Choices, we make hundreds of them every day. Some choices are small, what shoes shall I wear today, and some are big, do I take a new job? They all impact our lives. My daughter and son-in-law have started to give Bella choices. She just turned two, but if she learns how to make wise choices now, that will help her with choices later in life.
Right now they let her choose which color sucker she wants, or do you want apple juice or water. They let her pick between two books to read. Sometimes she knows right away what she wants and will say “apple juice,” other times she will say “which one”. Sometimes I am like Bella, and just say, “which one”.
Brett and I recently bought a new bed. Shout out to the “Mattress Store” in Marion. We had no idea what we wanted when we went. They were informative and answered all our questions. It came down to laying on each bed and “choosing” which one felt better. Thank you Suitt family for all your help.
But even harder than picking out a new bed was picking out a new headboard. I spent hours on web sites, Overstock, Wayfair, and Amazon. I went to three different stores, two in other towns. Who knew there were so many styles, colors, shapes, and prices. I wanted the best deal for my money, and I wasn’t sure what I was looking for. I wasted so much time on a choice that is not that significant. I finally found one and it is on it’s way, but in a couple of months I probably won’t even notice it is there.
This morning I read some verses in Deuteronomy about a choice, a choice of life or death. It is instructions given to the Israelites before they cross the Jordan into the promised land.
Deuteronomy 30:19-20 “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the Lord, you will live long in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”
Seems like a pretty logical choice doesn’t it? Choosing life means to choose to love the Lord, obey him and commit our lives to him. God in a world full of hard choices thank you for making this one so clear. Maybe not always so easy to follow, but at least easy to understand.
God, I know you have been calling me to seek you more. Seek who you really are according to scripture, not according to what some book and author tells me. I have read 100’s of those. Not according to what some sermon or pod casts tells me. I have listened to 100’s of those but, according to who you tell me you are. So, it’s no surprise that a lot of the revival this week has been about seeking you.
Matthew 7: 7-9 Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks finds, and everyone who knocks the door will be opened.
God, we say seek him, seek his face, seek his will for your life. I don’t even know if I know how to do that. I want to seek you, yet not even sure where to start. I want to have a close, personal, real relationship with you. But, I am not so good at those, relationships. I don’t trust easily. I am not an open person. But, I do know the one who created relationships, and I do know I was created to be in relationship with you.
I know the three things I need to do to start.
Where do I begin? Thankfully we have google, so I just googled, verses about seeking God. There were hundreds. I jotted down all the references and just started reading through them. Not just reading the verse. but reading the passage around it to find out what was going on.
Then I started a list. I am adding to that list daily, and keep reading over the list. I am starting to see a picture of what God says about seeking him.
We should seek him above all else. If we seek him we will find him. He rewards those who seek him. We should continue to seek him. We should seek him earnestly and with our whole heart. God isn’t hiding, he wants us to seek him, he wants us to find him.
Seek Him today, time could be running out. Time is running out, the clock continues to tick off how much time each of us has left.
I have been in a slump lately. A slump I just have not been able to pull myself out of. I have tried. I have said today I am going to wake up and do better. I am going to be happy. I am going to chose to not let things get under my skin or bother me. And I make it part way into the day but something always happens to put me back in the cycle of unhappiness, anger, hurt, ungratefulness, miserable really. Not someone I want to be, or someone I like. Which makes me feel even worse. Maybe even bordering on depression, just slightly, but for no apparent reason.
This weekend was our annual get away with our kids and grand kids for a couple of nights. We went to St. Louis and spent Friday and Saturday night. We rented a house on the Hill, and enjoyed great Italian food. We went to Grant’s Farm Saturday and had a good weekend. We even ran into some old St Louis friends Saturday night when we went out to eat. Great seeing the Womble’s. A wonderful and blessed weekend, yet still this nagging, unsettled, not myself feeling.
On the way over Friday afternoon in the car, I opened up a book I have been reading off and on for six months or so. It is a great book, one of those that every time I open it, it’s as if it’s ordained for me to read the next chapter at that appointed time. The book ironically is called, “Sacred Mundane, How to Find Freedom, Purpose, and Joy”. I normally am a speed reader, and a lot of times read a book so fast I don’t retain very much from it. So, I have been purposely just reading bits and pieces of this one trying to process it as I go along.
I read and reread two chapters on the way over, it was as if every word was written just for me. One of those where half the book is highlighted. One paragraph really hit home, and I had it in the back of my mind all weekend. I was pondering it. So, I had time tonight to sit down and read both of those chapters again, and spend some quiet time thinking on these words.
The point is not to have perfect circumstances. Having all our expectations met won’t work thankfulness into us because disappointments aren’t the problem. Failing to honestly acknowledge our disappointments is the problem. We hide how we feel. Why? Out of fear. We’re afraid that by admitting something hurts, bothers, or disappoints us, we’ll be seen as weak, shallow, unspiritual, or needy. By others, by ourselves, by God. So we pretend, and often we don’t even know we’re doing it.
