Lord, Refine Me
In different seasons, God chooses to bring us in - to refine us - to chisel away at our "human-ness." I think at times - this work can be done through situations we are placed in - or other times, we can ask the Lord - what He has for us ? To reveal to us where work needs to be done - or even better- is when other people point it out to us, first, then after hearing it (more than once for some us who are a little more resistant AKA stubborn) we choose to ask the Lord for help ---
I believe for purpose in this crazy life - God desires to reveal our purest - most Christ-like self - down to the most faceted and purest diamond we can be.
So to be real - my newest refinement came from two ways -a forced slow down from the "busy-ness" of life from a physical injury - and asking the Lord what He has for me in this time. He has revealed to me that the "area" that needs work - or even more so needs Him - is DISCIPLINE - SELF-CONTROL - SELF_DISCIPLINE -
How did I know this answer is Divine ?
3 main reasons
1. This is one of my husbands top 5 Strengths - and it is the one that can feel like fingernails on a chalkboard to me so i would not necessarily wish it upon myself.
2. It is NOT my natural way to live - so it WILL take growth and reliance on the Lord.
3. I have come to be able to decipher the call of the Lord amidst all the other traffic in my mind.
"For the Spirit of God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7
I realize I am human - but even more specific to me - I am quick (not like athletic) - impulsive - I ADORE immediate results - in work, at home, with my kiddos, with my physical body - you get the idea. At times, this ACTIVATOR -
RESULT - driven, fast-paced mode can be a strength - but I am learning -
- I can skip necessary steps due to being in a hurry.
-I can be impatient with those people who analyze and are strategic.
-I can push for results when God only asks me to BE STILL & KNOW.
So - Self control vs Self-discipline. Self control is the immediate- like when I don't have emotional reaction to my husband when I feel as if he is questioning or advising me.
Self -Discipline is acquired over a period of time- a honed skill - I believe to be evidence of an ongoing relationship with the Holy Spirit - or like the life of an elite athlete - who has gotten to their pinnacle with days upon days of repeated efforts and strategic behaviors.
Currently, I feel like God is using this to teach me to be aware of HIs direction- in the BIG & small -
the small ...
-my response to a perceived (I emphasize perceived) verbal criticism/negativity
-my response to the resist the "itch" to be a gossip or to hold my tongue in a variety of situations (this is hard for me as my friends can attest to)
-my daily choice to make wise money decisions in light of future goals
-my willingness to resist the need for immediate gratification with material things
the BIG ...
GIVE MORE AWAY - LOVE, THINGS, & MY TIME
SHOW HUMILITY in relationships
LOVE WELL - LOVE DAILY
ENGAGE in the LORD DAILY
HOLD captive my thoughts
The ability to be more controlled/intentional in the little things- the daily things - establishes relationship and ongoing communication with my Teacher. I don't know if you can relate but there is a "Spiritual HIGH " (for lack of better term) that comes with going against the flesh and making the right decision - when you know the Lord intervened - because otherwise the human-ness or the flesh would have won. These moments are the evidence of Christ in our lives - of His constant refining to be more like Him if we only allow it - if we only ask for Him to show us where we need work.
So - for me - here's to being more disciplined and the work has only just begun - and for YOU --- Here's to whatever God has for YOU - and it may be the very thing someone pointed out to you today - or the very thing that drives you insane about others - but whatever it may be - I encourage you to lean in - to allow yourself to be transformed by the love and guidance of our Good Father -
God - Chisel Away to make me more like YOU - to better serve you and love you - I don't want to ever stop growing and changing towards You -
At the age of 38 (shhhh - don't tell anyone), I thought I had outgrown the squeeze of peer pressure - that was middle school, high school and college, right ? I am a confident, grounded "almost 40" year old woman - who is not only able to make good choices for myself - but I am also teaching my own middle schooler about the slippery slope of peer pressure - praying nightly (and daily) he doesn't succumb to it -
But I am not so sure I am immune to peer pressure -
I know 100% it exists - even in my current life stage - I know you know of its presence, too
A recent convo with my son Cole- (the middle schooler i was referring to earlier)
Cole - Mom - when can i have a cell phone? I will probably be the only kid in 6th grade without one -
Me- Not sure, buddy, We will make that decision as we go and when you do get one, it will not have internet capabilities, social media, etc - it will be basic.
