This is a New Season!

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There is a new season that I believe God is leading us all into. He is whispering in our ears, He is wooing us with His love, He is drawing us to follow Him out of the desert.  The desert season was full of disappointment and wounds.  It was full of waiting and hope deferred.  Yet God was saying through one of His prophets (Sue Roby), “The Delay is in your favor.”  I tried to hold on to that thought, to continue to believe that all would work out for the good…but I let some of my faith slip away.

A few months ago another prophet (Tony Brazelton) came proclaiming, “The Delay is over!”  My spirit leapt when I heard it. Could it really be time?  The time I had been praying for?  Yet the fear of disappointment almost choked this new hope to death.

In September God gave me two scriptures to read, Isaiah 65 and Psalm 144.  These same scriptures had been a source of strength during the lowest point in our lives as a family.

Is 65 had been God’s way of announcing to me that I was pregnant, back in 2010.  Verse 9 says, “I will bring forth descendants from Jacob, and from Judah those who will possess my mountains; my chosen people will inherit them, and there will my servants live.”

I was happy to be pregnant and to feel the presence of a fresh new spirit within me.  I didn’t even need to take a pregnancy test.  Yet also I was ashamed.  Ashamed that I was pregnant for the fourth time in 5 years.  Ashamed that we still lived in a two bedroom townhouse and had to go to the health clinic for lower income families in Colorado Springs.  Ashamed that we struggled to pay our bills and had to set up a nursery for our baby in our walk-in closet.

The baby girl was due in January.  Right before Christmas Chris was laid off from his job.  We didn’t know what we would do.  We tried to enjoy Christmas as the debts grew.  I had a difficult time with Ashlyn’s birth which I wrote about in Birth Story Part 3.  Yet when she was born I was filled with peace and bliss.  My perfect baby girl!  God was so good!

The very next day the doctor informed us (devoid of compassion) that something was definitely wrong with our baby, but they didn’t know what.  Then began the many tests and scans.  Problems were found in her lungs, diaphragm, and heart.  We didn’t know what was going on.  We asked our church to pray and the only word they had for us was that this was my fault, that I was being too prideful.  I asked God if they were right.

That is when God gave me Ps. 144.  I felt peace flood my soul as I read:

“Then our sons in their youth will be like well-nurtured plants, and our daughters will be like pillars carved to adorn a palace.  Our barns will be filled with every kind of provision. Our sheep will increase by thousands, by tens of thousands in our fields; our oxen will draw heavy loads. There will be no breaching of walls, no going into captivity, no cry of distress in our streets.”

Amazingly Ashlyn was cleared and was released to go home after just two days, a perfectly healthy baby girl!

ashlynA perfect baby girl…until the results of the Chromosomal analysis came back.  A part of her 6th chromosome was missing but no one knew what that meant.  No one had ever seen this before.  We began this journey of parenting a special child, one who didn’t grow and develop like the other children.  One who had to wear a brace for a dislocated hip and a patch for strabismus in her eyes.  A child who needed physical therapy to learn to sit up and occupational therapy to learn to drink from a cup.

This is when Is. 65 became even more meaningful.  God had brought her forth and had told me that she was destined to take mountains.  She was not a mistake!

By April Chris still hadn’t found a full time job.  Our church kicked us out and shunned us.  Our mortgage and second mortgage were threatening to foreclose.  Our townhome association was threatening to take us to court.  Ps 144 didn’t appear to be true for us.

Yet God worked His miracles, one at a time.  He gave Chris a new job, sold our townhouse, brought us home to Pennsylvania, led us out of debt, and blessed Ashlyn with supernatural health.  More financial struggles, hardships with the children, and failed business ventures followed.  But we were home in the land of our inheritance.  We had friends, family, and a church that loved us!

When I started reading Is. 65 and Ps. 144 again this September, I was reminded of the encouragement I had received from them years ago.  Yet, I didn’t really want to delve into them, to relive the pain we had been through.  I kinda thought, “I know these verses inside and out.  I’ve been there and done that and I DON’T want to do it again.  Can’t I read something else?”

But I felt God saying, “Take another look.”

I discovered that these words, written thousands of years ago, were perfectly tailored for my life.  Not just my life back in 2010, but my life in 2017 and beyond.  I received revelations that I was not able to receive back then.  That our church in Colorado was not pleasing to God, but HE HAD BROUGHT US OUT OF IT to possess His Mountains.  Not because of anything we had done but because His faithfulness, He saved us from that situation and now we are taking mountains for His Kingdom.

