Archive: August, 2012

Encouragement for YOU!

 

Hello dear sisters, 

My husband is out of town for business this week and that means that things at the Avery house are slightly upside down.

I don’t sleep great while he’s gone. My fears do get the best of me in the darkness.

When he is away for three or more days like this each of my little darlings gets to take a turn sleeping with me and they are just so very smothering  cuddly… really I do love it!

The TV stays on at night… even if it’s turned way down.. it stays on for comfort. I wake up every hour at least and well, then as a result I sleep late in the morning.

School barely gets done and sadly the house just falls apart at the seams. I thought about posting a picture of our den to show you, but quickly decided that the one above would do just fine!

Thankfully, my husband gets home tonight and in time for dinner and I’m so glad! I’m making one of his favorites: Green Curry Chicken. 

On top of it all his parents are coming on Friday to visit, which is absolutely a wonderful thing, it just means that I have to get it into gear, like now.

So, in light of my needing to get our upside down-ness back into upside right-ness I am sharing a couple of posts that really blessed my heart this week. Maybe there is something here just for you too…

When You’ve Lost respect for Your Husband by Joelene Engle

25 Ways to Communicate Respect by Jennifer Flanders

When You’ve been Waiting for an Answer… and Life Seems Quiet by Ann Voskamp

and just today… The Battle Against Lies by Christina Fox.

Praying one or all of these offers the Lord’s greatest encouragement to you!

Have a wonderful Labor Day Weekend!

 

 

 

Counting My Blessings

For some reason I frequently need the reminder that’s packed in this little poem.

I tend to follow the feelings of my natural self and fall into each and every one of the negatives listed above. This discourages me.  And while I’d rather not go there at all… I am noticing that the time it takes for me to get back over to the positive side… the counting my blessings side… is decreasing.

Praising Him for this and reflecting on His many gifts to me…

visit from sister-in-law and nephew

upcoming visit from husband’s parents

upcoming cruise with family

discovering wisdom in His Word

when littlest darling prays and says… “I feel like I’m going to burst with joy”

the way oldest darling comes up behind me and gives me squeeze hugs for no reason at all

mr. man’s sweet little kiss on my cheek in the morning while I sleep… he’s my early riser

cooler days

friendship that just sweetens over the miles

healthy and delicious recipes from www.skinnytaste.com

new workout/running shoes

a phone call from an old friend

husband who desires to lead and love us with God as his guide

giving up my worries and feeling His peace

Praying that today you find yourself counting the sweet blessings in your life too!

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And the Winners Are…

The two winners by random drawing are… Erin and Naomi! Please email me your addresses and our new book “Nehemiah” will be sent directly to you!

Boo- Boos and Band-Aids

Last month, I took in two precious girls who were homeless. After a week and a half of treating them as my own, they returned to their family. I wrestled with the question, how do you raise a child as your own and then say good-bye? I guess because you know God ordained their family to be another. But somehow that doesn’t make it any easier.

A few days ago I pick up the girls again. Only this time, it’s just for an overnight pajama party. The five play outside on swings. One of the girls scrapes her leg on the slide. She comes running in with bubbly tears flopping over her face.

“I have a boo-boo, will you fix it?”

As I wash the gash and cover it with a pink-neon band-aid she looks at me and says, “I knew you would come. I knew you would fix me.” I cup my hands around her five year old face and reply, “Jesus loves you. You’re His girl. He will always come. He will always be there to help.”

I wish she had said “thank you.” But as I look into her blue eyes I know why she didn’t: because she expected me to make it all better. She knew I would stick a bandage over the mess and everything would be okay. Her trust is much better than a thank you.

I constantly see these children’s blind faith~ faith they will be taking care of, faith there will be Neosporin and band-aids in the cabinet. This blind faith makes me long for my faith in the Lord to be so trusting.

He will come. I am waiting for him.

He will take care of me. My expectation is in Him.

He will bandage my wounds, bind my broken heart, and bring medicine or whatever else is needed.

I take the girls home the following day…back to the dirty one room motel where they stay. I sense God in the midst of crying, sweat, and chaos. He’s tapping on my heart, reminding me of one thing. He is coming to take the pain away, to mend the wounds, to cup our faces into his hands and whisper, “I am always here, I am here with you now.” These children with no clothes, no food will be scooped into His everlasting arms and told they are His, and that’s all that matters.

