Monday, August 1, 2011

Out of Focus

Today it seems that so many things have caught up to me that I've tried to sweep under the rug or pretend they simply are not happening. My thoughts are consumed with kids who seem to be bent towards disobedience or partial obedience...but on their time scale. The 3-year-old whiney syndrome has hit our house in full force, and the frustration from it seems to deplete my energy and emotions on many days. The housework never seems to be complete, especially during these summer months. And speaking of summer months, the heat is ridiculous and there is no rain in sight to relieve us of this drought. There is never time for me...just me. I'm telling you, I have been in an awful place this morning and perhaps you have found yourself there at one time or another. Instead of focusing on my blessings, my flesh this morning definitely got the best of me. The best of me...what is that anyway? I feel like I have totally lost myself in marriage, in motherhood, in life.

Something else that has been ever present and hanging around me like a dark cloud is the untimely death of a friend, and husband to an even closer friend. The why's, the anger, the has all been there circulating around me. Without going into detail, it has shaken my faith more than anything in the past few years. Shaken, but not stolen.

While my mind was running rampant with selfish thoughts about my own feelings and how tired I am of this or how sick I am of that...I made a run to the donut store for the kids. The car was quiet and it was just me and the Lord and you can bet your bottom dollar that He was getting an ear full. As I pulled back into the garage, a song that I have not heard in many years...but can sing it by heart (at least the old Baptist hymnal version) ...began streaming through my mind. THANK YOU JESUS FOR THE REMINDER. I was immediately calm, repenting of my self-centeredness and claiming a new perspective for the day.

"Turn your eyes upon Jesus
look full in his wonderful face
and the things of this world will go strangely dim
in the light of His fullness and grace."

I hope that I have totally lost me. I don't want me. I want Jesus. This world is not about me, it is about Jesus and reaching others for eternity. The sweet blessings, that are all so quiet at the moment, may be a drain on my strength and sanity...but God's word promises me restoration and He has never let me down. They are my ministry during this season. And their obedience? How many times has God had to wrangle my disobedient nature around so that He can sit down and talk with me? The housework...can I be any more blessed? I have a beautiful home that is 100% of God and his provision. Who am I to grumble about whether I can keep it clean or not. It is the same home that shelters us from the heat that I am fussing about. One that I am still grappling with but trust God to heal is the hurt and sorrow over death. I'm not sure I will ever understand this side of heaven, but keeping my eyes on Jesus I will find peace and comfort...and I know one day my understanding will be in full. Scripture also promises this! I turned my eyes upon Jesus, and the all of the things that were bogging me down...the things of this world... grew dim. my heart there is a song and on my face there is a smile. Thank you Jesus for your precious reminder. Thank your for your sacrifice so that I can come directly to you with "my life" and you can remind me that it is not my own. I gave it to you.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

God's terms

So, in light of my last post...I thought I would update you on my conversations with God! It really is crazy how things happen, and I LOVE it when my God lets me know He is completely aware of my life and the goings on in Sonya Land. Even if it isn't the answer I always want, it is nice to know that He who holds my entire life in His hand is aware and hasn't delegated the task of overseeing daily activities to someone else!

On Thursday night, as I sat in my closet...yes, once again...he led my hands to John 15:18-20. A paraphrase of the verses would be this...
Sonya, I picked you to live on MY terms and so the world will hate you. They hated me, they will certainly hate you.
Anytime I am led to a scripture where God is reminding me that HE CHOSE ME...I am immediately at peace. He knows what is going on around me, and He is continuing to let me know that I am doing what He has asked and to hang in there. He also led me to...
Psalm 18:30...Everyone who runs toward God makes it. (THANK YOU SWEET JESUS! I am running!!!)
Now, He also led me to Job 17: 1-2. 'My spirit is broken and mockers close in on me' is basically what the two scriptures say. If you haven't read the book of Job lately...please do. If Job made it, then surely I will! Thank you Jesus for reminding me that others have felt as I do...and they made it!

