Wednesday, November 18, 2009

okay, okay, enough already!

Sunday I posted my thoughts about seeking God above all else. Seems that this is the theme for the week. He has shown me time and time againg how Satan slips (or barges) in when I take my eyes off Christ. I am learning to ask myself "Who am I seeking" when I want to argue with someone (that someone usually being my sweet husband- poor thing). I am learning to ask myself"What am I seeking" when I am upset with someone. Many more times than I really want to admit, I am not seeking God. I am seeking "being right".  I am seeking an apology. I am seeking validation, respect, any number of things, but if I am feeling angry, hurt, or generally uneasy, i am rarely seeking God. I'm supposed to Seek God first. Scripture says that "all these things" will be mine if I seek the kingdom of God FIRST. So, I'm working on it. Right now it seems that the harder I try, the more I fail. I am hoping that I am not failing more than before. maybe I am just noticing it more.

This morning I learned something about the "seeking" part. I misplaced my cell phone. It was on silent. so I looked for it. I looked HARD. I searched high and low. I turned on all the lights, looked under the couch cushions, under the couch and love seat. I moved furniture and I took the sheets off the beds. I looked in the laundry room, the kitchen, the bathroom and the gameroom. I looked in my car, my purse, and the bag I carry to and from work. I accused family members of hiding it from me.Maybe I left it at work. No, i talked to Christa on the way home yesterday. Hmmmm. Maybe I dropped it in the carport. I went outside and looked no phone.

I did finally find it, but that is another point that i'll make in a moment. For now, I want to say that I learned something about seeking. I searched every where and did not give up until I found my phone. I didn't give up because I KNEW the phone was here somewhere. I KNEW the only reason I couldn't find it was because i was looking in the wrong places. But I didn't give up. I searched and searched until I found what I was looking for. Now, if only I would do that when i find myself needing to seek God's face. I hope that from now on my cell phone search will come to mind when i am seeking God. I hope that i don't stop looking if God doesn't "show up" after one prayer. I hope that I keep looking for His face if I don't "see Him" in worship. I hope that, now that I have such a vivid reminder of how hard I can seek something, I will not give up until I see His face. I hope that, when I feel slighted, underappreciated, wronged, misunderstood, angry, hurt, or just grumpy, I will search for God's face with the same determination I searched for my phone this morning. I hope that I will remember this and keep looking until I find Him.

Now, sometimes God goes a little overboard. Maybe my friends are right and I try too hard to see "God" in the details of my life. Still, this is pretty cool. I did finally find my phone this morning. It was stitting on top of my Bible, beside the chair I use when I am on the computer. Last night I was working on a Bible study lesson and got a phone call. I set the phone down on top of my Bible. Hmmmm. Another blinking neon reminder for seeking God. When I seek God's face, I can diligently look in lots of places. i can pray, I can listen to praise music, I can call Christian friends in my diligent search for God. The one place I am sure to find Him is in His Word. He has revealed himself to us in Scripture. So, along with learning to ask myself "What/Who am I seeking?" and along with remembering what "seeking" looks and feels like, I am learning how to seek the smartest way possible.

I need to start my search for Him in the Bible  and with prayer. THEN I need to search His Word for His face with the same determination I had when i searched the house for my phone. Just like I knew my phone was somewhere in the house, I KNOW God is in the Scripture...I just have to keep looking!


Sunday, November 15, 2009

What am I seeking?

The More I seek you....the more I find you
The more I find you.....the more I love you

I have posted this video before....or maybe we did it for the FLO blog.
At any rate, I want to use it again today.
We sang this song in church this morning and I realize that it is true....when I seek HIM, I FIND HIM....the more I seek Him, the more of Him I find.

The times in my life when I feel "lost" or "empty" or without direction all have one thing in common....I am not seeking HIM. I never want to admit that at the time. I usually try to pin my angst on someone or something, but in all honesty, no one is to blame but me. When I take my eyes off Christ, I start to sink. If I focus my gaze on my troubles, I sink further. If I cast blame for my situation, I sink still further.

Seeking HIM brings everything back into focus. Seeking HIM takes my gaze off of others (and myself) and everything begins to fall into its proper place. Sometimes God reaches out to me and pulls me out of the pit. Most times He waits patiently until I reach for Him....but when I seek Him, He is ALWAYS faithful to be found.

So, when I am in a slump, I have to ask myself, "who am I seeking?"

Father God,
Let me always seek you. Put a hunger and thirst in my heart for more and more of You. Help me to realize when I have taken my eyes off of you before I start to sink. Help me to see through the distractions of life and see YOU. Help me to always remember the promise of Heaven and the urgency of the Harvest. Fill me up Lord with so much of your Holy Spirit that everyone around me feels Your presence!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

