AAAHAAAA!

Yesterday, I had one of those moments~ you know, that AAHAA! moment, when the thing you have been struggling to figure out, just seems to come into focus and you get it. I have been preesing into God and begging for a break through in regards to our joblessness, and seemingly endless closed and closing doors. I was sort of having a “where are you ” moment , and this is the conversation I had with God:Why are we still here?!?!

Why are you asking to be somewhere other than where I want you?  

Wait, WHAT? God, you really want us HERE< really? Why? This is soooooo hard?

Why? Don’t you believe that I made you and numbered your days and knew FULL WELL that this would be a part of your life? and maybe perhaps, it is a GOOD thing? Do you believe that my Word is truth?  Do you believe that I am who I say I am?   Jehovah Jireh~ God Provider . That I will do what I say I say I will do? Provide your every need. Have I lied?

Uuuuummmmm, okay,yes I believe you to be my provider and you have been faithful in every area of life.

So, what’s the problem? You must submitt to the tests and learn to rest in me ALWAYS. Not just when it comes easy, even when I am not working the way you want me to. Believe that I am building a testimony and shining thru your brokeness.

Brokeness hurts God, I feel pretty shattered right now.

 Great, that is the point. The more cracks the more I spill out, and do you not trust the potter to put it all back the way it should go?

Hmmm, maybe I need to get past my pride,and admitt that maybe, this isn’t all about me. Maybe God is doing something bigger than just working ON us, maybe just maybe, He is working THROUGH us.
I had a picture of a shattered clay flower pot that a child was gluing back together, when what I should have seen was that by God’s glorious foreknowledge and design, this whole process of being broken is just the next step towards becoming the vessel He intends me to be, with just enough brokeness to spill Him out on those around me.

I have a whole new level of trust and acceptance of circumstances as they are( not as I want them to be) , understanding that trying to escape this place before He is done with me, only means I will have to come back again, to be reshaped. 

 In Psalm 139~ He says he knew me before the foundation of the world, and all my days were layed out before him~ He saw it all, the good, the bad, the ugly and he loved me anyways. He planned my days to include the trials that would strengthen me, knowing that first they would break me.

 So , my aaaahaaa moment was realizing this ~ Brokeness is not a bad thing, it is where we finally reach the place of acknowledging that we need the master to put us back together, not just patch the cracks.

 Enjoy the journey folks, accepting the brokeness that comes with trials, knowing it will make you stronger.

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A great book

I was blessed to be chosen to get to pre-read “To Dance Once More” by Sherri Johnson ( and no, we are not related). I started reading last night around 10pm and finished by 2am. I couldn’t put it down. It was such a delightful story with characters that I felt like I knew as friends. Definatley a great , easy read romance, built around a girl and her desire to make a differnce.!!!! The struggles were ones that  were relative to us all, and made the book all the more engaging. Definately a must read. I am looking forward to reading more from her.
I also had the pleasure of hearing Sherri speak at a homeschool event for moms. She is so very REAL and has such a sweet spirit!

Of Burlap and Lace

I have been doing a lot of “creative” sewing lately. You know ,using various textured fabrics and inventing new bags and kindle covers and pillows and such. My new favorite thing to work with, is burlap. It is rough. itchy and has a mind of its own,but when you get it to do what you want it to do, it is fabulous!!! Then there’s  lace, beautiful to look at, but just as hard as burlap to work with sometimes. It is stiff and itchy and has a delicate nature, that means it is just as hard to fashion and easier to damage. Both have there positive attributes, and both have their negatives, and both yield beautiful end products.  Working with these fabulously beautiful,frustratingly stubborn and stiff materials made me think about how much LIKE burlap and lace, we are. God takes us, in our stubborn, stiff, rough condition and gently works us into something beautiful and functional, and doesn’t give up until we are exactly what He intends us to be. Sometimes like burlap we resist the shaping, and sometimes like lace we begin to tear under the pressure, but He knows just how to handle us and shape us without destroying the “fabric” in the process. He trims away the frays and strengthens the weak spots, and makes us each a unique picture of His handiwork and love.  So glad He finds the fabric that is me, to be worth the time and effort, and is working to make me a beautifully functional piece of handiwork( of both the burlap and lace). Wonder why I fight the process so???

