Establishing a Routine

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Researches say that it takes 21 days to establish a habit.  So, here we are in the final days of January, after many of us committed to some new habits and lifestyle changes for the new year, and I wonder….

How are you doing?

Are you on track or are you already behind in your efforts, close to giving up completely?

As you might remember, I committed to two things this year, reading through my Bible and writing letters to my family.  I just finished up the book of Genesis and I’ve sent out 4 letters.  But now comes the rough part….the next 21 days.

Genesis was fairly easy to read since most of the stories were familiar, basic Sunday School lessons that I’ve read many times before. The letter writing was pretty easy since it was my closest family members that I wrote to.  However yesterday, reading chronologically, I was supposed to start reading Job and I haven’t written the hardest letter yet because of some relationship issues with the person.

So….time to just call it quits?  Maybe skip a week or that person on my list?  That would make it a whole lot easier….like just skipping over those names in Genesis of who begat whom.  Who’s going to know that I didn’t really read those names, but more or less scanned them? Or that I didn’t write a letter to that  particular person, since they aren’t expecting it anyway?

God would know.

You see, I made my commitments to God…not man.  He likes to gently nudge me in the right direction….toward my Bible, toward the stationary.  If I resist, He does a little more than nudges…He pushes.  God can push pretty hard, you know!

So when I was reading all those “begats” , I started thinking of them more as people than just names.  They were someone’s grandfather.  I want to remember my grandfathers, I want their names to be familiar, know who they were, what they did, how they played a part in my life.  I want my children to remember them too, even though they never met one of my grandfathers.  I think that is what God is wanting me to do too, with all those names.  They were people that lived, laughed, loved, hated, cried, hurt, played jokes, messed up miserably…you get the picture…they mattered to God.

It helps me to make a list, a family tree so to speak.  If I write it down, I have a tendency to remember it better…so I write their names down.  Of course that can get a little confusing and if you don’t like history, it may not be your thing.  I did find a website that has the family tree of Jesus.  It starts with Adam & Eve and goes as far as you want to take it, all you have to do is click on a name.   (Disclaimer:  I have no affiliation with this website.  I found it through a word search on Google.  Part of the website is in a different language, of which I could not read.  Some of the names are spelled differently, but I did find it a helpful tool, but use it at your own risk.)

And if I get behind in my reading, those nudges from God have helped me to turn off the TV or the computer and pick up my Bible.    However, if you are way behind, like not even reading, starting with today….just read!  I have tried setting my alarm clock to go off 20 minutes earlier than normal.  That sometimes work, but I personally do better by setting aside some time during the day after my brain wakes up, so I can retain and comprehend what I’m reading and studying.  Whenever, however you do it, God just wants you in His Word, not so you can put a check mark down as a task finished, but so He can talk to you.

About that letter….it’s hard.  I had committed to telling my family that I was praying for them, specifically for their spiritual growth, encouraging them in their journey with God.  However, with this family member….I have issues.  Every time I sit down to write, negative thoughts and emotions pour out.  I don’t want to send that kind of letter.  Yes, there are issues that need to be dealt with…but that is not what God is wanting me to do with this letter.  He is wanting me to love and encourage them.  I want to nag.

Photo by Rowdy Kittens on Flickr

So, the stationary comes out.  The words will be filtered through God’s love for them and for me.  The issues will still be there, but I’ll pray about them on my own and then when God wants them to be dealt with, I’ll have already been in a prayerful attitude about them.   Of course I won’t be surprised if God reveals that the issues just might be with me!!!

To prepare for the time when I can send a note, it really helps me to keep my journal and stationary together.  I pull out the addresses of the people I will be writing to and keep them with my stationary along with a supply of stamps.  I don’t want any other excuses to not send the notes.  The reason for my journal….as I’m writing the letters, I make notes of the Bibles verses I include in their letter and any prayer thoughts that may come to mind while I’m writing.  Then during my own prayer time, I use the journal to help me focus on my family.

