Monday, March 15, 2010

My Heavenly Father

Recently, I've realized when I pray that I don't usually start with Father.  Well, I guess I've always known that I tend to call Him another name, but I have been more aware of my prayer not beginning with Father in  the past few weeks.  I have been more intent to start my prayer with Father, and God has placed several different pieces in my path as I've begun to call on Him as Father.  The other day in my quiet time I read The Lord's Prayer, and it starts Our Heavenly Father.  Jesus taught us to pray using the name Father.  Then last week I came across a devotion in my Bible written about God as Father.  It said, "One of the most illuminating names of God is the one especially revealed by our Lord Jesus Christ, the name of Father."  The name itself holds in it wisdom, power, and goodness and a perfect supply of all our needs (taken from the devotion). 

This caused me to begin searching my heart a bit.  To say that the relationship between my biological father and me is strained would be an understatement, we haven't spoked in 7 years.  I don't want to get too bogged down with all the gory details of our relationship, though God has used this part of my life to minister to others.  If I am completely honest, it has created a gap in my relationship with my Heavenly Father.  God has provided me with a man that technically is my step-father, but I always refer to him as my Dad.  He came into our lives a long time ago, and he is the one who walked me down the aisle to my now husband.  He has provided A TON of healing in my life.  He is the one my children know as their grandfather.  He is the one that helps me to have a healthier view of my Heavenly Father.  I am also getting to watch my Sweetie as a father to our children.  He is a great Dad and wants the very best for our boys.

I believe, no, I know that by my beginning to start my prayer with My Heavenly Father, God is beginnning to heal all of the gap in my heart and relationship with Him.  It has always been an area that I didn't want to admit had been affected by a divorce and getting to see my biological father for who is, who he is not, and who I wanted him to be.  I have forgiven him, and there was a time when I prayed to forgive him but asked God to forgive me of my own unforgiving heart.  I am not mad at him anymore.  There are moments in life it makes me sad but not angry. It did affect me, but my Heavenly Father is healing that part of me.  I'm thankful that He put a Dad and my Sweetie in my life that began the healing process.  I'm thankful for my Heavenly Father who is going to complete the healing in His time.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Sweetest Prayer

This evening my sweetie and our oldest were going through the Upward Soccer magnet hanging on our fridge that talked about salvation.  My sweetie went through all the steps with him and then asked did he want to pray the prayer, to which he responded yes.  I was getting toothbrushes ready but listening to their conversation, as my heart began to swell with emotion.  Ah, the sweetest sound to this Mama's ear, as my oldest boy began to pray the prayer and ask Jesus in his heart.  "However,...but rejoice that your names are written in heaven." (Luke 10:20)  

Tonight, I know the angels were singing and His Heavenly Father was smiling down as our oldest asked Jesus into his heart, and his name is written in the Book of Life!!  I think anytime is the perfect time, but I loved that during this time of Easter drawing near that my oldest would ask the One who gave His life for him to come into his heart.  I rejoiced and my eyes grew moist as I hugged that little one close and told him I loved him. I am thankful for his Daddy to take the time to walk him through the steps but also asked him if he wanted to pray the prayer.  No sweeter words, no sweeter time than to be part of hearing your child pray that prayer.  I am thankful that JD knows Jesus loves him.  "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6

Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Heart of Thanks

One of the many areas God has been working in my life is moving me to spending a quiet moment with Him in the morning.  I have not been faithful to the call first thing in the morning the past couple of weeks but trying.  Confession, I am NOT a morning person, I do not love to get up early.  As a matter of fact, my husband would happily tell you my goal is to get up out of the bed, to the coffee pot and then to the couch to sit and wake.  Truly, there are days when I could happily sit there waking up for one hour in the quietness of the late morning.  However, my two sweet, small boys don't allow their Mama to sit there for one hour to wake up.  They have needs that need to be met! 

On to the point...I have a Women's Devotion Bible that I use and have gone to the devotion topics index and chosen joy and then to thankfulness, which I finished up this morning.  I kind of had an "AHA" God moment, which will seem like a duh moment to most.  I love that God has been showing me that a thankful heart leads me to being filled with His joy.  One of my favorite scripture passages is I Thessalonians 5:16-18: Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.  It has dawned on me that I can be joyful when I keep in constant communication with my Heavenly Father and give Him thanks.  It was an "AHA" when God spoke to my heart that being thankful may not change the circumstances, but it absolutely can change my heart.  As God has made me aware of this truth, I have realized that the days I am grumbling and decide to start thanking Him, my heart is changed toward one of gratitude.  What are you thankful for?  On days that are tough, what can you thank Him for in your life?  Lord, thank You for changing my grumbling heart to a heart that is thankful.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My Legacy

What is the legacy I am leaving? I began this blog forever ago, but I haven't used it as much as I would like to. It isn't as fancy as some people's due in part to my not so computer savvy self not having a clue as to how to do some of it. I don't think I will be famous or rich from it, but I do want to leave a legacy.  I love the Nicole Nordeman song that talks about I want to leave a legacy, will they remember me, did I point to You enough in my life.  

In less than 2 weeks, God has used the story of Peter stepping out of the boat (Matthew 14:22-36).  I love that Jesus simply tells Peter to come, Peter steps out and then takes his eyes off of Jesus and becomes afraid.  How often am I afraid to "step out" of the boat?  How often am I so comfortable in what I know and what's familiar that I stay in the boat?  As I've had this scripture before me I've asked myself, what are my dreams and what are my fears?  My dream is that God will use me, my fear is that God will use me.  I want God to use me, but I fear how will He use me because He likes to call us out of our comfort zone to rely on His strength and not our own.  I don't know where God is calling me, but I want to be obedient to get out of the boat because Jesus is calling me to come to Him.  I don't want to miss out on what He has for me because I am too comfortable in the boat. Is part of my legacy going to be sitting in the boat?  I can't stay there because my faith says I've got to step out.  I want to leave a legacy to my boys that speaks loudly of getting out of the boat to follow Jesus.  Obedience to Jesus, even when it's hard to to do it. I want my legacy to point to Jesus. Have you gotten out of your boat? What kind of legacy are you leaving? 

