Friday, December 26, 2008
It is a tradition I celebrated occasionally growing up with my mom's side of the family. She was born in Santiago, Cuba as were her brother and sisters...making me 1/2 Cuban.
THE TRADITIONAL DINNER:
Pig Roast “lechon asado” (sometimes the whole pig roasted in a pit outside)
Black Beans & Rice – this year we opted for Moros which is the rice and beans cooked together
Maduros – friend sweet plantains
Yucca with mojo – a starchy dish (similar to a potato) with mojo which is the sauce consisting of Garlic Cloves, Salt, Black peppercorns (whole),Oregano
Sour orange juice (In a pinch, use two parts orange to one part lemon and one part lime)
Cuban bread – from Wikipedia “Cuban bread is a fairly simple white bread, similar to French bread and Italian bread, but has a slightly different cooking method and ingredient list (in particular, it generally includes a small amount of fat in the form of lard or vegetable shortening); it is usually made in long, baguette-like loaves. It is a staple of Cuban-American cuisine and is necessary to make an authentic Cuban sandwich” DO NOT BE FOOLED BY IMITATION CUBAN BREAD…SOME GROCERY STORES PUT A SLIT IN FRENCH BREAD AND CALL IT CUBAN BREAD…THERE IS NO COMPARISON!
Flan – described here as an “an upscale, classy custard” or “elegant, rich dessert”
THE FAMILY OR LA FAMILIA:
Well for us that changes every year. This is our one big outreach, we invite friends and anyone we come across that does not have anywhere to go or anyone to spend Christmas with. It has been interesting over the years to see how it has changed. We have one family that comes every year.
One year we volunteered at a local recovery ministry, so they opened their doors for us to have it there and we had over 50 people. We sang Christmas songs and had a spontaneous candlelight ceremony. It is by far my most precious Christmas memory.
We had 30 people come to our house this year and it was a blessing. There were a lot of needs represented here and we always consider it an honor to include anyone the Lord lays on our hearts. We did not talk about anyone’s needs or even pray for them during the course of the evening, but I believe everyone was ministered to. We all just enjoyed each other’s company and the food.
This year I opted not to make the meal myself and was blessed that an authentic Cuban restaurant opened close by. We ordered all the food except the flan and THE FLAN FLOPPED. It has never happened before, but this year the sugar burnt which is the beginning of the process and it went downhill from there. I made three and they all flopped because I made them together. The good news is I have been healed of perfectionism, so they were served. I did not feel compelled to make them over or not serve them. I served them and everyone ate them and liked (some even loved) them. I celebrated that victory and praised the Lord!
Everyone brought a dish or two or three, so the food was abundant.
Here our some pictures from our dinner:
God providing this opportunity for us over and over again has blessed me immensely. The people who enter our home on this night never know the extent of the blessing they offer to me and my family. If you are in town next year consider this your early invitation to our "Noche Buena".
Saturday, December 20, 2008
The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6:45
This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 1 John 3:19-20
God has a lot to say about our hearts in His word, it is worth a CLOSE look and meditative review.
May the peace of Christ dwell in your heart this Christmas.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Here's to another year of God's faithfulness...
P.S. There is no way I could choose a winner or three winners, so I relied on good 'ol Random Number Integer.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
It is hard to believe it has been one year since I started sharing publicly what the Lord is showing me, doing in me or for me. It has been great and has fulfilled a great desire to journal a lot of what happens in my spiritual life; sorry some stuff is still private. The theme that resonates as I read over my year of posts is “HIS FAITHFULNESS”.
My life has changed dramactically this year:
I own and run a small business, Tea & Traditions
We’re expecting baby number four (due March 31st, 2009)
We are at a different church
I’ve lost friends and loved ones
…and I am sure there is more that escapes me right now!
Through all of this God has been faithful. He called me to buy a small business and only gives me enough information along the way to accomplish His purposes at the time. He has given me great revelation of the blessing of having children. He called us out of our church and even when we disobeyed Him and stayed, He was patient. He blessed my life in relationships with those who have gone on to be with Him, even if I did not know them long – I’m changed.
There is just so much I can not convey it all in a simple post, so I will end by saying, “THIS IS A CELEBRATION”!!! Not a celebration of posting on a blog for a year, but of His faithfulness to His daughter.
Because my life has changed so much in the last year, my blogging will too. In this season I am learning to prioritize and my household comes first and all that goes with it. He is still moving mightily in my life, I just do not have the time to write about it as much and honestly some of it I do not feel led to share yet and may never.
For you few faithful readers I want to share my joy and excitement and share some gifts with you. Leave a comment and in a week I will come back and pick a winner. One of the things you will be winning is an awesome Christmas ornament designed and signed by Laura Kirkland of Glory Haus. She is a talented woman, with an amazing gift that she faithfully shares.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
From Worship Warrior, page 14
Judah must go first. Praise must take it preeminence within our lives, churches, cities, states and nation. When Judah goes first, the scepter of authority is then in place for ultimate victory. This is a time that the Lion of Judah will roar louder than the lion that has sought to devour us!
Over the last year I have learned to praise Him during the storm. “Worship causes us to move thankfully with our body toward our creator” – Worship Warrior, page 150
In July 2008 as I lay in bed the Lord began to speak to me about Judah. It was a conversation initiated by Him and I just listened and received. At the time I wish I had had the forethought to write down His words to me. That was also during the time that I was experiencing revival and the Lord was just showering me with His love and presence.
A few days later I realized I was “late” and decided to take a pregnancy test. I was out of town, so I loaded up my three kids and went to Walgreens. I went into the bathroom and took the test which turned positive before I even stepped away.