So, how are you changing up your routine to make time for the new or refreshed lifestyle changes you committed to?  Please share with us what you are focusing on this year and how you are making time for this focus in your daily life. 

But one thing is needful:  and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

-Luke 10:42 (KJV)

 

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Listen, My Son….

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At some point in time during the journey of being a parent, we all have that moment where we throw our hands up and wonder if we are going to be able to survive parenting young children.  I was no exception.

I was blessed with two beautiful children, Sally and Adam.  While I was pregnant with Adam, my husband decided to move us from my hometown in Tennessee to his hometown in Florida.  We waited until Adam was at least 3 months old before making the move, then we packed up everything and took off for the coast and white beaches.

I was afraid of leaving home.  My family was just a few miles from me at the time and I relied on them as my support system.  In Florida and later Alabama, I would have no one.  During those “terrible two” years that Adam seemed to stretch into about 6 years, I was constantly calling my mother and seeking her advice on how to handle this wild child.  He was one of those that “pitched a fit” with hair pulling, throwing things, and all out assault on anyone or anything in his path.  These “fits” lasted well into the year that Adam was in the first grade.  I remember that year as having lots of tears, for all of us.

The phone calls to my mother were pretty regular, with the same question…”how do we survive this?” I knew she was the expert because she had raised two fine young men.  I offered to make a deal with her, she could raise Adam and I would take him back once he was through that season of his childhood.  (I was only half joking when I suggested that.  We had just left Wal-Mart, where Adam had attempted to jump out of the buggy, was pulling everything off the shelves, hitting at me, screaming bloody murder…simply because he wanted to look at the toys before we got groceries.  We left without anything that day and somewhere there is a surveillance video that could possibly win us $10,000 on some TV show.)

The other fear I had in raising a son was how to raise him as a godly man.  Not to belittle my husband in any way, but to speak a truth that many women find themselves in….my husband left the spiritual training of our children to me.  Over the years, he has taught Adam many things, how to shoot a gun, work on a vehicle, how to build things…you know, guy stuff.  However he’s never spoken to him about spiritual matters.  So as we traveled into the season of time when Adam was most formidable and acceptable of spiritual matters, I worried and prayed.  My greatest fear was how to show honor to my husband, and yet teach my son to do things he didn’t see his dad doing.

Adam was just starting middle school when God answered my prayer and placed in my husband a desire to move us again….back to my hometown, back to my family.  When I asked him why he wanted to move, his words were always the same.  He wanted for our children what I had growing up, life on the farm, with family all around.

My mother reminded me about my comment years before regarding having her raise Adam.  She never took me up on the offer, but she knew that now I could get the help I needed….but not from her….from my dad.  I don’t know if it is a proven fact or not, but it has been my experience that mothers raise daughters and dads raise the sons.  My son needed a godly dad to raise him and my dad stepped up to the plate.

Adam will graduate from high school in May.  I was at a recent community event and several mothers came to me to speak praise over the man they saw my son becoming.  They talked about something they saw different in him than in most kids his age.  His dad had taught him lessons that will take him through life, I will not discredit those lessons.  But as I have watched over the past few years, it is Adam’s grandfather that I see having the most godly influence on him.  Those lessons added to what his dad has taught him are making him not only a good boy, but a godly man.

I know that there are other women in the same situation as I was in, either with a spiritually absent husband or raising their children on their own completely.  If you have boys, I fully believe that they need a godly male influence in their lives.  I’ve watched something happen in my son, a maturity that comes, not just from years of physical  and mental growth.  I’ve seen him talking over life with a man that has learned that no matter how much money you make or what your professional title is, success in life depends on spending time with the Lord, seeking His guidance in decisions, following His will for your life.

Adam doesn’t tell me what he and his Papa talk about when they are working on the tractors together or in the hay field together, or working the cows.  But my dad tells me he never misses an opportunity to speak godly wisdom over him.