Then I saw all the promises that God had for His servants (Is. 65, verse 13).  We will eat, drink, rejoice, and never be put to shame!  This has happened in our lives.

Then I read a verse that I had never noticed before, verse 16b.

“For the past troubles will be forgotten and hidden from my eyes.”

If God can forget the past, why couldn’t I?  I felt Him saying to me, “I am bringing you into something new, something you haven’t seen before.  You don’t have to interpret current events through your past experiences.  You don’t have to look into the future through the lens of the past.  I am going to give you a new perspective.”

I had been gaining a different perspective, an aerial view like that of an eagle.  I didn’t want my thinking to be clouded by people’s opinions, ever changing circumstances, or the dark clouds of depression.  I wanted to be seated with Christ in heavenly places, to see things from his Eternal perspective.  God was telling me that I was meant to be an eagle.   I was trying to fly, but I really needed some help.

I asked God to let me see a real eagle, and He answered my prayer just weeks later on our family vacation up north.  See my previous articles, “A Hawk, A Vulture, and an Eagle Part 1 and Part 2.”  I felt elated!  I felt inspired!  I felt ready to fly!

Of course vacation has to end and normal life has to begin again.  Could I see an eagle during the course of my daily routine? Chances were no.

I have made a weekly trek to a farm for years now.  At first I never noticed the birds flying in the sky.  Not because they were not there, but because I was not looking.  After God started speaking to me about being an eagle, I began to search the skies.  I loved watching all the birds – the swallows, the robins, the wrens, the sparrows, and even the crows.  They looked so free.  Even better that those birds were the large birds that flew high above the rest.  I felt inspired by their flight…until I realized that they were vultures.

Months I spent searching the sky for eagles only to see vultures, buzzards, and more vultures!  Ahggggggg!  At the end of October I made this trip for the 20 zillionth time.  I saw a large bird swooping down over the highway.  Another vulture, I said to myself.  Still, when I got close enough I turned my eyes away from the highway and up to the sky just long enough to see…

A bald eagle!  I saw the brilliant white head and the powerful straight wings!  I was not expecting that at all!  An eagle in my own neck of the woods!  In the midst of my normal routine!

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This seemed very significant so I asked God if there was something He wanted to tell me.  Immediately I heard this verse on my Bible CD:

“‘The One who is coming will come.  He will not be late.  The person who is right with me will have life because of his faith.  But if he turns back with fear, I will not be please with him.’

But we are not those who turn back and are lost.  We are people who have faith and are saved.” Hebrews 10:35-39 (ICB)

Fear has been my normal reaction to many things, so normal I hardly realize that I am choosing fear over faith.  But I am not one who turns back!  I am one who believes!  I will choose faith!

I heard God say to me, “I want you to be ready to see eagles where in the past only the vultures flew.”

God Encounters ~ Part Three; Maleficent offers a message of Hope!

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After going through a season of loss, it is hard to allow yourself to dream again.  There is something beautiful and freeing about surrender.  Lay all my dreams down and cling to God alone?  Sure, I can do that.

But what happens when I feel dreams stirring in my heart again?  Old dreams.  New dreams.  Forgotten dreams.

It should thrill me and fill my heart with excitement…but instead, I feel fear.  The fear of being disappointed again.  The fear of being wrong, of being foolish, of going around that same painful circle again.

God sent me a message that gave me permission to dream again.  And he sent it through a famous Disney villain – Maleficent!

If you haven’t seen the new live action movie, Maleficent, you might want to watch it before reading this article (I don’t want to ruin any surprises for you).  I never had any interest in seeing this movie.  I hate Disney villains!  They are so scary!  I don’t let my small children watch them.  Yet when the movie Maleficent came on the TV, I was drawn in.  Maleficent was a young girl with piercing eyes.

young Maleficent

She was a powerful fairy.  In fact, after the death of her parents, it fell to her to protect the fairy kingdom of the Moors.  She didn’t look at all like a fairy with great horns growing out of her head and massive, dark wings.  Yet she was wise and good.

I was captivated when I watched her flying with her strong wings,  joyous and free, shaping the clouds with the force of her flight.  I wished to do the same!  My recent obsession with eagles that I wrote about in “God Encounters ~ Part Two”, fueled the desire that I could enjoy that same freedom that Maleficent had.

