How to Truly Live Wherever God Has You

August 6, 2015

Why do you think we struggle in our Christian walk with the Lord whether things are good or bad? I find that when things are going well I tend to struggle with feelings of guilt that I am not suffering or sacrificing enough for Christ. I tend to not let myself enjoy the blessings that He brings. Or if I am in a season of rest that I should be doing more. But then when things are hard, and trials are upon us, we have a tendency to feel we are being punished or we must have done something to deserve it. That God doesn’t love or care about us or our situation. I know it is the enemy trying to steal our joy and blessings or make us feel that the hard times won’t end or tells us that either God has abandoned us in the trials or that we must be continually suffering if we are truly in His will and want to please Him. If you struggle with these same two extremes as I do then I want to share with you what I discovered in His word today in reading Psalm 23. I have read that passage countless times and have even memorized it but never saw the truth He revealed to me today.

The Lord is my shepherd, I have all that I need.”

God is all we need and when we know Him and are in relationship with Him we have all our needs satisfied. Whether good times or bad times He is enough.

He lets me rest in green meadows, He leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength.

God leads us into seasons of rest and peace, of beauty and joy, of fruitfulness and blessing. Those times are intended to renew our strength physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. He loves us and leads us into these places for our enjoyment. Realizing they come from Him as a gift and for His glory.

He guides me along the right paths bringing honor to His name

God directs my life as I live in full surrender to Him, so I don’t need to be fearful of missing what He has for me or not using my life for His glory. If it is my heart’s desire to life my life for His glory I can trust that He will have me exactly where I need to be whether a stream or a desert.

Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.

God is the one who allows trials. Please note it says “when” not “if”. The truth is that those hard times are part of God’s plan for us to either grow or be a witness to others and most times both. The important thing is to see is that we need not fear because He is with us every step of the way. He will protect and comfort us in the difficult times. We are not alone or abandoned, and He will lead us out of the desert in His timing.

You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil.

Our enemy, Satan knows that God is preparing a feast for us in eternity and giving us blessings now. He doesn’t like it and is therefore trying daily to steal some of our blessings and the honor our lives can bring to God. But ultimately we know who wins, each day we can take heart in knowing Jesus had overcome the world and through the power of the Holy Spirit we can too.

My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life.

When we consider all these promises we realize we are most blessed. We have overflowing blessings in our life. Through that reality we can be confident(Surely) in whatever lies ahead to know that God’s goodness and love will continue to be with us and PURSUE us all our life because we belong to Him. If He is for us so who can be against us.

And I will live the house of the Lord forever.”

It ends with the truth we all need to remember. We will be with the Lord forever, no matter what happens today, tomorrow or in this life we will be with the Lord. What more do we need than that. That is why we can say “The Lord is my shepherd I have all that I need”.

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It Is Through Suffering That We Discover How To Really Live

November 19, 2014

I’ve always believed I had a strong faith in the Lord. He has proven himself to me countless times in my life and I knew His promises in His word are true. Funny how what you believe about yourself can change when tested in the storms of life.

I have had the opportunity of leading a group of young moms every Tuesday as part of a larger group of over a hundred women in our weekly women’s ministry at church. My co-leader was a friend of mine, Fran. Fran has a servant’s heart, loves everyone she meets with encouraging words, acts of service but also would speak the truth when we needed to hear it. I’ve learned so much from having her by my side mentoring these young women. This semester she had not been able to be there as much as she had been battling stage 4 cancer for several months and was in treatment. Our prayers have been for her full healing and her trust was in the Lord that He would do what was best. Even through her sickness she never focuses on herself. I admire her strong faith even in life’s toughest storms.

As I was on the way to take my mom to the doctor for some involuntary jerking in her legs, the leader of the women ministry had called me to ask me to share with the entire ministry what God had been teaching me. I gladly told her I would and would pray about what God wanted me to share. Little did I know what would be happening that day and in the coming weeks that would set in motion events that taught me the value of three things that will define our life not only as we live it but also when it comes to an end on this earth.

My mom, who has not been able to care for herself for years now has been under my care as her legal guardian. She has lived in an Assisted Living Facility for sometime but able to do her own personal care, and have pretty clear conversations with a few forgetful moments. She started to decline a few months ago. This shaking was only a piece of the puzzle that something was wrong. Our visit to the doctor landed us in the Emergency Room as her symptoms quickly got worse in a matter of hours. Once there she had a Grand Mal (Massive) seizure and was admitted.

The next week proved challenging as no one could give diagnosis, doctors were refusing to follow through or even take her case and ultimately medicine was to blame for the Myoclonus (shaking) and seizure but no clear diagnosis for the confusion that had gotten worse rapidly. She no longer recognized her family, couldn’t talk clearly or even eat without choking. In addition, Fran had been hospitalized and was also unable to talk, her health was failing. Five days passed with no answers and I began to become increasingly anxious and losing faith.

