Feeling a bit like a hamster on a wheel lately

The beginning of 2018 has been kind of tough. After what turned out to be a 6 week foot surgery recovery my children got sick. My Grandma passed away and in my extended family there is some really hard suffering right now.

In 2017 I had come to a point in life where I was consistently able to have 5:00 a.m to 7:00 a.m to myself. I was moving forward with my personal goals during that time and getting stuff done before the kids woke up. The last 3 or 4 weeks or so my 2 year old has woken up between 5:00 a.m and 6:00 a.m almost every day. All my planning and routines have pretty much gone out the window. I’m waiting for “normal” to return again but realizing this may be normal for a while.

Today I really needed some sort of guidance to get me back on track so I turned to pinterest and printed off this checklist.

https://www.lifeonpaperco.com/lifeonpaper/Cleaning_File_It.html

I’m going to be spending the day working through this, while also doing my best to involve the kids and keep them busy. There are a lot of things I need to work on right now. I need to meal plan. I need to get organized again with my grocery shopping. I need to find a new time to read the Bible now that my early morning hours are not available.

I could list 100 other things that I feel I need right now but most of all I need Jesus. I need His grace, I need His help. I need to realize that whatever comes into my life and interrupts my plans are ultimately from His hand being used for my good.

I won’t be able to sit and read or close my eyes and pray today most likely. I can put on worship music though and sing as I work and listen to the scripture on audio. I can pray aloud as I work, doing my work for the LORD.

I encourage you to do the same busy homemaker! May the joy of the LORD be your strength today! (Neh. 8:10)

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matt. 11:28

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matt. 6:33

When I finish this check list I’m going to enjoy a hot cup of coffee in my new mug I painted on a mommy daughter date with E last week.

(The photo won’t load but I’ll show you later. It says, “Snow ‘n love”!)

 

 

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Our Reward and Shield

This morning I learned something new in my Bible study on Genesis that I thought was worth sharing. I’m going through a study titled The Promised One by: Nancy Guthrie. Right now I’m going through the section on Abraham. Nancy points out that after Abraham rejects the spoil and alliance offered by the king of Sodom chapter 15 starts off by God speaking to Abraham in a vision saying “…Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy great reward.”

That made my heart happy this morning to see that after Abraham rejected the counterfeit riches and protection this world offers that God promised him that He would be His reward and shield.

I need to remember this when my heart is tempted to look to fleeting and counterfeit fulfillment this world offers. Only in God is true and lasting fulfillment, reward and safety.

It reminds me of Psalm 62: 5-8 “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. He only is my rock and salvation: he is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory. Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah”

On another note, yesterday I had shared my goals for the day and I’m happy to say I accomplished what I had set out to do! A few photos from our very messy hot cross buns themed lesson.

 

It’s another cold day, only 11 degrees outside. We had a little ice come down last night so I’m staying off the roads today and keeping the kids warm at home.

Today my goals include:

  1. preschool with the kids. Today’s theme is Little Bo Peep and includes a math game, making a puppet craft, and pretending to be sheep while listening to the poem on CD.
  2. make a big batch of low carb waffles to keep in the freezer for a quick healthy meal (maybe we’ll have breakfast for dinner tonight!)
  3. I want to slowly clean the living room room on my one good foot and one healing foot including vacuuming the carpet
  4. yesterday E was disappointed she couldn’t play in the glue and shaving cream mixture so I told her today they could play with shaving cream. This means they’ll have to go straight to the shower after!
  5. pack for my trip this weekend.

My kids are starting to wake up so I’ve got to go! Have a good day every body!

Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret By: Frederick Howard Taylor

I’ve been listening to this biography on Hudson Taylor this past week titled Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret By Frederick Howard Taylor originally published 1932. It’s a riveting read! It’s hard to pause the audio and go do anything else when I want to hear what happens next!

