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I am failing. I feel most days truly like a failure. In Webster's dictionary Failure is defined as: The condition or fact of not achieving the desired end or Nonperformance of what is requested or expected.
Why do I feel this way? How am I failing? I feel I am failing because I continue to struggle everyday with the understanding of God's plan for my life. I want change. I want my life to be easier. I want to have a heart that is filled with joy and only spills out joy and love to everyone around me. I want to be in control of my emotions with the people I love. I want to feel love for all of the people I know I should love.
I want God to hear my cries today and answer me, now. Clearly, answer me, tell me it will be better and here is how it is going to get better. I cling to his promises for my life, but doubt the reality in my life today.
I can't stop myself from feeling unheard, unworthy, and I know that these feelings and beliefs come only from the evil one and that makes me feel like I am failing again.
I want to be a better mom. I want my children to always feel love from me never fear. I want to be able to step back take a breath and have patience with my children, but my tank feels so empty.
I want to be a better wife. I want to feel grace for him. I want to be his biggest cheerleader. I want to have respect for him even when he hurts me. I want him to feel safe in our relationship.
I want to be a better friend. I want my friends to always feel like they are being built up, never torn down by me. I want them to trust me. I want them to need me as much as I desperately need them.
I want to be a better daughter. I want my parents to always feel appreciated and honored. I want my mother-in-law to feel like I am honoring to her son. I want to make my parents proud.
I want to be a better sister. I want to always have time for my siblings when they need me. I want to stay connected with them. I want to remember/ask about what is going on in there lives and listen to them.
I want to be a better child of God. I want to know in my soul that my heavenly father doesn't think I am a failure. I want to hear his voice. I want always to honor him; in want I say and do.
I am not there yet. I am trying. Pray for me. Pray for a heart that continues to desire these changes even when I only feel failure. Pray for me to be able to see change in myself no matter how small.
Pray for me to embrace the gift of grace during my journey, and stay the course; don't take the easy way around anything I need to change.
Living as a Christian doesn't always get you a lot of glory. In fact, doing the right thing whatever that may be, rarely leads to praise or accolades from peers. It is what we are supposed to do. Live right. Love each other. Have a humble heart. Love Christ.
Honestly, I struggle with this some days. To make myself humble and put someone else's desires before mine does not come naturally to me. Holding my tongue when I feel I have been wronged is even more of a challenge. And when I do what is right it doesn't always feel as good as when I let off a little steam and tell someone exactly how I feel.
It is my hearts desire to live as Christ would have me live but it is a discipline. Not only do I need to continually remind myself of how I need to handle certain situations but some of my best meaning friends can keep me from living this way just by feeding my ego and telling me what I want to hear. I want to hear that I am right and if I think I have been treated unfairly, I want someone to agree with me! But a friend in Christ isn't always going to massage my ego. They are going to continually challenge me to live better and keep me on the path that Christ would have me on. I am so blessed to have friends like this. I want to be a friend like this.
Recently, a group of my girlfriends and I were talking and the subject of meekness came up. Meek, not a pretty word. Short and simple but when I picture someone I considered to be meek, it is not a person who stands tall and strong, quite the contrary. In [Link Removed] online daily devotional he described meekness this way,
"The ability to control our reactions, to handle hurt without retaliating is called meekness. Jesus promised, "Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth" (Matthew 5:5 NIV). Meek people control their reactions toward life and this gives them far more control over a situation than if they simply react.
If you are a meek person, you are no longer a victim. You control your choices. The best definition of meekness in the Bible is Proverbs 16:32: ". . . It is better to win control over yourself than over whole cities" (TEV).
WOW!!! Not what I had pictured at all! Brace yourselves, I want to be meek!! That is something I never thought I would write, but it is true! I want the desire to always be right, gone. I want to live a life where I am in complete control of my actions and reactions. What freedom in that. No more being the victim.
Jesus desires us to live this way. He breaks the chains that bind. If we open ourselves to His teachings and the plan He has for our lives, one day we will stand before Him in all of His Glory and will hear Him say, "Well done my good and kind servant."