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She trusted a young boy even though humans were usually enemies of her kingdom.  She and the human fell in love, and on her 16th birthday, the boy gave her, “true love’s kiss.”  Her trust was rewarded by abandonment and an empty heart.  Soon the boy forgot about her in his ambition to become King.

Years passed.  That boy had become a man and returned to Maleficent with kind words.  She forgave him and let him into her heart again, only to be betrayed. The man had intended all along to kill her, for whoever killed Maleficent, the great protector of the Moors, would be given the human kingdom that wanted to conquer it.  This man couldn’t bring himself to kill the dark and beautiful creature he had once loved.  So instead he drugged her and cut off her wings, thinking that this would be all the proof that was needed.

Normally I am not that deeply impacted by a Disney fairy tale, but this time I truly grieved for Maleficent.  To see her painfully crippled by the one that she loved hit close to home.  I could feel her pain.  What a tragedy for her to be earthbound when she was created to fly!  The sorrow and suffering turned into bitterness in Maleficent’s heart, and she cursed the daughter of her betrayer, Aurora.

Aurora was so sweet, so happy, so innocent, and so defenseless that Maleficent began to love the child despite herself.  She became Aurora’s sustainer and defender, her “fairy Godmother.”  As I watched Maleficent’s heart turn from unforgiveness to love, I still felt so sad.  Sad to see her only a shell of what she once was.  Yet that happens to many of us in this life.  I comforted myself with the thought that even if our physical bodies are broken and our circumstances are prison-like, we can still be free on the inside.  Our spirits can still soar above the clouds in God’s presence.  Still, we long to see restoration with our physical eyes.

Maleficent tried to renounce the curse she had put on Aurora, but she could not.  When Aurora turned 16 and fell into the death sleep, Maleficent showed no concern for her own life when she brought a prince into the castle to give Aurora “true love’s kiss” and break the spell.  It didn’t work!  Maleficent was heartbroken, coming face to face to with the fear that has always haunted her – there was no such thing as true love.  She promised to always protect the sleeping girl.  When Maleficent stooped to kiss the one she truly loved with a selfless devotion, the spell was broken!  Aurora was awakened!

The king, now a tortured and crazy man, did not even notice that his daughter was well again, so intent was he on killing Maleficent.  Aurora ran from the battle and came upon Maleficent’s wings, locked in a glass case.  They were still alive and flapping!  This was something I never expected!  Cut off a body part and it surely dies.  In the years that had passed, they would have decayed and been long gone…yet here they were, as strong and true as ever.

Aurora shattered the case and the powerful wings were reunited with their owner, carrying her above the battle.  Maleficent’s true identity had been restored, and it was a wonder to behold.  This was a miracle!  I was rejoicing!  This is the type of miracle that only happens in fairy tales…or is it?

Could this just be a message from God to get my attention, to lead me to the real miracle of the restoration of all things found in Is 35 and again in Is 65 all throughout the Bible?  This will really happen in all people and to the entire earth…someday.

But what about right now, inside of me?

Could it be that God is restoring my true identity – the parts of me that were stolen or crippled?  My true self, my purpose and all of the freedom and thrill and excitement that comes along with it?  Could God be storing up all of the dreams I ever had, all the dreams He ever had for me?

-before they got trampled and crushed by life.

-before I experienced betrayal and pain.

-before I hear the words “You can’t,” “You shouldn’t,” “You Never Will!”

-before I morphed into a shell of what I was created to be, a wingless eagle living in the dirt.

Could those wings of mine be alive and viable somewhere?

Perhaps I WILL feel the wind rushing around me!

Perhaps I will rise above the earth again.

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Perhaps I will see the miracles I once expected.

Perhaps I will be whole and strong.

Perhaps I really will be a fearless one!

Perhaps I  was born to fly!

And perhaps you were too…

 

 

 

A Fresh Start for Mom

In November my mom started acting strangely.  We were all together for Thanksgiving, but she wasn’t herself.  The children haven’t seen their grandma since that day.

Since then, Mom has been in and out of 4 different hospitals.  Her mental and physical state has fluctuated wildly.  I have long since lost count of how many doctors, nurses, physician’s assistants, and social workers I have talked to.  None of them could tell me why this was happening or how exactly they planned on fixing it.  The plans were not so much focused on bringing abundant health, but more on stabilizing her.  And the plans changed almost daily.

