With A Heart Cry

I am frequently amazed at the power of prayer. I find it so incredibly encouraging to know that the Creator of every living thing cares to answer the cries of my heart.

“The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.” -Psalm 145:18

I will never forget praying as a child and Jesus answering me then. As a little girl, I was in love with kittens and asked God if He would give me one.

One day, I looked up and yelped with excitement as I saw one baby cat waiting on my doorstep peering inside our sliding glass door. We lived in a wooded area with houses far from one another. I could not believe my eyes!

I remember another day.. “Lord, we are struggling with money. Please help my mama find one hundred dollars.” My mom found two fifty dollar bills!

As I have grown my problems have too, so my prayers have morphed into a much broader and deeper range of things. When I seek God in prayer and His magnificent glory is displayed before me, it reminds me how intimately He cares. God is so amazing!

“Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!” -Psalm 105:1-3

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Burdens

The daily demands of being a stay at home mom of 5, homeschooling, and a teething baby are hard sometimes.  Some days I go to bed feeling accomplished and thankful for the day we had.  Other days I go to bed feeling completely undone.  The past few weeks in particular have felt like a crazy combination of accomplishments and let downs. 

I’ve been beyond blessed this month.  I’ve seen God bring family and friends together in amazing ways! But I’ve also seen such brokenness in my family and I have spent more days than I should mourning the passing of certain seasons of my life.  Mourning friendships that have changed, holidays that are no longer spent with loved ones, and watching those I love suffering.  When looking at my beautiful Christmas tree full of memories, if I look deeper than the twinkling lights and the ornaments, my heart hurts. This season can be hard.

Today I woke up feeling particularly glum.  Like most people I often forget to reach out because I don’t want to put my burdens onto others.  I often fall back into this “tighten up your shoe laces and keep going” attitude.  It works half of the time.  The other half, I find myself irritable and negative.  I find myself losing direction and just living to get through to another day. 

Today I had a full schedule like usual.  My morning went as follows: Wake up, feed children, dogs, cows, cat, and myself.  Inhale coffee, quick shower,get dressed and put on makeup.  Try to unload and reload the dishwasher without baby climbing into the dishwasher. Start some laundry.  Do school with children, feed children again and somehow make time to write blog while the baby naps. All the while thinking about the fact that for the second night in a row I have to keep the baby up way past her bedtime because of a 7:30  MRI appointment for my oldest who’s foot has been bothering her. 

And as I sat in the computer chair staring at the screen praying God would give me something to say to encourage others, I just felt utterly discouraged and defeated. 

But then my phone went off. A dear friend messaged me because she had a birthday present to drop off for the baby and then she said she was coming over tonight to watch the kids for me.   I literally broke down in tears!  God through this precious sister reached through that phone and gave me the biggest hug! And a blog too at that!  That is so like him!  He is so good to me! 

Friends, I really needed to be reminded today that God never intended us to carry all of our  burdens alone.  First, we should be sharing our troubles with Him.  Invite Him into your pain, your hurt, and your weaknesses.  Secondly,  He gave us each other for a reason!  God uses our sisters in Christ to be His hands and feet sometimes.  We need to be willing to share our burdens with each other and willing to accept help when we need it! It’s obviously a lesson I’m still learning.  And in my case, I needed someone to step into my life and offer help without me asking! Thank you, friend.  You know who you are.  And thank you Lord, for always being faithful, even when I lose my way.  

Discipline that Benefits Our Souls

I am a disciplined person when it comes to diet and exercise. It hasn’t always been that way, those of you who have followed my story know better. I have the benefits now of discipline, I can fit into clothes from the shops that I like and I have tons of energy, which is just as well with my active children. There are tons of benefits of being disciplined but really who wants to be disciplined, where is the fun in that?!

The hardest part of being disciplined was starting. Starting stinks! And I recently experienced it again when I cut out sugar. I did a 21 day sugar detox because I felt so run down and I realized I am eating so much sugar every day!

On day 1 of my sugar detox, I woke up with a bad attitude! I think I said a naughty word when I thought about not having any sugar that day. However, when I had completed 21 days I was prepared to go for longer because I saw the benefits: my scales were kinder and I felt so much better.

When it comes to reading our Bible and praying, it takes discipline. When we have gotten out of the habit, the prospect of starting is daunting. But, after time, reading our Bible and praying benefits us more than we could possibly imagine. With all the prayers that we say to the Lord, I do not think we will fully know how much of them were answered and how the Lord worked to use them until we reach Heaven. God hears all our prayers.

Diet and exercise may be an investment into our life here on earth but reading our Bible and praying benefits our souls.

Reading these precious words are an eternal benefit to us! The enemy sees it and hates that we are drawing close to our Saviour and investing in our souls. Sometimes the enemy attacks us preventing us spending this time with God, with feelings of depression or anxiety so that we cannot focus. We can also get distracted, become too busy or replace reading the Bible with entertainment to unwind. It takes discipline to read the Bible but it is so worth it!!

2 Corinthians 4:17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison

Read your Bible and pray to our great God and you will be investing in your future. Your eternal future and glory.

