Remind Satan He Lost

Two days after my pastor talked about this, I realized I am in the middle of this situation. It was a powerful sermon Sunday, but my little brain didn’t connect it to me until this morning.

Pastor Mike told us about a tough time he was in a few years ago, where he pulled away. He didn’t want to be around people like normal or even do things he loves. None of us knew he was walking through this at the time, but Satan was attacking him.

Satan wants to distract, discourage, and destroy us. He knows our weaknesses and what areas he can do the most damage to our testimonies. He wants to keep us from making a difference.

Well, the last few weeks, I must have scared Satan! He has been at me, doing his best to discourage me. He knows how much I want people to like me and how I want their approval. People have criticized me in different ways and it has devastated me. People I am close to have unknowingly ripped my heart apart. I do my best to hide it around all but my husband and a close friend, but even they don’t know the tears I have cried or the torment I have been through.

Satan wanted to paralyze me and make me question my parenting and every little thing in my life. He wanted me to isolate myself and hide from any further attacks. I am sorry to say he succeeded. I chose to believe lies over what I know to be true. I analyzed everything little thing I have done and am doing, searching for truth to the harsh words.

This ends today, right now. My girls need me, my husband needs me, as do my family, friends and neighbors. I don’t have time to allow any of this to matter. I need to stay alert and stand firm against the devil, according to 1 Peter 5:8-9. The devil is prowling around, looking for someone to devour. I won’t let him get a foothold into my heart.

If this resonates with you right now, it is imperative that you remind yourself of promises God has made.

You are made in God’s image and He loves you with an everlasting love.

God has a plan for your life and wants to do great things through you.

God will supply all you need.

Nothing can separate you from God, and Satan knows it.

God is right there next to you, even when you try to push Him away.

There is nothing you can do that is so bad that God will stop loving you. Nothing.

I pray that we will recognize these times that Satan is after us and will stop him in his tracks. I pray we turn to God for comfort and strength and never try to go it alone. Christians need to stand strong now more than ever, which means Satan is hard at work.

We just need to remind him he has already been defeated.

Linking with Holley Gerth and Faith Along the Way

Ready For the Attack

What if I was targeted for my faith? What if I was persecuted for being a Christian? These thoughts are running through my mind lately with all the evil in the world. The very idea that ISIS is slaughtering Christians turns my stomach.

Evil is taking over more and more and yet it is too easy to be complacent here in the US. We complain about the small things while people are being imprisoned or murdered.

I want to think I am safe. We are in a different country with a government to protect us. However, we know they can come here, if they haven’t already.

I want to think they wouldn’t care about me, a housewife. Well, anyone can find my blog and know I am a Christian. I have privacy settings on Facebook, but there are ways to see what I post. I am also at a large church on Sundays.

I used to be nervous about posting Christian quotes, song lyrics, or Bible verses. I didn’t want my friends to see me as the crazy Christian girl. Now I am glad I got over that. People can see who to turn to when they need prayer or have a question. But really, why was I so afraid? None of these people were going to burn down my house or attack me. The worst they were going to do is unfriend me. (Yes, that hurt my feelings, but I got over it.)

The day will come in America where we have to put up or shut up. Get in or get out. Stand up or run away. We need to stand firm now and put deep roots on our faith. We have to live out our beliefs now and determine to keep it up no matter what happens.

We need to pray for those who are being persecuted now, even as we prepare for our own fight. We need to pray for our reaction when these things are on our soil. And we need to especially pray for future generations. This may not happen today or tomorrow, but we need to be ready for the attack.

I think of Casting Crown’s song Courageous:

“The only way we’ll ever stand

Is on our knees with lifted hands

Make us courageous.”

God will give us courage and make us ready, but we have to ask Him for it. He alone will get us through these times ahead and usher us into eternity.

Will you be ready?

Linking with Faith Along the Way

Sometimes You Gotta Take a Leap

Taking the first step is so difficult since we don’t know the outcome. But we have to hold onto our faith and know things are going to work out and just go for it.

Back in October, James and I decided to sell our house. I said on here that I wanted more space and less stuff. I wanted the girls to be able to play outside. (Imagine that!) It seemed crazy to move for a better yard, to take a risk on a new house and neighborhood.

One night, we sat on our deck and talked about what we wanted. James asked the fair question of what if the girls don’t want to play outside. What if we go through all this and things don’t go the way we wanted? I didn’t really have answer except for “I think they will.”

Y’all I was right! Our children love riding bikes in the cul-de-sac and climbing trees. They color with chalk and come in covered in dirt sometimes. They play in the rain, in the cold, and in the heat. Future mail carriers, perhaps? They have new friends they can’t wait to play with after school.

