2 Corinthians 12:9-10

New International Version (NIV)

9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Convicted


Disclaimer:  The following post is of my own personal conviction.  I feel that God convicts us of the things we struggle with the most and for everyone it is different.  This post in no way judges anyone who chooses to drink.  This was my battle and mine alone.

I stopped drinking almost 9 years ago.  I never considered myself an alcoholic but I was a social drinker and back then I was very social.  Mostly on weekends I would drink and go out.  My problem was I would drink and get really drunk and the next day pay the price.  But I continued to do it regardless. I didn't see any problem with it and it wasn't anything I was planning on stopping anytime soon.

When my son was really small I used to go out a lot.  I was a stay at home mom at the time and in the evenings when my husband would get home, I would go out with my friends.  I remember doing it quite frequently sometimes numerous times in one week.  This went on for a few months.  Looking back I can't believe that I actually did that, I was out of control.  But I am not the same person I was back then either.

I had finally gotten to a point where I was slowly making progress with my faith.  Feeling that things had to change but not really knowing how to change things.  I knew that I needed to change, but I just didn't have the courage to do it.

One night we were at some friends house and my son was with us.  I was drinking and having a good time.  I remember when I was tending to my son, he was probably a year and a half at the time.  I remember looking at him, looking at me and realizing that I never wanted him to see me like that again.  I had to stop, I could no longer continue like that. Something that I thought would be so hard to give up was now no longer difficult.  It wasn't much longer after that night that I completely quit drinking for good.

God used my son to convict me on something knowing that I could only truly see the damage I was doing to myself by looking through my sons eyes.  Watching him looking back at me, in a dizzy drunken haze a moment of clarity, and a burden placed on my heart.  I was convicted and there was no turning back now.  It was done and I knew what I had to do.  I hadn't even fully given my life over to God at that point.  I was still straddling the fence.  But God knew the person I so longed to be and little by little he was showing me the way.

I didn't like who I was when I was drinking, it wasn't me.  I just never thought I could give it up.  What would people think about me?  Would they think I was being self-righteous?  Would they think I was judging them?  At first I didn't tell anyone, then after awhile people kind of figured it out.  Those who really mattered didn't mind at all.  These days it is no problem for me to tell anyone no thank you.  I gave that up long ago. Of course sometimes I get silly looks, like whats the problem.  But I tend to brush it off and not go into detail.  It is just something that is no longer a part of my life and I don't even have any urge to go back.

This was my personal conviction for my own personal battle between who I was and who I wanted to be.  This was something I just had to walk by faith, because at that time it was a little too hazy to see.


Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

Monday, July 15, 2013

A Snoodle's Tale

A Snoodle's Tale DVD CoverImage via Wikipedia
With two kids around, I have plenty of Veggie Tales to watch.  I absolutely love these little cartoons.  My absolute favorite of all the Veggie Tales is "A Snoodles Tale".

To tell you the truth almost every time I watch it, it gives me goose bumps and brings tears to my eyes.  It is so sweet and such a reminder of our self worth and just how much we matter.  That we were created for a purpose and once we realize that we will soar.

Amazing how a cute little 30 minute cartoon can make such an impact on not just my little ones but me also.

I urge you to check them out sometime, even if you don't have little ones around the house, you might just learn something about yourself.
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Sunday, July 14, 2013

God The Provider

A few weeks ago we again went to family.  This year I was a little leery about going.  I really wanted to go, actually I really needed the break from everything that was going on around me.  Here lately I haven't been feeling 100%.  I think I am just exhausted mentally, physically and spiritually.

For the past few months I have been trying my best to avoid gluten.  I am pretty sure that I have a sensitivity to it.  The problem is at camp the majority of the meals that they make there contain gluten.  Knowing how much I needed this break, I started preparing quick meals to take along.  I knew that there was a store not to far away from where we would be staying in case I needed to restock.  I just thought it was best to plan ahead.

When we arrived at evening worship I realized that one of my favorite speakers, my brother from another mother was our  camp Pastor for the week.  One of his topics for the week was God the Provider.  I was amazed at how each and every message he spoke was exactly what I needed to hear.

Our first morning at camp, I brought along with me my gluten-free breakfast items to the cafeteria.  One meal down and everything went smoothly.  I went back to the cabin the get ready for the day of activities.  My husband came in a little later, and that is when I realized just what kind of week God had in store for me.

It just so happened that one of the staff at camp also was on a gluten restricted diet.  The kitchen would make her a "special" gluten free version of whatever they were making.  Now that they knew that I also was on the same diet they would make sure the make enough for me too.

Needless to say, I spent the entire week  being spiritually, mentally and physically fed.  We only had to go to town once to fill the car up with gas.  I was amazed at how God had provided, and I didn't even ask.

Sometimes we make the mistake of minimizing the power of God.  God knows what we need before we know what we need.  And he always provides  even when we don't ask.

I had an amazing week at camp, in fact I didn't want to leave.  It was so beautiful, the weather was perfect and the one on one time with my family was priceless.  God knew how badly  I needed this break and He made sure it was perfect.

I love these moments when I don't even realize that I am walking by faith, because it is these times that I can actually see.


31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Least of These

I have worked for a few law offices since college.  I have always tried to treat everyone that came through the doors with respect and dignity.  Sometimes it was not the easiest thing to do.