This is a small part of two chapters. But in a nutshell this is me, especially with God. I am afraid to admit to God if something bothers me, or disappoints me because I am afraid he will see me as shallow, and unspiritual, that he will see me as ungrateful. I AM AFRAID TO BE HONEST WITH GOD. How crazy is that? Because I know he knows, it just seems wrong to admit it verbally to him. To voice it out loud.
Too often we think that thanksgiving comes by ignoring these small things. It doesn’t. True thanks comes by entering in to them honestly and discovering God is there. Finding him is what fuels our authentic thanksgiving.
I know that God has been speaking to me about being more thankful the last couple of months, but I was trying to fill that with fake thanksgiving. I need to work on being honest and finding him in the disappointments and hurts of each day and being grateful he’s there. That is where true joy begins.
Anyone else out there brave enough to admit they are afraid to be honest with God?
In Celebrate Recovery we give out blue chips. A blue chip represents day one. It can be day one of sobriety, or just the beginning of a new journey to give something over to God. It is a starting point, a reminder of a new beginning. I have a bowl full of blue chips sitting on my dresser. Psalms is kind of a blue chip book for me. When I have been away from my Bible it is a good place to begin again.
So, I have been reading in Psalms the last couple of days. Today as I sat down to read, I just started making a list of how David saw God. God descriped David as a man after his own heart. That being the case, I wanted to see David’s God. I was in chapter 25 so I just started a list. (I love lists). In a busy life lists give me a quick glance overview. David says you are the God who:
And in the middle of those verses I get to an old familiar verse, one of those I had clung to at a certain point in my life. I am bad about remembering where verses are so when I came across it, it was like running into an old friend. Psalm 27:8 ‘My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” and my heart responds, “Lord I am coming.”
Thank you God that you are all these things that David list, and that you are also patient. Like an old friend, or a grandparent, we may not have had contact with for awhile. Yet, when we reach out they are always there, waiting, and ready to pick right back up, no judgement, guilt, or condemnation. Thank you that you continue to call me to come and talk with you.
Some honesty this morning, because I believe we all struggle. We can try and make it look easy and make it look like we have it all together, but we are all in the same boat on this earth. We all drag around an old sin nature, some days he/she is more dead than others, some days she is very much alive. Some seasons we have it more together than others. Maybe I am wrong, and the rest of you do have it all together, all the time but let me tell you, I don’t. So, sharing some honest words from my journal entry today.
Good morning God – I sit here on the balcony in Panama Beach this morning. It’s 7:00 AM, the sun is up, and the moon is still out. How does that happen? It’s probably already 75 out and it is going to be over 90 today. This may be the only enjoyable time outside all day. As I sit here on the 20th floor I can hear the waves rolling in and I can see them below. The ocean is one of your creations that fascinates me the most.
The constant in and out of the waves, the constant in and out of the tide. The way you command the waves to stop at the shoreline and they do. Maybe that’s why I love the ocean so much, the constant of it. The rhythm of it. The flow of it. That is what I crave in my walk with you, a constant, rhythm that flows. But, so often like now I am so far from that.
Instead of constant bible reading there is hit or miss when I have the time. There is an old 70’s song by Cat Stevens, called the Cats in the Cradle. It talks about the relationship of a father and a son. At different stages in each of their lives they crave the attention of the other one, but one is always caught up in life. They can’t (or don’t) find the time for each other. They get caught up in the “things” of live, work, school, kids. Things that aren’t bad but things that fill up their time.
I am caught up in that right now, even here at the beach on vacation. I brought my bible, a study book, a journal, a notebook, all with great intentions to get in the word and spend time with you. Uninterupted time. Here it is Tuesday and I just pulled my Bible and journal out of my bag. I have been caught up with walking on the beach, running around, time with Brett (much needed time with Brett), a pleasure book I wanted to read. None of those are bad, but they have distracted me, from reading my Bible, praying, stopping to enjoy time with You. I think sometimes at the beach or in the moutains I get caught up worshipping the creation and not the creator.
There are times God when I just want to feel your presence, but that may be the wrong request. What I really need to be praying is God let me know who you are. So, today God I pray you not only show me who you are, but let me seek to know who you are. Thank You for the ocean, and the wonder of it.
My grand babies have been great blog inspiration lately. I love this video of Milo. He hates tummy time. His Mommy and Daddy joke about him hating it, because they tease about him having a big head. Early on his head measured in the 90 percentile. Chris likes to lovingly call him 91. They are going to be great parents, they can joke instead of becoming offended.
In this video he makes it look like tummy time is such a struggle. He may be right there with Bella receiving an Oscar award someday. He makes it look like it is taking everything he has to lift up and hold up his head.
Sometimes I feel like that. Some days there are mornings I just don’t want to lift my head off the pillow in the morning, and I groan just about as much as Milo.
