Wednesday, December 19, 2007

He Comforts Us

Isiah 51:3
"For the LORD shall comfort Zion; HE will comfort all her waste places; and HE will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody"

As a Christian I often find myself in one of two categories. Either on the side of needing comfort or one giving comfort to a friend in need. I'm not sure which one is more difficult. While it is hard to be in a place that I need the prayers and comfort from God and friends, it is just as hard to see those close to us struggling as well.

These last several weeks have had me in a place where as much as I do not like to accept comfort, I needed it. I have seen friends praying, bringing meals, showering me with help to run errands or take my kids. Is it just friends being nice? Partly, however I also believe it is God showing His love and comfort to me through the tangible of friends.

We have been blessed with formula when there was only enough left to make 2 more bottles. Diapers with there were only 2 more left in the bag. Gifts for the kids for Christmas and money to hide away for gas or when another emergency comes our way. I have struggled with decisions my husband has made financially and regardless of mistakes, God still has showed His comfort the the kids and I. I feel so blessed, mentally drained but so loved and blessed. I haven't had the energy to sit at his feet and pray eloquently but He understands my groans of pain.

During this season as I've watched other families go shopping for their kids and enjoy the gifts that they will be able to bless them with, the beautiful decorations and the warm cocoa and seemingly all is happy in the world. This is the season that for the past 3 years we have struggled intensely. Is God trying to get my attention that He came to the world to comfort and wants our kids to know the same? Just a couple of months ago, we were doing ok financially, but the mistakes have caught up.

Thank you Lord for your sovereign wisdom to prune our lives so that we can produce a sweeter, larger and perfected fruit.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Belly of the Whale

1st of all, yuck! And I know yuck. My kids have each had a stomach bug this last 2 weeks one after the other, rather than all at one time they have tag teamed to make sure one of them was always on. So I have seen my fair share of gross things lately.

I would guess that Jonah was thinking the same thing as he sloshed around in belly slime tripping over seaweed and losing his balance with each drive and jump of the ol Moby Dick. He was fearing for his life, wondering if he was going to drown to death or be dissolved in stomach acid.

Yet when he was clearly at the end of all hope he cried out once again "Salvation is of the Lord". He thought these were his last words he would get out, this was "it", his time was up as he gagged on the disgust and saltwater he was suffocating in.

What was wrong with this Jonah cat? He heard God speak directly to him, there was no confusion, no hearing problem. He knew what God commanded him to do. To go to Nineveh and give them, his own countries enemy, one last chance to repent and turn to God or else they were going to be destroyed.

Was Jonah just a coward? No. He was just more concerned for Israel. He didn't want the enemies to be strengthened and so he choose to forfeit his profit status for that of a patriot. He loved his country more than himself. He choose his own wisdom rather than divine instruction. That same loyalty to others made him disobedient to God. How wicked the devil is and how far he will lead people away from God with lies that appear to be wiser than God. Satan will always make the way easy for those who are turning against the commands of our Lord.

Now Allen is not my enemy although at times it feels as if he is. So why do I at times view him as if he were? It's a pride issue. It's a lack of trust in God's ways. It's a arrogant sin in me that Satan can tempt me with just as he did Eve, that I am all knowing.

It took some scary circumstances to bring Jonah to his knees and cry out to the Lord in repentance. Who the Lord loves, He chastises. Oh how we should greatly fear disobedience.

Before we attack Jonah too harshly, don't we at times to the same? God still speaks to us through His Holy Spirit and through God ordained men and through His living word. What in our own lives have we been instructed exactly how to live and yet we choose not to? How many times have we thought we knew better than God?

We are doing a bible/book study on marriage and I will admit the last couple of weeks have been rather stressful at our home. We've had sick kids, a tired momma, and a financially stressed daddy. So where just a couple of weeks ago I felt really good in my marriage, with the onset of all the extra yuck, I noticed a lot of things I didn't like in my husband and in our marriage. Satan was very helpful in pointing out all his faults and then helped me even find justification with my thoughts and then went as far as to help me realize that I really could do OK on my own. After all, I love my children and they don't need to be grumped at all the time and I have feelings and deserve more love and kindness. It all seemed so matter of fact and logical. "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death." Prov 14:12. Not quite the goal I'm trying to reach.

For a couple of hours I happily entertained the thought of turning my back on God's wisdom and my marriage. Choosing to not to capture my thoughts and play the movie of my husband being so broken hearted over his loss that he would beg to me stay and say all the romantic things I long for. I know God's command, I'm in the midst of 2 studies right now on marriage. Not that I was packed and heading out the door, just steaming in my head and heart thinking how lucky he is, how wonderful I am and he is so far from it. Well, I'm not perfect and he's not so far from it.

What verse did I recall when I finally decided to give it over to God and ask for His wisdom and Holy Spirit to fill me with love? James 5:16 "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." Why can't we just forgive and ask God for forgiveness? Why do we have to humble ourselves so much to go to the offended and admit our sins and ask them for forgiveness? I guess the same reason we role play with our children when teaching, to have a lasting effect. Doesn't make it any easier.

What about with my kids? I know that I'm suppose to rebuke, train and love them? How many times do I let something little slide without rebuking them? How many times do I rebuke them only to not train them what they should have done instead? How many times have I failed to rebuke and train them out of love rather than out of my own annoyance and frustration level?

I am a constant mess and I am so thankful that each time I have cried out feeling like I'm choking in my own yuck that God has rescued me. There are times just as Jonah, I have felt Him rescue me and as I'm still gasping for air trying to steady my shaking knees, that He gives me the same command again. No time to waste in getting the message across. Just like a child who has done something wrong. He spanks, hugs and repeats His instruction. I pray that today I have that same grace with my little ones that He has with me. I pray that I will come to fear disobedience far more than I do. I pray that I will be consistant in training my children that disobedience never benefits so that they do not have to struggle as I have with the god of self.

Monday, December 03, 2007

It's alive!

I am alive. I don't know how coherent I am of life right now, just going through the motions. Wyatt has been on 2 medicines in the past month for ear infections and seems to be better now. Each of the kids have had a bug...fever for 5 days, stomach yuck and then ends in a cold and coughing. Not all at one time, just one after the other, so we are on week 4 with Makensie just about done with her fight and Brian just starting his. I hope that maybe Brian's won't be as bad since his fever has only been slight the last 2 days.

My sister Gina, my niece Maggie, a friend and her daughter, Makensie and I all went to the Hannah Montana concert in Little Rock on Saturday. Makensie was sick but we weren't missing it. We all had so much fun. Had to stop a couple of times on the way home for fresh air and emptying the puke bucket but we made it. I had a headache yesterday. Excited little girls on sugar highs can scream really loud!

I'll attempt to post some pictures, you know how well skilled I am at that though.


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