Mountain or Stepping Stone?

There are some processes that you can’t pray away! Some seasons you can’t fast your way through. There is no bypassing it. The struggle will not end nor will the fire cease until you go through it. Some seasons of difficulties are not meant to be looked at as mountains to be prayed away but more as stepping stones to fulfill our God given purpose.

Jesus’ primary mission when He came to earth was to reconcile mankind back to God. He came to make a way for us to be in right relationship with the father (2 Corinthians 5:21). The crucifixion and the shedding of Jesus’ blood is what made reconciliation possible (Hebrews 9:22). Jesus’ crucifixion was not a mountain to be prayed away, it was a stepping stone, it was a necessary process for Him to fulfill His purpose. He had to go through it!

We can learn a lot from Jesus’ approach in the Garden of Gethsemane right before He was to be crucified in Mathew 26:39-46. Jesus was feeling the burden of what was to come. He was in agony. What does Jesus do? He goes to His father in prayer, not once but three times. He is honest with the father, and He asks Him if there is any way He could bypass what was awaiting Him…the cup, the judgement for sin. Jesus however, does not stay stuck on how He feels. Despite His feelings, Jesus submits to the will of God and concludes, “not my will but your will be done!”

This lets me know that it is through constant prayer that a submitted will is formed and maintained. I don’t have to feel bad about praying the same prayer more than once. Prayer gives me the strength and obedience to do the HARD THING! If you find yourself in a place of difficulty, don’t be quick to assume it’s a mountain to be prayed away, it could very well be a stepping stone to fulfill your God given purpose!

Be Blessed

Anika

Why are you REALLY asking God questions?

I don’t like when I give my children a command to do something and they are constantly asking why?  Let me clarify, I am not speaking of the times in which they are asking “why” for the sake of learning or to get clarity.  There is a difference between asking why because you want to sincerely gain knowledge and asking why because you really don’t want to do what is being asked of you or you are filled with doubt.  As a parent, I can tell the difference and so can God.

God may tell us to do one of the following: change the course of our life, cut off relationships, change our diet, change jobs, or move to a different location. His request disrupts our way of life and makes us uncomfortable.  Instead of responding in obedience, we stop and ask, “BUT WHY GOD?” Sometimes what we are really saying is, “WHY DO I HAVE TO OBEY YOU WHEN I AM HAVING FUN DOING THINGS MY WAY?”

Our questions may also reveal a heart filled with doubt.  A heart that lacks trust in a creator who has never failed His creation.  It takes a great level of trust to not ask questions and just respond with a yes.  Today take a leap of faith and say yes to what God is asking of you.  In the long run, it will be well worth it!

Start in the closet (Part 2/3 : Spiritual Cleaning)

I stopped talking about my need to purge and actually began the process. I started in my closet and I kept thinking, “didn’t I just do some purging last season?  Why is it that I have to purge again?!”  But truth is, purging should never be looked at as a one-time event, naturally or spiritually.  It is so easy to accumulate STUFF in the process of doing life, stuff that can weigh us down.  Stuff that serve no real purpose, only creating clutter in our spirit. Purging always begins in the closet…that secret place, that place no one else sees.  Anyone’s house can appear in order from the outside, but the closet, well that may be another story.

The first thing that I did to begin the decluttering process was to take inventory of what I had in my closet.  Then I asked, “What is worth keeping?” Some of the things that we insist on holding on to are connected to when we were in slavery, the old us. These things though they are no good to us, provide an odd sense of comfort.  Even if they are not useful, we insist on holding on. Sometimes you have to give yourself permission to throw things away because it is time to make room for something new.  You have to be willing to let go of the past.

Begin the decluttering process by answering the following questions.

  1. List the things that are just taking up space and serve no beneficial purpose in your life (relationships, music, habit, clothing, old mindsets, etc.)?  They are just creating clutter causing you to trip and stumble in your walk with Christ.
  1. Do you really want to let them go? If not, why do you think you insist on holding on?

Scripture for meditation 

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Thank you Lord!

Yesterday I turned 38 and I see God at work in my life in so many ways and the cry of my heart is thank you Lord.

I see my reflection in the mirror and I know without a shadow of a doubt that chains have been broken and I am seeing a greater manifestation of what God has promised me. And the cry of my heart is thank you Lord.