As I was driving to the hospital the morning of the sixth day the Lord made me realize that I was in essence holding my breath waiting for a doctor, diagnosis, medicine or my own efforts to rescue my mother instead of trusting in the ONLY ONE who can rescue her. He spoke to my heart and said “ I AM YHWH, your very breath is ordained and controlled by me. Take a deep breath and let it all go, trust Me” I did and immediately felt His peace. When I got to the hospital my mom was sitting up in her bed, bright-eyed, alert and happy to see me, as she ate her breakfast without any problems. I was shocked, elated and asked the nurses what they did, “nothing”, was their reply, no doctor, no new medicine, no diagnosis had changed her. ONLY GOD. I learned that GOD IS GOOD and that by needing Him and trusting in Him I discovered the value of FAITH. Faith that is not tested is not really faith.

My mom continued to improve daily so Thursday was to be her discharge. Before I got to the hospital that day, Fran’s daughter, who was expecting a baby girl in 5 weeks, contacted me to tell me Hospice had been called in and it would not be long. I cried, questioned and prayed. “God, we had asked you to heal her, I asked you to at least let her see her grand-daughter be born” God met me there in my ranting and sobs and said “Why do you see death as a punishment and my answer as failure”. “She is my daughter and I am calling her home, it is a reward. I AM your HOPE. This life is not the end, it is only the beginning.” My tears turned to tears of joy and praise because we do have Hope and Fran would be obtaining all she had labored for, lived for and longed for, eternity with God in Heaven. GOD IS GOOD, and I through this grief I understood the value of HOPE.

My mom’s next week after discharge was not good. I had to move her back into a Rehabilitation Hospital after days at the Assisted Living Facility proved unable to care for her safely. The day I took her to rehab she was still confused but could understand me and converse with me so I was encouraged she could get better. The next day I heard the news, my friend, Fran had gone to be with the Lord. A few days later we would be celebrating her life at her memorial. I went to see my mom the day of the memorial and she was the worst I had seen her so far. She did not know me, could not speak and had an emptiness behind her eyes that scared me. I knew at that moment that I was losing my mom and I was heart-broken with grief. On the way to the memorial I struggled with the frailty of life. But Fran, even though she had laid down her earthly body was still being used by God to speak truth to me. I had been clearing off space on my phone by deleting text messages when I came to Fran’s. I just could not delete her words, so I began to read them starting with this:

May 21
Hi Luisel,
Just left the doctor’s office and I have stage 4 pancreatic cancer. I will have to start chemo next week. The doctor says my survival rate is 30%. But the LORD KNOWS.

August 16
Hi Luisel,
I am praying for your family as you take care of your mom….It know its hard being a caregiver for a parent. But it’s a commandment with a promise. Love you and think of you often. I will not be there this week as I have chemo. I know this study is going to be awesome, I read the introduction and God answered a lot of questions about being strong through my chemo. Please send me the prayer needs so I can be praying for everyone. All blessings you way

September 15
Hey Luisel,
So glad I saw you last week. Glad we have some new girls. Please send me prayer requests so I can pray for them. ( then she mentioned those who she was praying for and wanting updates)
Hope to see you next week. God willing

October 9
Good morning, the report on my pancreas came back that it has grown…At first I was discouraged but realized it could be the enemy making me lose faith. God does have the last word. I am so thankful to have known all of you in my life. All blessings your way.

October 29 _ Last Text
Moffat Cancer center said what my doctor was doing was the next step, after that only studies left. God knows whats best for us. I love you too.

In all of that struggle she trusted the Lord, she encouraged others and her love for Him and everyone was evident. At her memorial her children, grand children, friends, husband all said the same thing. She lived her faith each day and lived to love, serve and encourage others. She was only 57 yet impacted everyone’s life for eternity. Her grand children, all under 12 years old, spoke of the way she made them feel loved, special and yet taught them truth and faith. As I was sitting there I realized I never knew what Fran did for a career, what kind of house she lived in or car she drove. All those worldly successes did not matter at the end, just the impact you make on those God placed in your life. Her Faith, Hope and Love were evident. Life is but a vapor, but a breath, like the grass that withers in the sun. We, like Fran, need to live each day with intention, loving God and people while we can. Giving hope and encouragement and appreciating the moments we are given.

I took my mom to the doctor today, she received the “diagnosis” we were waiting to hear. She has moderate Alzheimer’s, she will be slipping away slowly. But today I am grateful because when I saw her she knew who I was. I said “ I love you mom” She replied “I know you do, you take such good care of me, I love you too” To me that was a gift I will cherish because it could be the last time I hear those words. Life is precious, love is a gift and the legacy I leave is the only thing that will last.