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Yes, that is them in the cold wet weather we have been having, despite the fact that it is April in the south. I have been amazed at all the times they have run out the door to play since we moved in January. They can’t get enough!

Do you know what my biggest problem now is? I can’t get them to come home! I know they are in a few backyards that back up to our street, so I yell. Once or twice we ate dinner without the girls because I figured they would come in when their friends had to or they got hungry. They did. One lazy Sunday night, they were out front at seven, and James asked if we should make them come in. Perhaps, but they were busy making up for lost time.

It has done good for this mama’s heart to see and hear my babies enjoying being kids. Soon enough, they won’t want to play outside anymore and they will have more adult responsibilities. For now, they need to play.

If we hadn’t done what some might say was crazy, our kids would be stuck inside, too far away to walk to friends’ houses. But we listened and trusted, and they are having the time of their lives.

And so am I.

Linking with Holley Gerth

My New American Dream

My Bible study group is smack dab in the middle of Jen Hatmaker’s study of the Seven Experiment: Stage Your Own Mutiny Against Excess. We knew it would be hard and that the number attending would dwindle. (Yep to both.) But oh it is so eye opening.

We have given up or only eaten certain foods for a week. (One of the foods I gave up was sweets. Lord help me.) We have worn the same 7 clothing items for a week (not counting underwear.) Little did I know the dressy shirt I picked had a giant hole in the arm. I wore it to church anyways. Us Americans are too picky about that sort of thing. Strangely, no one noticed (or pointed and laughed.) Last week we gave away 7 things a day. This one was harder for me than it normally would be since my family had donated trunk loads in the fall. I am holding onto my things for now so I can sell them and give the money to our project.

Once you are past a week in this study, things still come back. You see all the food you waste and how it is way too easy to say there is nothing to eat in front of a full pantry. You see how spoiled you are with three good meals a day and snacks galore.

You see how many clothes you have and how many you don’t even wear. The braver can even count how many items are in their closet. You see how fast you discard clothes because you have worn it a few times and are tired of it.

You look around your house and think about all you have that you don’t need. Things that have been there so long you don’t even see them anymore. And you realize none of it is really necessary. Do you have extra joy because of your stuff? Not for long. Could someone else use what you own or the money you spent on it? Most definitely.

I think this book and study are crucial to anyone who needs a shaking up, a wake up call. The American dream is crushing the hope of people in dire situations who have no food, clothes, or stuff. And the American dream is lying to us about what we need.

My new American dream is for us to have the necessities we need and a few things we want. It involves giving more with a happy heart. It means not rushing out to buy new stuff just because we can. My dream is to help other people with our resources and not hoard them. God gave us money and talents to share and be a blessing to others.

So let’s all look at how we treat what God has given us. We don’t need all that we have, but people are dying because they don’t have basic needs met. Let’s share, because a little of what we have would go a long way globally.

Linking with Faith Along the Way

I Am Enough

After being out of town last week, my feet hit the ground running yesterday morning. In my mind were a million (at least) things that needed to get done or the world was going to end. All of y’all’s fates were in my hands and I knew it. My poor brain was ready to explode.

Have you been there? Or should I ask: are you there now? I know many people are like me and pile on the tasks and pressure until we are ready to crumble. Well, I will tell you what God told me. Breathe.

Everything will get done. If one thing has to wait until tomorrow, it will still work out. Somehow though, once the pressure was lifted, I was able to get through my list. I wasn’t frantic and running around like a crazy person anymore but could enjoy my day. I noticed more little things and was kinder to my kids. The strain in my shoulders eased as stress melted away.

I do NOT have to get it all done.

I can ask for help.

I should stop putting time limits where they aren’t necessary.

I will enjoy my precious family.

Since we were out of town on her actual birthday, we ended the day with a celebration for Lauren. It was fun and I didn’t have to miss out on it because I had stressed myself out. I was present and got to have cake and ice cream.

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We were able to end the day with smiles instead of an exhausted mama. I will cherish these years as they fly by with my family. If God hadn’t stopped me yesterday and helped me relax a bit, the day would have gone much different.

I want to set the example for my girls and for them to know they don’t have to be Superwoman. They don’t have to get everything done, and they definitely don’t have to pressure themselves to be perfect.

God made them (and me) just right, and to Him, we are perfect.

Philippians 4:12-13 I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.

