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Thursday, April 13, 2017

A Wish or a Weed

   
  Is it a wish or a weed? God has been changing my mind on so many things. The biggest change came about when I finally got sick enough of the poor me idol to cry out for change! I have been a fire wife and fire family for almost 6 years now. Wow! I have never really relaxed into this calling God has on my husband.
    While the kids and I where at family camp there was a teaching for each member of the family. Husbands, wives and kids. I was very much looking forward to the wifey teaching but had no idea it would be a perspective changer!
     The pastor teaching said, " God has given our men a mission. A calling on their lives." " As wife God has given me a SUB-mission." WHAT! Seriously! This changes how I think about my husbands job. No we are not in full time ministry any more but what my husband does is his calling. God has a plan and purpose for it. I get to be his support my SUB-mission is to do all I can to help him with the his mission.
      His mission is to love God, love his family, and be a firefighter/EMT in our community. I love God with him, I raise and teach our kids, and I make sure his uniforms are clean on time, have a completely separate grocery list for his grab and go station meal and I expect nothing form him (still a work in progress) while he is home.
     Expectations are premeditated 
disappointments.
      I used to be super sad that Paul would miss out on things and have a miserable time. It didn't make him there is just made us there not what i could be. Really I say yes to more things that I probably would if he was home cause he is my favorite and I love just us time in the evenings after the kids are in bed.
     So, I am thankful for this perspective shift. God knows what He is doing and if we let Him build our lives there will be blessings that we never could have planned for ourselves.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

HOT COCO!

 
   Last time I shared it was about this amazing (like greatest of my life experience, you should go back and read the last 2 post kind of amazing) exchange with Jesus. I finally stopped trying to "get over" being molested. As I looked at Jesus on the cross, He absorbed a life time of pain. Through His resurrection power, He HEALED me! So much better than "getting over it!"
      I came home from this wonderful timely woman's retreat and.........I really couldn't tell you what I did in the three weeks after. I just kind of stopped in my walk with God. Like, that was amazing I'll take a break now.  The only problem is healing is a journey not a destination, said my wise friend Rebecca!
      I didn't even know there was a problem until my husband asked if he could speak to me in our room for a minute. I was a wreck. I looked it and I felt like it.
     He sat me down and said, "Jess, is there something I have done or could do to help? You seem really unhappy." I burst into tears! I was unhappy. I just had this massive healing in my life, one of those things that you think if that ever gets fixed I bet everything in life will be fine. Silly girl, that isn't real life! I told him what was in the deepest of my heart. "I am the heaviest I ever been. Nothing fits and I had to buy a bigger size sweat pants just to have something to wear. I don't feel attractive or lovely and I don't think it will ever change." My husband was gentle but he also knows he can speak the truth with me and I will receive it. He called it was it was, I "gave up." I stopped taking care of myself and it was showing big time. He said, "Babe, have you looked in the mirror today (it was gentle and loving), I don't want to be rude but you really look like you just rolled out of bed and you went grocery shopping and came home ready to kill our kids." I cried some more. I knew he was right and it was time to put on the big girl panties and let God work on me. This idol of eating for comfort has been like a whole other family member around here. It was time to break up. This habit of neglecting myself, and overindulging was again being wore on the outside.
     My man said, why don't you take a shower, put some make up on and go do something you would like to do by yourself.
     I did. I stepped into the shower and as if the water was grace and Jesus washed away the old. I got dressed and went to Macy's and bought a few items of clothing that were not sweats. I went to Barns and Noble next and purchased my little brother a birthday card and sat and wrote in it how much I love him and miss him. (something I used to do often) I even changed into my new cloths in the bathroom at B&N because I WAS new and I wanted to wear it. I had no proof that I was new yet. It had only been 2 hours since He had rinsed off  the "gave up." I did however have new insight on Him. This One that washes with His grace. Remember, It was just three weeks ago that He healed me from my greatest wound. Suddenly this monster idol had nothing on Him.  I'm mean after all it was like 6 years younger that the big wound! (I started the food struggle around 17).
     Every morning after that day, I would shower first thing, put make up on and snap a picture for my man. He would encourage and tell me how proud he was of me and thank me for not giving up. PS. It matters to husbands that their wives look their best and take care of themselves and that's a good thing.
     Little by little I would look at my life habits with food and exercise and ask God what was good and what needed to go. He lead me to a ministry called Revelation Wellness. They have an 8 week bible study and accountability time that I could do. Yes! I believed that God said this is it. But it was expensive for our budget. So I waited and did what ever the Lord said to do about taking care of His house (my body). Then the study went on sale! I got to start the study! Then I had to restart cause I didn't humble myself the first time. This shower in grace and forward motion of obey coupled with His word has been transforming.  I am down 6 lbs. but more excitingly is the fact that I don't crave my old idols like I used to. I crave and am begging to practice the presence of God! So much more filling and so much better for me!
     There was one afternoon that educating our kids was getting long and trying. My normal mode of dealing would have been to reward myself with some sort of sweet hot drink because after all I need a pat on the back to simply walk in my calling, right? Blahhh! So I looked for a mug and chose hot chocolate. I already had 3 cups of coffee so maybe something different. I was about to pour the hot water into my mug and Jesus said, "No, Jess, choose ME. " I literally picked up the mug and said to it, "No!" I had this amazing release. I didn't have to do it. I don't have to sin. I know it may sound extreme that I am calling a cup of coco sin. That isn't what I am saying. The sin is having a love relationship with Jesus and cheating on Him with something as stupid as HOT COCO! He commands us to put nothing before Him. He really will supply all of our needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus and for years I have said,  "no thanks I got this, I'll just eat more, or I'll just drink more." Such a bummer! GRACE. This is the fun bit of the story. A few hours later my boys asked if I'd play a game and could we drink coco while we do it. My first thought was NO! Absolutely not I can never drink coco again. But since that isn't the point of Jesus telling me no the first time, I pause looked at my kids and said, "Yes! That would be really fun." The coco isn't the bad guy. The worship ill placed, will however destroy and or make a soul ineffective for the work it was created to do.
I made us coco and didn't even finish my mug. My heart was allied with His. I had the freedom to drink anything I wanted, and was not mastered by it.