That’s what a boy needs in his life, a man willing to talk God with him.

I snapped these two pictures of my son and my dad.  The first one was when Adam was 3.  We were on a short nature walk in Colorado and Adam had just “thrown a fit” and refused to go another step.  My dad encouraged Adam to walk with him.  Daddy never let go of Adam’s hand and helped him over fallen trees, small creeks, and through the woods.  The other photo was taken this spring on another nature walk in Gatlinburg.  I see this scene played out over and over, and I am so thankful for how God answered some prayers of a worried mother and He sent a godly influence into my son’s life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Listen, my sons, to a father’s discipline, and pay attention so that you may gain understanding…..Listen my son. Accept my words, and you will live many years. I am teaching you the way of wisdom; I am guiding you on straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hindered, when you run, you will not stumble.

Proverbs 4:1, 10-12 HCSB

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In the Wardrobe

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Up a flight of tiny stairs, with a naked lightbulb as the only light, a long string to pull, however you have to get up the stairs and half way across the room before the light is found…  It feels like tiny eyes are watching you and even if you just stepped out of the shower, you feel dirty.

You’ve just entered my grandmother’s attic.

Did I mention that it’s dark and dirty?  Yes I did, but that really stands out to me in the memories of my childhood.  And as scary as it was, with a huge mounted owl perching at the top of the stairs,  his wing spread wide and ready to swoop down on any unwanted visitors, I loved climbing up those stairs to see what I could find in the unforgotten bedrooms of my mother and uncle.

My uncle’s room still had the posters of airplanes and models sitting on a broken shelf.  There were empty strings where he had hung some of those planes he built.  One wall even had the furry coat of one of the first squirrels he ever shot some 50 years before.  Then there were the bird bones in the clutter and broken boards…like a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds…forever trapped in a room just wanting to get out the creaked window.

Grannie’s attic was very much a mixture of The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe  and Harry Potter (with the owl!).  There was an old wardrobe in my mother’s bedroom and within its darkness, I found all kinds of treasures and within its cabinets I stepped through to a different world.  The doll that had once rested on her bed was there, a little girl’s slip with ribbons and lace falling off, patterns of dresses for a young woman…and the scrapbooks.

Black and brown pages, decaying with touch, forever holding memories that a young girl cherished and wanted to preserve in some way.  Postcards, newspaper clippings, invitations, Christmas cards, swatches of material for dresses made and memories worn.  Page after page of dreams dreamed and life lived, reflecting through a camera lens, glue, scissors and pencils.

And now I must go through it all, I must decipher all the memories and decide what to keep and what to discard.  How do you divide the memories equally between brothers and sisters?  My brothers decided that I would be the keeper of all things black and white.  I’ve been scanning pictures into my computer so that we can all have access to them, which has really been the easy part.  The hard part is what to do with the scrapbooks.  Is what my mother thought as important, important to me today?

Yes it is.

You see I have a heritage of faith and she tried to capture that heritage for me, long before my mother ever knew me, even before she had her faith.  The snippets of her life in those scrapbooks are lessons learned of how to live a godly life.  A young married couples’ first memories together, going to church, loving on family, a friend picking up thread and needle to make a wedding gift to be cherished in new homes, exploration and appreciation of the wonders God placed in odd places for courageous minds to find, the gentle touch of a mother’s hand against a newborn baby’s cheek, certificates of accomplishments and distinguishments….all these things are found in those books.

And I learn.

I learn what to cherish, what to show importance to, how to love on others.

