>> February 24, 2010

One needs to be dispossessed of the possessions that possess – before one can be possessed of God.
~Ann Voscamp

I have been overwhelmed with a feeling of clutter in my life lately.
I need to clean out my closets and spare room
and let's not mention the garage.
It even goes beyond the physical stuff to things like my computer hard drive, which is nearly at capacity and desperately needs to be cleaned up and organized.
I'm ready to purge so much stuff.
Over the past 6 months, God has been opening my eyes to what I really need.

We have been studying Matthew chapter 6 in our life group
and this is exactly the discussion that entailed last week -
God knows what we need and He WILL provide for those needs
The problems come with how OUR definition of need meets up with God's definition.
How often I call wants needs.

We don't need to increase our goods nearly as much as we need to scale down our wants. Not wanting something is as good as possessing it. ~Donald Horban

So we've committed this week to the spiritual discipline of simplicity -
only spending money on sincere needs.
And for me it means some purging.
And most importantly, praying for God to change my definition of need -
to align my desires with His desires.

Because simplicity starts from within.

Its easy to deny oneself for a week or maybe even a month if you know that, eventually, your commitment to denying that thing will be over and you can have it again.
I don't want just a week long or month long change though -
I want my desires to be in line with God's desires.

What if I started praying this prayer...

O God, I beg two favors from you; let me have them before I die.
First, help me never to tell a lie.
Second, give me neither poverty nor riches!
Give me just enough to satisfy my needs.
For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?”
And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.
Proverbs 30:7-9

What if you started praying that prayer?
Give me neither poverty nor riches. Give me just enough to satisfy my needs.


Unredeemed by Selah

>> February 20, 2010

This song really ministered to me so I wanted to share it with you.
(for those of you that would rather just read the lyrics, I posted them below the player.)

(written by by Chad Cates, Tony Wood, Brian Petak)

The cruelest words, the coldest heart
The deepest wounds, the endless dark
The lonely ache, the burning tears
The bitter night, the wasted years
Life breaks and falls apart, but we know these are…

Places where grace is
Soon to be so amazing
They may be unfulfilled
They may be unrestored
But when anything that’s shattered
Is laid before the Lord
Just watch and see
It will not be Unredeemed

For every choice that led to shame
And all the love that never came
For every vow that someone broke
And every life that gave up hope

We live in the shadow of the fall
But the cross says these are all

Places where grace is
Soon to be so amazing
They may be unfulfilled
They may be unrestored
But when anything that’s shattered
Is laid before the Lord
Just watch and see
It will not be Unredeemed

Places where grace is
Soon to be so amazing
They may be unfulfilled
They may be unrestored
but You never know the miracles
The father has in store
Just watch and see
It will not be Unredeemed


forgiven by LOVE

>> February 18, 2010

Molly stepped on my foot this morning and immediately said,
"I'm sorry mommy. I'm sorry. Do you forgive me?"
"Yes honey, I forgive you."

She even told the dog, whom she calls "boy", she was sorry the other day.
"I'm sorry boy. You ok?"
"Mommy, my boy's ok."

Yet, when she hit her friend last week she refused to apologize.
She would rather have discipline than apologize.

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday.
It is the day that marks the beginning of lent - a time to focus on repentance.
Now, neither Ash Wednesday nor lent are in the Bible, but they both come from biblical concepts.


Why is it sometimes so easy and yet sometimes so hard?
Really, I know the answer to that and I realize the question I should be asking is,
"Why do I hold on to some sins the way I do?"
I want to hate my sin.

I am so grateful I serve a God who is faithful and just to forgive me my sin and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
He loves me and wants to help me have a repentant heart over every sin.

Read Psalm 103:1-14

Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits-
who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases
who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel:
The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever;
he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.

I can't remember where I read it, but earlier this week I read someone being grateful that
God records our names in His book of life and not our sins.
What LOVE He has for us!

And look at what else He records...

You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in Your book.
Psalm 56:8

What LOVE He has for us!!!

