Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Vitamins For Life

                             I laughed to myself as I passed by the various bottles of vitamins aligned neatly on my kitchen counter-top ( Of course, I still need to take them for today). I gave myself credit for arranging them by size( maybe I learned this from Julia Robert’s movie, Sleeping with the Enemy):Korean Panax Ginseng (metabolism), Ginkgo Biloba (memory--bought the SUPER size), Fish oil, Vitamin C and a couple more. Wouldn’t life be easier if I could also take one multi-vitamin for things like: patience, love, forgiveness,  a three year old’s tantrum, a teenager’s attitude, my prayer life, diligence,peace, spiritual discipline, child rearing, marriage, a husband’s moodiness, and household chores?  Can you imagine what my counter-top would look like then? 
                        Unfortunately, vitamins like these cease to exist.  However, the good news is that God provides the ultimate health essential in this area—Jesus!  Of course, He does not come in milligrams or capsules, but rather in the perfect dosage-- as needed! Psalm 20:2 says, “May he send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion.”  Jesus can’t be bought at the local Walmart pharmacy or by a well meaning physician with a prescription. Trust me, you won’t get Him at any military doctor either—only 800 mg of Motrin! Instead, you will have to get your supply from above.  The good news is, it’s free and you control the prescription. 
                        Life doesn’t have to be complicated when you have Jesus as your daily dose of immune, heart, mind and spiritual support.  So, the next time you reach for that Omega- 3 capsule; stop and ask yourself if Jesus has a better way? I do believe  vitamins have their purpose, but what I'm saying is that Jesus is the vitamin for your spiritual life.  What kind of  spiritual vitamins  do you need today?   I hope you stay rejuvenated this week with the ultimate supply of energy and help for your life—Jesus!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Do You Like to Stand or Sit?

Today is like any other day and I find myself taking on small battles as I try to get things done.  For the past couple of weeks or so, my family and I have been sick.   Thankfully, this has passed and now I am ready to be productive again as a wife and mother.  I feel rested and ready to go! Of course, as I take that stand out of the bed, I am reminded that I have an enemy waiting to knock me down again with the everyday of overwhelming obstacles and responsibilities I face.  For the average military wife and mother, this includes: laundry, cleaning, organizing, grocery shopping, playing and teaching kids, carpools, errands, or whatever else might come up.  Need I say more? I know I am speaking to some of you!
                My temptation is looking at the mountain of things that I need to do and becoming overwhelmed with it –quickly! In other words, I want to quit before I even get started.  During these times, I am tempted to crawl back into bed with a good book or plunk(is this a word?) myself on the couch and watch some meaningless show to take my mind off my life. Doesn’t that sound much easier to just give into my flesh?   Please don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my life, but at times it can be a bit redundant and overwhelming to say the least.  But, this is the Life God signed me up for SO I look to Him for the provision and the grace to see me through victoriously, right? Honestly, some days I do forget He is there to help. Just saying!
                This morning, the battle in my mind began as I pondered my strategy to overcome my flesh. I guess I got use to resting too much the past couple of weeks!  I smiled to myself as I thought of God who is my Helper as I read Psalm 119:70 it says, “ Your word, O Lord, is eternal, it stands firm in the heavens.”  So often Satan wants us to sit it out in life and not take a stand in the midst of the everyday.  Have you ever found it easier to stand in the valleys and the peaks and find it harder to stand in the mundane of everyday? Or is this just me?  We are often told throughout scriptures to take a stand but what does this really mean for the everyday ?
                Well, I have an answer and I hope it moves you as much as it moved me to stand today.  In Hebrew , the word stand means to set up, be established, be made healthy, to plant, be placed in a position of authority, to be made erect.  However, it is Satan’ s job to keep us from this blessing of promise when we  rely on God to help us to this.  The last thing He wants is for you to be  is productive and strengthened.  The everyday battles only make us stronger if we choose to overcome them and stand in God’s grace.    I know some of you might be asking, “What kind of authority do I need to do dishes and laundry?”  I understand, trust me as I type this and look at the dishes in my sink. 
                Well, my point is that Satan tries to frustrate us and keep our minds off Christ.  If I give into the temptation of overwhelming to-do-lists then most likely, my mind is off Christ and on my flesh. If my flesh wins then I am out of Christ and can’t be the wife, mother and woman of God He calls me to be in the everyday!   As mother’s and wives we fail to see the bigger picture that we are in fact serving our families and even the Kingdom of God through these things.  At times,  it is not the most glamorous job and there is no paycheck at the end of the week, but rather more chores ahead facing us and a to-do list that keeps on growing.  However, we must learn to stand in the everyday because this is where it counts the most!  The everyday shapes you for the bigger things to come. It trains and equips you in love.   If we choose to sit on the side line and not stand up and persevere then we are missing it altogether.  We are called from glory to glory and that can’t happen if you are sitting, pouting, complaining and discontent.
                What areas of your life are you tempted not to stand in faithfulness in( job, talents, finances, marriage,God's Word, children,health, etc..)  Will you keep allowing the enemy to knock you out of your true authority and call? Take hold of God’s truth which will help you stand so that you can be made healthy, erect and established for great things.  Happy Monday everyone!:)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Encourage. Empower. Extend Week!

I'm writing this week at Encourage.Empower.Extend.  Please come visit with me and my friend, Ralene Burke.  I will be back here next week! Have a great week ahead:)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

My $16 Mint- ( True and Cool story!)