Sometimes in the mornings when Brett and I walk he will say did you see that? Usually I say no, because when we walk Brett is looking all around, observing everything around us. I am tunnel vision, head down, focused on the road ahead. On how much further we have to go and anything that might get in my way. I keep my head down and miss life around me.
Sometimes my inability to lift my head comes in another form. I can hold my head down from shame or sorrow, from guilt or regret. In those instances, it can feel like my head weighs 90 pounds. Like lifting it takes everything out of me.
One thing I love in this video is KC’s voice in the background. Her lovingly calling his name, encouraging him. God does the same thing for me. When I hang my head in shame and regret, He lovingly calls my name and encourages me. He says here I am look up.
Then that look on Milo’s face when he finally gets his head up and sees his Mommy. It’s the same when I lift my head and know the acceptance and love that comes from a faithful, loving, forgiving Father. Look up child.
It is hard to believe that this little guy is almost three and a half months old. The time really has flown by fast. He has always been fun to hold, he is such a cuddler. Now though he is really approaching a fun age. He interacts with you, and smiles and coos all the time. He recognizes Mommy and Daddy’s face and gives them super big smiles.
Capturing a video of a baby doing something you want them to, is almost as hard as capturing a good sunset or rainbow. You can never do it justice. This video however is my attempt at getting him to imitate, because he is into that now. His first imitation was sticking out his tongue. His mommy taught him that one, and it entertained us for hours. Then he moved on to cooing and blowing bubbles. I taught him the bubbles, you are welcome Chris and KC.
It is so fun to watch him observe your face and mouth and try to get his to do the same thing. He studies really hard, then tries to imitate what you are doing. Then he gets excited with your reaction when he gets it right. It is so hard to believe that at such an early age babies are able to do that, and are so eager to.
What if we were as eager to be imitators of Christ? That is what he calls us do to. Paul tells us in Ephesians, “Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children.” Just like Milo imitates his Mommy and Daddy we are to imitate our heavenly father.
What does that look like for us? For me? For me it means to be more loving. To love God more, to love others more. The greatest commandment in Mark 12, is to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind and to love your neighbor as yourself. God gave us the greatest example of this by laying down his life for us. By putting us ahead of him, by being a servant.
How can I imitate this in my life? By putting others ahead of me. Those words are easy to say but what do they look like in real life?
When I am sitting on the couch in the evening all relaxed, what if my phone rings and I know it might be a call of someone needing something. Do I answer it or ignore it?
When my wallet has money in it and I see a need it is easy to hand over a $5 or a $10, but what if that $5 or $10 is the last one in my wallet am I as eager to share? What if Brett and I are arguing about something and I feel I am right, but he feels he is too, am I willing to lay down my pride and let it go? What if someone has let me down multiple times in the past, yet they come asking for one more chance, do I give them grace or do I play judge?
Milo is so eager to imitate his mommy and daddy, and tries so hard. God let me be as willing and eager to be an imitator of you.
This girl turns two in just a couple of weeks. She is starting to learn to deal with emotions, and the power of a look. She already has the pouty face and fake cry down to an art. I am pretty sure there might be an Oscar in her future somewhere.
She has started this new thing that when she gets mad at you, or you tell her no, she stomps her little foot, dramatically throws her arms at her side, looks you straight in the eyes and says, “you promised”. Sometimes for more effect she dramatically throws herself on the ground. I am not positive that “you promised” is what she says, but if you listen close to the video it sure sounds like it. Her Mom says she thinks that is what she is saying, but she has no idea where she got it.
Now as Mimi it is all I can do not to laugh when she does it. Because she has the actions down to an art and has perfected it. As I watched her do it the other day I thought. I must look like that to God sometimes. Maybe Bella and I not only share a deep love for macaroni and cheese, and books, and ice cream, but we might have the dramatic “you promised” in common also.
I don’t think Bella has any idea what the words you promised mean. Maybe I don’t either. Because, I think sometimes when things don’t go exactly as I planned, I stomp my foot, throw my hands at my side, look straight at God and say, (at least in my head), you promised. My actions say I am doing all the things I am suppose to be doing, didn’t you promise things would go my way?
But just like Bells, maybe I don’t understand what God really promised, or maybe sometimes I just forget. God never promised things would go my way. He did promise in 1 John 1:9, that if I confess my sins he is faithful to forgive. He did promise in Psalm 103:12, that as far as the east is from the west, is how far he removed our transgressions from us. He did promise in Ephesians 3:18, that his love is wide, long, high, and deep. He also promises me in Deuteronomy 31:6, that He will never leave me, nor forsake me.
The Bible is full of promises from God, but none of those promises say, “Janet if you do your best, and always try your hardest things will always go your way and be in your favor.” Just like in Bella’s case, stomping my foot, and telling God he promised something he didn’t, isn’t going to change those times when things don’t go my way.
Thankful for the reminder that just like I love Bella, and won’t always give her her way (Not always). I do promise to love her, no matter how she might act or react. Thankful God loves me, and keeps his promises no matter how I might act or react.