We have all been there, standing in front of our closet staring at the wall of clothes with nothing to wear. We have all had days where the outfit that worked last week just doesn’t look right on anymore. Like a bad hair day, I have had many bad outfit days! There are some old clothes in my closet that I need to get rid of – they are just in the way and distracting me from the clothes that really look good on me. It’s amazing how one new outfit will make me feel – I see my closet in a whole new light with so many possibilities. Out with the old, in with the new.
Every area of our lives should follow that pattern of out with the old, in with the new.
I just read in Colossians 3 that we are to take off the old self – put to death the sinful earthly things lurking within you, Have nothing to do with
and evil desires.
Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.
Now is the time to get rid of anger,
and dirty language.
Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds.
God wants to help you get a new outfit! All the way back in Genesis God was helping Adam and Eve with a new outfit. They tried putting together their own, but God made a new outfit for them Genesis 3:21. If what you are wearing is old and you don’t know how to move on from sexual immorality, impurity, lust or any of the above, God has provided you with a new outfit.
Colossians 3 continues and says:
Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves,
you must clothe yourselves with:
gentleness, and patience.
Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.
And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
Putting on our new nature in Jesus is possible with His help. Don’t stay in those old – outdated clothes, get the help from a friend to look at your outfits and give honest feedback as to what looks good on you! Get rid of them! You have new clothes to wear!
For years I have battled negative thoughts. This is my confession. It feels like someone who gets an addiction, I have found myself being drawn back over and over into a negative, doom-situation thought pattern. The mind is a powerful thing.
I look back and can see that it began because of something traumatic happening around me. I battled fear. I know what God’s word says about fear, and I have seen victory by believing God, but I still let it creep back in. There is a difference in believing God in your head and believing God in your heart. Too often I have not allowed the knowledge that I have, to sink into my heart; I have not trusted God the way I should. Somehow I have been so consumed with the worry and concern of possibilities that I have lived (thought) out of a false reality instead of God’s true reality.
I have always been a fighter, always been stubborn and strong. I was born with some extra organs that needed serious surgery - and without God’s miraculous touch and my being a fighter, I wouldn’t be here.
My strength in my teen years covered many insecurities, and when I found myself pregnant before I was married, my desperation for God and my determination to be strong for my child and myself got me through. What I didn’t realize until recently was I was I had still been holding on to a feeling of insecurity. I have been trying to cover my own weakness because I can’t stand the thought of someone thinking poorly of me, instead of walking in the reality that in my weakness I am strong in Christ. I have lived trying to prove to myself and everyone around me that I’m good enough. That was my life before Jesus Christ, but I have been living like His death and resurrection for my sin wasn’t good enough. That it couldn’t cover me or protect me if bad things happened. I said it did, but my thought life would suggest differently. God forgive me.
As time has passed, and life’s painful circumstances have occurred, I have not fully walked in the hope of God’s promises by faith. His word is full of hope, but I have allowed myself to be so overwhelmed by what is seen.
God says in Hebrew 11:1 the fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.
Our faith is what sets us apart from the world. We don’t respond to the pressures and pain of this world the same way.
I wrote earlier that the mind is a powerful thing, and when we find ourselves responding the wrong way, remember that our God is loving and MORE powerful, and when we cry out to Him for help, He does!
I want you to know and feel hope today. You don’t have to be stuck in a cycle of fear or negative thought patterns. Life doesn’t have to be suffocating. God has set us free, covers us with His love and kindness, and makes us strong when we are weak. We just need to let go of pride – our own thinking.
God has made me a fighter, surrendered and strong, so I can hold on to Him and trust in His words.
What words has God said that you need to live?
Some days I’m overwhelmed!
Being a working mom is hard!
Everything that I would normally do as a stay-at-home mom I still do, but in a fraction of the time.
Sign school papers
Sometimes (most of the time) the above list is all done at the same time in the evenings.
prepare for the following day
spend “quality” time with 4 kids
build/maintain a healthy marriage
quiet time/ prayer time with God
make sure my kids are doing the chores
Personal care: hair, face, teeth care, (exercise would be good too)
make sure the dog is fed, watered, and had outside time (a walk if she’s lucky)
What about hobby time, people outside of our family time, and any extra curricular time!
There is not time for it all…I’m overwhelmed, how do other women do it??!
Then there is the work-time!!
I love it all though. I know God has blessed me with an amazing husband, 4 incredible kids, and everything else.
