Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fixing your eyes on the "Son" - Week 3

"But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will RUN and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint." - Isaiah 40:31

On June 16th of this year I officially turned into a runner. I went from not having ran in years to running an average of 18 miles a week. I even ran in my first race, the Heroes for Hope Race, and had a personal record!! I'm not really sure what got me motivated to start running but I am so thankful I did. It's not only providing me with exercise but a chance to start my day on the right "foot" as I listen to worship music and surrender my day to the Lord.

Since I started running in the summer months I have been spoiled by lots of daylight, even as early as I go. However, I am noticing it getting dimmer and dimmer as the days go on. I'm not for running in darkness, nothing about that sounds fun. I like light....lots of light (and sunshine). But when you live in the Pacific NW light and sunshine don't make much of an appearance in the fall & winter.

The combination of running and darkness just don't make sense, which means I am going to have to embrace running on a treadmill for a few months. With the absence of light means things like stumbling, making wrong turns, accidents, confusion and frustration. Light provides direction, guidance, insight, and safety. The same is true of parenting.

If there is one race of life I don't want to be in the DARK, it is that of parenting. I need Jesus, my light, to navigate me along on the winding roads, sharp corners, steep inclines and unexpected obstacles.
"And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us." - Hebrews 12:1b

I can not begin to tell you all the times I have felt like I was in total darkness as a mom. I have stumbled, made wrong turns, and felt despair and frustration more times than I can count. There have been so many times I've laid my head on my pillow at the end of the day, and thought back on that days tantrums, mischievous behaviors, defiant battles, attitudes while doing school and how I handled myself in those moments. I knew I had lacked self-control and godliness in those situations. I felt like a failure. I was far from being a "Super Mom."
When I parent/homeschool in my own strength I am left feeling weary, defeated, and off track from the path I know God wants me and my family to be on. I am learning to "Fix my eyes on the Son", as He is the one who pours out wisdom, understanding, insight, discernment, and strength! He is the one who fills me with patience, grace, and joy for the journey. He is the one who lights my path each and every day.

"Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” - John 8:12
"Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me.
All day long I put my hope in you." - Psalm 25:5
I need to be walking each and every day in the LIGHT because my girls are looking, observing, watching and following closely behind. Parenting is not a call to perfection. That is an impossible goal. It's a call to follow Jesus and to walk in the Light. It's a call to walk in grace. It's a call to walk in humility. It's a call to be teachable. It's a call to put our hope and trust in our Maker!
Do you feel like you are walking in darkness? Are you struggling in the area of parenting? Do you feel overwhelmed, tired, worn out, defeated, uncertain, frazzled, guilt-ridden, or stretched to the max?

Please allow me to pray with you:
"Lord, I lift up this precious mom to you. You know her struggles, fears, and areas of weakness in regards to parenting her children. I ask that you would bring her out of the darkness and into the light. Begin to reveal things to her, confirm in her heart the purposes of motherhood that you have called her specifically too. Show her the path you want her on. Give her your wisdom and understanding. Fill her life with contentment, self-control, patience, and purpose. I ask that she would not be a mom who continually walks around guilt-ridden because she thinks she isn't good enough as a mom. Help her not to compare herself to any other mom either. May she strive not to be a perfect mom but a grace-filled mom to her kids. In Jesus name I pray. Amen"
This concludes the "Fixing your eyes on the Son" series!
For the Introduction to the series go here.
For week 1 click here.
For week 2 click here.

Please Subscribe here if you don't want to miss upcoming posts or find me on Facebook!


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Fixing your eyes on the "Son" - Week 2

"He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along" - Psalm 40:2
Ever gotten stuck in the mud?  I have!  With fall and the rainy season, can come mud and with mud comes the chance of getting stuck.  Back in 1995, summer after my senior year of high school, I went on a missions trip to Papua New Guinea (it was there winter season, which means very hot, muggy, and rainy).  While there, we travelled to a remote village, which required us to drive a long distance on a dirt road with lots of pot holes.   Eventually we came to a steep, muddy hill, that we were suppose to drive up to reach the village.  No matter how hard we tried, that vehicle just wasn't making it up the hill.  The tires spun and spun in the mud.  We would make some progress and then begin to slip and slide back down.  And on top of this, there was a steep ravine on one side with a raging river below.   What a scary moment for sure!   Eventually we did make it to the top of that hill, thanks to the help of many others, coming alongside to help push the vehicle from behind.  I remember getting to the top of the hill and feeling so thankful and relieved.
In May of 2011 a situation occurred, that left me feeling "stuck" in a place of bitterness, unforgiveness, and deep hurt.  No matter how hard I tried I couldn't figure out how to get "unstuck".  Without going into unnecessary details I will say this...I had a "falling out" with a friend, a Christian friend at that.  Shortly after the "episode", I received a letter which made it clear all hopes of reconciliation were not going to happen.  That experience brought me to one of the lowest moments in my life.   It felt like every negative feeling imaginable was put into a blender and then I gulped it down...hurt, anger, bitterness, pain, confusion, unforgiveness, regret, sadness, feelings of rejection, frustration, and a hardness in my heart.
So I spent the remainder of last year "stuck" in that dark place.  It was a heavy burden, with more baggage than I could carry...but I made every attempt to carry it.  If you are a visual person just imagine a person at the airport looking absolutely ridiculous because of their overabundance of luggage.  It weighed me down, it held me back, and it was all consuming and very debilitating.  I couldn't move forward...I was "STUCK".