I was wondering how someone could write such a detailed biography on Hudson Taylor until I looked at the authors name again and realized it was written by his own son!

Today is my nephew Hudson Taylor’s birthday and I’ll have to tell him I’ve been learning about this great missionary he was named after.

I got interested in learning more about Hudson Taylor and his ministry after reading Safely Home By Randy Alcorn which references Hudson Taylor’s work often.

When my kids get older, maybe mid to upper elementary school age I plan to read them this book! Hudson Taylor’s life and writings have been growing and challenging my faith and trust in God and I know it will yours as well!

 

 

Making plans to study the Bible in 2018

This year I read through the Bible using this Bible reading plan;

https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-reading-plan/chronological.html

This year I’d like to slow down as I go through a smaller portion of scripture. Searching around the internet I found the study below written by Nancy Guthrie. I’ve read some of her stuff before and what I’ve read has been both solid and encouraging.

If I go through this 10 week study and decide I liked it she has several other books including The Son of David (A 10-week Bible Study): Seeing Jesus in the Historical Books, The Wisdom of God (A 10-week Bible Study): Seeing Jesus in the Psalms and Wisdom Books, The Lamb of God (A 10-week Bible study) Seeing Jesus in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy and also The Word of the Lord (A 10-week Bible Study): Seeing Jesus in the Prophets 

I’ll let you know what I think of it when I’m done.

 

 

Do you have goals made for studying God’s Word in 2018? Would you share them with me? Have a Happy New Year!

God answered and I laughed

I think it would be appropriate for you to call me Sarai for a few days. Since my surgery on Tuesday morning I have been praying and asking God to provide me with help to care for my children as my foot heals. As I told you my niece Mercy came Monday night thru Friday this week but it’s been kind of confusing trying to make plans for help next week for a variety of reasons. I’ve asked God repeatedly to help me to trust Him. I told Him I trusted He would provide for me. When His provision came I at first laughed at it and said I didn’t need it.

My husband came home the other day and from my view on the recliner it looked like he was crouching down. He came around the corner of the couch and was kneeling on the scouter contraption you can see in the photo. T had rented it from a medical supply place in town for a couple weeks. When I first saw it I laughed and immediately said I would just stick with the crutches. It’s not that I didn’t appreciate it, it’s that I was embarrassed and proud. I didn’t want to admit that I would need a wheelie contraption to help me. My knee jerk reaction to life is that I’m fine and I don’t need any help. I can do it myself! Maybe it’s because I was born a yankee but admitting I need help or accepting help is incredibly difficult for me. Here I am though having spent several very sanctify days of having to ask for and accept help for practically everything.

I apologized to my husband and admitted I was just being proud and don’t like to be viewed as high maintenance.  It cost money to rent the scooter and it was humbling to need to spend money on myself. I swallowed my pride and got on the scooter thing and my life improved a ton! Today I could cook and get things that I needed and follow the kids around. I even hung a bag on the front and could scoot things from one room to the other. I can get diapers and wipes, put them in the bag and then change T.J on the couch. I can’t really do much cleaning but I can stack the dishes in the sink.

Because of a variety of reasons getting help next week kept getting more and more complicated. God provided me instead a wheelie scooter and now I feel me and the kids can hold our own no problem. I finished reading Hinds Feet in High Places By Hannah Hurnard and in the books one of the lessons learned on the way to the mountain of Love is acceptance with joy. I keep repeating that phrase in my mind. Whatever comes Lord, give me the grace to accept it with joy!

The kids like the wheelie scooter thing as well since they get rides!

Have you had a time when God provided for your needs in an unexpected way? How has God used life’s circumstances to produce humbleness in you?

The Pursuit of God A.W Tozer

I recently finished another Randy Alcorn book titled Hand in hand. In it and other of his writings he references the writings of Aiden Wilson Tozer. This past Wednesday at the library I checked out The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer.

I just finished the end of chapter 3 so I’m not very far in but I wanted to share with you a few things.