Again, it was a time of revival for me, but also a time of great difficulty in our home. I read more about Judah and the more I read the more I sobbed and the more I understood. The revelation and timing were breathtaking. The story of Jacob and Leah revealed more of the Lord’s love for me and the perfection of His timing. This baby became another real and tangible way God was expressing His love for me and the revelation of his name a greater, deeper and sweeter expression of that.
From Worship Warrior, page 154
Leah, as we all know, was unloved. It was Rachel whom Jacob had wanted and had worked for. But Jacob was tricked into taking Leah instead. Not a good start for a relationship; but she tried hard as she could to gain Jacob’s affection. In those days, a high value was put on a woman who could produce children. God caused Leah to be fruitful, and she bore Jacob three sons, each time hoping to procure her husband’s love because of them, but to no avail. Finally she turned her heart toward the Lord. “She conceived again and bore a son and said, “This time I will praise the LORD.; Therefore she named him Judah” Gen. 29:35 NASB
From Worship Warrior, Page 155
Unshakable praise plows through the hardest ground. God says in Hosea 10:11, “Judah will plow.” When the ground is hard, when the circumstances are adverse, God’s favor is on the one who will lead off with praise.
She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, "This time I will praise the LORD." So she named him Judah. Genesis 29:35
Monday, November 3, 2008
Upon returning home I laid Annais down and took the second test in the package and as quickly as the first “positive”. With a few minutes to digest the results I thought about how perfect and awesome God’s timing is. There was none of my “planning” in this pregnancy. In our heart of hearts we knew He intended another child for our family and were overjoyed with anticipation.
Settling into our joyous surprise and the thrill of expecting our third baby we began, as is our practice, praying for a name. I felt such a strong call, anointing and purpose for this little one’s life. I just prayed that I would hear Him as clearly as I did when He spoke Annais’ name.
During my pregnancy with Annais a friend recommended a book “Hope Resurrected” by Dutch Sheets and ever since I had been meaning to get it. While purchasing videos and books for my little ones online in April I added “Hope Resurrected” to my order. When the book arrived I immediately started reading it. I was deeply moved by the first story in the book and I couldn’t seem to get it out of my mind. The woman had four daughters with the middle names Joy, Faith, Grace & Charity and she wanted another child, but knew the if she had another girl her middle name would be Hope. The woman writes, “…that was impossible. My life was so deluged with hope deferred that there was absolutely no way I could have a child with the name Hope. It would have been the ultimate lie. Thus, I decided not to have a seventh child.”
The tragedy of that story and the great result of hope deferred that ensued reminded me of the hope deferred that I had once been imprisoned by, but more importantly the Hope by which I now live in Christ Jesus. Since childhood and well into my 30s I suffered with times of often paralyzing depression (which I will now call hope deferred). I began to think of the child that I carried – Hope? Could it be the name that we’d been praying for? As I lay in the bath one night I asked God that very question just minutes before I picked up my book again and read . . .
A mother, the instant that she knows she is with child, lives her every moment in anticipation of delivery. After a time she cannot take a step, make a move, think a thought that is disassociated from the coming of her child.
In America, people are supposed to ignore the obvious fact that a woman is with child. In France the case is quite the contrary. If a man is introduced to a woman who is an expectant mother, it is the height of politeness for him to congratulate her. “Je vous felicite de votre esperance” – “I congratulate you on your hope” – is a common phrase among the cultured.
After this paragraph Sheets writes:
Your heart is being healed and you are becoming pregnant with hope. Congratulations!
As I read further in the book Sheets also writes:
In the Greek words “due time” (also rendered “appointed season”) are idios kairos, which is a powerful phrase pregnant with hope seeds for us. “Time” is the word kairos, which means “right time; the opportune point of time at which something should be done.” page 66
Such was the case with Hannah and Elizabeth, both barren women who asked God for a child. In each case, the Lord answered with a son but waited for His timing because while they wanted a child, He needed a prophet. They owned a kairos, but God shared ownership; and His kairos involved not only their fulfillment, but also His eternal purposes. page 67
In my daily name search for a name for this child I often tried to find names meaning appointed or called and here right in front of me was a description of what this baby is - our kairos. The name Kaira came to mind and I immediately looked up the meaning and it is “last, final, complete” – perfect!
What a joy it is to be free in Christ and be able to name my child, Kaira Hope, after the very Hope to which I have been called in His perfect time.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 (New International Version)
Saturday, November 1, 2008
For more Then Sings My Soul Saturday, visit Amy at Signs, Miracles, and Wonders.
Friday, October 31, 2008
As we did with our daughter, we had been praying for God to reveal the name He had already chosen for this child. Now that we knew the sex of the baby we could start compiling some boy names and pray over those. The list grew rapidly to seven names; there was Micah, Samuel and Dominic just to name a few. Micah means, “who is like God”, Samuel means, “asked of God” and Dominic means, “follower of the Lord.” All great names with great meanings, but we still could not narrow it down. My husband had his two favorites and I had mine. I was sure we would know when we saw him.
We believe as it says in Psalm 139:15-16, “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body, and knit them together in my mother’s womb. You were there while I was being formed in utter seclusion! You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe.” That meant God already had a name for this baby that was symbolic of the call He had already placed on his life. We just had to hear God when He revealed to us what that name was.
About a week or two before my scheduled c-section I was beginning to get apprehensive about the baby not having a name, although we waited until the day after our daughter was born to name her. I felt strongly that this baby needed a name BEFORE he was born. I prayed, “Lord, I know I can hear your voice, but I have not heard anything about this baby’s name.” Then I heard it, clear as day, “Anias”. I asked, “Annanias, Lord?” “No, Anias,” I heard again. Barely able to contain my excitement I ran downstairs to check my baby names searchers. I typed in A-N-I-A-S and hit enter. I could not wait to find out what the name meant. “Name not found” appeared on my screen. Disheartened I asked, “Lord, did I hear you correctly? I know you have blessed us with this baby, but what will he be to our family?” “A gift,” I clearly heard in response (Psalm 127:3 Behold children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.) Knowing I could search a name by meaning I typed in “gift from God” and hit enter. The third name on the list was “Annais!” I had the name right, but the spelling wrong.
