Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The struggle with disappointment

" Before a downfall, the heart is haughty..."

You read the book, watched the trailer, saw the pamphlet, read the reviews, studied directions, studied the product, studied the relationship, did everything to make sure it was what, how, who, whatever you wanted and thought it would be. When it happened, came, arrived, started, reality brought disappointment.
In life we spend so much time working towards our ideal life, relationships, wants etc.  I think we sometimes live more just ahead or farther into our future then we do directly in the present. So much so that every time we see reality of the present, its clash with our imagination causes disappointment. During this past week God has been working on me through everything in life to show me one of my biggest struggles, disappointment. As I started this last week I began by working on memorizing Philippians 4:4-9 
" Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice.And the God of peace will be with you."
This led me to pray to God to cleanse my mind of thoughts that did not match His standards. That's when I started struggling with how disappointed I was quite frequently.
There are many areas from mental, physical, relational, to spiritual that I am either disappointed in myself, something, someone or situations.  Constantly I am putting pictures in my head of what I want. I even know they are unrealistic many times because I can end up being disappointed before anything even happens. Situations I struggle with strongly, many times I go into already disappointed, assuming it already hasn't met my expectations. I prepare myself to struggle to hide my emotions of unhappiness. I am setting myself up each time for a failure of enjoyment.
 This weekend I was upset and talking to my husband about something I just couldn't emotionally  pull away from, something I was very upset and disappointed with to the point of tears. After a while of me talking and crying he wisely counseled me, advising me to, instead of looking at how things were not the way I dreamed and wanted, instead look at the blessings in that situation. He pointed out so many things to be thankful for in the situation that all this time I should have been enjoying and happy over that had been lost to me because of my focus on the one way the situation should have been in my ideal dream world. I couldn't cry anymore after that.
Later that week I was reading a chapter in Courtney Josephs book Women Living Well. This chapter was on dealing with the disappointments in mother-hood, but it was definitely relatable to all situations. It hit me personally in my life now. Especially as a newly married, young, christian woman, I had definite ideas of how a happily blissful, godly marriage (and sex) life would look like. She shared how to deal with disappointment by first realizing God cares. Next, realize there are many things that will not happen your way and you need to react with thankfulness and praise. This tied right in to the verse I'm memorizing this week, Verse 6 specifically " do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God." Lastly Courtney pointed out to use those times of disappointment as lessons from God. Instead of focusing on the disappointment, focus on what God is showing and teaching you.
When I started asking God what he was teaching me, I started asking where does it all start. I realized it starts with a pride and selfishness. My heart was "haughty," prideful, and because of that I experiences downfall and disappointment. Disappointment comes when what we want is more important then what really is. We are personally affronted by things being different then our way.  Instead of looking at reality for what it is, and enjoying it with thankfulness and praise to God. I have been " making excuses" for the failure of my dream. I need to stop expecting and deciding how events need to happen in my life.
                               "....  but humility comes before honor." Proverbs 18:12
" When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom" Proverbs 11:2
" The reward for humility, and fear of the LORD is riches and honor and life" Proverbs 22:4
I needed humility to be my guide, not my pride or selfish desires if I wanted to not end in disappointment.  I have a life filled with riches and blessings and I need to see them! And lastly, but not leastly..
"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. "
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Always Give thanks to the amazing God who is working his will in your life!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Praises for my handsome man!

Today I am going to devote my post to my wonderful husband whom I admire and adore.
Here are ten things I admire most about my husband!

1: My husband is a hard worker
From cleaning the house, yard work, utilizing work time, applying for jobs he works with all his MIGHT. Every task and job he tackles with 101+%! If its physical he is pouring sweat, at work he's focused and committed to his job ( no Facebook for him!), he is either the last one done, or the task is complete. He is the hardest working man I have ever known!

2:My husband has a diligent servants heart
My husband continues to surprise me with his promptness to help, and his drive to serve when he sees a need. From helping my grandma with little things in the house, to tearing down the yard, to service projects at church, and friends in need.  When he sees an area that needs help, a job he can complete, that he can help and do, he does it. He never does it to get anything back, he doesn't go around telling people what he has done, comparing himself to others or seeking praise. Usually he never thinks it is that big of a deal. But it is a big deal to me and to those he has served!