Cole- How come others get one? - their parents think its ok.
BOOM - there it is - "Parental Peer Pressure" - make the choice because others are doing it - not sure it is even a real phrase - but it is as real as my love for donuts (krispy kreme to be exact)
"I hate for him to feel left out without a cell phone, so we got him one."
"He will miss out if we don't let him play that video game"
"It must be ok, because _________ lets _______ do it"
"We can't really afford it, but she'll lose time with her friends if we dont' do ________"
Do any of these sound familiar ?
As our parenting decisions seem to carry more weight or seem to have greater reaching consequences, I find myself explaining to Cole that Brad (the bearded husband I have referred to) and I don't make decisions because everyone else does. He will probably (or he may already) feel like he is swimming upstream -
We have and will continue to try and ex[lain to him we are often parenting against the flow - We will be "counter-cultural" quite a bit -
I know that having a cell phone, or social media is not a spiritual decision- but I do know it can become a "heart issue" - I know video games aren't of the devil - but they can steal our time and our relationships.
Many other decisions- choosing friends, which parties to attend, curfews, etc are on the horizon -
I am not saying our decisions are right for everyone _ that's actually what I am trying NOT to say - We want to make decisions based on our family values, ours sons' hearts and needs, Biblical wisdom- NOT on the scales of Parental Peer Pressure and the way the majority is flowing -
God has given me Cole & Camp ( our youngest ) specifically to help them grow into the men God crated them to be - to serve others- to love others well - At times, I have to remind myself I am not here to make them happy (or even to be their friend - that stage comes later) or even to make life an easy race - or to always step in to "catch" them - I AM here to guide their decisions - to teach them to make their own choices regardless of others- to help them build a foundation that cannot be shaken -
God - let me not regress to the shaky, uncertain days of adolescent peer pressure - but rather go BOLDLY & confidently in the upstream swim of parenting ---
Middle School Here we Come !!
Stop & catch your breath ! I feel as if we are in a constant sprint -We are in the midst of a super busy season of life, end of the school year wrap-ups, intense parenting, daily house chores, packing lunches, sports practice, work schedules--- it can all pile up just like the baskets of laundry stacked on my bed currently. So , as I sit down to write - to process - What reoccurring theme seems to keep coming into our conversation- What am I constantly saying that seems to be on "repeat"? What does God have for me to learn in my daily life - amidst the chaos and distractions ?
This school year has had its challenges for us - an abundance of family discussions, plans and prayer. Throughout this fifth grade year (23 days left to go & counting), my oldest son, Cole, has come home from school with head dropped and defeat on his shoulders. It has not been grades or trouble in the classroom- rather, the words of his peers have taken him down. You are slow. You are fat. You can't play baseball. You are not important to the team. Hurtful, sharp, defeating words have caused him to doubt himself. They have hurt him so he naturally wants to retaliate (and so does this Mama Bear). What do you say? Punch them one good time and they will learn their lesson - stick up for yourself - say hurtful words back -
repay evil for evil ???
Parenting is just plain tough. Answers are sometimes (most of the time) not easy- but isn't it amazing when the small people in our house teach us about the character and BIGness of God - when parenting changes us - forces us to reflect on our adult behaviors- God has given us his word to guide us and our own struggles as well. I have also been hurt by words - most severely by those closest to me. We have higher expectations for our family members or friends - for those who know us best - with whom we share our hearts and lives. I have confronted those who have hurt me, I have refused to speak to those who have hurt me - and I have retaliated with my own words as well. Where did that leave me? _ still hurt, controlled by their words, enslaved to sin - not centered in the approval and love of Christ which is where He desires for us to rest and be. But freedom has come to me in the forgiving, the conversations, the extension of grace to others - my need for others' approval has been lessened by my growing confidence in being God's daughter.
