When Life Feels Scary

There has never been a day where God has not known of you. From the beginning of time, He knew about your today. He knew how you would feel and how you would need Him. He wants you to call out to Him.

God is your Daddy holding out His hands to you as you take your first steps. He knows you can do it, and He is there to pick you up and carry you when you fall.

God is your piano teacher. He wants to make music out of you and will take any shred of talent and make it beautiful. He sits on the bench beside you, smiling and enjoying what He hears. It is a song He has written, after all.

God is your coach who knows what you are capable of. He wants to teach you to trust your instincts and know that the voice in your head is His. He wants you to learn to work as a team with those around you. When you make a mistake, He immediately knows what it is and can give you gentle correction.

God is your driving instructor who patiently teaches you when to yield. He knows when to brake, when to turn, and when to just keep going straight. He has His hands right there and is ready to take over when you get scared and take your hands off the wheel.

God is your guidance counselor in life. He will always be here and will always listen when you are confused. When you thought your life would go one direction but everything suddenly feels wrong, He will show you the right path.

God is everything in one. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. He knows everything that has happened and everything that will happen. When you trust Him with your heart, He will guide your future.

When you are afraid, reach out to your Papa, your teacher, your coach, and your counselor. He won’t ever steer you wrong. He will take that burden of fear off you and give you a much lighter load. Let Him.

Linking with Holley Gerth

Let It Go

Last week I was having an attitude problem. Some people said things that irritated me. In my head, I kept rehashing it and thinking of what I wanted to say to them.  How did they have the nerve to say things when they aren’t perfect in this area either? Round and round I went, and none of this was helping my mood. It was doing the opposite, actually. I needed help. Ever been there?

While all of this was being discussed in my brain, I heard a voice that was not like the one I normally hear. It said, “Let it go.” (No, this is not all some ruse to get the song stuck in your head, but that is a fun byproduct!) I tend to hold onto my resentment like it is going to get me somewhere. It is not my lifeline and will in fact cause me to sink. Why do I keep feeding it?

Right there I decided to ask for help. I prayed and asked God to help me quit remembering the slights I had perceived. From then on, every time the idea would come up in my mind, which was surprisingly often, I would stop thinking about it. Maybe by trying to see the person in a different way. Maybe by thinking of the person as trying to help me. Or maybe just by thinking about something else.

The next morning, I turned on the radio and heard the line, “I’m done fighting, I’m finally letting go,” from Sidewalk Prophets’ song “Help Me Find It.” OK, OK, I get it. My human brain is not perfect and not always kind. It also tends to remember the things I don’t want it to rather than, for example, what I came to the grocery store to buy.

As time flies by, I am shown more and more that I need this help and these little cues to remind me. Maybe I will start training my brain to fall into this trap less, but I will never be completely free of this habit. It is who I am. I hold in how I feel to keep the peace, but it can eat away at me. Replaying the words or scene does nothing productive and never lets the people know that I am irritated. If I choose not to say something, my only healthy alternative is to drop it and move on.

So I’m dropping it. I’m moving on.  I’m letting go.

Linking with Holley Gerth

 

New Bible Study and Giveaway!

How often do you find yourself reading the Bible and not really getting much out of it? Are you reading it just to check that off your list? If so, I have a new study to tell you about!

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I received a copy (plus one to give away) of the 12 Week Journal for Book by Book Bible Study. The way this works is that you pick 12 books of the Bible and study each one for a week.  You can research the book, study the characters, figure out the author and location, pick the big themes, and pull out your favorite verses. Of course you read it too! The whole idea is that it is customizable. You are not just doing what someone tells you to do. You are studying the Bible in what ever ways work for you! Want to draw a map of the location? Go for it! Want to memorize verses? That’s great! You get to pick the way you learn best.

The book of James has always fascinated me. It is short but packed with goodness. That will be my first book to study. You can choose the books by theme, author, Old or New Testament, or even randomly. Maybe start at the beginning and work your way through the Bible, 12 weeks at a time. If you pick a longer book, just spend more than a week on it. How cool is that?