One, his prayers that he ends each chapter with are really inspiring. Inspiring as in I want to make them my own prayers! At the end of chapter one which is titled Following Hard After God, he prays,

O God, I have tasted your goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscience of my need for further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, The Triune God, I want to want you; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me your glory, I pray you, that so I may know you indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.” Then give me grace to rise and follow you up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Chapter 3 is titled Removing The Veil. I won’t write a summary of it I just want to share a hymn it reminded me of. A brother in our church introduced us to this  hymn written by Charles Spurgeon. It is to the tune of “When I Survey The Wondrous Cross.”

Amidst us our Beloved stands,
And bids us view His pierced hands;
Points to the wounded feet and side,
Blest emblems of the Crucified.

What food luxurious loads the board
When, at His table, sits the Lord!
The wine how rich, the bread how sweet,
When Jesus deigns the guests to meet!

If now, with eyes defiled and dim,
We see the signs, but see not Him;
Oh, may His love the scales displace,
And bid us see Him face to face!

Thou glorious Bridegroom of our hearts,
Thy present smile Thy grace imparts!
Oh, lift the veil, if veil there be,
Let every saint Thy glory see!

Think about these words, read them slowly and worship The Bread of Life asking for your eyes to opened to see Him!

 

Life right now and 2017 goals

This past weekend was T.J’s 2nd birthday. My baby is two!! How is that!? I don’t want to touch those curls with a pair of scissors yet. I know those curls may never grow back and I also know that when he gets his first hair cut he’ll look like a big boy. Those beautiful golden curls are my way of having my baby just a little bit longer!

Let me tell you about life right now- 4 and 2 years has me ON MY TOES! In a lot of ways it’s the funnest stage of motherhood I’ve been in. I like to do stuff and experience new things with my kids and the older they get the easier this is to do. In other ways though this is the most intense season of parenting I’ve ever been in!

It’s finally cooled down around here and I am loving the cold weather! My husband is working on building the kids a swing set on his days off and its been exciting to see it take shape. He designed it himself and it’s going to be the swing set of all swing sets! I can’t wait to show it to you completed. You’ll probably find me spending my days playing on it once it’s done lol!

Yesterday I accomplished something that I never have done before. I finished reading the Old Testament! I started back in January using a read through the Bible chronologically reading plan. Typically over the years as I have read the Bible I have skipped a lot of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and the minor prophets. It was hard for me to read something that I didn’t really understand.

Three things helped me tremendously this year and I would suggest you try them out. First, reading it chronologically gave me an understanding of where it fit in with the story of the Bible and when it was happening historically. Each time an event would be recorded I would read it each time it was recorded in the Bible before going on to the next event. It helped me keep straight what was happening when. It also gave me a better understanding of why the prophet was saying what he was because I understood the time he was living in and what was going on.

Two, before reading a book I watched a video by The Bible Project on Youtube. These give really good overviews of each book. It helped when reading through detail heavy passages to not loose focus of the main objective of the book.

Three, I read before my kids woke up and I read before I did anything else. With a few exception such as family vacations where I read during the day I have been reading early in the morning when I am free of responsibility or distractions. I also make sure I don’t do anything before I read that way if my kids wake up early I haven’t spent that time getting dressed or whatever before reading. I can get dressed while they are awake and with me, it’s more difficult o read when they are talking to me and needing me.

Also, I should add a number 4. I prayed and asked God to keep me faithful and I believe He did help me. We can do nothing without God including establishing habits of spending time in His Word.

I hope that encourages you to get into your Bible or to keep being faithful! I hope to finish the New Testament by the end of the year.