Then I wonder….what will my children see within my pages of journals and photo albums?  Will they open my computer and find all my blog posts and understand my heart?  Will they see the struggle of a young girl to keep her life on track with what God had in store for her?  Will they see a woman on a journey to become what her mother had become…a godly woman, praised above jewels, waking in the early hours of the day to provide for them, staying up at night to see them all safely home?  Will the photographs be full of smiles and laughter even during the hard times? (Proverbs 31)

What I choose today as important, what I spend time on each day matters…not only to me and my relationship with God, but also on my children and their relationship with God.  What my mother choose, shown in those scrapbooks and photo albums, was important, not only to her, but to me.  I want my children to one day go through my attic and find that I left them  a heritage that they can build on for their children.

Today, recognize and keep in mind that the Lord is God in heaven above and on earth below; there is no other.  Keep His statutes and commands, which I am given you today, so that you and your children after you may prosper and so you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you for all time….Deuteronomy 4:39-40 HCSB

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Start Now…

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Dear Rhonda,

You are growing up a good church going kid. That is a fine thing, so don’t let that label bother you. It will spare you more heartache than you know. However, you are going to need more. You need the Word of God. You think you know it. You don’t. You know a few key verses. You know the stories, but, right now, you don’t know it. You are not aware of the life it brings. You are not aware of the changing power those printed words carry. You have no idea how soon you will cling to them for you own sanity. If I could tell you one thing to change, it would be your study of the Word of God. Dig in deep sister.

Start you scripture memorization now, and don’t wait until your mid-thirties. Jump head first into godly, biblical studies. Search out those who bring the truth of God’s word. Do not take it for face value because it comes from the pulpit. Open up that red, leather bound King James Version you have and read it for yourself. Do not rely on others to educate you about the Word. They can assist, but the responsibility is yours. Find a reading plan and start everyday you can reading the Word. Ask the Lord to make it fall fresh on your hard heart. It is the only thing that will soften it. Firmly root passages in your mind so that you are quick on the offensive when the enemy comes. And believe, dear one, he is coming. He is after you with all he has.

Your mind, like so many others, will be a repeated battle field. Armor up missy. You get in those pages. You put those words to use. You read them, study them, and use them to fight for your relationship with the One who inspired them. It is not going to matter what church you attend, what pastoral staff you know, or how much you serve, when the attacks come, when your faith is tested, when your very core is attacked, and it will be, it will come down to you and Jesus. You and what you have hidden in your heart about Him. You and what you have securely planted in your mind about God, our Father, and His love toward you.

The confidence you have in Him will only come from knowing Him, and that will come from studying His word. It is life to you, baby. It is life for you, for your marriage. For your boys to come.

As I sit here writing to you I can hardly see through my tears. I cannot express to you how much the Word of God is going to mean to you. How you will defend its integrity to the bitter end and how you will hold fast to it. Start now baby. Start now. You are not too young for this. You are not too messed up. You are not too good. You need those words. You need the Word. You need to know them. You need Him.

He will meet you on those printed pages. He will meet you in a single word. He will save you. He will change you. He will love you. He will set you free.

Open that book and let Him.

John 1:14 (New King James Version)
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

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Impact

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Wrapping my mind around the past 2 1/2 months is a difficult thing to do.  The depths of pain and intercession, which had before been untapped have become springs of maturity and understanding for me.  On January 11th, my friend Joanne fell from her treadmill due to a massive stroke–her description of the event reminds me of fire and ice, but I will leave it for her to tell someday. I sank into a desperate place of prayer.

Without thought, I began to act, to pray, to be bold and to hold fast to some rope that seemed to be attached to God in a way I had yet to experience.  I felt distinctly that I was a player in a battle, a battle that I will never comprehend this side of Heaven.  I battled in prayer day and night–petitioning God for the life of my friend.  Deep down, I knew my place…to pray and to tell. I did both.

A deep sleeper, I was awakened through the watches of the night for weeks on end.  I woke and prayed–tarried in prayer until released.  It was as if I was connected to a place of action being carried out on Joanne’s behalf.  The exhaustion I felt is nothing–nothing–compared to Joanne’s close family and friends. I knew that I was at the bottom of the symbolic mountain, praying, as they battled at the precipice.  I also knew that my connecting point at the base of that mountain was to tell others within my sphere the story and to rally them in prayer for Joanne–and ultimately, I believe prayer for themselves.  That is not to say there were not others at the base of the mountain with me.  Oh, God set up connecting points with others, too.  He has the best system!

