Who do I know?

“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” ~Phil. 3:8
Just a thought from Him — if I seek to know Him and follow Him, I must immediately realize that the intimacy He offers is for RIGHT where I am. So my 8 children and my husband are the areas where God will grow my intimacy with Him the most. So He doesn’t want me just “surviving” even 1 hour. He wants me intimately right here dependent fully on Him. How practically does this play out for me?

~when my children are fussing, He wants me depending on His patience

~when my teen wants to be disrespectful, I am to seek His face before I respond

~when i don’t understand the little one’s potty choices, He has the wisdom for the crisis

~when the infant won’t sleep, He has the answers for sleep and the strength to walk the day out completely exhausted

~when I have more laundry, cooking, cleaning, errands than I can imagine, I am to rest in Him and set my my eyes on Him

~when my husband hurts my feelings or exasperates me, I am to run to the One who always meets my expectations

He alone knows all things, He alone has dealt with all sin, He alone commands respect. So either I survive doing my “best,” or I grasp hold of His righteousness and consider all my efforts loss and rubbish. Paul said it so clearly in Philippians 3:4-11- His Lordship, knowing Him is so great, gaining Him as a mother is true power, true righteousness, and therefore true faith. Can faith really grow apart from this decision that all I do must be nothing?
verse 7- “whatever was to my profit” — what do I attribute to my profit? my intelligence, my skills, my personality, my wallet, my husband, my children — all which I very easily can declare as pointing to my pedigree of goodness or worthiness just like Paul references in verses 4-6. But all of this is loss for Jesus. In fact everything about me is a loss compared to the greatness of knowing Christ Jesus. Either I spend my day seeking to summon up whatever skill set is needed or I remember the cross. For at the cross all expectations for my behavior and all that I have to offer was proven insufficient and worthy of destruction. Jesus alone offers everything I need for life and so therefore He alone offers all I need for today.

The surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord – Do I get how far above everything else it is to know you Jesus? Do I stop just on the other side of the cross, knowing you for salvation and knowing me for the day to day challenges? For you Lord I want to lose all things. Lord show me how to do this, how to change my perspective that I may gain more of You. I so want to know you more intimately, to follow you and be your light here.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-cross-has-the-final-word/id1207122501?i=1207122505

Call to Me

Thus says the LORD who made the earth, the LORD who formed it to establish it –the LORD is his name: Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”~Jer. 33:3

How many times have I stood in a situation or walked away from some interaction with one of my children and thought, “I have no idea what to do?” I have no idea how to discipline, encourage, love or shepherd that child right now in this moment. And most of the time then my next thoughts will begin to list all the problems that child has, all the ways he or she needs to change or be different that would help me parent them. “He needs to be more kind; she is so focused on herself; he needs to be more organized, more obedient, more helpful, more truthful.” the list can go on and on in my head. Or sometimes I have no idea why that child is behaving – I promise you, there have been many potty trained toddlers who suddenly were no longer trained and many sleeping babies who stopped sleeping for no apparent reason and many moody older kids! But God issues an invitation to pray – To come before Him, seek Him for the truth of my next step.
Praying is not an easy step for me. I just want to have the solution and be done. So often I have scrambled for methods, solutions, steps to take to fix this or help that. Until God showed me His heart in His word.
He issues an invitation to Call unto Him, to cry out before Him about what is going on in my family, my day, my children. And He follows this invitation with a promise – He will answer me and tell me the great and hidden things I don’t know. And what I have learned through the years is that God is in the potty training! He cares about the sleepless baby (and you!) He knows why your toddler throws such fits, and He understands the depths of turmoil and angst in your preteen or teenager’s hearts. He knows these great and hidden things! He wants to show us how to love our children with His perfect love. He wants to reveal the deepest parts of them to us, so that we may gently with His love shape and shepherd their hearts, and one day they will walk with Him.
Hebrews 4:16 states, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” As believers we are welcomed into the throne room of God! I pray that you understand the Gospel: that we were once lost in sin (Rom. 3:9) but Jesus came and took your sin and mine that we could be justified and saved by Him from the wrath of God (Rom 5:9) and set free (Rom 8:1-2). If this is not something you understand or would like more information about, you can contact me.
God has set before you and me a great task – to care for, lead and introduce His children to Him as we walk with them every day. At times it feels daunting. But He invites you and me to seek Him in this. To seek His wisdom, His insight and to receive His grace. I need his grace for myself because I make more mistakes than I ever get things right when it comes to parenting, and I need His grace to flow through me to these precious kids who need to see Him.

He Leads Me

He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.” ~Is. 40:11

Being a mom is hard work. It really doesn’t matter if you have 1 child, 3 children or 8, in my experience the hard things of parenthood are there. Because the hardest parts aren’t juggling schedules, feeding kids, or putting them to bed at night.
The really hardest part of caring for my children is the battle in my mind that I am really NOT doing this well. The fear that I won’t or don’t know what to do in a given situation, the concern that I didn’t say the right thing to a child or lost my temper when I should have been patient, the replay of different scenes from the day can overwhelm me with thoughts that I messed up. That I fell short. That my children need something more than what I offer. That if I could just do better…

Women all the time want to be impressed with how many children we have and somehow then believe that whatever they are walking through with their 2 shouldn’t be as difficult as they were thinking because in comparison they have it easy and could never imagine life with 8. But I promise you I was thinking all these thoughts with my first little one so many years ago when all he did was nurse, sleep (not much) and cry (a lot!)

