for the men in my life

Sharing what God lays on my heart.

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Music

I love music! I’m not sure if y’all know how much I 💘 love music, but I really really really love it. 😀🎶  I wish I could sing like Whitney, but alas I can not. So i sing my ❤ out with other folks who sing better than me.

For King and Country is my new favorite band right now. The lyrics to their songs pack so much truth. They’re awesome live. But mostly because they believe that following Christ should look different than our culture. I totally agree. As Christ followers, we are called to be in the world, not of the world. Until God’s people will choose obedience to Him over anything else, our culture will continue to deteriorate.

So stand with us, to live lives of obedience to God.

The best way for me to do that is to Keep God as my steady! My rock. My focus. My center. The person I keep going back to.

Here is my favorite song this week:
Steady, by For King and Country

Car Trips with Kids, How to not go crazy!!!

We have taken a few road trips this past year.  We have a 7,5, and 3 year old.  Here’s what we’ve done to help keep everyone entertained and calm.  (This will not be grammatically correct, so just enjoy the content!)

1. I put some essential lavender oil in the van. (use as much or as little as you prefer) It’s quite calming.

2. We load up the CD player with Adventures in Odyssey.

3. We pack snack bags for each kid.  Fruit rope, crasins, apples, bananas, paleo banana muffins, grapes, and homemade protein paleo bars, and water

*We have a stash of diaper wipes in the back for the big kids for hand cleaning. I can reach the little one right behind me.

* We also have a garbage bucket, that also aids as shooting hoops entertainment!

4. Each boy gets a busy book that is age appropriate.  Pictures of where we are going, driving past, maps, or things they are learning!!!  (a bag of pencils and colored pencils)

*Word searches, dot game, tic tac toe, fill in the blanks, math problems for my math lover, Animal pictures for my animal guy, and the License plate game…several versions you can do with this.

5. The Map…I print out a map of our route, they can follow along so then we don’t have to hear, “Are we there yet?”

6. Empty bottles, yes for pee.

7. Dry Towels, Just in case something happens.

8. Play eye spy…its hilarious with a 3 year old, who forgets what he picked!!!

9. Magnet games/boards.

11. Find the steeple eye spy when we are in towns/cities.

10. The final trick, stop and let them out and run every few hours!!!

When we stay positive and enjoy the drive, they do too.

I hope this helps your road trips!!  Please leave comments of what works for your family!

In the clouds

I just had the privilege of hearing a wonderful brother in Christ, Dan Bohi, share what God has put on his heart!!!  It was an encouraging message! The main point…GOD WANTS TO BE WITH US.  God LIKES US!  It is humbling. The God of the universe. The God who created the heavens and the earth.  He desires US.  Wow.  Its just amazing.  I am thankful that my Jesus loves me that much.

In Dan’s message he read scripture after scripture about God coming in a thick cloud to be with His people. I’m going to post some references about God coming in the form of a cloud, feel free to look them up. Exodus 19:9, Exodus 33:9, Exodus 40:34, 1 kings 8:10&11, these are just a few.

My clouds.

So I want to share the very beginning of my conscious part of pursuing this Jesus.  You see I firmly believe that God has loved me and has known me before time began.  It was I that was not fully aware of who He is and what He had been doing in my life.  The first memory I have of my unveiling was when I was 12. It was the Spring of 1994.  I lived with my mom and step dad in Glenwood, Il on Campbell st.

Outside it was a beautiful spring day.  The sky was a lovely baby blue with big, soft, fluffy white clouds. There was a gentle breeze.  It was one of those perfect days, outside.  Inside my house however was an entirely different environment.  It was tense, volatile, and crazy.  My parents were in a very heated argument, about what I don’t remember. This was a fairly normal occurrence in my life.  The difference, that day for me, was the moment I looked out the window into the calm and peacefully serene world outside. You see it occurred to me in that moment that there had to be something bigger than mankind out there.  There had to be another source of power and control.  And so, the slow pursuit of discovering the source of this peace for me started on that day.

I wasn’t really sure, I didn’t really know. I mean I grew up watching care bears (care bear stare anyone?) and they lived peacefully on clouds.  I remember always wanting to escape to the big white clouds.  The fluffy gentle ones you could just lay in forever and not care about anything else.  I came to know the Lord as my personal savior 3 years later in December 1997.  I have loved learning about Him, His love for me, His faithfulness to me, and His protection and provision of me.

I love how God brings clarity to my life.  He made it clear to me today, listening to my brother Dan recall how God descended in the clouds to His people, every time I wanted to escape to the cloud, it was my heart yearning for my God who loves me. My connection wasn’t to care bears, it was to my sweet Jesus who has loved me before time began.  That day I wasn’t just looking at a peaceful cloud. I was staring into the face of God. He was speaking His truth into my heart.  He was telling me that He created life to have peace, order, and joy.  He was telling me that as long as I continued to focus on mankind, I would not have the peace and joy He created me for.  I needed to look higher than mankind.  I needed to look to the Heavens and find my Abba.  I needed to run and escape to Him.  I needed to find my shelter in Him.

