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I'm serious. Several days ago I started feeling this...I don't know..."bad" feeling inside...I felt like something was wrong, yet I couldn't put my finger on it. I started praying to God about it, asking Him to examine my heart and reveal to me any area of my life that was not pleasing to Him. Well, over the last couple of days He has certainly been revealing some things to me. To start, and I've already talked about this, I am seeing now that I get so caught up in wanting to reach other people for Christ, I overlook those closest to me. And upon further "investigation", I am seeing that a large part of this has to do with wrong motives. And this goes way back...but I have felt for a long time like my sister is this awesome blessing to the lives of my parents and I am pretty much the disappointment. I think I have tried to do some things to win their approval. At first I really didn't think so, but the more I think about it, the more I see that I get way TOO upset if I feel like I have done something that hurts my parents feelings or causes them to be disappointed in me. I know, there's nothing wrong with that, right? Well, the problem is that I worry more about what THEY (and others!) think about me than what God thinks about me. And that's where I am finding myself right now. Do I want to live a life that glorifies God or one that glorifies Amy? I know the answer, but I have not been living it. I've been here before. I have so often wanted more "glory" than being a good wife or a good mother or a good daughter or a good sister or a good friend. I want those things, but I also want bigger things. I want everyone who meets me to see Jesus in my life. There's nothing wrong with that. BUT...what is my motivation for that??? To shine a spotlight on myself? I'm going to have be painfully honest here and say that sometimes I think that happens. Am I a genuine Christian? Yes. Do I love God with all my heart? Yes. But what have I always said? When you take your eyes off Jesus, that's when you get into trouble. And that's what I have done recently. I'm afraid that in my "zeal" to reach out to other people in need, I have walked right by my husband, my aunt, and my mother to do things I thought were more important. In Pathway to Purpose for Women and Finding Your Purpose as a Mom, both authors talk about how the relationships in your home...and really all the relationships in your entire life...are your "training ground". No, there's not a whole lot of excitement and "glory" in putting your husband before yourself--doing things like watching tv with him when you'd rather be reading a good book or cooking what he wants for dinner when you would rather go out--but it is in doing those kinds of things that you learn what it really takes to follow Christ. See, I feel like God has some big things in store for me--he gives me glimpses--And I want to take shortcuts to get there. I get excited about what He is doing in my life and I want to run as fast as I can to get to the blessings He has waiting for me. I want to skip over the not-so-fun (but necessary) steps. But God knows I am not ready. He knows that there are still areas of my character that need work. And I know that if I will be patient and go at His pace instead of my own, I will be much happier....and I don't have to go very far to receive His blessings. They are all around me, waiting to be discovered.
"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." ~James 5:16
One of my friends got Mac a Little People Noah's Ark for his birthday a couple of months ago (I don't know if I have ever mentioned it, but Mac LOVES playing with Little People!!) Anyway, the "Noah" is one of his favorite Little People--he carries him around everywhere! So, today Mac and I were watching tv and there was a commercial with Santa Claus...Mac's face lit up, he pointed to the tv and exclaimed "NOAH!!"
I mentioned in my last post that in our small group yesterday we talked about "taming our tongue". We looked at several verses in the bible that instruct us specifically about our words. One of the verses that we talked about is ringing over and over and over in my ears today.
"Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. " ~1 John 3:18
Recently my Uncle was in the hospital....well, not only was he in the hospital, he was in ICU. There was one particular night that we were told the family should not leave. He was pretty critically ill. I prayed with all my heart for my aunt and uncle and asked my small group and all my friends to do so as well. I gave my church my uncle's name so they would put him on our prayer chain so that many others would pray for him as well. I was very scared for my aunt and her son. I went up to the hospital a couple of times to reassure her that she and her family were in my thoughts and prayers but mostly just to hug her and tell her that I love her. I wanted to do more, but I knew that at the time, praying was the very best thing. Fortunately, my uncle was finally able to leave the hospital and return to his home. Since that time, I have not called my aunt once to check on her or my uncle. Why? I'm not sure I even know why. Getting busy with other things that don't matter as much. Stupid, stupid, stupid. One of my favorite things to do is to encourage others. I know how much it means to me when someone does it for me, so I enjoy finding opportunities to offer encouragement as well. However, once again, I have gotten so overly enthusiastic about reaching others for Christ and wanting to demonstrate His love, I have neglected some of the people who are closest to me. See, it's easy to tell someone you love them and that you are there for them, but like the verse above says, the proof of our love is more in the showing it than in the saying it. It hurts really bad knowing how deeply I have hurt my aunt. I am ashamed that I could have ignored someone who is so special in my life. I just hope she can accept my apology. I really like to think that as a Christian, I am one of Christ's representatives, so I am even more saddened to think I could be such a poor reflection of Him.
As promised, for a few of you I know who are interested, here is a summary of what we talked about this afternoon at our small group meeting. We are currently on Chapters 13 and 14 in Finding Your Purpose as a Mom~How to Build Your Home on Holy Ground. Today's meeting ran a little over because we had so much good material to discuss. (we didn't even get to Chapter 14!) But Chapter 13 was titled "Cultivating Peaceful Relationships". The first thing mentioned in this chapter was that relationship issues are the biggest contributors to a stressful household. (DUH!) We read Romans 12:17-21 and specifically discussed verse 18 in that passage: "If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men." The author mentioned 10 ways that we can promote peace in our home:
We talked about discussing the things on this last with our family and, as we have for the last few weeks, we talked quite a bit about praying with our spouses. We were very encouraged by a woman in our group that shared her own personal experience with developing this habit in her marriage just over the past week or so. It gives me chills to hear her talk about how she looks at her husband so differently now. She has this new level of respect for him, I think. I so want this in my own marriage. Please pray that my husband and I will develop this habit. And if there is any way I can pray for you, please email me! Have a great night!
I hope your day is special! I love you...and if I didn't have a sick child, I'd be coming to see you! :)
Have fun and do something nice for yourself today!
Proverbs 31:28 "Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her."
Well finally, we are back up and running! We got our computer back briefly a couple of days ago, but after spending just an hour or so online, it started acting crazy again and we had to take it back to the repair shop yesterday. I KNOW this was a little message from God! I have been guilty of spending way too much of my time on the computer. I was just devastated at first, when I didn't have my internet access, but you know what? It caused me and my family to spend more time together and it was a really good thing for us! My husband made the comment to me yesterday "I haven't missed the computer at all." And when I asked him why, he said exactly what I thought he would say: "Because we're spending more time together." Yep, this little fiasco with our computer being down for a week was definitely a wakeup call for me.
So let me update you on what's been going on:
"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body," (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
...and here's the proof! I'm at my local library typing this since my own computer is out of commission! But seriously, I felt like I needed to post something after reading the last comment that was posted on my blog by Suzanne. (and thanks, Suzie, by the way!) I just don't want anyone worrying about me! :)
I should update you all...my life could not possibly be better than it is right now. Let me rephrase that...I suppose it is possible for it to be better, but things are so great and God has been so good to me, I believe I could be perfectly content if my circumstances never "improved" from where they are now. I am not exxagerating when I say that miraculous changes have taken place in my husband and in my marriage. I wish I could go into more detail right now, but I have errands I have got to run!
Here's my mini-sermon until I can give you a "real" one! ;) Never stop praying and never give up on anyone. And for the millionth time, I'm sharing one of my favorite bible verses with you...because it is awesome how true it really is...
"Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." ~Psalm 37:4