Friday, March 5, 2021

The Counting of Blessings

We've been through $8000 in plumbing issues during the last three months with more to come, so I thought it was time to make a concerted effort to list my blessings not just in my head, but in hard-copy form. Because plumbing and money out the window? Definitely the cares of this world that will pass away.

My blessings in no particular order:

1. I told you in my last post about listening to the Bible and lately it has been such a blessing. I am either cleaning up after a plumbing project, or getting ready for plumbers to come, it seems. Listening to the Bible has been so helpful and I've covered the Gospels and James, sometimes listening to chapters twice if people interrupt me.

2. Sunshine! Yes! Ohio doesn't get much of it and this week we've had 3 glorious days.

3. The nice plumbers who replaced the water heater today.

4. A yard to play in.

5. Teens and a tween who still like to talk to mom every day.

6. Talking to my kids about literature and history.

7. Gardening around the corner.

8. Flowers coloring our world soon.

9. I'm old and wrinkled at 55 (skin not very elastic in my gene pool) but my husband is gracious and loving so it could be a lot worse. 

10. Son very happy with his ACT score and happy the test went on as planned, finally!

11. Kids are getting exercise again now that the snow melted and a little mini-spring arrived. (Homeschool gym, which was a major workout, got canceled this year and they were getting out of shape.)

12. I subscribed to a scheduling website for homeschooling last fall, and my planning is much more organized and streamlined! What a blessing! (

13. Friday!

14. Okay, overalls ya'll. I used to wear them when I was single and young and they are back in style, apparently. I bought some for my 12-year-old and she looks so sweet and cute in them! She styles her hair in pigtails when she puts them on. I just can't stand not squeezing her and smiling.

15. A youth pastor my kids really love.

16. A pork loin roast for dinner that I just pop in the oven after seasoning, thank goodness--or I wouldn't have time to write this.

17. Pictures of their childhoods so I can remember because they are so grown up now.  Big sigh.

18. The Lord is my strength and my shield. In Him my heart trusts. Thanks be the God.

What are you thankful for today?

Have a wonderful weekend!

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy and with my song I praise him” (Psalm 28:7).

“Do not be anxious about anything, but by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6).

“Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:19-20).

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

The Christian Mother's Guide Part 2

In my last post I indicated we would delve into the Bible for a picture of what Christian motherhood should look like. If you're a first-generation Christian mom like me, you're hungry for direction and encouragement. 

No matter our background, if we study the heart of God through the relevant verses, and commit our way to Him, our mothering will honor God and strengthen the Church. 

God chooses to give to many woman the role of motherhood. Maybe we'd like to think we've chosen motherhood, but this isn't true. Those struggling with infertility can painfully attest to this fact. 

As mothers chosen by God, our response to God's calling should be: gratitude, humility, sacrifice, commitment--not unlike our response to salvation. 

Today's Verse: Titus 2:4

Each time we meet we'll look at a different scripture. Today I've chosen Titus 2.4: ..."and so train the young women to love their husbands and children."  

First, a little background on the Book of Titus. Paul introduced Christianity in Crete when he and Titus visited there, and when Paul moved on, Titus stayed behind to organize the converts and lead the new church. 

In New Testament times morality in Crete had sunk to a deplorable level. The island was inhabited by natives and Jews who did not know the truth of Jesus Christ. 

The letter from Paul to Titus gave Titus authority and guidance, encouraged him to develop leaders within the church, and to commit everyone to sound doctrine, and to give instructions to all age groups for right living pleasing to our Lord.

Titus 2:3-5 : 3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

Titus 2:2 Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. Titus 2:6-8 Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. 7 In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8 and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.

Notice in verse 2:5 it says: ..."so that no one will malign the word of God." The New American Standard version says "so that the word of God will not be dishonored." 

Everything we do as Christian mothers matters to God because as wives and mothers we are part of Kingdom-building. We are chosen for reasons higher than ourselves and our family--our husband and children are gifts, but they aren't just for our pleasure. 

I've told myself during the rough patches of my 22-year Christian marriage that we would finish the race not just because we made a promise, but because our marriage matters to God and to the Church.

Likewise, our Christian children matter to God and to the Church. They help build it and grow it.

The commandment here in Titus 2:4 specific to mothers is that we are to love our children.  