Only God can keep my sane and get me through hour by hour through our busy life.
It seems like whether you work outside the home or a stay-at-home mom (with little ones) its a tiring job. There seems to always be a need for more time or more energy.
Par for the course, I start writing and finish it over a period of a week. So between times of starting this and finishing it, God reminded me on my birthday last week through the verse of the day from youversion.com that HE is the one that provides ALL I need. The best gift and I’m overwhelmed with His love for me!
“But he replied, “My gift of undeserved grace is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak.” So if Christ keeps giving me his power, I will gladly brag about how weak I am.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
So for those who stay-at-home or work when your bragging to your friends or to your husband that you’re overwhelmed remember….
We can do this in HIS strength!
A couple of years ago I had been praying about my thought life and how out-of-control it gets sometimes with all kinds of worries, comparisons, and woe-is-me attitude. I needed Him to step in and do some major reconstruction in there. Jesus showed me that it’s not always a “poof, it’s fixed” moment, but He gives us what we need and teaches us practical ways to change.
Travis and I went downtown and as we were leaving from Starbucks I noticed the most hideous display window across the street in none other than a Louis Vuitton store. It was red polkadot background with red octopus tentacles hanging all over and coming up from the bottom; they were covered in white suckers. It was awful! As we drove home Trav turned on Pandora -Josh Garrels station- and his sound was great so I wanted to see what he looked like. On his website I clicked on photos and in one random photo was octopus tentacles – stick with me – I know it sounds weird. I was thinking “what is with these gushy sea urchins showing up everywhere.”
The next morning another tentacle caught my eye. This time it was in a discipleship Journal magazine. I was alerted and so I read. Wow was God getting my attention. The writer was saying her thought-life was sabotaging her growth in Christ; I relate! She would come to the “altar” but it was like putting an octopus on there with appendages flailing and falling off and every part of it not quite being surrendered. God showed her it was going to take major discipline. She had to commit to a process, take every thought captive – set her mind on Jesus, and trust He will do the work through His power to bring her mind to a halt from frenzied thinking.
I’m committed to that process too! Even though sometimes those tentacles seem especially unruly!
Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
Have you thought about that God is so for us that He purposely sets up some interesting ways of getting our attention and teaching us?
Have you ever heard the expression ”at the end of your rope”?
It sounds cliche’ like an expression of feeling out of control. An expression saying ”I’ve tried everything I could or know to do and nothing is working.”
Sometimes with the most sincere heart we think we have handled a situation the right way. We have prayed about it, we’ve read scripture, we’ve listened to sermons on it, and we’ve asked God to help. Or maybe its an area of sin in your life that you thought could be managed and eventually go away. At some point we wake up and have that feeling that I’m at the end of my rope…
I have no more rope to cling to, I’ve exhausted all my resources.
Its usually at this point that we realize we can’t make things work the way we want them to and we can’t control sin and manage it. Nothing can be done in our own strength at all! It’s supposed to be in Jesus’ strength.
In all situations we are supposed to say “Jesus, it’s my desire to handle this the right way, but I can’t…I need you to do it, I need your strength and help.” Sometimes the situation won’t change quickly, but because of God’s grace we are able to walk through the toughest of things with our head lifted high.
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me
David was good at recognizing quickly that his help was coming from God and no where else. There was a time of waiting. He poured out his heart and emotions to The Lord, but ultimately he had a secure hope resting on Gods faithfulness.
Psalm 61 Please listen, God, and answer my prayer! I feel hopeless, and I cry out to you from a faraway land. Lead me to the mighty rock high above me. You are a strong tower, where I am safe from my enemies. -David
A lot can change in a year. The summer I graduated my parents started talking about moving up North for a business venture. By the last weekend in November they had moved and I stayed behind with my older sister to rent my parents house. I lost an opportunity for a full tuition waiver at the university when they left and began classes at the technical college. I didn’t have a particular career in mind. During childhood, I ranged from wanting to be an interior decorator, dental hygienist, to counselor. Ultimately I knew that I wanted to be married and have children. In the mean time I was lost. I had made compromises in high school. My heart was divided between a life of going to church and really wanting to make a connection with God and really really wanting to fit in. I struggled inside feeling like I didn’t belong anywhere.
I knew God had created me for something, but I couldn’t grasp it.