I would visit mom when I could.  None of the hospitals were places that I enjoyed spending several hours in, let alone weeks at a time.  Stark, barren, clinical.  Very little that was cheery or beautiful to look at.  Very little to do.  No fresh air or access to the outdoors.  Mom and I were both dreaming of a better environment in which she could convalesce.

When I was in my mom’s house one day, collecting some clothes to bring to her, I notice this pretty decoration.

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It was the stone that she had received at our church on Mother’s Day.  It carried a message that I hoped would be true for her life.  I prayed that she could have a fresh start.

It was finally decided that she was stable enough to be released to assisted living.  Mom and I were both so excited!  I had found a lovely, friendly place that would become her new home.  It had a large “apartment” for her.  It had a nice dining room and common area with a fire-place and piano.  It had a courtyard where she could do some gardening.

I prepared for her to be transferred.  I gathered necessary and homey items from her house.  When I was out shopping I found this little sign and thought it would give Mom a positive message to look at, day after day, in her new room.

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I was hoping that it would give her comfort when she felt the pain of what she had lost.  I prayed it would give her hope in the difficult days of transition.

It really could be possible that once Mom adjusts to her new home, meets new friends, and participates in new activities, she will be happier than before.  Perhaps with the burden of taking care of her home and herself is lifted, she will feel a sense of freedom.  Maybe her loneliness will fade away and she will enjoy life afresh!  Perhaps God will draw her to himself like never before and will make her Valley of Trouble into a Door of Hope (Hosea 2:15).

I was sure praying that all of that would be true, but I felt worried too.  Was it too much to ask for?  Too much to expect?

I found out on Friday that the Assisted Living Home couldn’t take her until Monday.  My heart dropped.  Another weekend in that boring hospital with the screaming lady right down the hall.

“Oh well, God, work all these things for Mom’s good,” I prayed.

I got busy putting together all the details.  I compiled stacks of paperwork.  I worked on checklist after checklist.  I wrote everything important on the calendar for Monday to be sure I wouldn’t forget.  As I was writing on the little square that represented March 20th, 2017, I realized that I was writing around the words that were preprinted there…

First Day of Spring!

                My heart leapt!  My eyes filled with tears of joy!  Even though the delay seemed like a trial, it was God’s plan all along.  His plan was good.  His plan was full of Hope.  His plan was for a Fresh Start!

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Will you all pray for my Mom?  For abundant health and life?  For a heart after God?  For an awareness of God’s goodness?  For a recognition of all His good gifts He gives her with each new day?  For a Fresh Start and a Spring Season?

Thank you!!!!!

How I Feel About Donald Trump

In my junior high and High School years, I knew Donald Trump as the rich guy with the weird hair.  I honestly didn’t know what he had done to get so rich, and I didn’t care.  When his TV show, The Apprentice came on in 2004, I still wasn’t totally clear on what Trump actually did other than fire and hire people, but it was one of the few reality shows that I actually liked.

I have never spent a lot of time following the news or getting into politics…too many more important things consumed my life, like a new baby roughly every two years or so.  Still, I wanted to be a good American and a good citizen, so I always tried to vote and pray for whoever was in power at the time.

Around 2012 I saw a new book from Rick Joyner, I See A New America.  I purchased it on the spot (and I never do that!) because his previous books had been so powerful in my life.  I thought this was a book of new prophetic revelations and visions about our country, and I could sure use the encouragement.  I couldn’t help but notice that my nation was turning away from Christianity, one of my main reasons for homeschooling.

I excitedly dove into this new book only to be disappointed.  It wasn’t about visions at all, but observations of what was wrong with our country and the government and how we could fix it.  I read about halfway through this 300 page book before I could read no longer.  I was shocked and overwhelmed by how bad things really were, yet felt powerless to change anything.  What could I do, a housewife, to affect politics?  Perhaps one of my children would grow up with the honor, integrity, and self-sacrificing character to go into the government, but I certainly couldn’t.

What I did take away from the book was that the power had to shift from lawyers and professional politicians to real business men.  Only then could the noble purpose for government (serving and protecting the citizens) actually be accomplished, and done so efficiently.  If our government was a business, it would have gone under long ago.  If politicians lived by the same rules as the rest of us, most of them would have been put in jail.

I laid the book aside, but began praying more for our nation.  I also encountered more teaching (from folks like Lance Wallnau and Bill Johnson) that Christians had laid down their God given influence in the seven spheres of culture, government included, and it was time to take it back!  We couldn’t just hide and wait for the rapture! We had to use our gifts and talents to make heaven manifest on earth.  Our lives and our children’s lives depended on it.