In Titus 2:4 the Greek word philoteknos appears in reference to mothers loving their children. Think of: 

- caring for their day-to-day physical needs
- nurturing their spirits 
- embracing them with hugs
- meeting their emotional and spiritual needs
- tenderly taking them under your wing  

In order to love in this way, which sounds all-encompassing--we need God on our team. God never burdens us with any role, so we need not feel overwhelmed. Motherhood is a privilege and we can experience joy in it when we have God by our side.

We have the benefit of God in three persons: 

- God the Father, who gives us good gifts and cherishes and loves us and wants fellowship with us

- God the Son who is our Lord and Savior and example of sacrificial love

- The Holy Spirit who is our Counselor and Teacher and the one who intercedes for us in prayer. 

So, we are never alone. If we feel alone it's often because we've failed somewhat in our personal relationship with God, and that's easy to do.

Who wants us to fail in our devotion to God and family?

Who is the enemy of the Christian family, since the Christian family is so important in building up the Church?


- He wants us to get distracted by the things of this world, so that the needs of our children don't seem as pressing as our own desires.

- He wants to make Sunday the official day of disasters so we'll miss church.

- He wants us to get bogged down in perfectionism so we lose track of the big picture. (The house is probably not going to stay clean until the children leave home. Do what you can and keep loving, and don't get discouraged if "what you can" is barely the laundry and dishes. Delegate when they're ready for chores.)

- He wants us to get in debt so we have to spend more time away from home or more time worrying. 

- He wants us to buy more stuff so we have to spend more time taking care of things, rather than people.

- He wants us to stew about the irritating things people do, so we'll spend time arguing with or punishing people, rather than loving them.

Jesus warns his disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane that "the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak." He wants them to watch and pray with him because he's feeling exceedingly sorrowful about the events about to unfold.

He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” (Matthew 26:40), and then afterward told them all to watch and pray in order to avoid temptation.

The word for “spirit” in this passage is the Greek word pneuma, which in this context refers to the soul of man or the mind. The word for “flesh” refers to the human body and nature, with its moral and physical frailties.

The story of the disciples here rings true for all of us. We are all subject to the weakness of the flesh.

No matter how much we may want to be wonderful mothers and follow Jesus, we may "fall asleep" on the job unless we heed Jesus's advice to "keep watch and pray".


We know that we can ask God for whatever we need. Jesus made a special point that whatever we ask “in His name” He will do (John 14:13). The phrase in His name means “according to His will.” 

Is praying for the strength to love our children well, praying "according to God’s will"? Absolutely! Jesus will answer the prayer for spiritual strength to overcome the flesh. When we feel the weakness of the flesh about to overpower us, we can always pray.

Keep Watch

The apostle Paul said, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it” 1 Corinthians 10:13

We should watch for the “way out.” Being spiritually watchful, we will see the temptation coming and pray for strength and victory. “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty” Proverbs 22:3.

Our spirits can keep watch by being washed regularly with the Word of God. This keeps us in tune with the very heart of God. 

Busy mothers might benefit from listening to the Word. Particularly with littles, you might be in a season where you'll soak up more Bible using Bible Gateway on audio using your phone. Whatever it takes, wash your mind with the Word. 

You'll run into people who are snobby about Bible on audio--like it doesn't really count for devotions. But there are advantages to both reading and to listening. When you listen you are more in tune to the context of the passages because you go through more passages at once. It's also easy to go through the whole Bible in a year this way.

Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Hebrews 4:16 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.

God chose us specifically to love our unique children and fulfill their needs, and as much as some days we may feel ill-equipped or mismatched with their temperaments, this is nonsense--a lie from the Enemy. 

We are perfect for our children, as God is the perfect parent for us.

We have to engage Him as our partner, asking for what we need, knowing humbly that without him we are nothing. 

There is a lot more to cover, including, what do we teach our children and how do we nurture them? Have a blessed day!

Friday, February 19, 2021

The Christian Mother's Guidebook Intro

I've been a mother for over 19 years now and mistakes? I've made my share. Two of my four children overflow with grace for me and the other two might be harboring ideas about my mothering that would haunt me, if I knew the whole of it. They happen to be the stubborn two, if you must know.

Contemplating my mistakes at the end of the day, sometimes unable to sleep, I sometimes wish I wasn't a first-generation Christian mom--saved only five years before my first child was born. How much better would I be doing as a mom if I had the benefit of Christian modeling? 

I confess I'm also guilty of wondering how much better my mothering would be if mental illness hadn't been in the mix for some of my kids--something I've felt ill-equipped to handle. Things became so complicated that I quit blogging some years ago. The teen years mixed with mental illness left me so stretched that I had nothing to say. I've needed ministering to, but mental illness represents territory little understood by my fellow Christians. 

