I Was Caught Clamming Up

I Was Caught Clamming Up

Meredith P

Meredith P

Hello, there!  I grew up as a military kid who loved adventure, so I fell in love with and married a military man right after college graduation.  The two of us had adventures together as we traveled for a while, but we finally settled in cozy Southern Indiana.  However the excitement is still alive, because God has given us four kiddos that I homeschool.  I love nerding out on anything from school curriculum to thrift store bargain hunting, from rockin' recipes to theological debates, and pretty much any lively discussion in between.  Thanks for reading!
Meredith P

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Have you ever tried to teach your child a lesson, only to realize God is trying to teach you the exact same lesson?

“You seem upset. Is there anything wrong?” I asked my eleven year old son. He shook his head and continued frantically looking around.

I Was CaughtClamming Up

Let me flash back with you for
a moment.
 About four hours before that short exchange took place, this son decided to take some of his favorite Lego mini-figures with him to church. Then this series of events took place:

  1. He left them on a table.
  2. Someone found them while cleaning up and brought them to me.
  3. I put them in my pocket to give to him.
  4. I forgot they were in my pocket.
  5. We came home.

Now, back to that short exchange above. Right after I asked him if something was wrong, it dawned on me. He was searching for his Legos. I reached into my pocket to give them to him, but I stopped. This son tends to clam up and not communicate, so I decided to wait and see if he would come to me or his father with his problem.

We had been trying to teach him the value of communication, and I thought this could be a good lesson. All he had to do was communicate his issue and it would be resolved. Boom! Done. But not so fast…lego-674615_1280

During the next hour, I watched him continue his frenzied search. I asked several times if I could help him or if he was upset about anything. Each time I received the same response, a polite, but curt, “No.”

My mama’s heart was breaking. If only he would say, “Mom, I can’t find my Lego guys. Can you help?” That would be my cue. Like a superhero, I’d dip into my pocket and retrieve the supposedly lost treasured items. He’d hug me and the music would swell; my proverbial hero’s cape would flutter and all would be well. Didn’t he know how much I loved him and that he could tell me anything? I told him every day in different ways.

With my heart raw and softened by witnessing the unnecessary plight of my child, I was struck, almost blown over with this powerful, yet gentle whispering in my soul,

“You do this to Me.”

“What? I do what?”

“You clam up with Me.”

“No, no I don’t. What my son is doing is ridiculous. All he has to do is…”

My heavenly Father was right.

I was caught clamming up.

With my heart even more tender toward my son, I squatted down as he searched desperately under the washer and dryer. Putting my hands gently on his shoulders, I said, “I can tell you are upset. Please share with me what is wrong.”

He looked up at me and said the words I was waiting to hear, “Mom, I can’t find my Lego guys. Can you help?”

Ah, there it was.

Not so much like the superhero I imagined earlier with the music swelling and cape fluttering, but more like an empathetic child myself, I reached into my pocket and gave him his mini-figures. Tenderly, I asked him why he didn’t come to me earlier for help. His answer hit my heart.

“I didn’t think you could do anything to help so I didn’t talk to you about it.”

Boom. Thoughts flooded my mind.

I sat down on the laundry room floor with him while he clutched his newly found Legos, trying to quickly capture those thoughts into a few sentences I can express to him.

He was right in some ways. While this time I was able to immediately fix what was bothering him, that would not always be the case. Sometimes, I wouldn’t be able to fix his problem or heartache, though I would if I could. Other times, even if I could resolve his problem, because I know it would be best for him to work out a particular issue on his own, I would not “fix it.” And then there would be times like this, that I could and should fix the problem for him. Those times will always be my favorite.

However, despite which circumstance it may be, I want to walk with him through his struggles. So I wrangled those thoughts into four sentences and said to him,

“I understand what you are saying. You are right. Sometimes, I won’t be able to fix your problem, but that doesn’t mean I can’t come alongside you and walk with you through your problem. I can carry some of the burden for you when you share with me what’s wrong.”

As mentioned before, he is eleven. I don’t know how much of those sentences he truly understood that day. I’m sure they will be repeated again in the future, but they resonated in my soul as I then heard,

“I also want to walk alongside you through your problems. Let me carry some of your burdens.”

“What? You want to do what?”

It wasn’t until later, when all was quiet, I remembered the verse from 1 Peter:

Cast your cares on him because he cares for you.