If you are finding yourself questioning right about now why in the world I am so at peace with my Jesus based on the suffering described in the above scriptures...this is why. We ALL will suffer on this earth, this I am certain that nobody can deny. Whether it is financial struggles, death of loved ones, divorce, abuse, health issues, or just simply a feeling of unhappiness...EVERYONE battles something. I choose to suffer for Christ, because HE suffered for me. Because I choose Christ, my suffering will end COMPLETELY one day when I am made whole in heaven. This is his promise. He also promises to give me strength and help me to rise on the wings of eagles as I wait upon Him. Therefore, I can handle life much better WITH Him than without Him.
It is also clear in scripture that if I do not choose Christ, there is no other alternative besides Hell. If I have to survive hell on earth from time to time in order to live an eternity of happiness in heaven...I will take that. My prize is waiting for me because of one moment when I asked Jesus to come into my heart, forgive my sins, and lead the way for me. A single moment of my entire life means an eternity of peaceful happiness. Are the trials of this life a fair trade? Absolutely!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Rib Apart

One of my friends just recently posted something on facebook..."Are we willing to be lonely to stand for what we believe in". Her post was SO real to me for many reasons, and how even among believers in Christ we can sometimes still feel lonely. Follow closely on this one...

For the past couple of days, I have had a rib out of place. Just in case you didn't know this, the 11th and 12th ribs are known as floating ribs as they do not have an anterior connection to the sternum. I have had one out of place and causing pain in my shoulder before, but the one currently keeping me down is in my back. The chiropractor could feel it yesterday by touching my back, and it was all I could do to make it out of his office and to my car before I was reduced to tears! If I hurts. If I hurts. As I lay in bed last night, tears rolling and unable to exist without pain...I understood something deep in my soul. Hopefully, you are still with me.

You see, I have been mad at God for a bit now. He has put me in situations and asked me to do things that very definitely set me apart and made me the center of gossip circles. He has put me in the line of fire by calling me to be obedient and follow His direction. He has placed me in the middle of conversations or situations... that I did NOT want to be in... repeatedly over the past year, then placed the Holy Spirit heavy upon me to convict me into action based on what I was hearing or seeing. I have a very dear friend, and gracious knows she is probably sick of me whining to her about "what God has done or shown me now". She helps me to pray through the situation and we discuss scripture that applies and what God may be telling me. (I love this friendship because I know we can talk about life without it being a gossip session, but instead a time of filtering life through the Word of God!) I have shared through tears with her over the past year my frustrations of what God has allowed me to be a part of as well as what I felt like God was telling me to do. She of all people knows how much I have resisted God's calling this past year. She, and my closet.

If the carpet in my closet could talk, it would tell you that over the past couple of months it has been stained with my tears of anger and frustration with God, has felt the tension of my body as I fall in prayer over God's leading me down difficult paths...but one thing it could not deny is the frequency with which we meet! Plain and simple...I have been very angry that God has called me to do some things on His behalf. I am reminded of Jonah, who did exactly what God asked...after trying to avoid and run from God...but was not happy about it. That has been me, call me Jonah. I don't understand God's ways, and I SURE don't understand why He has had me in some situations that He has. HOWEVER, I was reminded last night from where I came. A rib. "Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man" it states in Genesis 2:22. The same man that earlier in the same chapter of Genesis he "formed from the dust of the ground" and "breathed the breath of life" into.

A rib and dirt...that was my humble beginnings. Who am I to question God or become angry when following Him doesn't turn out the way I'd like? Jesus hung on the cross, cloaked in MY sin...I think putting myself in an uncomfortable situation or two based on His call is the least of which I can do for my King. Sometimes following Christ alienates us, but I was created by Him and for His purpose alone. I believe in Christ, as well as His purpose and plan and His word tells me that He chose me. I'm sure my closet hasn't seen the last of my angry fits, and my friend will be getting more phone calls...but God has reminded me who is in charge, and I'll take the lonliness of obedience over fitting in comfortably. I love my God THAT much!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Stopping for the Bowl

Have you ever had a revelation so clear it was almost as if it hit you in the face? I have often times wondered how in the world the Israelites could have been so whiney throughout their pilgrimage out of Egypt. For gracious sake, there was manna falling from the sky every day!! If the daily provision of raining food was not enough there is always the trek through the miraculous split of water on DRY ground. Would I have still complained...undoubtedly so. How do I know? Well, I just do. The people of old are very similar to me as much as I'd like to deny it from time to time. For example, although it has nothing to do with complaining or not trusting God, it definitely shows the similarity between my humanness and that of the characters of the bible. For example, take this evening.