The Holy Spirit doesn't let me get too far with grumbling--this why-couldn't-it-have-been-this-way complaining. I'm aware it is grumbling, rather than trusting in His divine plan, and I'm ashamed when my thoughts turn thus.

I am a Christian, due only to God's divine grace. I get to skip a fiery, forever suffering, through no merit of my own, therefore no complaining allowed. The Creator gets to be sovereign and doesn't suffer any back-seat driving. Isn't that what Job was told in no uncertain terms, when he thought things were a little unfair?

My daughters are 12 and 14, my sons 17 and 19. I have a ways to go, yes, but I have miles to look back on also. 

Let me assure you--God's grace has been with me, every one of these 19 years. If you, too, have trouble sleeping due to mothering mistakes, take heart. 

When upset some nights over my lack of mothering patience, or skill, or grace, I would finally get around to what I should have started the night with.


My spirit calmed in the quiet darkness after I prayed that God would cover my sins and mistakes with his grace. I thanked him for my beautiful children and for beautiful motherhood, and asked him to take what little I had to offer and make much of it--with his power, his wisdom, his love, his grace.

The kids are all old enough now that I can see it. The Lord has been faithful. He's answered me and his answer is YES! Though needing plenty of guidance yet, my children show wisdom and discernment in making decisions for themselves. They express gratitude for what God has given them in salvation and truth, and they mourn for the lost they encounter at their workplaces and elsewhere.

The Bible is my guidebook as a mother, but I recognize there could be more for mothers in my shoes. I found the Church was not much help because stay-at-home motherhood?  As a topic it remains controversial in the modern church, so the issues that arise for mothers home 24/7 aren't addressed. No one wants to start any mommy wars and who can blame their local church, honestly? 

I know in my own church, there aren't enough stay-at-home moms to form a group at all. There are two Women's Bible studies--one run by a grandmother and one run by two working mothers. 

All Christians sin and we all need God's grace over and over again. We have more in common than we have differences, so do we really need Bible Studies or groups that cater to different lifestyles?

Yes and no.

When I was younger in my homeschooling journey, I read an excellent Titus 2 book by a homeschooling mother and it spoke to my overwhelmed heart in just the right way. It met me right where I was at and I still remember the relief and joy I felt in reading this mother's life-giving words.

I want to write a book that will do that for first-generation Christian moms, and for Christian moms who are parenting children with mental disorders. I want to fill them with joy, confidence and grace in their journeys. It is hard to step into a role for which you had no modeling--no picture in your head for what it's supposed to look like. 

Guess what many of us do when we have no picture? We strive for perfection and crash and burn often. 

What does the Bible say about our role as Christian mothers? Can we form a picture with scripture that will help all moms? I think we can. We'll be delving into the Bible in the next weeks. 

There may be no readers left out there, which is to be expected. But should this reach anyone, let me say I hope you and your family are well and staying sane during this pandemic. God bless you!

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Christmas Letter 2018

Dear Family and Friends,

I hope you enjoyed a merry Christmas with your loved ones. Today, December 26th, I’m finally stealing time from children, chores, and ministry to reflect on 2018.

For our own family and for some of our relatives, there was loss and grief. My husband’s father passed away in January. He was 95 and lived a life that was hard, grief-filled, but faithful to the God he met as a young man. He suffered mental illness but despite that, I heard him quote a line from Scripture he obviously took to heart. Philippians 4:11 “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” His wife died 44 years ago, and their first child, a baby daughter, died at 8 months old. His mother and sister suffered mental illness and he lost them to a mental institution a very long time ago, so his was a lonely life. Though he was not a perfect father, he did his best with the tools a broken world handed him; he improved on the previous generation, securing for my husband and his sister more stability and faith, and even more love, than he had in his own youth. In death he left behind my husband and our children, my husband's sister and her son.

My aunt E, my dad’s sister, lost her husband, D, 76, in September, after 58 years of marriage. My aunt Dorothy, my mom’s sister, lost her husband, R, in later fall, at age 83, after 63 years of marriage. Both men had large families and their lives touched many; both suffered painful deaths from cancer and fought courageously, thinking of the families they were leaving, and the legacies they wanted to bless them with. Their long marriages, their faithfulness to their children and families spoke volumes to the present and coming generations. Please pray for my aunts as they grieve and find strength for new routines, new inspirations. Incidentally, they are good friends, having met in the early 90’s because their mothers were roommates in the same nursing home. Their mothers died a couple days apart, and their husbands two months apart--once again, they are a comfort to each other.