I heard Launce during the 2015 Firestorm conference say something that changed the way I looked at voting.

“When Christians look at elections, they want to know, is the guy a believer?  That is really not the intelligent question.  What you want to know is; who is anointed for the assignment.  Now this is controversial because I wouldn’t think that God would actually be working with secular people and anoint them.  But I had to reconsider this for the simple fact that I am reading Daniel, and Daniel has an archangel that comes to him and says, ‘As you have been praying Daniel, in the 2nd year of Darius, I stood by to confirm and stabilize his reign.’ Which means that Darius is a heathen ruler, Darius and the Medes, they’re over the Jewish people; but God knows which heathen is going to be open to the kingdom and which one isn’t.  And archangels go to war to make sure that the right heathen gets elected.

“So you go back in American history, most Christians, they just don’t talk about this stuff – Lincoln was God’s chosen man for the complexity of the hour.  In retrospect, we look back at him and say – there was the right man for that crucible; but honestly, Charles Finney didn’t think he was, the revivalists in his day didn’t, because he didn’t make a significant enough profession of faith.  Now the people who made the great profession of faith were knuckleheads.  Because you can follow Salmon Chase and McClellan and see the arrogance and the ego in the guys who actually were evangelical.  But then you got a gifted heathen who discovers Christ in the crisis of the White House…

“The fact is, you have to know who God has anointed for the job, not who passes your Sunday School litmus test.

“Churchill falls into the same category.  Neville Chamberlain was a great evangelical.  Nevil Chamberlain, ‘Peace in our time,’ he totally goofed up.  He was trying to be a sheep dealing with a wolf.  Churchill from the beginning knew what Nazi Germany was.  Churchill was the guy who was anointed.”

That really got me thinking.  Lincoln is considered to be one of, if not THE greatest president this nation has ever had. Yet during his time in office, he was disliked, hated, and ridiculed by so many people.  I had learned a lot about Lincoln because we studied the Civil War for three years in homeschool.  I never planned it that way, but I think God was teaching our family something about the time we are now living in.

Abortion is the modern-day civil rights issue that has become socially acceptable just as slavery was in Lincoln’s time.  The Civil War was the terrible result of the sin of slavery.  Abortion takes away the rights of those who are considered subhuman to bring wealth to the few.  What will be the consequences of this heinous crime?  Lincoln fought for the humanity of the slaves without demonizing the slave holders and the south.  He knew that after the war, they all had to be united again.

I started asking God to show me who he had anointed for these very difficult and dangerous days.  Soon the new presidential hopefuls were all over the news.

I must admit, whenever I saw Donald Trump on TV, I would cringe a little bit inside.  Why does he have to seem so prideful and silly?  But most of what I saw were just small clips taken out of whole speeches which were then ridiculed by whatever media was showing them.  He didn’t look like the leader I had been hoping for, and I felt discouraged.

I heard Lance Wallau at our church again, and he spoke about a meeting that he been in with Donald Trump.  His view of the man was so different from what had been portrayed in the media.  Lance talked about a man who believed in the Bible, brought his Bible to the meeting, and listened and respected all of the Christians leaders present.  This started to give me hope.

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I decided to get Trump’s book, Crippled America from the Library to hear about the views and beliefs of this man straight from his own mouth, so to speak.  I really enjoyed reading this book and learned so much that I didn’t know.  Most importantly, it gave me hope.  Hope that someone actually understood what was ailing this country and had a plan to start to fix it.  His views were all truly conservative, and I didn’t find a thing that I disagreed with.  I did not find anything racist or sexist in the book.  Just the opposite.  Trump was putting women and minorities in leadership positions in his businesses long before it was politically correct to do so.

I had this book for six weeks, and no one else put it on hold.  I find it hard to believe that there is no one else out there wondering what Donald Trump really stands for and is willing to take the time to delve into this book rather than just take the media’s word for it.

Chris and I were business owners for almost four years and realized how hard it really is – not just because it is hard to take risks and strike out on your own – but also because the government seems to be trying to hinder you at every single turn.  Our business failed despite our best efforts.  I can’t convey to you how much respect I have for Donald; that he has been able to be so successful in so many different businesses when it is so difficult to do so.  Being in the business world and meeting so many other owners and entrepreneurs, we saw that it is difficult for everyone.

I can’t describe how amazing it was to read his book and realize that he understands how hard it is and how damaging the government has become for businesses, especially small businesses. He has a plan to change that.  Finally a person in politics who has been in the real world and who has had real world success.

