Thursday, December 29, 2011


Over the last 2 weeks, in the midst of the hectic life around me during this time of the year, I've had the time to relax by browsing on Pinterest or by catching up with people via facebook.  As we near the new year, I'm noticing a shift in posts and in conversations.  While this shift to new things and resolutions can be a good thing, I have been broken by some of what I've read.

Things like...

You were given this in life because you are
strong enough to handle it.

Live strong in 2012.

God will never give me something I can't handle.

None of those things are wrong...exactly.  But each one of them and many more like them lack one truth.  You see the emphasis in these things is on the Me/Myself/I.  The focus is on what I can do or what YOU can do.

Have you ever stopped to think about this?  I have been...lately especially!  Our family, church family, and friends have all endured many hardships over the last year. 
  • We've seen loved ones die suddenly.
  • We've experienced dire financial circumstances.
  • We've watched dear friends pack up and move away knowing we will most likely never see them again in this life.
  • We've watched children make devastating choices.
  • We've watched children make amazing choices...but those choices will affect our family's life forever.
  • We've dealt with illness, injuries, and the pain that comes from those.
  • We've experienced unfairness at work or at school.
  • We've walked with our children through unimaginable heartbreak.

Really, I could go on and on!  This morning while catching up on facebook, God kept impressing on me the FACT that I cannot ever be strong enough.  Many of things my personal family has been through this year and in years past would have left us paralyzed if we had had to be strong enough to deal with them.

PRAISE GOD we didn't have to be strong enough!

You see God tells us in His Word over and over that HE IS OUR STRENGTH!

Deuteronomy 31:6  Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.

Joshua 1:9  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.

Psalm 18:2  The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

2 Corinthians 12:9  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Philippians 4:13  I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

While we are commanded over and over again throughout the Bible to "Be strong.", that strength always comes from the Lord.  I'm so thankful that He is my portion and my strength, and that although He calls me to be hold have courage, He ALWAYS supplies the strength for me to do those things.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.  Psalm 73:26

A current song on Christian radio is a great reminder of the truth that we don't have to be strong enough.  God is strong enough for both of us!  Strong Enough by Matthew West


Saturday, December 10, 2011

It's Beginning to FEEL Like Christmas

I did it!  I finished all our Christmas shopping in just 2 days.  I must say that a couple of weeks ago, I was completely stressed about Christmas.  The thought of trying to scrape money together to fill our living room with presents for our 4 children stressed me!  I found myself dwelling on how we always had done Christmas in the past and how daunting the task ahead of me was for this year.  After all, we have Brooke in college, Blake and Cody are seniors, and Dale just turned 16.  The money we put out monthly for tuition, school expenses, insurance, food, and so much more is far more than we can "afford" and we usually have more month than money.  So to add Christmas presents to that was enough to produce a migraine!

Then, one evening as I was stressing and browsing Pinterest, I ran across a saying for Christmas giving...

The idea is that each child receives four...YES THAT'S ALL...FOUR gifts.  They can ask for whatever they choose in each category, but they will receive...

Something they want.
Something they need.
Something to wear.
Something to read (or listen to).

We sat down with our kids and talked about Christmas and how we needed it to look different this year for several reasons.  The first is that Christmas is about the ONE true gift that God gave us when He sent Jesus to be born as a baby in Bethlehem.  God has blessed everyone in our family with the gift of salvation.  THAT is what Christmas needs to be about.  We also explained that money is tight (they already knew that) and we found this new way of planning for Christmas that we hoped they  would appreciate.  Being the wonderful children that they are, they were all for it!  They each made a list in the four categories.  What a blessing to get their lists and not feel the pressure of the world to provide them with hundreds and hundreds of dollars worth of stuff that in the end will mean nothing.

So two nights ago, Doug and I set out with lists in hand.  How great it felt to be able to shop stress free.  How awesome to realize our children all asked for things that will help them grow in their walk with Christ.  How amazing for God to take us to just the right stores and show us just the right deals!  Truly, I've prayed in the past for money to be able to buy more and more.  (By the way, His answer to those prayers was usually "no".)  This time around I found myself praying for God to lead me to items that would please my children AND would get us the most for our money.  I found myself excited once again about this Christmas!  We didn't finish shopping Thursday, so I went out this morning to finish.  I was able to find perfect gifts for our kids and for our parents.  It feels wonderful to be able to say I'm finished!  Whew!  I'm so thankful I won't need to go out into those crowds again!