At this one place in particular we would occasionally have this vagrant come by.  It was the same guy every time.  I am assuming that he was a vagrant by the way he dressed and that he always brought with him a duffle bag.  I had also saw him once at our local soup kitchen getting lunch when I was doing volunteer work. He always had some off the wall random story that never made sense asking for an appointment.  I would kindly go along with is story, finally get him to leave and then laugh as he left.  Every so often this would happen and he would stop by as if he had never been there before.

But the last time he came in was different.  As I realized it was him in the lobby, I started with my oh boy attitude here we go again.  I opened the window to "help" him and something came over me.  As I looked at this man, I just felt for him.  The scripture kept repeating in my head, "What you have done to the least of these, you have done to me."  I was set back for a minute, confronted by my own self righteousness.  I felt horrible for all the times that I laughed about him and his "crazy talk."  Instead I saw someone lost and alone and maybe just wanted someone to hear him.  I did go along with his story,  I got the impression that he may suffer from some sort of disorder.  I offered him something to drink thinking that may have just been walking around looking for a place to go.  After informing him that we really couldn't help him as nicely as I could he left.

But this time as he left I didn't want to laugh instead I wanted to cry.

Sometimes even with the best of intentions, we can get so wrapped up in what we think we are that we end up becoming something else.  And this is what was happening to me. We become what we speak against and turn into something we never intended to be.  Surrounded by circumstance, becoming a product of our environment. Doing what is easy instead of what is right.  I am so guilty.

But we are supposed to be bigger than that.  For we serve a God much bigger than our circumstance and much stronger than any environment.   We cannot make excuses for our behavior and hide behind someone else.  We are responsible for our actions, we are responsible for how we treat others.

Self righteousness is a curse and with God's help I hope to one day over come.  In hopes that one day I can say that I did do for one the least of these.


37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’


Friday, June 7, 2013

In The Midst of Chaos

I got up early Monday morning, earlier than normal.  I was just getting out of the shower when I heard my husband shouting "her water broke!!"  "What?"  I replied.  That is when my husband explained that my sister-in-law, my baby brothers wife was going into labor, she wasn't due for another few weeks.   As panic began to set in,  I took a deep breath and began to focus on the task at hand.

I didn't get much sleep the night before.  My dad was having surgery that morning, at another hospital.  It was a routine out patient surgery, but with my dad's history every surgery with him is serious.  He was having a wisdom tooth removed and sinus surgery to clean out an infection that just wouldn't go away.  The problem is because of radiation damage, the tooth extraction wouldn't be easy and because of his history with cancer, no sinus surgery is routine.  By the time we got news of my sister-in-law my dad was already being wheeled off to surgery.

I called work and told them to just plan on me not coming in that day.  I then called my mom to see where I would be needed.  My mom hesitantly asked me to relieve her and stay with my dad so that she could be with my brother.  My sister-in-law parents live in another state,  so they needed my mom there.  

I knew this day would not be easy.  Before leaving the house, I dropped to my knees to pray.  I prayed for my family and that everything would go smoothly and for the strength to get through whatever came our way.

I had just gotten to the hospital when we were told that they doctors were coming to give us an update.  After waiting twenty minutes my sister called to see  where my mom was, my brother was suiting up.  The baby was breach and because her water broke they needed to do an emergency c-section.  I told my mom to go and I would give her an update as soon as I spoke to the doctors.  She hesitantly and slowly started to leave and then ran to her car.  Another 10 minutes which seemed like an eternity waiting and  the doctors finally came in.

Everything went well, the tooth extraction went smoothly and even better the sinus surgery showed NO RECURRENCE OF CANCER!!  I almost started crying I was so overwhelmed with relief.    But my relief was short lived waiting to hear about my brother and his wife.    As I got back to the waiting room I got a picture text from my sister showing my mom and brother suited up.  She made it in time, another sigh of relief.  I immediately called my mom to give her the good news before she went in.

Soon after my sister-in-law gave birth to a healthy baby girl.  Both she and baby girl are doing well.

When my dad came out of recovery he was disoriented.  When he found out that his granddaughter was born and that he missed it, he was upset.  I reassured him that he would see her soon.  He wanted to go directly to the hospital, but once he got in the car he realized that he just wouldn't be able to do it. He felt better the next day and got to see his precious granddaughter.

But my brother was supposed to work out of town that day, a few hours away.  His wife was feeling good and wasn't due for another few weeks. He didn't realize that my dads surgery was that day, when he found out he made sure he stayed in town to be close just in case.  Because of my dads surgery my brother was in town when his wife's water broke and was able to be there for the birth of his first child.  Had my dad's surgery not been scheduled on that day my brother would have been hours away and would have missed everything.

In the midst of chaos, when we cannot see clearly, God always has a plan.  Sometimes we don't fully understand why we are given such a heavy load, but there is always a reason.   God knew that baby girl would be born that day and he knew that my brother needed to be there.  God knew that my dads surgery would go well, even through we had our doubts.

Remember GOD IS GOOD, ALWAYS!!!!! Some may call all of this coincidence, but I know better.  It is times like these that strengthen my faith, because most of the time I just cannot see.


Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.[a]