Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Under A Rock...

It's hard not to dwell on the mistakes we've made in the past. I've spent the majority of my adult life condemning myself and hiding in shadows of my faults, like an ostrich with his head buried in sand. I’m supposed to be a Christian, how can I possibly make such stupid decisions? I also spent years battling depression. I’m completely aware that chemical imbalances can cause depression and even worse in the minds of people everyday. I don’t feel this was the case for me. I took several different types of anti-depressant medicines, only to feel halfway better. This is not the way we are intended to live. God said in him we have peace, in him we have joy. Where was my joy? It was certainly not under the rock where I had hid for so long.

I can ask for forgiveness but unless I can forgive myself and accept God's grace, I'm spinning my wheels. It's not that God was withholding his peace and spirit from me but I had allowed guilt to weigh me down and keep me from accepting God's forgiveness. I finally opened my eyes wide enough to comprehend what God had been trying to show me. That his grace is sufficient for me. His love and mercy will never fail and will never leave me. 1 John 1:9 says that "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Cleanse us... we are made new. Washed by his blood and remade completely. There is no sin too big for his blood to cover. It was like a thousand pounds were lifted from my back. I felt this tremendous amount of joy that comforted me like a blanket and zero depression. Zero depression!

I still have a past, but I am not bound by it. Where I've been does not have to be where I'm going and it certainly does not define who I am. Even as a Christian, I will take the wrong paths at times just as I have in the past... I may fall down, but I don't have to stay there. My gracious Lord and Savior has forgiven me. The new rock that I hide under is not a rock of shame... "The lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge!"

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Fingerprints We Leave Behind...

I couldn't help but smile when I saw my son take off his boots and place them perfectly beside his father's pair. Then as we sit at the table for dinner, he closely watches his daddy and tries to follow his mannerisms in the way he uses his fork. It's becoming very apparent to me that everything I do is watched carefully and mimicked by my children.

It made me remember the Godly example my parents set forth for me, knowing that I was looking up to them for something to follow. I can safely say that I never heard one bad word come from their lips, not one indecent TV show was ever played in our home and they set forth a patience with us that could only be given by Jesus himself!

How much of that example have I taken with me to show my children? We leave imprints on our children with our actions. They examine our lives to determine their own steps… where are my steps taking them? What does the view look like from where they are standing?

One of my greatest memories is hearing my grandfather pray from his bedroom. Do my sons ever hear me pray? I hope that they see me taking the time to witness to others, instead of being ashamed. I want them to watch me as I give to our church and to those less fortunate, and being thankful for the blessings in my life… instead of squandering my money and complaining about finances, my job, our home…

Matthew 18:4 says “Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child-this one is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Should we not be looking to Jesus just as our children look to us? If we are to humble ourselves as children... we should be trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving... have faith like a child. If  I look to Jesus and follow his every move... it will be that much easier to set forth this example with our own children.

Dear Lord, let me remember that each day, I have innocent eyes watching my steps, listening to my words and absorbing every ounce of it. Let the fingerprints that I leave behind in their lives be positive, full of you and only you.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

How much effort have I given?

My husband, John, takes a trip to Colorado every October to hunt antelope on his father's ranch. The ranch consists of thousands upon thousands of secluded acreage for his cattle to graze upon. Some consider this to be heaven, just a vast stretch of miles from all four sides, where the sky touches the earth.. a country view off of a large front porch with a good cup of coffee in hand...  Now, Anyone who knows me understands that I am not an outdoorsy kind of girl... not even a little. Although, I can appreciate the ranch, my view is a somewhat different.. With no TV, no cell phone, no civilization, rattlesnakes galore and freezing temperatures, I had decided last year that I would no longer follow him on this hunting adventures. 

My viewpoint has since then changed. John and I have been hit with many roadblocks this year...some heavy burdens, others great blessings. During this, we decided to "recommit" our marriage to each other... To put as much effort into the other person as we possibly could. We will no longer make selfish decisions but always think about each other first. So far, we are the happiest we have ever been. No longer thinking selfishly in my marriage has had a ripple effect into my other relationships. I now try to put my other family members first, my children's desires come before my own, and my job has my complete attention when I'm working... and I have to say... It feels wonderful.

So I loaded up our two boys, Michael who is 4, and Luke who's 3 months old and followed John back to the ranch. Currently, I'm freezing, and not moving from the same spot in the middle of the living room, due to a tarantula that is lost in the house. But I'm here... Why? Because it is important to him... Now living a selfless life is not easy. You naturally want to look out for yourself and your own desires... but it gets easier and easier with each day. You eventually start to enjoy putting others first and yourself last.

This new way of life we have decided to live made me start thinking. How much effort have I given in my relationship to God? I've always been faithful to attend church, I've always prayed and read my bible... but have I given my relationship to God the same unselfish attention? Seems to me, my time with God was always decided by when it was convenient for me. Today's been a long day, he doesn't mind if I skip my devotional, he knows I'm busy... or, I'm too tired tonight to pray, I'll just go straight to bed. So I have decided to re-commit my marriage to God. Not, my salvation mind you.. but my marriage..  My relationship with God is not a one way street of him answering my prayers (when it's convenient for me to talk to him) No, it's a two way street, where I must make the effort to meet him... But you see, God is always available to me no matter the time or day. 

I now wake up 45 minutes earlier to read my devotional and spend alone time with God. I pray without ceasing all day long, and I keep God first in every decision I make. Just as every self-less act, it was difficult at first. I was tired, especially with a newborn in the house.. but I began looking forward to my morning alone with God... a quiet house with my bible and a cup of coffee. I started learning that these selfless acts really weren't so selfless after all, I seem to be the one benefiting from them. And the trip to Colorado? Well I'm spending an amazing week with my angel boys and my beautiful husband, away from work, away from troubles, and away from cares. Now if only we could find that spider :)