In a recent sermon series about the life of David, Andy Stanley stated, "Refusing to respond in like kind (evil for evil) may be the most Christ-like thing you EVER do." Remember the popular "WWJD" bracelets - What Would Jesus Do? As a Jesus follower, it is required (like in scripture) to return good for evil - that it what is asked of us. Extending mercy in not retaliating may be the first step - for Cole - mercy looks like not getting physical with his friends or saying hurtful words in return - but "Christ-like" looks like choosing to continue to be kind to them - helping them when they need it - encouraging his friends in their endeavors. As an adult - mercy is perhaps taking the step to forgive. Doing good is giving them your valuable time to listen or have coffee and conversation. Maybe its extending an invitation for continued relationship although you have been hurt. Being Christ-like in response to hurt is not the easy path - however, it is the path that we are asked to take - obedience in Christ.
Freedom is released when we can let go of others' actions or words that have caused us pain - it is a choice to live confident in our value in Christ - rather than relying on external influences for our approval. We hold securely to the favor and approval given to us only by our Creator - and we release others' words or actions - It is a choice to react - with mercy, grace, kindness, forgiveness - and although it seems unnatural - It truly is supernatural - It is being Christ-like - It is being remarkable - It is freeing.
For Cole - it has been a bumpy year - tears, doubts, frustrations - but I pray he can hold fast to Lord's favor and approval of Him - that he will not be chained to other people's actions or words. I ask God daily that his desire for others' approval will shrink - that his confidence in God will soar! As for myself- I hope I can live this out for him as well in my daily life - choosing good - choosing God's character - over evil
Calling ALL moms - working moms, stay at home moms, part-time working moms- DON'T listen to the lies - DON'T fall victim to "mom guilt" as a necessary constant. Lately, I have had many conversations with fellow Moms that all seem to revolve around comments like the following:,
" I hate I missed his/her game,"
" I feel so bad i haven't cooked homemade dinner in three nights."
" I hope I am doing enough."
" I get so impatient being at home with the kiddos all day."
Where is the grace and truth in these statements ? Where are we asking our kids to place all of their hope ? Do we have a false sense of control of outcomes ? Are we trying to be EVERYTHING to our children? Should we instead be pointing them to the One who is everything - and our Hope and Truth?
Raise your hand if you have ever let your kids down - or even in past 24 hours - and the crowd of moms goes WILD - of course you have and I have and we all have - and we will do it again. We are human. I believe this is unavoidable - but what can be different is how we allow shame, guilt, and lies to rest on our hearts as a result. "My grace is sufficent for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV) These feelings are of our Enemy - they come to steal and destroy . Constantly feeling the need to apologize, owning or wearing our child's emotions of disappointment, worrying we are not measuring up - this is not the freedom God desires for our hearts and they inhibit teaching moments and wisdom to be relayed to our precious children.
Why does God allow us to parent ? If I asked you what is one true slice of wisdom you want to give to your children - what would it be ? God wants our children to experience His vast, unconditional love, grace and His Hope from their earthly parents - it is just a taste of His Greatness! They have to learn He is Truth - He is ALWAYS Good - They can lean ALL of their weight on Him - He is better than you or me - He is in control - NOT me. I desire most that my boys, whether I am here or not, know love like no other from their Creator and they can lean and reside in His truth and goodness. This world - and their mom - will let them down - He is there when I cannot be.
Now - this all sounds a little fluffy at times in the midst of the craziness of daily life - I get that. So, what are some real steps in demolishing mom guilt (because it is definitely real and BIG) -
1. Community - Desire it, acquire it - live in it ! I am overwhelmed by the encouragement of women in my life - stay at home moms, working moms, part-time moms, women in other stages of life willing to mentor - They are my cheerleaders - and often times have to shout truth with megaphones ! They will point you back to truth when lies cloud you - and you will do same for them. Authentic (key word- be real) Mom friends - Go Get you some !