My husband and the kids took trips twice to Pennsylvania to see his Aunt D and Uncle B and Cousin Shawna and her family, meeting up with his sister also, and staying with good friends Jim and his wife in Allentown, PA. A great time was had by all. Peter has struggled psychologically for most of the year and I needed a break from that, so I stayed behind to deal with home repairs and homeschooling paperwork. Peter started a new, safe medicine last month which is for bipolar (though he may or may not have that). The med has been a game changer and an answer to prayer. He still has bad days, just fewer of them.

My house full of children is changing. All are in adolescence and becoming their own people; my job is now about guiding while staying out of God’s way, as he molds them into who He wants them to be, and as He prepares them for the work he has for them. Our church’s high school youth group is offering the teens a week-long mission trip to Costa Rica, encompassing a few hours of morning construction work, followed by running a daily Vacation Bible School for an inner-city church. The emphasis is on the teens running it all, not merely helping the adults. It’s about learning to be leaders, as well as expressing God’s love and mercy.

Imagine the flags that went off in our parental heads at the mention of a Central American country, though Costa Rica is not one of the most dangerous. The mission organization employs armed guards to protect the teens while they work, but nevertheless as a mother I fought hard to come to yes regarding this trip. Something Peter said finally decided it; while I was Googling San Jose, Costa Rica for as much information as I could gather, he commented, “Well, those kids have to live there, so it has to be safe enough for us to visit.” Oh. I can’t tell you how those words hit me. Immediately, I imagined another Christian mother, sitting in Costa Rica, praying. If God saw fit for another mother’s children to live in those conditions, and for her to pray with faith every day for His protection and blessing, I could certainly go out of my comfort zone to share my children’s love and talents, and my prayers, with that faithful mother and her children. I tell other people and my children how big of a God we serve--how powerful and faithful he is--all the time. So how could I say no to an opportunity for God to demonstrate that power in a tangible way? God willing, they are both going.

The drug lords are winning in Central America, corrupting the politicians, the police, crippling the countries, causing significant migration. I know it’s only God’s power that can eclipse the evil. Addiction and trafficking threaten to steal our worth. The message of both is that we are worthless--God’s message is that we are priceless. Our Creator gives us our worth. He, who knit us in the womb and knew us before we were born. He, who thought we were so priceless and beautiful He was willing to give it all for us. I want my children to be part of His message of love and worth. Some problems require a spiritual lead first, not a political one. Without the one, the other will fail.

There were changes in ministry this year. I helped in middle school AWANA for three years, and while that wasn’t my area of giftedness, I did learn to love those kids, after discovering you need to connect one on one. In their mob, they’re less than pleasant, but the true person comes through when you get them away from their peers. 

After the AWANA year closed in May, I asked the AWANA commander for younger kids, and ended up taking a co-director position for the 3rd-5th grade AWANA club in Sept. It was a more ambitious position than I really had time for (the other co-director is burned-out after many decades of ministry), but I didn’t want another year in middle school. I teach most weeks and send out weekly newsletters to parents and volunteers, work individually with kids, and plan reviews. It’s a bit like a part-time job and the books we use change every year for a three-year cycle. But it’s so fulfilling! The kids look up at you with eager faces and hearts, hungry for the teachings of God. Beth is in my club, Mary is in the middle school club, Paul is a verse leader/occasional teacher in my club, and Peter is in his third year as a leader in the preschool club. He loves it. Paul and I both think the 3rd-5th kids are such a blessing. I hope we pour as much love into them as they pour into us.

There have been changes with our Compassion International children; we now have two--one young girl in Uganda and a teen boy in Columbia. We used to have more, but a few moved into areas that Compassion doesn’t serve, one moved out of the program because her family was doing better, and one, sadly, (our first-ever Compassion child, Divya) became a victim of India’s new leader, Modi, who cracked down on Christian ministry in India. In March 2017, Compassion International was forced to pull out of India entirely after 48 years, closing 589 Child Development Centers serving 145,000 of the country’s poorest children. India has since moved to number 11 on the Open Doors World Watch List (annual list of top 50 countries where it’s most dangerous to follow Jesus). In 2017 they were number 15 on the list, and in 2018 they moved to number 11, so it’s very alarming. 