As I sat down to relax a few minutes after returning from town this afternoon, I felt a peace about Christmas that I don't know if I've ever felt before.  God is so good!  I'm so thankful for His intervention through, of all things, Pinterest!  Now, we will all have this blessed season to enjoy each other without the pressures of MORE MORE MORE.

"Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow." James 1:17


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Even in the valley...


Have you ever wondered why you or your family has to go through hard times...sickness...violence...times of many tears and many questions?  While I'm not focusing on the why's of our challenges, there have been times this last week that I just stopped and cried out to God because I just don't understand.

I don't understand why Brooke has become sick again with what appears to be issues with her heart after many years without any complications.  I don't understand why my migraines had reappeared full force.  I don't understand why Dougie is struggling at work in so many ways.  I really don't understand why God allowed Blake to be attacked in a parking lot by a complete stranger.  I don't understand!

Then, in my quiet time, God speaks through His Word to me...words of comfort, assurance, and love.  As I'm listening to one of my favorite bands this week, God speaks to me through their lyrics.  At just the right time and just the right place, God sent just the right people to minister to my family and to me.  It was through all this that I realized I don't have to understand why.  What I have to understand is that even in the valley, God is good!  He is working all things for the good of His children.  No matter what, we're called to praise Him.  No matter what we are called to live out our lives for Him.

So, what do I have to praise God for when I have one child sick and one child hurt?  Let me share with you.

I am married to a wonderful, Christian man who loves and supports us through good times and bad!  Dougie is a true blessing!

Protection for Brooke!

Blake's injuries are minor compared to what they could have been!

I have a group of prayer warrior sisters in Christ praying for me daily!

I had 3 days without migraines this week!

Marsha was near to minister to Brooke's needs when I wasn't there!

Marsha opened up her home to Brooke!

Texts, facebook messages and phone calls from sisters in Christ to encourage and let me know they are praying for Brooke.

A fellow teacher...actually 3...offering their time to cover my class so I could get to Brooke!

A parent of a student and fellow teacher offering to take my class an extra 50 minutes on her planning so I could catch up!

God intervening and stopping the attack on Blake!

Cody and Dale reacting exactly the way God wanted them to react!

A police officer being on the scene quickly!

My boys' witness stands firm because they stood firm in the Lord!

A mom of my boys' friend driving by and stopping to help!

Witnessing Blake's quick forgiveness!

Being able to pray with Blake in the hospital!

Clear catscan of his brain and face!

The boys' good friends!

Through everything this week, having opportunities to share how the Lord has worked with people who aren't yet Christ followers!

A phone call from Cathy at the exact right time when I needed it most!

Psalm 27!

A visit from Blake's friend bringing him a card full of hugs!

I'm sure I've left something out.  You get the point, right?  Satan has been attacking our family! 


God knows.  He cares.  He is in control.  He is and will continue to work all things to our good.

I appreciate and am so thankful for everyone's prayers!  Thank you from the bottom of my heart!


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Gain the world and lose my soul

35 For (A)whoever wishes to save his [a]life will lose it, but whoever loses his [b]life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? 37 For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?  Mark 8:35-37

I love early morning wake-up calls.  No, I'm not crazy (well maybe a little), but I'm not talking about the early wake-up calls of an alarm.  I'm talking about those times when God wakes me in the wee hours of the morning, long before most people are up...long before I had planned to get up...even long before the sun comes up.  Some time back a dear Christian woman helped me see that those early morning nudges when you really should be sleeping are times when God is calling you to spend time with prayer and in His Word!

This morning around 4:30, I was all the sudden awake.  I had not been dreaming that I remember.  There hadn't been any noises to wake me.  I was simply awake.  During the hour that followed, God placed so many of my friends and family on my heart. 