Last year this time, Fran would have never guessed she would be with the Lord today, but none of us know when our time and work here on earth will end. “What legacy am I leaving?” is what keeps coming to my mind since. My desire is to live out what God has taught me these last few weeks. To have Faith in Him, Never forget the Hope we have if we have placed our faith in Jesus, who died for our sins and rose again to conquer sin and death, so that one day we too shall live for eternity with Him. And to Love God and people every moment we are given. The bible says that only these three remain, Faith, Hope and Love but the greatest of these is LOVE.

I do not think I would understand the value of these gifts without having gone through the pain and then realized my need for them. There is a quote by Ugo Bassi that says “Measure your life by loss instead of gain…loves strength stands strongest in love’s sacrifice” He is right it is in our need that we gain the greatest gifts of Faith, Hope and Love. As the Psalmist said “ Taste and see that the Lord is good”. We would not taste if we were full, it is only in our wanting that we discover that GOD IS GOOD and that Faith, Hope and Love are a gift.

“What do you do?” I’m a Full-time Mom!

October 1, 2014

FAMILY TREE

I have to be honest that I do struggle with the question “So what do you do for a career, Or “a living”, or worst yet ” all day?” Whichever way they ask I inwardly cringe. I’ve always thought if I could come up with a creative way to inflate what I do than I’d feel better. “I’m the operations manager of a family business” . Or “I’m in manufacturing and distribution”. (Makings kids and sending them into the world, lol). But the reality is I still at times struggle with my career. Through the years of talking with other moms I’ve realized most moms do.

At times I’ve doubted my contribution to the family or society because I’ve chosen my career to be a full-time mom of five. My husband graciously tells me that he needs me to be home and managing our family. That is how I can truly help him be successful at his career. Even with that I feel that doubt creeping in that I should do more. I dont think Im the only one, so for those of you who are struggling today with this career of motherhood I want to encourage you.

I have been a stay at home mom for 26 years. I now have eight children through marriage of 3 of my children and four grandkids and counting. I have the joy of watching as God has gifted and called my adult children and is using them for great things and seeing as they pour that into their children. What a blessing it has been so I have to shout “IT IS WORTH IT!!!” Worth every minute of sleepless nights, money short months, sacrificed personal time, spending freezes, limited assets and giving up the “success” as the world sees it. There is no greater privilege then devoting your life into pouring truth and character traits like faith, integrity, love, compassion, discipline, self-control, endurance and courage into your children’s lives. All of which are needed by a mom and taught but mostly caught by example on a day by day, life on life experience. What a noble cause, why would you entrust the shaping of your children to anyone else.

For years I’ve felt the pressure from society perception that to be a “successful” woman I had to have monetary value or prestige and that mothering was to be an afterthought. I also never believed that we could do anything to change that perception. I was wrong. We can change society’s perception of the value of being a full-time mom by how we view and believe in our career. When we tell other women the blessings that come from it, the impact we make, one by one we will begin to “turn the tide”. When we raise children who see the value of having had a full-time mom they will in turn be that mom to their children. And most importantly, we are fulfilling our calling given by God. We are most blessed to be moms and if you are lucky enough to do it full-time, embrace it with joy, prayer, wisdom and God’s strength. And on those days when you doubt your calling (those days will come) hang on moms. Keep pressing to the finish line. If we do not grow weary in well-doing we will be able to experience the joy of 2 John 4. “There is no greater joy then to see my children walking in truth”. Without His truth all the money and fame in the world will never satisfy for apart from Him we are without hope of eternity and real life now.

So hold your heads up high the next time someone says “So what do you do for a living? ” and say “I’ve got the greatest job ever I get to spend all my time and effort into what I love, my family, I’m a full-time mom”.

“Turning the tide” together ! GO MOM!

The Ultimate Challenge – Selflessness

March 14, 2010

Selflessness

It really isn’t some new revelation just a simple truth that most of us forget (especially me). When we look at the life of Christ especially the moment He was on the cross we see a life lived “Selflessly”.  A while back in our small group time we talked about the analogy of Christ’s forgiveness towards others in light of what He has suffered and endured. A friend of mine asked a question that had caused me to ask God the same one. How could He say ” Father forgive them for they know not what they are doing”, and genuinely mean it? God immediately gave me the answer. One we all probably know and realize but have not taken it to heart.

1. His eyes were never on himself, they were always on others.
2. He knew and understood the BIG PICTURE- God is in control of all of it.