Oh a date with my wonderful man! 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

HEALED


     I have been a parent for 9 years. CRAZY! When we had our first women would tell me, don't blink it will go by so fast. I would think, woman, you are crazy if I was aloud to blink I would sleep for 2 days! But those gals where right! I has flown by. In these nine years I have never gone away from my home on my own.

Our first. 9 years ago.
     I was invited to go to a woman's retreat with ladies from my church and we would join with ladies from Ohio and South Carolina in a cabin in Tennessee. It all worked out for me to go days before it was time to jump in the car. I took my kiddo's to grandparents in Indiana and then Brookie and Maryland met at my house so I could drive us to the cabin.
     I didn't know these ladies at all. I knew of Maryland but had never met Brooke. Brooke got to my house first and I wrapped my arms around her and said, "Hi! we are going to be best friends in 5 hours!" That's how long it took to get there.
     As we drove we each took turns sharing our stories like I knew we would. As I listened to Brooke's story about her meeting her husband of 5 years now and how she honored him and spoke of him I was encouraged and convicted. I loved hearing stories from Maryland on becoming a Mother-in-law twice in one year. How she was seeking to respect and honor the new unions.
Marylin 

Brookie
     When we arrived at the cabin (It was really huge! ) I began to feel my heart drop. I felt like all those teen girls that would come to camp when I served in Head Waters that would say, "I don't know why I'm here."
     That night Maryland was the one teaching. I felt so proud of my new car buddy bestie. I listen and of course was the first to break down and cry. I had been so concerned for my husband working 94 hours a week and not sleeping at all on fire nights. Marylin said, "let's ask God to give you the desire of your heart that the needs would be met with just the fire job and not a second job also." She prayed over me and challenged me that it was time to ask and be content at the same time. I had to humble myself and agree. I was so scared to ask God for anything I wanted. I shared about being molested and how I struggle to believe that God wants anything good for me and those connected to me.
     Like I mentioned in my last post I could explain to you why and how this event in my life was robbing me of truth to that day!
     The next day I had a terrible head ache all day and really felt like what is the point of me being here if God was just going to let me be in so much pain. I did get to share about my heart for painting God's word and had supplies for all the gals to paint if they wanted to! It was so cool. A vision come to life!