 

I see my husband who continues his tradition of taking the day off work to give me some time to myself. He humors me and satisfies my super sentimental side and decorates our kitchen in the same color scheme of our wedding almost 15 years ago.  I see how much I am loved by him in the simplest ways. And the cry of my heart is thank you Lord.

me and tyrone on my bday

 

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I see my six healthy children who are excited that it is my birthday.  They know that by the end of the day, we will be sitting in somebodies restaurant celebrating.  One plays happy birthday on the piano. I get a custom made card and hugs and kisses.  And the cry of my heart is thank you Lord.

me and kids in van on my bday

 

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isaiah eating on my bday

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I see all the numbers of my family and friends displayed on my phone.  They called and texted with happy birthday messages.  I was thought of and I am loved.  And the cry of my heart is thank you Lord.

I see the pieces of my life coming together.  I see my story unfolding in the most beautiful inconvenient ways.  And the cry of my heart is thank you Lord.

I see my perspective on my past changing; no more wondering why for the parts that were painful.  Because redemption is stamped all over me.  And the cry of my heart is thank you Lord.

I see that as I tell every part of my story, God masterfully uses it to bring freedom to others.  And the cry of my heart is thank you Lord.

I see the words “You were born to fly,” painted on wood as I was strolling in the store ALL BY MYSELF and I smile because that is my testimony.  And the cry of my heart is thank you Lord.

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THE ANSWER FOR WHEN A PARENT FEELS INADEQUATE

I don’t always do this mommy thing right.  Some days leave me a frazzled mess and I just want to get under the covers and go back to bed. The call feels so much bigger than me and my inadequacies are on full display.  I sometimes get away with looking as if I have it all together from the outside, but come through my front door and sit with me long enough and the truth will be revealed.  My house is not always Pinterest clean, and my children are not always well behaved.

Being a parent is not for the faint of heart, there are so many twist and turns and unknowns.  All six of my children have distinct personalities and right when I think I have it figured out, they say or do something that leaves me scratching my head.  There are also days in which I honestly don’t know how to respond to them or respond in the wrong way.  Days in which I yell when I should listen or hastily move them along to the next task instead of pausing to give a hug. Then when I get to the end of the day guilt sets in and I put more emphasis on what I did wrong, how I should know better.

I am learning that I can’t give up and cry woe is me if I have a less than perfect day in parenting world.  If I put the emphasis on me always doing it right or knowing all the answers, I will always disappoint.  God has used parenting to pull back the layers and show me how I have made an idol of my wisdom and my perceived strength.  I have been guilty of taking my focus off of God and getting wrapped up in MY ABILITIES…great formula for failure.  However I am learning to embrace His mercies that are new every morning and humbly admit that I just cannot do this journey on my own.  I NEED GOD…DESPARATELY! I am more convinced more now than ever of my need to pray. But as always, when I seek Him from a humble and broken heart He answers, making for a more successful journey. How about you? What has your parenting journey been like? Has it been difficult for you to admit your need for God in the process?  Do you accept His wisdom when He gives it?  Leave a comment and let me know.

 

 

 

Rose Colored Glasses

 

This is another post from my 2012 archives but still very relevant.  Hope it blesses you!

We were sitting at the table having a lighthearted conversation over lunch when Joel asked me what I was like when I was younger.  Before I could give him a long poetic answer as to how wonderful, special & loveable I was as a child, his sister blurts out, “SHE WAS A HEATHEN!”  I was shocked and totally caught off guard by her response.  I have had previous conversations with Naomi about my past and explained to her that I did not always serve Jesus, I did not acknowledge the one true God so this made me a heathen.  I didn’t expect her to repeat this, at least not now.  Not in in my moment to shine, not in my moment of bragging to my first born man child as to how special his mommy was.

Isn’t it so tempting and easy to look back at our past through rose colored glasses?  If we are not careful, we allow the enemy to trick us into believing that it was better back then.  This can grow seeds of discontentment leaving us longing for a yesterday that really wasn’t all that wonderful, especially if we didn’t know Christ.  How often do we look at our present life and think it was so much better back then…but was it really?  We need the truth of God’s word to remind us how much better things are TODAY because we know Him. Even if we don’t have the perfect spouse, perfect job, perfect children, perfect home, etc… things are absolutely positively better because we know JESUS!

In what areas of your life have you allowed discontentment to creep in, leaving you longing for yesterday?  Do you feel like you look back at your past through distorted lens?  What can you be thankful for TODAY?  How is your life better today, have you thanked God for the change?

 

But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”  Luke 9:62