Friday, June 29, 2012

Trust in the Lord, Not in Yourself

Originally posted: November, 2009

Recently, I was faced with a very difficult decision.  I was faced with either compromising my relationship with a friend or compromising my relationship with my Lord God.  If I chose my friend all things around me would remain the same and there would be no break in our relationship. However; if I chose to keep my relationship safe with my friend I would be in direct disobedience of what God was specifically telling me to do.
After agonizing over my decision, I knew what I had to do & ask the Lord for strength to obey.  He answered my prayer.
The days & weeks following my decision were horrible.  My relationship with my friend was broken and will never be the same again.  This was agonizing for me.  I prayed that God would restore our friendship, that one day she would understand why I made the decision I did.  She weighed heavy on my mind.  As I continued to pray a verse I didn’t expect began to flow through my mind.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and hi will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
I had done a study of this verse last year in preparation for a talk I gave to a mom’s group.  I went back to my notes to review and was surprised by the reassurance I gained from it.
Trust= the act of leaning on.  Not standing in your own strength or abilities.  To relay on someone or something for support and strength.
My visual picture in my mind is my leaning against a strong mature tree.  The tree is supporting most of my weight.

Trusting in the Lord means I do not trust in myself and I definitely do not trust in others more than I trust in the Lord. I do not rely on myself or others for wisdom and strength.  I don’t do what seems right. I don’t do what feels right.  I do what is right, because I am trusting in the Lord.  The decision I had to make didn’t seem right or feel right, but it was clear what I was to do and I know have to trust the Lord that He knows what is right.
with all my heart”
Trusting the Lord with all my heart means that I don’t sort of trust him.  I don’t trust him when it is convenient or easy.  I don’t trust him in some area’s of my life and not in others.  I trust him with all my heart!  With all of me, my mind, emotions, spirit; I trust him.
Lean not on your own understanding”
This tells us what not to do, because if we are doing it we are not trusting him with all our heart.  Do not lean on your own understanding. Remember the tree?  Trusting him is like leaning against the big strong tree.  The tree is obviously my God.  It supports me, provides shelter and rest.  If I am leaning on my own understanding, that is like leaning against a small new tree.
This tree in the picture looks much like a tree in our front yard.  It is very small with a small trunk & if I leaned against it, I would push it over.  It cannot provide me with shelter or rest.  It would not support me at all.
If I am depending on my own understanding, it is much like me relying on this little tree to hold me up. My understanding is covered in sin and selfishness.  My understanding only brings me trouble.  It is very dangerous for one to depend on human wisdom alone. 
Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”
Our world is all about doing what feels right.  Or doing what others think you should do.  Many times in the life of a believer, we will stand alone as we trust in the Lord with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding.
“In all your ways acknowledge Him”
This is a call for total, unwavering commitment in trust for obedience in all things.  ALL THINGS.  Not some things, not just the things that will make us look good to others, all things.  In all we do, acknowledge him.  This is a mental and emotional awareness of who God is.  I can tell you that as hard as it was to go forward and obey what God was telling me to do, the reassurance of knowing  my God is what gave me the strength I needed to obey.  I knew he knows better than I do, I knew that he knew my friends’ heart better than I did, I knew that he is sovereign and His will is always done.
By obeying God, I was acknowledging him as the Sovereign Lord in my life.  By trusting him and not relying on my own wimpy understanding and as I obeyed what he told me to do, I acknowledged him.  The rest of the verse is the promise of a blessing when we trust him.
“…and he will make your paths straight.”

He will guide us, strengthen us and give us the wisdom we need to handle whatever comes next.  That is where I am right now; trusting God to give me the wisdom I need to handle the effects my decision had on my friend of whom I love so much.
My God is so faithful even when I am not, why would I not want to trust him.  He has never failed me. It is I who has failed him, yet he continues to keep his promises to me.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:5-6


Monday, June 25, 2012

Are you Wasting the Gift of Rest?

Originally posted February, 2011.  With the hot summer heat, I thought this post would cool us off & inspire also.
Our street with a solid 2" sheet of ice on it.