Even now as I sit here typing these words, He is reminding me of His truth.  Life can bring much pain, disappointment and hurt.  I can choose to focus on the hurt, the mess, the ugliness life can offer. Or, I can choose to look to the Heavens and see what God wants to show me today!

Oh how my heart swells with joy, love, and hope.  I just love, love, love, how God is always showing me He loves me.  I want to choose Him today and every day!

But guess what???  He loves you too.  He has loved you before time began.  He desires to be with you too! If you don’t know Him in this way, I encourage you to find someone who does and have an honest conversation about your doubts and fears of who God is.

Heavenly Father, Thank you for you love. Thank you for desiring to be with us.  Holy Spirit please help me to choose my heavenly Father. Help me to turn my heart, my mind, and my thoughts to my Jesus who loves me.  Please help your people turn their hearts and their minds to you. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

New Things coming soon.

Hello to my readers, if there are any left.  Thank you for not giving up on me.  I am going to be changing some of my pages and adding new things.  I am going to start posting my favorite kid tested gluten free/dairy free recipes.  I will be posting how we do snacks, keep healthy living and eating somewhat affordable, where I buy certain things, and my favorite essential oil recipes!  I’m really excited!!!  I hope you are too!!!

Praise, Praise, Praise

I get lost sometimes.  I get lost in my responsibilities, my passions, my frustrations, my sin.  I read in God’s word ( I forgot where, because I didn’t write it down) that He says to “remain in My peace.” I asked “How do I do that?”  I thought and contemplated that for days, maybe even 2 weeks.

I couldn’t come up with an answer.  I went to prayer meeting.  I hadn’t been to one in several weeks.  We started with confessing our sins to God.  We sang praises…we prayed.  It was a great night.  We challenged each other to not just come to Tuesday night prayer meeting praying for Sunday, but to come expecting God’s presence and miracles that night too.  God whispered to me…His presence and miracles are for everyday for those who seek Him and Praise Him.

After talking with Janet Crawford, God made it very clear. To “remain in My Peace, you must surrender.”  How do you surrender?  I do mine by confessing in prayer and singing praises.

Did you know that praise binds the enemy?  That is powerful.  More to come on that!

Overloaded

After prayer meeting I felt so full emotionally.  It wasn’t a super happy, on cloud-nine, bursting with excitement type of full.  It was an indwelling of God’s spirit trying to speak to me.  Few times I can hear very clearly what He’s telling me, most other times I need to pray, cry, listen to music, clean, or talk it out.  This time I felt an urge to hear a song by one of my new favs…Franscesca Battistelli’s “Stangely Dim”  So I pulled up Youtube on my phone and listened to it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5qD9HOoGpQ

Dim Light

Dim Light (Photo credit: Eduardo de São Paulo)

I have heard this song many times.  I like it every time I hear it.  But this time I couldn’t even get to the chorus without crying.  Its my theme song.  I look ahead, I have visions of life, I anticipate things, I worry about things that may never happen, I dwell on past hurts,regrets, and mistakes.  I see “as clear as mud” (Dr. Dwight Ginn).  But the truth of this song has penetrated to the depths of my soul.  The simple truth that I need to fix my eyes on all that God is until all the worry, the strife, the striving, the circumstances grow strangely dim.   If I could begin to learn to draw so close to God that he is all I see and everything else becomes my periphery, I will have the clarity of mind, the power and love of Christ, to face it all.  And somehow just realizing this truth and accepting it, has given me peace.  The power of attaining His peace, is the simple basking in His presence.

I’m not saying that I’m perfect at it already, because the Lord knows I’m not.  I’m just going to start trying to be intentional about choosing to seek His face, to draw near to Him, to ask Him first, before I go, do, and serve.

Oh Heavenly father create in me a hunger for your presence every minute of every day.  Remind me relentlessly to commune with you first.

May God bless you with His presence today and everyday.  May God open your heart to receive His presence. Peace be with you.

What a MESS!

mess

mess (Photo credit: Fernando Stankuns)

For those of you who know me well…you know that I don’t like messes.  Yet with 3 boys under 6 I have a perpetual mess in my Kitchen, my laundry room, my living room, my bedroom, their bedroom, their toy room, my van, my yard, my garage…well you get the idea.  And most of all I REALLY do not like extra or unnecessary messes.  And yet I want my boys to learn how to do dishes, pour their drinks, get dressed, do the laundry, make their own food…and so on.  And so the conundrum ensues.  They can not learn unless I am willing to let them make a mess.

Well, I get frustrated at times and I loose my temper.  Sometimes, many times I even yell.  I have really been praying about this short fuse problem of mine.   God has been whispering this truth in my heart and my mind.  “I entered your mess, because I love you.”  ” I walk with you in the midst of your mess because I want to help you clean it up.”

Jesus left heaven…sweet, peaceful, perfect Heaven.  He left such a great place and came to the messiest place in the galaxy.  He put on the clothes of our mess…He became flesh because He loves us.  He wants to give us freedom from the mess we are in.  He wants to show us, teach us, and love us through this mess.  He wants to transform our mess to heaven on earth.