The kids were outside merrily jumping on the trampoline which is always a peaceful time of the evening for me. The kids are happy, the house is quiet for a bit, and it is a time when I can get just a few things done. My sewing machine has sat abandoned this week due to busyness with the end of school approaching. Along side my machine is the cutest little dress I am dying to finish but have needed bias tape to finish off the creation. Although the act itself will take all of about 5 minutes, I just haven't had time to get to the store to buy the tape...much less sew it on! Well, today was the day that I found time to visit the fabric store and buy the much needed finishing touch. To top off the fact that today was the day I had the bias tape in my hot little hand...there was this glorious time set aside when my sewing machine could hum happily as the creation reached maturation. Finally, I thought. Tonight is THE perfect time to finish off the dress. It will just take a minute and it will finally be done! So I sat down to the machine, and as I did...the Holy Spirit began to speak. It was NOT time for me to sew, but instead it was time for me to open my bible and spend time with God. WHAT? Was there not a realization in the holy realm that this has been my only chance all week to finally close the book on this dress? Because I cannot stand the conviction of the Holy Spirit, I promptly turned my machine off, stood up, and made my way through the kitchen. As I passed the dishes that were sat out to dry earlier today, I became Saul.

If you aren't familiar with the story of Saul, King Agag, and God's instructions...let me catch you up a bit. In the old testament book of 1 Samuel, you'll find Saul being told by Samuel what the Lord commands of him in chapter 15. "Now go and completely destroy the entire Amalekite nation-men, women, children, babies, cattle, sheep, goats, camels, and donkeys." Saul did indeed go in with his army and kill and destroy, but he stopped along the way to capture King Agag and snag a few animals for a sacrifice. Because of this disobedience, the Lord rejected Saul as king. You may be wondering how in the world did I become Saul among a sewing machine, some dishes, and my bible. Let me tell you.

I said I promptly turned my machine off, just as Saul obeyed by heading off into battle. AND...just as Saul made a few pitstops, as I passed the dishes that were on the bar...I did it. I fell into the trap of disobedience. My flesh wanted to get something done so badly during this 'perfect time for getting things done', that I grabbed the big yellow piece of plastic known as the popcorn bowl and headed to the cabinet with it. As soon as I touched it, the holy spirit was heavy upon me. "You were told to spend time in the word" could have been heard three blocks away, I just know it! I continued toward the cabinet since it was on my way out of the kitchen, put the bowl up, and THEN headed to my bible in my room...where I sat thinking of the disobedience and how easily it must have been for Saul in that moment. He figured they'd be happy to have King Agag as a prisoner of war, and of course they would need animals for the offering. What Saul learned the hard way was that when God speaks, he requires our FULL obedience. Not a partial, regardless of how incredible our excuse is as to why we did MOST of what God wanted us to do. Partial obedience is disobedience any way you cut it.

So, there you have it. I fell into the same trap as Saul and I feel sure I'd been right there asking if there were a way we could have some butter and honey for the manna because I was getting tired of the taste. I love how the stories of the bible, God's living word, is SO relevant to me in my everyday life. God reminded me of that tonight in such a simple yet profound way! Whether it is a large scale action or something as small as picking up the popcorn bowl, disobedience is just that. Because we are flesh and made from the dust of the earth, we cannot escape it. The positive? My sin of disobedience is not any worse than the girl making her way to swing on a pole and tempt men as the bible tells us should not be done. The foot of the cross is level, praise God, and every sin is equal in God's view. As a Christian...I am saved by the same blood that can save a murderer, adulterer, thief or any number of people the world may find as unworthy and unforgivable. Stopping for the bowl is all the same in God's eyes.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What if our children imitate us?

Every Monday night I meet with a wonderful group of friends to study the word of God...Beth Moore style! This is by far one of my favorite times of the week, and I look forward to it with great anticipation of what the Lord will reveal to me about His word and how He wants to use me. This past Monday, it wasn't Beth Moore as much as another participant in the bible study that God used to speak to me in a very vivid way. He spoke in such a way that settled SO deep into my soul, it was as if He were there in the flesh.