That night we were had time set aside for a testimony. Guess who was sharing? My other new bestie Brookie!
     What she shared and how she shared, oh man, I have never heard a testimony like it. I think it was also so powerful to me because I got to hear all the other stuff in the car as she saved her story of coming to Jesus for that night.
     Brooke too was messed with sexually as a child. She rebelled in different ways than me but she didn't have a trace of the old life on her. I spent 5 hours in the car with the woman, and I was shocked by her story because I would NEVER have guessed it. God had truly, redeemed and healed and given her a life and purpose completely centered on Him. As I listened I started to feel this weird, "wait a minute, I don't sound like her."  I am not free of my past like she is. I still smell like smoke from the fire. After she was done we had a time of prayer. I began to feel agitated. I knew God was offering me healing right then. I wanted to be healed but I didn't want it from Him. You see I have been angry at God for 24 years. He could have rescued me and He didn't. At one point Brookie shared about her years of healing from her abuse and her choices that proceeded. One night she was so angry and crying and asked her Mom, "Why did Jesus let this happen?" A familiar question right? I listened almost breathless for the Mom's answer as Brooke continued. "I don't know Brooke, but look at the cross." When she said that it bugged me. Ugh! What does that even mean!
     Back to that time of prayer as Jesus was offering to heal me. I was angry. I was hot. I was sitting on the ground Indian style with my head in my hands refusing to acknowledged the gentle whisper to come. "No, Lord, " I said in my heart. "why should I come to you when its your fault I got screwed up in the first place!" " Look up Jess, look at Me on the cross." I did. My first reaction to thinking about Jesus on the cross with all my pain boiled to the surface was, "GOOD!" "If I have to suffer so should you." Then the strangest thing happened. It really isn't strange at all I because this is Jesus we are talking about but it was new for me. As I kept looking as Jesus bloody, and dripping to pay for my sin, its like all my pain and anger and suffering over the years was simply ABSORBED. He took it for and from me. I didn't have it any more. It was like a digging in the soil of my middle, my heart and he pulled out the broken, and burnt thing in my heart and put it in my hand. I could see it for what it really was and I gave it to Him. See there is  a big difference between "getting over something," and giving it to Jesus in the great exchange of Beauty for Ashes. The gals prayed over me and I prayed for the man who molested me and asked God to be merciful to him. I released him of any blame in my heart and forgave more deeply than any forgiveness I have ever given in my life.
     The next day several other women broke down and I hope made that great exchange with Jesus. Everyone in the room has very serious faces but I couldn't hold back a giant smile because I was free. I was healed and I knew God was offering the same to them.
     Before this, I had settled on the idea that I may just always struggle with this thing. I don't think that way anymore. When people have pain, or a wound I know God can heal completely! I have a desire to be used in any way He wants. I want to walk with other on this road to exchange their ash for His beauty.
   


HEALED

I painted this weeks before the retreat 

Isaiah 61
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins
    and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
    that have been devastated for generations.
All my girls where there! 


Thursday, February 9, 2017

IT WAS STOLEN

     I haven't blogged much this year because, well, I love painting! I mean I really love it. Three hours feels like 15 minutes when I am at the canvas with a brush! Also I really like relaying God's glory in real life, face to face more. Regardless of my preferences I felt the nudge to share via this avenue this morning.
     I have shared in the past that I was molested when I was 11. I  could tell you in detail how this planted a lie in my heart so deep it has affected my bottom line belief about God and the ever crucial truth of His love towards all mankind including me.
     Years ago I had the opportunity to pray with an amazing woman out in Head Waters and God gave me a vision of this man and I side by side worshiping Him in heaven. Forgiveness began. Who am I not to forgive when God obviously had.
     I have "dealt" with this thing so many times in my adult life. Always knowing that most of my issues in life could be traced back to this one event  and the implanted lie that God so loves the world but just didn't have love for me that day or He would have preserved my innocence. He would have protected my childhood and not allowed it to be stolen from me.
     Its is true that we live in a fallen world and there for we all get affected by sin. Our own sin or others sin. This fact is not comforting to the wounded that have a clear understanding of God's sovereignty. It feels personal. It "feels" like the God of scripture that is so for His own just isn't for me. If we are deceived about this foundational truth the enemy can work all kinds of mischief.
     Scripture states that, "The thief comes ONLY to STEAL, KILL and DESTROY. " Ok, the word destroy is what I thought all three words meant before I study the original language. It means to destroy fully, to perish to lose, or mar. Now stick with me I will summarize all these details in a moment but there is such truth in the details. To lose, is so that there is little or no prospect of recovery. Ugg. To mar means to damage or spoil to a certain extent; rendering the thing less perfect, less attractive or less useful, to impair or spoil. I have literally walked out years of life believing this was my identity. This is the dark, bad and nasty news of being messed with in this life by the thief through sin.
That word steal means to steal something in a gradual manner. Like a chipping away at something of great value. Quite sneaky. I can think of many things in my life that the thief has chipped away at without me realizing until there was a giant whole that caused a major problem! Not respecting and honoring my husband in years past for example. Selfishness. Idolatry over food and so on.  To kill means to rush. Isn't that surprising? It has to to will rushed breathing and I suppose unto death but the word rush says one thing me, ANXIETY! Oh how anxiety, the sin of not trusting our trustworthy God brings immediate death to peace and the fullness of life Christ came to bring us! RIGHT!?
     I have been painting with Bob Ross and he talks a lot about lighting. He says you have to have the dark to see the light and the light to see  the dark. So true Bob!