3:My husband is a caring listener
My husband enjoys small groups and one-on-one relational time. When I see him with others I see him listening and desiring to know how others are. I know he truly listens as I hear his prayers for others, remembering their needs that spoke about. As a husband he does a great job of letting me pour my heart out to him. I know he is listening with care as he asks me questions and share comfort and encouragement on my concerns. Many times he has surprised me with how much he knows about my feelings, likes and dislikes, all because he was carefully listening and taking it all in when I didn't even know it!

4:My husband is a wise provider
My husband is continually seeking wisdom from Godly sources and it is displayed strongly in how he provides for us form finances to love. From detailed notes and studying of proverbs, to reading books from christian authors on different areas in life, to seeking wise council from pastors in the church and close christian friends I see him seek wisdom on decisions in our life. This wisdom is greatly displayed in how he provides safety for us in our finances and in my physical and spiritual life. Even as he goes to school we are saving and giving because of my husbands wisdom on budgeting. He not only provides stability for our finances, but he is leader in providing spiritual growth as he encourages me in my devotional time and challenges me on my actions and thoughts and serves. He also provides the emotional comfort and love I need as he takes notice of my needs and listens to me and acts upon them. I know that is is the wisdom that has lead him to provide the romance and love in our marriage that continually sweeps me off my feet.

5:My husband is a great uplifter
My husband desires to encourage and does a great job at it! From sharing wisdom of comfort and encouragement in times of struggle to throwing me a goofy smile when I just need a pick up he always does his best to lift burdens! He finds what he needs to do to lift spirits and does it. I love his desire to to encourage others and keep spirits light when there may be tensions in the room with friends or family. He loves to throw in silly comments to bring laughter, especially when he senses unneeded tension. He knows how to lighten things up and make it fun. Our marriage is blessed by his attitude with being continually filled with fun and laughter!

6:My husband is a strong protector
My husband protects all aspects of my life.  He is continually watching out for my well being and protecting me in every area he can. He protects my time which I am so weak to give away. He guides me in making choices that put God first in my time, help me manage what I do, serve when I truly need to, and make time for myself. He protects me by making sure that I don't give so much away that I am burnt out on giving. He protects me physically and spiritually as he lovingly guides me in the clothing that I choose, words that I speak, and activities that I do. He speaks truth to me about the dangers and struggles they could be causing. Continually as he is with me he watches for ways to protect me from him walking on the outside of me, giving me an arm over tricky areas, to driving carefully and cautiously in the car. Even when he is gone he reminds me to lock the doors, carry pepper spray and be watchful. He is always focused on being safe and protecting us. Because of him I continually feel safe and secure from my physical well being to the choices I make in life.

7:My husband is an eager learner
My husband is constantly seeking wisdom and knowledge and desiring to learn and grow. It is in his nature to want to learn new things. I admire so much how he is constantly finding and searching out ways to learn more from reading the Bible, christian life books, history books, to putting him in situations to learn more skills! He desires wisdom in his life from God as he reads the Bible daily and carefully chooses recommended books for read on specific areas in his life or our marriage that he wants to grow in. He eagerly eats away at history and politically books, loving to learn more about life and our country, and where decisions have led us as a nation. Whenever he can he wants to learn new skills (especially with tools) that can increase his abilities and skills. He is always wanting to watch his step-dad build and help him so that he can learn to do it himself. He is not a man that is afraid and avoids the new or unknown but eagerly seeks it conquer it and use it in life!

8:My husband has a heart for God
Daily my husband seeks God's wisdom. My husband has made it a priority to read and pray every day to God - and I love it! It is one of the things about him that gives me so much respect, love, and pride for him! He doesn't do it to check it off a list, to make himself feel like or seem like a good christian. He does it because he strives to serve God in every aspect of his life. He desires to be a Godly leader to us in our marriage. He desires his job to be a way to serve God. He desires our marriage to be a testimony of God to others. All that my husband strives for revolves around his heart for God.

9:My husband prioritizes relationships
My husband puts top priority on relationships in our lives. He recognizes the importance of family and good friends and works hard to make sure that our relationships with them are grown and nurtured. When there are struggles in relationships he isn't one to give up or back down, or put blame on the other. Instead he is figuring out how to make it better. He plans time with both my family and his, knowing that just time spent together is important to keep things close. He seeks out time with those he cares about, and desires to grow relationships deeper. He recognizes our relationship with God it the most important, our relationship with each other is next, and then our family and close friends. I admire how he uses wisdom and love to continually grow these important relationships.

