Friday, July 11, 2014

Taking Thoughts Captive

How many times do we allow negative things to control our thoughts and then influence our actions? just the other day, Lindsey decided she wanted to play with playdoh, blow bubbles, water the garden and paint. All at the same time. Now to you that might seem trivial but to me I was overwhelmed by her surge of energy and found myself feeling grumpy. On other days it may be she acts out and does not listen that will send me into the land of scowls and sighs. Granted sometimes feelings of frustration are warranted when she doesn't listen even though I have asked what feels like a million times. Yet is it really worth it to allow those feelings to hold me hostage all day? No it isn't. It wastes a day of playing and enjoying life and replaces it with a short temper and looking forward to the next day.

I have recently been reading Max Lucado's Just Like Jesus and something he wrote really stayed with me. In one of the chapter he said, "This is not your house. You do not have the right to let in everyone who wants to enter. Anger, pride, revenge, pity, lust, etc." Proverbs 4:23 tells us "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."

When we allow those thoughts to creep into our mind we fall into temptation. Our bodies, including our minds, belong to Jesus. He bought them with a price, his blood. We are to take those thoughts captive and release them back out after we have prayed through them. I am well aware that it sounds easier than it is but it can be done. Jesus gives us ample instruction on how to capture all thoughts and submit them back to Christ. If we ask, he will let us know if it is worth staying in our mind or if we need to get rid of it. 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ" (NIV, emphasis mine). 

Even Jesus himself knew the temptation of letting certain thoughts enter the mind. When he predicted his death to his disciples in Matthew 16, Peter told him that could never happen. He did not think the death of Christ was necessary. Jesus on the other hand told him, "Get behind me Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men" (Matt 16:23 NIV).  Christ knew at that moment Satan was trying to infiltrate his thoughts. Then for forty days he was tempted by the devil. We are only given a few examples but scripture says he was tempted for forty days. However, he was armed with scripture and able to not fall into temptation, just as we must be (Matt 4). 

Now back to that day I was grouchy for really no apparent reason. What did I do? I could have stayed in a bad mood all day, but really who wants to do that? I prayed earnestly. I prayed for the Lord to fill my heart with peace and the Spirit to remove the feelings placed there by the enemy. And wouldn't you know, I felt better! I cannot express this enough, there is POWER in PRAYER. I believe that as much as I believe there is air that I breathe. The Lord wants us to come to Him with anything and everything. He promises to listen to us and to never leave us. What an amazing promise that is. 

I pray for you dear friend. That in times of struggle with your thoughts and emotions, you turn to God. You let him filter your mind and fill your heart with the fruits of the Spirit, not the poison of the enemy. We have to constantly be mindful of what we think, for what we think becomes actions. Our Lord conquered all the same thoughts we feel at times. We can rest assured our holy redeemer is mighty to save, always.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Our Highest Calling

There are days where I want to call in sick. I want to clock out early and relax with a glass of wine and watch something that isn't animated. Some days I just don't want to do it. The tantrums, the questions, the power struggles. They're exhausting. 

How many days does God think "I wish she would stop doing that". As humans we are Gods most frustrating creation. But we are also his most precious. So precious he sent his only son to break us from the bondage of sin. 

 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him."
John 3:16-17

So are there days I want to give up and call it quits? Absolutely. Would I ever? Not for all the gold or silver. Being a mom is what I think to be the highest honor this side of heaven. It is God saying here is my child, I'm trusting you to raise them and lead them to me. Y'all that's a lot to take in. But want to know a secret. We aren't doing it alone. Even if it feels like it at times. I'm a single mom. Trust me when I say some days I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders. But our father is right there. To give us strength when our earthly minds and bodies cannot take anymore. He's there to give us wisdom when we are lost for answers. He is our biggest supporter. 

For all the hard moments and days there are even more sweet and precious ones. Tonight Lindsey have me a huge hug and said mommy you're my best friend. For me it doesn't get much better. When I feel like I'm failing in the parent department I watch her as she bows her head and folds her hands to pray. She doesn't fully understand the action of praying but I know she will.

Parenting is hard. But it is the most rewarding job I have ever held. To me it is more than a job. I was created to be her mommy. Right now that is my most important role. I know one day my lap will be empty for she will no longer want to sit in it. I'll have a whole new set of power struggles and bad days. For now I need to remember that this moment, this day is a gift. And treat it as such. Everyday I get to teach her, correct her, love her is a gift. 

I could never thank God enough for trusting me to raise His precious daughter. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Happy Mothers Day 2014!