Two and a half months later and with much of the story in-between left unspoken, I sit today with pen and journal in hand to let this portion of the story be told for this time.  It is the right time.  There is much of the battle for Joanne’s fullness of life still to be fought and forged.  I ask you to pray for her and her family.  Pray that she will take back every inch of ground she lost–to regain everything.  Pray also for her family and friends, who daily minister to her and urge her on. Finally, pray for her story to be a tidal wave around the globe. Many, maybe including you, need to know that God is at work on behalf of all people, that He hears us, that He answers and that He invites our participation in the unfolding story all around us.

We can choose to believe Him on the darkest of days. We can trust that He can hold our weighty worries.  We can embrace Him, knowing that He is for us and loves us unconditionally. We can relate with Him, for He knows how to speak our language.  And if we get really still and listen, we can hear His voice speaking love and truth over our day-in, day-out lives.  He speaks over us saying, “You matter. You are significant.”  Whether at the top of the mountain, the base or somewhere in the desert perimeter, we have a place of great significance in the story God is writing–planned before the foundation of time.  We have a part to play and a choice to carry it out or not.

Joanne and I have shared many texts over the past weeks (so much so that I had to increase my plan!  And that with JOY!!!).  In every one I receive from her, I thank God for her ability to remember, to relate, to connect and to feel.  She is dreaming wide awake!  Now she is even dreaming in her sleep, which is a miracle. Most of all, Joanne is humble, a fighter, discerning, poetic, fun and able to do everything that is placed before her.  She is able to do, because she holds tightly to the Hand of her God.  She said herself in one of the texts, “When I am afraid, I will trust in Jesus.”  And later, “On the way in a couple of hours, anxious, scared, but choosing to trust Jesus, who loves me.”  Oh indeed He does, dear Joanne!

Friend?  He loves you, too.  He is worthy of your trust.  Just today, I read this from Streams in the Desert by Mrs. C.E. Cowman, “Jesus Christ is no security against storms, but He is perfect security in storms. He has never promised you an easy passage, only a safe landing.”

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Sunny Days to Come

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“I’m scared.”

Those words were written in the back of my mother’s Bible.  There was no date as to when she wrote them, however I can narrow it down to the last six months….at the point that she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and the treatments were shown not to be working.

She was healed from her struggles on January 31, 2011.

I found the words on February 3, 2011.  They made me cry because Mother never said that she was scared.  She was brave through the entire journey she had been on.  She actually encouraged us.

My mother was always my biggest encourager.  It seems that she had one more lesson to teach me about encouragement….how to encourage myself.

My mother was facing a physical death that scared her.  However, there was more to what she wrote in her Bible.

“I’m scared, but I know Jesus and he’s going to help me through this.”  Phil.3:20-21

“but our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for a S

avior, the Lord Jesus Christ.  He will transform the body of our humble condition into the likeness of His glorious body, by the power that enables Him to subject everything to Himself.” (hcsb)

She knew her condition…she knew the physical outcome was not good…and she focused instead on what Jesus was going to do.

He was going to be with her through her darkest days and be with her in her brightest day.  He was going to transform her and take her home.  She put her fear aside and focused on that.

My mother was a quilter, from a long line of quilters and she passed on that love to me.  My father asked me to take her unfinished projects and finish them up.  Where she sat every evening was a little black tray holding her last project, 3 completed blocks and 1 almost completed block of an improved nine-patch pattern.


I was captivated by that last block…with needle and thread ready to work its way across the pieces.  Waiting, as if she had just stepped away for a moment….because she did.  I’ve been so focused on that little black tray of work, that I didn’t notice something else until today.