Because His eyes were never on himself, their insults, physical pain, betrayal, mockery and lies were not taken personally. He could genuinely love others because He never thought of His own needs, His own desires, His own wants and His own rights.

Because He knew and understood the BIG PICTURE- God’s ultimate plan, and that God was in control, He knew that these people did not understand what they were doing, they thought they had control. Yet God knew they would do it, and allowed it and used it. So Jesus took pity on them for their lack of understanding- that is why I think He said “for they know not what they are doing”. He knew that no matter what happened to Him- the good, bad and ugly was all part of the plan God had for Him and others. Because He was selfless He truly could love them, forgive them, and pray for them. He could see things clearly and those little annoyances in life that we spend so much energy on
really did not matter to Him.

As I begin each day, I ask God to empty me of myself and fill me with His Spirit. I know He is willing to do that, but am I willing to act on it? It is easy to say but much harder to do. I thought about how Jesus responded. How His eyes were on others not Himself and how He knew and kept God’s plan in the forefront of all He did. I wondered, “What would happen if we could live like that. Not only in the area of forgiveness but in all we do?!”  I have to be honest, I am very selfish, my first response is for myself.  I allow little things people do, say or react to bother me. And for what purpose is all that? I know that God uses all that stuff to make me more like Him and isn’t that what I want. When I follow Jesus ‘s pattern for living I find my heart does not get hurt as easily, my mind does not think
selfish thoughts, my body does not grow weary with the stress of trying to impress others and my spirit is not discouraged. What I do find is that my heart feels love towards others, my thoughts are to give, my body is at peace and my spirit is filled with joy..

Here in lies another paradox of the faith: LIVING IN FULL SURRENDER GIVE US FREEDOM, PEACE AND JOY.  To gain your life you have to lose it. (see Matthew 10:39, 16:25; Mark 8:35; Luke 9:24, 17:33 and John 12:25.) It is no new revelation, just a simple truth: SELFLESSNESS. Join me in trying to walk the footsteps of Jesus every day. It is only by His grace and mercy that we can and when we do He does his greatest work in and through us.

Philippians 2:3” Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves”


What Can Thanksgiving Do For You?

November 7, 2009

As the Thanksgiving holiday draws near people’s thoughts turn to a time of thankfulness.  What does that really mean?  What can it do for you? And why is it important to your relationship with God?  Webster defines Thank, thankful, thanksgiving as expressing gratitude, act of rendering thanks, day set apart for rendering thanks to God for the blessings granted to our nation.  I believe having a day set apart to thank God for His blessing is good but we are missing so much if we only do that once a year.  Here are some reasons to express gratitude every day:

1. God desires our praise and thanksgiving:  Just as we desire to hear praises from others He desires it too.  How would you feel if you provided what your children needed and wanted and they never showed any gratitude for it?  You would be disappointed and feel they were ungrateful.  God is our heavenly Father and His provision is far superior than what we give our kids.  Are we, as his children showing Him gratitude?

2. God deserves our praise and thanksgiving: He is not only our Father, but our Lord and God, our Savior and King.  Let’s not be like the Israelites who took the blessings of God for granted and turned from Him.  We need to be thankful for His constant love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, provision, protection, just to name a few. What would our lives be like without those things?

3. We receive faith from our praise and thanksgiving: When we are mindful to count our many blessings, naming them one by one, we grow in our faith in God.  We begin to see how faithful God is to us and how He does take care of us.  This in turn helps us to rely on Him knowing He is in control and will do what is best for us when the trials and hard times come.

4. We receive peace from our praise and thanksgiving.  When we take the time to thank God for His goodness, we are filled with peace that passes all human understanding.  That peace only comes from a right relationship with God.  One that is strengthened by our acts of praise and thanksgiving.

Being thankful is really something we need to work at.  It is a habit we need to create.  Our sinful nature tends to always look at the worst, act selfishly and does not dwell on the good.  We must condition our minds to think as God’s Word tells us to think. When we think about those things we will turn to God in prayer, thanking him and He will give us peace.  Our first step is creating the habit of thanksgiving in our thoughts.

Philippians 4:6-9 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

Psalm 92:1-5a A psalm. A song to be sung on the Sabbath Day. It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to the Most High. It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning, your faithfulness in the evening, accompanied by the ten-stringed harp and the melody of the lyre. You thrill me, Lord, with all you have done for me! I sing for joy because of what you have done. O Lord, what great works you do!

How can we be Infinitely More thankful?: Simple steps to take.

1. Moment by Moment: We should thank God every moment as He displays His provision and blessings to us. We can do this by a simple “Thank you God for working this out, or giving me the blessing of ___, .  We can do it in song to Him as we praise His name.

Psalm 69:30 I will praise God’s name in song and glorify Him with thanksgiving.