In that quiet moment, the simple beauty of this verse became very real to me. Through my own parenting, I caught a tiny glimpse into the beautiful and vast heart of our heavenly Father. He cares for you and me, and He so very much desires to walk alongside you and me through problems and carry them for us.

I imagined God saying my own parental thoughts back to me, “Don’t you know how much I love you and that you can tell me anything? Every day, I tell you that I love you through my Word and in my creation.”

I began to wonder if God’s heart breaks when we don’t come to Him with our problems. My heart certainly was breaking with my child. I strongly desire a relationship with my children where communication flows freely and often. I began to think how God the Father sent His Son to die so that He could have that free and open communication about all things, big and small, with us. Talk about wanting a relationship with someone!

Then I remembered what my son said earlier, “I didn’t think you could do anything to help so I didn’t talk to you about it.” Do I have this attitude toward God, my heavenly Father? Do I speak to Him about all things whether He “fixes” them for me or not?

He is the all-powerful, only true God and actually could fix all my problems if He wanted (I wonder if those times are His favorite). But I also know that He is all-knowing. He knows when He should not miraculously fix my problems because it is best for me to figure it out on my own. Then again, if I’m talking to Him about it, I am never really on my own. He will be right there, walking through the problem with me. Carrying some of it for me as I trust Him. He will be bending down with me as I look under the washer and dryer for the solution, so to speak. And I think His Father’s heart will swell with the communication and togetherness as mine would with my children.

So here’s to parenting and remembering these things:

1) Let’s remember to talk to Him about all things, big and small.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.

Ephesians 6:18

2)Let’s not forget He walks with us through all things.

When you walk through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”

Isaiah 43:2-3a

3) God miraculously fixed our huge problem already.

 He fixed our sin problem, but that is another story…

What lessons has God taught you though your children?

Do you come to Him in all situations?

If I Were at the Alamo…

If I Were at the Alamo…

Meredith P

Meredith P

Hello, there!  I grew up as a military kid who loved adventure, so I fell in love with and married a military man right after college graduation.  The two of us had adventures together as we traveled for a while, but we finally settled in cozy Southern Indiana.  However the excitement is still alive, because God has given us four kiddos that I homeschool.  I love nerding out on anything from school curriculum to thrift store bargain hunting, from rockin' recipes to theological debates, and pretty much any lively discussion in between.  Thanks for reading!
Meredith P

Latest posts by Meredith P (see all)

If I were at the Battle of the Alamo, I wonder what I would have done.

Have you ever pondered this? No? Let me explain why this is on my mind today.

In case you’re not from Texas or a history buff, allow me to give you the Cliff’s Notes version of the battle:

  • Texas declared independence from Mexico.
  • Mexico didn’t like this.
  • A pivotal battle occurred at the Alamo.
  • The Texans fought bravely but were greatly outnumbered by the Mexicans.
  • The Texans lost the battle, but the bravery galvanized the other Texans.
  • Texas won its independence.

Here is the part that is getting me thinking today:  

Legend has it that Texan General William Travis knew on the eve of the battle that the outlook was bleak.  He drew a line in the sand.  He asked those who were willing to stay and fight despite the certain doom to step across the line.  Anyone else was welcome to slip away.

Almost every single person stepped across that line and stayed to face battle.

If I were at the Battle of the Alamo, I wonder what I would have done.

Well, the Lord put me on the earth about 116 years too late to tell for sure, but He did give me four children.  And most moms know child-rearing is a battleground of sorts.

Today, that battleground found me whimpering face-first into a pile of laundry on the floor while my kiddos watched in shock and awe.  Yes, friends, it was a sight to behold.

So, as my eyes moistened with tears of exasperation, wetting my newly dried t-shirts, I thought about the choice I was making.  Not too long after, I “remember the Alamo” (pun intended). I thought about that line in the sand and the choice those men and some women had to make.  Who were they going to choose to serve?

“Choices…choices…”Add subtitle text (1)

That word resonated.  As “choices” echoed in my heart, while my children continued to stand over me in a stunned stupor, my mind shifted to Joshua’s entreaty to the Israelites,

“Then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

Joshua 24:15

The Bible says nothing of Joshua drawing a line in the sand, but I see this as a verbal line in the sand.