I immediately picked up the phone and called my husband and asked, “What do you think of the name Annais?” “I like it,” he said. That’s it! We have got a name for our baby. Without any further hesitation our baby boy was Annais (Ah-nigh-us), a gift from God named by God.
After reading and re-reading the meaning and characteristics of his name I began to pray that he would be all the things that his name implied. Of all the characteristics, the one that stood out to me was “always gracious.” Graciousness is the very nature of God, our Father and is synonymous with His son Jesus. Psalm 86:15 But You, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. Psalm 103:8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. Psalm 111:4 He has caused His wonders to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and compassionate. The spiritual characteristic of Annais is “full of hope (Christ)”. 1 Timothy 1:1 Paul, an apostle (special messenger) of Christ Jesus by appointment and command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus (the Messiah), our Hope. What more could any parent want than for their child to be full of Hope (Jesus)?
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:7
Thursday, October 30, 2008
After more than a year of trying to conceive I got pregnant with my first daughter. I knew it was a girl and had her closet full of clothes even before the sonogram. I had purchased a daily pregnancy prayer journal and prayed for her almost everyday. One day the scripture at the bottom of the page was “I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” 1 Samuel 27-28
The night before I found out I was pregnant I was reading a book, Who Will Love Me? by Joe Jackson and the Lord spoke to me on page 41:
Taken word for word from Who Will Love Me? by Joe Jackson
"And sometime before dawn God spoke to me. I will never again have any doubt about children. I want to share with you what He told me. He told me that these were not really my children, but they were His. He is just letting me have the joy and responsibility of raising them for Him. He has entrusted me with their future. Listen! Our children belong to God, and we are just instruments in raising them. Someday they will pass away and return to Him if we have done our job. That is our responsibility and duty."
It was the first time I ever considered that this child I prayed for was not mine at all, but His. It was a huge revelation. His child? That changed everything for me. It shifted my self-focus and made it God focused and after months of selfish thinking, desires, prayers and actions – I surrendered.
My process of conception was a time of great healing. There were things in me that God healed that are of great benefit to me, my children and my relationship with Him.
As the pregnancy progressed my husband and I chose two names and said we would name her when we saw her. She was born with big, beautiful brown eyes and a head full of dark hair, but that did not help us decide. The first time they placed her on my chest I looked at her and prayed, “Lord I prayed for this child and you granted my request and I dedicate her back to you.” It was not until the next day that we chose her name Isabella which means “dedicated to God.”
Had the Lord not spoken to me the night before I found out I was pregnant I may not have been able to speak, let alone pray the words, “Lord I prayed for this child and you granted my request and I dedicate her back to you.” God’s plan and purpose for Isabella’s life included me surrendering mine to Him (completely).
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Although I am resting A LOT (ask my husband and kids) I am still able to get some things done...like organize the homeschool room.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
My reminders this week are found in this song:
- In Christ alone my Hope is found
- I am His and He is mine
- What heights of love, what depths of peace, when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
Congratulations to the other "Mari" you won my 100th post giveaway! Email me.
For more Then Sings My Soul Saturday, visit Amy at Signs, Miracles, and Wonders.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Below is my TSMSS post, but before we get to that it is time to celebrate 100 posts. That is a lot of writing about what the Lord has done and if I could write it all down or wanted to share it all on the World Wide Web it would be more, trust me. I had mentioned I would be sharing a list of future topics and I will, but it will be brief because I am making no promises. I am in a unique season and I take it minute by minute.
Future posts will include:
When does life begin?
The Crushing Weight of Rejection
Still Small Voice Sunday – A Blog Carnival
He Knows Their Names – Part 1, 2, 3 & 4
Now to the prizes, there will be prizes and some of them will be tea because that is what I do and trust me it is GREAT tea, but other than that I have no idea. Leave a comment and let me know you want to win something and I trust the Lord will show me what to give away and how to do it. You have until next Friday to do so and I will announce the winners Saturday.
Thank you all for your email and prayers, I look forward to sharing what the Lord is doing as soon as I get it somewhat sorted out in my own head.
Enjoy this song and be blessed – YOU ARE RESTORED!
For more Then Sings My Soul Saturday, visit Amy at Signs, Miracles, and Wonders. I have missed TSMSS more than anything about blogging and it seems appropriate to come back with this. Thanks Amy!
Monday, September 1, 2008
Two years ago I sat in class at our church office for our once a month healing school. I eagerly anticipated this class every month, as I was excited to learn more about healing and how to pray for healing, but not this night; I really had not wanted to come. I almost turned around half way there.
The pastor shared a lot that night and as he did the Holy Spirit brought one memory to mind. I dismissed it, but it kept coming back. After the pastor was done he lead us in a corporate prayer and I sobbed the whole way through. He asked if anyone wanted to share and I raised my hand, still unable to speak through the sobs. I did not know what I would say, but I knew that something had just happened in me. I left that night and called a friend and told her I thought something really big happened and I was not sure what it was, but it was going to change my life, my marriage and my mothering. Little did I know how much changed in that two hour class.
I had battled depression since I was a child, but that night when the pastor prayed something settled in my spirit, wounds were released and healing came (although I did not know it at the time). Over the next several months the Lord confirmed my experience through prayer, visions, and prophetic words. I was pregnant at the time with baby three and six months later I delivered my baby girl, Kaira Hope. Shortly after I knew clearly what happened that night in the healing school - I was healed of a life time of depression. I had been in counseling and on medication for almost 20 years. After my second was born I no longer went to counseling, instead I began to be transformed by the renewing of my mind through the Word and after Kaira's birth I no longer needed medication.