Friends and family who are facing illness and eminent death of loved ones.
Friends who are agreeing in prayer for an injured young man in Colorado.
Friends who are praying their children home from orphanges all over the world.
Friends who are caring for children who aren't their own, but love them dearly anyway!
Children called to ministry!
Moms and Dads of children called to ministry.
Teachers planning for the upcoming year.
Students who will be placed in the care of those teachers.
Friends and family who are awaiting word on new jobs.
Friends and family praying for God's guidance in choosing a home.
Friends who are struggling with who God really is.
Friends who are longing for a time past when life seemed to be good for them.
Friends and family who seem to have a longing for God in their lives but are still living in the world.
Friends and family who can't see that what they need...all they the Lord in their lives.

So much flooding my mind that the only thing to do was pray.  As much as I had to pray about, there was one 'theme' that kept coming back to me.  The heaviest burden was for friends who are searching--for peace, for comfort, for love, for answers.  God kept bringing these people back to the top of my list.

After much time just sitting with God in the darkness and silence, I got up and went for my Bible.  Since Sunday's Sunday School lesson and memory verse, God has placed on my mind the idea of living for Him versus living for the world.  It seems that everywhere I turn, I'm faced with the images and words of people struggling with this.  As I searched through my Bible, I found many passages addressing living for Christ instead of living for the world.  Then, a image came to mind that has stuck there this morning.

Yep, that's a fence!  As I thought about this image of a fence, I thought about how many times in my life I straddled the fence--one leg on God's side, one leg on the world's side.  I remember trying with all I had to live both ways.  But it simply wasn't possible.  I am either for God or against God.  There is no middle ground or room to play with the setup.  As Christians, we either are or aren't!  As I pondered more on this thought, I thought of areas in my life where this has been a struggle.  I thought of areas where my friends are struggling right now as I type and as you read.  So many of us have faced, are facing, or will face choices that will define which side of the fence we are on.  We have to ask ourselves...I have to ask myself...who or what are we living for.

When I'm on FaceBook, do I try to sit on both sides...posting nice scriptural things one hour and then derogatory things the next?

At work, do I try to sit on both sides...praying with coworkers over a need one day and gossiping the next?

At home, do I try to sit on both sides...encouraging children to keep garbage out of their lives in the morning and then watching a TV show that goes against that encouragement that night?

The list could go on and on. 

Today, my prayer is that I will always choose God's side.  My prayer is that my friends who are struggling with where they belong find the One true God and live for Him.  My prayer is that God will convict when we stray.  My prayer is that He will call those searching for peace and comfort to Himself.

15 Do not love (A)the world nor the things in the world. (B)If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, (C)the lust of the flesh and (D)the lust of the eyes and (E)the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 (F)The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who (G)does the will of God lives forever.  1 John 2:15-17

Thankful for early morning wake-ups,

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Delicious Dinner!

I had time to do some experimenting in the kitchen this afternoon.  Dinner was delicious!  We had an Apple Bacon Meatloaf, Green Beans, and Mashed Cauliflower.  Everyone loved the new meatloaf recipe AND the mashed cauliflower.  At first, there was a little hesitation with the cauliflower, but the taste won everyone over. 

Apple Bacon Meatloaf

1 1/2 to 2 pounds lean ground beef
1/2 to 1 pound Italian Sausage
2 Eggs
1 c. bread crumbs or crushed herb stuffing crumbs
1 medium Sweet Onion, chopped
1 Gala or Fuji Apple, chopped
6 pieces Cooked Bacon, chopped
6 pieces Uncooked Bacon
1 c. Apple Butter (separated 1/2 c. for meatloaf and 1/2 c. for glaze)
1/2 c. Cinnamon Apple Sauce
6 Tbs. Hickory Barbecue Sauce (3 for meatloaf and 3 for glaze)
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease 2 loaf pans.  Line the bottom of each loaf pan with bread slices.  (This will soak up any grease from the cooking meatloaf.)  Set aside.  Combine meats, eggs, bread crumbs, onion, apple, chopped bacon, apple butter, apple sauce, and barbecue sauce using your hands to mix thoroughly.  Salt and pepper to your liking.  Mix thoroughly.  Separate and put into loaf pans.  Mix the rest of the apple butter and barbecue sauce to make glaze.  Spread over top of meatloaf mixture.  Place 3 slices of uncooked bacon on each loaf.  Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour until cooked through.  Switch oven to broil setting.  Broil for 10 minutes or until bacon on top is crisp.  Let meatloaf rest before moving to serving plate.  (Remember, the bread is not for eating.  It is soaked with grease.  Just discard.)