What I saw in that tray was my mother’s normal sewing supplies.  There was the pattern, stencils, scissors, thread, needle, thimble, and material.  However, lying under the tray was the magazine where she had gotten the pattern from.

As I was going through everything, wondering what I was going to do with these last pieces…wondering if I would leave the needle forever waiting to finish….I saw the name of the pattern she had chosen as her final piece to work on.

“Sunny Days to Come”

She was scared, she was dying, she was in so much pain….yet she was looking forward to brighter days.  Her sunny days didn’t come on earth…they came when she stepped into the presence of the Son and walked down streets of gold, where there is no night, no darkness, no tears, no pain.

Her sunny day came.

With her words and her works, she continues to encourage me not to be afraid of what is happening to me right now.  Look forward, look pass right now and see the tomorrow that we have been promised…not the next day…but the day that we will walk in the actual presence of Jesus.

I think sometimes we lose focus of that day because we are so scared of the right now.

It’s okay to be scared, life is scary….but don’t lose heart, because sunny days are coming.

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If/Then….But If/Then

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One thing I learned quickly in my very first Kay Arthur, Percept Upon Percept, Bible study was that you have to remember your high school English classes when reading the Bible using this method.

In case you have not taken one of Kay’s studies….or have forgotten those English classes…or slept through them the first time…..”if” and “but” are conjunctions.  That means that they connect major parts of speech or clauses within a sentence.

What I have found in applying this to my Bible study is that when I see “if” or “but” being used, I need to look for something that it is going to connect in the rest of the verse(s).  It’s like what Kay says about when you see “therefore”….read to see what it’s there for!

I was recently reading in John 15 and I noticed a number of “if’s” throughout the reading.  Most of the verses had an implied “then” after the “if”.  Take for instance verse 7:

If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you.

It should probably really read like this….

If you remain in Me and My words remain in you….then you can ask whatever you want and it will be done for you.

….or something like that.  However it reads, the statement is clear.  I have to do something before I can expect God to answer my prayers.

When God or Jesus was speaking, They would start their teaching with “if you will do such and such…then I will do this and that”.  That’s an “if/then” statement.  I’ve noticed that usually a blessing comes after the “then”.  There are also the “but if you will not do such and such…then I will do this and that” type of statements.  These “but if/then” statements are usually followed by a punishment or curse.

I want the “if/then” statements….what about you?!

There are a few commands that Jesus gives us in John 15.  Back to our English lessons….

Every sentence is made up with a subject and a predicate.  The subject of the sentence is the person or thing about which the sentence is being said.  The predicate is what is said about the subject and always contains a verb (an action or state of being).  However, a command without a subject (for example “love one another”) has a predicate, but the subject is implied to be “you”.

Don’t give up on me yet….there’s a reason for the English madness.

Verse 4 started all this.

Remain in Me, and I in you.

This is a command and the implied subject is “you” or “me” to be precise.  IF I follow this command, there is a blessing….THEN God will answer my prayers.  Now that doesn’t mean that  God will answer all my prayers just as I prayed them, or like I have in mind….they have to be in accordance to His will….but we won’t go there today.

So how do I remain in Him?  (I’ll go ahead and tell you that I read that sentence with another implied word added – Remain in Me since I already am in you….He doesn’t come and go in my life!)  He gives more direction within this chapter.

Here’s some other commands that all work together:

  • Remain in My love.
  • Keep My commands.
  • Love one another.
  • Bear fruit.
  • Testify.

How do I remain in Him….by remaining in His love…how do I do that…by keeping His commands…how do I do that…by loving others….what will happen then….I will bring others to Him….how…I’ll be testifying of His love.  See how that works?!  So how do I know what His commands are?  I must remain in Him….or remain in His Word.

I can’t do what God says unless I know what He says.  Once I do…I have a choice to make.  I can either obey His Word or reject it.   I have no more excuses.  Based on John 15, if I reject His Word, He will cast me out (not the same as losing my salvation), but as not being of usefulness to His work.