In his own words, “The basic difference between the politicians’ way and my way is that I’ve actually had to do the things that politicians only talk about doing.

“I’ve hired thousands of employees.  I’ve had to negotiate with contractors and unions.  I’ve had to provide health care coverage for my workers.  I know what the real costs are, I know what the problems are.  I know what works and what doesn’t work.”

Trump has a great track record of taking over historic buildings that have been allowed to become rundown and revitalizing them under time and under budget.  You can’t mess around when you want to make a profit.  If the government were run like a business, oh how different things would be!

In conclusion, Trump says, “We can take a crippled country and make it great again.  Our country has been allowed to languish and become tarnished, second-class place in the eyes of the world…I have a vision and I understand the process by which we’re going to accomplish our goals, We need to strengthen our military, help our vets, stand up to our enemies, deter illegal immigration, rebuild our infrastructure, revamp our tax code and education system, and rip apart the ridiculous policies of the past, including Obamacare and the Iran nuclear ‘agreement.’

“Most important, we need to reinvigorate the American dream and give our country back to the millions of people who have labored so hard for so little…We are at a critical turning point in our history…Our time has not passed, it is here, and the potential is amazing.”

I began a second time to read Rick Joyner’s, I See A New America and this time I finished it!  This time I understood more of what he was writing about, having more experiences with government agencies and government regulations and taxes.  I also had more hope!  The amazing thing was that this book written in 2011 said many of the same things that Trump wrote in his book in 2015.  Some statements were almost identical, such as the fact that the government could be run with 20% of its present size.  With this type of efficiency, they could actually cut taxes, balance the budget, and strengthen the economy rather than incur more debt.

Rick writes, “The U.S. government was created to serve the people, not to be served by them.  It was created to protect our wealth and resources, not consume them.  Government workers, from the President down, were to be public servants, not the privileged class they have set themselves up to be…we must resolve to never again elect professional politicians, and determine it is one species we will make extinct in our country.  We, the people, must resolve that every elected office in government should be filled with leaders and managers who have a mission and know how to accomplish it…”

Is Donald Trump such a leader?  He says that he is.  Many people believe that he is.

So how do I feel about Donald Trump?  I think he may just have the very rare driven personality (that is willing to take risks and make people mad) that we need to lead us into something different, something better.  It may look like a wrecking ball making a big mess of things, but appearances can be deceiving.  The more I find out about “business as usual” in Washington, the more I think that unless it all comes tumbling down, we can no longer survive as a nation.  It may not be pretty, it may come in a way that none of us expected, but I know that God is doing something wonderful in our nation and in our government.

When I think about Donald Trump, I feel more hope rising with in me than I have ever felt when thinking about politics.  I am praying for him, for his safety, for his relationship with God, for his vision for this nation and his ability to carry it out.

But it really doesn’t matter how I feel about Donald Trump.  What really matters is who has God anointed for this hour.  If Christians could just seek Him for the answer to that question, we could shape the future of our nation.

Here is some food for thought:

Trump: God’s Chaos Candidate

What does the thoughtful Christian do in this election?

Review of Conversation with Trump and Ben Carson

Trump’s road to the White House: 1980-2

 

 

A Grumpy Mommy Morning

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We have all had them.  Grumpy mornings when we wish we were still under the covers.  Grumpy mornings when everything seems to be going wrong.

I used to have grumpy mornings on a regular basis, when I was rudely awakened way too early with the knowledge that I had a very long day of caring for little people ahead of me.

In recent years, however, I felt more confident, more capable.  With the help of my older children, I was able to face each morning with a level head and even some joy.  I became too confident and let my two most helpful children (Areli and Cadin) volunteer to help with Kidz Kamp at our church.  They were gone early in the morning, my husband was at work, and that left me…alone…with a three month baby, a loud and demanding two year old, a special needs girl who acts like a quirky three year old, three wild and crazy boys, and a teenager asleep in his bed.  This teenager who used to be an early riser and the instigator of most of my grumpy mommy mornings, now seemed to be able to sleep indefinitely.

I tried to take care of the needs of the younger children while enlisting the wild boys to help me prepare breakfast.  The younger children were all uncooperative and whiney, and the wild boys were…wild!  They seemed to ignore all that I said to them.  Instead of helping, they were tearing around the house creating messes and conflicts.