This has been a crazy week for us! If you live in Texas, you already know what I'm talking about. Monday they forecast temps for the week would be freezing & we may get some ice. Instead, Tuesday morning we woke up to 2 inches of ice & today is Friday & the ice is still there, now with 6 inches of snow on top of it. We are not used to this kind of weather here. Ice for a day or so, but not for 4 days!
Needless to say, we are a bit tired of this. Roads are too dangerous to drive on, all activities were canceled and we are running out of toilet paper!

For the first few days we tried to keep things normal around here. School was still on. I tried to keep things normal anyway. But just knowing that we can't go anywhere seem to add an edge of panic in everyone. Finally by yesterday I surrendered & just let them play.

The older kids play Xbox or Wii while the younger ones try to make the best of it on the ice outside, but it proved to not be so much fun. Sam's nose is proof of how hard that ice is when you hit it!  Gracie has a bump on her head from falling & Ben bruised his hand, so the ice is not forgiving at all.
I would like to tell you that we snuggled in with good books & hot cocoa and made the most of it, but we didn't.  Kids played video games, wore the same clothes everyday and we ate when we wanted, whatever we wanted.  Dinner last night was cereal for some & chicken strips for others.

Facebook has been full of updates from friends who are struggling with this winter weather too.  So many are complaining of the cold weather, boredom, missing friends, etc...
What is it about this weather that makes us act like this?
I was reading on Priscilla Shirer's blog this morning & she nailed it I think.  She wrote;

Are we so addicted to constant movement (and even stress) that we don't even know how to relax anymore? Isn't there anything that remains attractive about stillness, simple fun and family time?

We like the thought of not having to do anything, but when we are forced into it, we complain, fidget, and can't wait to get back to normal busyness.

Be still & know that I am God Psalm 46:10

Just reading that calms us down at times, but in reality, we really don't like being still.  It forces us to face our weaknesses.  This week, we have had to stay home.  We can't go anywhere.  When the pantry was getting empty we felt like we would never get food again.  When the electricity went out because of rolling blackouts we panicked thinking we would never get power back on.  Ridiculous!  We are so spoiled!
Paul really ministered to my heart this morning in light of the abnormal week we have had.

Philippians 2:14, Do all things without grumbling or questioning.
We have done our fair share of grumbling week. Rolling black outs. Super cold temperatures.  Constant pile of wet gloves, coats & hats by the front door. Bored children.

Philippians 4:11, I have learned in whatever situation am to be content.
Really, how many times does it snow & ice in Texas?  Not many, but when it does I want it to be warm again.  When it is 102 degrees, I want it to be cold.  Can I ever be content?

Philippians 4:19, And my God shall supply every need of your according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
The pantry is getting low of food.  Scott can't get to work. Did I mention my kids are bored?  Yet, we have electricity, food, healthy people & running water.  Many have not had it as well & have had frozen pipes, no electricity & have sick family.

So here I am at the end of a week of a God induced Sabbath rest.  He has provided us with a week to be still, dig into His words, enjoy our family, and rest and I spent most of it complaining & waiting for the temps to get above freezing.
I'm so thankful he gives us a new to start all over and do it right!  After all, I hear that we are to get more snow next week!

Here are a few pictures my husband took this morning on the way to the store.

 Thank you Lord for your gifts and help me to see them as just!

Wouldn't ya know it!  It's snowing again!


Friday, June 22, 2012

Sweet Surrender: Charlie's Birth

It's all coming back to me with a newborn!

Night time feedings
Added laundry
Being in demand all day
Watching the clock...Is he hungry?  Is he tired?

I'm loving it!

God is so good to give us a new baby during this difficult time of our life.  He knew we needed the joy, excitement & distraction of a new baby.

Charlie's sweet smiles & sweet sounds melt our hearts and make us do crazy things like talk in baby talk & say the same stupid thing or make the same dumb face over & over if it means he will smile at us.

Charlie's birth was nothing like what I thought it would be.  In one of my earlier posts I shared about how "Surrender" seem to be the new theme of my life.  God was (& still is) continually showing me things I needed to surrender or give up to Him.  None of it has been easy because I didn't think any of it was bad or wrong.  If God wants you to give something up & you try to keep it, it becomes sin & you are miserable until you finally give it up.