Friday, February 5, 2010

God's Challenging Me

This week has been a week where God has been pulling at my heart. He's challenging me on some things in my life. I am not going to go into a lot of detail, but I do want to share some things. He is challenging me (and my sweetie) to get connected in a more relational way in our church. We are very soon to try a new Sunday School class that we have been told about three times. I've always heard if God uses something three times, He's probably trying to tell you something. I'm looking forward to us being a part of group that will notice when we've missed for several weeks and wonders where we've been. When you only sit in worship, those around you change from week to week and won't have any idea you've missed the past three.

Recently, I attended a new ministry program at my Mom's church. Actually, I was there this last time because I was the special music for the program. It is a great program for girls of all ages...every age was there, but I think they are desiring for mothers and daughters to attend. I like the idea behind this and having speakers who can help mothers engage the daughters in conversation about the different topics. I love the idea, BUT I have boys!!! God has been speaking to my heart about where are the programs for the boys. Who is leading these kinds of events for mothers and sons? I don't know, but I believe God is calling me to be open to this idea. I don't know that I will speak to a group like this but perhaps organize something for this to be done. I desire for my boys to be gentlemen, to be Christ-like and to follow in His steps. My prayer is that they will be boys who follow after God's heart that then grow into young men, adult men and old men that have been faithful followers of the One who loves them best.
The other area is being a lot more faithful to this blog I've started. It is entitled "Jen's Daily Joys", and there are daily things in my life to share. There are things every day that God uses and this is a great outlet for me to write it down, to journal it. It allows me to see how God is working in my life as a woman, a wife and a mom. There are days when it is difficult (today has been tough), but I still know the call in my life is to be a Proverbs 31 woman to my sweetie and my precious boys.

There are some other areas in my life He's working on. Areas that I'll share as I feel a little more direction but for now it's exciting and a lot challenging. I want to be obedient where He's calling me and faithful to do what He's asking of me. What is God working on your heart about? What are your challenges He's set before you?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Perfection to be Beautiful!?!

I have barely started Karen Kingsbury's "Shades of Blue", and this sentence blew me away. This sentence made me sit back in my chair and really think, and I've now been thinking on it for a full day. "She was proof that perfection wasn't needed for life to be beautiful." Wow!!! Here I am sitting in a chair in a salon with foils in my hair, trying to obtain perfection, kidding, but it made me begin to think about my life. How often am I trying to obtain perfection and then beat myself up when I haven't arrived?

I cannot answer this for men, but I think for a lot of women we are trying to be perfect. The perfect woman with the perfect body, face, hair, perfect wife, the perfect mom with the perfectly behaved children, living in a perfectly and beautifully decorated home that is perfectly spotless. The list could go on and on in the ways that we, I try to obtain perfection. I am sad to say that I do beat myself up when I fall short of the crazy and completely unobtainable goal I have set for myself. I must stress that part...the goal I have set for myself. No one has told me I have to be perfect. I just realized somewhere I got caught up in believing all these "things" will lead to it. I began to think how much time am I wasting trying to reach my perfect goal. How much am I missing out on because I am trying to pursue that goal? In pursuing that, I think, there is a joy of living that gets lost in the path I have chosen for myself. I am missing the beauty in life, and life can be beautiful without perfection.

Ladies, whoever reads this, I no longer want to live a perfect life but a beautiful life. I want to fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith, our faith (Hebrews 12:2). I want to find my acceptance in Him and not of those around me. When I say those around me, I mean people I don't really know but think they have the perfect life. The truth is, we all have our "stuff" that we would change about our bodies, our homes, our whatever yours is...we all have it. I want my husband to see his wife satisfied and my children to see their mama satisfied because my joy is in Jesus and not because I am striving for some kind of perfection I can't reach. Here is to living a beautiful life...may you find beauty in the every day.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

"Redeeming Love"

Today I finished "Redeeming Love" by Francine Rivers, an amazing book. I read it for the second time, the first time was probably 1999, I have to say before some of life happened. The first time I thought it was a great book, but this time it spoke to me much differently. This time I have lived a little more, life isn't as black and white as it was when I read it so many years ago. The first time I was so frustrated and angry at Angel for going back to her life of prostitution, for missing out on so much of the life she and Michael could have had. She left not once but three times, three times!! This time when I read it I realized that I was Angel. I am loved with an everlasting love, and I go back to prostitution, not literally, but to the things that keep me from God and all He has for me. I find, like Angel, that although I have been forgiven for past sins, I sometimes find it difficult to live a forgiven life and really receive it. God desires to not just give life but ABUNDANT LIFE. I go back to the sin and the junk that separates me from Him, back to the prostitution. It was such a reminder that I am a sinner saved and made clean because of His sacrifice. He has so much to offer to me, and I cling to what I "know" and am comfortable with. He wants me to place my trust in Him to give me so much more than I could dare imagine. Just let go and take His hand and all that that has to offer. Do I dare? I love that in the book she goes back again and again, but the last time is on her own free will because she finally gets it. I am thankful God allows me to come back time and time again. He never stopped chasing after Angel. He never stops showing us how much He loves us, He keeps coming after us in big ways and little ways, in ways I know I miss along the way. I don't want to miss out on all He has for me anymore!