Potty training

Hi! Today I am going to diverge off my normal path. I recently had one of the young mom’s God has placed in my life ask me about potty training.  So I gave her my tried and true used on every child tips and I thought it would be a good blog post.   I have no desire to tell you how to do it but just share what I have done and what always worked and what did not. Potty training is a big job and with our busy schedules these days it can be a real challenge to get it done. It is wonderful when they are trained so I was always a proponent of the earlier the better. There are so many techniques but you really have to put it before God and do what will work best for you and your child, each individual one.  You need to know what you will and won’t stick with because consistency with potty training is the key.

1. Kids are able to be potty trained earlier than you think.

2. When their diapers are dry for longer periods now is a good time to start taking trips to the potty.

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3. NEVER ask them (especially boys) if they need to go. When they start they will almost always say no. Once they get in the routine of potty training and as they get a little older in the process, they WILL say no. No doesn’t mean they don’t have to go just that they don’t want to.

4. When you go to the potty see how long they are willing to sit there and then make it a little longer. If they dictate when they get off the potty training process will be really long.

5. When I knew my kids were ready I took them once every hour to just sit on the potty for a period of time. (sit them backwards it feel more stable) Little separate potties never worked for us. I was thankful because cleaning those was worse than a diaper.

6. The reward that worked best for us was a sticker chart right by the potty. Little presents for big achievements I would not have kept up with and candy was a no when you have 5 kids under 7. I did not need to deal with that energy boost. They got a sticker on the chart when they went on the potty. Once the chart was full they got a small toy or treat.

7. Deal with wet pants sometimes. Underwear works way better at training than pull ups. In fact I think pull ups are a deception they feel independent but they an pee when they want to if they want to no consequence. Besides it costs more.

8.  I would take them potty when they went to bed. Then I would get up early and check for a dry diaper, if it was dry, off to the potty we went.  I would begin to learn what time this was for each child.  Here is where you see what is important to you.  This is not a have to but I was motivated to get it done so I did this and it always worked.

9. In the potty training years I did not do the drink of water before bed.

There you have it my most tried and true worked with everyone tips.  I hope something resonates with you.

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The Sanctuaries of Man and of God

Recently I was blessed to experience two kinds of beauty; two kinds of creation of sorts.  I have always been fascinated with comparing creations of man to true creation, the world around us that God created.  I had the unique experience of one day being in and surrounded by a stellar example of man’s creation and then a day or so later being out in a place so undeniably beautiful there was no comparison.

My husband and I had been trying for years to have a get away weekend around our birthdays because they are exactly a week apart. This past year we finally succeeded and Hearst Castle was our destination.  We chose an evening tour and sat in a bus winding our way toward the castle surrounded by heavy fog.  It was really neat but there was definitely no opportunity to take in the landscape surrounding the Castle or “Ranch” as Mr. Hearst like to call it.  As you walk in and out of the different areas of the castle there are objects of beauty one on top of another. They were all created at different times and in different places. While I admire it and it was quite fascinating to see it all, a few thoughts came to mind. The ostentatious display of wealth was unavoidable and overpowering. Mr. Hearst clearly needed to display his wealth and power through his possessions.There were so many religious pieces I wondered if he was trying to prove his devotion to God by the unending artifacts. He displayed them despite the fact he lived here with his mistress for more years than he did his wife. As you walked through on the tour it all becomes heavy instead of beautiful.  I was also struck by the fact that this was created and filled in one of this countries deepest times of deprivation The Great Depression. I did find Hearst Castle incredible and beautiful on it’s own merits but it cannot in my opinion compare with what you find when you step into a castle created by God that anyone can enter and enjoy at any moment no matter their current circumstances.

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Just hours away from this man made sanctuary is a true sanctuary of beauty. Incomprehensible beauty you could see again and again. You would never be able to get enough and you would never be burdened or bored.  Yosemite is an amazing place!  It brings peace and release to the soul. You can go from corridor to corridor and never get bored of the story God is telling. You could see scenes again and again and never feel weighed down by what surrounds you.  You never find yourself going ugh more of this.