A few months went by and I was introduced to a guy that seemed to really take an interest in me. I never had a boyfriend and it felt good to be pursued. We began dating and it wasn’t too long into our relationship that he began comparing me to his ex girlfriend suggesting I should have a manicure like hers, I should adjust my weight to look more like her, or I should grow my hair out. I laughed it off, but inside I was crushed. A few times while he had been drinking he became physically violent. I would break up with him and he would call upset saying he would change and it would be different. What would make me stay with this guy – I didn’t recognize the person I had become. Why was I so desperate for attention and the need to belong that I would allow him to emotionally manipulate me and become physically aggressive. I made other compromises with him that I said I would never do. I hated it. I knew the relationship was wrong and what I was doing was wrong. I cried out to God one night asking for His help after several attempts myself to break it off.
Exactly one year later after my parents had moved away I was 19 and pregnant. My parents were very supportive and although he suggested abortion that was never an option for me. I knew I wanted this child, I still couldn’t grasp my future, but I was going to take one step at a time. I did break it off with him and never asked for any support.
By God’s grace I did take one day at a time and He was so faithful to provide – however I was still so messed up, but didn’t know it. My mind was still filled with so many lies and insecurities. It was hard being around my friends, their lives were moving on in the adventure of young adulthood and I was about to be a single mom. Even though I purposed to live for Christ I still had the shame of not wearing a wedding ring and again not feeling like I fit in.
There were layers of my old life that still needed to come off.
God brought an amazing man into my life and we married and he took my daughter as his own. Travis and I were both very determined that our marriage would honor God and I believe it has, but with both of us coming into it with a past it has been hard. Our daughter has been strong in every way. I never knew if I was doing a good job as a parent, everything we tried didn’t seem to work. The parenting books must of had it wrong?? More insecurities grew within me. I felt like a failure at parenting. Guilt of my past seemed to show up at vulnerable times. Financial pressures have been big. Relationship strains have been painful.
But, 16 years later
I have seen God’s faithfulness in my life and our family
(we have 3 more children).
His Love came down and rescued me
God’s kindness led me to repentance.
He saved me from sin and death.
He healed me from hurt.
He delivered me from anger.
He fills me with love, patience, kindness.
He strengthens me when I’m weak
He provides me peace when my mind wants to still spin out of control.
We all have a past, we all have a story, and we all are going through some very hard things and maybe nobody really knows about it….yet.
We overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony -Revelation 12:11
God’s great love rescues us and He brings us through each season of our life and has the power to bring something beautiful from it…
His Love came down and rescued me….
This is a continuation from my previous post. Definitely some pretty cool info on honeycombs and the hexagonal pattern which got me thinking about patterns in our lives. Grab a cup of coffee this ones kinda long, but worth it I promise.
2 Timothy 1:13 says Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
this pattern isn’t some formula of doing all the right things
Romans 12:2 Says Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
God calls us out of the pattern of the world with it’s behaviors and customs that are usually selfish and often corrupting. Most christians avoid worldly behavior, but our refusal to conform to the world’s pattern must go even deeper than that. It’s possible to avoid behaviors, but still be proud, selfish, stubborn, and haughty. We need the Holy Spirit to renew our minds!!
Along with the Holy Spirit transforming our minds we have to cooperate with Him in doing our part to follow His pattern
and for a pattern for others to follow.
The bees are very active in a hive and the baby bees learn by watching the older mature bees build the combs and work. If we want those around us to be saved and and new believers built up we have to show them a different pattern of living and it’s not just going to be because we don’t hang out at the bars or watch rated R movies.
A few verses down in Romans 12:9-21 the subject line in the NKJV was Behave like a christian..of course as soon as I read it I saw BEEhave.
So let’s look at some of these patterns, which of course is just a handful from the honeycomb of scripture
Love must be sincere Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. The word sincere comes from a latin word that means whole, clean, pure, uninjured, unmixed,sound, genuine, pure, true, candid, truthful we can’t smile on the outside to someone and criticize on the inside. We can’t lend a hand to help someone but inwardly complain that we never have help ourselves. Our love toward each other has to be pure. I read a quote this week in a book and it said “the most exhausting thing in life, I have discovered, is being insincere”
Be devoted to one another in love and HONOR one another above yourselves The bees are not all trying to be the queen or drones, or workers; each has a purpose, like we do. We all are important.
Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord- have you ever seen a hive buzzing with bees, they’re pretty zealous!