If I were an Israelite listening to Joshua, I wonder what I would have done.

I am a mom in Indiana with four little ones watching me in shock and awe. (Remember what am I going to do?)

I ran to the bathroom.  That’s what I do.  Ah, that line in the sand.  Rather than cross that line, I chose to slip away.

Not two minutes later, our middle son darted into the bathroom and placed a card with a Bible verse on the bathroom counter and darted back out.  I picked up the card and read the verse.  It occurs to me: Here is another line in the sand.

I have a son who believes that the power of God’s Word will pull Mommy out of this “adult temper tantrum.” What am I going to do?

This moment now, like the Alamo, is a pivotal battle.

Humbled, I make the choice.

I cross the line.

I wish I could tell you that upon being reminded that my strength comes from the Lord and His Word, Bible verses to back up this truth rushed from my memory, but they didn’t.  All I could pull up was Psalm 23: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures.  He leads me beside quiet waters.  He restores my soul.”I was making a deliberate choice to (2)

It still worked.  I began to calm.  I was making a deliberate choice to dwell on His Word and not on my exasperation.  A choice to serve Him and be led by His Spirit; to follow His commands to love. Love is patient and kind, not exasperated.

 

 

 

Friends, we are all in a pivotal battle every day.

 Each morning, as soon as our eyes open, we must choose that day whom we are going to serve.  Are we going to serve ourselves and give in to the unstable tossing to and fro of our own wills and emotions? Or are we going to cross that line and serve the Lord, being controlled by His Spirit?

Paul says it in Galatians 5 like this:

“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.”

Then just below this he writes:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

Galatians 5:22-25

Again, this is another verbal line in the sand.

Face first in the laundry, I was gratifying the desire of my flesh.  Our middle son reminded me with the Bible verse card that my strength to cross that line and serve the Lord comes from Him and His Word by His Spirit.

Tonight, convicted that I couldn’t from memory pull out God’s words to back up this truth, I found 1 Peter 4:11 to memorize:

“If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.”

So tomorrow before I open my eyes, I’m going to do a few things I read here. I will:

  • First, admit to God that I can’t serve Him without Him.
  • Ask Him to help me.
  • Then, trust that He will.
  • Make the conscious effort to choose to cross the line; to serve Him and not myself; and to dwell on His promises: His words I’ve memorized.
  • At the end of the day, I’m going to thank Him for His faithfulness.

Tell me, how do you choose to serve God each day?  

What steps do you take to cross that line into His service?

How will you choose to Create a Great Day? (Again, pun intended.)

The Dark Day and the Emerging Light: The Day I Found out about My Husband’s Porn Addiction

The Dark Day and the Emerging Light: The Day I Found out about My Husband’s Porn Addiction

We stood there on opposite sides of the garage staring each other down. Letting the question hang there. Knowing the next few words from his mouth could–no, would–change everything.

In that moment, I doubted why I had asked. He hadn’t given me reason to question him. Yet after conversations with two friends struggling through their own answers to this question, I felt like I had to ask.

I had fasted, and I had prayed.

I thought I was ready for whatever his answer would be.

After all, I loved and respected this man. For better or for worse, I had promised to love this man.

As the words came, I crumbled. I was a mess of a woman on that cold concrete floor. I wasn’t ready for this.

“I mean, if I can’t handle it, I’ll tell you,” he said. Then I knew–he hadn’t been faithful to me.

Some will say, “It’s just with his eyes.” To me it was everything. No one had ever hurt me so deeply. No one had ever betrayed me to that level. I had never let anyone in that close before him. It was out of nowhere. I was lost and broken, gasping for air.

He knew how much I hated pornography. My heart ached for sex-trafficked victims, and he knew that. He knew the broken woman I once was and how close I had been to becoming one of those women myself.

He had hurt me, yes, but he also made me sick.

This man was the father to my children. This man who had studied the Bible with me, who had prayed with me, who had loved me was, all the while, sinning against me and our vows. He had lusted after other women. He had done this in our home, on his phone, and on our television.

I hated him.

Now, I hated all of those things. Looking at them reminded me of his betrayal. He came to me, crumpled on the garage floor.

I cringed at his touch.

We sat there for what felt like forever.

Finally I asked, “Where do we go from here?”

