Thursday, March 6, 2014

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Faith, Skeptics and Baptisms

I really need to start making notes of my thoughts when I get them. For two weeks now I've put off writing this post and as a result, I've forgotten almost everything I wanted to say. I don't even know why I've tried to avoid it. Afraid to be transparent maybe?

Ah, there it is again...vulnerability... When will there be a crack in this wall?

The last few weeks have been eventful. With the Thanksgiving holiday behind us and Christmas right around the corner, lots of groups are doing end of semester meetings and parties. I'm so behind on posting pictures and writing about our homeschooling because of it, but I suppose this is a part of schooling. Anyhoo...lets get on with some stuff...

For months now, my husband had been talking about being water baptized. When he got word that another baptismal Sunday was coming up, he made plans to finally take the plunge (couldn't resist the cliche, sorry). I couldn't be more proud of him for being bold enough to take this step in his walk with the Lord. It took some courage but he wanted to follow the Lord's command and be an example to our boys and his nephew. I, of course, was there with my camera and our oldest took video with my phone. His spirit seemed to be refreshed and he had a new fervor about his faith.

The baptism was part of our church's "Cultivate" series of classes. The first lesson is on salvation, the second on water baptism and deliverance, and the third on Holy Spirit baptism. I'm not sure what the other classes are or if there even are any. Neither of us made the first class and to get my husband's baptism certificate, he had to return for the following Sunday night class.

That next weekend the boys and I made a trip to my parents' house. I had booked a few clients for Saturday to do some Christmas Mini Sessions. (And let me take the time to thank EACH and every one of you who came out - if you ever happen to grace my pages with your presence! You are so very much appreciated - my readers too. Another post on that will follow). Since I wasn't there on Sunday night, I wasn't sure if my husband would return to church to pick up his certificate and continue with the Sunday night classes. In fact, Saturday night we had a pretty heated argument over the phone which I even recognized as Satan's scheme to try to kill, steal or destroy what God is doing in my husband and our family.

But he did!

He later told me that he picked up his nephew and went to church for a free meal. Knowing the lesson was on the baptism of the Holy Spirit, I thought to myself, "I bet he gets filled tonight" and even anticipated a phone call from him confirming that. Sure enough, I get a phone call later that night, my husband on the other line crying and repeating Jesus over and over. At first I felt akward, but then I felt jealous, almost angry.

For a moment, try to understand these seemingly ridiculous emotions as i play out my thought process that night. I didnt like how I felt about it. I asked myself embarrassingly "why was it that I have such a hard time with this?" But I was in fact jealous. I wanted what he had just experienced. I've sought God and asked for more of Him. Do I not seek hard enough? Why can't I just ask to be baptised in the Holy Spirit and it just HAPPEN? Isn't that what's supposed to happen in theory? Do I have the wrong motives? I don't want power or supernatural gifts of the Spirit. I don't want excited emotion. I just want more of Jesus and to be bold enough again to spread the gospel. A wreckless faith. Passion.

I wrestled with these thoughts and relived all the times I've asked for prayer for this baptism of fire. And all the times nothing "happened." I relived my own salvation experience, one that didn't take place in a church with a set time and method for redemption. Why do I always get hungup on the method? It's the same scenario over and over. And when it comes to "proof" by speaking in tongues, it's lost. I don't trust myself to open my mouth and "say" whatever I might be supposed to say. What if its just me making up nonsense? Counterfeit gifts of the Spirit is not something I want to operate in.

Then it dawns on me, it sounds like I am quite the skeptic. Skeptics don't operate in faith. Skeptics want hard evidence. I want things to make sense. But faith doesn't need proof.

Where is my faith?! Do I really have ANY?!

I spend so much time doubtful, worried, negative, afraid of disappointment because when I'm disappointed, I'm devastated. Ironically enough, when I got back home my husband and I watched Sunday morning's church service which was on "Faith Killers," and our pastor mentioned some of those exact things.

Maybe it was so easy for my husband because he wasn't needing things to make sense. Maybe he didn't need all the pieces to fit together the way I need things to before I put my faith in it. God I know the scripture, "without faith it is impossible to please God" and that "all things are possible to him that believes." Lord please...I do believe but help my unbelief!!

Would you guys pray for me to receive this baptism?

Below is the video of last Sundays message. I pray God grows our faith.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Still Here! And a Prayer Request.

Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. (James 1:27 NKJV)

I know I don't have an extensive amount of followers/readers, but for those of you that do stop by here, I apologize for the lack of posts. Since we started officially homeschooling this year my time has filled up pretty quickly. Especially now that Thanksgiving has come and gone and Christmas is steadily approaching. We've been busy almost every day and although I've meant to post on a million different things (okay, maybe I'm exaggerating) and share a bunch of photos, I have not found the time.

Until now...

I hate to sound so somber and I feel like I have been lately, maybe just introspective, but I just got some news about my dear neighbor who lives across the street from us. My next door neighbor sent me a Facebook message tonight (let me refrain from going off about how smartphones and social media have nearly killed off all trace of carrying on a face to face conversation these days) telling me that our neighbor across from us has to have her leg amputated. She's been having some difficulty with a foot wound that wouldn't heal and for the past 6-9 months she has been going back and forth to numerous doctors. When she went in for a regular checkup, she found out that she has some kind of bone disease that could be deadly if they don't amputate.