As I reflect on all of this I am struck by what fascinates me.It is not as if I am not intrigued by what man has made, I am.  I always find myself intrigued and wondering what did they build and why did they build it.  But when I get there I am always left empty especially when the purpose was to glorify themselves. Hearst claimed or wanted “The Ranch” to be a retreat so ostensibly to benefit others but that is not what comes across. On the tour you learn he was constantly building even when he was going bankrupt .  He was clearly seeking something and never finding it when all he had to do was step outside and find peace for his soul in the castle of God created all around him.
More and more we are being enticed to stay indoors, slowly, in a fashion we don’t readily recognize.  There is peace outside our doors and off of our screens.  It is amazing how much we, as people seek what is right outside their door. “Of books (blog posts and social media sites) there is no end”. Even I who love and deeply feel peace and strength when I engage in the castle and creation of God get caught and become enslaved.  I run in and out of the house, to and fro never noticing or really taking in the peace that surrounds me, the freedom He created for us! We can try to create our own peace but it is never the same and it never satisfies. So step outside today and just be, soak in what He freely gives that you don’t have to create. It is there even in the city.

Online Dating

God does not leave things a mystery when we are constantly petitioning Him about our children I have learned this again and again

Recently we dropped our son off at the airport, he was heading to England.  He started on a journey a year and half ago that culminated in him flying to another continent and country.  There are so many thoughts and feelings that go with this adventure as his parent.  Parenting adults as you will hear me say often is so full of ups and downs.2017-01-16-15-44-45  Sometimes God is using them in such amazing ways and doing such amazing things. They are making choices that make you stand back and say oh wow that is my child. Then there are other times when you are asking yourself “Wait what? Where is that coming from?” In this case six months ago we learned that our son had a relationship with a girl he had met online.  Now let me be clear there are many types of online relationships and I will speak to others in a later post but for now this was a regular girl he had met while in a book discussion forum on a website.

God does not leave things a mystery when we are constantly petitioning Him about our children I have learned this again and again.  This was made clear again in this situation as well. God allowed us to be in the dark about our son as long as He wanted and then He brought it to light.  Our son left up a Skype ID we were unfamiliar with and the story unfolded.  There are so many clues the Spirit gives about  where a heart is at if you are seeking Him. I think often times  in these situations where a hidden aspect of our child comes to light, we can be either hurt or use something like this to bring some legal point home that has nothing to do with the path God has for that particular child.  I found both of these to be true with my first child, poor girl.  We can get so caught up in what we think is the overall right choice in a decision our child makes. Our son’s demeanor was not angry or defensive about our finding out about the girl, he was just not sure how we would feel. Essentially he had not told us because he thought we would not approve of the online aspect of their relationship.

I don’t think before this I could have articulated how I felt about this as I had nothing to go on prior to this occurring, but on discussing this with him I really had a peace about it. I felt like the Spirit was telling me to be open.  We spoke to her that first night and she was so sweet.  We have spoken to her several times over the last 6 months and she is a sweet girl.  I let him know he had a responsibility to go and meet her in person so he booked the tickets he just used.  This has been such an unexpected turn of events and I as always love watching God at work.

I have been watching this open my son back up, he had been hurt by another girl a few years back. It also is getting him to travel and step out in a way I don’t know that he would have prior to this.  I have seen nothing but growth in good ways in him.  So I am excited to see what God has planned for this journey he has embarked on!  The key in these kinds of things especially with our kids, but in everything really is staying open to what God wants to show you not being stuck on what you think should happen.  We all or at least I do, have a tendency to predetermine what we would like to happen, see, or learn in the situations He puts in our life.  I have found that when I define things myself I have a hard time seeing what He is actually doing.

As different family members have approached me it has been from the perspective that I am worried but I cannot go there in my mind.  I cannot let my mind wander down these paths and give power to fear and doubt.  So instead I have just been praying for growth and wisdom.  I have been encouraging my son to look at God and move forward.  It has been so different from how I handled my first just one more reason to have more than one child if you can.

So there you have it my son went off to England to see a girl he has been communicating with for lengthy amounts of time daily for over a year. He was so joyful while he was there, his best self really. This relationship is bringing out his strengths. So while it is unorthodox and we are in unknown territory I am excited to watch God work in this area as well.  Stay tuned and I will keep you posted as to where God leads all of us on this new path.  Stay open and be amazed as God works in your children’s lives and the way He gets their attention.

NF lessons in honesty and expression

I was listening to music the other day with my daughters and they introduced me to a new artist. This has been the way it has been since my kids have grown into teens and adults, I get to hear and experience new music through them which I love.  On this particular day it was a hip hop artist who goes my the name NF.  Now hip hop  is not my first pick but I am not adverse to it if it strikes a cord. It has to be danceable or more importantly the lyrics hit home.  Both were the case with NF, the music was good and the lyrics really hit home.  He is honest and says what he is feeling.  While listening in the car it is easy to pick up and enjoy what he is saying but as I listen around the house and can’t specifically hear the words a tone of anger can come across.  This rubs me wrong as I try to go about my daily tasks and I don’t enjoy it as much.