Sorry this post is coming to you a day late.
We are busy trying to get ready for a retreat this weekend, but I have been looking forward to getting here and meeting with you.


This side of the cross

>> February 10, 2010

I just finished reading Leviticus.
This is usually a book one skims or skips over completely, but as I focus on worship this year, I found it incredibly relevant and the timing of it God-appointed.
As we live in grace on this side of the cross, we tend to lose sight of how seriously God takes holiness.
And how seriously He takes worship.
(Two of Aaron's sons died because they burned the wrong kind of fire in worship.)

“You must be holy because I the Lord your God am holy.”
Leviticus 19:2

And as I read it, I am so incredibly grateful that God chose that I would serve Him on this side of the cross.

Lord, let my life be an offering of worship that honors your holiness.



>> February 4, 2010

I have to be honest with you ..
I have struggled lately to get here and post (as if it isn't obvious).
Really I have struggled since last summer.
Early in the summer I had someone tell me that I'm not careful enough about what I post here and that, although I don't name names, people can figure out who I am talking about.
That caused me to question EVERYTHING I posted and put me in this downward spiral concerning what I should and shouldn't post.
Before that comment to me, I had considered this blog useful for 2 purposes:
1. To share what we are up to with family and friends that we don't get to speak with much and
2. To share my walk with God

#1 is why I started the blog, because a blogging friend (who doesn't blog anymore) REALLY encouraged me to do so.
But, #2 gave me purpose to keep going on this blog.
It seemed to make it have a little bit of meaning for me. And from emails and comments and phone calls, God was using those posts.
And yet, it is in those posts that I must have shared something I shouldn't have. (That person couldn't give me specifics.)

So I have struggled.
I have prayed about whether or not I should even keep this blog going (for my 5 or 6 readers?).
I mean, what is the point if I can't be honest with you?
Because it is in the honesty that God has used me through this blog.
Thus the lack of posts since the summer - a season in my life that has brought more tears, struggle, spiritual attack and growth since I can't remember when.
With all that I was going through emotionally and spiritually I just couldn't post random family goings on and pretend that all was well.
It just felt so dishonest.

God has been speaking to my heart about this though.
I realize that I have let well-meaning, good people who strive to follow Christ quench what the Holy Spirit was trying to do in and through me.
I'm sorry for that. This truly has been a time of stretching and growing for me. A time of growing closer to God and learning how to follow Him more closely.

And I feel like God has given me some direction regarding this blog.
One of the things I have read about every January for the past few years is the idea of NOT having a New Year's resolution, but rather having a word to focus on for the year. I'm not sure who started that, but this year I prayed about what my word would or should be if I were to join the ranks in the "word of the year" thing.
My word was WORSHIP (and I'm joining the ranks).

So I'm going to focus on worship here on this blog this year.
Really, that means the sky is the limit because worship is about how I live my life.
It SHOULD affect the way I eat and exercise, what kind of wife and mom I am, what kind of friend I am, how I treat those that are unlovely, what I give back to God versus keep for myself, how I handle not only the amazing things that instantly cause me praise God, but also the difficult trials that I WILL go through...
Part of my focusing on worship has ignited a new passion for using every gift God has given me (not just music) as an act of worship.
It has been the catalyst for Through The Lens Of Worship.
(if you have no idea what that is, click on the link and see what God has been up to with me and photography)
And honestly, Through The Lens Of Worship is where I will focus most of my blogging energy.
You will find my photo worship experiences on Exposing Grace on Wednesdays.
I have decided to dedicate Wednesdays to worship here too.
And I'm going to be honest.
If I offend you in any way, I'm sorry. I have never meant to do that.
So the plan is to at least be here once a week (more than you've had in quite a while around here ; ) ), on Wednesdays. I will do my best to be here more, but life with my 3 hooligans is busy and time is precious.
For those of you who have been praying for me - THANK YOU!!!
For those of you who had no idea about any of this - THANK YOU for being patient with me!!!
I love all 5 or 6 of you!!!
See you Wednesday (if not sooner).


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