Equipped through God’s Grace

That night, neither of us had any idea what the next two years would look like. By his grace, God equipped me to love my husband through this dark time in our marriage. God’s grace has given him strength to fight the desire of his flesh, seek accountability, and submit himself to boundaries that are at times frustrating.

We have both learned a lot in the past two years. I’ve learned a lot about grace, God, and walking in this gift of marriage.

Lessons Learned

Here are a few of my take-aways from this dark and painful time. I hope these lessons I’ve learned will bless any other woman walking through a similar battlefield.

1) Be in the Word.

When all this happened, I was just finishing Beth Moore’s study on James. I know without a doubt that had I not been deep in the Word of God for weeks leading up to this, my faith would have faltered even more.

I had memorized more scripture than I ever had before. Without it I was lost.

I’m not saying I never doubted God’s plan. I’m not saying I never questioned the purpose of this life we are living together.  I am saying knowing and relying on scripture is one of the few things that helped me get out of bed every morning.

These verses in particular, which I had memorized weeks before, anchored my storm-tossed mind and soul.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 

 

James 1:2-4

Most days I did not find this trial to be pure joy, but God’s Word encouraged me to see the joy in the situation.

Another verse, which I often pray I will be able to say before the Lord one day, came back to me over and over.  

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. 

 

2 Timothy 4:7

james-1-2-4

2) God is faithful.

I doubted He was there with me. I doubted where He had been as my husband walked down this road to destruction.

But He was there.

He was there, grieving with us. He was there, prompting my husband to walk away from the computer. On the days, weeks, and months that my husband did not betray me, God was there, giving him strength.

Again, the words of James were aptly timed for just this moment in my life. These words helped me to reconcile our sinful temptations with the Lord who walks with us by His Holy Spirit.

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, not does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown, gives birth to death.

 

James 1:13-15

3) This wasn’t about me.

Let me say it again: this isn’t about me!

It hurt me, it broke me, it made me grow. It made me stronger, but in the end, it was about my husband, his experiences, and his personal struggle with sin. 

This was the most difficult lesson. One I still have to be reminded of regularly. This was my opportunity to be gracious, to be an example of mercy to my husband.

Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful.

 

James 2:12-13

Mercy triumphs over judgement! That brings me to my next lesson.

4) I can’t do this alone.

Jesus Christ didn’t come to earth and disciple one man. He discipled many, and established a church. We need the church in our brokenness. I’m not saying go out and shout your husband’s sin from the pulpit. I am saying wisely and prayerfully seek out one or two women to encourage you during this season. You will be amazed at the women God brings to you. These women will love you when you hurt and encourage you to be Christ-like when you don’t want to be Christ-like anymore. Women who will pray with you, cry with you, check in on you, and just be with you.

Is any of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise…and the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 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.

 

James 5:13, 15-16

5) Lastly, and most importantly, Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior, not my husband. 

I had him on a pedestal. His desire, love, and admiration fueled me. After almost ten years of marriage, I had forgotten that my value and purpose is from the Lord. None of us are perfect–not my husband, and definitely not me.

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking it all.

 

James 2:10

My husband can’t save me and I can’t save him. Jesus Christ took care of that almost 2,000 years ago.

There are still days I fight to control the images and thoughts in my mind. There are days I just want to cry in my best friend’s arms, and I hate that the one who comforts me is also the one who hurt me.

lessons-learned-from-my-husbands-porn-addiction

Satan Seeks to Destroy Marriages

Sin is gross. It hurts. Sin is dark.

Sexual sin destroys trust beyond comprehension.

Satan is prowling like a lion seeking to devour each and every one of our marriages. He is seeking to destroy the most intimate and grace-filled institution that represents Christ’s love for us. 

Be on guard. Stay in the Word. Devote yourself to prayer. And…

…put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

 

Ephesians 6:13 (emphasis added)

eveningskies

I Want to Change Churches

I Want to Change Churches

Toni D

Toni D

Toni was born and raised in a small town in Oklahoma.She graduated from East Central University with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics.After college, she returned to her hometown to marry her best friend, Charles.Toni is a stay at home mom to their three teens, two boys and a girl, whom God led them to homeschool.Her goal is to raise her children to love and serve the Lord.They live on a farm where they grow produce to sell at several farmers markets.She also plays the piano at church and teaches piano.
Toni D

Convicted

I have shared a few of my pastor’s messages recently.  For the last several weeks, they have really hit close to home and have been very convicting.  It really was making me uncomfortable.  As we visited with the pastor one Sunday, I told him that I was going to have to change churches.  Understandably, he was a little concerned.  I then told him that his sermons were convicting me and he needed to stop.  Thankfully, he understands my sarcasm and understood that was a compliment.  But, nonetheless, I have been convicted of so much recently.