It used to be that outside of North Korea--number 1 on the list for 18 years--that the worst areas for persecution and violence against Christians, and particularly Christian women, were Islamist extremist areas, but now Hindu/ethnic extremists, like Modi, are also a major problem. Please pray for Divya and her family, who we and Compassion no longer have any contact with. She has our personally-written letters, which all Compassion children treat like gold because of the hope and love they contain. She participated not only in vocational, health, and tutoring classes, but in Bible studies before Compassion shut down. Her personal letters to us indicated a relationship with God. Whatever they might do, they can’t take Him.

Now for the kids here at home. Mary is a soulful, passionate child and music is her spiritual language. She loves a lot of Christian music, but the Australian-American band For King and Country produces great content that she adores--and they’re not too bad on the eyes to a 12-year-old girl, either. They sing, do lots of concerts (not near us this year), write their own music, do music videos, and the song/book/movie Priceless, about trafficked women. She hasn’t seen the movie due to mature/emotional content, but when she’s older she will. It’s outstanding. She likes to hear the stories behind every song they’ve written. Each story is compelling. I hope her love for music will inspire her to manage her storm phobia, which is still a very serious problem in her life. Overcoming fear is a common theme in Christian music.

Mary also loves to read--I can’t keep enough literature in the house for her! Missionary stories are favorites, as well as adventure novels with inspiring, courageous characters. She still reads a lot of historical literature as part of our curriculum, too. She loves the power of story and I believe someday she’ll harness the power of story to charge hearts and lives. I bought her Katie Davis Major's two books for Christmas, which are really impacting her (Kisses for Katie, and Daring to Hope).

She loves fishing, and card and board games with her siblings. She loves her middle school church class and gets along well with boys, since her two brothers were her first companions. She usually has one girl she likes in each class. If you asked her what she wants to do with her life, she’d probably say, “Go on adventures.” She has prayed about becoming a missionary to China or another land. More recently China is cracking down on the underground house-churches, which have been very successful in growing a very large Christian population.

Paul is 15 and a hardworking student, blessed to have many things come easily to him. He excels at writing--essays, narrative and expository, and occasionally poetry, while still finding math second nature. He wavers between career choices, sometimes wondering about journalism, or being a pollster or statistician, or an engineer. He enjoys politics in a Carl Rove way, but he doesn’t engage in an emotional way. He read a large volume of articles and checked the stats every day of the midterm election season and could tell you who was running in each toss-up state for what race and what their chances were, and what scandals were brewing. He gauged the day to day chances of a Senate or House takeover and would tell me all about it; I majored in political science and, thankfully, although I never used the degree, I never lost interest. 

As a teacher does, I considered that a future president or other major leader might be in my class, so I shared bits of wisdom to shape the journey forward. Mainly, that politics shouldn’t be taken over by a we’re right/they’re wrong dynamic, but be a civic practice aimed at achieving balance in our republic, with the respective branches of government staying true to their charters. I told my future voters to read every quote from candidates before voting, looking for the one who serves God--not a faith borrowed in time for the election, but a true faith, because a leader needs strength most of all, and true strength doesn’t come from man, but from God. Man’s strength is borrowed, begged, or stolen, and always withers with enough pressure, but God’s strength is bestowed and then managed by God. And then, look for humility, because with that comes gratitude, and together they’re the foundation for a lot of other virtues. Also, that in the political process there is no room for bitterness, because ultimately, God is sovereign, and he gives and takes away power from man for purposes not known to us.

Paul still enjoys chess, gardening, baking, cooking, board games and card games with his sisters, going to local college football and basketball games with his dad and sometimes his brother, going to high school youth group, playing Christmas Carols and a few other songs on the piano, practicing basketball outside with a friend or his brother, but more often making baskets by himself to blow off steam. Paul is the quickest to offer help and sympathy when my day has been difficult; in short, he’s a giver, while still being able to compartmentalize stress and get necessary things done. He relies on the Lord for strength and hope.

Peter will be 17 in a couple weeks. He enjoys nature, many types of Christian music, fishing, and chess. His favorite school subject is history. In fact, he’s always detailing for me what he’s reading in history, expressing amazement at something from the past. He says he was born in the wrong era, except for the advancement of antibiotics and the abolishment of slavery (though we still have trafficking, he knows). A gentler time, when people honored God more, is his desire. His is a tender, very old soul.