Truly that is all the praise I need.
Who were you 20 years ago, 10 or even 5? I know for me the farther back I go the more I desire to be less like who I was in the past. Not that the girl of twenty years ago was all bad. Twenty years ago I was a junior in college working toward my B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Journalism at the University of Northern Iowa. My future was wide open; it was a very exciting time of my life. I lived on my own, and loved being independent from my parents. The problem was I had a huge drinking problem. Binge drinking; I was able to sustain great grades, 3.7 GPA , but Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights were spent drinking to get drunk. When I think of the dangerous situations I put myself in, my faith grows ever wider and deeper. God truly protected me through my college years. God was far from my thoughts and actions. Thank goodness He didn't recipracate the act. We can never truly escape our past and who we have been but we are in control of who we are today. I am in control of how I handle the stresses this world demands of me. My insecurities are no longer in control of the direction of my life. Don't get me wrong I still have insecurities but with God's help I am committed to keeping them in check. I believe we need to embrace our past. My past is a vital part of who I am today and in some respects it is what motivates me. There are many things from my past that cause a great deal of shame but knowing and understanding this, helps me when I am faced with similar situations and choices I need to make. I know that I will make mistakes today, tomorrow and next week but by the grace of God I hope I keep my eyes open to my failures and hold tight to the assurance God offers me, that I am His and my sins and past have been paid in full. Recently, I heard someone described learning from our past like this..."being in a row boat, on a lake facing our past but rowing away from it, looking at it straight on but moving away from it to open, uncharted waters." My tendency has been to turn away from my past. To try and hide it behind me, giving it a good swift kick when it would try to peek out and expose itself. Today I am committed to turn and face it, embrace it but not glorify it. Where is your past? Behind you for sure, but are you looking at it as you row into new uncharted waters?
Acts 13: 38 (NIV) “Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you."
A few highlights from the year 1990!!! . January 31 – Cold War: The first McDonald’s in Moscow, Russia opens. February 11 – Nelson Mandela is released from Victor Verster Prison, near Cape Town, South Africa, after 27 years behind bars. March 26 – The 62nd Academy Awards, hosted by Billy Crystal, are held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, California, withDriving Miss Daisy winning Best Picture April 24 – The Space Shuttle Discovery places the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit May 22 – Microsoft releases Windows 3.0. June 7 – Universal Studios Florida opens to the public July 7 – In Rome, the Three Tenors sing together for the first time. August 2 – Gulf War: Iraq invades Kuwait, eventually leading to the Gulf War. September 18 – The International Olympic Committee awards the 1996 Summer Olympics to Atlanta,Georgia October 3 – Cold War: East Germany and West Germany reunify into a single Germany. November 12 – Tim Berners-Lee publishes a more formal proposal for the World Wide Web.
Being the middle child really is tough. I have always considered myself the middle child. There is four of us, my brother first and then three girls. I am the middle girl, so I consider myself the middle child. (Maybe a stretch but it has worked out for me so far!)
I am a mother of three, so for those literal types out there, I have a "real" middle child. He is my joy and fear at the same time. God is so masterful in how he creates each one of us. All of my children have such unique personalities. This was very frustrating at first. When I felt like I had gotten something figured out with my first child, it would have been nice to use that knowledge on the other two as they came along....but that wasn't part of God's design for me as a parent!! I have had to learn different ways to get my children to obey, be motivated and communicate their feelings.
My Noah, oh my Noah. How I love him. He is the spitting image of his Daddy. He is creative, outgoing, competitive, has a heart for Jesus and I think, very handsome!! Why then, do I struggle, in connecting with him as his mother? It is a shameful thing to admit that I struggle with this.
Noah is also, a strong willed child. We butt heads on almost everything. Sometimes the drama that he creates around some of the simplest things, like putting on his shoes, dumbfounds me. In my most sacred parts of my soul, I know some of my struggle comes from how much I see of myself in him.
