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When You Feel Weak and Worthless

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Do you struggle with feelings of worthlessness? Do you feel weak and ineffective? I couldn’t count how many times those feelings have cropped up in my life. But truthfully, they are just that. Feelings. It’s not the truth.

Gideon felt that way. He was weak. He was a nobody, but God chose him to do a big task–to deliver Israel from the oppression of the Midianites.

“Then the Lord turned to him and said, ‘Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?’ ” Judges 6:14

But when God calls you to do something, He gives you the grace and strength to do it.

“I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD; I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only.” Psalm 71:16

“He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:24

Finally, my brethren [sisters], be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” Ephesians 6:10

We don’t need to be weak and feeble. We are every-day women that God wants to use for His glory. Go in His strength and accomplish His purpose for you today!

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Make Today a NEW DAY

Sunset over mountains and meadows under cloudy sky

I love this quote from Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. It’s such a comforting thought when you’ve had a bad day. When things did not go as you had planned. When you got distracted by things that really didn’t matter. Tomorrow IS a new day with no mistakes in it.

It’s so easy for us as women to beat ourselves up for not accomplishing more, for not doing better. I’ll be the first to admit that I am more likely to dwell on what I didn’t do, what I didn’t get done, to see all that still needs to be accomplished and become overwhelmed. Or feel like a failure yet again.

But something that I am learning (and it has been a process long in coming) that I can’t do anything about the way I already spent my time. It’s history never to be lived again. My husband has begun stopping me when I begin to say things like, “Maybe I should have…” or “I wish that I would have…” Because that is not helpful. You don’t get a re-do.

What we can do is learn from our mistakes–to confess them and move on. As I have been pondering this, I came across this verse in my Bible reading this morning that really spoke to me along these lines.

For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.

Psalm 86:5

Grace and forgiveness. What two powerful words they are! God is so gracious to us and forgives when we call to Him. He loves us infinitely and has compassion on us when we fall, when we feel like a failure. He forgives when we repent and turn from the sin that ensnares us time and time again. He knows our frame and remembers that we are only dust. He freely grants grace to us, but sometimes it’s hard to accept that. We want to hold on to our “guilt,” and make ourselves suffer because we failed again. Like we have to punish ourselves for our wrong.

But that thinking is what gets us into trouble. While there are natural consequences to our mistakes, Jesus already paid the penalty for our sin. We don’t have to beat ourselves over the head for bad choices. Did you make a bad choice? Yes? Then take it to the Lord, confess it, and then ask for grace to keep moving forward, to make a better choice the next time. But more than that, I think that if we truly express gratitude for God’s forgiveness, it makes our hearts lighter and helps us want to change.

One final verse that really grabbed my attention and obviously had in the past as I have it highlighted is this:

Teach me Your way, O LORD,
    that I may walk in your truth;
    unite my heart to fear your name.

Psalm 86:11 (emphasis mine)

My heart and mind are so distracted sometimes, that it was comforting to know that David sometimes struggled with it as well. So this is my prayer for today.

“Lord, unite my heart to fear you. Take away the distractions that keep me from doing what You would have me do today. Teach me the way I need to go today, and help me to let go of the mistakes of the past. Help me to make today a NEW DAY!”

Accountability Update

march-1-planSo here is the update that I promised! I got the most important things done and even got to the laundry.

But I can hear it now, “Shouldn’t you be automatically doing those things anyway?” “Good grief! You’re over 40 and still struggle with this? You were a Home Ec major after all!”  “You’re a stay-at-home mom? What do you do all day?”

Yes. Yes. Yes. Guilty. But some people struggle more than others. And I honestly feel like I should be further along in this journey that I am. But I am encouraged by something I saw a few days ago: “I’m better than I used to be. Better than I was yesterday. But hopefully not as good as I’ll be tomorrow.”

We are all on our own journey, and God works in different ways in different people. I’m not going to let thinking about where I THINK I should be weigh me down and keep me from pressing forward. I am who I am right now. And, Lord willing, I will be more like Him tomorrow than I am today.

What’s my Purpose?

questionWhat is the most important to you? What is it that makes you jump out of bed in the morning ready to tackle the day? What drives you? What makes your heart sing? I can just about guarantee that it is NOT doing dishes. Or laundry. Or any number of mundane tasks that face us each day.