During my two previous pregnancies I stopped all medication, but resumed after delivery. The Lord began to speak to me clearly about the depression and the medication and what He had done that night. I was healed! It has been two years since that unforgettable and life-changing day, but the effects will last a lifetime.
Just think what I would have missed if I had not gone that night. Maybe that is the night I learned not to go with my emotions (which has blessed me countless times since then).
I listened to Sara Groves tonight and I wonder what led her to write the following lyrics that sound so familiar to me:
Something changed inside me broke wide open all spilled out
Till I had no doubt that something changed
Never would have believed it till I felt it in my own heart
In the deepest part the healing came
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. 1 Peter 2:24
Sunday, August 31, 2008
One day while watching Pooh's Heffalump Movie, with my daughter, I lost it. Througout the movie he was carrying all this stuff on his back including, but not limited to a grandfather clock. He was uncharacteristically annoying and gloomy, even for Eeyore, in this movie. I looked at my daughter and asked her, "Do you know what is wrong with Eeyore?" Then immediately answered my own question with, "I'll tell ya what's wrong with Eeyore, he doesn't know Jesus."
Many people walk around everyday just like Eeyore and you know them, you may even live with them. The sad truth is many of them are Christians. The bible says we are more than conquerors through him who loved us, does that come across in our attitudes? Or do we resemble Eeyore in more ways than we care to admit?
I found this book on-line, so I guess I am not the only one who has issues with Eeyore:Living with Eeyore: How to Positively Love the Negative People in Your Life
Saturday, August 30, 2008
I became an aunt when I was 12 and by the time I was 16 I had approximately 13 nieces and nephews. I also had a little brother and sister, eight and twelve years younger than me. I had a lot of experience with kids, so I thought motherhood would be a walk in the park. No one can convey to you how drastically different it is.
When my nieces and I went for an impromptu dip in the ocean one night after eating dinner out, I did not worry about them getting water all over my car, not having towels to dry off or that they would get sick. I was not solely responsible for their well-being nor did I have to discipline them. We could just have fun!
Six years ago when Isabella was born I was ready, or so I thought, because of all my “experience”. It was going to be great, but it was far from great and I wonder how much of the un-greatness was due to my expectations of an aunt type relationship that is not possible with your own children. They are solely your responsibility, you are on call 24/7 and all of that is added to the responsibilities you had before they entered the world. You cannot spend a few days getting things ready for their visit and take a week to recover when they leave. You think about their character, you think about your character and a host of other things that are really important as a parent that just do not cross your mind with nieces and nephews.
It has been a relief of sorts to realize my distorted view of motherhood in relationship to aunthood. Now I can rest in that revelation. My little ones, they call me mommy, not Aunt Mari and that was by God’s design. I wish it had not taken me six years to figure that out, but something tells me this revelation is going to be very helpful in my mothering.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Let’s enhance our spiritual sight this year by NOT judging what He is doing by what we see and seeking to gain His perspective before coming up with one of our own. After all we are no longer blinded by the god of this world. May He open the eyes of our understanding in 2008 – the Year of New Beginnings!
Read more about 2008 – Year of New Beginnings
Thursday, August 28, 2008
At 33 years of age I finally found a positive meaning for my name, but it wasn’t without a willingness on my part to be changed. The Lord brought the bitterness to my attention, but I had to be willing to surrender it to Him and allow Him to change my heart. My reward was a changed name (meaning) something I had deeply desired my whole life. He rewards obedience.
Like me, Jabez (1 Chron 4:9b) had a name that had a negative meaning. His name meant “he will cause pain”. He did not want that to be his destiny, so asked God that he not do what his name implied - Oh, that you would bless me indeed, And enlarge my territory, That your hand would be with me, And that You would keep me from evil, That I may not cause pain! (1 Chron 4:10, TNKJ)"
In the Bible, a name and the nature of the one who carries the name are linked to the destiny God intends for them. For Jabez the change he desired meant a transfusion of the will of God to supersede his mother's careless action when she named him at birth. In effect, God changed his name by changing his nature. From that point, the name Jabez was changed spiritually to mean--blessed! enlarged! and kept by God from evil and from causing pain!" - Shirley Weaver Ministries, A Clear Trumpet, Inc., Post Office Box 2720 . Mt. Pleasant, SC 29465.Copyright (C) 2000-2006 All rights reserved.
Click here to get Shirley Weaver’s daily devotional emailed directly to you.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
When God created marriage He never intended for us to be responsible for each other’s actions. He was creating a picture of His Son’s love for the church (Ephesians 5). A canvas colored with love, patience and forgiveness. The lie I believed left mine covered with anger, resentment and criticism - not a good way to start a marriage.
At 18 I got married and had been told numerous times, “Behind every good man there is a good woman.” It then became my purpose to make my husband “good” even though I had no clue what that meant and I did not actually see myself as good either. How could I considering the lies I was living by? My thought process went like this, my husband is not ambitious, therefore, he is bad and if he is bad I must be bad and everyone will know it. Ouch! It was a lose lose situation.
I was trying to be a “good woman”, so he could be a “good man” not realizing I was putting myself in a position of control. In reality I was making myself a roadblock to what God wanted to do in him. Not only did I buy this lie, but I was sucked into believing that I had control in some way. Control in itself is a lie because we don’t have it – we NEVER have it. If you think you have control, you’ve just bought a lie.
Needless to say, that marriage did not work out. Not only did I live and die by false beliefs, neither of us had a relationship with the Lord. In all our striving and attempts to fix ourselves, each other and our marriage we failed miserably because we were working toward the worldly façade of a “happy” marriage. That was half a lifetime ago for me and in that time I have been transformed by the renewing of my mind (Romans 12:2). The renewing of my mind was the only thing that was going to clear up the lies, confusion and crazy thoughts in my head.
