Sunday, December 16, 2012

Plaguing Thoughts

Some thoughts have been plaguing my mind lately, thoughts that I have written about before.  I tend to have these thoughts anytime the Lord has blessed me with something good.  I had these thoughts when I got my first real good-paying job.  I had these thoughts when I got married.  And now that I am 15 weeks pregnant, I am having them again.  As you can tell, these thoughts usually surface after I have received something that I have wanted, prayed for, and waited for for usually quite a long period of time.  These thoughts are thoughts of doubt and unbelief that the Lord has actually given me something that I had decided that He was never going to give me, which if you read back to my first posting is one of the main reasons for the name of this blog.  And a big part of me wonders if any of you out there are ever plagued with these thoughts.  

In some ways these thoughts are good because most of the time they lead me to immense thankfulness for these good gifts the Lord has given me.  They usually lead me straight to him.  But in a different way these thoughts are frustrating for a couple reasons.  The most frustrating reason to me is that prior to receiving these good gifts, I had decided that I as was not meant to have them.  I decided that the hard road was always meant for me.  I had decided for the Lord how the Lord was going to treat me, his child.  You would think that after all this time and all these good gifts He has given me that I would recognize the fallacy of my thinking, but still sometimes I think I know my destiny.  How silly?!  Another reasons they are frustrating is that occasionally these thoughts have led to fear, fear of what the future may hold, fear that in the future the Lord is going to take away these good gifts that I had decided I was never meant to have.  The fear that sometimes plagues me today is that I will have another miscarriage, but this time the miscarriage will be well into my pregnancy.  There are other fears that sometimes plague my mind, but it is unwise to expound upon them all.  Despite my explanation of my occasional fear, the Lord has been kind to keep them far from my mind on a daily basis.  These fearful thoughts occur, and the Lord is so quick to remind me of his good sovereignty over my life.  He is quick to cause me to think that if these fears do come to fruition, that that is the best thing for me.  

I guess what these thoughts all boil down to is a lack of trust in the good God who created everything and continues to hold all things together, which of course is sin.  Why is it that I think I can lean on my my own understanding, when clearly scripture tells me not to (Proverbs 3.5).  And in Proverbs 3.7, scripture goes on to tell us not to be wise in our own eyes, but turn away from evil.  So, my prayer for myself is that I would ultimately trust the Lord in all things, in the giving and taking away of good gifts.  I want to be found trusting in the Lord, not my own "wisdom", in all things.  

Ps.  I'm going to stop apologizing for not blogging consistently enough and go with it when the Lord gives the time and the thoughts.  

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

S4U Blog Post

Just sharing a blog post I wrote for Speak for the Unborn's blog.  Check it out.

Another posting coming soon for Me, A Table for Two?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

121 Gone

So, it has been exactly 121 days since my last post, and I'm kind of sad about that.  Have you ever faced something you had to do and wanted to do that the longer you put it off the harder it seemed for you to get it done?  Well, that's me with this blog and wedding thank you cards.  And most of the time, if I'm honest, that's me with my Bible.  I do not at all understand why is it so with some things.  Why do some things seem so insurmountable when clearly they are not?  Why is it that I cannot believe the truth about these things and my ability to get them done?  How can my sometimes logical mind convince me that I am just too far gone or too far removed?  Eventually I always learn my lesson.  The lesson those things, whether it be writing thank you cards, reading the Word, or writing this blog are not too far out of my reach.  The lesson that these things are in fact easily attainable.  I have been wanting to write again for a long time now, but as I have just expressed the more time that went by the less I felt like I could write.  You know, it really is all just a lie.  The devil would have me believe all his lies to keep me from accomplishing anything for the glory of God.  And really that should be the reason I do anything, from writing thank you notes to writing this blog.  

So, I praise the Lord that in the midst of my busyness, procrastination, and self-doubt God brings me back to his Word, his truth and his loving arms.  I do not have to believe the lies of the devil because I have a good God who tells me the truth through his Word and through dear friends.  Isn't it funny how the devil tries to convince us of something that the Father has already told us is a lie?  All this to say that there a few things I need to do, which in turn means I'M BACK.    

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

39 And Counting...

Really?!  Am I actually turning 39 today?!  I seriously cannot believe it.  Where have the years gone?  So, as you've guessed it's my birthday today, June 26th, and I would rather it not be. 