2. Foundation of truth - "Guide me in your truth, teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long." (Psalm 25:5, NIV) . This truth is your center - not your children - not your family- Come back to this daily as a renewal of your mind. Their behavior, their outcomes, their choices are not all within your reach - He will guide you in parenting - experience the freedom of knowing they are better relying on Him than you - He is Good. He loves them more than you - and He loves you - even when you fail also - live this out for your children - let them see it, feel it - His freedom will be passed on.
3. Enjoy the ride - Be Present - when you are there - BE there- I can often tell when my mind is drifting during convos with my littles. Distractions are no joke - Kids are with us for a short time - put the phone down, put work on the shelf - cook an quicker dinner (no Southern Living recipes for me) - play a game - take a walk - you will feel better and they will too. Sometimes asking them how they know they are loved will provide insight in to how your time/money/actions are best spent with each individual person. (i love the 5 Love Languages for children test- super helpful!)
Lay the guilt down - seriously ! Know you are loved by the One who made you for a time such as this - for your kids - and know your Hope is in Him - you CAN let the reigns down and kick guilt to the curb!
I guess it is a matter of opinion if Disney World is truly one of the most Magical places on earth- it probably depends on if you like weaving through lines that seem to last a lifetime, being shoulder to shoulder with perfect strangers for eleven hours a day, or watching "little princesses and princes" have meltdowns around every corner- BUT don't let these things take away the MAGIC of it ALL - the heart dropping thrill of roller coaster rides that take you to other countries (or even outer space), the nostalgic rides that seat you right in the story of your childhood, the memories to be packed away for a lifetime with your family! No - this post is not about why you should book your trip, pack your bags, and head to Disney (although I think that would be a great idea) - it is about how God spoke to me while we were there.
You see - I love Disney - I love to travel period- however, I do NOT love the getting there - especially if it involves flying. I am not sure when I acquired the fear of flying - i flew quite a bit as a child and thought nothing of it other than super magical. I like to say - I became scared of flying when I became more rational or aware of the danger - I know all the things people say- safer than driving, planes rarely crash, blah blah blah - if you have ever had a fear - then you know rational thinking or statistics aren't the cure.
When we were planning the trip, all plans were to drive; however, my husband suggested flying for obvious reasons. I must admit my initial reaction was "no way" - but only for the reason that I was scared (which he knew). Interestingly enough, simultaneously, we have been walking through some fear with my 10 year old - and I had just told him, we can NOT and God does not want us to avoid fears- because avoidance fertilizes their growth, they inhibit our freedom in Christ, and the love of Christ casts out all fear - they cannot coexist. Did I hear you say , "Practice what you preach" ? I cannot ask my son to do as I say not as I do - and to steal away their joy of flying with my fear -
So, we flew. I was panicky (and praying)- the people, the body heat, the baggage, the heart stopping moment of take off - each and every little bump in the sky - the landing - AMEN - we landed. I knew I was walking through it - I did not want my boys to see their Momma scared - or crying in her aisle seat -
God spoke. Clearly - as I watched planes take off - Why are you scared ? What changed for you? I knew - as I grew older, more aware - more rational - I decided based on what I knew or could understand ( which is not much about mechanics, etc) flying is impossible. There is NO WAY this large machine with wings, carrying all these people and ALL their stuff (wow some people pack alot), should be able to be suspended in air for long distances and safely land. My child-like faith or belief had been take over with rational thinking - and there my fear was born. Isn't it the same way with God sometimes for us ? If we cannot make it, do it ourselves, or see it - how can we believe it exists or can happen? Our belief in the impossible as a child gets beat with reality - and man's ability - or inability. God's immeasurably more and omnipotence fall behind.
I have seen God work out what seemed impossible - large projects coming together for His glory, one person changing the lives of thousands, unexplainable provision in our most needy moments, healing of marriages that were broken beyond repair, saving those who were hopeless- Jesus defeating death on the cross - THE impossible - we can not and will not understand it with our limited minds- but we believe it and we can live knowing it is true.
Am i still afraid of flying ? I can't really say - but as God pushes me to know Him better - to not avoid fears- He is teaching me so much about His character - from His soft sweet whispers of "i've got you in this" to His ability to do the IMPOSSIBLE - I can fly !
