Archive: January, 2011

A Week Dedicated to YOU



(This frog is sick and tired!)



I love the quote “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.” Have you heard a stressed out mama ever say that?
I don’t know about y’all but I am sick and tired of Satan weaseling his way into my life and stealing my spiritual joy! I’m worn out from Satan’s sarcastic snarls of doubt that seem to knock the wind out of me at every turn. He’s like the annoying dinner guest that just won’t leave. Do you know what I mean?
I’m tired of the Evil One showcasing my mistakes, reminding me of my shortcomings, making me feel worthless, and telling me I don’t belong to God.
These guilty feelings are wearing me out. Guilty feelings because once again I overslept the alarm-clock; I didn’t get up and read my Bible like I wanted to; I didn’t fold the laundry in time and now I have to wash the clothes again; I raised my voice when I shouldn’t have; I’m not self-controlled like I want to be; and maybe I stopped for My Little Pony Happy Meals one too many times this week.
Guilty as charged, sweet sisters!
So, I am dedicating this week to making us grace girls feel special, loved, and set apart. It’s high time we did, don’t you think?
Do you remember those “I am Loved” buttons? I think they were popular in Middle School. Middle School — such a great time to slap that button on your shirt. Did anyone else think Middle School was awkward? I think only my parents loved me at that age!
Anyway, this button is my inspiration for the week.

I am loved. You are loved. We are loved by God.

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HOPE = JESUS

My husband deals with a great burden in this world. He is the sole provider of a family of 5 and it’s a huge responsibility. He’s a business owner, so not only does he bear the burden of providing financially for us, but he also carries that responsibility for each of the families that work with and for him. 
He hopes for success. 
He hopes for financial security.
I’ve found myself hoping for the same thing just so his affliction would be lifted. My hope is for him to be released from those stresses because it’s what wears him down the most.
My personal hopes come packaged in the wellbeing of my children.

I hope I’m a good mom. 


I hope I’m doing all I can to raise them up to be happy, healthy, smart and God fearing children.
While it’s my most treasured blessing to be their mom, just like my husband’s job it is also sometimes burdensome bearing this volatile responsibility of raising them. There are endless hopes that I have for them, not to mention all the dreams they don’t even have yet, I hope for those too.


These are the things I am hoping for today.

They are the things that are on my mind on a daily basis. However, it never fails, just as these all important hopes settle there in the forefront of my mind I also sense the calming presence of the Spirit and the all familiar feel of conviction gently impressed upon my heart. With that my mind effortlessly shifts to the one true hope that I can be sure of. 

The hope I have in my Jesus.

The hope I have in the promise of His return.

The hope I have in my eternal security in Heaven. 

The success of my husband’s business is uncertain. The wellbeing of my children is unforeseeable. 

But, Jesus? 

This is hope I can count on. This is the hope that I dwell on. All other hopes are at risk, but THIS hope is mine already.

Is it wrong for me to have hopes in this world?
Of course not.

God has great plans through our hopes and dreams; he often blesses us with those very hopes and dreams. However, they were never meant to replace the hope we have in Jesus.

The ever-present hopes of our flesh and the eternal hope of our soul are in battle daily. It takes great discipline to keep our eyes fixed on the hope we have in Jesus. It’s challenging, but it’s also where we discover peace in His answers and contentment in our lives just as they are.

 “But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.” 
Psalm 39:7

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GUEST POST: Beauty, by Dawna

I have a confession to make: I recently sought the opinion of three beauty experts. 


Now, before you go and pass any judgment let me explain. I am like so many of my dear weary sisters that feel inferior in the beauty department. But, I have recently had a change of heart all because of one beautiful women. 

You know her, we have all met “her.” She’s the pretty one in the room, but this time she was different because she was real. It started when I attended my first book club. I walked in and there “SHE” was, Beautiful, Striking, the kind of awesome beauty that makes you stare, you just can’t help it! 


I was pondering her beauty on the drive home, “What makes her so appealing?” I knew instantly that she was not “Cosmo” material or next up for a Runway model position, no those girls have nothing compared to the lady I sat across from. 

That led me on a quest to seek professional help, to find the answer to the question we have asked many times “what is beauty?” 

So, I dialed up– I prayed and asked God, The son, and the Holy Spirit, to show me and teach me beauty. This, my dear sisters I highly recommend you ask! The beauty that God showed me you can not acquire at any Surgical or Dermatological office, Salon or Spa. I would love to go into great detail about all the countless convictions that I received, however this is a short story, one of individual reflection, and one I believe, we all need to take to heart. 

