Proverbs 16:24

"Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." -Proverbs 16:24

April 26, 2012

getting serious about our hearts...

There are two places in the (NIV) Bible where the phrase 'guard your heart' comes up.

I grew up knowing and hearing that phrase all the time. But I didn't understand what it meant or how to do it until I was pregnant, single, heart-broken, abandoned (feeling) and at rock-bottom.

I gave pieces of my heart to a dozen different boys. I gave pieces of my heart to people whose affections and attentions I desired. I gave my body to different boys and tried unsuccessfully to not let my heart go with that.

Guarding your heart isn't just about boyfriends. And it isn't just about sex.

Guarding your heart is about placing your heavenly Father and wise Creator as a guard in front of all else. A filter, a screen, a bodyguard. It is about forcing out everything until you are certain that your number one (Jesus Christ) is and always will be first. It is about clinging to purity, not as a minimum 'no sex' policy, but as a maximum security lifestyle and state of mind.

It is about keeping the things about you that God made beautiful and protecting them. Holding on to your sweet gift of a heart for whatever gives you drive and passion. It is wearing fuzzy socks and dancing around because no boy matters as much as being yourself. It is about keeping your secrets sometimes and not sharing them just in a desperate attempt to create 'intimacy'.

Proverbs 4:23- Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

Wellspring is defined as an original and bountiful source of something. That means that God didn't give us a little is bountiful. It is the original source of God, given to us at creation. It is our temple and home for our Savior.

The second place that 'guard your heart' is used is in Philippians 4:6-8. "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

This verse gives us a genius practical application lesson. How do I guard my heart? I pray and accept the promise of God's peace - in EVERYTHING. I keep my mind pure by focusing on truth, nobility, and things that are right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.

So, let's see. Where did I fail? Let's run the list of things I often thought about against the list of things I should have been thinking about...

1. Staying skinny....not real noble or praiseworthy.
2. Having 'trendy', 'hot' clothes...not pure or lovely.
3. Physical touch, often...not pure and not admirable, and not believing truth about how good waiting is!
4. Drinking, smoking...not pure, not admirable, not right, not noble, not excellent....
5. Ignoring my parents 'nagging' (aka wisdom)...not right, noble or excellent.

That list could go on FORever.

Anyway, I just wanted to share this. I want to allow my struggles and my sin to become a testimony of God's grace, His perfect, timely, saving grace. And His unconditional love. UNconditional.

I am especially hopeful that some younger girls will read this and something will click. I never slowed down enough and accepted enough wisdom to let this 'click' and my life spun out of control and my heart was so far from guarded that it got passed around, stepped on, used, abused and mailed back to me covered in filth. I pray that I can pass on enough to help even just one girl learn to guard her heart.

Thanks for listening :)

April 22, 2012

my kind of happy

Psalm 37-
1 Do not fret because of those who are evil
or be envious of those who do wrong;
2 for like the grass they will soon wither,
like green plants they will soon die away.
3 Trust in the LORD and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4 Take delight in the LORD,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him and he will do this:
6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.
7 Be still before the LORD
and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.
8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret—it leads only to evil.
9 For those who are evil will be destroyed,
but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.
10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more;
though you look for them, they will not be found.
11 But the meek will inherit the land
and enjoy peace and prosperity.

One of our pastors spoke on this verse today. He was sharing about worry. The Bible says not to worry. Yet we do it. I do it all.the.time.

Worry is a sin. A big, ugly black sin. And we don't treat it as such. We feel justified in worrying. But the root of our worry is usually anger, control issues or fear. And we know that anger, control issues and fear are sins because those are big 'Do Nots'. But worry means that we are trusting God, we are submitting to His control, we are afraid of what may or may not happen, and we are angry about the situation being out of our control.

Verse three of Psalm 37 says " in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture." Another translation says " in the Lord and do good; befriend or feed on faithfulness." How powerful, what an image. That I should be "tasting and seeing that the Lord is good" (Psalm 34:8).

What a great sermon...just wanted to pass on those nuggets that I was being challenged by!

March 20, 2012

a poem

Sometimes your boots are muddy, and sometimes the grass isn't green...but you are still
exactly in the place you are meant to be at that moment.

(By Beth Moore)
My name is Pride. I am a cheater.
I cheat you of your God-given destiny…
because you demand your own way.
('I am wiser than God about my own life' is the lie that I allow myself to believe as I pursue my own silly destiny, my own idea of a good future.)
I cheat you of contentment…
because you “deserve better than this.”
(Expecting that a life with Christ is hard can be difficult, so often times I step out of His plan, hoping to find an easier path.)
I cheat you of knowledge…
because you already know it all.
(My attitude so often reflects this idea that I am "all-knowing". God can't know enough to handle my life, not nearly as much as I do. So, I don't seek his wisdom...cause I already know.)
I cheat you of healing…
because you are too full of you to forgive.
(I have received more grace from God than I could dish out in ten lifetimes, so my refusal to forgive others is in a way, an unwillingness to acknowledge the grace I have already been given so freely.)
I cheat you of holiness…
because you refuse to admit when you are wrong.
(Because I'm never wrong, right? Because even when I feel 100% wrong, that feeling doesn't give me the right to be prideful and arrogant.)
I cheat you of vision…
because you’d rather look in the mirror than out a window.
(Where is my vision for the lost? My heart is so full of my own worries, my own agenda, and my own life that I often lose sight of a vision for the lost. I am consumed with myself.) 
I cheat you of genuine friendship…
because nobody’s going to know the real you.
(Because she doesn't understand what I'm going through. Because she doesn't have any right to speak into my life. Because I don't have time for friends. Because I'm too important.)
I cheat you of love…
because real romance demands sacrifice.
(After the honeymoon phase, the romance is gone. All that love is replaced with reality when your husband farts in the shower. Why can't he just constantly pursue me and do sweet things and treat me like royalty? It isn't love if it doesn't feel like it, right?)
I cheat you of greatness in heaven…
because you refuse to wash another’s feet on earth.
(I'm too busy to serve others, because I have a husband and two children of my own to care for. I make myself unavailable and talk myself into being un-useful.)
I cheat you of God’s glory…
because I convinced you to seek your own.
(God's plan for me probably doesn't ever include long vacations to tropical islands, fancy new cars, expensive clothes, financial stability and physical comfort, so is His plan really what I want to seek?)
My name is Pride. I am a cheater.
You like me because you think I’m always looking out for you.
I’m looking to make a fool of you.
God has so much for you, I admit, but don’t worry…
If you stick with me you’ll never know.
Everything you read in the poem that was in italics are the lies that Satan places in my heart to lead me away from the life God has in store for me. I allow myself to believe these lies and it keeps me from forgiveness, from serving, from love...
What lies are you believing? What part of God's plan for your life are you refusing?