While shopping for some Spring bargains at Kohl’s yesterday(Did I mention I love a sale!), I happen to take out my Altoid Breath Mints while walking into the store.  For some reason, I find it refreshing to shop and enjoy a fresh, minty mouth. Who knows why- call me weird, but don’t call me late for a sale!  Since I didn’t have a coffee to suck down-mints would have to do. 
            Oddly, this lady saw my mints and says, “ Ooooh, are those mints?”  I smiled at her and said, “Why yes , would you like one?”
“ Really, Oh, honestly I couldn’t, uhm, I was just kidding, but since you asked…yes, please!”
So, I handed her and the young man she was talking to one and went on my merry way.  As I walked away, the young lady says, “Thank you SO much, honey!”
“You’re welcome-anytime!” I replied.
            Thinking nothing of it, I went about my mission to shop.  After all, sales were waiting for me to find them!  I was pleased to find some great bargains and was able to clothe my 4-year old son for the Fall of next year at an outrageously low price.  I rock- mission successful!  I proceeded to the checkout counter and this attractive, short-gray haired lady, began to ring up my items.  We had a short discussion about my great finds and she told my husband what great deals I had just made.  Craig of course, just graciously bit his tongue because he is not one to shop and gave a sarcastic smile.   However, he has learned the motto, “Happy Wife, Happy life!”  Let’s just say that I trained him well over the past 8 years.  Prayer works, ladies!
            All of a sudden, the lady who I gave the mints to( I now call her “mint lady”) walks up to the register and asks my cashier if she could get on the computer.  The clerk look confused and stepped out of the way.  I waited patiently as they messed with keys and codes.  Then, my clerk looked at me with a smile and says, “Our manager here(mint lady) has just awarded you an extra $16 off your purchase!”   I looked puzzled because I had not signed up for their credit card or anything that I knew of.  Besides, I was already being given a huge discount and I wasn’t expecting anything else.  The “mint” lady says to the cashier, “I gave it to her because she gave me a mint earlier.”  She winked at me and walked away.  It turns out my act of kindness just bought me $16 less on my bill.  Needless to say, Craig was happy and  so was I(picutre me doing a happy dance!:)
Who knew that one small act of kindness using a cheap mint would pay off-$16 worth in the end.  I know it may seem like nothing to some of you, but to me it was neat seeing God bless me like that.   Colossians 3:12 says, “Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”   God gave me the grace to be kind  that day (trust me, I’m not always so gracious)and it payed off in more ways than just a $16 discount but rather in opening my eyes to see that kindness is contagious!   I smiled as I walked away; popping another Altoid in my mouth and thanking God for the breath of fresh air He just blew my way!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Super Nanny

 “For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.”
Psalm 33:4
Recently, my oldest son received a note home from school that was not so favorable.  I was disappointed by his actions because it resulted with him hurting one of his classmates.  One of the most important things I try and instill in my children is Godly character.  Apparently, kindness went out the window this particular day.  It made me question my parenting and ask myself, “Where am I missing it with him?” 
            I am a parent who believes in discipline and that every action has consequences, both good and bad.  But, because he had already received punishment from his teacher at school (probably more powerful than anything I could’ve come up with), I decided to just talk to him about his poor choice and give him the grace to grow from his mistake.   However, I questioned myself again, if I was doing the right thing or should I be harsher.  Without really knowing, I gave it over to the Lord to deal with. 
            Later in the week, my son was expecting to get tested for his next belt in Karate.  However, he needed a written consent from both his teacher and I based off of his behavior and responsibilities for the week.  My job was to grade him on his performance at home only and it would be up to his teacher to expose anything going on at school.  Well, she did just that and she let the instructor know of his poor behavior that week.  She also sent a copy of the evidence attached to his form.
            Apparently, Justin wasn’t aware of the full report being disclosed from his teacher that day as he went to Karate.  In fact, he was under the impression that he would be getting his next belt that night.  He was one excited kid!  During Karate class, his teacher pulled me aside and informed  me she couldn’t promote him because of the negative report he had received.  I completely understood and agreed with her decision.  However, as his mom, I felt bad for him that he would miss out on the blessing of being awarded his next belt, but at the same time, I was praising God too!  Why you might ask? Well, because God was parenting my son! The power didn’t lay in my hands at this point, God was working.   I had doubt earlier that if I was doing the right thing to begin with concerning his behavior  and left it up to God to deal with it.  Well, my prayers were being answered- He was!  God was being faithful to teach Justin a better lesson than even I could have. God was showing His power over my son’s life- and I could reap the benefits later!
            Needless to say, Justin was disappointed and upset.  But, it was a good upset, the kind that convicts and hopefully changes you.  I remember on the ride home, I knew it was an opportunity for me to talk to him about his dilemma.  I tried to encourage him past his mistake and told him that it was a chance for him to become better and overcome.  My heart ached for him, but rejoiced too.  He was learning a life lesson and as much as I wanted to shelter him from that pain, I knew he needed it, too. 
            As I went to bed that night, I thanked God for many reasons, but mostly for being faithful to parent my son.  It built faith in me that even when I doubt my skills as a parent, or feel like I am missing it, God will cover me with grace and be faithful to step in on my behalf in ways that only He can do as a Heavenly Father!  Not only was this a great lesson for Justin, but for me too.  I can trust God with my children.  I know  it may seem like a silly thing to say, but if you are a parent, I am sure you’ve struggled at some point with this. However,  God is a forever-faithful parent and He knows what my/HIS kids need better than I ever could.  As far as I am concerned, God can be my super nanny-any day!