God will gently lead you with your young. There have been so many times through the last 18 years of mommyhood that I have cried out to the Lord. And this verse has become a bedrock for me – He cares for me with my young and is gentle towards me. He leads, so I can follow Him. When the way seems unsteady or scary or when I feel like I am royally messing it up, He gathers the lamb and gently leads me.
Context is so important in scripture and Isaiah 40 is one of my favorite places to run to when I am discouraged, weary, questioning, or longing for answers. This verse 11 sits in the midst of the declaration of who God is in his omniscience and omnipotence. Verse 18 asks, “To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with him?” He is the great I AM, the mighty Creator, the Mighty King, the Holy One. As you read through this passage you see Isaiah listing off all God has done, everything He holds together, the power He wields, and His declaration that He is beyond comparison.

And I cannot help but realize that my problem teenager, temper tantrum throwing two year old, rowdy preschooler, or moody middle schooler is not a problem for Him. And He promises to gently lead me.
The last part of Isaiah 40 speaks to our discouragement: “Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, ‘My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God’?” (v.27) How often have I felt this way and believed the lie that I am all alone in this struggle? If I could just convince other moms of this one thing – you are not alone. He is with you. He is committed to you. He is carrying you as you tend the little flock you have been entrusted with. And when you feel weary and at the end of your strength, confused and at a loss, or just wanting to quit, “He does not faint or grow weary; His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might He increases strength. Even youth (or moms) shall faint and be weary, and young men (mommies with babies!) shall fall exhausted; BUT they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
You can walk out today with your precious little ones because the greatest parent of all gently leads you and gives you strength for the task.

But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.“~2 Cor. 2:14

This verse has been our family life verse since 2000 when God began exchanging our plans with His own. He began faithfully to show how He would work and lead us, and while it didn’t make sense on a professional level, we wanted to walk with Him.

We thought we would travel one path of medicine, but He called us to something much longer in training, much more demanding in time, but in the end right where ministry can happen, where the fragrance of Jesus Christ can be spread. His grace and enduring faithfulness can be seen and shared with people in their darkest times.

We thought we would be blessed with 2 children, a boy and a girl, and I was thrilled for my story is one of being told I would be infertile. And yet God had a way of changing hearts and steering minds to show us His plan that looks so different to most of the world. My prayer is that my children are a fragrance of life. Being a mother is really, really hard work. But He leads! Praise Him that He leads. When I remember this and allow Him to take the lead, we always walk triumphantly, may not be easy, may not be comfortable, but we are always triumphant for we walk in His grace, His strength, His joy.

I thought I would begin this blog with this desire: that all I would say, all I would write or share would source itself in Jesus alone, to speak His words as they apply to me that they would be the aroma of Christ to you. To know Him is all I desire and to serve Him in every facet of my life is my aim.

A Foundation

As I begin this blog, I must confess this has been a battle raging in me for years. I opened this blog in january 2010 – 7 years ago! and yet never typed a single letter. To such a point of ignoring that I had forgotten the title of the blog itself! I wanted to walk, no, run away from this entire idea as if that would be ok with the One who had consistently and steadily been calling me to this. What could I possibly write? what about? why would anyone need to see it, let alone want to see it? why not ask someone else, someone who enjoys writing and who actually has time and spends time on a computer? For 6 years I have tried to write in other places, and the Lord keeps returning me to this idea. So here we are — The great Almighty LORD God, the great I AM who calls us forth, and me, the wanderer who thinks she can come up with a better plan that will keep her a little more secure, a little less exposed. All I really want is to be His, supremely sold out, useable as He sees fit, abiding in the One who will make the fruit that abides, daily walking with Him.

This verse has resonated with me now for months as I grapple with this: I Cor. 3:11 “For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” This daily walk of faith for all of us must be with a foundation of Jesus Christ. It is when I think somehow I am responsible for the foundation, whether through eloquent words, great ideas, things I choose to do or not to do, that is when I stumble or freeze in fear or walk in the wrong direction. But if Jesus Christ is my foundation, the platform of my life on which all else builds then there will not be poorly aligned walls of belief, floors of understanding that slant towards the world, or mishung windows reflecting wrong images. The foundation is critical to the advancement of any building.

Never before has that been made more clear in our lives than a few years ago. Our home literally was not built on a foundation that was stable. The support poles on which the entire house was set were not actually connected to the house in some places and in others were not at the correct height. Outwardly the house seemed beautiful, yet to the ones who lived in the house, the slight raise in the floor, the way a ball would roll across the entire living room to one corner, and the slight slant of the crown molding in one corner all pointed to some severe structural problems that one day would be of great cause of concern if not fixed. So, many thousands of dollars and many loud days of construction later, the repairs were completed. Now the house must settle again, cracks in sheetrock must be repaired, crown molding redone, roof support completed. All because the foundation was not correctly laid.

How often does that occur in our own lives? we miss out on the truth that He alone must be our foundation – that at the moment of our salvation we were given the Holy Spirit, the indwelling power who raised Christ from the dead. Often we try to make something else, actions, thoughts, good things the foundation of our lives instead of Christ Himself. i have certainly been guilty of this here. I have sought to make writing in my journals or in the notes section of my ipad foundation enough, proof of my obedience. Instead of relying on the One who lives within me to lead the writing and trusting Him for the results, I have been trying to hang pictures on walls slightly slanted (lack of trust in His power), paint walls not fully plumb (based in disobedience), and walk on floors that aren’t level (because I’m not giving Him the opportunity to make my paths straight Proverbs 3:5-6) Now I choose to step out with Him, and allow His hand to shape my foundation in this area, trusting that His way of doing things far surpasses my own and will result in praise, glory and honor to Him forever!

and so a few foundation verses:
Rev. 4:11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”
Col. 1:16-17 “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”