This inner struggle he seems to have, to be heard, noticed, and given praise is never fulfilled. But is it ever in any of us? Maybe I relate to his struggle because I am a middle child too. I have always tried to fill him up because I know what a life of never feeling full can lead to. I want him to learn from my mistakes and feel full, heard, noticed and known.
In an attempt to continue to fill him up, I started leaving him Notes on his desk 2 or 3 times a week. Saying things like, "you have a beautiful smile" or "I am so happy God let me be your mom"....and then last week while I was writing one of my notes to him, it hit me, God has left all of us notes to help fill us up. Notes that give encouragement, security, love, forgiveness and grace. We can find all of His notes in the Bible. God is the only thing that can fill any of us up. So my notes for Noah became scripture. Notes that Noah's heavenly Father has sent for him. I just get to be the messenger!
Thank you Lord, for your book full of notes for all of us. Thank you Lord, for filling me up! Thank you Lord, for letting me be Noah's mom.
Go check your book full of notes from the One and only God of the Universe. He has written them just for you.
Romans 8:38-39 (New Living Translation)
38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Read more mud pies at [Link Removed]
If you are blessed, like me, to be a parent of multiple children, then you know just how different each one of your children can be. I am a mother of two boys and a girl. I happen to be the mother of a child who loves everybody, a child who wants to boss everybody and a ballerina. My oldest son Jacob, who loves everybody, recently, showed me what complete joy looks like.
I truly believe that every one of us has a deep desire to belong. I also believe we were designed that way purposefully. This desire is easier to see in some but it is still part of what makes us human. Jacob's desire has always been unashamedly obvious.
As a preschooler he would always approach other children to play. If some other child wanted to join in a game he always welcomed an additional set of hands and legs to help build the fort or help chase down the bad guys. This desire to include everyone became a bit draining every year when we would try to make the birthday party invitation list...Even when we would threaten," no sleepover if you choose to invite so many", Jake always pushed for the option that allowed the most of his buddies to come. Have you ever found yourself saying "16 boys invited for a sleepover is ok because only about half will actually be able to make it" and then spent the next two weeks praying for an outbreak of strep at school?
Not all kids have the desire to include everyone. Jacob, as many kids do, has experienced his share of exclusion. It is a painful thing to watch and an even harder, to not intervene as a parent when your child is excluded. But the exclusions have never tempered his desire to include.
Jacob is 12 years old as I write this today and plays little league baseball. He is not the fastest. He is not the most agile and he spends a fair share of his time on the bench and or in the outfield. But he is part of a team and he loves it! A couple of weeks ago on an ordinary Tuesday night at the ballpark, an extraordinary thing happened.
Jacob hit a homerun. Not your ordinary run of the mill homerun, a GRAND SLAM. For those of you who don't know, that is a bases loaded homerun! And somewhere in between my screams(and I do mean screams) of encouragement and realizing I may pee my pants if I don't stop jumping up and down...I locked in on my child's face as he rounded third base. This is what I saw...
Joy...pure joy. The kind of joy that starts at your toes and travels up your backside to the back of your neck, and up over the top of your head and like a wave crashes over your face. Joy, that if only for a moment, seems to make you float. Joy, that has no boundaries or disclaimers. Complete joy. Joy from a 12 year old boy, with the drop of his chin, and
a curl of his tongue into the side of his mouth, that says awe shucks, as he sees every one of his teammates jumping up and down on home plate waiting for him... he belongs.
It wasn't so much the grand slam or the three run home run he hit later in the same game (ahem.. sorry just a proud mom) it was all of his teammates cheering and waiting to meet him at the plate. It is my favorite part of any homerun he has hit so far, when he rounds third base and looks towards home plate.
I believe that our God given desire to belong is what churns inside of all of us and that God uses that so that we will search Him out...that we will have the desire to know and to be fully known...and that when we have success in our lives I believe that the joy that God feels for every one of us looks a little like the joy on Jacobs face. I want that joy. I want to live my life in such a way that when I round third base and head home God will be standing, maybe even jumping up and down waiting for me and I will know I belong.
Read more mud pies at [Link Removed]