Monthly Archives: December 2011

Want What Is: 365

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I’m starting a project today that I’m calling:  Want What Is: 365.  Here’s what it’s about and why I’m doing it:

Want What Is: 365  is a daily project for 2012 of practicing contentment.

There are a few reasons why I am starting this project:

1.  I know it’s God’s will that I grow in contentment.  1 Timothy 6:6 says, “Godliness with contentment is of great gain.”

2.  I want to bless my husband in a new way this year.  I have learned through years of mentoring and study that a contented wife is one of the greatest gifts to a husband.  I, by God’s power, want to give my husband this gift.

3.  This past year has been a trying one for me personally.  I have suffered loss of confidence, negative self-thoughts, hormonal struggles and possibly even depression.  I think Satan was definitely getting a stronghold in my mind.  2 Corinthians 10: 3-5 talks about this:  “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of strongholds.  We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”  Taking negative thoughts, self-pity and other destructive thought patterns under the obedience of Christ and practicing contentment by walking in His Spirit will bring blessing to my life and cause me to be a blessing to others.  I long for the joy of that.

4.  The economy today brings temptation with it to complain and grumble often…sometimes even constantly.  That’s not the life I want.  I want to please God and live His abundant life.

So, here’s how it works:

Every day when I catch myself thinking selfishly rather than as unto God, I want to stop, reverse my thinking, and set my mind on what He has given me, how blessed I am.  I want to stop and purposefully Want What Is.  I plan to keep a journal daily about these experiences and how it affects me, my family, and my friends.

I think this is going to be difficult.  Very difficult at first.  With time I think it will become easier, later becoming a habit (takes 21 days to form a habit….this might take me a bit longer!), and then a way of life.

Why don’t you join me in Want What Is: 365?  

Authentic Faith 30-day devotional

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Don’t know what to do right now for your Bible Study?  This is a 30-day devotional which is on the life of Abraham as well as my personal journey through breast cancer.  Maybe it will be a good starting point for a month when you feel that you are floundering as to what to study in your quiet times.  The whole 30 days are found at this site…just take it one day at a time!  Blessings!   jill

You can download it here

New Year’s Resolutions…

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Here’s a question…Why don’t children make New Year’s resolutions? I’ve never met one who even thought about doing so. Perhaps it is because as children, they already live the life they should be living.  And maybe we can learn from them…

Children of the New Year

Children live in the present, with no regret or unforgiveness weighing from  yesterdays,

nor worries or fears of yet traveled ways.

Children live in wonder of every color, rock, and rain,          

not lulled yet to a life where all is mundane.

Children take their joys fully as they come,

never concerned there won’t be another one.

Children live truly as themselves, unconcerned with fame,

free from striving to fit in and be the same.

Children laugh and cry in equal measures,

easily appreciating both treasures.

Children live vulnerably, admitting hurt and need,

trusting others, loving simply, living life indeed.

Live as a child this new year through,

unto God as the most authentic “you.”

—jdh

—————————————————– HAPPY NEW YEAR!——————————————————————–

As a tree…so are we

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The tree outside is totally bare.  It looks like sticks in the air.  It looks cold and lonely and makes me think of being tired.  Somehow it’s still beautiful. Rain dripping from its limbs, or icicles hanging, it becomes more beautiful. I wonder why there is still beauty and even more the harsher the circumstances it endures.  I am reminded of the ecclesiastical season for all things:

 “1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:          

 2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,

 3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build

4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance

5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing

6 a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,

 7 a time to tear and a time to mend a time to be silent and a time to speak

 8 a time to love and a time to hatea time for war and a time for peace.

 9 What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart;”

What does the ecclesiastical author give us?  Context.  In the context of buds of spring, the fullness of summer, and the colors of fall, that barren tree is beautiful…we know it’s future.  As we know ours….“eternity is in our hearts.”  If the season we are experiencing presently feels lonely, barren, lacking, and beaten by harsh “weather,” we have hope.  Even this present time does have beauty, because we know our future.

As the end of the year often calls us to evaluate, doing so within the context of a Sovereign God  who “makes all things beautiful in its time,” encourages new faith and a steady peace in our lives.  We have the assurance that we will grow in truth and bear fruit because of Him. “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame and sat down at the right hand of God…..” even when, especially when, as the tree is, so are we.

Waiting…one way or another

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Tapping toes. Big, loud sighs. Checking watches.  Rolling eyes.  All symptoms of waiting.

Not this guy, though. He shows no sign of impatience.  As he went to the busy church that day he knew they were coming.  He probably peered around people, knowing that soon, very soon, his lifelong desire would be fulfilled.

After all, God had promised him that he would not die until he saw the savior.  He waited in faith for the baby Immanuel.  And when he saw him, he prayed,

“Now Lord, Thou dost let Thy bond-servant depart in peace, according to Thy word; for my eyes have seen They salvation.”

Waiting in faith is a whole different kind of waiting.  There’s a calmness and a peace that is the foundation of that waiting.

One time I experienced the difference in frustrated-waiting and faith-waiting was when potty training our first son.  We experienced some victories and many failures, like the day he was proud he pulled off his pull-up to go #2, only it was on our couch!  I would get frustrated, tense, sometimes angry, and often felt defeated.

Then one day it hit me.  I had never, ever seen a grown man wearing pull-ups, not even teenagers or young boys!  There was a flood of confidence and faith that one day this boy would know how to go to the restroom all by himself!  There was pretty much no doubt about it.  So, with a new ————— I approached the challenge with a much calmer spirit as I waited for the almost guaranteed outcome.

