Strong Women, Soft Hearts – Chapter 2

Strong Women, Soft Hearts – chapter 2

Desire – the Language of the Heart

If you are like me, as well as many others, we have been taught that desires are a bad thing.  I think much of that happens because we lump every desire into the group “fleshly” desires.  I’m learning that not all our desires are fleshly or meant to draw us away from God.  Many of them are there to draw us TO Him.

Let me quote from the chapter…”We are like Swiss cheese, and the holes in us are actually supposed to be there.  The holes are the things that make us who we are.  The holes are the places God has reserved in us for Himself!  The longings identify our real hunger.  A hunger that drives us to Him to be satisfied.” (Nicole Johnson, Freshly Brewed Life.)

What I have learned from this chapter is that I must spend time examining the desires I have; I must investigate what the true longing is that needs to be filled.  Addictions don’t start out as sin…they begin as desires that are not filled in the ways God would see fit.  We don’t want to wait on His timing, His choice of how that desire is filled.  We want it filled NOW and we run to earthly way to fill that desire.  Food, drugs, bad relationships are all things that could have been filled in godly ways.   How often do we eat because we are lonely, sad or just simply bored.  God wants to fill those desires and needs within us!  He didn’t create food to fill that role.  He is all we need for those desires.

Now is a good time to examine the things in our lives that pull us.  What are the roots of these things that pull us?  I just want to encourage you, as well as myself, to examine the desires you have each day…the ones that draw you toward godliness and those that may not.  Take each one to Him and see if He has a different way to fulfill that desire…one that draws you to Him.

Isaiah 55:1-3

Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters;
and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.
Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.


Strong Women, Soft Hearts

I recently began reading a book, which is very unusual for me.  It’s title is Strong Women, Soft Hearts by Paula Rinehart.  The Bloom Book Club is going through it right now.  They are going through it pretty quickly…now on chapter 3, but I’m taking my time, especially since the first chapter was so thought provoking and soul searching.  Angie Smith and Jessica Turner have a video that goes with each chapter, discussing their insights.  I’ve always loved the “realness” of Angie’s blog, Bring the Rain, and get so much from her writings.

Anyway, chapter one required that I take a look back at my life, sifting through the rubble to uncover what my dreams were when I was younger.  I discovered that I was not much of a dreamer at all, except for wanting to be married to a godly man and being a godly wife and mother one day.  The year I met Kenny and the following year were probably the happiest times in my life.

But I discovered something else…I don’t wear rose colored glasses.  I see my past through a very negative lens.  It was quite discouraging to see, and to admit.   I’ve been a believer since I was 10 years old, but I have failed to cultivate that deep, intimate relationship with God that He so wants to have with ME.  I have always known He was there for me, that He is sovereign in all things, He would never leave me, and He loved me enough to allow His Son to die for me.     But I haven’t done enough to cultivate the relationship on MY end.  I picture like this…I’m in a room and He is right there with me, watching me, available for me.  He has been the ONLY reason that I have survived the trials and tribulations of this world.  But I know now that survival is not the goal.  I think that is where my negative view comes into the picture.  I have always tried to be thankful for everything He has done for me.  But….THERE IS SO MUCH MORE!!

He LOVES me…He doesn’t just want to be my savior.  He wants to be my confidant, my friend, my stronghold, my shield…He wants to be EVERYTHING to me.  And here I am, letting Him sit on the sidelines because I have not pushed myself to be INTIMATE with Him.  I have missed out on so much.

I was discussing this with a dear friend, who has gone through SO much in her life.   She doesn’t look back with negativity.  She “lives out loud” and praises God with all she has.  She often says, “I had such a WONDERFUL time with the Lord this morning!”  I admit to being jealous.  I asked her about her outlook on her past and she recalled the years she struggled with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  She said she KNEW that God was trying to teach her something through this and she wanted to come through it triumphantly.  Even now, as I struggle with my own health, that has not been my goal.  MY goal was to survive the experience with God’s help.  What low expectations I have had, when *I* am a child of the most high God!!!

Now I do want to add here that I learned a LOT about myself and the Lord through my difficulties.  I couldn’t have gotten through them without Him.  But NOW, I desire MORE!  To come through these issues triumphantly….how cool is that!?