You see when I looked upon this lovely woman I was not just seeing a beautiful shell of a body; I was witnessing the Glory of the Lord shining through a dear sister. What I saw in her was Love, Peace, Faithfulness, Joy, Goodness, Patience, Self control, and Kindness. Sound familiar? Turns out fruits are a great beauty agent. 

Ezekiel put it this way…

 “because the splendor I had given you made your 
beauty perfect, declares the Sovereign LORD.”  
(Ezekiel 16:14, NIV)

The definition of Splendor reads– Magnificent appearance or display; grandeur. The verdict is simply the fruits of the spirit, and Gods splendor manifests into outward beauty. 

We dear sisters can be indwelt with THE Magnificent, the very essence of beauty, the Creator of beauty; we have been given His splendor and are in the process of being perfected. 

So, the next time Satan whispers that you don’t measure up, I want you to do something– tell Satan he is a LIAR! Go ahead say it out loud; we know we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14 NIV).

Do not fall for the false measurement of this world, look to the ONLY Expert, GOD. 


Now, with all that being said take pride, and take hold of his gift and make people stare!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 
Dawna is a dear, sweet sister in the Lord who is following His lead to write her heart. She is a treasure hunting, God lovin’ woman. Wife, Mother, Cook, Hiker, Hunter, Runner, and Chocolate Lover!! Praise Jesus!

Confessions of a Diet Addict

As a young teen I am thin and blissfully unaware of my weight. Far from confident mind you, but the imperfection of my size is still left undiscovered.
Just shy of my 20’s a trusted someone tells me that I better keep an eye on my thighs. And so I did. I found them staring painfully back at me in the mirror. Screaming: You’re fat! And, I believe it. 
From there I compare myself. A desperate search goes out for any sign that I am acceptable “as is.” A girl without God looks to magazines, TV, billboards, anywhere to find her visual value and I came up short every time.
And that’s how I became her: The Diet Addict
You name it I’ve probably tried it. There are more, but here’s a good list…
Metabolife
The dreaded Cabbage Soup diet
The Hollywood diet
3-day diet
10-day diet
Atkins
Hoodia
Alli
Weight Watchers
Prescription drugs: Pondimin/Fastin/Phentermine (my favorites!)
And they are all at my finger-tips and all work… for awhile.
I’m the one who is 20-25 pounds over-weight, diets for 6 weeks, loses it, then turns around and gains it right back. It’s a vicious cycle of insanity. I have 3 sizes of clothing in my closet. The only thing that changes is the diet. Never me.
I love food too much to not eat it or to throw it back up. Thus, I am pitifully crowned THE Yo-Yo Diet Queen.
And, it so makes me weary. Seriously, I don’t want to do it anymore. Just last year I felt God sweetly whisper into my heart a single question: “Why do you do this?” along with a follow-up comment: “Because it’s not for Me.” The words of Isaiah 43:18-19 invade my mind…
“Forget the former things; 

   do not dwell on the past. 

See, I am doing a new thing! 

   Now it springs up; 
do you not perceive it?” 

And, just as Jesus does, I notice something new stirring inside of me. A deep desire supernaturally develops to abandon the 20-year eating and dieting habits that imprison me. 
Just like I mentioned in yesterday’s post I must “unlearn what I have learned” and allow God to guide me down a healthier path. As a result my reasons for losing weight have changed…
A healthy me is more effective for the work of the Kingdom.

A healthy me is a good example to her children.

A healthy me is happier in the area of intimacy with her husband.

And, a healthy me brings glory to His name for rescuing me once again from myself.
Praise Jesus because for the first time I am using scripture instead prescriptions to curb my hunger. I’m running to Him for my comfort and leaving the food in the fridge. 
Getting healthy doesn’t come without a plan, so along with a lot of you I am reading Made to Crave and another book called Thin Within. I follow Weight Watchers because it’s not about a diet, it’s about making good choices and portion control and I need help with that.
As an adult, just shy of 40 I’m learning to listen to my stomach when it’s hungry… not my heart and especially not my head because they deceive me so. I’m seeing myself through the eyes of my Creator, not in front of a mirror, but in His word and in His presence. I am satisfied like never before and it feels good.
So, in celebration of the New Thing that He is doing I am participating in Tasty Tuesday for the first time! I I love to cook and since I am on a new journey in cooking I thought I’d share a couple of healthy recipes that we enjoy.
An amazingly, wonderful Weight Watchers friendly recipe site is www.skinnytaste.com she takes real recipes, lightens them up and gives you the point values by portion! I’ve tried many of her things and I’m not kidding you… they ALL taste just as terrific as her pictures look. Here are two of my favs…

Happy, healthy eating!