Regular Bible study is the answer to life’s questions.  How do I live a godly life?  It’s in the Bible.  How do I forgive my enemies?  It’s in the Bible….you get the picture.

Now in case you are wondering what got me going in this line of thinking, I’d like to share a short, true, story.  I recently had someone helping me clean my house (for my daughter’s wedding).  They cleaned off a table that we had to use in the wedding.  Everything on the table was put somewhere else.  Around 2 days after the wedding, I went in search of my Bible.  I hadn’t done any reading in it since the morning of the wedding.

I couldn’t find my Bible anywhere.  I searched the bookshelf near where the table had been, where my Bible had been before the wedding, I went through some of the clutter of wedding decorations that then littered my house.  It wasn’t anywhere.

I could have easily found another Bible, but I wanted that particular one.  So I had these excuses not to get into the Word.  I went almost 2 weeks before finding my Bible….on that same bookcase!  My very first devotion took me to John 15.

I got the feeling that God was trying to tell me something.  I am to remain in Him…in His Word….and He is already in me!

I’m to remain…even when I can’t find my Bible (there’s the internet, www.mystudybible.com is a great site for the full Bible on-line….there’s all the other Bibles that I have around the house….there’s the Bible on CD that I have).   There is no excuse not to be in His Word!!!!

I just have to make the choice to remain.  There’s no ifs, ands , or buts about it!

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2 Marthas in the House

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I think it probably worked out pretty well to have Martha and Mary living in the same house.  Their personalities probably played off each other…Mary offering a quiet spirit in the wake of Martha’s overpowering presence.  I see Mary, not as a weakling, cowering beneath Martha’s rule, but as a person that would listen intently to what Martha was saying and then respond in a calm, quiet manner.  Not necessarily agreeing, but not arguing back with her.

But what happens when two “Marthas” live in the same household?

FIREWORKS!!!!  Explosive emotions.  Hurt feelings.  Stress.  Power struggles.

I was raised in a house with brothers, no sisters.  The only other woman I had to really get along with was my mother.  We did pretty good getting along, no major disagreements.  She told me what to do and I did it.  Maybe at that time I was Mary and she was Martha.  But we are very similar in nature.

We have the same hobbies.  We hold our hands the same way.  We even finish each other’s thoughts.  We’ll be shopping in different areas of a store and bring the exact same blouse to show to the other one, maybe in a different color.  We hear something and just look at each other because we both know that we are going to make the same comment back.  We even go so far as to call each other at the same time.  Mother told my husband that if he didn’t like her, he wasn’t going to like me in 20 years…because we are the same.  (I can say all of this about my daughter and myself too.  You should see the three of us together!)

Somewhere along the line…I became Martha too (thankfully it wasn’t while we were both living in the same house!).

Now my daughter is beginning to show her true nature.  During all the wedding planning, I tried really hard not to step in and take control.  It was her day and her planning.  But every now and then I would just have to say something…I am Martha after all!  Sometimes it would cause a little stress and a frustrated look from my daughter.  Other times, she was glad I had stepped up.

As she was packing up at our house and moving into her own house, I saw her Martha characteristics come to light.  I stepped back and let her be Martha….directing, ordering, in control.  I realized that I could very easily assert my own Martha tendencies and make some strong suggestions on where things should go and how her house should be set up.  I’m going to tell you….it took some will power not to do things my way, but wait on my daughter’s guidance.

I wondered if my daughter had hidden her Martha tendencies when she was growing up (like I had done) in lieu of my Martha tendencies, without even realizing it.

Can 2 Marthas live in the same house and have peace?

I wonder if we did some type of scientific research, if we might find that all the problems between mothers and daughters were because both of them were trying to be Martha.  Maybe if the daughters realized that their time to be Martha was coming, but they had to spend some type being Mary, then they might have a calmer childhood, especially teenage years.  And if the mothers realized that at some point they had to stop being Martha and become Mary, their adult relationships with their daughters would be calmer.