Isn’t it awesome that God never stops working on our hearts!?  I see where my negative outlook has affected my sons, so I’ve been very vocal about this with them lately.  I hope they can break the cycle that has been perpetuated through me.

All this was from Chapter 1!  Looking forward to Chapter 2 and sharing my thoughts with you!

A New Decade is Upon Us

A New Decade is Upon Us

January 1st, 2010!  When I was a kid I could never fathom years that began with a “2.”  Just seemed to futuristic to me, like a Sci-Fi movie or something.  But God has allow us to enter into the year 2010 and it is our responsibility to honor Him in each and every day of it.  I pray I look more like Him at the end of this year than I did at the end of the last one.

Many of my friends started their “read the Bible through in a year” plans today.  I honestly wasn’t planning to start one because I’ve always failed to complete it in the past.  I don’t enjoy reading.  I know, sounds awful, but it’s true.  There are certain books that will grab me from the get go and I’m in there for the long haul, but in general, I am NOT a bibliovore.  But I know I am missing so much by not committing to this exercise in diligence.

As I was looking at plans and talking with Andrew, he suggested I go to Bible Gateway and check out the auditory Bible readings.  So I did and I absolutely LOVE listening to Max McLean read from the scriptures.  Since my fibromyalgia has taken on a life of itself, reading has become increasingly difficult.  Well, I should say that it is the comprehending and focusing that is difficult.  I can read something four times and not be able to tell you what I read.  But I decided that I would follow a chronological plan, which makes more sense to my brain, and listen to it online while following along in my Bible.  I loved it tonight!  Andrew was in the room with me and we even discussed some of what we read.  It was neat.

Anyway, whether you commit to reading the Bible through in a year or not, we desperately need to be IN the Word daily.  Please prayerfully consider it if you have not.  I have failed so much this last year and my spiritual walk proves it.  I need His healing power, not only in my body, but in my spirit.

Blessings to you as you begin the New Year!!!

Parents in Pain – Part II

Parents in Pain – Part II

My heart is heavy, again.  And you know what?  I know I’m not the only one.  My blog has the capacity to show me what words or terms are used in search engines that bring people to my blog.  Do you know that at LEAST once a week, someone uses the words “parents in pain” as a search term?  It shocked me; it really did.  Not that I didn’t think parents were in pain.  THAT I knew.  But those particular search words being used?  Brings one directly to my blog.  God wanted me to know that.  And I want YOU to know that I am praying for all the hurting parents out there.  I don’t know you; I don’t know your situation.  But I know that my God can comfort you and heal your pain.

The enemy has such a foot hold in this nation, in the church and in the family.  So many are reaching out for something to fill the void that is within them and the enemy is full of promises.  If you are holding on to a religion, if you are holding onto a person or relationship, if you are holding onto a pastor, a counselor  or teacher….if you are holding onto ANYTHING but Jesus Christ for your needs, you will be disappointed.  Am I saying that following Christ is full of happiness?  No.  He promises us scripture that we will have pain and trouble in this world.  But HE has overcome this world!  He is the only One who will give you Hope.  If someone else is giving you hope, forget it.  It isn’t their’s to give!  He IS our Hope.  He is waiting for you to stop leaning on your friends, your family, your church, etc and come to Him alone for what you need.

Is it wrong to lean on friends, family or church?  Of course not.  God gave them to you, to help you.  But maybe you are using others to fill your needs, rather than meeting with God in that lonely, painful place, much like the Garden of Gethsemane was to Christ before His death on the cross.  We all need to go to that place, be dreadfully honest with the Father about how we feel, and glean from Him strength, hope and love that no one else can begin to impart to us.  As a friend, it is hard for me to let my hurting friends go there.  I want to take that pain away from them.  I want to stop the suffering.  I want to minister to them.  How selfish of me!  It isn’t about me!  This is between them and God.  Who am *I* to think that I could spare them of any of the pain that God sees fit to use to bring them to that closeness with Him.

When you are fighting a battle, where it seems that even those who are supposed to love you are willing to climb over the bodies of their “loved ones” to gain ground, seek the face of Jesus.  Look into His eyes, for only there will you find the peace that a parent in pain can find.

