Tag Archives: love

The Future is in His Hands

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As she was getting out of the car before school, Abby told me that she really needed to go to the bathroom.  I told her that she should go when she went into school.

She was adamant that she could not wait long enough to make it to her classroom.   And as a child who is dominated by silence in public, asking a teacher for permission use the  bathroom before school was simply not an option.

But she had a plan.

She told her little brother, Eli, exactly who to ask and what to say so that he could ask a teacher if she could use the bathroom.

Typical Abby…. Sweet.  Quiet.

Yet fearful.

As a mother, I feel responsible for my contribution to her unhealthy, and false, perception of her cherished and valuable identity in Christ. At my best, I know my nervousness and avoidance have impacted her and encouraged the very qualities I prayed would elude my children.

But it didn’t.

And so now my prayer is that she could learn the depth of God’s love for her.  And break free from her fearful disposition.

And so, when Abby retreats into her silence, I  hug her and tell her how much God loves her.  But I also know that it doesn’t really matter what I say to her.   She believes that God loves her.  But at eight years old, she cannot comprehend and has not yet become entangled in the POWER that God’s all-consuming love can give her. But God is working in her heart, and in His timing  -  she can experience the incredible freeing power of God’s love.

 But God’s love also abounds in mercy.

That same love that freed me from anxieties grip also empowers me as her mother.  And in His mercy, He has given me many more years to communicate His abounding love and glory to my daughter.

But my heart is blessed to know that I don’t hold my daughters future in my hands.

God does.

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love,may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God…..

    Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

Ephesians 3: 14-20 ESV

 

 

God Doesn’t Forget Me

As a series of tornado filled storms passed overhead, all six of us scrunched beneath a couple of mattresses. Our one year old, Leesy, was overtired and not very happy about the whole idea of being confined to a small space.  Abby, however, kept whispering and was very concerned about Leesy’s angry cries.  I finally discovered Abby’s reason for concern.

In school, they have to be quiet during tornado drills.

And, in eight year old logic, she assumed that if anyone made noise, the tornado would hear.

But I am thankful to report that Leesy’s desperate cries to escape did NOT attract the attention of a tornado.

And yet, Leesy would do most anything to attract attention.  She runs across the loft bed, climbs on top of the bar stool, and dumps anything that will create a mess.

All while squealing with delight.

But she doesn’t have to do any of those to get my attention.  Just as I don’t have to do anything to gain the attention of my Heavenly Father.

Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
    and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
    I will not forget you!
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
    your walls are ever before me.            Isaiah 49:15-16

Even when I feel minuscule and insignificant,  God doesn’t forget me.

He loves me and cherishes me.

Always.

 

The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying:

“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
    I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.      Jeremiah 31:3

 

 

 

 

Simply Beth

A guest post from Simply Beth……

 

There was a moment in my life when words were said to me that hurt deeply. The words left me feeling insignificant and believing I was not enough. Those words were followed by many other moments that led me further down a path of darkness.

 

~        The moment my husband told me he had an affair.

~        The moment I made the wrong decision and went down my own path of infidelity.

~        The moment I’m unable to share, but it was a moment where my world was shattered.

~        The moment I stood in that dressing room trying on a bridesmaid dress and I allowed a number said to begin a life of living with an eating disorder.

~        The moment I thought leaving my husband was the right choice.

~        The moment lying in the bed of the behavioral health center wishing I was brave enough to put an end to my pain.

 

All these moments changed me. They shattered my heart. My world became dark and full of shame from moments that I allowed to define my sense of worth. The darkness I lived in gradually became what was familiar. The walls went up and there in that darkness is where I thought I would remain.

 

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Taking the wrong path can begin with just a moment. But it only takes a moment to choose a new and better path. It only takes a moment to choose the path God has for you.

 

My path changed the day a dear friend directed me to Romans 5:

 

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” – Romans 5:1-5 (NIV)

 

To read those words, “…but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

 

Oh how I wanted that kind of hope. I wanted God’s love poured out into my heart. Was He offering this to me too? Could it be that I could really find glory in my sufferings? Could it be that He would use my sufferings to produce perseverance, character and hope within me? Could He really use me? Does He really love me?