Charlie's birth was one of those things I had to surrender.  The idea of how it would or should go.  For the past 16 years I have used a midwife for my pregnancies & birthed our babies in our home. I loved it.  It was the normal thing for us to us it was normal.  But this time we couldn't see our midwife & had to use a doctor.  That meant I would have to go to a hospital to have the baby.  I really struggled with this for most of the pregnancy. I knew it was what the Lord wanted, I just didn't like it.  I was unfamiliar with the hospital way of doing things & really didn't want to take that route, but we did.

The night I was in labor & knew we were about to go to the hospital, I already knew things would be different.  I trusted the Lord that we were going to the hospital because that is where I needed to be for some reason.  It didn't take us long to realize why we were there.

My labor started on Monday morning & I timed contractions off & on starting at 6:30 a.m.  Finally by 7:30 p.m. we were heading to the hospital...all 7 of us!  Scott & I and 5 of our teenagers!  I didn't expect them to want to be there, but was glad they were going.  But what a motley crew we were walking into labor & delivery.  2 old parents with their big kids.  All eyes were on us. LOL!

The contractions were so strong before I even got to the hospital I was beginning to think I would want an epidural...I had never had one before.  I know! I know!  10 babies & no epidural...but I never felt that I needed one (for the 5 hospital births I had).  So that was already one thing I was giving idea that I could have this baby without any drugs.  So I got it & it was wonderful!  I was having super duper contractions & could only feel a little pressure.

Then we broke my water.  We have always done this.  I usually have a baby in about an hour of breaking the water & expected that to happen this time too.

 Instead, the baby's heartbeat began to show distress.  We were losing him.  We couldn't hear his heartbeat at all!  We had to get him out, but I quit dilating & couldn't push.  I'm thinking at this point..."Lord, don't take my baby!"

The doctor looks at me and says, "Do you understand what we need to do?"  I think I answered, "Get him out now!"  My doctor knew I had never had a c-section & didn't want one unless is was absolutely critical & this was a critical moment.  Every second count.

As the tears began to flow from my eyes the nurses were tossing stuff on my bed & pushing me out of the room really fast.  I looked over & got a quick glance at Scott as he assured me everything would be ok.  I clung to that & began to pray and ask God to protect my baby & me.

Charlie was born fast.  Thankfully, since I got that epidural (I thought I would never have) they were able to deliver Charlie quickly. Most of what happen is a big blur until I heard the most wonderful sound ever...Charles Aiden crying. The room was full of Charlie's cries & to me it was the most wonderful sound ever!  Once they knew he was fine, they took him to my room  where Scott & Ashley were waiting.  Scott never even had a chance to get his scrubs on & be with me, so he was there when they brought in Charlie.

As the doctor began to close me up he ran into a problem.  I was hemorrhaging.  It took 2 hours for the doctor to get all the bleeding to stop & I didn't need to be given a blood transfusion.  I'm very thankful for the doctor God gave me, he did very good work!  For 2 hours though my family didn't know what was going on and why it was taking so long for me to come back to the room.  The doctor was so good to explain things to them & assure them I was going to be just fine...and I am!

I stayed in the hospital for 4 days & went "home" to my in-laws house where Scott & I had stayed the last 2 weeks of the pregnancy.  The recovery was much more difficult than I expected it to be, but I am doing well now...almost 7 weeks later.  I still don't feel 100% but I'm getting there.

Looking back I see how the Lord used circumstances that I didn't understand to set the stage for an outcome I didn't expect. 

I won't go over all of the "what if's".  God could have worked this out anyway he wanted.
Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. Psalm 115:3
 He could have let us have the birth we were used to, but then we wouldn't have experienced his providence or sovereignty the way we did.  We wouldn't have been amazed at how clearly we saw him working.  We wouldn't look at Charlie the way we do total & complete amazement of what a wonderful gift he is to us!

Or maybe we would.  Doesn't matter.  This is the way God wanted it to happen & I'm thankful that He brought me to a place where I could surrender my plans & idea's so that I could experience Him in such a wonderful way!

Charlie ~ 6 weeks