin popped in your mind instantly. You know that area, that sometimes you justify by saying to yourself "it's not that bad", and then sometimes you get real with yourself and just want it gone but feel powerless to do anything about. That's where I've been the past couple weeks. I've been chased down by some past sins, in the form of worries and anxieties. You know the kind you know you've been delivered from and then on a bad day you're sitting there wrestling with those thoughts again and thinking-woah where did that come from?

Well, that's where I've been the past few weeks.

Hope has felt rare and distant, though I know in my soul it wasn't. Peace felt hard to find, though I believe He never left me.

There are quite a few things I could blame for this rough spot I've found myself in, but I'm less interested in focusing on that than on how to get out of it. However, I know-and desire-for God to do what He's purposed to do in this trial. I've walked with Him too long to think for a second that He has allowed this trial for nothing. And the favor He has showed on me-oh the grace. Just a few nights ago I was weeping saying between sobs-I just really need a break. Which was true-I've been over-worked (self-imposed as it was), over-stressed, and over-done for a while now. With no possible time for a break for weeks, I just sobbed myself to sleep that night and prayed for a way, or at least some extra peace. 24 hours later, enters a major snow storm where not only am I given a break-I am stuck at home and forced a break. Because out of nowhere and no way for a "pause", He goes and makes a way.
I'm making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. (Isaiah 43:19)

It's given me some extra time to think, to pray in the dark with only the glow of the Christmas tree. Here's what He's speaking over me, I pray it meets you in your need as well...

Satan loves for fear and anxiety to enter our lives for many reasons. He knows it is a guarantee way to take our eyes off of living for God and on to surviving for ourselves. When I'm struggling in this area my mind is primarily on ME. What's difficult, how I'm going to get through this or that "hard thing", or even worse-how I am going to get out of that hard thing!
Here enters a worse fear than the rest: I'm risking completely missing my calling, my purpose, and what God has planned for me to do.

So I'm handling this season of life with much prayer, and caution-that I wouldn't lose all God has for me to do.

Oh-and Happy December friends, and as always, thanks for letting me be real with you.