This myth could be truthful if stated this way, “Behind every good man there is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.” It would also alleviate a lot of false guilt and responsibility that wives carry around.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
As a child I struggled with depression which only got worse as I entered adolescence. For days I would isolate, cry and be riddled with negative thoughts. It was like being in a pit with no way out. During one of these dark times someone told me, “God (only) helps those that help themselves.” Something in my already distorted thoughts grabbed hold of this statement and I knew that I had to do more to help myself. That began years of spiritual self-reliance. I wanted so desperately to be well and tried so hard to be “happy”, was it not enough? How much did I have to help myself before He would help me? All this striving and God still wasn’t showing up.
This belief that became ingrained in my thinking and was fueled by many well meaning counselors telling me all the things I had to do to be well. For years it was behavior modification, medication and self-help books to no avail. That statement kept creeping into my thoughts and convincing me I still wasn’t doing enough to help myself. It had set me up to live in a perpetual cycle of failure because it was a lie and no matter how much I did to help myself it could never prove itself true. This convinced me that God was a rewarder of performance and mine just wasn’t up to par. Had I known the truth of the cross I would have recognized the lie and understood He is a God that helps the helpless and saves the sinner who can’t save himself.
Once I understood salvation I had a checklist in my head of all the I had to do to get “right” before I could be saved – back to the ‘ol “God (only) helps those that help themselves” drawing board. Now that lie was keeping me from the cross. Fed up, desperate and afraid I surrendered my life to Christ. I truly did not understand what I was doing at the time, but the Father did – He just wanted my total surrender. Knowing my distorted thoughts, I believe, He wanted to show me His unconditional love and His desire to “save” me because I had no ability to save myself (by His design). In His gentle way He said, “Now, I want you now, regardless.” It was as if a hand nudged me toward the altar because I had no intention of going down there myself.
In that sweet moment as I experienced the heart of the Father the lie I had believed for so long began to shatter. It took several years for all the layers of that to be chipped away but He is faithful. The very first verse He gave me that sank deep into my spirit was Ephesians 2, the complete and total contradiction to “God only helps those that help themselves”.
But God--so rich is He in His mercy! Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us, Even when we were dead (slain) by [our own] shortcomings and trespasses, He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ; [He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him, for] it is by grace (His favor and mercy which you did not deserve) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ's salvation). Ephesians 2: 4-5 AMP
The key to dispelling a lie is Truth – Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8: 32, 36. NIV I had tried so hard to prove the lie that I was miles away from truth.
More truth to conquer the lie:
While we were yet in weakness [powerless to help ourselves], at the fitting time Christ died for (in behalf of) the ungodly. Romans 5:6 AMP
For You have been a defense for the helpless, A defense for the needy in his distress ,A refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat; For the breath of the ruthless Is like a rain storm against a wall. Isaiah 25:4 NASB
For years I was enslaved to a lie that was nothing more than a quote from Ben Franklin in Poor Richard’s Almanac which had absolutely no basis in Truth. What lies do you believe? Seek Him and He will show you truth in your inner being!
Behold, You desire truth in the inner being; make me therefore to know wisdom in my inmost heart. Psalm 51:6 NIV
Come back tomorrow for MYTH BUSTER #2:BEHIND EVERY GOOD MAN THERE IS A GOOD WOMAN.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Last year, the Saturday before Mother’s day, I was getting something out of the fridge in the garage and I heard the Lord say, “You are more precious than rubies.” A little while later I read the verse and the next day Todd gave me my Mother’s day card and before I opened it I began to cry because I knew what it said, yeah, you guessed it…”You are more precious than rubies.” It was one of those moments that take your breath away. I was kissed by the King.
This morning as I got ready, a wall hanging Todd gave me for Valentine’s Day caught my eye and the verse my eyes were drawn to was “You are more precious than rubies.” It was as if He leaned over, held my face in His hands and planted a kiss right on my forehead. His goodness and gentleness overwhelm me. He gave me a loving reminder of His heart for me after a pounding by the enemy. It does not matter what the enemy says, all that matters is I’m still Daddy’s little girl.
May you kissed by the King!
Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
I’ve made visits to the men’s restroom by myself before, but it wasn’t nearly as much fun alone. Kind of like life…we can make mistakes and be isolated and try to hide them, but there is no value in that. Making mistakes surrounded by people who love the Lord and love us are opportunities for personal growth and strengthening of the friendship.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Judgmental? That’s not a word that we would typically use to describe our “neighbor” Mister (Fred) Rogers, but he described himself that way once and according to author Amy Hollingsworth, only once.
While in seminary Fred would visit different churches to see how different ministers preached. He and some friends decided to visit the church of a well-known and well-respected preacher. They soon discovered that he was away and there was a guest speaker. Fred, not impressed sat through the sermon making mental notes of all the rules the guest speaker was breaking. When the sermon was over he turned to his friend to commiserate and she was weeping. She told him that that man had said exactly what she needed to hear. It was then he realized that the Holy Spirit was able to transform that message into what his friend needed to hear – no matter how bad he thought the message was.
This experience shaped the rest of his life. It changed his Neighborhood as well. He said, “I’m so convinced that the space between the television set and the viewer is holy ground. And what we put on the television can, by the Holy Spirit, be translated into what this person needs to hear and see, and without that translation it’s all dross as far as I’m concerned.” Go Mister Rogers!