My daughters have a big joke now about how I don’t like NF because I shy away from it in our day to day when I can’t really tune in with the lyrics as well.  I keep telling them that is not the case at all I love NF and what he is saying. I also love his musical style.  It was funny to me as I sat and talked to one of my daughters who is a big fan and it was somewhat surprising to hear her point of view, although not totally, as I had come to suspect what the Spirit showed me in part that day.  You see this daughter is bright and shiny ,positive, fun loving , and for the most part peacemaking.  She likes to have fun and put a smile on people’s faces.  I couldn’t reconcile how she was connecting with NF.  I on the other hand totally relate to what NF talks about in his songs.  I should in my opinion love his music and want to listen to it all the time yet I struggled.

Then as always when the Spirit is at work a light went on and I began to understand things in a new way.  One of my weaknesses that God has been working on is to look toward what He is doing for good.  I tend to see the bad and the negative outcome in most situations.  For me I am attracted to happy books and happy music, things that highlight the brighter side as I try to look to Him for my sustenance and view point.  Whereas my happy daughter really enjoys the honesty and straightforward way that NF talks about things that are happening while still giving credit, adoration and service to God.  She is not connecting with her own negative experiences and giving them voice and strength she is seeing another side.

I am struck by this as I have taken up blogging or as I have dealt with people throughout my life.  I have so much on my mind I don’t want to drag people down.  The Holy Spirit has been trying to get across to me that He created us each differently with a purpose and this was one of the confirmations He used.  My daughter and people like her enjoy NF and his honesty as do I when I sit and just listen specifically to the lyrics.  I can relate to what he is saying.  I am reminded as I meander through these things the Holy Spirit is putting in front of me that He has specific people He wants to touch by the way I express myself.  Yes He has been transforming me and showing the beauty and freedom of living in His will.  He is showing me to move beyond the gray cloudy world that is my mind at times, but I will never be a sunshine and roses kind of girl and that is okay.

Here you will find me speaking to the freedom I have found in Jesus. Freedom from the gray clouds.  I am not NF and it is not therapy to talk about the clouds and confusion (he is not confused btw).  I am learning as I walk to rejoice in being freed from those thoughts.  As I am writing this blog I am learning to live in love and rejoice in the freedoms each situation brings me, but as I learn that lesson I want to be free from the fear of being myself.  I have tended to try to be too bright and shiny at times.  As this blog has been from God it has not worked to well since that is what He has called me too but this lesson he gave me through NF and my daughter was such a good one to keep me on track with being who I am.  Sharing my journey with parenthood, marriage and life won’t always be sunshine and roses but it will be full of freedom and praise to the one who turns the dark and cloudy to light.

Check him out below he will get you thinking:

Therapy Session by NF

Mary and Martha

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Each day I am working through this illness. I am trying to be quiet and stay open to what God has for me.  As I slowly get better I once again find myself chomping at the bit.Okay Lord I got it I am ready to be done thanks for the quiet time!  I am ready to move on. I am determining how my life will go and putting it before God.  The funny thing is this is what I was supposed to be learning about through this quiet time.  I am supposed to be sitting quietly at His feet watching Him work instead of me. Yet here I am as I regain a tiny bit of strength ready to move on and get back to doing things myself.

One day last week I woke up and I felt strong, I felt like I had energy.  It was the first time I had felt like that in weeks and despite the amazing time I had been having with Jesus I was ecstatic to finally be moving on, or so I thought.  For all my talk of being open to what God had for me each day the moment I received a touch of my own strength back I was planning my recovery and everything I would now be doing.  God had other plans.  I am thankful for this now but the next morning when I woke up and the days that followed where I was struggling with strength and body breakdowns I started to shut down.  I started once again to question everything.  Why was I doing anything I had been striving for, what is the point? I couldn’t accomplish anything on a regular basis. The thoughts just kept coming, each day more questions and peace was quickly left behind me. I was in the Word less and I had been diving deeper than I had in awhile. I prayed for others less and that is what a lot of my time had been spent doing since I physically could do nothing else.