Mashed Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
4 c. chicken stock or broth
1/2 container Philly Garlic Cooking Cream
1/2 stick butter
Salt and Pepper
Chives for garnish

Place cauliflower florets in a large pot.  Cover with chicken stock.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Then, leave covered and simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes.  Uncover and bring heat back up to medium high.  Cook for about 10 more minutes.  Drain.  Add cooking cream, butter, salt and pepper.  Mix with a hand mixer until desired consistency for your taste.  Move to a serving bowl.  Garnish with a pat of butter and chives.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Answered Prayers...Do We Really Want God to Answer?

My pool time is often prayer, worship, and thinking time.  Floating around in the cool water listening usually to K-Love Radio.  This is a very personal time for me when I'm all alone in the pool.  Today while enjoying this beautiful day, a conversation I had last night with a very strong, wise Christian woman came back to my mind.  Basically, we talked briefly about our prayers (specifically for our children in this conversation) and whether we 1. really trust God to answer and 2. really want the answer we're praying for. 

Think about it.  We all know there are prayers we definitely want answered the way we are praying.  When we pray for a sick child (or anyone), we want healing.  Of course we want our child well...healthy...full of life.  As parents, when we pray for the salvation of our children, we truly want that.  After all, it is frightening to think of eternity with us in God's presence in Heaven and our children in Hell being tormented for eternity.  That is definitely a prayer I prayed for years.  Praise God!  He answered that prayer with all four of our children being drawn to Christ and being saved by genuine faith in Christ--His death, burial, and resurrection.

However, there are other prayers that we pray...and I believe we pray earnestly...that when God answers we start to question His answer.  I have prayed nearly daily since my children were young for God to call them to His work, whether this be in ministry or as a lay-minister in his/her field.  We all know our mission field is wherever God places us.  Over the last year, my prayers have become more fervent.  I've prayed specifically for God to call our children and use them for a called-out ministry.  I've seen glimpses of answers over the last several months in Cody.  I was (still am) excited to see what God was/is doing in his life.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago--youth camp.  This is an exciting week for the youth.  It is plain fun!  They get to fellowship with like-minded youth.  They build relationships with each other.  They are immersed in the Bible.  Oh what a wonderful experience youth camp is!  However, this time for me this was a week of sincere specific (well I thought they were specific) prayers for our boys.  Everyday they were at camp, I prayed something like "Lord, clearly call our boys to your work.  Make your calling on their lives so clear that they can't miss it.  Send people their way and speak messages just to them so they know without a doubt what you are calling them to."  I meant every word of those prayers!  I really did...didn't I?

Well, the day the boys came home from camp, I discovered my prayers had been answered.  Praise the Lord!  Right?  Of course, I celebrated with Cody as he shared that God had placed a specific call on his life to ministry.  He isn't sure where he is being called or to what specific kind of work, but he KNOWS God has called him.  Then, he says it--something like "Mom, it may be overseas."  Was that the answer I wanted God to give him?  When I prayed did I think God would send one of my babies out of the United States to minister?  Honestly, I hadn't thought of that being an option.  Silly of me, huh?  Anyway, I had the comfort that maybe that wasn't where he was being called because he had said he wasn't sure where.

Then, that same night, Blake needed to talk to me.  He had a lot on his mind.  As he talked, I found out AGAIN that my prayers had been answered as Blake described several experiences at camp that he believes confirms a call to missions.  And while he also isn't sure where, he feels pretty strongly that it could be the foreign mission field.  Praise the Lord!  Right?  Was that the answer I wanted God to give another one of my boys?  When I prayed did I think God would possibly send TWO of my babies out of the United States to minister?  Frankly, it scares me! 

You might think that since then I've prayed for God to keep them here...where it's safe...where I can see them often...where I can love on their children (I'm sure God is going to give us a BUNCH of grandkids one day...after all, I've prayed for that, too!)...where I will know what is going on with them.  Well, that was tempting.  Truthfully, that's what I wanted to pray.

Then, God spoke to me through His Word.  Romans 11:29  says"for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable."  He let me know then and there, that His calling sticks.  Then, I found my way to Philippians 4:6-7.  6 "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  I chose to pray for peace.  I chose to pray for God to absolutely use Blake and Cody wherever He calls them.  With each day, seeing my boys' passion for the Gospel of Christ, God is giving me peace.

