Thursday, March 24, 2016

Remembering Past Victories To Encourage Present Ones

"What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?  Can that faith save him?  If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace, be warmed and filled,' without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?  So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead."
James 2:14-17

I read this passage of scripture this morning in my quiet time.  The question prompted in my Bible study was asking when the last time was that I responded to an obvious need like this.

I quickly began going through my mental rolodex of past experiences where I was privileged to be the hands and feet to those around me.  (BTW, I am not always so quick to lay down my own to-do's to pay attention to the needs around me.) That time we had a homeless mom and daughter live with us on our couch for nearly a month.  Feeding the homeless downtown.  Passing out water with our family to displaced families after a tornado.  Giving our baby gear to a single mom who just had a baby.  

Then I began looking at other victories in my life journey.  You know, those times when God shows off and provides every penny we needed for that bill, or the VISA for our daughter so we could bring her home to America, or the full healing from the almost deadly ectopic pregnancy.

I'm sure you can think of a handful of times when you were obedient to the gentle nudging of the Holy Spirit to act in faith.  And I'm certain you can recall times of God's faithfulness during a difficult season.  Remembering experiences like these are so important to remember.  In fact, God tells us to remember them frequently to encourage one another and to remember His goodness and faithfulness.

But past victories and obedient works aren't enough for the plan He has for us TODAY.  He calls us to be available at all times, not just obedient in stand-alone situations.  We are to die to ourselves DAILY.  Put on the armor of God and fight this battle DAILY. And we fight it by loving our neighbor DAILY.  By being His hands and feet DAILY.  By getting on our hands and knees DAILY and surrendering for what God has for us THIS day.  (Even if it is simply serving your own family with a happy heart instead of resenting the mundane tasks you continually have to do.)

We can't rely on our past victories to be enough for today's mission.

Yes, remember the past victories and Praise God for allowing you to be a small part of His bigger story.  Then loosen the grip you have on today and release it to Him so He can add more pages to your story TODAY.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Still Enough To Write

I have had a hard time focusing enough to write a steady stream of cohesive thoughts lately.

I'm gonna just blame it on the weather, track out, and the lack of routine (not my instability of my hormones or tired brain cells).

I'm currently listening to Alethia and Cai play family in the shade as I sit out on the other side of the yard by the fire pit in the breeze.  I couldn't have asked for more beautiful weather this track out!

I have had my moments, but overall this week has been much better than last.  I mean, I haven't had to write a single apology letter to the kids for my bad attitude, ha!

Can you believe it's almost Easter?  I love that our kids will be tracked out for Holy Week this year so we can really focus on what Easter is all about.  (Remember, "The Fast Track" begins this week.)

Josh took Areyna and Zeke up to VA with him yesterday for the funeral of his HS Youth Pastor.  Since Josh's parents were coming down today anyway (see next paragraph), the kids decided to just spend the night and come with Meme and Poppie today.  Which means that the littlest littles have had a learning curve as they try to figure out how to play with the bossy biggest littles.  It's been interesting to watch.

Josh and I will be celebrating 14 years of marriage on the 23rd of this month, but since it lands on one of the busiest weeks of the year for Josh we are celebrating early.  Josh's parents are going to watch the kids so Josh and I can "get away" for a night.  We've decided to be spontaneous and not plan exactly what we are doing.  Actually, we just haven't had a chance to decide what our plan is gonna be, but whatever it is it'll be amazing, because it will be JUST US!

Happy Thursday!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Because Just Another Day Is A Good Day

The track out between 3rd and 4th quarter is my absolute FAVORITE!

The weather is beautiful.
The kids are antsy to play outside and run around.
My spring motivation is in high gear.
Did I mention the weather?!

We have had a GREAT week so far.

Minus yesterday, where we spent 2 hours in a dentist office with background music playing, the TV on with the volume up loud and drilling sounds coming from down the hallway and the bright overhead lighting..can we say sensory overload?!

But we made it out alive (and Jude is the only one with cavities...4 to be exact...oh boy) and back to the Colony house just in time for some sweet friends to come for dinner.

You may remember me writing about our experience at Family Camp last year and our wonderful family assistants that shadowed and served us all week long.  Well, one of them has been scouting out  schools to attend after she graduates college a great school just happens to be 10 minutes down the road from us (Noel, the Lord told me that you are supposed to go to Southeastern;) so we KNEW we had to get together.  So she and her mom came for dinner.  Josh and I had a great time getting to know Noel's mom and our kids had a great time pulling Noel in 100 different directions and running around outside until they could no longer see.  What a fun night.

Josh just completed his first deadline for his doctorate project/paper yesterday.  That's a huge relief off of my shoulders for him.  (Josh told me I probably stress enough over this project for the both of us, ha!  What can I say, it's a gift, ha!)

I took a power nap, in the sun, in the hammock.  It was lovely.  And I didn't feel guilty about it ONE BIT.

I think I have figured out all of the curriculum for Rainy's 6th grade year at home and I'm getting really excited.

The Colony garden is done and most of the seeds are planted.  I'm still waiting on a few of them to get a little stronger inside before  transplanting them, but other than that everything is in its rightful place.  I realize that I will never fill up the entire garden area because it is HUGE, but maybe each year it will grow a little bit as I learn to do this whole gardening thing.  I'm anxious to see how it goes this time around.

We may not have extravagant plans for this track out, but we are having a great time being together, laying low at home, having sleepovers on the floor, staying up way past our typical school day bed time, filling up individual love tanks and playing lots of Dutch Blitz (what did we ever DO before we got that game?!).  And all these things make for a good day in my book!

Happy Thursday everybody.  It's time to unleash the kids for another full day in the great outdoors.

Friday, March 4, 2016

I Can't Run And Hide

"To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, and be nothing." 
- Aristotle

I don't do very well under criticism.
Quite frankly, it makes me nauseous.

Unfortunately, it is just part of life, unless you just shut yourself off from society or run and hide, resulting in little to no impact for the Kingdom.

Because Kingdom impact necessitates being relational, even when being relational is almost always messy.

Recently the Lord has orchestrated events and activities which have forced me out of my comfort zone and made me HAVE to get relational.  Oh yes, I could run and hide because the more "out there" I get, the more chances for there seem to be for criticism, judgement and misunderstanding.

My writing gets misinterpreted ALL.THE.TIME. and offends someone.
The jewelry I made wasn't what the buyer wanted.
The Norwex order wasn't right.
The oils didn't work "magic" and make life any better.

I have my hand in all these little areas and my day has the potential to be completely ruined by an email from an offended reader or a disgruntled customer.

But I have to remember that God has allowed me to do all these little things and I have a choice to let these things rock my very being or just keep moving forward, knowing that I am doing my best.

I want to be quick to listen and understand, and apologize when I am in the wrong.
I also want to brush off the hurtful things that are said and be able to move on when something simply is not true.

But I can't run and hide, trying my best to eliminate all areas where criticism could occur, because, like Aristotle said, I would have to "say nothing, do nothing, and be nothing."

And that isn't what we, as followers of Christ, are called to do!

Luckily, God has given us tools (and the residing Holy Spirit) to help us get past the fear and timidity of being relational and all that comes with it.

"For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid,
but gives us power, love and self discipline."
2 Timothy 1:7