Before I knew it, I was in the midst of a Grumpy Mommy morning unlike I had experienced in years!  I ended up yelling and fuming, ranting and raving.  I didn’t understand why my children didn’t understand…I was doing all of this for them.  The diapering and nursing and dressing and cleaning and cooking!  All of this effort was for them!  Why couldn’t they help me just a little bit?

Later in the day I had the peace and quiet to think.  Why did I have such a horrible morning?  Was it really my children?  Were they really so awful?

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Or was it my attitude?  If I was really doing everything I did to serve them, why was I so angry with them?

I realized that the work I was doing and getting stressed out about was not really for them.  They didn’t really care if their faces were clean or that their clothes matched or that they had a super healthy breakfast.  I was doing all of those things to make myself feel better.  I was doing everything I thought a good mother should do, trying to get it all done so that I could feel accomplished and satisfied with my mothering.  Then I could get on to the things that I really wanted to do.

I was angry because their childish behavior was interfering with MY plans.  They were messing up MY schedule.  I hadn’t thought about the emotions or thoughts of each child that morning.  Maybe one child had woken up with a scary dream.  Maybe another child was so excited about Kidz Kamp that he couldn’t calm down.  Maybe the other child was so nervous about Kidz Kamp that he was trying to forget his worries. Perhaps another child was feeling overlooked and was just trying to get my attention.  I hadn’t even considered what was going on in their hearts.

I stopped to contemplate what each one of them might want most in the morning upon waking.  I concluded that their deepest heart’s desire, even if they couldn’t articulate it, would be to have a mommy who would greet them with joy.  A mommy who would listen and not just give orders.   A mommy who speaks kind words instead of yelling.

How could I possibly be that kind of mommy?  How could I even begin to meet each child’s unexpressed needs each morning?

All I could come up with was the fact that I definitely could not.  Only if I was abiding in Christ and had His love and thoughts towards my children could I be that kind of mommy.

How could abide in Christ when I got woken up before I could have a quiet time?  How could my mind be full of His thoughts when I couldn’t crack my Bible to read a single scripture?  How could I have His love for my children when I hadn’t even stopped to notice His love for me?

This has become the question that I MUST HAVE an answer to.

“LORD, just how do I seek you in the midst of this life that you have given me?”

I am not totally sure how to get time by myself on a daily basis.  I am not sure how to meet with other Christians and get to church meetings more often for encouragement.  But here is what I have come up with so far.

Whenever grumpy thoughts start to invade my mind, I make a huge effort to replace them with a thankful thought and find something to praise God for.

I write scriptures on notecards and post them on my bathroom mirror.   Whenever I see them, I read them and memorize them.  As I read them, I feel hope returning to my soul.   I try to meditate on them throughout the day.

I recite memorized scriptures while I am nursing.  I used to be able to read the Bible or other encouraging books while I nursed but now Annalise nurses too fast and is too active for that.  As I speak the truth out loud, I feel my heart taking courage.

I listen for His voice in the midst of the noise.  Sometimes I hear it in the voice of my six year old.  Sometimes I hear it in my baby’s cries.

Instead of begging Him to help me through this crazy day, I THANK Him for the help He most certainly IS giving me and WILL give me.

I listen to worship music while I am preparing meals and sing along.  I am caught up in His goodness as I chop vegetables.  I smile when my children tell me that I should have been a singer, and I try to be loving when they interrupt me for some silly reason.

I listen to the Bible on CD while I am driving.  It transforms the time I spend running errands into an encounter with truth and love.  I have noticed things about Jesus and the Bible I have never noticed before.  I have cried and repented and praised Him for His mercy while running to the grocery store.

When I get the chance, usually on a Saturday or Sunday morning, I write down what He has been speaking to me throughout the week.  Then I read my journal over and over again while I eat breakfast the next week. I am reminded of the earth-shaking revelations that have so easily slipped my mind.

I fall asleep recounting all the good things God did for me throughout the day.  I surrender all that I am, and all that I am not.  I rest in the arms of Jesus until some little person needs me.

Being a good mom is not made up of things that I do or the schedule that I keep, but who I am.  Only an active, growing relationship with Jesus will make me like Him and banish the Grumpy Mommy Mornings.  So let us all seek Him, no matter what.