2. Daily: Each night before bed we can write down all the things God has blessed us with that day, what we are thankful for and how we saw God work in our lives.  Use a spiral notebook as a “Daily Blessings” book to remind for ourselves and  our family of His goodness to us.  Why do this at night? You will go to bed thinking of good thoughts instead of all you did not get done, not have or any other negative thought.  Which will help you sleep better and wake up in a better mood.  (there actually was a study done on this– having people write down things they were thankful for each night– these participants claimed to have better sleep, woke rested, had better attitudes in general and were healthier)

Colossians 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful

3.Weekly: Spend time at church praising God for His goodness.  Share with others what God has done for you. Take out one day a week as a day of remembrance of what God has done for you in the past, especially this past week. Have family members share what God has taught them this past week and what they are most grateful for.

Psalm 100:4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.

4. Monthly: Take your planner out, set apart the same day each month for a year & write that day in your planner for the year.  (example:1st Sunday of each month).   Spend an hour a month just in time of praise to God.  Go outside, enjoy nature, find a quiet place, reflect on His goodness to your and your family.  Sing songs of praise to Him.  Read your “daily blessings book”.  Recount the ways you are thankful to God.  Note where God has brought you in a month and write it down. Spend time in His word as He fills you with His Truth.

Colossians 3:15-16 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God

5. Yearly: On Thanksgiving you can have a clearer picture of the magnitude of His goodness to you.  Take time around the dinner table for each person to express what they are thankful for this year.  Our family writes them down on index cards and we save them year to year.  We all share this years then we review the past years cards.  It is exciting to see how God is blessing our family.  And to devote this time to Him in thanksgiving.

Psalm 78:4 We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, His power, and the wonders He has done.

When you try these steps you will be surprised at how He blesses you Infinitely More than you realized. And in return you will develop and attitude of gratitude for all He has done, which will give you a peace in the trials to come and a faith that endures. Any time we spend in recounting His faithfulness to us and expressing thanksgiving to Him we will be blessed. And Infinitely More thankful!

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you , Luisel

 

 

Living with Expectancy

October 19, 2009

On September 14th, I was just finishing a year long project of reading through the entire bible, as I ended with Revelations 22 I noticed something Jesus said three times.  Any time God’s word says something more than once in the same chapter I take note of it even more.  In Revelation 22:7, 12, and 20 Jesus said, “I am coming soon”.

Rev 22:7 “Look, I am coming soon! Blessed are those who obey the words of prophecy written in this book.”

Rev 22:12-13 “Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”

Rev 22:20a “He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!”

I discovered that the word ” soon” meant “at any moment”.  I knew what that meant, for I had been living in “at any moment” mode the past two weeks as I had been joyfully expecting the arrival of my newest grand daughter, Kira. Each day I called my daughter asking her if it was time, prayed to God for her to come safely and quickly, talked to everyone about her coming and was ready at a moments notice to drop everything when she arrived.  That is when God revealed to me that He wants me to be as excited about Jesus’ return.  Just like a pregnant woman grows tired of waiting and is eager for labor to begin so that she can be freed from the weight and the strain of pregnancy, and enjoy of the arrival of her new baby, God wants us to feel the same about Jesus’ return.   I should be tired and eager for this world of sin to be removed, and this flesh to be freed from sin.  I should be joyfully wanting my Savior’s arrival to come soon.  This really convicted me because even though I would say I am eager for His return, my life does not show it.  For if I were eager, it would consume my thoughts, attitudes and actions just like Kira’s arrival did.  I would be more intentional with my finances, time and words and be dedicating my life to telling others about His arrival.

1 Thessalonians 5:2-4 For you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.

God help me to despise sin as you do, to desire to be freed from the pull of this world and to long for your return as a woman longs for her day of delivery.  So that I can really mean it when I say “come Lord Jesus!”

Rev 22:20b “Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!”

PS- Kira Grace Schartner was born the next day, September 15, 20091 month2

Finding True Contentment

October 17, 2009

Contentment- Most women struggle with that more than anything, I believe it is one of the strongholds Satan uses on us here in America.  I did not realize how much of a problem it was until I went to India and then returned home. In India and many third world countries they struggle with not having enough food, we struggle with having too much food, they are content with having one or two sets of clothes and shoes, while we have sometimes 2-3 full wardrobes (winter and summer clothes) and yet we still buy more.  Why is it this way in America? Why aren’t we content with the many things we have compared to other countries lack of?  We set ourselves up for failure with all the advertising we are bombarded with.  It is geared towards making us discontent with what we have and wanting more, they bank on it literally.  What would happen to the retail business if we were content with what we had, or the banks if we only bought what we had money for and did not use credit?  They would fail.  The reality is that we really don’t need it but want it.