Love the lessons learned through the eye of the needle;)

Where Joy abounds

I have been in a war of sorts lately. I know in my head that joy is found in His presence, and is not determined by our circumstances. It is choosing to stay focused on the giver of all good things. Only, my feelings are screaming much louder than my brain. Life has been crazy stressful, and chaotic, and full of overlooked blessings, and the guilt of not being “good enough” at any of my self assigned roles.  I feel distracted and distant and unable to engage in anything meaningful without the thoughts of the financial, unemployed stresses that hang heavy over my head. So, I have spent much time in conversation with God regarding the futility of my worry, acknowledging my struggle to rest, and believe that He really does have good for us,even though it sure as heck doesn’t feel like it!!!and asking Him to give me wisdom and a peaceful spirit, that can truly rest in Him and find joy in spite of my circumstances. I have not totally reached that place and every time I think I have almost gotten there, something else rocks my boat, and I am once again questioning how and why He is sleeping in the midst of the storm.

Mark 4:35-40 35 And the same day, when the evening was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. 36 And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. 37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. 38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith.

 Where is my faith? Why can’t I just rest in the knowledge of Who holds my life in His hands.

This is now my daily focus

Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”

I will keep my focus on Him, not the circumstances surrounding me.

James 1:2-4 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. “

I have been reminded that there is NO LACK in God.  He wants to bless us!

Psalm 16:11 “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
 
True Joy is found in His presence. I need to dwell there! Moment by moment seeking His face.
 
2 Corinthians 10:5  “ We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,”
 
So when I am tempted to let my circumstances take hold of my thoughts and run a muck, I will take my thoughts captive and turn my focus to the Father who has good things planned for me. I will choose to find the GOOD and focus on it. Name my blessings each and every one, even the seemingly unimportant things need to be seen as gifts, or we forget just how blessed we are.
 
Philippians 4:8 ” Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things”
 
 I will not let the recent discovery that Martin has exhausted his unemployment benefits, the daily stresses of mothering 7 small children, the chaos of a messy house, the uncertainty of where and what the Father wants us to do now and my frustration with all of the above dominate my mind. I will continually turn my focus to the only one able to change my circumstances, and find fullness of joy in HIM and His love for me, in spite of my circumstances. Even though the storm RAGES around us, we will raise our hands high in surrender, and our hearts abandoned in praise and focus our eyes and attention on Him. Let him be the first and last thought of every minute of every day.  Though for now, it is a moment by moment choice, I trust that as I train my brain to follow my heart, one day , it will just come as natural as breathing. No real thought needed, it is just what I do because it is the natural response of my being to the love and joy of Abba.

Maybe patience isn’t what I need!

So, as I sit here, listening to my children, discussing how unfair life is because they were sent to their rooms to stay until I regain composure and my head isn’t fixing to start spinning or explode. I think to myself,  if only I could find the humor in my life, I could at least laugh about it. Others seem to have no problem finding humor in the antics of 7 small children, but I on the other hand, am struggling. Nothing funny bout finding your three-year old standing on the bathroom counter with enough hair gel in his hair to make it look plastic, a mural drawn in dry erase marker on the wall, and his look of unbelief when you tell him in a not so calm voice that he has done a really bad thing. Not laughing that they have made the dog terrified of the pop guns or that no matter where I hide it, they ALWAYS find any gum that enters the house. I don’t think it is funny that everywhere we go, we must ALL visit the nasty bathrooms, and sometimes several times in one trip. Makes me regret the whole potty training thing..not really but you know what I mean. Right? (hoping that my honesty doesn’t make you think less of me, well, kinda)

Please do not misunderstand. I love my children and most of the time life is great.  I have days, like today, (and yesterday and the day before) where I dream of escaping, JUST ME , to an exotic Island with no one who might call me MOM, or need or WANT anything from me. If Calgon would take me away, I would buy stock, but at some point the water turns cold and the illusion is over. 

 So maybe just maybe patience isn’t what I need after all. Maybe what I need is GREAT SENSE OF HUMOR! Maybe I’ve been praying for the wrong thing!

Where is my patience hiding?