Again, it has been a long time since I have written a post.  Sorry about that, but life has been pretty puzzling lately.  The last year of my life has been full of the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, the biggest blessings and the biggest disappointments.  But every step of the way has been FULL of the Lord's undeserved kindness to me.  And I am so thankful to the Lord that He enabled to me see that in the midst of such disappointments. 

Before we continue, let's recap the last year of my life. 
Nico and I began intentionally dating on June 14, 2011.  We were then engaged on August 17, 2011and married on November 18, 2011.  The first month on marriage was quick and blissful.  Then from about January to now, we've averaged about 3 intense fights per month.  (I  say this not to put my marriage on "blast," but I say it in the spirit of honesty.)  On April 23rd I found out I was pregnant.  And then on June 8th I suffered a miscarriage.  The day after the miscarriage, we went on our belated honeymoon.  Nico and I have struggled in how to deal with this grief and with each other. 

Dating and engagement = blissful.  And what is hard to admitt: marriage = moments of bliss, moments of everyday normalcy, and moments of hurtful fighting.  So, marriage = blissful & disappointing.  I have admitted several times that marriage is hard, but even in the midst of admitting that on here and occasionally to others, I have in other situations with other people have pretended as if my marriage is without these hardships.  I have pretended that everything is always fine, that I'm always fine.  Thanks to the wisdom of a kind friend (PW) lately I have learned so much about my struggles in relationship with the Lord and with my spouse.  First, I look to Nico to fulfill promises that only the Lord has made to me, promises that only the Lord can keep.  Nico's love was never intended to be enough for me.  No man's love for any woman was ever designed to be enough.  In fact, it is designed to deliberately not be enough.  I have gained a marriage, and it is to be counted as loss so that I may understand the value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord (Phil. 3.8).  I have been married for 7 months now, and for most of it, if not all of, those 7 months, I have taken my frustrations and disappointments straight to Nico instead of 1st and foremost going to the Lord.  As you can probably guess, when I take these frustrations and disappointments to Nico, as it would with any man, it does not end well, thus leading to intense fighting.  Now this leads me to the 2nd thing I've learned about myself lately.  I take my joys and triumphs to the Lord quite easily because it is good to thank him.  But is it good to express your frustrations to him?  Is it good for me to express my frustrations with the good gifts the Lord has given me to him?  The answer should always be a resounding yes.  But this is me.  I have these frustrations with life, with marriage, with the Lord.  I am frustrated with the good gift the Lord has given me, which then leads me to have frustrating thoughts towards the Lord.  This is where the devil uses his knowledge of me.  I am tempted to be frustrated with the Lord.  But what do I do instead of acknowledge these "tempting" thoughts of frustration to Lord?  What do I do instead of talking to him about them?  I suppress them because I don't want them to be sin.  So I fight them off silently all by myself.  Then these thoughts start to reoccur when something else frustrating in my life happens, and again I suppress them, pretend like I did not just experience them.  But here's the glitch in my denial system.  These initial temptations to be frustrated with the Lord turn into actual frustration with the Lord, which is clearly sin, because I have tried to fight temptation on my own.  And what man has ever been able to fight temptation alone?!  Only Christ.  A perfect example of what happens to me is explained in James 1.14 & 15.  "But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.  Then desire when it has conceived given birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death."  So as the process follows, I am tempted by my own desire to be frustrated with the Lord.  Instead of going to the Lord with this temptation, I let it fester or "be conceived," which then "gives birth to sin" in my heart.  And without Christ this very sin would lead to my death.  Job confessed, "I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.  Who is this that hides counsel with out knowledge?...I will question you, and you make it known to my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself and repent."  (Job 42.2-6)  I think Job and I would have been BFFs, lol.  When I was single, this struggle centered on the issue of singleness and my struggle with it.  And after trying to fight sin on my own for quite some years, it eventually erupted into all out open bitterness towards the Lord.  Thankfully the Lord was able use that bitterness to drive me to end of me and straight to him. 

Now that I've learned these 2 critical things about how I relate to my husband and my God, what am I to do?  I am to confess.  I am to repent.  Ironically, I do not confess my initial tempting thoughts for fear that I am sinning against a good God.  But because I do not do so, these tempting thoughts become real sin in my heart.  Why am I trying to hide from a loving and forgiving God?!  When these thoughts occur to me, that is when I need to immediately run to my Lord, that is when I acknowledge them for what they are.  That is how I fight sin, I run to Christ at the first glimpse of temptation.  It was only when Job ran to the Lord and acknowledged the truth that he began to genuinely repent and then heal. 