In early December, when it was obvious reconciliation was still not an option, I began to pour my heart out to God like never before.  I took the focus off of me and began to fix my eyes on the Son.  As I did, the Lord came alongside me and gave me the little push I needed to get unstuck!
The Lord revealed to me that this was not my burden to carry anymore and never should have been mine to carry.  The Lord reminded me that I can not control others and their choices/reactions....only my own.  The Lord renewed my mind and heart and I was flooded with peace.  Oh there is nothing like the sweet, sweet peace that comes from God.

"I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid" - John 14:27

It would be another 5 months before my prayer was answered for reconciliation and it came when I was least expecting it.  I love the saying, "God is rarely early but He is never late, His timing is always perfect."  The day finally came to talk with her face to face, and although it didn't revive our friendship, it brought the closure I needed. 

As I walked through this painful situation I learned something that surprised me.  Countless other Christian women I know have also endured a broken friendship with a fellow sister in the Lord.  This should not be the case.  I use to head up a ministry for teen girls called "Gutsy Girls for God" and that is exactly what each of us grown women need to be...GUTSY!  Gutsy to extend love, grace, and forgiveness when you have been wronged and gutsy to reach out when you have offended.  Us girls need to stick together, support one another, encourage, bless, and love on one another!  Can I hear an Amen?!

Please do not wait for reconciliation to happen to get "unstuck".  That moment may or may not come.  Make a decision to fix your eyes on the Lord, surrender the heavy baggage to Him, and allow him to do a work in your life NOW!  You will be so thankful you did!

Allow me to pray with you....

"Jesus, you paid the ultimate price by giving up your own life, so that we don't have to remain "stuck" in our sin.  Hardness of the heart, bitterness, unforgiveness, and all the other emotions that come from a broken relationship keep us from ALL that you have for our lives and from being effective in life.  I lift up this special lady to you.  You know her circumstances, you know the pain she feels, the loss, the hurt, the lack of peace.  As she begins to fix her eyes on you, I ask that you would move, heal, restore, and release her from the heavy weight.  Fill her with peace that surpasses all understanding, give her a fresh and new perspective, encourage her heart, and remind her of all that you did for her on the cross.  She is so precious to you and you love her more than words can ever express.  Give her hope in a hopeless situation.  In Jesus name I pray.  Amen"

Come back next Wednesday for more in the "Fixing your eyes on the Son" series!
For the Introduction to the series go here.
For week 1 click here.

Please Subscribe here if you don't want to miss upcoming posts or find me on Facebook!


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Fixing your eyes on the "Son" - Week 1


"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer." - Psalms 19:14
I couldn't resist purchasing these adorable rainboots for my girls while shopping at Costco recently, they even came with matching umbrella's.  It made me happy to know their little feet would be protected from the rain this fall but it also made me sad to realize summer is almost over. 
Here in the Pacific NW, it's often true that when it rains it pours. I might be driving on the freeway with no rain one minute and then in the blink of an eye it's an outright downpour. I move my windshield wipers to the fastest speed possible and it's still not enough to keep the rain off the window so I can see the road before me.  This sudden downpour is similar to me and my raw emotions at times. I'm fine and dandy one minute and then "BOOM" gets real ugly. I get real ugly.
Anger and being out of control with my emotions is something I have struggled with as far back as I can recall.  When I am hurt, tired, emotional drained, frustrated, feel rejected, stressed out, or things feel out of raw emotions kick into high gear and I come "unglued". 
A few weeks ago I had a major moment of coming "unglued" on my husband.  I decided to go for a run to burn off some steam and cried out to God as I ran: "Why am I like this God?", "Why do I allow myself to get so worked up?", "Why am I so full of pride?", "Why is it so hard for me to remain humble and calm?", "Am I ever going to change?", and here is what I felt the Lord say in response..."Andrea you make me like an idol in your life. You hold onto me and show me off in your life when you want and then other times you put me up on the shelf when I am not needed or you think you can handle a situation yourself and your way. But I am not an idol that you can do that. I am the one true God who created you and who you can trust to help you work through those raw emotions the right way. You can't give part of yourself over to me. I want ALL of you, every area of your life to be surrendered to me."
Can you relate? Do you struggle with raw emotions? I'm choosing to fix my eyes on Jesus, will you join me in doing the same!!  It's a daily chose to surrender ALL of yourself to Him! 
Recognize you are a work in progress, therefore perfection is not the goal....but running to Jesus is!  When you fall short, let it be a reminder how desperately you need the Lord. 

"A final word: Be strong in the Lord in his mighty power. Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil." - Ephesians 6:10
(ladies it's time to put on our spiritual "rain gear")
"People with understanding control their anger;
a hot temper shows great foolishness." - Proverbs 14:29

"Sensible people control their temper;
they earn respect by overlooking wrongs." - Proverbs 19:11

"Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires." - James 1:19-20

Allow me to pray with you: "Lord, your love for us is the most amazing thing ever.  It's not based on works, performance, or perfection instead it's a beautiful gift wrapped up with a beautiful bow called grace.  You love us at our best and you love us at our worst.  I ask you to meet this beautiful lady right where she is in her life and with any struggles she may have with anger or raw emotions.  May she choose to fix her eyes on you today.  I pray she encounters your love for her in a new and fresh way and that you would begin to change her from the inside out.   And in those moments when she fails and her emotions get the best of her, I pray it would be another opportunity for her to run to you, call out to you, and surrender ALL of herself to you!  In Jesus mighty name I pray.  Amen"   
 Stay tuned next week for part 2 of my story!
Please Subscribe here if you don't want to miss upcoming posts or find me on Facebook!