     This thievery happened in my life when I was 11. The devil set out to destroy me. In years to come he set out to steal and kill. I responded to the lie of lacking God's love in rebellion. I decided that I wasn't worth His love so I would make myself worth it. I call it rebellion because this decision was in direct conflict with how God calls us to come to Him. My salvation was secure when I was 5 so I am talking about my walk with him. I came to Him in the pride of "I got this." I had even vocalized my goal in my early 20's that I wanted to try and be the whole package. I was speaking of course about working towards being attractive, perfect and useful for my future husband but how interchangeable the concept is when you are single.
     My pursuit to fix the damage left me with quite a list of good deeds and practically no understanding of grace. Until God wonderfully frustrated my entire life.
      Our life fell apart. Three years ago my husband, three children and our dog found ourselves homeless in the dead of winter with whooping cough and no place to call home. It was in these pressing circumstances that I experienced God's keeping power. I could do nothing. I couldn't be good enough, I couldn't control anything. I could get God's attention with my self-deceived version of value or perfection. I found out in that moment that I already had it. His attention. All along God kept me when I couldn't do a thing for Him.
     I was so thankful and still am for that 9 days that felt like 3 months without a home. I was set on a course of learning who God really is.
      I hadn't given a thought to this being molested thing in years. Yet knowing it was the source of my lack of faith. I had "handled" it so many times I figure that was it, I was done with it.  I would just decide to be done with it and will myself out of disbelief. It doesn't really work that way with God or even on a physical level. If you aren't healed of a wound, YOU AREN'T HEALED. I didn't even know I needed healing until this January. Yep like last month just weeks ago!
     I think I will end this post for now.
     Think on these truths. Are you wounded? Do you need healing because the thing has never been healed? Has the thief stolen, destroyed or caused rush in your life? Next time I write I will share about the wonderful BUT GOD and His redemption and healing in my life. I am praying that these words will quicken hearts to go directly to God alone for the healing we all so desperately need!

Monday, November 7, 2016

BAD DAYS

    Have you seen the plaques that say "today is a good day to have a good day?" Me too. Super cute idea. There are often times that we choose not to have a good day because we would rather complain than rejoice right? What about the days that you wake up you have your devotions, you get your heart screwed on straight, you filled with the Spirit, you are ready to enjoy the day with your people.....AND NOTHING GOES WELL?! My reflexive response normally is poor me. I don't know about you but the "POOR ME" mode never helps the hard days become any more enjoyable. So I ask myself some questions:

        * is it OK that I have a serious desire to enjoy my life?


        * Why am I so shocked when one or more of my people have crunchy attitudes?


        * Can I enjoy my day even if others are determined not to?

    When I have such questions I try to make it a habit to God to the Lord for my answers. The word and its opinions always leave we confused.

     Is it OK to want to enjoy my life? The first scripture that comes to mind is 1 Peter 3:10-13
" For whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil. "
     OK, so wanting to enjoy life is a human thing not just a Jess thing and even more sweetly God wants us to enjoy it even in its fallen state. Ah! some times I wish I could physically give my God a huge squeezer hug! He is so kind!