I think we as women can deal with discontentment often if we are not careful.  For me it hits when I realize our month outlasts our money and there seems to be no hope for change, or when I hear that someone gets that wood floor I have been coveting for over a year, or when I feel that I am missing out on life by being home with my kids.  How about you?  Is it sin? Lets take a look at God’s word and see:

Exodus 20:17 You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

Hebrews 13:5-6 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

James 14:1-3 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

God’s Word says it is sin when we covet and envy what the “Jones” have.  Not to mention it attacking our husband’s sense of self worth when we always want more.

So how can we refocus our thoughts and find contentment in what we have? By Focusing on what really matters:

  1. What am I living for?-Am I living for the things of this world or eternal things?We have to remember that this is not our home-ETERNITY WITH GOD IS
  2. What am I here for? Where am I spending my time, what am I passionate about? We need to be making a difference in ways that last.
  3. What is my hearts desire for my children? Do I care more about my children’s financial success or spiritual success. My desire is to raise kids who know and serve God, who in turn raise their children to do the same.  What about you?   (For help on that go to www.ONEMILLIONARROWS.com)

This life can be hard and at times we feel at the end of our rope. Trust me, when we focus on those three things all earthly things pale in comparison.  Some of you have given up the nicer home, car and career for the privilege of being home with your kids.  Yes, you did hear me right, PRIVILEGE to influence your children’s life each day for eternity.  Some of you envy those who stay home,  instead you need to make the most of where God has you and the time you have for your kids.  Be purposeful in influencing your kids for Christ.  You are their best mentor, and as such you must not only teach them the truth, but train then in it (every day life situations) and live it yourself (proof).  The time will be gone before your know it, this time will pass and what you teach them now will last. So trust me when discontentment creeps in, when the TV advertises things you have to have or so you think, or the bank offers incredible deals on loans or credit card rates, REFOCUS on the ETERNITY, count your blessings and see what God does in your heart and life.  He does promise to give you your hearts desire when you trust him.  Remember IF HE DID NOT MEET IT YOU DID NOT NEED IT.

Philippians 4:11-13 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

1 Timothy 6:6-8 But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.

What is true contentment? Just look at a baby who sleeps peacefully after nursing from mom.  The baby has total faith that mom will fill her every need, so she rests in peace.  Do you trust God that way? When you do you will find contentment. Not the temporary earthly contentment that never lasts but TRUE CONTENTMENT.

Proverbs 19:23
The fear of the LORD leads to life: Then one rests
content, untouched by trouble

God Bless, Luiselblog11

What I Do as a Mom Matters

October 12, 2009

6332_96085477665_562107665_2196777_7361127_nI have had many times in my mothering where I have wondered, “Am I making a difference with my life?” All I feel I do is clean, correct, carpool and clean some more.  I want my life to count and to know that my efforts are not in vain.  However, in society’s eyes I do not rank very high.  I do not have a career that brings in money or success.  I am not out saving the world.  I am and have been a stay at home mom for 20 years.  During those years, I had reality checks to help me stay focused on the task ahead.  My first one came when my first baby, Jenny, was about 8 months old.  We had been at the mall shopping and I passed a pet store.  I thought she would like to see the animals so I pushed her stroller in.  As she caught a glimpse of the fish in the tank, her face lit up with excitement.  She giggled and reached out her hand trying to grasp the fish behind the tank.  Then it hit me, this was the first time she ever saw a fish.  I know it may sound trivial but it hit me that Jenny came with a clean slate and I had a great part in what she was taught, what she experienced, and she was exposed to.  I, as her parent, had the greatest amount of influence anyone would ever have in molding her and making her into the person God planned her to be. What I did mattered in the life of my child.  As the years went on and I had more children I would revert back to thinking, ”Am I doing anything significant with my life?”  I watched as friends excelled in their jobs, bought bigger houses and cars, contributed to society.  I was still at home, raising my children.  At times I could not wait to get to the next stage thinking life would be better. When they were babies, I could not wait until they slept through the night.  When they were toddlers, I could not wait until they were out of diapers.  When they were preschoolers, I could not wait until they were able to entertain themselves.  When they were in Elementary school, I could not wait until they were more self-sufficient.  When they were teenagers, I could not wait for them to come back to reality and think clearly.  Why was I in such a hurry as if the next stage would bring more joy?   I should have  focused in enjoying the journey instead of rushing to the destination.  What helped me change my perspective?  God blessed us with two more children eight years after having my third.  It was like starting over for us and we had not planned it.  Yet it was the best thing that could have happened to us as a family.  I learned to enjoy the journey at each stage because I had seen how fast it had gone the first time.  Our two little boys, DJ and Josh helped me stop and enjoy life.  They love nature and marvel at God’s creation, especially the moving ones of any kind.   They show no fear, especially DJ.  I have touched and carried things I never thought I would as I look at the world through their curious eyes.  Last summer we spent a week at the beach, and the boys wanted to go swimming.  I told them to stay right in front of where I sat on the shore.  As time passed Josh came out for a snack, when I finished getting it for him I looked up to check on DJ and he was not there.  My eyes searched up and down the beach and that is when I spotted him.  He was playing the water just as he had been earlier, only this time he was about 500 feet down the shoreline.  As I walked to get him, I noticed he had no clue he had drifted down the beach.  I called to him and he came running.  I said, “Son, you are not in front of me anymore, you need to keep your eyes on the shore”.  He said,” I did not know I was so far away, how did that happen?”  I told him when we do not pay attention the current takes us little by little away from where we need to be.   He returned to the water with a promise to keep focused on the shore.  As I sat back down, I realized that life could be the same way.  We can go through the motions of life and drift away from our purpose.  We need to constantly be checking our shoreline and focusing on what really matters in life before we end up drifting through life.  I committed to stay the course with my role as a mother that day and was thankful for yet another reminder of the importance of the job I have before me.  I have discovered there is a reward at the end of all this day in and day out of laboring.  My baby who loved the fish is now a married woman with two small girls of her own. What joy I feel to see my baby become a beautiful, godly woman.  She is becoming all God created her to be.  I cannot help but feel proud and grateful for having been able to play a role in shaping her into that woman.  Now I get to watch her raise her girls to do the same.  When she struggles with the same issues we all have as moms, I will be able to tell her with all certainty that it was worth every minute.  Just enjoy the journey and when life’s pull tries to cause you to drift,  keep your eyes focused on this shore that reminds us that what we do as moms matters!