As I watch the girls skip across the sizzling parking lot I know.

These are the least of these,

They are God’s heart,

They are God’s children,

And he is coming for them and for us.

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Donations, Disciples, and a Giveaway

*Leave a comment and enter a drawing to win our new Bible Study Book, “Nehemiah” By Kelly Minter.

*     *     *     *

“Every element of self reliance must be slain by the power of God. Complete weakness and dependence will always be the occasion for the Spirit of God to manifest his power,”

~ Oswald Chambers. 

I wiggle into the safety of my covers. I sense my own failure to recognize Jesus in the small. I notice now and then but sometimes it eludes me like forgotten items on my grocery list.  I get so busy recounting my losses, then determining “to do” better, that I miss His capability inside me. I don’t allow His power to manifest.

 I settle. 

I slosh about in a pool of my own limitations.

 An idea, an answer jerks me awake. Like a flame from a burning question suddenly extinguishes.

 The answer: sometimes I am tempted to do everything but make disciples. I’m tempted to put on a great conference for other Christian women. I’m tempted to deliver groceries to those in need. I’m tempted by millions of lukewarm ideas all the while side-stepping what God intends for me (us) to do ~ to take the Gospel to as many people as possible. 

A few days later I unload the dishwasher. As steam billows from the machine I wonder, “How will we pull this off?” Will we have the necessary donations to take groceries to people at the Castaway Motel on Wednesday? If not, we may have to hang this thing up. I feel like slapping my own wrist as I pen this sentence. As if the Gospel is or will ever be dependent on groceries?

This Gospel is perfect. 

It stands on its own. 

It doesn’t tuck itself neatly inside a brown paper bag alongside meat and potatoes. 

It doesn’t need groceries, clothing, medical supplies, or legal advice to change a heart. 

My lesson hidden in between is this: spreading the Gospel doesn’t require a lot of money, a fancy building, mass donations, or an abundance of bread and milk; it requires a heart willing to impact the world for the glory of Christ. 

Period.

 My sweet sisters and I don’t need any other reason to high-tail-it down to the Castaway Motel other than sharing Christ with our neighbors. Sharing the life, death, and resurrection of my Jesus to save sinners from the wrath of a Holy God is enough. 

Don’t you think? 

Sure, the residents may be disappointed with our message of repent and believe as opposed to a Wal-Mart bag of goodies, but they’ll get over it once they’ve found eternity. 

Whenever I’m tempted to mistake His capability inside me, I must remind myself of one thing. When mouths are open and Gospel comes out, divine power comes out too. The Word gives life and makes people new. 

My confidence, your confidence doesn’t come from serving a spaghetti dinner, it doesn’t come from providing second hand clothes…. It comes from the Gospel all by itself. Have confidence in that. Trust it. Share it. The possibilities are endless. 

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Sweet Love

My six and eight year old are often inseparable. They play and play and play. He helps her with her school work and gives in to her ideas and plans in ways that truly surprise me. She doesn’t always make it easy. But, He loves her. And, she loves him right back just as much.

When she’s sad or hurt he’s the first one to comfort her. Many times he comes in with his most prized possession and offers it up just to cheer her up.Yesterday, they spent most of the day climbing a tree outside and last night before bed I found them pictured above.

Sweet. Love. 

Loving your neighbor isn’t always easy. And when your neighbor is your sibling… even harder, I think. But, when you just give in to it… as my darling boy does… you find a joy that you might have missed otherwise.

My son extends his heart in generosity and kindness to others so easily and not just to his sister. It not only blesses me, but it convicts and encourages me at the same time. I think we make it too hard. We want things our own way. But in order to truly love others we have to meet them where they’re at.

This morning my son tried to teach his little sister how to play his favorite card game. She quickly gave up in frustration. You see he tried to bring her up to his eight year old level… and she’s only six. It didn’t work. He soon went back to her with the idea of go-fish… back to her level.

That’s the key I think… giving ourselves up for the needs of others. Our time. Our ideas. Our plans. Even our enjoyment… to meet the needs of someone else. That’s love.