Let me backtrack just a bit to earlier in the afternoon. Beth Moore suggests in this particular study to take a minute each and every day to bow down to Jesus in prayer, forehead to the ground. My favorite place to be when I am seeking God wholeheartedly is in my closet. It isn't a small dark closet, rather it is quite large...but it is quiet. I have had many conversations with God in this closet, and He has answered many prayers while I sat quietly listening for the closet. So, there I was on my knees, face down with my forehead laying heavily on the carpet and my arms outstretched in front of me with the palms of my hands facing heaven...and my 3 year old son walks in. I could hear him coming, but I so just wanted to meet with God at that time and NEEDED to be with Him that I continued to talk to my heavenly father as long as my sweet little guy would let me. He entered the closet and in a quiet, semi-concerned voice asked, "mommy, what are you doing?". As a lifted my head, tears streaming down my face...I answered him. "I'm praying sugar." Because prayer is a daily and very normal routine in our home, he knows this is a reverent time and so as I went back to prayer he laid by my hands and waited for me to finish.

Now, back to the bible study. As we were all getting ready to watch the video, the sounds of the living room were almost comical. Very faintly one could hear the sounds of a breast pump coming from one mommy across the room, the cries of a precious 3 month-old as her mommy tried to settle her after nursing, my car horn honking as I accidentally pushed the panic button on my remote as I tried to move my purse out of the way...and the sweet voice of an almost 3-year-old little girl (who I am quite sure had heard the 'you need to stay in your bed' speech) wanting to be a part of our bible study ready with a pen and her own little pink bible. As I sat there and was in total admiration of the desire to meet with God and learn more about him despite the busy call on their lives as mommies and wives...the curly headed little girl eager to be a part of our group reminded me of just how much our kids take in and model our actions. Then, I was transported back to my closet.

I pray that my son remembers his mommy down on her knees, and I pray that the precious little girl remembers her mommy meeting with friends to learn more about God together. Although her whispers could be heard by those around, we were all mommies and are experts at tuning out in order to tune in! God spoke to my heart in a powerful way, and reminded me of the charge we have as parents to raise our children up to be sold out for Christ...whether it be in the privacy of a closet or in the midst of friends. Let them "make notes" in their bibles, let them enter the study with a group of friends, and let them interrupt your closet prayers. They need to see us actively pursuing Christ...that is one of the behaviors I want my children to imitate more than any other!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Celebrating Love has been quite a while since I blogged!! One of my New Year's Resolutions is to be better about blogging. Of course, I would also like to lose about 25 lbs, so we'll see what happens!

This year started off perfectly...celebrating love! January 9th marked our 12 year anniversary, so Shawn whisked me away to a beautiful resort in Mexico...El Dorado Seaside Suites. It was so relaxing, so refreshing, and so wonderful to spend time with Shawn in such a "perfect" place! Although we were a bit scared to go due to the current unrest in Mexico...we felt like we would be safe on the resort. Turns out...we were!

The entry to the resort

Most everything we ordered was gourmet...small portions
meant to be served along with several courses. Nothing was
Supersized, Whatasized, or even close to Texas sized!!! One
night we even ate twice...yep...went to two different restaurants
and ordered appetizers, main course and desserts! This particular
dessert was brought as a surprise by one of our sweet waiters.
Although gratuities were included in the price of our stay...this
fellow earned himself a big tip!

These were in the trees EVERYWHERE! They are actually

Here is a view of "our" swinging bed (the one to the right).
It was perfect, somewhat secluded, and "ours"....until the
last day when a certain European lady who liked to tan
without her top bednapped it!

Shawn hanging out on "our" bed. was so nice!

There was quite a bit of coral in this particular spot. Further down the beach you could simply walk right into the water...but isn't the view of the trees just beautiful?!?!?

View of the carribean sea from "our" beach bed!

This is the view from our "seaside" suite. Shawn totally
expected to walk out of the door and step on sand, walk
a few more steps and be in the water. What you can't see
is that the beach is just beyond these trees. It really was as
close to perfect as I could have imagined!

Our beautiful room complete with jacuzzi tub!

We loved the trip SO much, that the first night we were back home Shawn was on the internet trying to plan our trip for next year! I have to thank God above all...just a few years ago, we could barely afford to spend the night in our own home much less travel to such a beautiful place and spend 5 days! (for more on that journey, read through Mostly Fingerprints on my blog) We serve such a faithful, loving, and merciful God. Thank you Jesus for your provision in our lives!