 

It wasn’t long after reading those words that I found myself walking through the doors of Living Hope Church. I realize now that I found myself standing right where I was always meant to stand—standing in God’s grace and glory (Romans 5:1-2 MSG).

 

Then came the moment when studying Romans 12 where I declared, I’m all in. It was the moment I gave my life to Christ.

 

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:2

 

In a recent sermon, my Executive Pastor shared these words from Rick Warren, “When you forgive you set a prisoner free, and that prisoner is you.” It was in that moment where I realized I was still holding tightly to moments in my life where God was asking me to choose forgiveness. Not only was it time to fully extend forgiveness to those that hurt me, but it was also time to offer forgiveness to myself.

 

Easter weekend came and for the first time I really heard the words, “It is finished.” At the moment Jesus said those three words we were forgiven. All our sins were forgiven and we were set free. In that moment He put our old life to death and made us new. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” – 2 Corinthians 5:17

 

It only takes a single moment to change your path. What path will you choose?

 

 

Click here to visit Simply Beth

My name is Beth.

I’m a wife, mom of two boys and a mother-in-law. I love Jesus, family, friends, reading and a hot cup of coffee to begin my day. I love to write and share about how my relationship with Jesus has changed my life. My husband, two sons, and the two wonderful woman our sons have brought to our family are my greatest joys!
We are a military family with my husband serving in the Army Reserves and my oldest son in the Navy. My younger son is pursuing a degree in Music Education.
I have been married for over 20 years and my husband and I have been through a lot during this time, but our love for each other is stronger than ever.
You will find posts on my blog that will bounce from sharing about past experiences, continual struggles, being a military family, and primarily on how my relationship with Jesus continues to grow. My promise is to always speak from the heart…to speak with love. I hope you will find encouragement here no matter where you are in your life. I pray you will learn to trust God as trusting God has been the best thing I’ve ever done.

 

Messy Glory

 

DSCN7299Spaghetti is Leesy’s favorite food.  She shoves it in by the fistful - oblivious to the tomato sauce smeared on her face, hands, highchair, and floor.

But I still continue to feed her spaghetti.   Even though, I know that she will be messy.

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In the same way, God created me in spite of my mess.  He knew my life would be a messy portrayal of His glory – yet He chose me anyway. 

He knew I would fight, struggle, distrust, and fail.  Yet, He loved me.  And desired me.

But He doesn’t see the fight, struggle, distrust, and failure in me.  He see’s His son.  The one I nailed to the Cross.

And yet, He loved me.

He desired me.

He chose me.

And that takes my breathe away.

Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.  God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.  He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.

                                                                                                  Ephesians 1:4-8

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQm2qovP5YM[/youtube]

 

 


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My Bubble

DSCN7307Abby has been an avid bubble lover since she was about 18 months old.  We had this giant bubble wand that she would play with for hours.  I loved to watch the wonder in her eyes as those round, colorful balls bounced in the wind.

Eight years later, she still loves bubbles.  She teaches her little brothers and sister how to make bubbles, and most of all, how to catch them.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9lid94aNsk[/youtube]

But I live in my bubble.  It’s my safe place.  Secure.  Familiar.

And when I rely on my circumstances and my control for security, I have neglected my only true protection, and instead, created a false sense of security.

And not so long ago, it controlled me.

I had to park in the same place, sit in the same seats, and walk the same route.  I avoided confrontation.  I held tight barriers.  Fearful for anyone to find my depraved state.

Relying on myself to create and sustain my bubble was a constant source of fear.  I knew I was inadequate to maintain such a delicate balance.

But then, my heart softened and I realized that I don’t need that bubble.

God is my comfort.  My security.

He is my bubble.

I used to consider God’s love only relevant to my salvation.  But God’s love is powerful, intimate, and personal.  Once I reconciled my false delusion of His love with this TRUTH, I could reside in His comfort and in His protection.

And so, I constantly praise God for His release from my bondage to my bubble.  I   struggle daily with the temptation to seek comfort and security outside of His love, and sometimes I fall, and sometimes hard  - but it does not control me.  God’s love has given me the choice.