I have been at the end of my rope, the one called patience, lately. I mean, why must my children, ALL 7, go at warp speed and at top volume from wake-up to bedtime? Arguing, fighting,playing games that require MUCH noise, etc. I can usually accept a bit of chaos, but lately, that “bit” has grown in to full fledge craziness. What does it take to have a “Duggar” like family, where the kids are kids but they are kind and considerate to one another, they aren’t demanding of their parents attention ALL OF THE TIME, and how in the world are JimBob and Michelle so darn calm all of the time. If I could smile half as much as she does, and handle my children with her grace and mercy, maybe they would behave in a more peaceable manner.

Hmmmm, maybe that’s the key. Peace in ME, produces peace in my family.
 I am determined to make this year one of PEACE for our family. If I can rest in the peace of the Father’s love, and maintain that peace externally, model it for my children, I pray it will produce in them the same peaceful spirit. The last 6 or 7 months have been incredibly stressful, with Martin loosing his job,us moving to cut expenses, beginning to home school, etc etc etc, and whether I want to admit it or not, it has had an effect on my ability to cope with the normal every day stressors that are inevitable with a family of 9. So, I am starting NEW, with a fresh outlook, and am committing to give up my need to understand the whys, and stay focused on the WHO! Only in pursuing Him, can I find true peace. And that is my hearts desire. I am not there  yet, and am not even sure what the road that leads there looks like. I am, however, promised that if I seek Him with all of my heart, I WILL find Him.

Let journey begin!

Life under the Iron

As always , Abba uses my time sewing to reinforce life lessons deep in my soul.

 Some of you may know that Martin has been out of work since the middle of June, and God hasn’t yet opened any doors of employment for either of us. Imagine, if you will,stretching less than half of your normal salary , to cover what  your normal salary was already stretched to cover. It has been a challenge to say the very least, but God is EVER faithful and has met our needs in surprising and incredibly humbling ways.

I was ironing a lot of little pieces , getting them ready to be sewn together to make the final product. Looking at the pieces and all the seams that had to be  ironed just so, I was honestly, dreading the time it was going to take .Knowing if they aren’t pressed with a high heat and heavy iron, the end result will be a garment that doesn’t look like it should, or  fit the way intended, and simply not a quality piece.So I ironed away. I spend these few “quiet” moments praying and this time I was asking God why our family seemed to be going thru such a hard time lately.It just seems like the more we try to walk with Him,”life” gets harder.

I felt like a light turned on , and I saw things a little different. Sometimes, like my sewing project, our lives need some time under a really hot, heavy iron. It doesn’t feel good, and may even, to us at times, seem to be over kill, but without it, the lessons are not fully learned, because without the heat and the weight, the results fade quickly. What we see is the discomfort, when what the Father sees is the end result. A garment of praise and testimony of the Father’s great love, that fits and looks exactly like it should, and without the time under the iron, the quality would be inferior and the praise would be fickle. You see, it is easy  to praise Him when times are good, and faith comes quickly when provision is seen, but add the weight of a lost job and the heat of not being able to see where provision could possibly come from, and 7 children who need you to point them in the right direction and your character begins to be forged and pressed. If you fight the Maker, the heat is re -applied until the seams of your life lay just the way  they should. Thru this season, I am being reminded Who my provider is, and that His timing and ways are not mine, but I can rest in knowing ,He loves me and is at work in me to perfect the work only He can do.

Enjoy the trying times, they prove to leave the marks that change us and make us the person we were created to be. Without the iron, we wouldn’t fit in our appointed place. Remember, the wrinkles either need to ironed out or are actually creases left by the Master’s hand, and they are what makes you ,you.Either way, life is a process and sometimes it is easy and sometimes it is not. Faith isn’t faith until it is tried.

God has been so faithful to meet our needs during this season and He is even seeing to provide some of our wants. A dear sweet lady is passing to our family , toys that her kids do not play with anymore, that will provide my kids with Christmas gifts . Some may not see that as anything special, but the toys that are being passed are some of the exact things my kids have asked for, and we see the Father’s hand in it and are grateful! Who but a loving Father , hears the specific desires of a child’s heart and sees to it that it is fulfilled?

BLESSED AND FAVORED!

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