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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?