Finally one day, I was still reading and praying just not the way I had been.  I was reading, I don’t know what at the time, but the Holy Spirit broke through and told me I was leaving Mary behind to be Martha again.  Not only that, but a lot of my concern was what other people were thinking because it was taking me so long to get better.  He has been working on me for a few years knowing my desire to get back to Him, to get to the intimacy I once had.  For the first time when my body broke down I was at peace to take it day by day and spend time with Him. In this a whisper began to emerge and get louder. I was thinking of all the Martha’s out there saying Lord why isn’t she working, why don’t you make her serve.  We are and we have physical issues.  I started to question the quiet, and the battle was on.

That day Jesus turned the light on. He reminded me once again that He loved what Mary did sitting before Him listening and learning.  He loved that I was doing this and He was not looking for me to assuage Martha and make her feel better, not the Martha’s in the church, nor the Martha I had cultivated in myself.

Now I write this as if this battle is over and since the light got turned on I can see, but let me be honest the battle is still going.  I am trying once again to rest and sit before Him in peace.  I am trying once again to take things one day at a time.  Today I felt better and I tried not to jump up and spend time doing things but I tried to spend my time with Him.  Was I successful? Not completely but when God put something before for me I have learned the path that He takes at times. Very rarely does He turn things around in an instant. Usually with me He points something out. Then I begin to notice I am doing it and I pay attention to what He has pointed out.  Then I make a change, small at first and then little by little the transformation and renewing of my mind happens.  It happens in such a way that I look back amazed that I once made other choices and I wouldn’t think of making those choices now.  Not because I have to or was told to or I am conforming to some law or code somehow, but because I have been transformed by God. The old has become new.  That part of me does not exist anymore and I am so thankful.

So as I begin this transformation, if you are reading this thanks for being a part of His process.  I hope you look to Him and see the amazing ways He is transforming you.  Below I have included a song of worship that speaks to His work of transformation in our lives.  I hope you enjoy it!

Mercy Me ~Shake

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A verse to start 2017

Many things are happening as we start 2017 and you will find I have written a couple of posts at least about what God is doing in our lives right now.  Today I would like to share the verse God gave me in all of this.

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This whole passage was about the details of building the temple but this verse just jumped out at me. The Spirit just used it. I tried to move on because it wasn’t technically in context and I don’t want to be using scripture to make my own world seem right. But He would not let go till I recorded it in my journal; then moved me to make it a highlight in my bullet journal.  He pushed His meaning deeper each time I wrote it till tonight I felt called to write about it even here.

David was this amazing guy with so many flaws, but with so much love for God and God was always at his side. He had put everything together for the temple and he had all the plans but he was not slated to build it.  So I can only imagine what a huge job this seemed like to those coming behind him to take it up.

As we look at 2017 there are so many new things in front of us.  Things that God has been setting in front of us but we did not know when and how we would proceed.  Here we are ready to embark on a whole new world and He brought this verse to the forefront.  So what are some of the things that stuck out.

  • Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Even though these are good things that He is doing there will be work.
  • Don’t be afraid or discouraged by the size of the task. These changes will affect so many aspects of our lives that we have taken for granted for years. So the size of the task completely hit home.
  • He will not fail you or forsake you.  I so often get going down a road and forget I am not doing this alone. He used this as a heads up to not forget we are not doing this alone.
  • He will see that all the work related to the Temple of the Lord will be finished correctly.  This is not our work but His, He will see it is finished correctly He is not depending on us to do it right. I always need a reminder of this.

It is times like this I am so thankful for Jesus, as the Spirit brings this passage to life and once again shows me God at work in my life.  I love how the Spirit of God dwells in us and reveals to us how He will do these things in OUR life, they are not just some historical perspective for us to reflect on. This then brings to mind the Good News of Jesus and I want to do like they do in the Old Testament, stop and worship.  I think this is what it is all about.  Good News, Worship and Praise.

Thanks for listening to my little reflection point today.  

Doctors and natural medicine a perspective to open 2017

Nothing that God created should be eschewed. It is the point at which we see it as above God, look to the authority of man over God where we are out-of-order and summarily enslaved.