Parents in Pain

Parents in Pain

The older my sons get, the more I see people I know and love in pain – a kind of pain only a parent can feel.   As I have been thinking about this blog post throughout the day, I was reminded of when my own parents told me when I was young that I couldn’t understand the pain they felt as parents.  For a child, it is impossible.  I know you heard it too.  But I don’t think many of us really understood.  Really, we couldn’t.  You cannot understand the pain of miscarriage until you have experienced it yourself.  You cannot understand the pain of childbirth, unless you have gone through it.  You can describe it, but the description will always be inadequate.  Both of these examples refer to being a parent, a parent in pain.

There are so many different types of pain a parent can experience.  But I find there seems to be a common thread.  We lack control.  I’m not referring to being a control freak or anything of the sort.  But so often our children experience things that if WE could change them, we would!  We would take away the pain of illness…whether it be a “simple” ear infection or life threatening cancer.  We do what we can to take it away or stop the pain.  Giving those medications helps us to feel in control, but are we?

What about the pain a child experiences when they are hurt by others.  Maybe your husband has been transferred and you will be moving across the country.  As adults, we have more of an understanding of being able to keep in touch with close friends, but a child many times doesn’t understand that.  And many times those relationships are just over.  The loneliness they feel in  a new place, when they haven’t developed the coping skills that we have to deal with it.  We can’t take that pain away from them, but we would give our left arm for our child to have a friend.

Your child may have a disability, be it a learning disability that no one can see or a physical challenge that causes them pain emotionally as well as physically.  The teasing from others, the feelings of failure…what parent hasn’t cried with their child over these things or wanted to take them away.  In all these issues, we cannot ultimately control what happens to our child.   But we know who does control it and we must choose to put our trust in Him….or not.

As our children  grow out of the childhood years and into adolescence,  our roles change a bit.  We are, or should be, less authoritative and more of a guide.  All the teaching we have done should have firmed up in their hearts.  A new independence is born in many children.  Do they look to us for guidance, or are they rebelling against all they have been taught?  This is a new kind of pain and in some ways, it hurts even more.

In III John 1:4  John states, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”  I have wondered of late, as I see other parents in pain, is the converse also true?  Is there no greater sorrow than to hear that our children are NOT walking in truth?  I think it is very possible.  And again, there is that thread of needing/wanting control.  Wouldn’t we do anything we could possibly do to stop them down a road of destruction?  What if this?  What if that?  If only I had this or that?  But that would mean WE were the ones in control…thank God we aren’t.

One tendency I have seen in myself when I was younger, was the tendency to judge those parents in pain.  I had my own “what ifs” and “if onlys.”  I saw things I would do differently with my own children.  We don’t want to let that possibility cross our minds…that our own children might make really bad choices one day.  But folks, it is only by God’s grace that we are not ALL walking in the same place!  Many parents walk this road to one degree or another.  They children may not be renouncing their faith, but they may be making decisions that can only reap fruitlessness.  We would all do anything to bring our children on their knees before the God of the universe!  That is not our job!  In fact, they are not even OURS!  They belong to Him!

Before you cast judgement on a parent in pain, try to put yourself in their shoes.  The pain, the shame, the embarrassment, the feelings of failure,  the FEAR…all these human emotions, some of which show a lack of trust in the ONLY trustworthy ONE…these are emotions you yourself might feel one day.  It is possible, you know?  Even if you do EVERYTHING right!  It could be you.  It might be you right now.  Are you a parent?  Are you in pain?  Is letting go and “letting God” about to kill you inside right now?  Are you able to be like Abraham and put your Isaac on the alter?  Are you willing to let them go and allow GOD to work in their hearts?  It’s the hardest thing you will ever do and possibly one of the most painful.  It sure shows us how easy it is to put our love for our children above our love for our Lord, doesn’t it?  Don’t hide.  There are others who have walked in your shoes who want to love you and comfort you, as the Lord comforted them.  Not everyone will judge you….but some will.  One day you may be bringing them comfort as they walk the same road.  And you will remember that one day you were the judging one, then the hurting one.  May we as the body of Christ minister to those parents…the parents in pain.  May we minister to those young people, love them, speak truth to them in love, maybe even share the horrid path we ourselves walked one day…when we were in THEIR shoes.

II Corinthians 1:3

“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort.”

Wow…It’s February!

Wow!  It’s February!!

I can hardly believe it’s been a month since Christmas!  In one way though, it feels like it’s been ages because it is in the 60’s here today!  One needs two separate wardrobes for NC weather….I think there’s a mention of flurries tomorrow.   Weird.

