Friday, January 31, 2014

Sword fight

A little word about yesterday's post before moving on to today's topic: When I talk about putting your faith in God and His Word, I am NOT saying you use the Bible like a spell book. There is a difference between trusting God and His promises versus trusting in the words alone. God wants us to trust His character and He even tells us to repeat back to Him promises He has given us. But repeating those words over and over like they are a magic incantation has no more power than crossing your fingers or exclaiming, "Expelliarmus!"

Now, moving on…

Following yesterday's post, I have a challenge for you. This week let's practice swinging our swords. Ephesians 6:17 compares the Bible to a sword of the Spirit, meaning we are to use it as an offensive weapon when we are attacked. When Satan tries to steal your hope, joy, focus, peace, identity, etc., you are to say back to him God's promises. When other people try to heap shame on you, counterattack their lies with God's truths. When you yourself begin to doubt God or what He says about you, say to yourself what God says about who you are.

Here are some practical promises to get you started. If you are facing fears and attacks in an area not listed below, feel free to comment, contact me on Facebook or consult numerous books about praying God's promises ( has tons of books on their site). You can also use as a quick online reference.

For this exercise to work, though, you must be consistent. Don't let lies seep into your spirit or mind at any time. As soon as you feel yourself questioning God, His character, or His promises, swing that sword of yours and fight back with never-failing promises of God. Put your faith in Him and not in the lies of this world!

Facing fear?
Perfect love casts our fear (1 John 4:18)
Be strong and courageous, do not fear (2 Chron. 32:7)
If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:37)

Worried about money?
Don't worry about providing clothes or food for yourself; God has you covered. (Matt. 6:25-34)
God has deep pockets and endless resources (Ps. 50:10)
Ask and it will be given to you, more so than a good father who gives to his children. (Lk. 11:9-13)

Feeling worthless?
You are made in God's image (Gen. 1:27)
God knows all about you and has known you before you were born (Ps. 139)
You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps. 139:14)

Worried your past (or present) mistakes are too great for God's mercies?
You are not your past mistakes. You are a new creation with a new beginning. (2. Cor. 5:17)
God forgives all the time no matter how great your sin. (1 John 1:9)
God remembers your sins no more. (Is. 43:25)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Says Who?

Mike and I last night began to recount the number of bad reports/bad predictions we have heard in our 12 years of marriage:

* we would never have children (spoken from a former ob/gyn)
* we would never afford to adopt or do fertility treatments (spoken by us)
* I had miscarried Addie at 6 wks (spoken by ob gyn)
* I will miscarry Addie within a month due to damaged placenta (spoken by neonatologist)
* triplets will be born with numerous disabilities (spoken by ob gyn)
* Mike will not be able to find a job in Jacksonville (spoken by former boss)
* McKenna is showing signs of down syndrome (spoken by neonatologist)
* McKenna tested positive for serious complex immune deficiency syndrome (spoken by NICU doctor)
* I will not be able to handle caring for all 4 kids (spoken by me)
* having multiples causes more than half of marriages to end in divorce (spoken by multiples support group)

Well, thankfully none of these horrendous predictions came to be. And in the process we have learned to train our ears to truth and not the opinions of others (or even the opinions of our own doubts).

We have found there will always be people who are eager to share their negative predictions, dire comments, doom and gloom prophecies. I choose to listen to words of hope, instead, and these words have proven true.

I have never seen the righteous forsaken. (Ps. 37:25)

I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Ps. 139:14)

He will rebuke the devourer for our sakes. (Mal. 3:11)

I am accepted in the beloved. (Eph. 1:6)

I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. (Ps. 27:13)

So whose report will you choose to listen to?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Ode to Addie

Addie is at that age where we finally can have fun, enlightening conversations, and when she sometimes teaches me a thing or two. Here are just a few lessons I've learned from my tender-hearted, precocious 4 year old:

* faith
Addie has prayed for days that she would awake to snow on Wednesday. I dreaded having to tell her that the weather had changed and we would receive only rain. Her response? "That's ok. I'll just keep praying everyday until we get snow."

* forgiveness
There are days I go to Addie 2 or 3 times to confess my anger and ask for her forgiveness. She always readily gives it, but a few days ago she tacked on this statement: "Yes, I forgive you. You're the best mommy."

* the joy in pretend
One of our favorite bedtime routines is to make up stories starring princesses, Peter Rabbit and herself. Sometimes the stories stretch over 4 nights; sometimes it's just a quick blurb. I had forgotten how fun it can be to imagine and pretend to be in a whole new world (que music).

* loyalty
Everyone is Addie's best friend - even friends she hasn't seen in years. She will mention a boy or girl she hasn't seen in years, or maybe someone she met briefly at the mall, and ask me questions about how i think they are doing now. For her current friends, they are mentioned in her nightly prayers - which can last several minutes.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I choose you

Last week was a terrible week (as expressed earlier). Sadly, it wasn't the first nor will it be the last. Seems that no matter how hard I try, I still struggle with feeling overwhelmed, stressed and short-tempered. Last week's breakdown ended with me crying in my closet trying to think of a way to tell Mike that I can no longer mother 4 kids and we will need to send 1 to my parents (don't worry, I was only half serious).