Yet, as wives and mothers, those are the most important things that need to be done in order to keep a well-running household. Dishes and laundry in particular. If you don’t stay on top of them, they will multiply until you are overwhelmed. You won’t have anything to wear. Your favorite outfit that makes you feel awesome is in the bottom of the pile of dirty clothes. You are having to resort to paper plates and plastic silverware because you have nothing clean with which to eat your food. You are stressed out, overwhelmed, and just plain ready to hand it all over to someone else.

**Raises hand** All right. I confess. I’ve been there WAY too many times. If truth be told, there are dishes right now sitting in my sink and on the counter. Honestly, the last thing I really want to do is dishes. I know that there are a few out there who absolutely LOVE to do dishes. Really, there are. I know one. Her name is Ruthie. I think she’s crazy. But I love her anyway. Too bad she doesn’t live near me so that she can wash mine, right? But I know that if I don’t get to them, the situation will escalate.

Another thing that is incredibly helpful in keeping your home running well is menu planning. It saves so much time and money knowing what you are going to feed your family. You get all the supplies you need for your meals at one time and have them on hand so that you are not running last minute to the store–or sending your kids running to the convenience/dollar store a block or so away where you will spend significantly more–either in gas or with higher prices at the convenience store.

I’m not going to get into starting meal prep early enough so that when unexpected things come up (like they did last night) food is ready when it is normal to eat supper, and you’re so tired that your husband has to come to your rescue and pick up fast food. Which is so bad for you, but I didn’t care.

The thing is, we all want to pursue our dreams. We all want to do something significant. But if we can’t develop faithfulness in the little things, how will we be faithful in the big things? I listened to an audio book where a little boy was told that God cared how he made his bed. That really made me think. Does God really care about something so insignificant as a bed–whether it is made nicely or not at all?

I do know that we are to do things decently and in order.

God rewards faithfulness in little things.

God is more concerned about producing character in our lives than in our pleasure.

We are to reflect God’s glory and not do things for our own enjoyment.

I Corinthians 10:31 says, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

So, what are the things that you struggle with that you need to be doing? Let me know and I can be praying for you! As for me, I’m going to tackle the dishes and not stop until they are done. I’m going to plan the menu for next week so that when I go out for lunch tomorrow with my friend, I can actually get my shopping done beforehand. Wouldn’t that be amazing?! And maybe some advanced prep on supper. In the morning? Before lunch? We’ll see. Maybe I’ll do that right after lunch.  I’ll let you know tomorrow how it goes.

Divine Redirection

redirectLately, I have been studying Psalm 139 and have been encouraged by that fact that God knows me. He knows what I think. He knows what I’m going to say (or write) before I say it. He knows what I do in private as well as what I do in public. And He loves me anyway. He is with me always, surrounding me with His love and grace. He created me, forming each part and putting me together in my mother’s womb. He knows all my days–how many there are and what I would do with them–even before I was born.

I am amazed that God, Who created the whole universe and upholds everything by the word of His power (Heb. 1:3), even takes the time to think of me, let alone wants me for His child. Of all the billions of people on the earth now and have ever lived, He knows me completely. And loves me still.

The last two verses of the chapter are rather sobering, though.

Search me, O God, and know my heart!
    Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting!

God has a plan mapped out for our lives. But we as sinners try to go our own way, want to do our own thing. Our natural inclination is to do what pleases ourselves not what pleases God. Even as a Christian with a new nature that God gave me, I still struggle with my old sinful nature. Unfortunately, it’s not dead yet. It’s hard sometimes to do what is right, or even if I do what is right, it’s hard to have right motives, the right desires.

We as mothers, desire for our children to excel, but for what reason? Is it so that God will get the glory for what He’s done in their lives, or is it more so that we can brag about how wonderful our kids are and what amazing things they are doing? Ouch! That realization has hit home lately. Not a pretty picture. Especially as I studied the words of the above mentioned verses. I pulled the phrases apart and looked at them, and what I found was a little sobering.

Search me, O God            Penetrate me, O God (crack through the outer shell)

And know my heart           Know the very core of who I am

Try me,                               Test/prove me (like metal)

And know my thoughts     Know what I am thinking

And see if there be             Discern if there is

Any wicked way in me        Any grievous, idolatrous course in my life

And lead me                       Guide/transport me, straighten my course to follow

In the way everlasting       The eternal way–one You chose for me from the beginning

If what we seek to do in this new year is not for the motive of ultimately bringing God glory, it becomes an idolatrous course which if not corrected, will lead in a harmful way. We need to allow God to penetrate the walls we so carefully construct around our hearts and allow Him to redirect our steps as He sees fit. Invite Him to know you–He does anyway. But with that inviting, let Him make the changes necessary in your life to bring you back to the path He has designed for you since before you were born.