Now I can't imagine the horror you might feel from hearing this kind of news. But imagine having to go through this kind of surgery in your late 80's!! Now imagine that a few weeks ago, the Lord laid it on your heart to pray specifically for this ladies foot but because of your own insecurities and fear or maybe even lack of faith, you didn't.

This, is what has me laid awake tonight.

What if I prayed? What if? Would she be in this situation?

Not in any way do I think that God would throw away this woman's healing because of my lack of obedience; but what if I was His means of giving that gift to her? Whether or not that's true, all I can say is "Father forgive me. I'm so sorry."

My pastor spoke last Sunday on our faith being stretched. I swore I would never go to the church I attend now because of its enormous size, but I am so thankful to be there. Being vulnerable, praying for others, singing in front of a church (have I ever mentioned that story), and tonight, after learning of our neighbors predicament, we see on the 10 o'clock news that one of my husbands jobs could possibly close it's doors; God is definitely stretching my faith. After 6 years of feeling dry and aimless in my walk with the Lord it's both terrifying and refreshing.

I sometimes feel like I'm watching the world around me speed along a countdown to self destruction. It's frightening. And at 32 years old I feel like I've wasted so many years hiding behind a lot of walls. Some of them have been there for so long that I don't even recognize them as a barrier.

It's time to move forward.

I don't want to miss another opportunity to offer someone what Jesus can give them because I might feel uncomfortable. I should be willing to sacrifice my comfort for His Kingdom.

Please pray for my neighbor, Ms. Dean. Pray for her healing and for her to come out of this surgery 110% better than when she went in. Pray that God gives her more years to spend with her family and that she can make the transition from having two legs to only having one.

And that I can learn to be selfless and willing and available to those around me from now on.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Antidote for Self-Centeredness

After longing for a small break, a mini vacation, a friend unknowingly hits the nail on the head when she sends me this video in an email. I hope it blesses you. Thanks Nina!!

 The Invisible Woman

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

10 Seconds to Meltdown...

This is going to be a busy week, and today was probably our only "school" day. My sleep schedule is off which kills any of my intentions of waking up early and having some quiet time for myself to pray and read the word. Maybe the fact that it is Monday has something to do with it, but I've had a terrible meltdown. I blamed it on the fact that my kids can't focus, don't listen, and can't meet my expectations. And then, on the fact that I have too many expectations and probably need a break (and some earplugs).

When it came time for the boys' piano lessons, my youngest's lack of attention and his brother's "know-it-all" attitude had me in tears.

And I'm sitting here still trying to figure out WHY? Why am I having this meltdown?! Why do I need a break and it's only Monday?

I tried to text my husband about my frustration, but his attempt at comforting me with the thought of a week long break for Thanksgiving did little to soothe me.

I needed a break from being Mommy!

And then I felt the pangs of guilt for even having the thought. To make matters worse, voicing that thought had ended up in a war of words with my husband over the cellular wireless network. Now, 5 hours later, I'm sitting here, all cried out, listening to the sounds of my husband and our sons laughing while wrestling in the bedroom; wishing it was that simple.

Is it that simple?

Really, this whole thing isn't about my kids. Yes, our school day was frustrating, but when I don't make time to seek the Lord, pray and read His word, I'm sure I am much more easily frustrated. I think for me this is a lesson in vulnerability.

(Wait, did I say a lesson? What lesson did I learn from this? I just asked myself that question. Possibly that a wall leaves nothing more than something hard to run into for both sides of a relationship? Hmm...)

Let me explain.

The last two weekends the boys' and I have gone to visit my mom. I love being able to go home to spend time with her. While there the past two Sundays, we've visited a small church close to home that is pastored by a long time family friend. Growing up Catholic and watching my mom struggle to break free from certain Catholic traditions, to be able to attend a different church with her and see her engaged is a tremendous blessing. However, I, for some reason, lose that same freedom!

There are very little memories I have of being open and vulnerable with anyone in my family. It is a sad reality and one that has been giving me tons of grief lately. It affects every aspect of my life and my relationship with my heavenly Father.

Over the past few weeks I've wrestled with emotion and desire and watched as wall after wall came down in protection over the past years of a broken soul. I long for intimate relationships with my husband and children and a total abandonment of myself for God's glory. I miss the richness of close friendship with church family. I desperately want to demolish these walls in my heart but am too afraid to step out and allow the deep parts of me to show themselves.

I feel like time is slipping away from me. Midlife crisis maybe? Maybe its just the sway of this world and the times we're living in. Either way, I've wasted so many years hiding behind so many masks. Lately I've stared at the faces of who I've wanted to be. She's sometimes so different than the person that God created, the one who's never had the ability to surface. I've had to take responsibility for letting opportunities pass me by. And in God's mercy, I've been given opportunities to step up and walk in certain areas, despite how messy its looked because of my insecurities.

The biggest challenge is my marriage. It suffers so much because of these walls. Some of these bricks I'm put there purposely, others seemed to have placed themselves there against my wishes. But I'm praying that God crushes these walls and I'll have a deeper richness in my family relationships.

What does all of that have to do with my meltdown?'s been all bottled up and shaken like a dropped soda can. I guess today I finally exploded.

God help me!!


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thursday, November 1, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness-Day 1

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you. (Titus 2:11-15 NKJV)
I am so thankful for God's mercy and love; that He showed before I was even born through the death and RESURRECTION of His Son Jesus Christ, but then also very personally to me.

What are you thankful for this November 1?