The lesson he learned from that guest speaker was: What is offered in faith by one person can be translated by the Holy Spirit into what the other person needs to hear and see. The space between them is holy ground, and the Holy Spirit uses that space in ways that not only translate, but transcend. (From The Simple Faith of MISTER ROGERS, by Amy Hollingsworth, page 35)
It made me think of blogging. What God prompts us to write from day to day, however spiritual or comical can be just what someone needs at that moment. The Holy Spirit can make just the right words or phrases minister to that person at their point of need. It also made me think of our critical nature. We are so quick to judge the things we see and hear, when we really have no clue how that very thing could be ministering to someone else.
During a team meeting for a retreat weekend the leader brought out a little chick, you know the kind that peep when you put your fingers on the contacts? Well, she brought this thing out and did an exercise with the group and I couldn't stop bawling. It ministered to me deeply and God spoke loudly “to me” through that exercise. I heard and saw just what I needed at that moment.
You just never know what is going to minister to someone. Be careful what you say about others, especially your pastors. If people are following the leading of the Holy Spirit they are ministering to someone, it just might not be you. Or it could be you, just not at that moment.
Has something unusual ministered to you? I'd love to hear about it. If you don't want to comment here email me.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:29-32
Friday, August 22, 2008
My 100th* post will include:
• Out of Deep Waters blog carnival sneak peak and launch date
• PRIZES! PRIZES! PRIZES!
• A list of future post topics
• A new look
*My 100th post will not immediately follow the 99th because I will be taking a blog break for an undetermined amount of time. When I resume it will be with post 100!
Thanks for reading and I will miss this!
Come back tomorrow for #10 - Mister Rogers & the Holy Spirit
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
1Except the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; except the Lord keeps the city, the watchman wakes but in vain. 2 It is vain for you to rise up early, to take rest late, to eat the bread of [anxious] toil--for He gives [blessings] to His beloved in sleep.
My friend shared this verse with me when I told her about this.
3 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.
The Lord has reminded me of this over and over again.
4 As arrows are in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth.
My friend shared this verse with me when I told her I was pregnant.
An arrow is a sharp stick that a bow can shoot. A soldier with many arrows is happy; so is a man with many children. They will give him help to fight his enemies.
5 HAPPY, BLESSED AND FORTUNATE is the man whose quiver is filled with them! They will not be put to shame when they speak with their adversaries [in gatherings] at the [city's] gate.
Two friends, separately, have given me this verse when I told them I was pregnant.
Obviously, the Lord has much to say to me right now in Psalm 127, so I think I will REST here a while.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
• Are you crazy?
• Another one?
• Your gonna have your hands full
• How old are you?
There have been positive responses too, that have far outweighed those mentioned above, but the negative ones really surprised me and led to this post. Thank you to those who have blessed us and this baby and have shared in our joy and excitement for the new life we are expecting.
The bible says, “Children are a gift and a blessing from the Lord” and I do not admit to having revelation of all that meant after my first child, but as my three have grown, wow…it is life-giving! So, if they are a gift and a blessing from the Lord, why would I not be thrilled? In nine months I get to unwrap a present from my Daddy - a Daddy who loves me with an everlasting love and gives perfect gifts!
My youngest daughter's name is Kaira, which means "God’s opportune time for something to happen" (from the Greek kairos). Maybe that is when it clicked for me, when I got pregnant with her, that it was God’s timing - not mine. It is the same now.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” is used by Christians everywhere for weight loss, recovery and a host of other issues, why don’t we use it for pregnancy and childrearing? I CAN do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me!
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
My intention and expectation this weekend is to PRAISE HIM! I heard this song Sunday at church and it made my spirit soar. It truly is the cry of my heart! I will leave you with this…
Lord of Lords by Hillsong
Come back Sunday for a big and exciting announcement!
To worship You Jesus Is my sole desire
For this very heart You have shaped for Your pleasure
Purposed to lift Your Name higher
Here in surrender
In pure adoration
I enter Your courts With an offering of praise
I am Your servant Come to bring You glory
As is fit for the work of Your hands
[Chorus 1:]Now unto the Lamb
Who sits on the throne
Be glory and honour and praise
All of creation resounds with the song
Worship and praise Him
The Lord of lords
Spirit now living
And dwelling within me
Keep my eyes fixed
Ever on Jesus' face
Let not the things of this world
Ever sway me I'll run 'til I finish the race
[Chorus 2:]Now unto the Lamb
Who sits on the throne
Be glory and honour and praise
All of eternity echoes the song
Worship and praise Him
The Lord of lords
You are holy
Jesus Christ Is the Lord
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Now that puts a whole different spin on “it’s all about me.” I have choices to make everyday and in every situation – bottom line – my choices reflect my heart.
The bible is clear, we have choices to make:
But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then CHOOSE for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.
CHOOSE my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold…
…Anyone who CHOOSES to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now CHOOSE life, so that you and your children may live
GOD MADE HIS CHOICE:
You did not CHOOSE me, but I CHOSE you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.
He is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
He will quiet you with his love,
He will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17
At a particularly low point one night I asked the Lord what He was singing over me? It was powerful when He answered and He did quiet me with His love. Ask Him what He is singing over you?
The song starts at 10 seconds, it is He Will Rejoice from the Glory Revealed CD.
Be blessed, your King is singing over you right now!
Click here to read an excerpt from the book Glory Revealed: How the Invisible God Makes Himself Known it is from chapter one "Glory Revealed through Quietting Love". It is amazing!
For more Then Sings My Soul Saturday, visit Amy at Signs, Miracles, and Wonders
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
From referrals on Sitemeter I can tell that most people get to my blog searching for the following (in the most to least requested order):
- “Sleep number bed replacement parts” or “my sleep number is 25” and they get this. I have often thanked the Lord for bringing so many to my blog this way and pray they will read the story and hear of His faithfulness. The post has also been picked up by Sleep Conversations by Select Comfort makers of the Sleep Number Bed…interesting, huh? God has no limits!