I type here from my bed recovering from pneumonia. It took hold of me as the holidays approached and became an unavoidable reality as we literally opened the year. New Year’s Day found me at the ER.  This year God had some truths to confirm in my life about the role of medicine in our modern culture and in my life. Over the years of raising children God opened my eyes  to all of His creation and its many uses. Through this knowledge I gained freedom. Freedom to use the myriad of plants He created all over this planet to take care of these bodies He gave us. As I grew in knowledge and wisdom the world of medicine and doctors took a back seat and nnatural-medicine-1738161_1920o longer dictated how I ran my life. As the years went by through prayer and His wisdom illness was a small part of our journey. As 2016 came to a close we were all reflecting on how thankful we were that we had not really been hit too deeply with all these terrible illnesses that we had been hearing about around us.  I have always held that doctors and medicine have their place just not the place our culture has elevated them to. I was soon to learn that often we are led by fear to turn to man for our answers but sometimes we can also be prideful that we have all the answers and not see that God has a place for both because He created both.

I woke New Year’s Day and my chest felt heavy when I took a breath, coughing exhausted me but thankfully no longer hurt;  I had been battling an illness that had entered the house the week before Christmas.  The miracle to testify to here is that I had tried to call the doctor the day before Christmas Eve but no one answered.  By that night I was so miserable and in such pain my children stood around me in my bed and prayed over me.  The result of this prayer was a cessation of the pain and fever that had been plaguing me.  I was also able to interact with people a bit for the holidays. So this is another one of many God provides miracles I will be able to look to and speak of throughout my life.  Anyway, I digress, below you will find our tried and true formula for illness when it enters our house and it has worked faithfully for 20+ years.

  • sun-hat-1519881_1920 Echinacea our first line of defense.  It builds up the white blood cells that fight the invading monsters.  Now in my experience while it is good to take Echinacea throughout the illness the onset is the most effective place for this remedy.
  • Garlic- our mainstay to kill anything and everything.  Garlic is a natural antibiotic. As garlic-1769096_1920such we take it in the same manner as we would an antibiotic.  We start with a pink of a fresh clove or two once a day. We like to bury it in applesauce or plain yogurt and just swallow down. If this does not seem to be killing it (meaning you are not feeling better) we move up to twice then 3X a day. In really bad illnesses we have even done every 2 hrs or so.
  • Ginger- If there is a lot of mucus being produced, sneezing and running, ginger is our ginger-1960613_1920go to.  This dries up the extra production. I know it has many other properties but this is what we use it for.stinging-nettle-785292_1920
  • Nettle tea- This when infused for a 3 or 4 hours is a good expectorant. It is also very nourishing to the rest of your body
  • Eucalyptus essential oil-when congestion is a problem with a tight cough, this briessential-768949_1920ngs wonderful relief. Boil a big pot of water add several drops, put a towel over your head and breath deeply.  I usually stand above it as the steam is too close and too hot when I sit. This really gets the chest congestion moving.
  • humidifier if night coughing and discomfort are a problem we use a warm humidifier. This year we added the Eucalyptus oil to it but I now have rivulets of oil on my walls that I need to clean once I have the strength and energy. So no more oil in my humidifier.

These are our go to remedies.  As I said above we have used these for 20+ years with great success. But this illness was different and it is in listening to God that the truth was revealed.  We did all of the above and the rest of the family was well within a week despite the news that all around us illness was rampant and lasting for multiple weeks.  But I had gotten something special or because of my Hashimoto’s I was not able to fight whatever came in, but I can tell you now looking back it was different from the day it started.  The cough started dry and tight and was painful and unproductive within 2 days.  I did all of the above remedies to no avail breathing the eucalyptus or steam felt as if it were pressing the bad further down in my lungs. At the time I could not articulate that it just did not feel good. I did cough and it moved things a little but not like it normally would.  So after fighting for a week and the return of a low-grade fever I knew something was not right. I knew I had done all I could it was time to check with doctors. Now the emergency room was not my first choice but being it was a holiday I knew my doctor was not going to be in and although the urgent care centers said they were open they were not . So the emergency room was where I ended up.

So what did I learn on this journey ,well, what the Spirit had been telling me for years was confirmed, doctors and medicine have their purpose and place. You see, to me, we live in a world where science is god and doctors are the priests. Priests just like we have seen themmedical-563427_1920 in history dictating to all, what we will do, how we will live and what will cause us to die. We are literally persecuted and looked down upon if we question that ideology or those doctors/priests. So funny how history repeats itself and how ,as it says in Ecclesiastes “There is nothing new under the sun”. In a coming post I will share about Hippocrates and what I learned as we started our history study this year. But just like people of old were freed from the tyranny of priests and their whims and wishes we too have been freed from the god of science and medicine that the world has created.  Does this mean God cannot use them and does not have a purpose?  Nothing that God created should be eschewed. It is the point at which we see it as above God, look to the authority of man over God where we are out-of-order and summarily enslaved.