Just a thought I had while I waited for guidance on where to put the towels in my daughter’s new house.

The child grew up and became spiritually strong…Luke 1:80 hcsb

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My Letter to God

Pensive Businesswoman

Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” -John 1:38 (NIV)

I am following Jesus, unsure really of who He is at time, just knowing that He is worth following. Sometimes I’m step in step with Him, sometimes I run ahead and have to wait or turn back. Other times I fall behind, distracted by something along the side of the path and He has to come back for me. We talk as I follow, I listen, I learn, I question, I stumble and Jesus steadies me, He carries me, He teaches and He answers. But today He stopped and turned to me. He took my hand in His, looked in my eyes and asked…

“Child, what do you want?”

I saw in His eyes the promise of answered prayers. I saw love for me, compassion, longing to reach me.
I took a breath and told Him my heart’s desire…..

Lord, (please pardon all the I’s…but You did ask)

I want You. I want what You offer. I want to see the pride in Your eyes when You look at me. I want to hear You say (as You did of Job), “My servant, Deborah…There is none like her on earth; she is blameless and upright, she fears God and shuns evil.” (Job 1:8 NIV). I want to make You a “proud papa” when You think of me. I want to glorify You. I want You with me, no matter what is happening in my life…hold me tight, Lord.

I want … (fill in anything dealing with a better body image).

I want… (fill in anything dealing with a better marriage & family life).

I want… (fill in anything dealing with a job situation).

There are the standard wants that probably everyone wants (and I do too)….good health for my entire family, a godly relationship with You for my entire family, success, happiness…dare I say it?…money.

But, Lord, basically, I want wisdom to take what You have already given me and use it the right way.

My heart’s desire…I guess this is pretty much it…are You sorry You asked? Or did You know already…and now I know too?

Love,

Deborah

_____

This is an updated post of a letter that I wrote to God when I was doing The Beloved Disciple Bible study by Beth Moore about 2 years ago. I did spell out my complete “wants” in those three areas shorten above at that time…I think you get the picture. Have you ever written a letter to God and really told Him what you wanted?  I mean…He did ask, right?

I am revisiting some of my past posts on my website (HolyCamp) to see if I had grown any.  Truth is…I seem to be right back at the same place I was 2 years ago.

I’ve got a list of studies that I’ve done over those 2 years in the front of my Bible.  I’ve dated the different books of the Bible that I have read through and studied on my own.  My Bible is underlined and notes are in the margins from sermons I’ve heard and been inspired by.

But if I were to write another letter to God right now….it would basically read the same.

Why hasn’t there been a change?  Why haven’t I grown?  Why couldn’t I mark off at least one area of that letter where God had actually given me what I wanted?

What’s wrong with me?

Do you ever feel like that?  All the Bible study in the world doesn’t seem to change anything.  I’m getting quite a bit of head knowledge about the Bible.  That’s good….right?

But when will I start applying the knowledge to my heart..to my feet, to my hands…when do I start seeing some actions to my study?

If I look closely at my letter, I will see that what I asked for is almost a never ending request.  I can never truly get to the place where I don’t desire to know God more.  There will always be areas of my body, my family life, my spiritual walk that needs improving.

You see, God did answer my letter.  I still want Him, I’m still desiring to know Him better.  I still want my family to know Him better.

There’s nothing wrong with me…well except I tend to see with human eyes.  In my Father’s eyes…I have grown…closer to Him.

Bible study is more than just getting a head knowledge about what His book is about.  At some point you have to stop studying and take the test.

Over the past 2 years, I’ve taken some tests…they were hard tests, many in one day.  Often they were “pop quizzes” (as Beth Moore says) and I got popped pretty hard!

But….

I’m passing…not always with flying colors…but I’m passing!

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