God Appoints

God appoints events in time. My Mom came over one day this week and we had such a sweet visit together. One thing we talked about were the seasons in motherhood and in life, and embracing where God has us today. Seasons come and go and despite our wishes, sometimes they disappear just as quickly as they rushed in. In the tender part of our hearts, we can find ourselves looking back longingly instead of embracing where we are at today.

Time is a part of God’s plan…

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven–

Ecclesiastes 3:1

Every event under heaven has an appointed time and God will not fail to usher in His will according to His perfect plan. Knowing His character as a loving God, always looking out for His Bride, what peace will overwhelm our soul as we rest in His plan for us and in the lives of those we love? We can trust Him to work things out according to His perfect timing. Ultimately, He has appointed it all and there is such joy in today, right where you are at.

Ready for Work?

In the book of Ezra, I have been studying how God had a plan for the exiled Israelites to go back to Jerusalem and rebuild His temple. Finally! After 70 years of captivity, God’s people were to return home and complete the work that God wanted done.

At this time His people were servants under the king of Persia. How would God get His plan accomplished? Amazingly, He put the desire for the work that needed to be done into the hearts of the people involved.

Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he sent a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying:

“Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, ‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and He has appointed me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah.

“Whoever there is among you of all His people, may His God be with him! Let him go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah and rebuild the house of the Lord, the God of Israel. He is the God who is in Jerusalem.” (Ezra 1:1-3 )

So God stirred up the heart of a pagan king to release the captives and allow them to return and rebuild a house for the Lord in Jerusalem.

In Ezra 1:5b it says … everyone whose spirit God had stirred to go up and rebuild the house of the LORD in Jerusalem arose to go.

Not only had God stirred the heart of king, He also stirred up the hearts of many of the exiled people to return to Jerusalem and so accomplish the rebuilding He wanted done.

God will stir the hearts of people with a desire to accomplish the work that He has for us to do. Has your heart been stirred? Are you doing the work?

Lord help us to pray that Your desires are in our hearts. Please give us wisdom and direction along with the opportunity and the ability to accomplish the work You want to see done.

It All Makes Sense

When I was young, I struggled with math. I remember in junior high when my teacher encouraged me with, “Soon a lightbulb will go off and you are going to understand this.”

Apparently, brain development for children at that age is prime for comprehending math. She was right, let me tell you, because in not much time, it clicked!

I have had many “aha” moments over the years. Grasping math was greatly beneficial and even energizing, but not nearly as good or wondrously rewarding as my “aha” when the Gospel of Jesus made perfect sense to me.

That changed everything.

“And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.” —1 John 5:20

To some, following Jesus is like a complicated math problem. It makes no sense! That is until it all comes together, and then, it just does!

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,” — Ephesians 1:18

Why Prayer Matters

I love having conversations with God in the car! It doesn’t happen very often, as I usually have a hoard of children riding along. But, this past week I was able to go grocery shopping child free and oh how blessed I was to have time alone with Him!

Uninterrupted time is a precious commodity in my life during this season, I do not underestimate the value of time alone with God. None of us should! Spending quiet time with Him is more than just seeking peace and quiet. Likewise, prayer is more than lip service. Praying is literally like a life line attached to the very heart of God. When we pour out our hearts and our burdens to Him, He does not leave us empty and broken. He comforts and He whispers. If we earnestly are seeking, God will answer us. He gives us wisdom and peace if we ask for it.

My conversation this particular car ride revolved a lot around my feelings of guilt and frustration at myself. I prayed things like, “I don’t love you enough, God. I don’t want to be this way. I struggle with feeling inadequate in my faith walk. I don’t want to be a poor example to my children and I don’t want to live a stagnant life.” The weight of unmet self-expectations weighed my heart down so heavy this particular afternoon. Condemnation had it’s hold on me. Yet, as I drove down that windy mountain road emptying myself God whispered, “You’ve lost the Joy of your salvation, Mary.” and immediately the tears came. He was right! I had!

I started thinking,”What if I lived my every day thinking about what Christ has done for me? If I were living my every day like it was my last, how would my thought life change? Would I still be so bogged down by my inadequacies or on the contrary, would my inadequacies even matter?” And just like that, the lead weights that held my countenance to the floorboards evaporated like smoke and the Gospel once again took it’s rightful place at the throne of my life and as the master of my day.  

I’m not meant to be perfect. Not yet. Not till Christ’s return. Jesus lived a perfect life so that I don’t have to. He died on that cross so that I can live washed in grace. And now when I have days where I feel frustrated with my sins, I remind myself to be joyful in my salvation. Satan has no hold on me anymore. The victory has already been won and today’s troubles are just that. Today’s troubles. They do not define me. Christ defines me.

  So friends let me encourage you to spend time talking to the one who loves you the most. And pray that God will give you such wisdom and knowledge of Himself, that he would open your eyes to understand the hope of our inheritance in Christ. Pray that you can appreciate all that He has done for you and pray that He will give you the strength and power you need to live your life in a way that is holy and defined by the love of God. Not a perfect life, but a redeemed life!