Having faith in God’s promises are even more sure than this!  Waiting while standing on His word brings even a deeper confidence and peace.  When faith-waiting we see beyond the proverbial “poop on the couch” and look to God’s word for encouragement, security, power, ‘present-living’ with ‘future-hope.’

We’re almost all waiting for something…healing, provision, a rebellious child to turn back, a soldier-father to return home, depression to end, graduation, a soul-mate, the baby to arrive, a job offer, or for the sleepless night to end.

Verses for waiting in faith like Simeon:

You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with song of deliverance.  Ps. 32:7

 I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths.  I will guide them.  I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth.  These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.  Is.42:16

 Submit yourselves, then, to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Jas. 4:7

 Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.  Jn. 4:4b

 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  Rom.8:1

 …we have the mind of Christ.  I Cor. 2:16b

 I can do all things through Christ who give me strength.  Phil. 4:13

Monday morning and holy night

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  Lying in the dark, hearing the large truck pass by, I wondered if it could       possibly be our garbage collectors at that early, early hour and immediately hoped we had taken our cans to the curb.  I knew I had hit the point of no return then.  The thoughts were flooding as the opportunity for any more sleep dried up like my chapped lips in the winter.

“How can I get the boys to talk and share more?  I’m not doing enough as a mom.  Which bill should I try to pay down the most?  I need to find a way to bring in some money for our family.  Are the Christmas cookies for the school “swap” due today?  I should be more on top of things like other moms.  What was it he said in the sermon yesterday about motivation?  I can’t really get motivated. God, please help my friend with cancer.  I need to be a better friend.  Have I marked anything off my Christmas list completely….decor, lights, presents, prepare beds for the college boys returning home, menus?”  Sigh, Monday morning was off to a start unlike other mornings…way too early and burdened by the circumstances of life and the self-blame I attached to them.

Sarcastically, I thought, “‘Oh Holy Night,’ not exactly.  More like, Oh Sleepless Night.”  But like a rainbow over the torrent of thoughts, came the “deep that calls unto deep at the sound of [His] waterfalls.”  The flash of that old hymn title galvanized my thoughts in a new direction as the lyrics replaced the worries:

“…It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth.

Long lay the world (me) in sin and error pining,

Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth.”

That night, long ago, has the power to change all my ‘nights’ forever…He came, brought life, secured me in the shadow of His wings, brought a light yoke and bore my heavy one.  In the darkness, I was dwelling “in my sin and errors,” but great reminder, He, came and whispered the worth of my soul, my all, in Him, Emmanuel.

The verse continued to sing to me a new song in the night:

“A thrill of hope, the weary world (even me) rejoices

For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!”

Still weary, for sure, but awakened by the hope of God in Christ, I knew His mercies were new for me this new, yes and even glorious, Monday morning!

Listen Here:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Jr-2eyRtV4

The Flash of a Camera and Perspective….

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Today I received a text from one or our older sons:  “Mom, how long does it take until you know someone is ‘the one’?”  I stopped what I was doing, swallowed hard and sat down.  My first thought was, “Are we here already?–Really?”

I looked back in my journal from the year he was 1 year old.  My entry:  “He has been loads of fun lately.  However, the past 2 days have been difficult–he’s cried a lot and gets angry at being told ‘no’  [duh, who doesn’t??].  I guess he is testing his independence.”

And now, here we are.  He IS independent.  He’s become a mature, wise, God-fearing man…that little boy who fell to the floor crying when I took something away from him.  The little boy I thought might make me crazy because he wanted my attention so much and said, “Mommy” over and over all day.

Wasn’t that yesterday?  Didn’t the light of the flash just go off as the camera clicked?  And in that flash we’ve gone from there to here.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad he no longer falls on the floor crying and I’m thankful he’s been potty trained for quite some time now!  I’m glad he loves the God of his father and mother and he knows how to read and how to blow a bubble (i love you, baby!).  But, my heart aches, burns really.  I miss him.  I miss the other son who’s gone and already miss the one about to leave.  “Home” will no longer be here and soon he’ll be asking another woman for advice.

The days of mothering young are demanding, thankless, tiring, frustrating, lonely and just plain difficult.  I wish I’d stopped more, gotten the camera out and snapped the seconds.  I’d take a picture of the tantrum and the “#2” on the couch during potty training.  I’d take a shot of all the tupperware pulled out of that bottom cabinet, the receipt for all the diapers and the baby food all over his tray.  Yeah, I’d click a picture of the bags under my eyes and the cheerios on the floor.  Then, when I clicked that camera and the bright light of the flash shined on each second, I’d be reminded that it passes that quickly.  And I’d give thanks for just that second.

jdh

My Hands Were Busy

My hands were busy throughout the day

I didn’t have much time to play

The little games you asked me to.

I didn’t have much time for you.

I’d wash your clothes, I’d sew and cook,

But when you’d bring your picture book

And ask me please to share your fun,

I’d say: “A little later, son.”

I’d tuck you in all safe at night

And hear your prayers, turn out the light,

Then tiptoe softly to the door…

I wished I’d stayed a minute more.

For time is short, the years rush past…

A little boy grows up so fast.

No longer is he at your side,

His precious secrets to confide.

The picture books are put away,

There are no longer games to play,

No goodnight kiss, no prayers to hear…

That all belongs to yesteryear.

My hands, once busy, now are still.

The days are long and hard to fill.

I wish I could go back and do

The little things you asked me to.

Author Unknown