You see the world is the same whether you see God or not. Illness is still there whether you look to Him or not.  We are either blessed by the plants that surround us or we have doctors and medicines formulated by  the men that He created. The key is going to Him and being free. He is the key,  He knows the path, He is the creator.  As God of the universe no matter how man tries to distort things, He will always set things right. So as always I started the year thankful. Thankful for all the choices He puts at my disposal and thankful He guides me to which is best in a given moment.  Thankful for the quiet to sit in His presence. While we may have medicine and doctors to take care of so many things we do not need to rely on them for the answers, we also have all of His creation available to us to care for us and build us up. Ultimately it is God himself we go to for the solution. Thank you Jesus for coming here and living amongst us. Thank you for opening that direct line of communication to God for me.  Thank you that I can rely on you and not be a slave to pride and fear.

New direction and New paths open up in 2017

God is always stunning and amazing to me when I let go and put my life in His hands.

January came and went and a quiet start was God’s plan for this new year. As I sat recovering from pneumonia and with lots of time to think and put the coming year before God, I felt a deeper call to be quiet.  I began to understand He had started the year in this way on purpose. I mean of course He had, He has a purpose and a plan for everything but once again it all came together.  He had been preparing my husband and I for changes throughout 2016 but we were not sure where He was going or what He wanted us to do.  We just faithfully listened and kept moving forward.

God is always stunning and amazing to me when I let go and put my life in His hands. In 2016 we had a record year of travel it was amazing and wonderful to outstretched-cupped-handsconnect with so many family members and friends and to see many beautiful places.  I could feel life making great shifts and I vacillated throughout the year between scared and excited but mostly excited.  We were on a new path with significant change. My adult children were pursuing new directions and hearing God in their own lives,that in itself was exciting to watch.  God was doing things with my husband and his career and his view of it. He was changing where I put my focus and what I pursued day-to-day as I moved forward.  I think throughout the year we would stop and go “Huh, where is God going with all of this.” As I reflect in writing this I see each of us saying to the other throughout the year “Just do what is in front of you today, you don’t know where God is going with this but He loves you and has a plan.” Even that in itself is amazing and one of the reasons I know God had me start writing this blog. He reveals new things to me each time I write. He always has through writing this is just a new dimension. Now as 2017 opens and new horizons appear before us I don’t feel scared but the fact that big changes are actually before us makes me pause and take a breath.

I have spent so much time of my life fearing what was coming and how I would handle it.  I would try to look at all the scenarios I would possibly face and in some way try to prepare for them mentally or by the way I handled my life.  In different ways throughout the years God has been trying to get me to loosen my grasp on this way of doing things.  Often I would find my mind thinking on some disaster that might occur,this way of thinking came to me early in life.  Throughout my life there were these huge ,somewhat out of nowhere, events that would happen changing my life diametrically and in some ways not for the better for a time.  This left me always trying to prep and avoid the unexpected.  The thing I learned over the years is life does not happen in the way you prepare for it.  While you are looking over here something pops over there.  In little steps God held my hand as I walked this road and tried to navigate all these twists and turns on my own.

Looking back I can see Him asking me to follow Him let Him take the lead.  It is funny to think of the times I did and the times I didn’t and the differences of where I ended up each time.  Having my 7 kids was one of those following moments transitioning from teens to adults was one of the times I took my own path.  I have the results of both displayed before me one has beautiful and amazing results despite the inherent difficulties throughout the years and the other was fraught with confusion and heartache.  As I came out of this and surrender myself to following Him again the paths before me began to open up but my instinct to plan and protect myself hung on.

God is so amazingly faithful despite all the little dances we do to orchestrate our own life.  So as I sat healing and being quiet learning on a deeper level to take one day at a time,news came.  Here is where we can miss His provision. I am thankful I have not been fighting with Him about being incapacitated with this illness. I am thankful I have been sitting quietly as He asked and waiting on Him.  In this valley a new vista opened up and word came down that after 28 years with his company and moving with many, many changes over the years,permanent changes were in the works.  The company was selling his division.  It is unheard of to be with a company almost 30 years these days but it has been such a gift from God as we raised the 7 gifts.  There was so much God had been showing us throughout 2016 preparing us for this change without saying exactly what it would be. There are so many options before us now as we look at the changes but we both feel ready and understand God has been preparing us and He has a plan.