- “Your love is like water washing over me lyrics” and they get this. This is an awesome song, click on the link to listen if you have never heard it. You will feel His love flow like water washing over you.
- “God only helps those that help themselves” and they get this. That was a lie I believed for longer than I would care to admit and I hope people find truth and freedom in my words.
The blogosphere - a mighty new weapon!
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 2 Corinthians 10:4
For when the world with all its earthly wisdom failed to perceive and recognize and know God by means of its own philosophy, God in His wisdom was pleased through the foolishness of preaching [salvation, procured by Christ and to be had through Him], to save those who believed (who clung to and trusted in and relied on Him). 1 Corinthians 1:21
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Thank you for the calls, emails and prayers since my last post. Due to the response I am sensing I did not convey the Hope I was experiencing at the time in the midst of the situation. The circumstances are what they are, but God is SO much bigger! He has shown Himself strong.
There really is no way to describe what has been happening except to say “REVIVAL”. I have not been under a tent, gone to nightly meetings or even visited Lakeland, but I can tell you without a doubt I am experiencing REVIVAL. God has poured out His Spirit on me and I am changed. So, if the situation sounded hopeless, I apologize – I know (intimately) the source of my Hope. I do not want my inability to articulate the goodness and faithfulness of God to minimize it in any way.
The first definition of REVIVAL on dictionary.com is: restoration to life, consciousness, vigor, strength, etc. So, I would say "Yes, it is definitely REVIVAL!"
Saturday, August 2, 2008
This sums up my week:
At the cross You beckon me
You draw me gently to my knees, and I am
Lost for words, so lost in love,
I’m sweetly broken, wholly surrendered
For more Then Sings My Soul Saturday, visit Amy at Signs, Miracles, and Wonders
Monday, July 28, 2008
I am alone right now by His design for this season and for some reasons in my marriage I will not discuss, but I am not alone - He has sustained me. He has loved me, He has spoken to me, He has blessed me. I have a renewed Hope, He has spoken clearly and I BELIEVE Him. He has given me a promise, so now I wait, and hope and TRUST.
This morning my son, out of the blue, said, “Mommy you are the prettiest girl in the whole world.” He does not know how his words blessed a broken heart and a woman who feels everything but beautiful, especially right now. But once again God spoke to me through my child and they both spoke LIFE to me and shut the mouth of my accuser.
Out of the mouths of babes and unweaned infants You have established strength because of Your foes, that You might silence the enemy and the avenger. Psalm 8:2 (Amplified)
Nursing infants gurgle choruses about you;toddlers shout the songs that drown out enemy talk,and silence atheist babble. Psalm 8:2 (The Message)
My sons words drowned out the voice of the enemy...Praise God!
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Did you know that the DNA of a caterpillar is the same as the DNA of a butterfly? Did you get that? If a scientist took the DNA of a caterpillar it would be the same as that of a butterfly. Our creator did that. Pretty amazing, huh? Same with us – He already sees us as butterflies – in fact He made us that way.
Do not misunderstand, I know we all have growing and changing to do. This post is meant as an encouragement to rest and find peace in knowing that our Heavenly Father loves us with an everlasting love just the way we are, so much so that He will not leave us this way.
These are some of the things God says about us - WE ALREADY ARE:
His Children, branches of the True Vine, friends, new creations, heirs with Christ, saints, temples of the Holy Spirit, His workmanship, partakers of His promise, citizens of heaven, overcomers
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 cor 3:18
We are REFLECTORS OF HIS GLORY!
If God has all these wonderful things to say about us, why are we so quick to believe what others say? We need to start agreeing with God instead of everyone else.
...Let God be true, and every man a liar. Romans 3:4
THIS POST IS IN HONOR AND MEMORY OF CO-PASTOR LATONJA JOHNSON WHO MADE SURE EVERYONE AROUND HER KNEW WHO AND WHOSE THEY WERE!
Free photos for websites - FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Have you fallen in love with Jesus? If not, I invite you to listen to this song with your eyes closed and experience Him and fall in LOVE.
Kari Jobe - The More I Seek You
For more Then Sings My Soul Saturday, visit Amy at Signs, Miracles, and Wonders
Friday, July 25, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
In these silhouettes of my children you can see their features, but you do not know what color their eyes are, what color their hair is or even if they are well-behaved. We made these silhouettes today and it made me think of my Christianity. Am I a silhouette Christian? Do I have distinguishing characteristics and features of Christ? Or do I lack distinct or distinctive features? Do I have a featureless interior? Or is my interior more like Christ: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control?
A silhouette is a form of artwork and I am His workmanship, but I MUST go deeper and not be satisfied with just the outline. The main feature of my interior should be Christ. The world has had enough "silhouette Christianity" they want more, they want Jesus!
Directions to make the silhouettes found here.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Growing up I learned early on that I did not have people in my life I could rely on in times of trouble. The adults in my life let me down. I went to them for help repeatedly and repeatedly they let me down. That began a lifelong sense of self-sufficiency and self-dependence. It probably served me well many times in my life, but it no longer serves me as a daughter of the Most High God who longs to be His little girl that TRUSTS Him for everything. I want to run to Him for EVERYTHING. I am not there yet because we still have this trust issue, but now I have a great understanding of what is at the root of it.
Lately I feel so distant from Him and I know He has not gone anywhere, so what is the problem? The problem is I run when things are rough or when I am really struggling with stuff because I have to take care of it myself (or so I have trained myself). I become bogged down with trying to sort things out, find a solution and make everything better. That is not what He intended. I need to run to Him now and pour my heart out to Him and TRUST that He hears me and will help me.