So many “TV preachers” only preach inspirational messages.

They hardly ever open the Bible and quote Scripture.  They do not call sin, sin.  If they offend someone with their message, they would likely lose money, so they only preach “feel-good” sermons.  We need preachers who are not afraid to offend and who are not “politically correct.”  We need to be discerning of the “preachers” we watch or listen to.  If your preacher’s message on sin makes you uncomfortable, God is probably convicting you about something.  When a message challenges us, it is good, because we need to be convicted by God when we sin.  We need our preachers to preach the Word of God.  They should fear God and not man.

I am not saying that the preacher can not give an uplifting sermon.  We go to church to fellowship with other believers also.  I would not want go to a church that was all doom and gloom, either.  The purpose of going to church is not entertainment. Do not get me wrong; we have fun at our church, but we also have a preacher who preaches the Word of God.  We go to worship and learn.  If you are not getting this at your church, it may be time to prayerfully seek out a new church.

Are your pastor’s sermons convicting you?

 

A Journey of Surrender {Testimony Tuesday}

A Journey of Surrender {Testimony Tuesday}

Lindsay W

Lindsay W

Hi! Born in the great state of Texas and raised in the northern suburbs of Atlanta, this Daughter of the Alamo/Georgia Peach is still adjusting to life in Razorback Nation! My husband and I live just outside of Little Rock, Arkansas with our two crazy pups and new baby girl, Avery. I’m a small business owner, chocolate aficionado, and travel lover with a 2pm coffee hour no matter what time zone I’m in!
Lindsay W

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When asked to share my testimony, I always find myself pausing and asking, “Which part?”

Because to tell my entire story would take a book. Lately, I’ve noticed that because my story is so–shall we say, multi-faceted–I’ve inched away from most recent opportunities to share it. Even here, in this special place of Creating A Great Day, when all of us contributors were asked to consider sharing our testimonies, while I thought it was a great idea for everyone else, I didn’t really want to share mine.

Which part would I share? I mean, after all, I certainly couldn’t fit the whole thing into one neat and tidy blog post.

Thankfully, the Holy Spirit gave me a good slap in the head and reminded me that the hesitancy I was feeling wasn’t from HIm. It was from the Enemy who really, really doesn’t want for me to share any part of my story with you.

And, if you know me at all, you know I don’t like it when the Enemy gets a little victory. So, sign myself up to share my testimony I did. (Take that, Satan!)

But, I was still left with the practical question–which part?? How am I going to fit my whole testimony into one blog post?

Again, the Holy Spirit slapped my head. “You don’t need to share the WHOLE thing. Tell them about Houseboat. Tell them about when you surrendered.”

So that’s where we’re going to go, dear readers. To that point in my story.

But, to get there, you are still going to need a little background…

I was born to God-fearing parents, who talk the talk and walk the walk. As a young six year old, I asked my mom to explain the Easter story that I’d heard in Sunday school that morning, because I didn’t understand it. And right there on the steps of our church, I asked Jesus to forgive me of all my sins and to be my Lord and Savior.

As I grew up, the Lord worked through my parents, extended family members, family friends, and our church to expose me to His body across the world. As an eight year old, I heard God call me to overseas missions. Being a public school kid gave me the wonderful opportunity at a very young age to make the decision as to whether or not I would publicly stand for Jesus. It also taught me respect for people who follow religions other than Christianity. Most (not all) of my friends at school didn’t believe exactly what I did, and their families didn’t look or act like mine.

As a matter of fact, at school, I was the only “Christian” I knew. Everyone else who wasn’t Jewish or HIndu or Muslim or Catholic was Baptist or Methodist or Presbyterian or some other denomination of Christianity. I was raised in a non-denominational church, so I was (and still am) literally just a Christ-follower. Pretty much the only other plain ol’ Christian friends I had were the ones I went to church with.