Now, I can answer the question "Do I really want God to answer my prayers?" with a resounding YES!  I wouldn't want anything less for my children.  Each day God reminds me that He has this!  He's in control!  He is faithful!

“The LORD will accomplish what concerns me; Your lovingkindness, O LORD, is everlasting; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.” Psalm 138:8 NASB


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Recipes from Our Day of Cooking

One of my very favorite things to do with Brooke is cook.  We love to create new dishes together.  Most come out pretty good.  A few have been on the not-so-good side.  The great thing about it all is working with my precious baby girl, Brooke!  Here are a few recipes from today's cooking adventures.

(Salad pictured is a double batch.)

BLT Salad

1 bag of Romaine Lettuce Mix
1 carton grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
3 eggs, hard boiled, sliced
1/2 to 1 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled or chopped

Put lettuce in a large salad bowl.  Cover lettuce with the tomato halves.  Sprinkle crumbled bacon all over the tomatoes and lettuce.  Garnish with the egg slices.  This makes a really pretty and delicious salad.

Barbecue Dressing for BLT Salad (good on lots of other things, too)

about 1 cup mayonnaise
2-3 Tbs. barbecue sauce
1 heaping spoonful honey
1 bunch green onions, chopped fine (I use a manual food processor)
fresh ground pepper
juice from 1/2 lemon
lemon zest from 1/2 lemon (optional)

Whisk all ingredients together thoroughly.  Refrigerate. Serve over BLT salad, on burgers, with fries, or anything else you please!

(Again, this is a double batch.)

Butterfinger Trifle

Butterfinger Cookies (Kroger carries these.), broken into pieces
1 package Chocolate Pudding
2 c. Milk
1-2 cans Whipped Cream
1/2 c.- 1 c. Peanut Butter, melted
2 Butterfinger Candy Bars, crushed
Peanuts (optional), chopped

Layer the following:
1.  Cookies
2.  Pudding
3.  Peanut Butter
4.  Butterfinger pieces and peanuts
5. Whipped Cream

Repeat layers until all ingredients used.

Happy Cooking!
Cindy and Brooke

Sunday, May 1, 2011


"When your children ask later..."

This morning's sermon and our life group's discussion on Psalm 77 about moving from depression to
dependence rekindled my desire to pass on the stories of God's faithfulness in the life of our family.  Below is a repost of the original post about our Remembrance Stones.  The kids are even more grown up now!  As I watch each of them grow physically and more importantly spiritually, I'm reminded often of God's faithfulness! 

These stones now will be added to in order to remind each of us in our family that we CAN and SHOULD depend on our faithful Father.  "All I have need of His hand will provide.  He's always been faithful
to me."

Original Post:

As you can see in the picture, our children are growing up...FAST.  (This picture is nearly a year old...the boys have changed a lot even in the last year.)  Brooke will be going away to college in less than a month now.  Blake and Cody are driving now.  Dale will be starting high school just a couple of days before Brooke leaves for school.  It seems like yesterday they were all babies...oh how well Doug and I remember the days of a booster seat, 2 bulky car seats, and a baby carrier.  We have so many stories of their growing up days that I'm sure many of you have heard...probably more than once.
Have you heard the story of the 'car fly' or the story of the diaper incident when we thought Blake and Cody were napping or what about Brooke's rendition of the song "I Shall Not Be Moved" when she was two or maybe the story of how Dale sang the "I Know a Song that Gets on Everybody's Nerves" ALL the way to FLORIDA?  We never tire of remembering and sharing stories of our children.  If
you are a parent or a grandparent, I'm sure you are the same.

Many months ago, I started following the blog of a wonderful Christian woman who has a
weekly feature called Memorial Box Monday.  (The blog is . You can check out her blog and see her reasoning and thinking behind how she does her Memorial Box.) 

Anyway, it got me to thinking.  I'm so quick to tell stories about my children and family.  I tell my children stories of themselves and our family so that they have those stories to tell their
children, but do I purposefully tell them stories of God and His goodness and His love and His faithfulness so that they can experience it and then pass it on to their children in the future?  I had to answer...not nearly enough.  As a matter of fact, many times I would tell stories or recount the events in our lives and tell the details of the event and completely leave God out of it.  Did I do that on purpose?  No, but was it still wrong?  Yes. 