Beyond Exhaustion

October 12, 2009

s562107665_1299939_279As a mother of five children, I have had many a day where my children reach the end of their physical energy and succumb to the sleep their body desperately needs.  Many times it was in humorous places like the bath, or over their dinner plate or while returning from an outing in the car.  My older daughter Jenny managed to slip into sleep while at the zoo.  She was viewing the animals and I could tell she was tired so I asked her “Jenny do you want to take a nappy? “ She said, “No I not tired!”  Just as soon as the words left her mouth, her eyes shut and her head dropped onto her cousin’s shoulder.  Sometimes they fight that sleep they so desperately need.  When my youngest child, Josh was about 18 months old, he decided to push the limits on his exhaustion as some kids do.  It had been a full day of outings and fun when I finally got him to sleep for his nap.  He had not been sleeping long when his siblings woke him up with their loud play.  I tried to get him back down, but to no avail.  It was as if he had gotten a second wind.  Therefore, I finally took him out of his crib and he joined the rest in play.  By dinnertime, he was so cranky, he would cry over anything.  Therefore, I put him to bed earlier than usual where he continued to cry for over an hour.  Nothing I did could calm him down.  Finally, I picked him up, pulled him to my chest, and rocked him gently.  At first, he fought me holding him with his crying and pulling away, and then he finally relaxed in my arms.   The gentle rocking lulled him into a peaceful sleep.    As I lay him in his bed, I breathed a sigh of relief for I too was tired from the day.  I returned to the chores that needed to  be complete before I could give into that sleep.  After a few hours, I was able to lie in my bed.  I reached over to read my bible and came across Psalms 131:2 But I have stilled and quieted myself, just as a small child is quiet with its mother.  Yes, like a small child is my soul within me. The events of earlier today came back to mind.  Josh’s exhaustion and out of character behavior were ended as he came to rest in my arms.  Then a thought hit me, what about me?  Had I not been out of character today too?  Due to my exhaustion, I also had pitched a fit but in a different way.  I may not have been crying on the outside but my behavior showed I was on the inside.   I had been impatient, agitated, and selfish with my husband and children.  I had tried to handle it on my own and failed miserably.  All my actions of the day came to my mind and God was saying, “Come to me my child and be still, let me help you.  Why do you think you have to do it all on your own.”  Then another verse came to mind.  Matthew 11:28-29 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. I realized that the life God wants me to live does not have to be full of stress and burden if I rely on him.  I needed to take time each day to sit in his presence and allow him to fill me with his peace and quiet my soul.  I have taken that lesson to heart most of the time, and my days go by so much better.  However, sometimes I forget and let the busyness of life consume me, on those days I end up, as Josh was; exhausted, out of character and stressed.  I have learned through the actions of my young son, that life is much better lived by taking the time to be still and ask for His help to calm my weary soul for He is the only one who can.