Praying that you are loving someone today even when it’s hard. That you’re seeking God for strength to continue on in that love endeavor and giving yourself up sacrificially. You’ll reap sweet blessings… that’s for sure.

*Linking up with Shari at Leaving a Legacy.

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Because It Is Mine

When the storm clouds gather…

I tend to gather myself up and run fast and far away. 

It’s when fear pounds hard like heavy rain…

and the tears fall free and unrelenting.

I confess: sometimes I think You forget…

that You may have given me up.

That’s when David’s song…

sweetly serenades over me…

In you, Lord my God,
I put my trust.

I trust in you; 
do not let me be put to shame,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.

~Psalm 25 1-2

 I remember, even though I feel trapped and afraid in this moment…

that the moment will end and my Faith will rise… I do trust in You.

You are my own Lord and my own God…

The very God who sees me and hears my cry.

And the melody plays on for my wounded heart…

Turn to me and be gracious to me, 
for I am lonely and afflicted.
Relieve the troubles of my heart
and free me from my anguish.
Look on my affliction and my distress
and take away all my sins.
See how numerous are my enemies
and how fiercely they hate me!

~Psalm 25:16-17

It is just that intense sometimes.

David felt it. I feel it too.

And I sit in wonder over my enemy…

so very different from his.

Aside for the devil himself, who is it that threatens me?

But, then I know …

often… it is just me.

Getting in the way of…

You.

And I join in the singing with David, praying his prayer…

Guard my life and rescue me; 
do not let me be put to shame,
for I take refuge in you.
May integrity and uprightness protect me,
because my hope, Lord, is in you.

~Psalm 25:20-21

Then I fall in a little further…

into You… under your protection.

And Your hope inflates full within me…

because it is mine. 

*Linking up with Eileen at The Scenic Route for…

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White as Snow

 

“When did you give your life to the Lord?”, our Bible study leader asks the two homeless women we have been entrusted with to share the Good News.  As the six of us ladies from six very different pasts come together, one thing becomes clear-we have much in common.

One opens her heart and brings us to tears as she shares trying to get off meth, white-knuckling it, begging God as she fell to her knees on a lonely street in downtown Reno, “Lord, I can’t do it anymore-you take over!”.  The other shares how she gave her life to the Lord as a young girl but feels that because of her sins the Lord is too ashamed of her and all hope is gone for her.

I sit there, tears streaming down my eyes, wanting to burst out of my seat, eager to say, “I’m just like you!”.  Eager to offer hope.  Real-life hope.  Not textbook-like hope that won’t sink in.  The Holy Sprit encourages me, “You go girl!  Tell your story.” and I think of how Satan will have a field day if I keep this secret in.  Satan accuses, “What will they think of you?” and the Holy Spirit encourages, “Who cares what they think of you, what matters is what they think of God!”

I ask the group for a moment to share.

I’m 38 today.  I gave my life to the Lord at 13.  I became ensnared by post-partum depression at age 33.  I turned from God and turned to alcohol.  I landed in jail after driving intoxicated.  3 times.  It was in that cell six months ago that I gave my life to the Lord-AGAIN.  With a peace that passes all understanding, I felt new, reborn.  I knew that Christ’s love and His death covered my sins.  I knew one of God’s great promises was true for me.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come; The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

I woke up after that night of surrender and looked out of a small jail cell window and the whole earth was covered in the first snow.  All was white.  I heard God whisper, “My sweet child, you are white as snow”.  Today I celebrate 6 months of sobriety.  And I celebrate Satan being crushed!

Even after my testimony, with her head bowed down in shame, she says she is worse than me.  She has done awful things in her past.  God must be so disappointed in her.  I challenge her and encourage her.  I say, “God is doing flips in heaven, saying there’s my girl!  My sweet girl is coming home!  I’ve been waiting for you!”.  Just like He did in that jail cell with me.

Can we be so BAD that God’s GOOD can’t reach us, can’t redeem us?  The Gospel says no! When we repent, confess, and turn from Satan’s lies, we are white as snow.  I am going to live in the victory of that promise being true!

“Learn to do right; seek justice.  Defend the oppressed.  Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.  “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, 
they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land.” (Isaiah 1:17-19)

Glorifying God with You,

Erin