Throughout the Bible, we are instructed to teach our children of the faithfulness of God so
that they can and will teach their children.  In Joshua 4, the Lord instructed Joshua to use stones as a memorial for what the Lord had done for the Israelites when they had crossed the Jordan.  We should in some way be doing something so that we not only remember but pass on stories of God's faithfulness to our kids.

For example, when Cody was in the first grade he fell about 16-18 feet out of a tree when the branch he was standing on broke.  He fell into a dry creek bed.  Cody had a major compression fracture in his back, and he broke a small bone in his foot near the growth plate.  I've told that story many
times over the course of his life.  I remember using words like..."It's AMAZING that he wasn't hurt worse than that."  "It could have been so much worse."  Both of those statements are true, but the TRUE TRUTH is that God protected Cody during that fall.  God kept Cody from landing on his neck.  God gave me the strength and determination to demand that the doctors x-ray Cody's back when
they were refusing.  God saw us through those days of Cody having to be flat on his back and very still until they could custom make a brace for him.  God sent family and friends to minister and care for our family.  God saw us through the months of Cody being in a hard-shell brace and wheelchair.  Some people may say that God wasn't there or He would have kept Cody from falling.  I not only say,
but know that God was there and did protect Cody.  Now, it is a story of God's faithfulness that we will share with our children and they will share with their children.

With that being said, we all know there are so many stories of times when God has been faithful in our lives AND our human minds tend to forget.  So how do we make sure that we have those stories to pass on?   There are many ways that different families choose to do this.  Our family has discussed this for a long time and have had many ideas. 

For now, we are doing a Remembrance Stone Box.  We've just started this project.  I thought I'd
share some pictures with you.  We started with a planter box.  We collected flat, smooth rocks from a creek.  It was fun to try to find rocks with odd shapes and colors. 

Brooke painted a scripture on each side of the box.

Then, we took the stones and wrote brief descriptions of times in our family's life when God was
faithful.  When we can remember the date, we write the date.  The stones are reminders.  Obviously there is not room for the whole story.  These are reminders so that when we see them we remember the story.  We only have a few of the rocks with messages on them right now.  We're adding to them a little at a time.  As we need to, we'll add rocks. 

The box sits on our coffee table in our living room.  (My friend, Dawn, from church knew someone who used their remembrance stones in this way.  Thanks for the idea, Dawn!)  So now it serves a dual purpose.  If someone is visiting our home, we hope it becomes a conversation piece.  After all, we have a box of rocks on our table.  This will open up the door for conversations about how good our God is!

So now, when our children (or grandchildren or anyone who comes into our home) ask later what are
those rocks for, we'll answer with hearts full of love and thanksgiving as we tell of God's faithfulness!

Do you have a way that your family shares stories of God's faithfulness in your lives?  I'd love
to hear your ideas!


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Lose all my guilty stains!

It has been a while...3 months actually...since my last blog.  No excuses, time just gets away from me and other things take my attention.  Some things going on with me got me to thinking, praying, praising, worshiping, crying, smiling...the list could go I thought I would put some of my thoughts here.

I've been reading a book titled Made to Crave recently.  It is a wonderful book so far, and I would already recommend it to others.  This book brought some things to the surface of my life that my sinful self wants so desperately to keep buried; however, God is whispering to me to cast those cares on Him because He cares for me  (1 Peter 5:7).  


God has used this book to speak to me about ugly, dirty sin in my life where my physical being and also my thought processes are concerned.  It has not/is not an easy thing to listen to even when it is coming from God.  BUT...I believe God knows that and that is why He keeps bringing these thoughts to mind.  After tears of frustration over my inability to "stick to" lifestyle changes specifically eating and exercise, it's like He finally has gotten through to me that I really am made to crave...He made me that way! 