This didn’t bother me, it just made me aware that I was not in the majority. Even though I grew up in the Bible belt, where there’s a church on every corner, I knew as a youngster that not everyone believed the exact same thing that my family and I did. And I loved my friends no differently for it.

But, I did have two very separate friend groups: my school friends and my church friends. We lived in the suburbs of Atlanta, a good twenty minutes from our church, and most of the kids who went to my church lived close to church. Only one went to school with me.

I’m so grateful my parents faithfully drove me to youth group and small groups and sent me on our church retreats every summer so I could cultivate those friendships. To this day, the friends I regularly talk on the phone with (and all the mamas with toddlers know you are only talking on the phone with a very small group of girlfriends) are girls from my youth group.

The summer before my sophomore year of high school, I was headed on a charter bus to our summer youth group retreat, called Houseboat. Behind me sat this cute guy in a baseball cap. He and I started talking on the bus and didn’t stop talking the whole week.

Thank goodness I had enough good friends and our youth group was wise enough to build in plenty of non-co-ed time that I was able to focus on the reason we were on a retreat to begin with: to grow in our walk with Christ.

My sweet friends wouldn’t even let me sit next to the guy during our evening worship services so I wouldn’t be distracted. And, man, am I glad I did. Because it was during one of those services when the Holy Spirit spoke through the speaker’s message and changed my life.

My Christian walk up until then was good. I certainly loved God and sought to serve and worship and become more like Him. And I was soundly “saved.” Even though I was six years old when I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I 100% knew the severity and consequences of my sins and believed that Jesus was the only option for forgiveness. I knew He was the only way I could have a relationship with God here on earth and for eternity in Heaven. I’d also, at that young age, understood repentance–to turn from your sins. Of course, like all humans, I couldn’t not sin, but the desire to please God and not sin was there.

I had stood for Christ when it wasn’t pleasant. By the time I finished middle school, I had very few friends at school because very few chose to hold to the morals I held as a Christ-follower. However, by the time I found myself on this Houseboat trip, I had the opportunity to attend our church’s private school where many of my friends from youth group also attended. There, I was learning more about Jesus and the Bible and Christianity. On the outside, what could possibly be missing in my walk with Christ aside from just knowing Him better?

Well, I liked (and still do) control. And, I was pretty smart. I mean, not to brag, but I got mostly all A’s in school in upper level classes. As a neighborhood babysitter, I was respected and was even a lead Sunday school teacher at our church for a summer. I never got in trouble. I was also gifted with an assortment of talents–acting and modeling were two I was exploring and doing well in. For a fifteen year old, I seemed to be doing just fine controlling the things I had control over.

But there, sitting on top of one of those houseboats, underneath a sea of stars, I realized there was a big part of following Jesus that I hadn’t done…surrender. Following Jesus means letting Him be in control, not me. Following Jesus meant giving Him the pen to my story. I didn’t know what that would look like. But, I knew I needed to do it.

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So I did.

And everything changed.

And this where the story gets multi-faceted. This is where I wonder, which part do I tell?

Do I tell about breaking my leg? What about that mission trip I took to Kenya? Do I tell about living with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder? Guatemala–how do I not tell them about Guatemala? Do I tell them about nursing school? Working as a nurse? Hurting my back? Choosing to leave nursing? Starting my own business? Moving 9+ hours away from home to the last state in the continental U.S. that I wanted to live in (modern day Jonah situation, literally)? My mom’s best friend? The last year of our life?

No.

Not here. Not today.

But, I will tell you about that guy. The one my friends wouldn’t let me sit next to, so I wouldn’t be distracted.

That guy who liked me as much as I liked him.

That guy who had already surrendered his life to Jesus.

We got home from that retreat, and God took us each on our own journeys for several years, journeys that drew us closer to Him in ways that we never could have grown if we’d been closer to each other than “just friends.”

Two weeks ago that guy and I celebrated six years of marriage.

And we both look back on that week on those houseboats and praise God that He opened my heart to surrender my life to Him. As my husband says, “Without God in control of our relationship from the beginning, I’m confident we would have messed it up.”

Our walk with the Lord, both as singles and as a married couple, has been filled with a wide gamut of experiences, emotions, trials, and joyous occasions. We shudder at what life would look like if neither of us had given Christ control of our life.