So now as we look at 2017 the path looks very different and the quietness makes sense. We will not be proceeding from where we werjoroy500ncc-toni-lluche in 2016 but on a whole new road. We will have huge decisions to make as career and life take a new turn. As things we have done for almost 30 years associated with one large company changes. On one hand I want to close my eyes and I don’t want anything to change; as much I have been craving change now that it is here I feel a bit daunted my how many areas of our life this will affect. This is not just a job change at this point and at this stage of life. But this year of letting go and trusting God happened for a reason.  Last year all year I could hear Him urging me trust me look at your heart you aren’t trusting me you are relying on your own abilities. Little by little in His sweet gentle way He has led me along and now we stand here looking out at a new horizon and I want to follow. I don’t want to take control and try to guide this. I have done that too much in life and as I look back I am firm in my understanding that, that way does not work. I am clear that the worlds way of doing it ,experience it yourself, you have to go through these things to know, is the lie that started with Eve. For the moment and I hope forever I am done with that path; I have seen and experienced the difference of trusting Him and there is no comparison. Each holds difficulty and struggle but one has joy and strength and amazing gifts attached and the other has just heartaches and confusion. 

A month and a half has flown by in our journey through 2017. I am thankful for the quiet brought on by illness. Thank you Jesus for the time to reflect. Thank you for all the change and thank you that we can look to You in the face of it all.

Aging vs. Wisdom

How do you define close minded and what makes it different from standing firm?

ulz8elesybm-lotte-meijer.jpgAre we set in our ways, and closed-minded or someone to turn to and look for wisdom as we age?  I don’t know if that is even the question.  God has given me the opportunity to deal with both the young and the old intimately in my lifetime and I have learned so much.  Is an older person close minded or standing firm? How do we stand firm as we age based on our knowledge and wisdom and still show the love of Christ? There is so much pride wrapped up in all of this on both sides, as always we need to go back to where God calls us. What does He have to say about age and open our hearts to what He wants to show us.

As I have read my bible over the years, verses about aging have crossed my path and being that I had older people in my life that I loved very much they stuck here and there. On being led to write this blog post I sat down to look up the references to age in the bible and while I knew they were there and I could marginally quote a few, the number I encountered was unexpected and so cool really!

Proverbs 16:31

Isaiah 46:4

Job 12:12

Psalm 92:1

Proverbs 23:22

Job 32:7

Psalm 143:5

We are called to honor age. We are called to look to the wisdom of those older than us. Now as I age this seems stupid and self promoting really.  “Listen to me because I am older and God tells you to”, but that is not my heart. I am really listening to the speak around me about people and aging. There is much thought about people being set in their ways or unwilling to change, and looking at my own heart I had to ask, where do I stand? Am I getting more closed as I age? Am I unwilling to listen and change? The Holy Spirit began to point me in a direction as I thought about aging. He asked me questions about why I stood where I did? Why do I take the position I have on certain things? As I answered these questions I began to understand that I don’t stand because I have to be right or because I need someone to do things my way but rather because I have often  been there, done that and I am not doing it again.  I know the path I am on and why I have made certain choices over the years and I don’t need to question or back track. With this in mind the Holy Spirit opens the doors of my mind even more. I had already had a respect for those older than I out of obedience to God. This is what originally led me to listen and as I did to learn amazing things but now He has added a new dimension.

stoneHow do you define close minded and what makes it different from standing firm?  What He brought to mind is close minded is being unwilling to listen.  God created all people, He crafted them especially for a purpose. Everyone has something of value to say. We may not agree with everything a person is saying but still there is something God wants to teach us in what they are saying.  Often times I have found He is teaching me where I actually stand on something or why I think or feel a certain way.  He takes the opportunity to take me into a deeper understanding of something I may have only briefly thought about. I am always so grateful for this and grateful for the different people God has placed in my life. I love going deeper and get a more rooted understanding of why I think and feel the way I do. So even if I disagree I can listen and participate in conversations where I don’t necessarily agree.  Standing firm, He showed me, is knowing who He created me to be and the events and circumstances He has placed in my life that brought me to the point I am in my thoughts and actions.  I have spent time looking at Him and time looking away. I have done things my way and I have done them His way. Year upon year rolls by and I know why I am making a certain choice and why I am not. There is no question. I am not going to turn back so I can seem or feel that I am being open. I have 47 years at this point of choices that brought me to my conclusions about my choices. So with this same view I am now able to see the wisdom of those people He has put in my life. I can seek out these people and listen to their stories and opinions with an open and loving heart.