It is my sin of focusing on food and my physical cravings instead of focusing on Him that has led me to where I am today.  He made me to crave...but He made me to CRAVE HIM--not chocolate, not bread smothered in butter, not soft drinks, or anything else.  We all know that the more we have of something, the more we crave it.  The problem has been that instead of having MORE GOD (studying the Word, praying, singing, praising) when I'm stressed or even when I'm happy, I have for a long time turned to food for comfort and even just because it is there sometimes.  How many times have I passed by my Bible when it was "just there" and went to the brownies that were "just there", too?  Too many times!


Lisa TerKeurst, in Made to Crave, puts it this way, "If we want to truly get close to God, we'll have to distance ourselves from other things."  That really hit me!  If I want to grow closer to God, I can't continue in a sin that I know is wrong no matter how much society says it is okay.  Let's face it, gluttony is a sin!  Call it what it is.  When we overindulge in food it is a sin.  We wouldn't question if drinking too much is a sin or if doing drugs is a sin, but we excuse eating too much as a stress reliever and surely God is okay with that.  He's NOT!  He can't be...He is Holy!  He doesn't like sin!  He doesn't view this as less than the others.  Oh how crushing to admit that I have been openly satisfied with something that God detests.


So what could I do?  I know He wants more from me and expects more from me.  I've been presented with scripture to back up everything that has been running through my mind and heart.  The only thing to do, as a Christian, is to confess and repent.  I was broken!  I needed forgiveness for my lack of caring how I took care of or didn't take care of my body.  The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 6:19, " you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?"  From that point of confession and repentance, this verse kept coming to mind.  If Christ came to visit me, I wouldn't give him a dirty, unkept place to stay.  I would make sure he had the BEST I had!  I knew that meant that I had to change my cravings so that my body can be the BEST I can have for the Holy Spirit.

Then, the question  Isn't God awesome in that He gives us EVERYTHING we need!  Since that day last weekend when I was broken, He has shown me that I am not alone.  He is with me!  Hebrews 13:5  “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”  It's a promise, and God keeps His promises! 

+ More God +

God showed me that I needed MORE of Him.  I needed to be consistent with my Bible study and prayer time.  I needed to draw closer to Him everyday!  Guess what?  It's true...the more you have of something, the more you CRAVE it!  I crave time with God!  That doesn't mean I don't still have temptations.  I wasn't promised it would be easy, just that God is always with me.  He has also reminded me through so many things, including the Made to Crave book, that not only do I need more of Him, but that He made me for MORE!  When I realize and let completely soak in that I am a child of God, He "empowers me to believe that living in victory is sweeter than any unhealthy delicacy."  (Made to Crave)

Next step, turning to God instead of food.  Scripture to fight against this sin is imperative!  I also had to have a plan for changing what I eat/drink.  Personally, I'm using an online program for weight loss that helps me track what I eat, healthy choices in food, and exercise.  With those things to track, I had to come to grips with my lack of desire to exercise.  Ugh!  I have never liked to exercise!  This was probably more difficult than the food to start with.  Again, my AMAZING HEAVENLY FATHER showed me the way, and He used my Daddy to do it!

For those who don't know, my parents live with us.  I see Daddy everyday.  I know him!  He has never liked to "exercise" either.  He has always been a busy person...always working.  But exercise?  No way!  Over the last few weeks it was becoming obvious that Daddy was taking exercise very seriously!  He would walk, work out on a nordic-like machine, AND ride the stationary bike.  Wow!  My Daddy exercising!  If he could do it, then I knew I could, too, AND we could be encouragers for each other.  Come to find out, time on that machine or exercise bike are perfect for praying, worshiping through music, and learning MORE about God through listening to books or messages on my little mp3 player.  It is amazing!  I'm enjoying exercise!

Today, while working out I listened to Selah (my new favorites, I'm pretty sure) and oh my!  The songs just spoke to me.  One song after another...over and over...God wrapped me in His love.  Great is His faithfulness!   It IS well with my soul!  Then, "There is a Fountain" played.  Praise God for the reminder that I lost all my guilty stains when I was plunged beneath the flood of Christ's blood when He died for me!  "There may I, though vile as he (the dying thief), wash all my sins away!"

What a burden has been lifted!  I know that there will be times when I am tempted to go back to those sinful ways.  I'm praying for someone to join me so that we can hold each other accountable.  God is already answering that!  I cannot even begin to express my gratefulness to God for His promise that He is with me always!  I don't face this or anything else in life alone.  To God be ALL the glory!