This was our first Mothers Day in NC. Another first celebration in this state we now call home :) My parents are in Iowa with Richards mom so sadly i did not spend the day with her. However, I am so thankful they could be with his mom right now. She's very sick and its important he has as much time with her as possible. 

Y'all Im not going to lie. Being a mom is hard. Whats even harder? Being a single mom. But I would not change my life or any part of it! I love my baby girl with every ounce I have in me. Im so thankful the Lord chose me to be her mama. She challenges me, teaches me, and loves me unconditionally. There is not a job in the world that pays more than those things. 

We celebrated last weekend with brunch while my parents were still here. They got me an adorable card from Loo and drew her hand inside. I literally teared up. They also gave her some money to give to me and she came in saying "mommy paint a nails." Her little vocab is so cute right now.

This Sunday was pretty low key. We spent the morning at church. Then we came home and I made a delicious brunch full of potatoes, danishes, and little egg muffins full of a chorizo and ground turkey mix (to keep it light), some spinach and green chiles. I was very happy to cook rather than going out. It would've been like a mad house and since I just finished a cleanse (more not that later) I wanted to be abel to watch what I ate better. 

The rest of the day was very relaxing. Lindsey laid down for a nap and this mama did too. Then we played for a while and talked with Grammy and Pappy. Her saying Happy Mothers Day is too stinkin cute! That evening we went and had froyo at TCBY. Holy yum! They were giving free yogurt to moms and had SO many healthy and unhealthy ;) options. 

After yogurt we came home and played outside until it was time to start winding down for bed. Me and loo read a new book and snuggled until she was a sleep. I couldn't think of a better way to spend mothers day.

I had a very relaxing day and it was really nice to just enjoy being who God has called me to be. I never thought I would be a mom this young in life but I am SO glad God had different plans for me. My baby has changed my life in ways I would have never dreamed. During the difficult days thats what I need to remember. God chose me to do this. He trusted me to raise his little girl and bring her to Him. Its a big job but with Him by my side, I know it will work out to His glory. Everything always does :) 

I hope everyone had a very blessed Mothers day 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Happy Easter 2014

This easter season has been one for the memory books. We had an amazing time celebrating the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. North Carolina has proved to be making wonderful memories for our family! There were many firsts for my little one this year from her first egg hunt, to her first time dying eggs. It has been an amazing time of year.

She hated her hands getting dirty :)

Showing impressive motor skills with the little spoon

Easter baskets from great-grandma, grammy & pappy, and mommy

Egg hunt at church

I loved her dress this year. Im trying to think of any other day she can wear it!

My heart and soul

The REAL reason we celebrate this glorious holiday. He is risen indeed! How amazing is it to know that our God conquered death and the devil. He sacrificed his only Son that we may no longer be enslaved by our own sin and selfishness. By His wounds we are healed and can now spend eternity with Him. Amazing grace <3

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Enemy Will Not Win

This past week has been such a roller coaster. Lindsey had the flu, spring break was over and that meant a pile of homework and I was preparing to give my testimony at Celebrate Recovery. I was so stressed out and exhausted. My step dad made an interesting observation of how it wasn't a coincidence all that was happening at the same time. The devil was at work. He wanted to distract me from my testimony and delivering it at church. He wanted to exhaust me and detour me from praising God in my words. 

However, the enemy did not win. 

On Thursday I got up on stage and spoke for almost 20 minutes about my past, present, future and how they are all to the glory of God. I have wrote about my difficult relationship with Lindsey's dad and touched on that during my talk but I also let the people there into a part of my past that I hid so deeply my family didn't even know about until a few weeks ago. Im not completely ready to go into detail here with that information but I know it touched many people in that audience. 

My mom told me that as I spoke the words blanketed the crowd. There were tears, laughs, and many amens. I think the best compliment I received that night was that you could see Christ through me. I can't even explain how my heart felt after hearing that. God has done so much in my life that if I can offer a glimpse of His grace, I consider my life well lived.

 Many amazing moments came out of that night. A girl came up to me after I spoke and she told me earlier that day she had decided she didn't want to go to heaven and even questioned her faith in Christ because of what happened to her when she was younger. I spoke with her for a while and prayed with her, lifting her up to the one who heals all hurt. Later that evening she came up to me and told me that because of my testimony and our talk she was reconsidering her recent feelings of heaven and her faith in Christ. 

God is so amazing. 