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Try Not… Do

Last night we watched “Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back” with our kids and a particular scene deeply impacted me. 


Luke is training to be a Jedi with Master Yoda in the murky, swamps of the planet Dagobah. He is in an impressive handstand with Yoda balanced on his feet attempting to use the force to move stones when out of the corner of his eye he notices his ship quickly sinking into the dark waters. Luke loses his concentration. The stones and Yoda fall bluntly to the ground. You can scroll down to watch the clip at the bottom or just read the dialogue here…

LUKE: “Oh, no!  We’ll never get it (the ship) out now!”

YODA: “So certain are you.” “Always with you what cannot be done.” “Do you nothing that I say.”


LUKE: “Master, moving stones around is one thing, this is totally different!”

YODA: “NO! No different, only different in your mind!” “You must unlearn what you have learned.”

LUKE: “Alright, I’ll give it a try.”

YODA: “NO!” “Try Not.” “Do or do not.”

So, Luke gives it a try and fails. He says, “I can’t do it, it’s too big!” Yoda scolds him, “Size matters not!” He goes on to discuss in depth that the force is his ally and its energy is felt all around him and a very frustrated Luke claims, “You want the impossible!” 


Of course Yoda uses the force to lift the ship out and move it to solid ground.  Luke responds, “I don’t believe it,” and the scene comes to an end when Yoda profoundly tells him, “That is why you fail.”

So, why the “Star Wars” recap on a Monday?

Because, I relate. I go off attempting to fix my problems in my own strength and I fail. I give up. Call it quits and claim that it’s impossible. I have that very same conversation above, not with Yoda of course, but with God over my own challenges. 


How about you? Are you facing circumstances in your life that require change in you that right now looks  hopeless? 

I want to encourage us that while we don’t have “the force” to change our circumstances we do have FAITH in an Almighty and all-powerful God.
We have real reason to believe that with God we will experience victory!

Jesus tells us…



“Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart.  I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.” Mark 11:22-25 (NLT)
Like Luke, we must “unlearn what we have learned.” The lies that we have believed for so  long only bring us defeat and have kept us trapped by our circumstances. We cannot look at the size of our mess to determine our outcome. Size matters not to us because of Him!


We have to take what we can’t do to the One who can do. 

He is our greatest ally.

So, I invite you to join me in putting on a fresh attitude today:
Try Not… Do. 
May the Faith be with you!

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Our God is Bigger Than…

Eileen and Kelli Blog swap!

When Kelli asked me if I wanted to blog swap, I began praying for a topic I could write on. My personal desire was to share something new and fresh, an original never before addressed topic! The other morning as I was driving into town, (this is where I tend to have my most rewarding talks with God by the way) I was asking the Lord what I should share. The words that came to me were…

God is big.

And, of course, I answered God by responding, Yes, Lord, but I talk about that all the time. People have heard that phrase so many times. What could I write about instead? You know, something new and fresh, Lord. Something I haven’t written about yet.

God is big.

And again, I argued with the Lord. Yes Lord, but like I said, haven’t people heard this enough? Don’t people already know this? Then I heard this…

Eileen, how many times did you have to hear it before you truly believed it and decided to apply it to your life and your situation? And how many times throughout your day do you tend to forget this and I need to remind you?

Well, Lord, you got me there.

Several years ago, while I was sitting in church one Sunday morning, our Pastor was talking about the subject of God being big. As he began his message I remember thinking, yeah, yeah, yeah, I already know this… God is big, I am small. I had heard this phrase a thousand times throughout my life.

But then, at one point during the message our Pastor made this statement.

God is bigger than____________.

The point was for us to fill in the blank with whatever problem/struggle we might be holding on to. For some reason, this statement got my attention and I was instantly aware of how I needed to finish that statement.

God is BIGGER than… my drinking problem.

At that very moment, the light came on in my heart and I started to understand something that had been missing in my relationship with the Lord. I was failing to recognize God’s greatness in my life. I was restraining His power in my life because in my mind God had never been big enough. For years, the words “God is big” were simply that…words. I was restraining Him from doing what He could do by not trusting with all my heart that he was indeed bigger than this area of captivity.

Over the next several months, God became bigger in my life. During the whole journey, I found myself repeating this phrase over and over, God is bigger than my addiction to drinking. The battle was not easy and there were even days when I would come face to face with my weakness and with my enemy. I would stand in the fighting ring with my Savior and confidently choose to stand my ground…

“…back off Buddy, you don’t know who you’re messing with. I’ve got the KING Of ALL KINGS fighting in my corner. And He will crush you!