Jesus wants our emotions, our expectations, our failures, our anger, our striving, our fear…He wants all of the things that keep us from creating a life that exemplifies “…on earth as it is in heaven.”

Let me be really honest with ya’ll.  I am still sorting all this out.  I am still learning what this looks like for me in my life.

I pray Abba that you will help me accept your love.  Open my eyes to Your wisdom for my life.  Jesus help me to reflect you as best I can, by allowing you to invade all of  me.  Lord give me your wisdom to make decisions and have responses that will bring Heaven to earth.

Jesus loves the beautiful mess that is each one of us.

John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble ( messes). But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Jesus is our hope and salvation from the messes in our lives!!! Praise. The. LORD.

FAITH

I started reading a devotional on Elisha’s Ridiculous Faith. I must say I am enjoying it. Today’s devotion has really challenged what I think about my life of prayer and faith.

It focused on the passage in 2 Kings 4:38-44.  Elisha cleansed the poisoned food in the pot with flour and then feed 100 men with 20 loaves.  Those are pretty cool miracles, but what has been keeping my mind turning is that Elisha never stopped to pray or specifically ask God to cleanse the soup or multiply the bread.  He just knows that God will cleanse to soup.  In verse 43 Elisha answers his servant’s question or doubting faith, “Do it because the Lord says, “They will eat and have some left over.”

I am just baffled and humbled.  Elisha knew God so well, He was so intimate with God that he didn’t even need to ask.  I know throughout the bible there are all sorts of examples of types of prayer and patterns of prayer.  I know there are many miracles Jesus performed praying and not praying.  I think the lynch pin is faith.  A woman was healed just by touching the tassels on Jesus garment because of her faith.  Elisha had “ridiculous” faith in God.

I need to have faith like that.  I want to have a faith like that.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VaVg0cWkgAw

Abba, help me to have faith in you.  Forgive my lack of faith, forgive my doubt.  Forgive my unbelief.  Lord help me to step out in faith.  Lord strip away the lies in my mind and my heart.  Replace them with your truth.  Teach me O Lord to hear Your voice of truth and love. Help me to live my life believing and trusting Your goodness, Your grace, Your mercy, and YOUR FAITHFULNESS.

Testament of Faith

This story begins when I did not listen to the voice of God.  I was 8 weeks pregnant with our third child. It was time for my monthly chiropractic adjustment.  When I walked in the office, I noticed my regular chiropractor was not there.  I asked the girls and they said he was out of town.  I immediately felt something inside me nudging me to wait and reschedule.  I thought to myself I’m only 8 weeks he couldn’t hurt me or the baby.  Well that night my sciatic nerve was in timbuktu and I couldn’t lay in any position for more than 5 minutes without excruciating pain and throbbing.  That meant no sleep for me.  This was the beginning of a 2 year battle of pain for me.  All because I did not listen to the voice of God trying to protect His child from making a bad choice.

The next 9 months proved to be very difficult physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.  I did not like the person I was and I am not proud of how I handled my situation and circumstances most of the time.

After the pregnancy the pain got better, but it did not go away.  So after 7 months I did some physical therapy with a diagnosis of a sprained SI joint and a bulging disc my pain was better, but not gone.  After 6 weeks I was advised by a great PT to get an MRI.  Only to avail that I indeed had a herniated disc located at L5 and S1 and a bulging disc between L4 and L5.  Oh the joy.  I did not want surgery or shots so I went back to the Chiropractor in January and paid more money for decompression starting in January.  I felt better as long as I didn’t try to do anything that required bending and lifting. I have 3 boys…Joel and I started thinking that maybe we should start praying for some wisdom about what to do with my back.

It was March.  My church was hosting a Prayer Awakening.  I wanted to go.  I asked and prayed for healing.  I felt healed for a few days and then the pain started to come back.  It went on like that for some time.  I wasn’t sure what to do or think.

I always thought that I didn’t put God in a box.  I thought that I was a bold believer.  I thought that I knew God could move mountains.  Well I knew those things about God, but did I believe them in my heart? I started going to my church’s prayer meetings in June.  I heard the struggles and praises of every day people.  I started to realize that my pride and selfishness were keeping me from getting closer to God. I realized that I used practical excuses of kids, chores, and responsibilities to justify that I wasn’t seeking God’s face or His kingdom. I needed to repent.  I needed to put God where He belonged.

Everyday got better.  God started to clear out the clutter in my life.  The emotional baggage, the mental struggles, and the doubt.  God showed me that I didn’t truly believe He would heal me.  It wasn’t that I did not believe He wasn’t able, but that He just would not want to.

I needed to repent and tell Him honestly that I needed help believing that God only wants good for me.  So I prayed.  It was real and honest and I could feel His touch start tingling in my legs and all the way through my body.  I was healed. I had no pain.  As long as I praise and believe Him I have no pain.

I have had no pain for 10 days.  I love the Lord God Almighty.  I am so thankful for His faithfulness and mercy.

What do you need to ask God about?

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for the men in my life

Sharing what God lays on my heart.