10:My husband is a hunk!!!!!!
Yes I am going to say it, because I do admire this area of him, and this is his LOOKS! I think he is the handsomest, manliest, cutest, best looking man around! I love his smile! He has all different stages of smiles. He has dreamy smile that makes me want to melt into his arms. Goofy smile that makes my spirit soar. And crazy smile where his eyes light up and I know something is about to happen that is gonna be fun! I love his skinny build that shows off his muscles. I love his thin blond hair with the receding hair line. I know it may be crazy but I think his receding hair line is so manly looking!!!! And I love his neat little goatee that covers the end of his chin. I love his pretty blue eyes and the way they look in his cute classes. when he dresses up in a dress shirt, tie and vest I go completely crazy and can't keep my eyes off him or the silly grin off my face. I could keep going but for everyone else sake I will leave it at that. I love my manly looks on my husband.

Needless to say. I truly admire, love, and respect the man God has put in my life. Our marriage isn't roses and potpourri all the time. It is hard work, and messy because we are both sinful messed up people. I don't always think about everything wonderful in my husband. Many a time my prideful sinful self focuses on his weaknesses and sins and unlikeable attributes. I fall for it I do. But ultimately God gave me a huge blessing in my life when he set the wonderful man out to catch me, and I don't want to forget that. That is why I have written this out. When I get tempted to believe the worst, I have truths here to fight them with, to remind me what is so amazing about my husband.

I would like to challenge you that if you find yourself putting your husband down, comparing him and him losing, feeling like he isn't enough or as good - STOP! Do this  and write what you love about him. Take the focus off the negative, and turn to the positive. You may not come up with ten all at once or a paragraph description of each one right away. I have been working on this post for over a week! Start with one thing, even if it is just his smile, or his hugs. Continue to study him, and feel out what you admire and love about him. You will be surprised how one after one they will start to come once to focus on them!

This works for other people to! Who in your life are you starting to see more negative aspects of? Which friends or family are starting to disappoint you? Focus on what is positive about them and write them down! Battle the negative thoughts with the good. Do you want peace in your relationships? Put Philippians 4:8-9 in your heart!

Philippians 4:8-9New International Version (NIV)

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice.And the God of peace will be with you

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (NIV)

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Monday, July 21, 2014

A personal God for our individual lives

I've challenged myself to start memorizing scripture again, and this time stick with it! The first passage I'm memorizing is Psalms 23. I love how this psalm personalizes God. It shows His direct leadership, protection, and blessings in our single little life. God as a personal God has been resounding through my readings. My chapters in 2 Kings have been filled with stories of God working through Elisha in individuals that God chooses to bless. 2 Kings Chapter 4 starts out with Elisha and the widow of a prophet of God. In this first story in the chapter this woman who is never named is provided for by God with oil that she can sell and get out of debt and provide for her son. Its just a simple story that involves three people; Elisha, a widow, her son. The next story is about a wealthy Shunammite woman who provides food and a place to stay for Elisha. She does not do this for a reward but out of the generosity of her heart (which speaks to the blessings of wealth God has given her) even when Elisha asks what she wants she makes no request. Elisha is the one who asks his servant for an idea. His servant is the one who notices she has no son. So Elisha promises her the miracle of a son from God even in her husbands old age. There is a miracle provided for a woman who was just showing her love for God by being generous. The story doesn't end there. After the boy is grown he complains of a headache, and a short while later he is dead. The woman goes to Elisha and he sees that she is in bitter distress. When he find out he is dead he goes straight way to the boy. He first sends hisser vent ahead of him to lay his staff on him, but nothing happens. Then when he arrives he gets alone with the boy and prays to the Lord. He then stretches himself over the boy twice and the boy comes alive. Here, a story of a miracle for this small family. The next story Elisha is with sons of prophets and they make a stew only to find out they have put something in it poison. Elisha threw flour in the stew and it was fine after that and they were able to not only eat it but then feed it to a group of a hundred men and have some leftover! Another one in chapter six is of the sons of the preheats chopping wood to build. One accidentally loses his axe head into the water and is in distress because he borrowed it. When Elisha hears about it he puts a stick in the water and the axe head comes up!
Here I kept reading of God working blessings in individuals lives. These stories aren't about Elisha's miracles, but God's miracles through him.  I see a God who enjoys blessings. I see a god who personalizes himself to ordinary people living ordinary lives! These stories revolved around the sons of God, people whose lives were for God. God provided food in a time of desperate need, He gave the amazing gift of life (twice!) to a generous woman whose heart was only to give back to God. He restored food and multiplied it to give it back as a gift. He gave a simple axe head back! Such small things from God, to seemingly small people, but great miracles nonetheless that only God could do! This challenged me about my beliefs of God. Have I always seen Him as too big and me too small for Him to help with some of my problems in life? What times in my life have I just let myself be disappointed or given up over something that was too big for me ( like losing an axe head) but would have been something so simple and easy for God! How many times could I have just asked God for His help and He with the loving pleasure of a father God who enjoys blessing His children would have given to me or fixed it. I am challenged to trust God for who He is and invite Him to do more miracles in my life whenever I come across something I can't do that He would love to show off His love and do for me.