When the Unthinkable Happens, Where Can We Turn?

October 11, 2009
When I heard the news last Sunday of Gavin Mc Donald’s homegoing, immediately my mind remembered the Sunday before when I had the privilege of holding 3 month old Gavin during a baby shower for Amanda Baldwin. I was being a baby hog but I did not care. Gavin was such a sweet, good natured baby. He was a gentlemen too, when he was ready to eat he just softly grunted to let you know, no loud wailing or demanding. Just a little uh, uh. He was also a cuddler, i love that. He cuddled up to my chest and peacefully fell asleep and I could not resist kissing his soft hair and breathing in the baby scent. At that moment I thanked God for the blessing of Gavin. Today I want to do the same. Thank you God, for the blessing that Gavin has been to all of us. Even though we feel his time with us was too short we can be comforted to know that his life continues in heaven for all eternity. A place of no more sorrow, pain or fears. (Absent from the body is presence with the Lord, Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God) He is where we all long to be one day and can be if we surrender our live to Jesus. Because it is in placing our trust in Him that we have not only eternal life but the ability to endure this life. I have wrestled this week with God, as I am sure many of you have, with the why?’s of this situation. And I have learned that God is big enough to handle our questions. He may not always give us the answers we want but he does give us what we need – His truth. God reminded me of three truths that can bring us comfort and encouragement.

1) God is in control: We like to think of that when things are well, but the thing with truth is that it is always truth no matter what the situation. If we believe God is in control, then we also must accept that God not only allowed this to happen but that it was part of his plan for Gavin. That is hard to think about, yet we see in Psalms 139: 2-6 You know when I sit down or stand up.You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,too great for me to understand! Psalm 139:16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. God was with Gavin the whole time, that Gavin’s death was not your fault Brooke, it was not your fault Rick, it was not anyones fault but God’s will. He could have changed this if he wanted to but did not. Which brings me to the next truth:

2)God has a purpose for Gavin’s life: One of the thoughts that plagued me this week was “He did not even have a chance to serve you God or become what you created him for”. But God quickly reminded me that He created each of us for a purpose and that purpose is being fulfilled with each breath we take and each day we live not just when we grow up because our purpose in not so much of what we can do but what God can do through us. Gavin’s physical life on earth may be over, but he is just beginning to fulfill the purpose God planned for him. His short life has touched us in ways others who live a long life never will. Here are just some of the life lessons Gavin has taught me that I will not soon forget:
a)Not to take for granted the time we have with those we love
b) To appreciate each day
c) To love as Christ would
d)To be merciful not judging of others
e) To seek God’s face in prayer each moment of the day
f) To not worry or stress over the small things in life
e) To make the most of every opportunity to share God’s truth
f) To rely on the one thing that cannot be taken away- God’s promises
Just to name a few. From the size of the crowd I saw at the memorial service I know that many of us have been touched in someway by Gavin’s life.

3) God can take a bad situation and use it for good and for His glory: God has already done that even in people who did not even know the Mc Donald family. Reporters have apologized for their insensitivity in reporting the story, people all over the country who heard the story are holding their children closer and longer, moms everywhere are connected to the Mc Donald family through tears and prayer. So good has come and God is being glorified. Rick and Brooke’s faith is what is helping them survive this, without that where would we any of us be. But it is also being tested, the only way to survive is to remain in Him even when you question and the pain is so great you do not think you can survive, as Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-29 Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. I always thought that meant he would take away my burdens, but God showed me it meant that I would join with Jesus on his yoke and that together we would carry the load making the load lighter, but also teaching me how to handle the burden which would give me peace. So let God help you, learn from Him in this and receive the peace that only He can give. I believe when Micah and Eli see the faith of their parents lived out, tested and strengthened, they will know that its real which will speak louder that any words anyone could say to them. And the great part will be that Gavin will have played a part in leading his brothers to faith in Christ. I also know that God will use this in their life to help others, He is preparing them for a ministry to help others in ways they never knew were possible. As it says in 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. In as much as Gavin’s life has a purpose, so does yours. Let God use you for his purpose to bring him glory and in turn you will be letting Gavin’s life continue to touch the hearts of others.

I pray these truths from God have brought some comfort and healing and we all can say again “Thank you God for the blessing of Gavin” And each time I think of him, I will picture him cuddled up, sleeping peacefully but instead of my arms, I see Jesus is the one holding him. And as he bends down to kiss his soft hair and breathes in the scent of him, he says “Thank you Gavin for being such a blessing, well done my good and faithful servant!

Please continue to pray for this family and if this has challenged you or drawn you closer to God, please reply so that Brooke will be encouraged by those Gavin’s life has touched.