It hasn’t been easy. We’ve made mistakes. Daily we’re reminded that we’re not perfect. (Especially since we’re the parents of a toddler!)

But nothing else can replace this peace we have. A peace and a hope and an assurance that even though we aren’t perfect, God is. And He is always faithful.

We know, out of personal experience, that it is better for Him to hold the pen that’s writing our story than it is for us to.

We know that sometimes life gets hard. Really hard. But we have a peace that surpasses understanding and the strength of the Lord Jesus inside of us which keeps us pressing towards the goal of glorifying Him in all that we do.

Accepting Jesus as my Savior was a no-brainer. There’s no other way to have a relationship with God than through Jesus. There’s no other way to have eternal life. No other way to receive forgiveness.

Jesus asked God if there was a way other than the cross to redeem the world. Jesus had free will. He knew what was coming. He could have fled and saved Himself. But He surrendered to the will of God. He let God keep the pen.

And look what came out of that decision to surrender.

Have you surrendered your life to Christ? Given Him the pen of your life? What differences have you noticed since making that decision? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section.

In Him,

Lindsay

Finding Redemption Amidst Insecurities

Finding Redemption Amidst Insecurities

Kristin J

Kristin J

I am a happy wife and mother to my amazing husband and beautiful little girl and we are living the good life just outside of Oklahoma City. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas where both of my parents serve as ministers. With God’s great guidance, I ended up earning a degree in children’s ministry from Oklahoma Christian University! I am an extrovert and love to make friends and have deep conversations. My days are filled with the duties of motherhood and homemaking but when I find a moment to myself I enjoy reading cookbooks, blogs, and Karen Kingsbury’s books. I have a slight addiction to facebook and pinterest. Holidays are my favorite days. I love to cook meals that make people happy. I have a passion for family ministry and bible class teaching. Most importantly, my greatest desire to is to know my heavenly Father more each day.
Kristin J

Nothing distracts me from God’s goodness and robs me of my joy quite like insecurity. Recently in church one Sunday I found myself unable to concentrate on the sermon because I was so busy thinking about my shortcomings: I hadn’t made enough effort to reach out to others, I’d been lazy and making unhealthy choices, and I wasn’t enjoying God’s word like I wanted to. Here it was, time to sing our song of invitation but I really hadn’t been paying attention. I was only going through the motions. All of a sudden the words I was singing on autopilot hit me:

I come broken to be mended
I come wounded to be healed
I come desperate to be rescued
I come empty to be filled
I come guilty to be pardoned by the blood of Christ the Lamb
And I’m welcomed with open arms, praise God! Just as I am.

Redemption…

I could hear God whisper, “Daughter, lay your insecurities down, and come to me. I offer redemption.”

The song continued:

Just as I am, I would be lost.
But mercy and grace my freedom bought
And now to glory in your cross
Oh Lamb of God I come, I come.”

Mercy. Grace.

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. – Hebrews 4:16

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Redeemed Even with All Our Faults

You see, sweet friend, God knows we are are not perfect. He knows that even with the best intentions and the strongest self-discipline we will fall short of his glory. But he gives us mercy and grace over and over again through the blood of Christ Jesus.

When we come to God in all of our faults and shortcomings, he covers us. That’s what he does!

Now, this does not mean that we stay content in the mud of our sin, knowing that He pours out grace. Paul had something to say about this:

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. – Romans 6:15-18

Conform to the Image of Christ

We should strive to conform to the image of Christ. Of course we must pursue a life that pleases God, but we don’t have to feel stuck and alone when we mess up. We can lean on the Holy Spirit for strength and good fruit in our life. With God’s help, we can take hope that life can get better. Even more, we can be better.

Because we know that God offers mercy and grace, we can experience confident living rather than overwhelming insecurity. He heals us, cleanses us, sustains us. Christ’s blood, not our own, makes us clean. Jesus makes us enough.

Father God, thank you for pouring out your mercy and grace upon us. When we come to you broken, thank you for mending us. When we come to you wounded, thank you for healing us. Thank you for rescuing us when we come to you desperate. Thank you for filling us when we come to you empty. When we come to you guilty, thank you for pardoning us. Every time we approach you, may we remember that sacrifice. May we lay aside our guilt and insecurities, and take on the confident hope that you’ve given to us. May the enemy have NO power over us. We love you, Lord! In the name of Jesus, Amen

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