 I choose His comfort OR false comfort.

And so, when I park across the lot, sit up front at church, try a new route, or confide my struggles with a friend – I praise God.  I may still be weak, but I know – in the depths of my heart – that God loves me.  His strength has lifted the burden of the bubble.

And I choose Him.

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.

Hebrews 6:19 NIV

 

Love

 He  loves me.

Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and afflicted,
    yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
    and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
    Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
    for the transgression of my people he was punished.
He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
    and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
    nor was any deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
11 After he has suffered,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.

Isaiah 53: 1-12 NIV

Unfailing Love

Folding socks equates to inhumane torture.

Consequently, I have dubbed sock folding one of the least important household chores.  But Mike came up with an idea to make our sock issue a little less daunting.  We are going to nab one of the kids’ toy bins which has multiple baskets and sort the unmatched socks by person – an attainable goal…….. perhaps.

I hope it works.

But with God, hope never disappoints.  His love never fails me.

Fortunately, His love does not depend on me.  With four young children, exhaustion and stress wear down my heart.  And the vulnerability of my heart lays open for Satan to tempt me to succumb to doubt and fear.  Anxiety, even in small portions, dilutes the potency of my faith in God.

But even in my failing hope, God stands firm – never changing His unfailing love.  My actions never risk losing His perfect and adoring love.

And in that assurance, my hope in Him soars.

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts…..

Romans 5:5 NIV

An Ungodly Mess

Huge dinner mess.

Piles of laundry.

Throw up.

Broken dishes.

Neglected naps.

I am tempted to come unglued.  I am tempted to let my emotions snap my words and actions into a very ungodly mess.

But honestly, I have absolutely no desire to adhere to any form of regulatory Mama behavior.

My mind recounts Zaiah’s temper tantrum over a drop of spilled applesauce.  And I want to react to my current situation like THAT.  I could stand to whine, stomp my foot, and cry a tear or two.

But I know that my cold state of heart propels me into an evil abyss abundant in selfishness and regret.

So, I reach for peace.  I struggle to muster a bit of kindness.  And I attempt to coat my coerced words into a sweet patience.

But I can’t fake it.  That desire to snap superceeds my best efforts to pretend patience and love in the midst of exhaustion and emotional frazzlement.

I don’t want to yell at the kid who repeatedly raids the pantry before dinner.

But regrettably, my heart reflects the absence of God’s peace.

I know that I need the love of Christ to intervene.  But I can’t escape my current condition.  I cannot separate my thoughts from the current spread of distraction and frustrating enticement.

My unresponsive heart is acutely aware that supernatural power is absolutely necessary to overcome my cold demeanor.

 And so, I pray.

 I surrender to God.

  I pray for God to impose His power upon my heart.

And as His power flows into my heart, I change.

I am tired.  I am stressed.

But in spite of a mess, laundry, throw up, broken dishes, and neglected naps – my heart rests in Him.

  Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

James 4:7 NIV

Hold Me Tight

Walking through a parking lot with four young children invites countless opportunity for irreversible mishaps.

I only have two hands.  And so, I balance the diaper bag, my purse, and Leesy on one arm.  And then with my other hand, I hold Zaiah’s hand – who holds Eli’s hand – who holds Abby’s hand.  It’s an excursion rather avoided.

DSCN6856During one of our outings, I let go of Zaiah’s hand to adjust my purse.  But Zaiah was clearly displeased.

“Mama,” he squealed, “Don’t let go.  I might run away!”

He was acutely aware of his own temptation.  He needed me to hold him tight.

And I need God to hold me tight.

Especially in those numerous moments of temptation.

And failure.

But I often fail to lean on Him.   And I stumble.  My concerns slowly penetrate my hearts peace.  And soon, those concerns magnify and occupy my heart.  And that crippling anxiety threatens to overcome me.

But as that fear creeps into my heart, my desperation leaves me acutely aware of God’s loving embrace.

Even in my failure, God is holding me tight.

And I am confident in Him.  I will never return to where I once resided in complete defeat.

His power resides in me.

And He will finish the work He has begun.

 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

                                                                                      Philippians 1:6