For with God NOTHING shall be IMPOSSIBLE. Luke 1:37
Happy 2018 ! What happened to 2017 ? And just like that a New Year has begun (already 4 days in to it) ! God showed up for me in 2017 - as He always does - but He placed challenges, perhaps more like opportunities, in my path to choose to see His love, His healing - His goodness. I am seeing what Jesus wants to be to me - a Father - a Papa, a Healer - and this year, 2018 - His words for me are LAVISH Provision ! How do I know these are from God? Because these are two terms I don't normally use, think about, or associate with my Heavenly Father.
Let me be honest with you - I have often doubted His goodness due to the fact I have had some traumatic situations occur in my life and got stuck in fear, the "why," and dreading the next bad thing. Since maybe 2012 - or maybe since my childhood - I have struggled with fear - and it spread - it grew - avoidance only fed it and allowed it to grow overwhelmingly large at times. In 2017 - about midway through the year- I knew it was time - to go back and work through it - I was stuck and this is not what He had for me. So tip toe by tip toe- no BIG leaps- I have gone back- I have asked for revelations, healing, visions, comfort, His followers - and He has met me there at each and every request. Does fear creep up - does my mind like to revert to what it has always thought or done - of course it does because that's been my living place - But I now can see God there. Now it is becoming a place of peace! I can see His goodness regardless - I can feel him carrying me as a child in His arms. The love has become more real for me - the supernatural more natural. My obedience feeds His presence - drives my longings to grow and know more.
What will 2018 bring ? God knows. But I have opened my hands and given Him my year - I plan to do it as a family this weekend - I am hopeful - Lavish Provisions - of what ??? Love, opportunity, growth, peace- I want to see and learn of His abundant Goodness ask him for a word or a scripture for this upcoming year for your life - for where you are! Each DAY (Psalm 90:12), and for sure each of your years count to Him - they matter. He does not want 2018 to be a blur - He has plans - He has wisdom for you - He has GOODNESS for you - He wants it to be His and Yours together!
I would love to hear if you know what God is speaking to you over 2018 ! Happy New year !
If you have ever had the pleasure of pulling up beside me in traffic - you might have witnessed what you thought was an audition for The Voice - right from the driver's seat! Nope- just getting my singing on - and sometimes my latest dance moves, too- depending on the day, my mood, and of course the beat ! My car is always noisy- from tunes turned up, my boys bantering in the back seat or my concerned husband giving drivers' education in the most loving way of course -
lots of distractions - just like my daily life - noisy - What needs volume MAX? - What needs to be muted ?
About two weeks ago, as I was thinking about an upcoming blog post - God gave me "Make a JOYFUL noise- but also LISTEN to the JOYFUL noise " _ i have been asking for clarification or direction. Hands open- listening -
Over the weekend - I received a text containing words that weren't so uplifting to me - the noise of disappointment and failure were loud to me then - joy on mute. As I tried to choose self control in my reaction- pulling from what God is teaching me about my value in Him and my choice of how deep words land on my heart - I turned to the radio in my car on way to work. Hands open, tears in my eyes, I chose to worship - to make a JOYFUL noise - louder than that of the words in that text. As I lifted - shouted - my words of praise to the song- my attention was removed from hurt - to awe of Jesus - His healing presence- His love for me - worship was projected - and love was received !
Often times, we may not feel joyful in our own daily lives- we are trapped in our own personal circumstances - but open your ears - to your community of friends or others who are experiencing joy. Listen to what God has orchestrated in their life this week - rejoice at the birth of a new baby, be thankful for simple provision, listen for the simple joys in what your children are telling you about their day on the playground or how they stood up for their friend today at school, listen for their singing worship songs to help them overcome fear - Listening for the JOYFUL NOISE of God and HIS people - its contagious - it should not be missed - listen to the whispers of answered prayers in the making that may go unnoticed if the worldly noise is too loud!