Oh and one more thing! I had written previously about my upcoming A1C (a measure of average blood sugar) and shared my goal of getting it down to 5.5 before the end of 2017. My first A1c of this year was 5.6 (pretty close!) then 5.8 and this past week it was 5.9. My next A1c will be done in January 2018. I didn’t meet the goal I had set for myself- but that 5.6 was pretty close and I really need to tell myself good job! An insulin dependent diabetic maintaing an a1c in the 5’s for a year without very many lows and without an insulin pump (using old school syringes) is quite a feat! I can be hard on myself and I can be a perfectionist but if it was anyone else I would say, “I’m proud of you!” So, I’m happy with myself and I believe I worked as hard as I could to be healthy this year and really did my best. At my diabetes appointment this past week my doctor (with a south african accent) said, “I’m really quite pleased with these numbers.” He’s not very expressive so it was his way of saying, “This is awesome!”

Share with me in the comments- what helps you to be faithful to reading scripture on a daily basis? Have you read the Bible through? If not, do you have a plan to get started? What other goals are you working on right now?

 

 

 

Some perspective on a “bad day”

Yesterday I was discouraged. I was sad and I was starting to feel sorry for myself. It wouldn’t be appropriate to share here but I received some news that was really painful for me to process and understand. I was mopey and I didn’t feel like trying to cheer up. I didn’t want to clean house or care for the kids. I just wanted to be alone and mope really. I thought to myself that I would somehow have to find a way to make it through several bad days before I started to get over it. Have you ever felt like that?

I opened up the book I’m reading “Happiness” by Randy Alcorn and read these words on page 378-

THE CONTRAST BETWEEN WHAT WE DESERVE AND WHAT GOD GIVES IS DRAMATIC AND HAPPY-MAKING.

Jesus said to his disciples, “When you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done” (Luke 17:10, NASB). He’s saying, in effect, “Lower your sense of what you deserve.”
God told Adam and Eve what would happen to them when they turned from him and chose sin: “You will surely die” (Genesis 2:17, NASB). Based on that text alone, all we deserve and should expect is death. Only when we acknowledge this can we rejoice in the promises of life in Jesus, who said, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25)
If we realize we’re utterly undeserving, suddenly the world comes alive. Of course life under the Curse is hard! (That’s why it’s called the Curse!) Instead of whining about everything that goes wrong, we’re thrilled at God’s many kindnesses, and our hearts overflow with thanks that we who deserve nothing but judgment, death, and Hell are given deliverance, grace, and eternal life. Day after day, God favors us not only with leniency but also with beauties, delights, and privileges we have no right to expect.
People who receive a paycheck for services rendered can’t be as grateful as those who are given a pardon that know they don’t merit. Jesus said of the woman who gratefully poured oil on his feet, “Her sins, which are many, are forgiven- for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little” (Luke 7:47).
Doesn’t knowing that you deserve eternal Hell but instead will live in Heaven, in unending happiness, put any “bad day” in perspective?

This edification from a brother in the Lord through his writing was exactly what my soul needed at that moment. A moment of being reminded of the horrors of hell and remembering that I should be there but I am not is cause for being happy! Happy because I know I deserve to be there, as my sin has made me a rebel against a holy God but God made a way of escape for me!

I thought about how every breath I breathe on this earth is an undeserved gift from God. I should not be enjoying the gift of life right now, I don’t deserve it! But God in His mercy bought my soul with the blood of His very own Son. Everything good in life really is a marvelous gift all over again when I readjust my googles of perspective through the big picture of scripture.

After reading that last night, my salty sweet buttery spaghetti squash tasted better. I mentally contrasted in my mind what I deserve- hell- to what I was experiencing. Dinner around a table clasping hands with people I love praying to a God that provided a way for me to talk to Him. Instead of the hell I deserve I slept in a soft bed in a safe home and awoke to another day of God gifting me life and breath.

I’m thankful today and I’m happy because I have been given both grace and compassion from God Who I have sinned against. A few weeks back a man in our church said, “Compassion is like sparing the rod and grace is giving us better than we deserve.” So rejoice today Christian that you are an heir of God, free from sin, walking in the light and life of Jesus free from condemnation! Let that truth seek deep into your spirit and revive you and make you to sing joyous praise to our God!