Linking with Holley Gerth and her new book You’re Loved No Matter What

Things My Mom Would Love to Hear

Moms have the hardest job, and I never fully realized that until I became one. In the 12 years since my Mom went to heaven, I have gotten married and had 2 little girls, and there are still many moments each day I want to tell her about something. A decade has brought me less grief and more clarity. So after all these years, I would want her to know:

I am now the one in charge of cleaning the house. Scary thought for anyone who saw how messy I was as a child.

Both of my girls have cut their hair at age 6, and I told them about the times I let people cut my hair at their age and how much trouble I got in. Mom would have laughed so hard that I am now on the other side!

Was I as loud as my children are? If so, I am sorry.

My girls follow the same 2 cookie rule we had as kids. Even I still only have 2 cookies. The guilt never goes away…..

For all those questions I used to ask, like “Why is the sky blue, well, now I know how difficult that is to answer. I believe now that she actually WAS smart!

I wish I had let her teach me to cook and sew when she wanted, (or one of the two at least).

Even though it should have embarrassed me, I loved that my high school friends loved her!

I am passing on her love of the Bible to my girls. They are growing up knowing that Jesus loves them.

Hearing I am like her makes me tear up.

When I think of all the things she did for others, it makes me want to be like her even more.

I wish we could drink tea while getting to know each other as adults rather than mother and daughter.

Some days I just want to ask how she survived our younger years. I think she would have loved to tell me!

She is the benchmark I compare myself to as a mother and wife. I hope I can be a fraction of all she was to us.

One thing I think she would have loved is the birthday party we have for her each year. The girls and I pick out a “store boughten” cake and sing Happy Birthday. For me it is still bittersweet, but her grandchildren have a blast. She would love their smiling faces as they hear stories about their Mimi.

So many of the things she said now make sense to me, such as “Because I am the mother, that’s why!” Another good one is, “Don’t make me pull this car over!”

I know she would be proud of me, but I want her to know I am proud of her for raising three good kids. Two kids is so much work that I can’t imagine a third.

Mom would have gotten a kick out of the cute things my girls say and do. And she would have loved to hear their giggles.

Although 23 years does not seem like enough time, I could not imagine having anyone else as my mom. Thank you Mom!

Linking with Faith Along the Way

God Is For Us

While reading Holley Gerth’s new book, You’re Loved No Matter What, I thought about who inspires me. There is someone in my life who has persevered no matter what has been thrown at her this year.

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In January, my friend Mariellen’s son fell off his loft bed and sustained a severe head injury. Clark is a student at Georgia Tech and his fraternity had put these loft beds in their house, but no rails. In these past three months since this happened, I have seen Mariellen’s faith tested beyond what she thought she could bear.

When Clark fell, he fractured his skull and had a blood clot. He had to have emergency brain surgery and then spent a few weeks in the ICU. The road to recovery has been long and included multiple setbacks such as infections and pneumonia. Clark’s brain was trying to heal, but his body was not cooperating.

After a few weeks, Clark was moved to the Shepherd Center and will move home once he is medically stable. For now he is alert and will learn to walk and talk again soon.

From the beginning of the ordeal, Mariellen has had the strength I hope I would have if I were ever in a situation like this. She and her husband Ron and their daughter Kelsey have been Clark’s cheerleaders. They have been by his side encouraging him and praying for him and loving him.

Early on, Mariellen posted a picture of the Jesus Calling devotion for that day on Facebook. Since then, she has done that many days and shared with us how much it encourages her. (I think she should start getting a commission for advertising, but author Sarah Young may disagree.) The other day Mariellen talked about blessings. She was thinking about the goodness of God and how He blesses us each day. On the one month anniversary of the accident, she shared Joel 2:25. “God can restore what is broken and change it into something amazing. All you need is faith.” Mariellen has shared other verses, and even through the setbacks, she has remained upbeat.

Mariellen’s family has been under attack, but their spirit will not be brought down. They will not be defeated. They have inspired so many of us by their faith and absolute knowledge that God is for them. I know this is a parent’s worst nightmare, and it is hard to imagine going through it. But this family is showing the world that with God, anything is possible. He brings healing and peace and all He asks is that we invite Him into our lives. When we put God at the center, He works everything out for our good and His glory.

Mariellen, Ron, and Kelsey, keep fighting for Clark. Keep loving each other. And most of all, keep trusting in Jesus. He will see you through.

Linking with Holley Gerth

This is My Song

Blessed Assurance
Jesus is mine
O what a foretaste of glory divine
Heir of salvation, purchased of God
Born of His Spirit, washed in His Blood

This is my story, this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long
This is my story, this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long

Perfect submission, perfect delight
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight
Angels descending, bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love

Perfect submission, all is at rest,
I in my Savior am happy and blest;
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

Blessed Assurance has been a favorite hymn in our house for years. I pray this weekend you are praising your Savior all day long. I pray you are living with visions of rapture. And I pray you are happy and blest in your Savior.