February 28, 2012

a simple prayer

Dear Lord,

There is a lot on my plate right now. (As a side note, thank you for the food that literally fills my plates at meal times.) You have been teaching me so much. And Lord, two thumbs up from me on creatively planning those lessons. (Not that you need my approval...)

I'm learning that my wants and my plans are often ridiculous and weak. ((Quote here from C.S. Lewis - Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.))

I'm learning to be a submissive teammate in my marriage.

I'm learning that I have so very much to learn.

And Lord, I am holding on so very tight to a few very special things. I am starting to realize (and worry) that I need to loosen my grip around them. But to be honest, my motivation for wanting to loosen my grip is not that it's the right thing to do. I worry that you will take things away from me that I hold too close. I know you are first. I know you are my number one, first love, Creator, King. And my love for husband, my son, my daughter, my horses and that ministry will never EVER compare. But, Lord, they are so good. They are so lovely and perfect and my heart wells up just to think of them. So, Lord, I trust your plan. But please, please, never take them away.

I'm learning that you can get hurt badly by the things you love the most....literally. Adalia has used her razor like fingernails to dig out my skin daily as of late. And, I got bit by a horse today. Ouch. Seriously.

God, please help me to keep learning. And help me to be quick about it.

Thank you. Amen.

January 26, 2012

my solitude

The woods along the Prairie River Dam

Dispersed camp site in the Chippewa Forest

Big Jack Lake

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”

“Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life so. Aim above morality. Be not simply good, be good for something.”

“Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.”

“The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer.”

“One is not born into the world to do everything but to do something.”

Henry David Thoreau said all these words (and many more which you can find on this page).

Sometimes, when I get really stressed or overwhelmed, I long for the places in the pictures above. Those places are my solitude. They are my very own hidden, special places where I can unwind, recollect, let go, worship, sit, breathe, pray, thank, and just exist with nothing going on around me or within me.

I almost got attacked by two HUGE wolves when I was standing by that tent. After a heart pounding stare-down, I gave them a few minutes to run off...then sprinted the half-mile to my car, jumped in, and locked the doors (just in case wolves could use door handles). I sat there shaking. SHAKING. Then I started crying. And when the tears has been spent, a slow smile crept across my face. I had just encountered a beautiful, natural miracle. So, I got out of my car and walked back to my tent and stayed there through the night (but I won't lie and say that I slept even a wink)!

Anyway, just thinking about this place today. Would love to get back there soon.

January 25, 2012

whistle while you work

**i won't complain, i won't complain, i won't complain, i won't comlpain, i won't complain, i won't complain**

Today, I am thankful for:

1. Finding five dollars in my wallet.
2. The ability to work.
3. Good music.
4. My mom praying for me.
5. Having been able to pay bills yesterday.
6. My computer.
7. My husband, son, and daughter...(even if they drive me a little crazy)
8. Memories.
9. Cheerios.
10. Riding lessons...I feel like I was made to ride horses, and this has been an amazing gift.

January 23, 2012

"never be afraid to sit a while and think"

(Title quote by Lorraine Hansberry)

FPFG says it best. These words. And these words. And so many more.

The first one, if you clicked on it, was exactly what has been going through my head. Why do I think I am so dang cool just because I didn't make a facebook post about my New Year? I am in desperate need of committing to a lot of things this year, but my aloof-ness (?) stood in the way. I didn't want to be like everybody else and say that I was going to start working out (which I did). Or eat healthier (which I did). Or try to get in the Word more (which I have). Or be a better friend (which I hope I will be). Or write more letters (which I have been doing). I am the most resolution-y of all! I just let me coolness and pride get in the way of sharing about it.

Next. Her next post, "We Can Be Alright" made me cry. Ok, sob and weep....don't judge. I am overboard with stress and emotions right now. Our car broke down. My student loans got 60%. We live in an attic. Our house is still on the market and no one is looking at it. A silly health issue that lingered after my pregnancy may get me kicked out of my Air Guard unit. Our ministry is going to struggle (Stable Days) if we can't find funding and hold a session in some sort of location that is safe for the kids and horses. And all of this is made worse by an increasing fear that my weak mind and already full heart will fail and that I won't be strong enough.

I don't have more words right now. I am probably being over dramatic, and 'the sun will come out tomorrow' but for today, I am tired and overwhelmed.

Are you feeling the same way? Is there something big in your life that's going on? I will pray for you. I would be honored to pray for you. Or send you an encouraging letter on the beautiful stationary I got.

Lemme know.