God has continued over the years to put older people in my life and as He opened the doors of my mind to love people and see what He created in them I began to see a beautiful garden of wisdom before me.  I began to sit and listen to what they had experienced in life, poppy-381589__340the choices they had made and how and why they made them and put them before God.  I was stunned at what I saw. I am learning to ask questions about why they say the things they do or the choices they make, what led them there.  I have been excited to see how even though some approach God very differently then I do they have an amazing faith. I have seen and heard how they have worked through and endured things that I did not really think people faced too much way back when. I have learned that some of their reactive statements came out of fear and by asking clarifying questions when they were saying something caustic or accusatory so much more was revealed about their thought process and why they come to certain conclusions or what made them say something in just that way. What it of course has come back to is the love of Jesus.

When we approach things with the love of Jesus our perspective changes. We are open and listening. We see who God created the person in front of us to be. He reveals some aspect of their heart we need to see in that moment and we He gives us the ability to love them and learn from them. We don’t need to approach age with fear and close the doors of our mind no matter what side of the age door we find ourselves on.

How are we set apart with regards to age? I know what God is sayirise-1503340__340ng about age, we are to honor it. I know He says there is wisdom to be found there and I intend to look and see. I intend to dig deep and know Him more by talking to and listening to the people He puts in front of me.  As I age I intend to love and be open but still  at times I will stand firm because I have come to my conclusions  as I walked this path with God and I know the outcome of certain choices. I will stand firm in love and make my choices based on experience and not pride. I will open my heart to all of God’s creations so I can learn all the lessons He has for me. I will seek wisdom and pursue it.

 

Freedom in Brokenness

When your body betrays you and you have nothing with which to accomplish life in the way you are accustomed it can be devastating, or so it may seem at first.

afq5-t0zgtq-veeterzyEach time I have been physically broken I come back to a place of spiritual brokenness that frees me from the slavery that so easily entangles me. I am released from the mess that I make of my mind when I get back to striving on my own. In my physical brokenness I learn more about trusting God. How basic is that and yet He calls us deeper all the time. What we know now is only a shadow of what is to come.

When your body betrays you and you have nothing with which to accomplish life in the way you are accustomed it can be devastating, or so it may seem at first. You find yourself in a new place striving to find new ways to do what used to be second nature.  You realize how much of what you did in life you took for granted. For me the prayers I begin praying are that I will get my ability to do things on my own, back. The thing is, lately the answer I have been getting is “I love you, let me love you.” I promptly respond by letting Jesus know the way He can show love to me, my Love Language so to speak, is to give me back the ability to do things myself. That is not the freedom He wants me to experience right now. He knows I know the freedom of hard work and doing things myself. He wants me to go deeper. What He wants to show me is the freedom to watch Him work, He wants me to trust Him.

My mind does a double take of sorts when He says this. “Wait what?! How can I be following Jesus and not trust Him.” The verse about renewing and transforming comes to mind immediately. There was a time when I did not know how to do any of the things I now take for granted and do easily. In the years He spent teaching me these things I was on my knees ,literally, daily. I was clueless how to accomplish what He asked and I had no desire to do it outside of Him and His design. In the quiet of physical brokenness I listened as He spoke. Through the years I had moved from inability and reliance on Him, to strength and striving in my own power and abilities. I had developed a new habit of throwing up prayers and not waiting for the answers. Going through the motions of being Mary but really being Martha. Each time I have recently found myself in this place of physical brokenness I have been waiting foot tapping for God to get me out of it so I could get things done. His answer was again “No, trust me. I will do what needs to be done.” I will fight the battle while you stay quiet.

1za_mc846yu-ben-whiteTrusting Him is not new, but I am being called to a new place where I will face new challenges and Jesus wants me to be free. He wants me quiet and not carrying the burdens I have been choosing to carry. He wants me free to look to Him and listen. Free to see what He wants to do next in my life. So while being physically broken is hard. I am thankful, without it I wouldn’t be here writing this today and feeling excited to watch God work.

Where are you at today are you physically broken? Are you striving to do things in your power? Take a moment and listen Jesus is calling and He wants to take care of you. When I am broken I take more time for prayer so leave me a comment and let me be praying for you.