He never ceases to amaze me

We all have ups and downs. I hate being "down". I think  I need the down times though, otherwise I guess I'd eventually explode with excitement.
A couple of weeks ago, I felt so...numb. I hate that feeling. Give me joy, give me pain...but don't give me "nothing". So I started asking God, "Is this really where you want me? I mean, are we really doing anything for the kingdom? Am I just fooling myself in thinking that I am contributing to the Great Commission? I mean really, is all this making a difference?"
Things get hard sometimes. Sometimes I feel like I am just beating my head against a wall. Bible Study lessons and Sunday school lessons and late night conversations seem to fall on deaf ears. Not always, but sometimes.
And for every woman that meets Jesus, there are more who need to see His face for the first time. For every woman who finds forgiveness in His eyes, there are more who live with the burden of shame and regret. For every woman who finds wholeness in her Savior's strong embrace, there are more who are living shattered lives.
I know that Jesus said that all of heaven rejoices over ONE.
But there are so many. It is overwhelming.
So, I started praying, "Remind me why we're doing this God. I am so tired. I can't find the passion I had before. I need you to remind my heart why we started this in the first place."
I prayed and prayed.
Sunday morning God only God can do.
2 women who we have been praying for accepted Christ. Please understand, I have been praying for one of these women every single day for....gosh...2 years? Have not seen her in all that time. She visited FLO Bible study one time and got stuck in my heart. She came back a few weeks ago....and the rest is history.
the other gal is a friend of a friend who, after visiting church, told my friend, "I'm not a Christian". That was a few months ago. Seemed that everything on earth kept her from church after that. But she was there Sunday and made her love of Jesus public.
That's what it's all about. And yes there are many more. And there will always be more.
Ya know, I thought He'd remind me why He called me by showing me all the pain and sorrow and darkness in the lives of hurting women who need Him. I thought He's show me the need.
Instead He showed me the reward.....the goal we are working for....that All may know him.
SO, as it turns out, I am meeting with the FLO ministry team today to plan 2010. What perfect timing. HE turned all of our hearts to the single goal of taking women by the hand and leading them to Jesus. Nothing more, nothing less.
There is absolutely nothing in this life better than leading someone to Christ.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Little things

Tonight was one of those nights. You know, those nights when everybody is ill and getting on everybody else's nerves. I think I actually heard my little one say that her brother was breathing her air. And just before I told my sweet family that I was going to move to Montana and grow Dental Floss Bushes, everything we'd been talking about in FLO Bible Study came back to me.
Spending private time with Christ. Allowing HIM to fill me so that I have something to give (you can't give what you don't have) to the people He has placed in my life. Trusting that what He says in Scripture is when He tells me  not to be anxious about anything, but in EVERYTHING, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present my requests to Him. (Philippians 4:6) 
 So, does this apply to times when my kids are making me crazy because they fuss and fight over stuff that they don't even care about? Does this apply when everyone gets on my nerves? Does it apply when I am just grumpy? Does it apply when my sweet husband just can not seem to understand that I am always right and he need not question me? (ha ha) The verse doesn't say "Don't worry about the big stuff" or "Bring the big stuff to God" says EVERYTHING.

So, tonight I did. I ordered my two precious bundles of joy to get their bottoms over to the couch "Before I count to three", threatened to sell them to the circus if they so much as came within a foot of touching eachother, promised to duct tape the mouth of the next one that spoke a word, and, with both of them staring at me with that "yep, she's finally lost it" look in their eyes....I prayed. For their benefit, I prayed out loud. I wanted to show my kids how to do it. Wanted to show them how to ask that God would prompt them to see where they were falling that they would see how "un christ like" they were acting. So, first, I prayed for me. That's a good place to start.  I "confessed" areas where I fall short. I "asked forgiveness" for not trying to be more like Jesus. I asked for guidance and strength, patience, understanding, grace, and mercy. I asked for God to fill me with peace so that our home could be peaceful... and my heart softened. In that moment of "showing my kids"....God showed me the truth about me. And I really prayed....out and honest before God....for my sweet babies to hear....I prayed for me, truly confessed my shortcomings, my selfishness, my fear of failure. I asked that God show me what to do to be a good mom. I thanked Him for allowing me to be Brian's mom. I thanked Him for allowing me to be Izzy's mom. I thanked him for putting our family together just the way He did. I asked Him to help us all to be examples of His love, His mercy, His grace, His patience, His understanding first to eachother, then to the outside world.  I prayed and prayed and prayed.
My kids never got restless. They never sighed or groaned.  I felt their little bodies relax as they leaned into my embrace...and when I said "amen", two little voices said "amen" after me...and they just sat ther on the couch with me....and there was an amazing peace in our home. 

Why do I doubt God? If He says "bring everything to me", why do I think He only means the big stuff?
Honestly, my day to day normal aggrivations do more damage to my witness than the "big" things. Most "big things" are short term....there's always going to be more little things waiting to sabatoge me again tomorrow.

I have learned a valuable lesson. Praying with my kids does a million times more good than shouting and yelling and threatening to sell them to the circus ever did. I think that when I got past using "prayer" to prove a point (and manipulate my kids) and REALLY prayed for our family....well, I think that...actually, I don't know what it did exactly...but I do know it was nothing short of amazing. It softened all of our hearts toward eachother. We all relaxed. No one pointed fingers or justified their actions, they simply apologized for not being nice.
 I cannot say that it has become my automatic response, but I am certain that it will as long as I continue to seek His face more and more. I do want for my knee-jerk reaction to family strife to be to pray.


Wait....I do know what praying with my kids brought us all into the presence of God. Now that's good stuff.