Archive for September, 2010

The Help of a Father

I am amazed at how quickly my daughter can become incapable of doing anything when you ask her to pick up her books or her room or the living room, etc. It is as if she loses all sense of ability and forgets all she knows and she can just sit there, not knowing what to do or where to begin. She becomes helpless.

However, if Joe or I stop what we’re doing and simply sit down and help her, she can accomplish anything. 
Alone as a parenting tool, this is helpful. However, let’s take this one step farther…
To me, this is a beautiful reminder of how God is our Father and our Helper. 
Sometimes, life can seem overwhelming and we don’t even know where to begin. However, we have access to the Great Helper at all times. His agenda is never too full to sit and help us sort things out and determine our next step or task.
There are also times when we begin thinking we need no help and we attempt life on our own. This approach isn’t great either. Though we may not look like we’re “falling apart” and incapable, we’re missing out on the important things-relationships. We were not created to check things off our trusty to-do lists. We were created to be in RELATIONSHIP. First and foremost with God. And then also with people. 
Too often, we find ourselves happy to do things alone, and we forget that we need the help of a Father or a God-sent friend. Our pride gets in the way, or perhaps our infatuation with perfection. And as a result, we get the task accomplished or the line item crossed off our list, but we feel empty at the end. And, after continuing on in such a way for some time, we finally realize that we’ve MISSED IT. We’ve missed the point of it all. We’ve missed the opportunity to trust, to care, to love, to let the Holy Spirit use us as part of something bigger than ourselves.
So, as you take a moment today to reflect, consider asking the Lord to help. Help to do the overwhelming things, and also help to do the things you’ve always done on your own.  Ask Him to help you view common things with new eyes, so that you may depend upon the guidance of the Holy Spirit. 
After all, don’t they say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting to get different results. Let the Holy Spirit take you to a new place today with the Help of our Father. May your day yield different results because you dared to consider that perhaps you don’t really know it all.
 

I also find it ironic…

that in the North, you get cabin fever in the winter, but in Texas, you get cabin fever in the summer.

Also, it seems like in the North, you lose weight in the summer and gain it in the winter. I’m pretty sure it is the opposite here.

Good times :)

I find it ironic…

that in the NW, you buy a sweater to put on when you go outdoors. In Texas, you buy a sweater to put on when you go indoors (to survive the arctic blast of the air conditioner).

If you’re looking to save a little $$…


consider cloth diapering! We’ve used cloth diapers on both our kiddos and have definitely saved a ton of money, not to mention that we’ve prevented pounds of diapers from being tossed into the landfill.

I tell my friends who are interested in cloth diapering (CDing) that they can get all they need for the diapering life of their child for about $500. That includes about 24 diapers, a diaper sprayer (highly recommend) and the appropriate detergent for cloth diapering. That, compared to the average of $20/week in diapers x 2 years (usually a little longer), which is a total of $2080. And, the great thing about the cloth diapers is that you can usually use them for another child if you’re willing to replace the elastic in them (which is easy), or you can often find a buyer on something like craigslist too. I’ve never heard of anyone wanting to buy used disposables…but you’ll find many mommies looking to take advantage of a good deal on some used cloth diapers. Cotton Babies, has a program where you can get cash for your used cloth diapers, so this is another option to be considered.

My favorite site to purchase cloth diapers, and find out about how to use them, is cottonbabies.com. The staff there are super-helpful as well when you run into questions on your CDing journey. I have used the Bum Genius 2.0 and 3.0 diapers. They now have a 4.0, which I would recommend, as it comes with snaps rather than the velcro. The velcro is a quick and easy option, however, when your kiddos get a little larger, they like to try to de-robe themselves of their diapers…which is not cool. And so then, you’ve always got to have shorts/pants on them and you don’t get to see their cute cloth-covered bum.

Here is my little guy in his cloth covered bum this morning.