A few days later I still was feeling broken. The whispers kept repeating themselves
     You're too weak
             You're a bad mommy
                      You're a failure
That Sunday I heard our pastor speak about what our response should be when others heap shame and contempt on us. He related that there are times when such words and judgment simply flow off our backs because we are secure in who we are and do not waiver because of someone else's opinion. There are other times, however, when such comments pool in our spirits until we start to believe them ourselves and become affected by them. I realized that's where I was.

During the prayer time I crumpled to the ground and simply cried. I couldn't even voice a prayer because I still felt too unworthy to ask for anything. And in the midst of my brokenness I heard God say, "I choose you." I had heard God say this years ago when I first felt Him reveal Himself to me and I chose to follow Him. At the time, His promise meant that He chose me out of darkness and into His kingdom to become His daughter. This time, however, the words were spoken as a promise of forgiveness and acceptance.

I choose you.

I choose you today and always. I choose you when you are a broken mess. I choose you when you feel like no one else will. I choose you because I love you no. matter. what.

Wow. What love is this?

Over and over this past week God has been reminding me of the Romans verse that says, "we are accepted in the beloved." Friends, don't you see? We are valued and loved, even at our worse, by a God who knows you intimately.

Time and again He says, "I choose you."

Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Terrible, No-Good Day

When I say my kids would be better off if I was passed out drunk, what I mean is:

* I realize most of what I've said today has been harmful, and I'd rather be incapacitated than hurting those I love

* I wish I could clock out for a few hours and not have any repercussions

* I just spent 10 minutes looking for my herd only to discover one sucking on pee-soaked toilet paper fresh from the toilet, one smearing chocolate on her face and hair, and one toppling a DVD shelf

* I wish for just a moment I could be not responsible - or, as my father would say, irresponsible - for four curious, active, precious children

* I wish I could hit reset on the day and love my kids better

Friday, January 24, 2014

Walk This Way

I have often heard the question, "What are you believing God for?" and my mind usually comes up blank. Sure, I pray for my family's protection and health, and I'm asking God to help us find a house to buy in the summer. But as for fervent, sweat-filled prayers where I wrestle with God over something, I'm just not there.

Reading the book of Galatians, though, I'm struck by how much my life is governed by faith.

It takes faith to know God is who He says He is, and that when I pray I'm not just talking to air.

It takes faith to know I am who God says I am, and I'm not just a worthless, messed up person.

It takes faith to know God is in me, and He is greater than the pressures I face.

It takes faith to know that as broken as this world appears, God is still God.

So this morning's revelation is that as followers of Jesus, we do walk by faith each and every time we choose to believe God versus believe the world. Walk on, my friend!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Mommy Night In

Last night at dinner my husband suggested I take the next night off for a "mommy night out." Splendid idea!

All day I pondered whether I would go see a movie, or perhaps lounge in a local eatery while sipping tea and reading. Or maybe I'd find a quiet store and window shop.

The next day flew - especially after lunch when we loaded all 4 munchkins in our van for an impromptu visit to our city zoo. We had a blast comparing animals to our own herd of kids (we found a gorilla that very nearly matched Josiah), but by time the zoo closed we were tired and cold. We rushed home, orchestrated dinner, cleaned up, switched to pajamas and wearily dumped 3 bodies into bed. By this time the thought of leaving my warm home for any outing seemed more exhausting than rejuvenating.

Thus an idea was born: in house spa night!

Mike agreed to wrangle our eldest in bed, thus freeing me up to soak in a bath while listening to soft music accompanied by the sound of crashing waves. I drank a glass of ruby red wine and read a young adult book. Bliss. I then did my nails, slathered on lotion, performed a self facial and emerged scrubbed, polished and relaxed.

Sometimes staying home can be more relaxing than cavorting around in the cold, especially after a rambunctious day of herding our own tribe of monkeys.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

New Cover Design for a Great Book

I have fallen in love with the Imdalind Series of books. I guess it's technically Young Adult fiction (don't judge) but Rebecca Ethington is an amazingly good writer. She does a great job of transporting you to a reality that involves magic, ancient histories and ultimate battles of good v. bad. Currently there are three books in her series; the fourth will be released next month. Just enough time to catch up!

Barnes & Noble

Joclyn Despain has been marred by a brand on her skin. She doesn't know why the mark appeared on her neck, but she doesn't want anyone to see it, including her best friend Ryland, who knows everything else about her. The scar is the reason she hides herself behind baggy clothes, and won't let the idea of kissing Ryland enter her mind, no matter how much she wants to.
The scar is the reason she is being hunted.

If only she knew that she was.

If only she had known that the cursed stone her estranged father sent for her 16th birthday would trigger a change in her. Now, she is being stalked by a tall blonde man, and is miraculously throwing her high school bully ten feet in the air.

Joclyn attempts to find some answers and the courage to follow her heart. When Ryland finds her scar; only he knows what it means, and who will kill her because of it.