Such overwhelming love. How blessed we are to have such a caring shepherd, leader, and father. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Desire God and He gives you the desires of your heart

Just the other day I was reading my book and the author was telling about her life and how God had worked through her to start and be involved in ministries. She ended by saying how she looks back and sees how God gave her the desires of her heart. As I read her story my heart bled to feel that way. I have passions and desires in my heart. I see needs, and ideas of way to change and improve things. So many times I have tried to start things and they fall through, or the timing doesn't work out. I found myself asking God, when will that be me? All of a sudden I felt as if I must be failing, because every big idea I had ever had seemed as if it had failed. I ended that day missing the point of that chapter. But God is a big God, and He doesn't let you miss a message He wants you to hear. Over the next few weeks my mind would constantly wonder to the questions on my heart. I wondered if the passions I had felt in my heart were misplaced. I wondered if I was supposed to "desire" something else. I wondered if I hadn't bee faithful with a little God had given me so would He never give me more? I continued to read in 1 Kings how God takes care of Israel and continues to work out His plan even through evil Kings who did not even follow Him. Verses in my reading continued to come up with God as in control.  Over the week I watched as my family tried to work out a plan for my grandma to be taken care of. I saw how my family never could have imagined the situation they were in now, and I continued to hear God's whisper to trust Him. That Saturday night I talked to my uncle about how he got to where he was in his ministries. I heard about a man who was given a career he never planned to have! And how that career led him into more ministries; how God used his life in ways he never planned, but were dreams come true for him! On Sunday I listened as my Pastor tell of how he prayed, planned, and sought to plant a church. He even had the city picked out! He truly gelt led to start there! But his plans fell through, and God led Him, through his providence, to our church, where he now ministers with a passion knowing this is where God wants him. On Monday I had to do   one of the hardest things for me, which may seem so little and minuscule to others, I said goodbye to my younger cat Bobbi. My parents had been kinda and said they would give her a home. On Monday night I talked to my parents about how she was doing and was filled with a sense of peace and joy as they claimed she was comfortable and happy. That week as I enjoyed the new found peace of just one cat, and the extra love and attention from Marigold as she came out of her shell now that her "competing nuisance" was gone I heard God's many reminders that trusting in Him to lead your life plans, really does lead to peace and joy. I knew the lesson God wanted me to learn. What was common among all the lives I learned about, was that no matter our detailed plans, our desire to serve God and do His will in our lives is what He will give to us. Our plans may not end up looking like His plans, but if our desire is to follow and serve Him, we are on the right path.
I reflected on my life and where God had led me. I see the blessings he has poured out on me as I have followed Him, even all the way to Missouri! God has been blessing my year by year with desires of my heart and He has placed me where I am serving Him. I need to continue to focus on Him, and let Him continue to be the desire of my heart and not fret when the "plans" I made fell through, because His plans never do!

Proverbs 16: 9
In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their course.