I remember praying for days leading up to the talk that if I could touch one person, and if one person's faith in Christ was strengthened because of my testimony I would be happy. I prayed that my words would be God's words and that it would only bring Him glory. Not me. I do not deserve any of it. I may have gotten up on that stage but it was God who gave me the words. God who gave me the strength. It was Him who brought me through those storms. He has done so many amazing things in my life and I know this is only the beginning. 

The director of Solus Christus, a christian center for woman, wants me to come out to their center and talk to the girls there. I told her I would be beyond happy to do that. My life has not been easy but God's grace and strength has brought me through every storm and to be able to share that with others would be my dream. For now Ill keep praying. God has big things in store for me.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8: 28 ESV

Heavenly Father I ask you to guide me to bring you glory in any way you will. Take my story and make it all to praise you. You are the author and perfecter of our faith. I praise you for all you have done in my life and all you will do. 
I ask this all in your sons name,

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Unspeakable Joy

This past Saturday i attended a conference held at my church. It was organized by Encouragement Cafe and JOY Fm. This is the second year Unspeakable Joy has been held at my church and I am so glad I was able to attend this year. It truly was refreshment for my thirsty soul. There were women speakers and Sisters performed. I had never heard of them but oh man those girls have some serious talent! 

The verse for this year was "Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy"
1 Peter 1:8

There were a few key points that really spoke to me during the conference and I would like to share them:

Carol Davis spoke on how often we trade God's promises for a plastic substitute. I do not know about you but this was like a smack in my face. I have really been focusing and praying to keep hold to God's word and not compromise any of his promises for me. 

She also pointed out that following God is harder and can be more confusing than if we were to just do it ourselves. Let me tell you from first hand experience: doing it on your own may seem easier and make more sense but its not worth it! God has a better plan for your life than we could EVER imagine. This is one truth I cling to with all my heart. I know following God is not always an easy or understandable task but Christ says "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:29-30

Carol also touched on how easy it is for us to hold onto the things we are not proud of. She asked the question, Why do we remember what God has already forgotten? Isn't that such a profound question? So many of us think God could never use us or love us because of what we did in our past. However, God sent his only Son to die on the cross for those mistakes in the past so our slates would be washed clean!! That gives me so much comfort y'all because my closet has some serious skeletons. But if i were to focus on them instead of lifting them up to the father I would harbor serious guilt and feelings of being ashamed. Not how I want to live and how great is it we don't have to! "Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways according to your love remember me, for you, Lord, are good." Psalm 25:7

Our name snow redeemed through Christ our Savior. That fact alone makes me want to shout from the rooftop the amazing grace of our God. Its our job to reach out to others and share that amazing grace.  

Nia Davenport spoke of giving our tithes to Christ and her words sat so heavy on my heart. It has always been so hard for me to give to the church or those in need. At least monetarily. I will volunteer  in a second or give someone a hand but give my hard earned money away? No thank you! Nia really opened my eyes to how obeying God in our finances pleases Him and he always rewards those who are faithful to Him.  She broke it down into 3 steps:

1. Knowing God- having intimate knowledge of just who He is 
-He is good Psalm 34
-He is love 1 John 4
-He is generous Psalm 145
2. Obeying God- willing to follow His directions
- Giving our first portion to Him consistently Malachi 3:10
3. Trusting God- we need to release our protective grip on money, for he always provides
 -Giving generously Luke 6:28

The last few things I took from this seminar was how we are a new creation in Christ. Without Jesus there are just bandaids to cover our wounds, but we need heart surgery. He takes what is old and uses them for His purpose in a new way. We are called to bring what God has given to us. I have really been praying about this last point. Ive been struggling to find what God has called me to do to serve Him. My heart yearns to serve Him Im just not sure where he wants me yet. I know I must be patient,  He will call on me when He knows its right. 

It was an awesome, Christ-filled weekend. I am so thankful I was able to spend it with God loving women just loving God all day long! 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Little Loo turns 2!!

I cannot believe that 2 years ago my little girl was born. She really has been my saving grace. I love watching her grow and learn and this past year has been so entertaining. It has also been very challenging. She is growing into a little person rather than a baby. I know how to parent a baby but a toddler? I feel lost almost everyday. Luckily she is a giver of grace unconditionally. For her birthday we went to the children's museum and had a blast! We decided not to have a party since we don't really know many people yet. Lindsey had so much fun! We ended the day at church and opening presents with her Grandma and aunt from Ohio. And who could forget cake?

I cannot believe I have been so blessed with an amazing baby girl. The past two years have made me a better person. The love you have given me has changed my life. I am so amazed by how much you grow daily. Happy birthday little loo. Mommy loves you very much <3