Monday, August 19, 2013

You Can't Fake It

My pastor's wife posted a single, simple verse on her Facebook page last week and it has yet to leave my mind:
"Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently..." James 5:17.
Whenever I think of Elijah I think of a man of great faith and great power.  The story of him going face to face with the prophets of Baal is one of my favorites (1 Kings 18)
The thought that he was "a man with a nature like ours" rattled me...and gave me hope.
I've been fighting the flesh for a while now...feeling weak, defeated, and a whole lot of self pity.  Homeschool was/is one of the major causes of my emotional turmoil. The following verse sums up how I've been feeling about the situation (the "we" being "me"):
"For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death."
2 Corinthians 1:8-9
Ha ha!  I can't say it any better than that. 
No, really, I have been kind of depressed about my whole calling, and even though homeschooling is not a "deadly peril" as what Paul faced, it can wear a person down.  Thankfully the Lord is good at renewing my hope.  The rest of the verse says this:
"But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 10 He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again."
The God who has saved my soul, the same God of Elijah who sent down fire and rain from heaven according to His servant's prayer, hears my prayers too.
So, I'm praying to be fervent in prayer, and to quit relying on my own strength because I am seriously not going to make it through this school year if I don't.

Oh, and I'm praying for a pure heart...because that's just something you can't fake:

"But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man."
Matthew 15:18

(And here's your #1 and #2 in case you were missing them :) )
#1 My mouth gets me in trouble from time to time.
#2 Problem is, I can't blame my mouth.

It's all about the heart.  "From it flow the springs of life" (Proverbs 4:23).
I want my life filled with peace so I need the Lord's peace to feel my heart:

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful" (Colossians 3:15):

Thankful for my 5 little blessings.
Thankful to be able to teach them at home.
Thankful that it's not all about me.
Thankful I don't have to do it alone.

Thankful I can rest in the God "who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy" (Jude 1:24).

Praying to the God who sends the fire and the rain.



Tuesday, August 6, 2013

"Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!"

#1 The title of this post is inspired by The Penultimate Peril (A Series of Unfortunate Events #12) by Lemony Snicket.
#2 It's also the best way to describe some bits and pieces of life in general.

Homeschooling - "Wrong!"

Our first day of homeschool was the worst by far.  Everything about it was wrong.  It started with one kid in tears, and ended the same way except a different kid.  If my hubby hadn't been home for backup I would've been the one crying in my bedroom.  I was ready to run to our nearest public school and call it quits all together.

This isn't the first bad day we've had, of course, and I'm 100% sure it won't be the last.  I've considered other options plenty of times, but I know, that I know, that this is where the Lord wants me right now.   If nothing else, it keeps me leaning on Him...everyday...all day long.

Running - "Wrong!"

The first training run for my fall half-marathon was just ridiculous.  I felt like I was carrying two lead balloons where my gluteus maximus should have been.  Some sassy girl inside me was pointing a finger in my face saying, "I told you to put the Oreos down!"  My mind was off...I was pretty sure I didn't even want to run anymore at all, and that I would rather just be fat and happy.  It was so wrong.

Once again, this wasn't my first bad run, and of course it won't be the last.  I will keep running as long as I'm able, because even if a run is torturous, and painful, and defeating, I never, ever regret it.  I always come away a little stronger in mind and body.  It's definitely a strange gift the Lord's given me.

Husband at home - kinda "Wrong!"

Now, I only write this because IV and I are in complete agreement that his being at home, in between jobs, is wrong!  It is helpful at times, like homeschool day one (see above), and when he unexpectedly takes the kids to the park so I can have a break, and because I really just like being with him.  However, he's got so many ideas, plans, and so much willingness to work that he can't be contained in the house.  Also, it's sometimes challenging when we don't communicate clearly, as when he tells the kids to clean up when I've told them they can play with Lottie's new Lego set. It complicates things.

This is not a surprise to us, with IV in and out of different deployments in the past we knew the transition home would bring challenges.  Of course, we don't want him to leave the country again, but the wait for a job to be secured isn't very easy either.  We keep reminding each other that the Lord provides, and we're praying that He'll put IV where He wants him.   

Three "Wrongs!" make a right???

When so much seems just plain wrong in life it's easy to feel like you're screwing it all up.  I've felt like a big, fat failure more times than I can count, but while I was on that really wrong run the other day the Lord reminded me of the importance of recalling what the Lord has done for us in the past.  Psalm 13 is one of my favorites because it starts out with such despair but then ends in hope:
13 How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever?
How long will You hide Your face from me?
How long shall I take counsel in my soul,
Having sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long will my enemy be exalted over me?
Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
Enlighten my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,
And my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
And my adversaries will rejoice when I am shaken.
But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness;
My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
Because He has dealt bountifully with me.
So, when things are all wrong I've learned to count my blessings 1000 times over, and keep trusting in God, because:
17 Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls,
18 Yet I will exult in the Lord,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. 
Habakkuk 3:17-18