Psalm 136:1 “O give thanks unto the LORD; fo the is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.”

Contentment and idols of the heart

At the moment I am enjoying a serene moment with my children sitting in the sandbox playing and me sitting in a lawn chair. This lovely moment really feels like a gracious gift from the Giver of all good things. The gentle breeze, the sound of geese in the distance, my children’s imaginations, the freshness of the air, the serenity of the woods. These are extravagant gifts from God that I am so unworthy of and yet I often fail to even notice them. To be honest when I stepped outside with the children I was feeling pretty grumpy because I was looking at all the yard work that’s not done and thinking what a mess the yard is. If I’m perfectly honest what came into my mind was a friends recently purchased home with a beautiful yard in a cooler area of the country and what came into my heart was covetousness or as the Bible also calls it, idolatry. (Col. 3:5)

What pricked my conscience so badly and grabbed a hold of my idolatrous heart and yanked it back into repentance and thanksgiving was this poem I’ve never read before by 8 year old Fanny Crosby who was accidentally blinded by a physician as an infant; (I read it in Randy Alcorn’s book Happiness)

Oh, what a happy child I am,
Although I cannot see!
I am resolved that in this world,
Contented I will be.

I’m ashamed that a blind 8 year old would choose to be happy in spite of her disability when I so often fail to even have that same resolve.

As a child Fanny told her mother that even given a choice she would choose to remain blind so that the first face she would see would be the face of God.

Oh to have faith like a child!

Try inserting your own trials into this poem. For me it would look something like this;

Oh, what a happy child I am (child of God in this case since I’m an adult!)
Although I bear the grief of child loss and the daily struggle of a chronic disease
I am resolved that in this world,
Contented I will be

Then use your God given imagination to replace these trials with the glory of endless bliss and healing in eternity with Christ.

Fanny looked forward to the primary joy of seeing God and the secondary joy of restored sight. Just think, in the presence of God surrounded by the family of God I’m going to get to see my child alive, find out what color his eyes are and taste food with out injecting insulin. What a cause for celebration! What gifts the Father has lavished upon me! What hope and joy and happiness I experience today because I’ve been promised that coming day!

2 Cor. 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

1 Thess. 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Dear Heavenly Father, The Creator and Giver of all good things,
Forgive me for covetous thoughts and discontentment. May things I desire never become idols, distracting me from seeing all the good things You’ve given me. Thank you for my life, for my family, for my home, for food and clothing and all the endless provisions in my life. Most of all, thank You for the provision of Your Son Jesus who was crucified on my behalf and rose again, forever making intercession on behalf. Make me to be content with my life and circumstances. I believe Your word when it says that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me and that I can be content in whatever state or circumstance I am in. Work the power of the Holy Spirit in me. In the name of Jesus my Saviour I pray, A-men

Wheels For The World

I first heard about this ministry I think a couple years back when I watched an episode of Joni and Friends that featured it. Since then I’ve learned more about the ministry and have really come to admire and love what these people are doing. This week my husband and I decided to start supporting them financially.

The day after signing up to support them I got an out of state phone call that I at first thought was a telemarketer. When I answered it was a woman from Joni and Friends. I assumed she was about to ask a question about our donation or something when she totally surprised me by saying, “At Joni and Friends we meet every morning for prayer and I was calling to ask how we could pray for you.” It was so kind and so unexpected it took me a moment to think of anything to say! She told me, “If you ever need prayer call anytime and we will pray for you.”

If you’re looking for a ministry that does good in Jesus name for the glory of God, from everything I’ve seen, this is it!

They are also looking for people to help collect no longer used wheel chairs and crutches. If you can’t support them financially they have a whole list of things they need help with on their website. Check it out!

 

http://www.joniandfriends.org/wheels-for-the-world/