Peter is unsure what he wants to be. Missionary work fits his gifting, as demonstrated by his work with his friends and at church, and he hasn’t given up on that idea, but his OCD obsessions obscure his real desires and he hasn’t taken control of his illness. I can’t help him beyond praying for him (we’ve done therapy). It’s harder for him to concentrate on his studies due to obsessions, but he’s a capable student and could do well in college, otherwise. Right now, he’s considering vocational work, which keeps his mind clearer. Entering a vocational high school might be a good idea for him next fall, so he can be employable right out of high school, while he matures and hopefully finds the inspiration to take control of his illness. Your prayers for him would be appreciated. Mental illness is heartbreaking and takes acceptance of/responsibility for the burden first, and then courage for the way forward.

Beth just turned 10 and had a rough year with her arthritis. She was doing so well in February that her doctor gradually took away one medicine at a time to see if she had grown out of her autoimmune disease (JIA). In June, the disease came back worse than before. She’s on three immunosuppressants right now. We’ll drop the prednisone in about five weeks, but the Orencia and methotrexate she’ll be on indefinitely.

Beth, like Paul, works very hard in school. She’s serious, but tenderhearted, always ready with a smile and hug. She loves writing and is always working on a story. The sentences come together naturally for her and she’s a good storyteller, even researching her settings online. She dreams of seeing her name on the cover of a book someday. She loves reading as well. It gets stressful around here, and Beth’s escape is to go outside, enjoying fresh air and God’s creation, which is a reminder of His presence and love. She loves studying different animals and learning about conservation, and enjoys hiking with Daddy in the summer, while the other children fish.

My husband and I will reach 20 years of marriage next July. We got married July 3, which means we almost always forget our anniversary. I will try to dissuade my children from getting married near a national holiday! The days have been long, but the years have passed by so quickly. I’m excited for my kids because they’re excited about becoming adults, but there are tears, too, when I remember all the little-kid times that have passed away. My husband, for his part, just wants his wife back. He’s still at his same two jobs working 55-60 hours and he keeps very busy as a father, taking the children individually on outings to speak love and value into their hearts. He’s a keeper! We are both growing old and not finding it easy, but God’s loving message of our worth helps, especially in our youth-obsessed culture. May God’s strength and blessing be with you all in 2019. Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Reflection Time: 364 Days

A new year is more than just another holiday--it's a new beginning too, a fresh start, even for those resistant to self-reflection. Can you really put 365 days behind you without some meditation on the trials and triumphs experienced?

What purpose did God have for them, we have to wonder? Did I drift farther away from Him, or grow closer?

Sometimes it's so messy, complicated, hard.

We put it off and convince ourselves it's just cliche anyway.

I don't want to, but I think the Holy Spirit is forcing me.

I lost my voice a year ago. Nothing seemed appropriate to say here; I knew what ailed me, but I was ashamed to admit it.

Discouragement had taken root and I couldn't put one foot in front of the other anymore to rid my heart of it. I still did devotions with my family, and still read my Bible, but I didn't work on my discouragement through writing, which is what always worked for me. Writing is a hard process whereby I would only start with an idea and the Holy Spirit would then take over, and by the end, I felt lighter, more at peace with the Lord and with my walk and with my circumstances.

Unsaved family can't be a support because they can't understand my choices or circumstances, and my husband already has enough on his plate with a 55-hour workweek and the mental disorders our kids face. Any personal discouragement was always something I had to deal with on my own with the Lord alone--and anonymously, I suppose, with anyone reading here (but really, the words were for the Lord).

Part of the reason, too, that I stopped writing was this: I felt like I'd written the same types of things over and over and how many times could I keep repeating them ad nauseum?

My answer today is: As many times as my heart needs them!

I commune with the Holy Spirit much more efficiently through writing than through prayer. This year confirmed that. Writing is my authentic personal prayer, I suppose, minus the supplications.

Remember that prayer is the Holy Spirit communing with our spirit? It's not just us telling God what we want. The Holy Spirit does much of the work involved--although we think all the work comes from us.

Have you ever noticed that the hardest part of prayer is starting the first word?

After that He is sitting right there with us, happy we chose to spend the time (or that is what I imagine). Each word after the first flows better and better.

The chromebook died in March and that made it more difficult to even think about writing. The PC is used for four children to complete math and spelling, and the two boys to complete Spanish and writing. Soon, though, we get another one and I can write at night again. For now, I can write on the weekends.

Isaiah 40:30
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Happy New Year! May you grow ever closer to Him, reflecting this weekend on what might be standing in your way in 2018.