Be joyful in hope and patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. The bees all build with the hope that what they contribute to the colony is creating a better hive/honeycomb for the whole group…we do this in the body of Christ. what is the mission of the church? our hope is in our future glory
Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. This can be as simple as taking a plate of dessert to your neighbor and having a conversation. It can be bringing a meal to someone sick. One of the most powerful lessons I learned on love was when Rachael Butler brought me a meal when Austin broke his arm – It was like my heart was unlocked to a whole new dimension of God’s love through that meal.
Bless those who persecute you- Don’t sting them!
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn
Live in harmony with one another- associate with everyone even those who are low position; you are not too good for anyone!
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. This is not just the kind of peace that means you can tolerate being in the same room with someone, but a true heart transformation that replaces annoyance with love.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.
Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath
Overcome evil with good. The bible says a soft answer turns away wrath…and Proverbs 16:24 says Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Bees build up their cells evenly no cell is higher than the other. It would create a space problem and they would be bumping into each other in the wrong kinds of way. How many times I have built up walls in my heart toward someone, because of an offense or feeling threatened – I’m not in any physical danger it is just my PRIDE and it’s only based on what I think the other person is thinking about me. When I build up this walls to guard my heart I don’t leave any room for God or others in my life. Our lives will only look like Christ’s if we do things His way. There is no other way that works.
These are some practical patterns
We are not perfect, there is no way we are going to get all of these areas right, but we are being made perfect in Jesus Christ. That’s when the Holy Spirit stretches us forming us into His image (we have to be pliable like the wax- it’s usually when God heats things up in our lives that this happens) and He fills in the gaps in our imperfect shapes, to closely fit us together making us stronger than before.
A beautiful, healthy, perfect pattern…
Have you noticed there are a lot of bee themes everywhere this year! It’s all the buzz this spring! I’ve been learning a little bit about bees and they are smart little things. My friend Staci Shiner recently said that God put a lot of detail into how bees are created, live, and work; how much more does He do that with our lives, He cares for us -
we have all been created with a special design and purpose.
That really was one of those awakening statements for me!
The honeycomb is a creation of beauty and purpose and for thousands of years it has fascinated people. Bees work together to build a honeycomb which consists of a pattern of tiny hexagons- which is a six sided shape that when built leaves no gaps, no wasted space!
The pattern of the hexagon make the comb super strong
and creates the most usable space to hold honey. If it were a triangle or square it wouldn’t have the strength and would not hold as much honey. This was apparently mathematically proven and if you are one of those curious or smart people you can read about it here: Honeycomb conjecture.
A typical hive has around 100,000 cells that takes about 2.6lbs of wax to build. Bees buzz around each other working simultaneously to build their home. Once it’s built the hive must stay at exactly 94 degrees for the best possible conditions for the honey and comb. The bees control the temperature through their muscle and wing movements. The honeycomb cells are slightly angled toward the sun making a nice safe home for the baby bees until they reach maturity. The cells also hold delicious golden honey. The honey that the bees make is also their food which when eaten is transformed in their body to wax that is excreted through their pores, they brush it off with their antennas and legs.
They then chew on it to make it pliable to be used to create the honeycomb.
You might say the bees were the ones who wrote the original earth friendly campaign of reduce, reuse, recycle!
Now think about our lives for a moment…what happens when we chew on the Word?
Psalm 119:3 says how sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
We read it, we think it about it, and we walk it out! Our lives begin to look more like Jesus. Our words change, what we watch changes, our desires change, and so on but most importantly our mind and heart change. It’s knowing that God loves us and the character of Christ – that transforms who we are. As each of us “beloveds” (as Jude says it) are building ourselves up on our most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit – we are building on a solid foundation. We become stronger individually and together.
We begin to see the church as a strong structure made from the pattern of Jesus Christ!
2 Timothy 1:13 says Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
I want to unpack what that pattern looks like in the next post!
I always love it when I can see the resemblance of a parent in a child. I am fascinated by the way that genetics pass on certain looks and features. Sometimes it looks as if they had been cloned, in a “mini-me” version. We often hear “Ava looks just like you” directed at both Travis or I, depending on who she is with at the time! As children grow, you begin to see certain character traits or nuances that look just like one of the parents. It is either just built into them or they pick it up by watching their parent.
We are created in the image of God and when we are in Christ Jesus we will begin to have character traits just like Him.
This is the last post in a series about building layers on a foundation. Layer 5 is reading the word and prayer. The more we are around Jesus the more we will look and act like Him! That only happens when we spend time with Him by reading the Bible.
2 Timothy 3:16 says All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.
Hebrews 4:12 says For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.