I leave you with a video my husband made of Lauren singing Blessed Assurance for my birthday before she turned 3. (She will be 9 next week. Where do the years go?) I still hear echos of her sweet voice singing about her Jesus when I hear this song. May it bless you too.

You can watch the video here

Happy Easter!

Linking with Faith Along the Way

Angels All Around

Tomorrow will mark two years since my Camry was smashed. As terrible as the experience was, God was there with us. He kept us safe.

The girls and I were meeting James for dinner after their tennis lesson. Not far from the Wendy’s we were heading to (yes, we live high on the hog), a car stopped in front of us. Calm down, I didn’t read end him. He was trying to turn left at a busy time of day, so we sat a few minutes. I looked up in my rear view mirror as a car pulled up behind us and stopped. The girls and I were singing along to the radio, when our car was suddenly pushed forward. My nose slammed into the steering wheel as the girls screamed from the back seat.

This all happened in front of the fire department, and they heard it and came running. We were shaken and sore but declined ambulances. I had to stay calm for the girls, so I stayed in the car. Turns out a girl had been looking down (we think texting) and did not even slow down from 40 MPH before she hit the car behind us and caused a chain reaction.

As scary as this day was, I knew it could be much worse. There must have been angels surrounding us. Even two years later, I still get teary thinking about it (and freaked out when someone pulls up behind me.) The first amazing thing that happened is the man in the car in front of us heard the collision and had the state of mind to pull forward. I still hit him, but not nearly as hard as I would have. It helped us not have more risk of injury or trauma. This is so remarkable because I was closer but didn’t hear. I had no idea what was about to happen, but he did and prevented it from being worse.

The other way we were protected (besides our seat belts) was the fact that there was a car behind us. That car had two adults in the front, not two precious children in the back. I still shudder to think what would have happened to the girls if we had been hit directly, even harder. But we weren’t, and I thank God for that.

April 1, 2013 (yes, April Fools Day), God showed up in a huge way. My car may have been totaled and I may have had to make many trips to the chiropractor for a few months, but He certainly had His angels around us.

God loves us and loves to show off. Bad things are going to happen, but He is always looking out for us. We may not always see how God is working, but we should always assume He is there. He is ready for what is about to happen, because He already knows it is coming.

I learned a lot that day about trusting God and His goodness, and I pray you take that from this too.

And of course, don’t text and drive!

Linking with Holley Gerth

Forgive the Small Stuff

You ever keep hearing the same topic come up and still think, “well, that doesn’t apply to me”? I hope you are smarter than me and actually take notice when this happens.

The idea of forgiveness has been brought to my attention lately and until the end of this week I was thinking of someone else who needed to hear it. Bless my heart.

Because I am pretty good at forgiving the big things, I kind of gloss over the command to forgive 70 times 7. I get it, Jesus. You want us to forgive. Can we move on now? There have been big events in my life that I have forgiven people for, in time. My struggle is with the small things. The slights, the people who hurt my feelings, the times I am left out- those are the situations that trap me.

How is it I can forgive people who did big things on purpose but not those whose transgressions toward me are unintentional? What is wrong with me?

It occurred to me that I might not be the only one. Do you have a hard time with not holding a grudge when someone hurts your feelings? I wish I could say no, but some things I will rehash in my mind. It may not be a big deal, but by golly, by the time I am done analyzing it, it will be. The person may not even know what they have done that I am mentally punishing them for!

Several times this week, small slights have occurred that were never intended the way I took them. I guess God needed to get my attention so He could help me fix it. One is even that a new friend has not returned my text. There are many reasons this could have happened, but I jumped to: she must not really want to be my friend. (Cue sad sound.)

Let’s be honest, there are some people just naturally like this. Many of their actions can be seen as hurtful, so they are repeat offenders.

Give them grace.

People will leave you out unintentionally.

Cut them some slack.

You will think someone is ignoring you on purpose.

Believe they have a reason and give them another chance.

Someone will brush you off.

Assume they were busy and move on with life.

Your friend will say something that they knew would hurt your feelings.

Love them anyways.

Life is too short to walk around angry or frustrated with people, especially when they don’t know what they did. We (meaning I) need to work out our feelings and love unconditionally. Even holding small grudges is detrimental to our spiritual well being, so the faster we can learn to let go of the small things, the better. It won’t be easy for me, but I know I can do it with God’s help.

He’s always got my back.

Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

Linking with Faith Along the Way