So, now at the ripe old age of 39, how long will it take me to apply the truths the Lord has recently shown me?  I must admit that I am hard-headed and that it takes me some time to apply a lesson I have learned.  This past year has been consumed with amazing blessings and tremendous change.  What does the next year of my life entail?  I guess we'll just have to meet here again next year to recap this coming year and all that it will hold for me. 

Special Note:  I know that my posts are consumed with thoughts about myself (or at least it seems so to me), but please know my intention is to point us to Christ.  I certainly do not want to be guilty of naval gazing.   I feel like the Lord has given me struggles and hardships to learn from and share with others, so that maybe you may be encouraged in the work of a good God in this stubborn sister's life.  The end goal is that we love, appreciate, and reflect more of Christ.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Fifty Shades of Sin

I came across this blog post a couple months ago.  But lately I've seen and heard more and more women reading or talking about reading Fifty Shades of Grey.  Sisters, please take time to read this blog posting before reading this best seller.

BTW, new blog post coming soon on recent events in my life.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Follow up to "To Wear or Not to Wear? That is the Question.

I stumbled across this blog today, and thought it fit nicely with my last post.

Here is a portion of the blog post that I found most helpful.

1.  Confrontation is NOT easy to receive but she was right AND she had done it in the right way. 
I appreciated that she called me (confrontation is not easy) and talked to me about it rather than going to other deacon wives and gossiping about me or worse going to the pastor.  (If you have a problem with another woman never go to the pastor first about it – go to the person – it’s Biblical – see these instructions in Matthew 18:15-20).  The only thing I would have changed about her confrontation would have been in the coming months.  When I saw her I felt shame…we would pass in the hall and she never asked me how I was or how my baby was – I would have liked for her to befriend me but that friendship never budded and eventually her family would leave our church. 
2. My heart is reflected in the way I dress. 
Though my heart did not have bad intentions that is not how I was perceived.  I was perceived as immature and as not loving my brothers in Christ purely.  Since my clothing was misrepresenting my heart, I needed to change the way I dress.
3. Young moms need to test their clothes differently than the typical woman. 
When I buy clothes I look in the mirror and check – is it too short? too tight?  or too low cut?  I test all of this standing up in the dressing room in front of a mirror.  BUT young moms can end up in strange positions when caring for our children.  We have to bend down to pull our kids out of carriers – which means skirts go up even shorter or necklines can hang down open.  Babies and toddlers pull on shirts – which means there’s potential for a shirt to be pulled down or off the shoulder…in front of the dads who are dropping their kids off in the nursery.  I have worked in the nursery every other Sunday for nearly 5 years – so I do the shirt and skirt check regularly.  If a dress is loose on top, I just put a tank under it – if it’s a little short for bending down I wear leggings.  I encourage you to test your clothes before wearing them! :)
4. Be on guard against the lies and deception that the world feeds us through magazines and media
In Genesis 3:1-7 we see Satan tempted Eve to take the fruit. He did not put the fruit in her hand and he certainly did not put the fruit into her mouth. All Satan did was tell Eve lies and she became a believer of those lies. Then Eve saw the fruit with her eyes, took it with her hands and then ate it. Then she became Adam’s tempter.
So often we as women – first see the fashion trends and in our desire to be attractive begin to buy into the lies that immodesty is attractive. So just as Eve, we see the clothes and desire to have them. Once we have bought into Satan’s lies it won’t be long before the clothes are hanging in our closet and we are tempting men to have impure thoughts by our sinful choices.
So what do we do?
Summer is here – this is when the most skin shows.  I encourage you to really pray and ponder the clothes that are hanging in your closet.  If the Lord is convicting you about something you should not wear – do not wear it – be bold and toss it in the trash can!  God will be glorified!

Please, sisters, think about what you're wearing BEFORE you walk out of the house or better yet before you buy it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

To Wear or Not to Wear? That is the Question.

Alright, guys, I have to apologize right off the bat.  I am so sorry that it has taken me so long to get back to blogging.  It was my intention to blog at least once a week, but I fail you and me.  I have literally been mulling over this post topic for over a month now.  But the truth is that this is yet another difficult topic to tackle.  It is an issue that sometimes can become a hot topic.  It is an issue that requires a sensitivity and a non-judgmental tone.  It is an issue that I have had to wrestle over numerous times.  It is an issue that every woman should consider.  It is the issue of modesty.