Proverbs 19:21
Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

It is a matter of the Heart

Reading this past week has included some of 1 Kings, a few early Psalms, and Chapters from the book Women Living Well. Reading David as always left me with a craving the title of "after God's own heart," and feeling like I am falling short of it. I believe a small part of me has always felt jealous, as if God loved David more then me and I could never compete with him. Reading the transition from the kingdom of David to the Kingdom of Solomon I had a deep realization. David loved God, and came back to him time and time again after his sins. Solomon sought wisdom, and followed God only the first part of his life, but did not continue to seek him until the end of his life, even though he was the wises man to ever live!! All of Solomon's wisdom couldn't convince the heart.  Each king after Solomon is judged and blessed based on if His heart was seeking God.
 For the first time reading about David and searching out what God is telling me from his stories I now know it is not about some untouchable love relationship with God, but a very real and present love. Early I wrote how my job is to love God, seek that relationship with Him. The story of David is just that! The story of David is God responding to a heart that is continually coming back to God, returning to seek His presence, His grace, and His love. David sings praises of God because his mind is ever turning to God. David knows to seek forgiveness and grace from God when he has done wrong, because his mind is on God. I am continually plagued with a "be perfect," or "to do" struggle in my life. I look at things and say what are the steps I have to do to be at the level God wants me. The more God works on my life the more He continues to teach me that is isn't about a level of relationship with Him. We are not in a competition with David, or Saul or any of the people in the Bible we see with these "great" relationships with God. They are examples of people who are sinners just like us, whose hearts are continually captured by God. God loves us with a crazy, unfathomable, amazing love! That doesn't change because of our accomplishments. Davids psalms of praise to God, of singing of His attributes, of his sorrows of sins, those all come from Davids heart as it is turned to God. When I turn my heart to God everyday, I start turning to Him every minute. When I read about God, I see Him in everything continually. When I see God so much throughout the day my mind is blown and my heart is full! I am continually looking around me in awe of God. I am continually looking back at the life He has set about me, at how He takes care of me and my soul sings in amazement of His control and power and goodness in my life! David is not in the Bible because he is a megaman, but because he is an example to us of what a heart for God looks like. He is not a measurement of comparison. He is a picture of God using a sinful person for a great plan, when all he did was love and seek God. Isn't that what God's message is continually in the Bible? Seek after Him and He will set up your plans, He will give you the desires of your heart. Seek Him and you will find Him!

Deuteronomy 4:29 NIV

But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all yourheart and with all your soul.

Deuteronomy 4:29 NIV

But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.

Psalm 53:2 NIV

God looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any whoseek God.

Psalm 63:1 NIV

[A psalm of David. When he was in the Desert of Judah.] O God, you are my God, earnestly Iseek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

Acts 17:27 NIV

God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.

Hebrews 11:6 NIV

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Let God be GOD!

Let God be GOD!! 

This is the resounding message I have heard this last week. When I continually ask myself what God is showing me, He has shown me HE is the doer, not me, and I have to TRUST Him. Very recently there have been many life changing scenarios approaching, and I being the planning, controlling, Human that I am have started analyzing every angle, of every possible further choice, along with all possible solutions to the many possible scenarios of the MANY choices that MAY happen to come up soon! As crazy as that sounds when I say it like that, what I was trying to do was prepare myself for every situation to make the best choice believing that I really know best and can control things. As many know when this happened STRESS is what follows. The reason is, is that we cannot know how everything plays out, what options we have when the time to make a choice comes, what each of those choices could lead too, which will make us happier better people. God is the only all-knowing one out there. God is the only one who can control what choices we are offered. God is the only one who can take any choice we make and bless it no matter what struggles and difficulties come from it. So I need to let God do His thing! The reason I stress is because I struggle with allowing God to do His things, believing that I am the only one who could possible do it right. Now I don't flat out say that, but I show it from my actions when I continually choose to control things (or attempt and plan to) instead of allowing God to.
I need to let go of God's job and refocus on my job. God is full of mercy, and its not my job to strive for perfection in my life. My job is to strive for a relationship. God's goal is to bring glory to himself, and I share in that as well. We just have different ways of going about it. God creates and changes lives, I learn more about Him, spend time with Him so that I can better sing His praise and share about Him. I bring Him glory when I show the world that when chaos and stress abound around me, I can sit back peacefully and rely on my God. I bring glory to God in my heart and show Him to the world when situations don't turn out happy, when struggles and hurt do come from certain choices and situations and I choose to be content and thankful to Him for his providence, care and love. That'y my job. And it brings peace, joy, and an overwhelming sense of God's love - not stress!