Here is a little about the author. Shalana Frisby grew up in rural southern Missouri where cows usually outnumbered people. After earning a bachelor’s of fine art degree at Harding University, she moved off to the big city and began her career as a graphic designer. Since then she’s been blessed to wear many hats in life working as the craft editor for a major publishing company, instructing college design courses, owning her own business, and creating all sorts of digital and print projects as well as earning a master’s degree in education from Drury University. Her greatest achievement though is being able to use her talents to spread the good news of Jesus through 123 Journal It Publishing bible study and homeschool books.

After working for more than 15 years in the book publishing industry, Shalana and her little family decided to start the endeavor of producing quality and thoughtful journals catering to individual, family, and church needs. Sometimes life calls for a leap of faith! That’s what 123 Journal It Publishing is for them. They have a passion to create for you the best self-guided DIY study journals that you’ve ever used. Whether you choose to study together or individually, they want you to grow in Christ. Their family at 123 Journal It Publishing encourages you to not only study God’s word, but also spread the good news of Jesus to others. They sincerely hope you use their journals as a tool for both.

There are also men’s and women’s prayer and devotional Bible studies and a 12 week journal for memorizing Bible verses. I plan on using the Bible verse study to memorize verses with my girls this summer.

To learn more, check out: the 123 Journal It website and their Facebook page.

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Now for the fun part. Wednesday April 26, I will pick a random winner from the comments section of this post. For a chance to win a copy, tell me the fist book of the Bible you would study!

Linking with Holley Gerth.

Unmerited Grace

God, Thank You for the lessons You are constantly teaching me. So many times I don’t think what I am doing is wrong or I get desensitized to the impact it has on me. I need the fresh voice calling me out. It may hurt at the time, but I am thankful You love me enough to want me obedient. You want me to be my best.

The state of my heart is what matters most to You.  My motives and whether I am truly sorry for what I have done are what You go by. You cut through the nonsense and get to what is really going on. When I am sorry, You help me turn in a new direction. You also take my guilt and shame away when I bring it to You. I am washed white as snow when I step into Your presence.

You collect my tears and know the reason behind each one. I may never know why most of them have been shed, but I have You to comfort me and guide me. You never let any of those experiences go to waste but instead redeem them for Your glory.

Just like I help my children navigate their way, so You help me. I have been through what they are going through and have learned wisdom in dealing with life. You have all the wisdom I will ever need. What an encouraging thought!

I am sorry for the times I think I know what is best and go my own way. I am sorry for the times I fret and try to do everything by myself. Please keep me near You, close enough to hear You. Help me hear and obey and not doubt Your love.

You love me so much You sacrificed Your Son for my sins. Not just the person next to me, but for ME. Not someone who has it all together, but ME. You sent Your Son to die an excruciating death when I don’t even always appreciate it. Thank You for doing it anyways.

I can never repay You, and You know that. Thank You for never expecting me to deserve and work for Your love. Thank You for the grace You freely give me and for welcoming me as Your daughter. Amen

Rest and a Birthday

Last week was Spring Break (Woo-Hoo!) All four of us stayed home for the week while it seemed like everyone else went to the beach or the mountains. Personally, I would rather save the beach for summer when the water has a chance of being warm!

The weather did not cooperate as we had 2 days of terrible storms followed by 2 days of wind and cold. This week is sunny and 80 degrees. It figures, now that we are all back at work and school. The weather did give me a chance to read lots and lay around. It wasn’t all bad. 🙂

We had wanted to hike more, but we did get some time on trails 2 of the days. It was wonderful and breezy. We relaxed as a family and ate dinner outside a few times. I think my husband grilled 5 of the nights. I lost track of how many times.

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Then yesterday was our oldest’s eleventh birthday! Spring Break always falls on her birthday, so this was the first time she has had school on it. Poor baby! The rude awakening we all had at waking up early again was tempered by the fact that we got donuts on the way to school. Lauren wanted to take some to her classmates, so we had to suffer along with her. The things we do in the name of birthdays.

Last night we celebrated her birth with family. She wanted wings and cookie cake. Who am I to argue with that? (Donuts, wings, and cookie cake. The birthday of champions, I always say.)