May we lift our hearts up in joyful worship and praise - not looking down with whiny hearts - facing up in worship we declare JOY in our hearts - not unrest and dissatisfaction ! Get your JOYFUL NOISE ON!
If you are currently in ANY stage of parenting, I feel certain you feel as if you are on repeat when talking about self-control to your little people. I know we are ! My boys are probably as tired of hearing it as we are of saying it some days. There is no area of life or no relationship that is immune to the need for self control. Holding your strong, piercing words, controlling your body movements (even the small ones you don't think others can see), and reigning in the attitude (my personal fave) are evidence of learned self control. In school, home, the athletic field, in the workplace - including the eventful staff meetings, in marriage interactions and in friendships - God desires us to use self control - He teaches us this throughout His word. We drive home the power of our actions and words towards others.
But what about the waves of words and actions coming towards us - crashing in to us ? There are not from us - not within our reach or grip - yet launched TO us. Maybe they are a results of what we did or said - or maybe NOT - they can be uplifting, encouraging, healing, humbling- but I want to know what you do with the ones meant for damage - the ones that pierce - the ones that have power to change us - and not for the better.
Has there every been any doubt about the power of words? We have all been wounded.
"The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." Proverbs 12:18-19
They are the same as a weapon - they injure - they penetrate our very soul. Many leaving wounds. So if we are not able to control the actions of others towards us, how should we respond ?
Remember, they are TO us but DO NOT define us.
Without a doubt, I have a damaged self with wounds from others' words, actions or anger towards me - some from those closest to me. I have allowed words from others to build tall, sturdy walls of shame and guilt as they have been allowed to take residence in my heart. They have replaced what I know to be true about me. The walls must be torn down - if not they will promote fear, inhibit relationships, fertilize anxiety- it gets heavy. The walls become a fortress we hide behind- not living in the freedom God desires for us as His children.
No one chooses our value other than Our Creator - and He was sure to show us our value when He sent His Son to die for us. Every action, response and those tiny, whispered thoughts should be rooted in His love for us. Again, God desires for us to live in the fulfillment of our being His creation - not the murky depths of others words, actions or thoughts towards us. In the same way, we should use our own words and actions - using self control - to give freedom, encouragement and love to one another - helping them to know and claim their value in Christ Jesus.
Live in the Truth - Speak the Truth - our words will either help to heal or to destroy. Choose carefully both the words we speak to others' hearts and the words or actions we allow to settle on our own hearts.
How would our stories as adults (or our childhood) look different, if only our parents had been honest with themselves? What if they had pursued the Lord's desires for their heart? What if when they desired change in the family they had started with themselves rather than point fingers - or even some choosing to walk away ? What if they had not been too fearful to stare at themselves in the mirror for a deeper - honest look ?
My mind or heart can barely tread in these waters- truly - divorce would perhaps not be a part of my story. Wedges would not be so deep - my heart less wounded. Truly , only God knows how different it would be- but He wants me (or you) to desire more for our lives. He wants His Power to allow change in us and through us. He desires His best for us.
I am 37 - as of now (unless I get a crazy whim) I am done with my years of formal education. I probably won't make any drastic career change ( I can hear my husband cheering for this statement). So, where does that put my brain and heart that craves change, growth, lifelong learning? I believe it places me in the fertile years of constant growth as a student of God's heart. This path can be emotional, rocky, barren, dark, and looming at times because I must first stare into my sinful ways by looking at my heart's yuckiness. I must acknowledge the desire He has for us to become more than adults in a pattern of life - but that He urges and pushes us to become more like Him. There is no final diploma or degree for this task - it is a constant cycle of honesty, growth awareness, alignment with God's heart - and from this comes change from within.
I don't know about you, but as a parent, my flaws have never been so visible. My need for control - my quickness to anger - my impatience - at time my downright seedy disrespect - seem highlighted, bold-faced, and underlined as I parent and as I interact with my family- husband included. At times, my sins are directly named and pointed out by my precious kids (this one hurts for sure).