And you know what…He did! When I finally handed over the gloves to this fight to my Redeemer I watched Him fight this particular fight for me.

I think we often forget that we have access to God’s greatness and to His power every moment of every day. Everyday when we face struggles (big or small) we need to remind ourselves that

God is bigger than (you fill in the blank).

I love how The Message translates God’s greatness.

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.–Ephesians 3: 20-21

In what areas of your life do you need to give God permission to fight the battle for you?

What is holding you captive today?

Are you beating yourself up for past regrets and mistakes?

Does the uncertainity of tomorrow have you worried or fearful?

Are you trapped in a cycle of addiction?

Are you holding onto bitterness from a betrayal?

The God we serve is bigger than every problem that we will encounter today. Step aside and give Him permission to fight the battle for you!

A special thanks to Eileen for blog swapping today! Please go visit her at http://eileenknowles.blogspot.com/ for daily encouragement.

About the Author:
Eileen Knowles is a small town Arizona girl who now lives in small town North Carolina with her husband, Roger and their seven-year old son. When she is not working part-time loving on animals at the local animal hospital, she leads women’s bible study at her church and writes about how cool it is to journey through life with Jesus holding her hand.

Are You Satisfied?

Little glances over your shoulder and there they are. You reach for a pack of peanut M&M’s and there they are. Everywhere we look there they are—the chiseled, barely clothed, airbrushed bodies covering weight loss magazines. Are they there to make curvy girls feel abnormal? Are they there to pass judgment on the chocolate chip cookie dough moving across the scanner?

Can’t a sister just pull her cartoon-shaped buggy up to the grocery counter, throw down her not-so-good-for-her treats, and drive away guilt-free? Ahem and Amen?

I tell myself I don’t care. I roll my eyes and think, “I’m eating the cookie dough anyway.” But honestly, I walk away feeling less than satisfied–Less than satisfied with myself; and less than satisfied with the cookie dough (I’m about to unroll and eat in my car).

People can’t satisfy us. Food can’t satisfy us. Possessions can’t satisfy us. Body image will never satisfy us.

God is the only one who can bring satisfaction to an unsatisfied soul.

Dr. John Piper’s motto is “God is MOST glorified in us when we are MOST satisfied in Him.”

Are you satisfied in Him, just Him, and only Him?

All the weight loss gurus explain that when we eat, we should stop before feeling too full. We eat just enough to be somewhat satisfied. This is difficult when temptation-on-a-stick is starring at us from the plate below.

With God, there is no holding back. There is no pacing ourselves. We can indulge in Him all we want to. We can gorge our unsatisfied stomachs with the decadence of God’s Holy Word until we are full, full, full. Then and only then, will we be satisfied.

Let’s say it together, girls…“I WILL be satisfied with Your presence,” ~Psalm 17:15 (HCSB, emphasis added).

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This post was written in response to WFW at Internet Cafe Devotions




Wondering About You…

I’m thinking about YOU today.

Are you anticipating your week? Wondering how you’ll get it all done?

Whether you’ll be able to keep all those appointments?

Whether you’ll have time to prepare all those sit down dinners?

I’m wondering what you’re anxious about today?

Are you thinking that Phil 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything,” is one of those “yeah but,” verses. Yeah but, does anyone really do this? Yeah but, how can God expect me not to be anxious about anything?”

You say, I’m tired of worrying, but I just can’t stop.

God whispers, “You can trust me.”

STOP. STOP IT. STOP NOW!

Stop your worrying and obsessing about things only I have control over.

Don’t be anxious anymore. Don’t you know THIS is my command?

Don’t you believe I can get the job done?

I’ll take care of it. I’ve already written the ending to this story.

Let it go.

Even though you think your problem is big, your issues don’t match up to the cross.

Go play and rejoice in me. Tell everyone about Me. Tell everyone what a great daddy you have–A heavenly daddy that takes the worry away.

When you trust me, I will take your worry and replace it with my peace, my love, my hope, and my joy.

Don’t you know what I want for you?

I want your mind to dwell on things that are excellent, lovely, pure, and praise worthy. Are you doing this right now?

I don’t want you to stare at your problems. That only makes things worse. Dwelling on your problems, glorifies your problems. Dwelling on me, brings glory to MY Name and satisfaction to YOU.

Don’t you remember that with me you can do ALL things (see Phil. 4:13)?