 

 

What’s My Focus for 2017?

multi-directionNew Year’s Resolutions. Really? Everyone jokes about it. How that they fall flat by what–day 3? I have never really been much of a resolution setter. I tend to just take one day at a time, and whatever happens, happens. Of course, there is the desire to eat better and exercise more so that I can be healthy. There’s also the desire to do something fulfilling so that this year is better than last year.

I’m not sure when it became popular to have a “word” for the year. I know that I did that one year–was it just last year or the year before? You can see how much impact it made on my life. I’m not even sure what the word was.

So as we begin this new year, I am really looking forward to what God has in store. I want my life to change. I want to make a difference. This process had already begun in my heart and life toward the end of last year. So what word do I want to make my focus for this year? I know that last time, I wanted my word to be really profound–something that would cause others to sit up and take notice. Something like “Intentional.”

But honestly, that really sounds proud. And I guess that’s probably the biggest struggle that I have, I want others to think well of me–maybe even better than I am. So this year, I want it to be more real, more realistic. The point is not to make others think well of me, it is to have something to focus on, so that we don’t just go through our days in auto-pilot mode.

I thought about the word “Change” to remind me that it’s time for me to make a change in my life and that I should keep on going, making the changes necessary in my life so that I become what God wants me to be. I thought about the word “Priorities,” since it is so easy to let other things, no matter how good they are, to overtake our time and energy so that we don’t fulfill our primary responsibilities very well.

However, I think the word that I want to focus on this year is “Faithful.” It’s not glamorous. It’s not super profound. But it’s what I really need to focus on this year. I need to be faithful to seek the Lord’s face, seeking His will for my life. I need to be faithful to take care of my main priorities and be faithful, working hard on whatever goals and projects God lays on my heart.

One of my favorite verses in college was 1 Thessalonians 5:24 “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”  All throughout the Bible, God is declared to be and shown to be faithful. As imitators of Jesus and since it is a fruit of the Spirit, we also are to be faithful. Jesus, in the parable of the talents, commends faithfulness and rewards those who faithfully use the talents He has given them. I am also reminded of Luke 16:10, “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much…”

So before I can really launch out on a new (or possibly several) ventures this year, I must cultivate faithfulness.

So what do you think? Whether or not you have a “word” for this year, what do you think  that God wants you to focus on this year?

It’s Just Time…A New Beginning

its-time-graphic_compressed-bg-21Life can be a little daunting if you want to make a difference. We are all told that we can be something great. But when I look around at my life, it doesn’t seem like I’m great. Like I’m doing something great. Sometimes, I come to the end of my day and wonder if I even accomplished anything at all! Know the feeling?

For a long time, I have had a hunger for something more. I have felt that there is more that God wanted me to do, but what was it that He wanted from me? I’ve always felt like I was on the verge of…something. Of making a break-through. I don’t know how many times I told that to my friend Nancy at our occasional breakfasts together–year after year.

I have read books, read blog articles, and attended numerous webinars– dreaming and longing but never arriving. I have tried to make changes in my home and in my personal life, and nothing ever really stuck. I had a blog that never really went anywhere. I’ve tried selling on Etsy and failed miserably. I sold absolutely nothing.

But this year is going to be different. God is working in my heart, pushing me and growing me in ways I never would have expected. I have to ask myself why this year is any different than the other times, and I really couldn’t tell you. It’s just time.

Part of my personality is that I like to have everything perfect before I expose myself to the public. If I can’t do something right or well, I put off doing it. Even with getting this blog started, there are things that are not done yet. I’ve considered restarting my Etsy shop, but I want to do it “right.” So it hasn’t happened yet.

But I want to be able to look back at the end of my life and find that I have lived life well. A part of the reason why I am doing this blog is to have accountability. Living a well-lived life doesn’t happen by accident. I want to develop goals and plans that will accomplish God’s purposes for my life. If I were to accomplish God’s plan for my life, that would be a life well-lived.

So the purpose of this blog, in a way, is to record the journey that God has for me. And along the way find the success that I’ve longed for and encourage others who are struggling as well.

So where do you find yourself? Are you ready to make some changes in your life? Leave a comment below how I can pray for you!