The art of distraction

In talking with several different friends this week, I’ve been reminded of  the age-old scheme of the Enemy “the art of distraction.” It is just like the “game” we play on little kiddos when we get them to turn their head, so we can either take something off, or put something on, their plate at the dinner table. They fall for it nearly every time, and thankfully since its a game, when they realize it, we can all laugh. 


Well, unfortunately, the Enemy is playing this same game on us, and all too often we fall for it too-just as innocent little children. He plays like this…God burdens our heart with a clear calling. We get excited about it, start moving in that direction, and then the Enemy jumps out in front of us, waves his little carrot, and aims to distract us with some little thing that isn’t what we just learned was God’s clear calling/purpose for us. Often it is a “good” thing, and could even be considered noble or worthy, but it is NOT what God called US to. He may have called another person to it, but he did not call us. The Enemy tries to get us all worked up, frustrated and/or discouraged about it. Then, several days, months, weeks or years later, we finally realize that we just wasted a whole bunch of time being frustrated about something that wasn’t the BIG thing God called us to. We realize we’ve fallen prey to deception once again. 

James 4:7-10 says (emphasis mine), 

“7Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

In reading James 4 this week, I was encouraged by the reminder that if we resist the devil, he will flee from us. Sometimes I forget that each time we say “no” to him, it makes it harder for him to crack us and “win” in our lives. Each time we train ourselves in saying no to the Enemy and yes to God, we become stronger in the Holy Spirit. 

Lord, help us to resist the schemes of the Enemy and to embrace the strength of your spirit. May we lay down our own crowns and humble ourselves at your feet, that YOU may lift us up and make us mighty in your sight.




Perspective…

While Ashley has been in preschool this week, I’ve been painting at our rental house. While this has been a very productive time, I have found myself a little paranoid while there, locking doors, easily startled, etc. I guess I’m doing this because I’m not very familiar with the neighborhood and we have been told that though the neighbors are kind, they seem to attract some shady guests. As I am painting, my mind rambles and I have found myself thinking through scenarios of people breaking in while I’m there, coming to steal our tools or money or to harm me. Yes, I know it is pretty irrational to think of this happening in broad daylight. However, I found myself having those thoughts a lot on the first day I was working over there.

Later in the week while painting again, I started down this same road of fearful thinking, and was then reminded of this book I’ve been reading called Safely Home, by Randy Alcorn. If you haven’t read it, it is a gripping novel about Christians in China and the persecution they experience. Through the storyline, it paints a picture of the underground church, the ways believers are tracked, followed, harassed and hurt…all because of their faith. It talks about how they have to travel by bike or foot in the middle of the night, just to gather quietly in someone’s home for a time of worship. This story tells us of one man’s journey of living all out for God–desiring above all else to share the story of God’s grace and love with other people. He lives in such a way that he asks himself daily, “Is this the day I will die.” Authorities and others can take all his earthly possessions, but they cannot take his faith. And for this faith, he is willing to make any sacrifice, accept any punishment.

As I reflected upon this contrast in fears between Li Quan’s and my own, I was humbled. Here I am, fearing someone will come in and hurt ME or take some of our “STUFF.” Here is Li Quan, who would probably love to have a problem as simple as my conjured up problem-people following him and harassing him for something as simple as his money or possessions. That would be such an “easy” burden to bear and easy to resolve. For he is being persecuted for his faith, which no one will be able to “steal” from him, therefore his beatings and persecution will continue.

Praise Him that no person can take our living and active faith in Jesus. I pray that the Lord would work in my heart to consider and re-focus my priorities and treasures-that they would be eternal in nature. Lord, help me to see with the perspective of your eyes and the wisdom of your mind. Teach me what is important, and what is not. Help me to make wise decisions and grant me the confidence and boldness necessary to do so.

If you’re still reading at this point…may the Lord also help you to re-focus your priorities and help you to focus on heavenly treasures, not those on earth, where moth and rust destroy.

Blessings,
Emily

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