Monthly Archives: November 2011

Giving and Thanksgiving

This month I worked on having a grateful heart. I was blessed, during our family’s devotion time, by the children’s hearts of thanksgiving. This month has gone well and I have felt as though my resolutions were completed.

UNTIL…Yesterday we unexpectedly received a check in the mail. I was excited, thinking of how I could use it towards Christmas. It was not an extremely large amount, but would definitely help out. This morning I began thinking about the little things, or not so little, that God has done for our family this month. Providing when we needed it, allowing “issues” to fix themselves, and then giving us this money for Christmas. I was thinking about how awesome He is and how grateful I am for His provisions and His hand in our lives. The things that we tend to take for granted are truly God’s handiwork.

Just as quick as these thoughts arrived, new ones entered my mind. But these were more than just thoughts, this was a strong conviction that flooded my heart. “Give it away.” Are you kidding me!?! We need this! I need to think of my family! I don’t want to give it away! I struggled with God. I tried negotiating with Him, but the conviction continued to get stronger. So, what do I do? I try to reason with myself. “Give and you will receive.” If I give this away, God will give back to me. As if I am entitled to something in return.

One of my resolutions this month was to give without feeling prideful. This was not the problem today. Instead, I was fighting the act of giving altogether. I don’t want to give it away. I want it for myself, for my family. I called Hunter to get his insight and he said “Sounds like we need to give it away.” I was nearly in tears when I called him. I was struggling with it THAT much. Why was I feeling so selfish? Why would God ask me to do this? I know there are people who give to others, having faith that God will provide for them, but it’s not feeling like faith to me. I haven’t agreed to this with a willing heart. How can God possibly bless that?!?

After talking with Hunter and allowing the shock of this mission to wear off, I am feeling at peace with it. I’m sure it will greatly bless our hearts to give to others that are truly in need this Christmas season. That’s what it’s all about.

God, Thank you for softening my heart today and for opening my eyes to the desires of Your heart. I long to have a heart like Yours. Thank you for all You have done and continue to do for our family! Thank you for the gift of Your Son, it makes the gift we are giving seem insignificant. You gave Your Son for me and yet I struggle with this small task. Forgive me for my selfishness, and open my heart and my eyes to the peace and love found in You! You are the giver of life and everything we know and hold dear! Thank you, God, for the grace and mercy that You pour out on us! Your love is unfathomable.

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On to the next stage…

It doesn’t seem like long ago, my parents were sitting me down and talking to me about being cautious to not make hasty decisions. They wanted me to use the things they had taught me, to make wise decisions regarding my life choices. I remember feeling as though they could never understand what I was thinking or feeling. At sixteen years old, those conversations never ended fast enough.

Now, I have a teenager of my own, a wonderful thirteen year old son whom I am proud of. He is kind and caring, and is always thoughtful of others. He’s a friend to the underdog and stands up for those who can’t stand up for themselves. He’s a hard worker and a great athlete. He has grown to be a wonderful young man. And yet with all of these great qualities, he is still a normal teenager who struggles to make the right decisions.

Last night for the first time, I felt what my parents must have felt nearly 15 years ago. As we were talking with him about the choices that he is making, his eyes were glazed over. As soon as I saw it, I quit talking. I knew that nothing I could say at that point would have any effect on him. He didn’t say it, but it was written all over his face. “Are you kidding me? Are we really having this conversation? You have no idea how I feel or what I am thinking. Can we be done yet so I can go to bed?” There’s no way to express how I felt at that moment, knowing that we have arrived at the point where it’s time to let him make his own choices and suffer the consequences. We can guide him, but ultimately he has to make his own decisions. We have sown the seeds and now it’s time to watch them take root.

I struggle when thinking about how he will respond in different situations, feeling as though if he makes a poor choice it reflects directly on me, that I have not done a good job parenting. And yet I think about the poor choices I made as a teenager and don’t think of it as being a parenting issue at all. We like to think that if we do everything right, our children will turn out okay. We may cling to Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” We can be great parents and there is still a chance our children will stray from the path they know is right.

There is no such thing as perfect parenting. We are all going to make mistakes. There are many areas that we question ourselves as parents. Did I make the right decision? Maybe I overreacted. Was I too hard on him? Was I too easy on him? And the list goes on. We only get one chance. We can’t dwell on the mistakes we have made. We need to acknowledge them, learn from them and move on.

No matter what choices our children make, if we give them to God, we can find peace and comfort in Him.

God, I have done my best to raise my children in a way that is pleasing to you. I have not been perfect, I have made many mistakes. God, I give you Justin. He is my son, but ultimately he is Your child. You know the desires of his heart, God. Bless him, raise him up as a man of God who is willing to take the narrow path for You. Give him courage to stand up for You when faced with difficult circumstances. Give him strength to make wise choices that will be pleasing to you, give him a hunger for righteousness and a thirst for salvation through Your Son. God, give him a passion for Your Word and give Hunter and I strength and wisdom as we continue on this parenting journey. Give us peace in times of chaos. Bless our home, God. In Your Name, Amen.

November Resolutions

I am late posting this months resolutions, but it is none the less important in my heart.

Gratitude: Thankfulness and Giving

☐Thank God for everyday.
☐Give to others without feeling prideful.
☐Be content.
☐Teach the children to truly have thankful hearts.
☐Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

Life doesn’t slow down. With all of the activities and responsibilities that we have, sometimes it’s hard to remember everything we have to be thankful for. A heart of gratitude is something we should carry always, but in the every day grind of life, sometimes it gets lost in the shuffle. This month I want to truly focus on having a grateful heart and giving to others.

This is a great song. It’s audio only.
watch?v=3K5rzgVt5iY

“Growing Love”

Do you ever feel like you have so much to do, you don’t know which way is up and the things you need to do aren’t the things you want to do and the things you want to do aren’t even things you REALLY want to do and the things you REALLY want to do always seem to get swept under the rug??

October was one of those months for me. I feel as though my month of “growing love” wasn’t very successful. Week one was good, but the following two weeks were tough. For no apparent reason, it was a difficult couple of weeks. I was feeling pretty discouraged. Week four was better and although I feel as though October was a bust, November has been a great month so far. So in the end, although I couldn’t see the progress at the time, maybe we did “grow love”.

It’s amazing how much smoother our lives run when we are on the same page. With all the demands of life, it’s hard to take time alone and invest in your marriage. There are other things in life that can take the back burner. Continue growing love and it will grow and strengthen your family. When mom and dad are connected and have the same goals, the family will reap the benefits.

I will move on keeping in mind my September and October goals and add my November resolutions. The journey continues.

September – Get Energized ✓
But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: to love the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to keep his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.” Joshua 22:5

October – Grow Love ✓
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. Ephesians 5:22

November – Gratitude
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6