Friday, January 30, 2009
Ever had those moments where you realize you've heard the same message over and over from different sources, on different days in different ways and it all of the sudden knocks you on your butt when you go "Oh....you were talking to me?"
Just had one....
Like to hear about it? Here it go!
I'm just not good at this parenting thing....don't argue with me here, I know better than anyone.
I found myself this morning coming to God again to confess my impatience, shortness and anger toward Lincoln and Eloise. I prayed "God, don't I say this every morning?" and I do. Truly.
I'd love to be done with it, and not be saying it anymore....but it's never going to happen (insert sad trombone noise here-wah waaaah).
And Glory Hallelujah Amen that I have received forgiveness for my sins and do not have to rely on my own goodness to save me...
but that's not the message completely.
See....after I was done praying I grabbed a verse laying on my desk that I had written on an index card a while ago and read it (just thought I randomly grabbed it...honestly not even sure why I did....well--I guess God knew).
"I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you will know what is the SURPASSING GREATNESS of His power toward us who believe." Ephesians 1:19a
This was huge for me...especially when I realized a few more things.
So, parenting is really hard. It will only take about 5 minutes of being a parent to realize that you're terrible at it. And you might be able to coast a little while thinking you're good at it..but children have a unique way of proving you wrong one way or the other (little rebels). So in that moment of realization we have two choices:
1. Walk away head in hands in defeat and wallow over how ill equipped and horrible we are at this thing.."who even let me take this baby home anyways?"
2. Apply faith.
I know..you're all looking for a really earth shattering revelation and that wasn't quite as profound as you thought...but I'm getting there.
So, I usually resort to the first option. Here's the problem with that.
#1--it emphasizes me and my failure....which is obvious, but not where my focus should be.
Focusing on myself (even in a negative way) just reinforces myself and puts the focus back on me...not where it should be. See, I can think I'm doing a really great thing in saying "I'm no good at this" and "I can't do it" and "why me?" and "I'll never be" but that in itself is sin...that is...if I stop there.
If I stop there I am left with a lack of faith...a lack of faith in a God who is bigger than me...and with that...I can do nothing.
"And without faith it is impossible to please God" Hebrews 11:6
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5
This is encouraging to me.
Because I've already learned I can't on my own, the problem is I stayed there. Now I have to work at remembering "But through Him I can". I'm praying that the eyes of your heart will be enlightened, that you will know the surpassing power available to you and that in the moments you are most weak in your parenting (a profession that has a terrible habit of bringing our junk to the surface)--you will realize that you have this power available. "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness." 2 Peter 1:3
And that in the times that you find it hard to believe you will turn your face to God, humble yourself and pray: ""I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" Mark 9:24.
Posted by Jenn at 6:31 AM
Sunday, January 25, 2009
The first line to type is always the hardest (praying in my mind for God's grace to give him glory in writing this, and also, hoping for some intervention in making this sound interesting enough to the rest of you.)
This is not a sermon....
but it might sound like one.
You know those things that wage war against your soul? Not the little nuisances you have to combat, like grumpiness or a bad hair day, I'm talking about things that rob you from your joy? Steal your peace? Destroy your pursuit of wholeness?
Man did I have a big one lately.
It is going to seem trivial, ridiculous, even naive to all of you (and it might be in reality) but it was a stronghold made of steel around my heart.
emphasis on the word..."was".
Everytime I'm getting ready to get on a plane I feel this gripping fear, this uncontrollable mounting anxiety where I picture myself (and these are the times a vivid imagination works greatly to my disadvantage) plummeting to the earth from 30,000 feet in a flaming tube that says Delta on the side (I'm just being honest).
Sometimes during takeoff I cry and feel like I can't breathe (this was not helped when my husband, in an attempt to calm my fears said "honey, the only part of the flight you really have to worry about is the first 30 seconds"......thanks).
Recently, I was convicted about this...realizing that my son is going to start learning it, and that it's doing my body great stress (the thought of flying was keeping me up at night, and was making me feel seriously ill...it was out of control) AND that I was showing a lack of faith in God in my fear.
So you can kind of tell where the story goes...and you obviously know I lived....hallelujah, but you don't know the process (which is where the real hallelujahs will come in!)
IT started when I began praying that God would give me victory in it and that He would give me verses from his word to combat the fear I was feeling.
If you ever wonder if God will help you in times like this...pray for Him to speak to you through his word...it's a prayer I have never seen return to me void....EVER.
I prayed this and then waited (I can think of many more useful things to have been doing...like maybe reading his word to see what I could find...nope...i'm a loser, I...waited).
A sweet, devoted friend of mine took up my cause, rallied some other lovely ladies and made me an entire book of verses to hold dear to my heart while my plane was plummeting to the ground.
Here's what God showed me.
We have an obligation to wage war...choices are constantly before us, and gripping vices wrap themselves around us in an attempt to hold us back and stifle God's work in our lives (did people stop reading there?) and we have an obligation to wage war against them....but how?
"The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 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. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete." 2Corinthians 10:4-6
So, forgive the imagery here, but the only thing I can think of is jihad......
a holy war against our own minds.
I don't know about you but I get pretty wrapped up in the world of Jenn...
my thoughts run this way and that, telling me everything from "You need to lose a few pounds", to "she said that because she was trying to really make you mad," to "your two-year-old has a personal life mission to make you miserable and embarassed" to..."your plane is going to crash in a burning heap because a goose flew into the engine"....get it?
The point is...they run rampant....all the time and lead me to believe things that are not only false, but are harmful and lead me down a path of destruction and fear and misery.
But there is great freedom in knowing what these verses said.....our weapons (the word of God and prayer) have DIVINE power...to demolish strongholds....
de-------mol----ish......like...obliterated and gone forever.
So I can hope in the fact that I can be done with this forever, and the way that is done is by taking every thought that comes into my mind (surely you can't take every thought, like the ones regarding what to eat but those ones that start to steal, kill, and destroy, the ones where you start to feel your insides turning a little, and the ones where you're pretty sure you're believing lies? Grab em by the neck) and hold them up against God's word to see if they are friend or enemy.
And then make those thoughts obedient.
Here's an example:
Jenn's Mind: you're gonna die on that plane of doom, and kiss your life goodbye
God's word: dont' let yourself believe that, God has said he will take hold of your right hand and he says to you dont' be afraid
Jenn's mind: oh....right....dang
Obliterated. Demolished. Poof Crash Bang.
The great thing is, my thoughts don't hold enough substantial ground to battle God's word and win....God wins every time.
A moment of clarity came when upon stifling my fear, and rising in the plane above the clouds I saw beautiful sunshine. It was gorgeous. I realized upon seeing these that this was likely the first time I had seen the sun in my two weeks in Ohio. And here's the metaphor.
I was believing the whole time in Ohio, there is no sunshine, it's so gray, it's so depressing. Why doesn't the sun shine here? Only to be proved wrong when we rose above the clouds and I saw it had been there all along.
God is like that. We get so bogged down in our circumstances that we fail to see Him the entire time. We let ourselves believe things like "He's not here" "this doesn't have anything to do with him" and "It's too hard for me" only to be proven wrong when we look for him.
All that to say...the next time you're faced with clouds....wage war and rise above them. (Wow, that was slightly fluffier and feel-goody than normal)
By the way, note the picture that was taken out the window of the plane once.
Posted by Jenn at 6:56 AM