What got me thinking about this issue are some pictures I saw on facebook, some pictures of young teenage girls in bikinis.  These young girls are daughters of a facebook friend from home.  Their mother, my old friend, posted these pictures of her daughters.  They were enjoying the beach on their spring break.  These girls were clearly very attractive young ladies.  But despite that, I was very sad when I stumbled across these pictures.  I was sad for 3 reasons.  One, that we are all made in the image of God, which is clearly stated in Genesis 1.27  1 Corinthians 15.49 confirms this by stating, "Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven."  Does it bring honor to his name when we immodestly display his creation made in his image?  Another reason it saddened me is that the temptation to lust can literally lead men to death.  Proverbs 11.6 & 7a "The righteousness of the upright delivers them, but the treacherous are taken captive by their lust.  When the wicked dies, his hope will perish."  "Then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority."  The Word is clear here in 2 Peter 2.9 & 10 that there will be a "day of judgment: for those who are unrighteous and indulge in 'lusts of defiling passion'."  May it never be that any man is found unrighteous and justifiably condemned over lusting after us.  May it never be that we, whether ignorant or not, lead men down a path of death by displaying our bodies in an immodest way.  The third reason that this is saddening is that it was these young girls' mother who posted these pictures of them.  It has become the norm for a few generations now to immodestly display our bodies in such a way as to attract attention to them instead of our good God.  We have exchanged worship of a good and loving creator for worship of an attractive yet temporal creation.  

Now before you guys start jumping to any turtle neck conclusions, let me just say that I get it.  I get the dilemma.  Why is there a dilemma?  Why don't we all just wear what we want to wear and be responsible only for ourselves, after all the Bible does not clearly address what we should and should not wear?  What you consider modest I consider prudish or vice versa.  Why should I change the way I live my life or what I wear because you struggle with lust?  WHY?  Simply put, because of the gospel.  Christ was FAR from thinking of himself while He suffered on the cross for me and you.  The gospel calls us to, as Paul puts it, "live is Christ and to die is gain."  (Philippians 1.21)  So if that's the case, who are we to be only concerned with ourselves?  We, like Paul, must fight the good fight of living a life that was purchased by Christ on the cross.

So onto the dilemma.  You put on a dress or a bathing suit that you FINALLY feel comfortable in and that is flattering.  FINALLY!  It ever-so-slightly hides the imperfections that you wish would just go away.  BUT, the dress seems to hug a little bit to closely to certain assets you have, or that really cute bathing suit dips down just a little to low.  Thus the dilemma.  I SO GET IT!  I have been there so many times.  And quite honestly there have been times when I have not always opted for the more modest option.  I vividly recall the struggles I had shopping for my wedding dress.  I found a dress on line and in the catalog.  It was the first one I picked up to try on in the store.  I tried it on.  Success!  But I wanted to make sure it was the one I wanted, so I tried on some other dresses.  Well, low and behold I found another one that I LOVED!  It was an amazing dress.  It seemed completely perfect for me, EXCEPT that the only one in the store was at least 2 sizes too big.  BTW, the other dress had quickly become a unimportant memory.  So, the seamstress came out and started pinning and tucking.  But despite all the folding, tucking, pinning, and yes even prodding, the seamstress could not guarantee that the dress would adequately cover this and that.  Again the dilemma, the dilemma I hate.  I went back and forth for at least a half an hour trying to decide what to do.  Finally I just decided to go with my original dress, which was free from hassle and the dilemma.  So, again this is a dilemma that I am very familiar with.  And because I am familiar with it I feel the freedom in addressing it, and encouraging sisters to let the gospel guide them even in this area.  Let the gospel shape your heart and its desires.  

Yes, I know that there are those girls out there who know what they are doing when they choose to wear certain things that are significantly revealing, but I believe that most of us make our choices out of unintentional ignorance.  We choose it because it's cute and comfortable.  But Christ did not die to redeem us so that we can live cute comfortable lives.  Christ redeemed us so that we would be women who adorn themselves with "respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control."  (1 Timothy 2.9)  My heart's desire is that we honor the Lord in every way we present ourselves to the world.  I hope and pray that you can receive this encouragement from a sister who is far from perfection but who nonetheless is striving to live a life consumed with Christ.

Please take time to listen to this short snippet of CJ Mahaney addressing this very issue.  He is very kind and gentle in his encouragements.  I hope his gentleness can soften the blow of any grace I am lacking in addressing this. CJ Mahaney on Modesty 

So, ladies, when you ask yourselves "to wear or not to wear," I challenge you to think not of yourselves but of brothers whom you would hate to be led to death.