There won’t be any recipes for this past week.  I took advantage of being able to freeze past meals and used those blessings for dinners this week.   Chili, Bacon/Chicken Wraps, Quiche…wait a minute!  I did do something interesting with my quiche this week.

Two Quiches; One Dish

I try to add veggies in where ever I can tolerate them and quiche is a good place to put them.  I’m the only one though, who likes green stuff added to quiche.  So I determined to make two quiches in one dish.  I took a 9 x 13 glass dish and put double the cheese and bacon in the bottom of the dish.  Then I put one box of chopped broccoli on ONE SIDE of the dish.  I poured the egg mixture over it and baked as usual!  The broccoli stayed put and everyone was happy!

The Wheat Lady

What?  How dare I mention WHEAT in my blog?

For the past several years, I have been running a grain co-op so that folks in the area can get whole grains at a good price for grinding into flour and making their own bread.  It has grown by leaps and bounds and continues to do so with every order.  The fact that I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease didn’t change the fact that other still want grain at a good price.  It also didn’t change the fact that I really enjoy, for the most part, being able to coordinate this for them.  I have been blessed by how everyone works together on delivery day and have people stepping up to the plate to take over for me since my health is not so great right now…the Celiac and my back issues.  You think I should change my name to The Gluten Free Wheat Lady?  LOL!  That will confuse newbies, won’t it?

I am thankful that God has allowed me to do this.  I can still bless others while I’m on my back in bed, because most of it is computer work.  Speaking of this computer work….off to put formulas in some Excel documents and get this order ready for Wheat Montana!

The Blessings of a New Year

2008 had many blessings for our family, no doubt.  It also brought a great deal of difficulty and change that I was not prepared for…who is?  I am praying that 2009 will bring me an opportunity to take charge of my health.  Let me elaborate…

I mentioned this to Andrew on the way home from West Virginia yesterday…that I was realizing that I could not make being healthier a “goal” for 2009.  I can do more research on Celiac and learn new recipes that make life with Celiac easier.  I can work slowly to increase my exercise so that my energy increases and my back strengthens.  I can eat properly and loose weight which will also improve my health.  BUT…those are thing within MY control.  I love to be in control, I really do!  But I’m not the One IN control!  God is the creator of my life and the One that controls my body and if it functions properly or not.

Part of me wants to get bent out of shape over that fact, to be honest.  How sinful THAT would be!  No one wants to have ill health, but I am to welcome ANY circumstance into my life that molds it into the likeness of His dear Son.   Let’s face it, there is a great deal of molding still to be done on this piece of clay.  I need to choose to be prepared for hardship, as the Bible tells us it will come, but not live day to day with a fatalistic mindset.  The enemy would be so thrilled if I lived each day waiting for the “other shoe to drop,” wouldn’t he?!  I’m not going to give him the satisfaction…at least not today.

So today I am recognizing 2009 as a blessing (#9)!  During this year I would LIKE to post more day to day blog posts.  They will not likely be too exciting, but I would like to blog more about Celiac and recipes I am working on each day.  Cooking is becoming more important to me than it has in the past; hopefully it will bless others that may be on this journey.

One thing I would like to begin this month is cooking in bulk.  My energy level is still quite low, but I can handle more in the kitchen than I could months ago.  There are days though, when the schedule is crazy and cooking is hard.  I would like to be able to pull something out of the freezer and have dinner be a breeze!  My plan is to make a menu for the next couple weeks that includes many dishes that can be frozen.   For example, one night we will have chili and I will make an insanely large amount of it and freeze the rest for future meals.  I’m going to start posting recipes, especially gluten free ones, so others can benefit.  Maybe even pics!

Tonight I cooked beef stew in the crock pot.  I normally would have cooked it in Pace Picante sauce, but there has been some recent chatter about Pace products no longer being gluten free.  Until I find out what’s going on there, I decided to use Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing.  It was quite good!  Rice would have been best to go with it, but I was later getting it going so we had potatoes instead.  With green beans, a large pot so there would be some for another night, it was a tasty end to the day.  I should add that as another blessing! #10…my crock pot!  It is one of my “hand maidens”.  Read Proverbs 31 and you will know what I mean!

What’s YOUR favorite “hand maiden?”