Nothing shows more the range in maturity of an eleven year old (gulp, 11?) than what Lauren got for her birthday. She went shopping for clothes at Justice with her Grandma last week. She loves clothes and looking cute. From us, she really wanted a newborn baby doll. Neither of my girls has ever really played with dolls, so this was a surprise. She wants to babysit and one day (in her 20’s or 30’s is what she says) have kids of her own. She wants a baby to practice on. How cute is that? I am more than happy to keep her innocent as long as I can!

Time is flying by, and mostly I feel like I am holding on by the seat of my pants. But every so often, I get the chance to push pause. I get to run with my girls, shop with them, and enjoy time as a family without the pressures of school. I also get to read books that have been calling to me. These times are so important as all too soon they will be nothing more than a memory. I want us to look back and smile at the joy we found in these years.

Have you pushed pause recently?

Linking with Holley Gerth

Who’s the Mom?

Our babiest baby girl has been struggling lately. Because of that, we have ALL been struggling. I want to keep saying she is tired, but that only goes so far.

When we go for walks, her legs get tired quickly. She starts whining, and I tell her she needs to keep doing this so her legs get stronger. Her reply the other day was that her legs are already strong. They hold her up. Sigh.

Then later that night I heard loud yelling from upstairs when the girls were getting ready for bed. I didn’t intervene, because by then I was tired too. Baby K seems to be the instigator lately and lashes out at her big sister.

There are only so many times I can tell my child to quit acting like this. She proclaims to be in a bad mood, but the whole world doesn’t need to know she is in a bad mood.

Right?

I got the girls off to bed and just wanted to go to sleep too. The emotional toll this takes on me is too much. They need to grow up and start getting along!

But in my heart I am reminded that I am not always in a good mood. That is life. I need to show my children how to behave the right way. I can tell them to stop acting like this until I am blue in the face, but unless I live it, it means nothing.

We all have hard days and moments and none of us handles them with grace and dignity 100% of the time. (Wouldn’t that be nice?)  While we all need to work on not taking out a bad mood on others, it is also important to understand that someone else may be having a rough day and to forgive them without even being asked. We can’t rush to judgment over every little wrong done to us. We would be miserable and that is no way to live!

Now, I am not excusing my young one’s behavior, but I need to make sure she sees kindness and forgiveness from me. I am her model, whether I want to be all the time or not. Both of them look to me for behavior cues, and I better be ready to shine. On days when I mess up, they need to see me apologize and truly mean it.

My job as a parent is to love my children and teach them to be loving and functioning adults. I can only do that when I admit my own faults. This parenting gig is not easy, and it definitely keeps me humble.

One day we will look back on this and laugh, or so I am told. Until then, I am grateful for chocolate!

Sometimes It Is Enough To Be Known

I was stuck in my feelings. Anger. Sadness. Confusion. It wasn’t a roller coaster of good and bad, but all bad. I couldn’t shake these feelings by myself.

I needed help.

Praying wasn’t helping, because I couldn’t focus or even find the right words. The feelings were suffocating. Ever been there?

Finally, I turned to my Bible. I started at the beginning and found God. At times I skimmed the stories. I started a list of the times God came through.

God saved Noah and his family from the flood, just like He promised.

God gave Abraham and Sarah a son, just like He promised.

God brought Isaac and Rebekah together, in just the way they asked Him to make it clear.

God saw Leah’s pain when Jacob wanted her sister. He honored her when He saw she was unloved.

Our Creator comes through in different ways. Some times He makes a big promise and fulfills it in a bigger way. He is flashy and shows off. Everyone around us sees how powerful our God is.

Sometimes He allows us to test Him and shows us signs that He is there. He knows our weaknesses and that we are afraid of making the wrong choice. He shows up and shows off His listening skills.

Most of the time, I think he chooses to quietly sit next to us. He whispers in our ears words so soft that we have to be still to hear them. He writes us a love song in the events around us. God always sees us in our pain and sadness. He feels the sadness with us. Just because we feel alone in it doesn’t mean we are alone. We are not forgotten.

Genesis 29:31 says,”When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he enabled her to conceive, but Rachel remained childless.” He wasn’t picking sides, but He saw her in her grief. Rachel did eventually have children, but Leah needed to feel special right then.

God always comes through in whatever way we need. We may have those moments of doubt, but at the right time a promise is fulfilled, a path is made clear, or we are simply known.

Sometimes being known and loved is enough.

Linking with Holley Gerth