So girls, the next time worry creeps into our day, our week, our month, we’ll say…

“Here’s my problem God. I know you’ll do what’s best. I trust you to handle the big and the small. I WILL allow my worry to shape my prayers, not my fears. I will rejoice over the fact that I gave my worry to you and I don’t have to carry it anymore.”

Because THIS is how our daddy wants His baby girls to live.
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Sometimes It Feels Good to Get Mad

Today is a day I actually take a shower, comb my hair, and apply extended lash mascara. Even though I appear “put together,” I have been battling health issues and I don’t feel very good. The antibiotics make my skin itchy and my stomach queasy. I press forward anyway, because that’s what mamas have to do.

I unload the girls, hustle them into school, and return to my car. The sun is blaring, my three year old is fussing, and did I mention I wasn’t feeling great? I backup and crash…bang! I hear my bumper crinkling against someone else’s. Oh yes, sweet sisters, I backed into another mama’s car at 8:35 a.m. Perfect!

God, can’t I just go back to bed and start over?

Later, I sit in my scuffed up car and wipe the tears from my eyes. I unload. I scream. I wail. If there had been more room, I may have kicked my legs too. A 36 year old tantrum isn’t pretty but it feels good.

I look in my rear-view mirror. What do I notice first? My over-exaggerated anger, my mascara stained face, or perhaps just a girl who enjoys getting mad.

To be brutally honest, I threw an all out hissy fit in my car.

“Restraining her is like restraining the wind,” (Proverbs 27:16).

Definition of hissy fit— tossing up hands, clenching a fist or two, full on neck jerks, a crimson colored face, and perhaps even a grinding jaw …sounds scary, don’t you think? Somehow in a matter of minutes, I change from frazzled to ferocious.

Don’t y’all miss those lunch-box-days where we could get away with pitching fits and no one cared? Sure, we may have gotten a swift kick in the pants, but no one was scarred for life. Now as an adult, I have to set the example, be the example, and live out the example–no more fits allowed.

I felt God whisper, “Throw on your armor. Reject the hissy fit. Recite the verse…”

“Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back,”(Proverbs 29:11).

If you are like me, even a little bit, then getting mad sometimes feels good. When the world throws dirt balls in your face and you just can’t take it anymore, how do you react? I’m usually a bit more composed but a girl can only take so much. Even grace girls have limits.

I don’t want to be a rambunctious fool—I do want to be the quiet, wise one this time. I wipe away the gloppy black mascara with my McDonald’s napkin that still smells like French fries and drive home.

Do you sometimes struggle with anger? What helps you?

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Martha: She Loved Him Too

Yesterday I wrote about Martha and how her “busy” got her into all kinds of trouble with Jesus. If you missed it you can click here to catch up. Today I am revisiting poor, misunderstood Martha because she’s gotten a pretty bad rap and I think she’s earned a little sister love.

Oh how I wish we could see the next scene in the story, don’t you? Did she stop right there and join her sister at the feet of Jesus? How humbling. Or, did she run off in tears back to the kitchen? I can relate to that too. I’m so rooting for her; I’m sure she made the right choice!

But, back to her defense… I don’t think for one second that she intentionally did the wrong thing. In fact, I am certain that she thought she was doing the right the thing. I would bet that she was nervous, yes, but also excited that “she” got to prepare dinner for Jesus! After all, and I speak from experience… a lot of thoughtful care and attention goes into crafting a meal for someone you love. I am sure she reveled at the idea of sitting around the table together breaking bread and conversing about all things biblical. This is when she would watch Him eat what she had lovingly made for Him and hang on His every word. And, after she clears the table, cleans the dishes and puts them away, then she’d get to sit at His feet. I think she must have had it all perfectly planned out in her head.

Let’s get honest, haven’t we all done that? Had the best made plans and yet they just didn’t play out quite as we had hoped? And, haven’t we all put God off, saying… “I just need to get this one thing done and then I’ll get to you.” But, then life took much longer; the job was bigger and more taxing than we had thought. People that were going help didn’t (i.e. Mary) and we just miss our chance. But, does that suggest that we don’t love Him? No… it doesn’t; it just shows that we need a little discipline because we still have a lot to learn. And, isn’t it great news that He’s not finished with us yet?

Now, I am not pointing the finger at Mary either, she absolutely did the right thing. I’m rather just extending a little grace to dear Martha, because just like us she made a mistake and just like us… she loved Him too.

“My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline,

and don’t give up when he corrects you.
For the Lord disciplines those he loves,
and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.

Hebrews 12:5-6

*Martha: She Loved Him Too is also featured today at Everyday Christian.


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