 

Breaking Through to Prosperity

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“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” Isaiah 43:2

I had always found great comfort in this verse during times of trial, knowing that no matter how hard my life got, God would not let the troubles overwhelm me.  Most of these trials have had to do with finances.  How many times can you drive around the same block of “not enough in my bank account” before you realize that you are in the wrong neighborhood and hightail it out of there?  Seemed to me that we had tried a million different paths to a million different locations and always ended up in the same place – that run down, ugly part of town called “Lack”

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otherwise known as “Hope Deferred”

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or “Too many Big Dreams and Not Enough Money.”

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I was praying again for some insight on how to conduct our lives in a way that would lead us to that abundant peace and prosperity that the Bible is always talking about.  Again God gave me Isaiah 43.  But this time I understood it in a very different way.

Perhaps the most dangerous and powerful rivers in this life were not hardships as I had supposed.  Perhaps success, wealth, and the praises of man were far more perilous.  Perhaps the fiercest flames were not that of failure and rejection but that of acceptance and comfort.

My husband, Chris, loves music and had gotten in the habit of watching the TV show “Behind the Music.”  I don’t know very many popular bands, but I could predict the basic story line of almost every show.  A few guys had some talent and big dreams to become rich and famous.  They achieved their dream after varying degrees of time and effort.  They were worshiped by fans. They had enough money to make every desire and whim become a reality.  They had everything they ever wanted…and it just wasn’t enough. They would spiral out of control with excess; drinking, women, and drugs.  Many of them ruined their families and careers.  Some even lost their lives.  The blessed few humbled themselves and got their lives back on track.

What I learned is that quick and easy success is no blessing!  The adoration of fans is no blessing!  Abundant wealth is no blessing…if you do not have the character to handle it…it will destroy you.

If all our dreams came true tomorrow, I wouldn’t become a drug addict.  Chris wouldn’t become a womanizer.  Yet we could become prideful without even realizing it.  We could rejoice in our own wisdom and power.  We might be tempted to lead others to our most excellent way rather than point them to THE WAY.  We might become too comfortable to seek His kingdom first.

I began to read Isiah 43 in a new light.  Chris and I had learned so much through our 19 years of marriage.  How to better budget our money.  How to work as a team.  How to pray and trust God more.  How to leave behind generational curses.  We had made so much progress, yet we still did not see the prosperity that God had promised us.

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Then I heard His still, small voice.

“What is left is for you to do is to seek me and know me more.  Every moment of everyday, take the opportunity to sink your roots deeper into the soil of my love and truth.  I am withholding the mighty river of overwhelming blessing simply because you are not yet ready to handle it. Until your roots are firmly anchored in me, it could sweep you away.”

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I am so thankful that God is keeping me safe from myself.  I am so thankful that his promises mean that someday I will be like Jesus; able to steward great power and responsibility without letting it control me.  Being able to humbly accept both abundance and lack and be content.  I will be able to follow the advice of Rudyard Kipling.

“If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;

If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same.”

Triumph and Disaster and are powerful forces that could consume all that is good in our lives.  Yet if we are already completely consumed by the Lover of Our Souls, those two impostors have no chance at moving us… except deeper into his embrace.

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I Love February!

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I have always loved February.  I know that many people would not agree with that sentiment, especially in frigid Pennsylvania, especially this year.  This could possibly be the coldest February on record with subzero temperatures, ice, and snow.  Yet, I still can say, “Isn’t February lovely?”

My birthday is in February, on the very best day, the 22nd.   That  is also George Washington’s birthday.  As a child, February was full of joyful anticipation of celebration centered around me!  My little head was filled with visions of ice cream cakes, presents, games, and friends…maybe even a pizza party.

There is also Valentine’s Day to brighten things up.  Forget about the silly relationship drama that depresses the immature around this holiday.  Think about the beautiful Victorian images of pretty ladies surrounded by flowers and chubby cherubs holding hearts.  Smell the roses that show up everywhere in February and defy the chill outside.

It is still the middle of winter.  My children don’t even want to play outside because it is too cold.  Yet I can feel spring!  I can feel it in my heart.  All of my 39 Februaries on this earth have given way to spring in March or April.  I have deep confidence that spring will come again because it always has.  Nothing can hold it back!

In fact, it is already here.  I feel it in the morning sunshine that arrives earlier each day.  I hear it in the songs of the birds twittering away as though they had green trees to play in.  Around my birthday each year, the crocus would begin to bloom.  This year I thought that surely they must be delayed.  The ground is still like the frozen tundra.  How could they possibly break through with their tender leaves?

I checked the spot in the soil where they had laid dormant for so long.  And guess what I saw!

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I saw spring!