All night this song played over in over in my head or in my sleep – I do not know how to describe it. When I woke up it was still playing, as if the angels themselves were singing to me. Has that ever happened to you? I love it when that happens. I feel ministered to when I wake up. So, remember “weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5
I had to link this video and post the lyrics, it is that AWESOME:
Holy Holy God Almighty
Who was and is to come
God of glory You're so worthy
All the saints bow down
Holy is Your name in all the earth
Righteous are Your ways so merciful
Everything You've done is just and true
Holy Holy God are You
Holy Holy God are You
All blessing all honor belongs to You
All power all wisdom is Yours
P.S. It sounded just like this all night in my bed or in my head...!
The book will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat - I couldn't put it down. It was encouraging to me spiritually as well, a great reminder of God's faithfulness to equip us for what He has called us to do.
What do twelve-year-old dyslexic Gavin Goodfellow, prophetically-inclined Uncle Warney, newly relocated mother-daughter witches from London, and a pimply-faced New Age guru have in common? Burnt Swamp-where flames from a mysterious underground fire have been smoldering for ten years. The battle is on for dominion of the swamp and possession of an ancient diary that holds clues to release or destroy the evil that dwells beneath the surface. Will Gavin respond to the Holy Spirit and embrace his God-given calling? Or will Bea Daark and her mother unleash forces that lure Gavin and the sleepy town of Ashboro deep into bondage?
Click here to read more and enter for your chance to win...
Sunday, July 20, 2008
This is a "pass it on" award, so I had to choose seven blogs to pass it to. The blogs I chose are newer blogs to me, but have recently blessed and/or encouraged me.
- Everyday Miracles - I think my blood pressure drops every time I get to your blog - it exudes peace. To my new found friend who also sees God in everything, ie. potty training.
- Floating in Winter Creek - Because you own a rice cooker and a nice one at that. Thank you for taking the time to answer all my crazy questions and for making me laugh.
- Life and Love in the Rose Cottage - Thank you for not being afraid to "be real". Although we have not met in person, I trust we will soon and have tea of course. Your transparency and sharing of resources bless me tremendously.
- Meditations and Confession of a Homemaker - Because you too see writing/blogging as an act of worship and understand being "found" by the Lover of your soul.
- Mumblings of a Mommy "Monk" - From one "mommiemonk" to another you gave me new insight - thank you.
- Secrets of Orual - I like you and what you write about. Oh, and you like the Thompson Twins too - extra points for that!
- Tell Your Story Mosaic - Because you want to share publicly stories of how God saved people by His grace and were obedient to His call to do so.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
The battle that ensued in in my Spirit was agonizing. I have experienced, so much of God in the past several years that it is almost overwhelming at times, but the valleys have been as overwhelming. With the hot summer at its peak and nothing to do with three little ones under six, running a business, planning for another homeschool year, seeking the Lord about our church home and struggling in my marriage (again) - I was just wore out. Tired, lonely, sad and a host of other emotions I just wanted to check out of this “full steam ahead for you God” thing. It did not feel right, it did not sound right and I knew it was not right, but I felt out of options.
We walked into church last Sunday to Come Thou Fount and the lines they were singing were:
Prone to wander, Lord I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Is that me? Why yes it is! The next lines are what gave me hope:
Here's my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above
So, I submitted to Him again! I had to put down my self-pity carry-on and all the other luggage I was carrying around and trust. It comes back to that again. Trust Him with it. Give it to Him, every five seconds if I have to.
The neatest thing about all this is in my bible study (Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World) this week I read (pp 102-103):
I’ve found I need solitude, a daily quiet time alone with God, if I am to have any hope of keeping my center. Left to my own devices, I am fickle and ever-changing. One day I’m hot: “O Lord, I love you! Be gloried in me.” The next day I’m lukewarm: “Sorry, God, have to run.” I have found the words of the hymnist so true:
Prone to wander, Lord I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
The only way I've found to fight this wandering tendency in my life is to keep my heart centered on Christ, to keep my gaze fixed on Him. But that takes time and an act of my will. I have to be willing to make room in my life if I want to experience the Better Part.
It turns out I’m not alone!
No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Joshua 1:5
Enjoy David Crowder singing Come Thou Fount
For more Then Sings My Soul Saturday, visit Amy at Signs, Miracles, and Wonders
Monday, July 14, 2008
On Fourth of July my three-year old son said he wanted to use the potty at Arby’s of all places, so I took him and nothing, but I did the over exaggerated “good job” and the happy potty dance to encourage him. When we got home he disappeared and called out for me, guess where he was? In the bathroom! He had successfully “gone” in the potty. We went out the next day and bought him Diego and Cars underwear to seal the deal. He has been successfully (most of the time) using the potty. It was that easy!
Today he was playing with his drawing board and told me he wrote his name, so I walked over to see his version of writing his name, this is what he did:
He wrote his name! I did not teach him to write his name A-N-N-A-I-S. I receive these as gifts of God’s grace.
I have a husband, three children, I homeschool and run a small business, so God extended His grace to me in these areas that usually require much training and teaching. You see my spirit is heavy these days for many reasons that I am sorting out with my Daddy and I do not have the energy to potty train or teach handwriting and God knows that! He makes provisions and He does that through His grace.
Below is a monologue that Israel Houghton does in his song I’m Still Standing (but by the Grace of God). How many times do we say, “by the grace of God”? It is habitual for some people, but we need to know that it really is true.
I’m still standing, but by the grace of God
I feel the need to explain something
This is not I’m still standing and I barely made it and I crawled into the building
Just pray for me brother and nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen kind of standing
When I was a kid I had one of those things that you could punch it and it’d go down and it would pop right back up because it was weighted on the bottom
That would preach wouldn’t it?
So, this kind of still standing is
He’s hit me with his best shot
Life has poured all it could on me
And I got to bounce back in my spirit
So, today I am still standing, my son uses the potty and writes his name…but by the GRACE of God because I'm weighted on the bottom. I am extremely thankful and I WILL bounce back in my spirit!