How then could I ever consider myself a completed creation - a person no longer in need of brutal honesty to push forth change? As someone once told me, "If you don't feel stretched or feel as if growing pains have ceased, then you are not only stagnant in your Christian walk- but even worse - you are losing ground - withering."
So, I hope my children nor my husband got dealt a withering, stagnant, stale mother and wife -
I am pushing forward, digging up old habits and fears, taking long looks in the mirror - all the while keeping my eyes upward towards the Son to grow into the full creation God has for me. I cannot lie - this task is sweaty, tearful difficult work, but I can see new sprigs of growth, the death of fears - God making me NEW again. I pray my boys desire to do the same will ignite. I also pray and hope they can see God loves the imperfect and God makes all things new in His time when we align with Him. We are never tool old or too accomplished to grow and change with the Lord.
" Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, he new has come! "
2 Corinthians 5:17
Do you ever feel weighted down - but when you look around there is nothing on your shoulders, your hands are empty, no visible ball and chain on your ankles- Yet, you know the weight is there. At times, it can be suffocating. What is it that you are carrying around ? Where does the weight come from? and most importantly - how can you rid yourself of it ?
Just the other day, as I was in a "morning catchup call" with a bestie, I was describing a dilemma. I knew I was about to make a decision and I was concerned about someone else's reaction to my decision. My friend said, "Ivey, this is not your bucket to carry." Wow! Such wisdom at 755am and had not even made it to work yet ! This picture resonated with me - How many unnecessary buckets am I toting around ? Have these buckets been given to me by God - or have I chosen to carry them? Can i drop them or hand them over ?
So fast forward a week or two - the 7:55 am wisdom has stayed with me and I have been peering into each bucket. The awareness has been freeing. I am desiring to turn them over to my loving God - but the releasing is as exhausting as the carrying- at times more exhausting that holding a tight grip.
A bucket of a broken relationship with a parent that I cannot heal - HEAVY! I have been carrying it for years. Coming to know peace on my side and in my heart - extending forgiveness - loving the best way I can - and waiting on God's timing. Passing the bucket - stop the prodding, shame , worry, guilt - handing it over for good. Trust the Lord's love for me - He knows my heart. I crave to experience His abundant love as a Father to me. The outcome and situation are not within my reach - He will gladly carry my bucket of burden. With constant prayers let your heart be known and let God take it.
A bucket filled to the rim with questions and concerns about the future: my kids, my job, my health, my marriage, this crazy sinful world, the thousands of "what ifs" -
"But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:33-34
We cannot live life in the "what ifs"- God desires us to live FULLY in the present and FULLy for Him. This bucket is my heaviest - and darkest at times. I seem to pick it up at some point everyday. Somedays it feels more like shackles - stealing my freedom. But I have been called to LIVE out the truth God has shown me in His Word and through His followers. You see, God shows us the truth - we ingest the truth- but the ACTION - the doing - the handing over of the buckets- the choosing to LIVE in the TRUTH - that is His sweet spot. A resting place for HIs love to be lived out through His creation. If we are carrying buckets- we are not available to love Him fully or others fully.
So What does He want us to carry ? Carry His word in our hearts. Carry His love to the lost and broken.. Carry the burden of loving others so well - that God is irresistible to them. Carry His light - Experience the freedom God so desires for us - His children.
One by one - let your buckets drop - settle in to the sweet spot of God's love & grace He has for you.
a mid-thirties mom and wife seeking truth, peace and joy in my daily life. mom to two wild, snuggly, and fierce boys - and wife to my best friend and bearded man of my dreams. My joys are giving and receiving gifts (its my love language- not materialistic) - pushing my limits and extinguishing my stress in the workout room- serving others in the medical profession and in my community of friends . i love doing life with others - the phone calls on way to work, the couch discussions, the annual camping trips - My community of friends would tell you I am as authentic and outspoken as you can get - sometimes you can find my husband hiding behind a pillow! My parents thought I would always be a lawyer- I have a strong passion to get the last word - I just cant walk away. Marriage, Motherhood, and my walk with the Lord continue to push me, shape me, and change me. I pray this blog will bless just ONE - and the point to the ONE-