     Why am I shocked at other people sin? Honestly, its more that I don't want to be inconvenienced by it. If my husband is struggling then its not light hearted play time and if my kids are struggling then I am called to steadfastly train. Basically, I want to play all the time. Not really God's plan for my life. Sad I know but get over it Jess! His plan for my life is that I would seek Him first. In that seeking the Prince of PEACE, I will see good days. It didn't say see perfect circumstances or days void of tempest. See the secret is in the worship. When deep cries out to deep. When our spirit meets with God's spirit we can take heart because He has over come the world. (John 16:33) He promises tribulation in this world. To expect anything less is naive and honestly uneducated! Eek! I totally just said that.
     When we worship God with our lives, with our daily stuff we can enjoy our days even if no one else wants to. Let me be clear I am not talking about the giant trials right now. I am taking about the everyday frustrations of life. Does this truth in God's word apply to the big stuff of course but the delivery would be a little more gentle.
     So that's it. When we go to God's word to answer our life questions and get educated on His heart and His way through this fallen life we can aline our expectations with His. Which for me has looked more like not having any and just seeking Him first with all my heart. Not that I have obtained it but I have heard the call and I am running hard after it. Lets run together.

Below are some of our enjoyable moments last week. Don't be fooled by the fun pictures for every great moment there was 5 hard ones. But I want to remember these!
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    Psalm 42:7 Deep calls to deep at the roar of You waterfalls; all Your breakers and You have gone over me.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

"Set the TONE"

     I dont know if it is a woman thing or just a Jess thing but I have thing automatic pull in my being that when my husband is talking I want to clarify for him. Not because he is a pour communicator, quite the opposite, he is great at explaining just about anything. 

Let me give an example. 
     Last week I noticed that while correcting the kids in his parenting he started using the saying, "you set the tone for your day." So true but I looked at our 6 and 5 year olds faces and was pretty sure they had no idea what he was talking about other than you just messed up and don't do that any more. I think the 8 year old got it but wasn't sure. The pull happened! I wanted to jump in with a, " now do you all know what setting the tone means?" The Holy Spirit stopped me. I have really been working on letting my husband be the Dad and not doing it for him. Quality goal right gals!  
     As I remained quiet I continued to hear My man use this saying then it hit me, teach them what it means! Not while my husband is in the middle of being Dad but at a separate time! You guys, this is seriously revolutionary! So I began to ask the Lord what it means to set the tone, cause lets be honest we know that Mamma does in the home! 
     The first scripture that came to mind was 1 Cor. 13 

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[b] it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

     Then in my regular reading I was in Roman's 6! 

I don't know why but the image of this old record player a Gramophone I think its called came into my head. I thought I'd put that on our memory board and teach them about it. I thought I could also bust out my old Fisher Price record player and that can be our example of beautiful music and love. As I got the player out of the basement I looked though my records. Fantasia! Oh yeah! That is all beautiful music! Sweet. I cut out some examples of using our members for right and unrighteousness on music notes. Pretty sure my kids didn't even notice but its the little things that delight me so I went for it.

     I looked up a youtube video of a gramophone playing music and we had a mini dance party. Then we sat down and read that first part of 1 Cor. 13. I asked if they knew what a clanging cymbal was and got blank stares so I grabbed the spoon and whacked it all around in one of the pots. They all jump about three feet and got mad at me that I scared them. I used that opportunity to say, " I bet and when you all don't love each other its a little scary around here." This lightened the mood or "set the tone," for some humble learning.
     I asked what some example of clanging behavior or choices might be and was met with over dramatic examples, shocker. Also got some good examples and ideas of how to love one another. Exposing that they have been train quite well in right from wrong. It was nice to hear that these truths really are sinking in its just hard to walk them out in the heat of conflict. Welcome to the club kiddo's! I had a few music notes like I said with right and wrong on them. They each got a pot and untencil, risky move I know but worth it. I had the Fantasia record going whole time and would turn it up when I displayed a note of righteousness and then down so they could bang away on the pots for notes of unrighteousness. Even our puppy Duke got in on the fun! 



That was it. I will continue to use this experience to draw on as we continue memorize our verse or as we go through out the day. At one point in the day there was fighting. I grabbed a pot and spoon and started banging it, getting everyones attention of course and then smiled real big. They stopped and smiled. Right from wrong an love from unkindness are not hard concepts they just take abiding in Christ to walk them out. So I am doing my best to be faithful to teach these  little wonders the truth and pray with all my heart they choose it for themselves. 