Isaiah 55:11 It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.
If it’s alive and active it means its doing something – it’s changing who we are, but and it’s a big but…we have to participate…we have to do what it says. God’s spirit in us has the power to change us from angry to kind, greedy to generous, lazy to productive, selfish to selfless but we have a choose to grow to become like Christ.
All that potential is in us the moment we say YES to Christ. Those traits are in us to grow and it’s through reading the Word and conversation – aka prayer – with God that growth happens.
It doesn’t matter what your life may look like now, God can always make beautiful things! Start that conversation today with God. He will give you the tools to build in your life love, peace, the ability to have joy in suffering, and a heart that is surrendered and humbled – and we will look more like Him!
Listen to this song, Beautiful Things, by Gungor
In one of my previous blogs, I shared some thoughts on submission, being under authority. I wrote it from the perspective in marriage, but God designed everyone to be under authority.
Romans 13:1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good.
God is in charge over all because He created all and knows best. He also knows that life flows better when there is order, not everyone can be in charge…try working in a work place where there are two bosses and neither one concedes to the other–chaos! It would be like that in a home as well.
One of the books that shaped both mine and Travis’ view of submission was Under Cover by John Bevere. We both had heart changes as we read this book. We highly recommend reading it!
Layer 4 is learning to be under authority. This is layer 4/5 of a foundation blog series . You can read about the other layers here.
* from my previous blog…
I recently heard Cindy Easley, the author of Dancing With the One I Love-Living Out Submission in the Real World-, on Focus on the Family. My desire in my marriage has always been to obey God and God says that I am to submit to my husband so I’ve tried to do that. Even though I have to admit early on and maybe more recently I wasn’t quite sure what that meant at times. I have failed way too many times than I would like to share; I am thankful for a God that forgives and a husband that loves, and is gracious with me when I let him down. Cindy Easley made the discussion of submission so practical and less scary (joking-however some may think submission is allowing someone to dominate, but submission is more about God and less about you) I jotted down some bullet points of what she was saying.
- There is a difference between equal worth and different roles
- As wives, we are equal but we have different roles
- Leadership is taking the initiative- our husband is the leader.
- Ephesians 5:22-24
- Yielding my right for the greater good (I don’t want squish what God is trying to do in my husband)
- Do I pout? get angry?
- Must have HUMILITY,
- “Husband (name) whatever you do is fine but, here is my take….”
- Luke 2:41-51- Jesus, God himself, subjected himself to human parents who were sinful
- Ephesians 5:21-33 Jesus emptied himself for our well being
- Again, do not hinder God’s work in your husband’s life
- Am I arrogant and pompous because I don’t respect??
- How do I encourage spiritual leadership without disrespecting:
- “I am really struggling with_____ would you pray for me”
- “Do you want to do this devotional”
- We are a team!
- Find something you can do together, skiing, tennis, classes, etc..
- Never do anything illegal!
- Don’t allow husbands to harm themselves.
- Codependence is not submission.
- “I can’t follow you down that way. You’ll have to do it alone. You are responsible to God”.
- Submission is not just “yes dear” but Humility.
- Submission= helping our husbands become the man God wants them to be.
- We complete not compete.
- Things I can do to change
- tell my husband I’m sorry I’ve tried to lead.
- let’s figure out what I need to follow on.
- Three day rule (from the book of Esther-in the Bible) pray about it if its bothering me for three days then go to him.
Questions to consider…
- am I speaking disrespectful?
- am I patronizing?
- am I giving off the vibe that I’m smarter than he is so that he’ll do what I want anyway?
Tone is soooo important!
How can I disagree without disrespecting?
- by having a gentle and quiet spirit
- free of sarcasm
- thinking through
- ask questions
- Submission is protecting my husband’s manhood.
- When we choose to use our vast resources to further our husband’s leadership and success, we are the ones who gain the most.
Remember these are bullet points so if you want to hear the whole thing listen here.
I know there are a lot of people who take this subject and Ephesians 5:21-33 out of context-
This blog post was specifically for wives, but there is a command for men to0-
“to love their wives”-but it doesn’t just stop there-”as Christ LOVED the church.” Christ sacrificed everything even His very life for the church. It also doesn’t say “you don’t have do these things if the other person isn’t doing their part”
The very nature of being a Christ follower isn’t based on how others treat us but on how much God loves us that compels us to be like Him.
Why is it hard to submit? Is there any one bullet point that struck you? If you read Under Cover, what stuck with you?