Posted in Living BOLD, My Faith

Peace, Joy, and Jesus

As a writer, I have been thinking of so much I could say. As a mom, I’ve been overwhelmed, and not sure how down deep and personal to be.

As A Citizen…

As most of you are well aware, this nation-wide, and pretty much world-wide quarantine is less than ideal. No one could have anticipated this happening in our world today.

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Our world has technology, several have access to medical care, and the ability to travel anywhere in the world in record time.

Why would a pandemic be a problem?

As a Christian, I truly believe God is using this time of uncertainty and chaos, to bring peace, hope, and strengthen our faith.

We are most secure when we dwell in the safety of our shelter and fortress, our Almighty God.

As A Mom…

For me and my family, this period of isolation has been both a blessing and a curse.

Right before this virus disrupted our lives, I had confessed to my husband a specific concern.

I was so worried we would be sucked into the busyness that comes with each spring season. Sports, drama, graduations, concerts, outdoor activities, and whatever else you can think of.

Blessing #1

However, because of the Corona virus and the mandatory quarantine, our schedules are wiped clean from last week, until the foreseeable future. I never imagined my prayer would be answered like this.

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Blessing #2

In addition, I have been struggling with maintaining my relationship with my school-age kids. For so long, I have been home with them, and having all the time in the world.

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Deep in my heart, I miss that so much, but God has not led me to homeschool at this time.

Now, I again have all the time in the world with all of my children, this side of Heaven.

I am thankful God has heard the desires of my heart, and is redeeming this time with my kids.

So I choose to see this time as a gift from God.

Curse #1

To be transparent, I am not going to sit here and pretend this time in our world is not scary, unsettling, and discouraging.

Yet, I never imagined it would be a grief trigger, for my son in Heaven.

For me, the mere suggestion or possibility I could lose any of my children, or my husband, took my breath away. This fear caught me dead in my tracks, and I wept with sorrow.

I have no more control now over life and death, than I did almost four years ago.

Defining Moment

Our pastor’s sermon this morning really challenged my heart. Storing up possessions doesn’t provide security, only God can do that for us. True peace can only come from the God of peace Himself.

I can’t stop our family from getting sick.

I can’t prevent my family from dying from the virus, let alone any other cause.

I can’t make toilet paper appear out of thin air, just because we ran out! (Yes, a little humor to lighten the mood.)

Resolution

God is God, not me. God is in charge, not me. God has everything under control, and I have nothing under control, in my own power and strength.

Everything we have is God’s, but He loves us so much, He gives us everything we need.

Yes, I said NEED not WANT really bad or WANT because someone else has it.

As a Christian, as a citizen, as a wife, as a mom, and as a writer, I urge you to take a stand in your heart and mind.

Choose peace. Choose to trust God will take care of you. Choose to find joy in the blessings of today, not live in fear of tomorrow.

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Choose Jesus Christ as your Savior, and you will never regret it, for eternity!

PRAY, PRAY, PRAY church! Don’t lose hope! We serve an all-powerful, mighty, loving God.

Encouraging Scriptures

Ephesians 3:14-21 ESV

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,

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that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,

so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith–that you, being rooted and grounded in love,

may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

Hebrews 2:1 ESV

“Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.”

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2 Chronicles 7:11-16 ESV

“Thus Solomon finished the house of the LORD and the king’s house. All that Solomon had planned to do in the house of the LORD and in his own house he successfully accomplished.

Then the LORD appeared to Solomon in the night and said to him: “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice. When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people,

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if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways,

then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place. For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that my name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time.”

Proverbs 3:5-12 ESV

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.

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Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.

My son (to King Solomon from his dad, King David), do not despise the LORD’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.”

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Posted in Living BOLD, My Faith

Resetting Expectations

A Birthday Party Story

Picture this. Your daughter has a birthday party coming up. Their 3rd birthday, and you want to make it as special as possible.

To prepare, you plan a month in advance for this birthday party. You even ask your birthday girl what she wants for the cupcakes and decorations. Things are going so well!

Shopping

Finally, it is time to shop and bake. You take your birthday girl to the store to buy decorations and party favors for her friends. Don’t forget the special, helium-inflated birthday balloons, matching the party theme.

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Your cart is so full, you wonder how over-the-top this party is getting. Your fears are confirmed, when the checkout lady literally says to you, “You are overdoing this, Mom.”

You know she’s right, but don’t want to admit it to a total stranger.

Party Favors and Cupcakes

The week of, you, the birthday girl, and her siblings, all work together to put the party favor bags together. The excitement on their faces is so inspiring, more for the candy than anything else, you know these are perfect for your guests.

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Two days before the party, you bake the cupcakes. The night before, you make the extra cupcake decorations, so they are ready for the morning of, when you freshly frost and decorate them.

You place them in the fridge, and you feel a sigh of relief and accomplishment.

Decorating

Last but not least, you stay up until midnight, with your tired husband, decorating. You start to pull out all of the decorations you purchased with the birthday girl, and your husband gives a sigh and intense eye-roll.

It takes hours to perfectly decorate with the party signage, party favors, streamers, balloons, even a large, plastic mural background for pictures and added scenery for effect.

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The Perfect Party

Finally, you’re done. Perfectly planned, purchased, and executed birthday party plan. You slip into bed, relieved, and happily anticipating the next morning.

You can’t wait to see the look on your birthday girl’s face when she beholds all your work for her party. You hope she feels as special as you know she is.

The Twist

Then it hits. The screaming, vomiting, and complete misery from – guess who? The birthday girl herself.

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The stomach flu or some similar, awful virus has hit your house, literally hours before the party is supposed to start.

You have to break it to your precious, birthday girl that her party is cancelled and now she has to spend her birthday sleeping and drinking water – no cupcakes.

Reality Stings Sometimes

As you might have guessed, this happened to me and my family last week for one of our daughter’s birthday. Let me tell you, it has been a rough week for all of us.

However, somehow God used this atrocious sickness to change something in my mind and heart.

As her mom, I was not only buying and doing things for her to make her feel special, but to show off to our guests, “Hey, look at me and what I can do? I’m such a great mom, aren’t I?”

My Aching Heart

Wow, that was a slap in the face and a prick in my heart. In my heart, I had let pride and the fear of insignificance drive me to spend more money, time, and energy than necessary.

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Also, I realized I was justifying my behavior with a false sense of what my daughter actually expected and wanted for her party.

I knew exactly what she wanted. We had planned it together, and the plan itself was pretty simple.

In my own prideful heart, I was making her party about me. How selfish is that?

The Real Party

Now, tonight is the night before her party. We have rescheduled it for tomorrow.

Most of the decorations we left up from decorating last week, but not all have stayed on the wall. The cupcakes are done and decorated, but I let my daughters help me, instead of pushing them away, and doing it alone.

For my daughter’s sake, and for my own good, I laid down my expectations of attention, glory and honor from my efforts as her mom. God is teaching me to be content in the simple, not frantic in the complex.

Finally, the party did not go according to my perfect little plan. To be honest, I’m glad it didn’t. I had more prepared and done last week, so I can just relax and enjoy my daughter growing up.

God’s plan is always better than my plan. If I am not careful, I will trade fear and anxiety for peace and joy in the Lord.

Which will you choose today, your finite plan or God’s perfect plan?

Scripture

These verses really helped change my expectations this week. I hope they help you, too.

Proverbs 3:5-12 ESV

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“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.

Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.

My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.”