     I am finding that simple interactive time for teaching bible truth is super affective. You should also know that they did not sit on their chairs well. One leaned so far forward she fell on her head. There were several interruptions and I have to get a drink or pee and this whole thing didn't go as I originally planned. I did however listen to the Holy Spirit as we went along and I think they got the point. 

Monday, October 3, 2016

He who has ears

      Hey there! Again, I haven't written in a while. I don't know if its the enemy discouraging me or just the ebb and flow of seasons.
      I was recently blessed to be flown out by Mom and Dad with my whole family for a visit! While there a few people asked are you still blogging I miss reading it. I was honestly shocked by that because it was so far off my radar! Anyways, I have something I want to share now.
     We had a wonderful trip to San Diego, the place of my growing up. Our family time was rich just the 5 of us during the day and time with Mamo, Papa, Uncle Lucas and Uncle Cody was pretty much the best yet. Hubby got to come for a week and then the kids and I stayed a second week.
More pictures from our trip at the end of the post
     My man hates being home with out us. I know we drive him crazy half the time but when we are away he is so verbal about how much he loves us and I get to hear his heart towards me in new ways that I relish! When we did get home it was a wonderful reunion as it always is and then just a few days later this thing about me came up.
     It started with Bear our 6 year old.
Bear: Mom.
Me: Yeah
Bear: Mom, could you just stop and look at me when I say your name. You aways keep walking away and I really want to tell you something and you don't listen.

      That truth out of my babies month was a little annoying honestly. "Seriously he doesn't know what I am required to do in a day. I HAVE to keep going or it will never get done!" I firmly rationalized way the holy conviction in my heart. Because I am so deeply and tirelessly loved by my Jesus a second conflict arose and this time with my husband. He was explaining something to me as I was preparing future lessons for the kids (as we are starting school for the year on Oct.3). I kept on with my preparations and half listened to him. When I think back now really I only listened enough to get the right responses in. "After all, he has not idea the pressure I am under to be mom, homemaker and teacher and I can't stop any old time he wants to tell me something." Well I got busted because I didn't get one of the, "ah, mmhum or ok babe," responses right. He got frustrated with me and said, " could you just stop what you are doing for a minute, your only half listening to me and I don't want to have a whole other conversation later about this when your ready to receive the details." Something else negative happened in communication that morning with my man and I began to sulk. The Holy Spirit would encourage me, Jess this is opportunity for change. "AH seriously, Lord he misses me so much when I'm gone and now that I'm here I just bug him." It was a toilet flush from there (you know downward spiral). Finally after about 20 minutes of poor me, poor me, blah blah blah! I went to Paul and said," I'm feeling really fragile about myself, all I am doing is bugging you and doing things wrong." My expectation at that point was for him to list wonderful things about me and make me feel better. Instead, he said, "Well why don't you stop feeling sorry for yourself and change." AH WHAT! Rude! I got quite an mad. He proceed to tell me gently, "Babe, this has been a thing our whole marriage. You half listen. You ask question and don't tune into the answer and then ask it again 2 hours later, I love you but it has been frustrating for me." I began to soften. I told him of my interaction with Bear and that I think God is getting my attention about something. He encouraged me the that discipline from our God isn't pleasant but we get to love better if we will do the work of surrender and change.
     So here is what to Lord has shown me since. Beyond the obvious root of selfishness of not wanting to be interrupted with my agenda. God said to me, "he who has ears let him hear." Matt. 11:15 Jesus said this a few times about different subjects.  Well I have ears sooooooo what am I missing Lord.
     To Hear is a primary verb and it also means to give audience. I got a visual. He is calling me to take the action to humble myself and purposefully come to the front of the stage and step down. Turn completely around and give my family the gift of HEARING them. Not even just listening with my eyes and body posture but with my God lead spirit. To slow down enough to truly HEAR what they are saying. This is something I lack in my walk with God as well.
     I have put this into practice and man does it make a difference. I even started putting my hands on my knees and bending over to be eye to eye with the kiddos. My man has been on a 48 at the fire station so I haven't gotten to practice much with him.
     Isn't God so good to frustrate our sin or have others frustrated with it! EEK! I am so thankful for my family. With out them I would surely go on living quite selfishly and I would be the poorer for it.
     So the challenge for the day is are we truly listening to our people? Are we willing to stop and HEAR them?