Good morning all,
I start with this picture of Alexis and her Papaw leaving for Texas, because you know that's where I'll end the blog - writing about our first experience apart! (big smile)
It's been a little over a month since my last blog and as I reflect back there's so much that has taken place it's hard to imagine where to start. It's become harder to stop and take the time to write/update with the convenience of social media. Facebook and text (or SMS messaging) has taken the place of sharing pictures and updates for my blog. However, it seems that I've been getting that gentle nudge, not only from our close friends and family and followers, but from our God as well, that it's time to start writing again. Soooo....guess it's time I discipline myself to get back to writing and sharing what God lays on my heart. It sounds easy, but sometimes it's not. I tried to rational within myself that it's not that I don't want to write (because I absolutely love writing) but more so that I just don't have the time. In reality, sometimes I think I'm afraid to be honest and share what He's placed in my heart because of fear that I'll offend someone, or hurt feelings.
Don't get me wrong - life is crazy busy around our household. Between managing a career, toddler, husband, horses, garden, finding time for family & friends, it's just sometimes a little overwhelming to try and add 'writing' to the mix. However, I realized [in my prayer time this morning] that it's not about me. WHAT?? Wait...what do you mean 'it's not about me?' That was my conversation with the Lord this morning. I remember a time in my life when it was All About Me! Oh how those days are gone - and truthfully, I don't mind at all! I LOVE being a Mommy, a wife, an executive, a friend, and a servant. It's what I've always dreamed of. I can honestly say "I'm living the dream" and it feels amazing. Now, that doesn't mean that I do not have my 'moments' and get tired, cranky, emotional, etc.... but it does mean that when I look at where I am today, I am beyond happy! I could not ask for anything more...well, I could ask for more money...money always makes life easier (despite what anyone says - that is the truth!).
It's humbling when God wakes you early to pray - it's also frightening. A whole bunch of "What If's" come to my mind. Which is funny, because my "daily tip" yesterday was just on that topic of "Don't complicate situations with the 'what if's' - just keep doing the next right thing, praying, and leave the rest to God!" I found it ironic when at 3:00 am this morning God stirred me to hit my knees; and although I think I know who I was praying for, I found myself in the midst of praying thinking "what if I'm not praying for the right person, situation, etc.?" Then I was gently reminded that it's not about what/who/when/etc., it's about being obedient. It's about being getting up out of bed when you're so tired that all you want to do is roll back over, snuggle up to your miracle toddler and husband, and go back to sleep. The reality is, when God calls you to do something you must move, because someone (maybe even yourself) needs it.
Which brings me to today's writing. The reality of obedience is something that we often ignore or think it really doesn't apply to oneself, when truthfully being obedient is what we are faced with every day. We have to be obedient in order to receive. When you think of it that way, it brings your way of thinking about obedience into a whole new perspective. The Bible promises that if we obey God, that He will bless us. In Deuteronomy 28:12, Moses told the Israelites, "If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all His commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God." What we miss is that there is a condition to receiving, you must be "fully obedient to God and follow His commands".
It's easy to pick and chose when we want to be obedient but the Bible also warns of that in Galatians 6:7 "for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap." I don't know about you, but I certainly don't want little in turn for little effort. I think it's just human-nature to expect and want more than the effort we sacrifice. I think about my own life, and question the sacrifices I make to be truly obedient to the Word of God and the calling; and the reality is - I'm not. I don't do all that I'm supposed to. Sure, I attend church (when I don't allow other things or work get in the way), I get up every morning and read my Bible and do my morning "tips" post on Facebook; we pray before we eat, I say prayers with my daughter every morning and every night; but are those really sacrifices? No! They are convenient times I spend with God. I feel like God was stirring my heart this morning reminding me that the reality of obedience is giving more than we expect in return; going above and beyond to spend quality time with Him in fasting and prayer and doing it without any expected return at all. Often we find ourselves on fallen knees when we are in trouble, facing something we need His help with, and if we're truly honest with ourselves when those hard times have passed - conveniently our life becomes too busy to find time to be obedient and do what the Bible tells us to do. Yet we still expect our blessings. Before I move onto the next part of updating about our family - I leave you with this question: Are you really being obedient to God's calling and living your life or are you just existing daily? It's something to think about and find time alone with God; find your prayer closet and get intimate with our Maker - and not just when you 'need' something. My tip for today is: I challenge you to give Him what He deserves and not what is left in our reserve.
When I think of what I've been blessed with already - I could never ask for anything more. I look at my daughter and husband and often am humbled to tears with thanksgiving! I can remember when Christmas used to be my favorite holiday of the year....now May 15, 1993 is my favorite [holiday] day of the year - because you see, that is the day God gave me Ryan, and without him I wouldn't have our daughter!
I was able to spend some really quality time with my family over the last extended weekend. It's something I rarely do. For over fifteen years now, I can honestly say that those four days in Texas was the first time I really disconnected from work and just enjoyed my family time. I never once turned on my laptop and only checked my phone for important business needs that had to be addressed. You know what I found...? It was okay! The business ran smoothly and nothing fell to pieces before I returned on Wednesday. Granted, in a sense I paid for it because I went back to a plethora of emails and a mountain of work, but, I went back refreshed and reenergized. We all need a reality check and a true break; and we should do it more often than we do. However, if you never learn the reality of true obedience starts with being obedient in your walk with Christ, then you'll never get ahead, receive your blessings, find your renewed energy and spirit.
It always amazes me how I start with one thing in mind when writing these blogs, but God (being the typical mighty God He is) turns them and I'm even blessed, surprised and learn something from them. It's so amusing to me how so many people send me private messages, texts, or even comment on the 'today's tips' I post on Facebook about how they needed that specific tip. What most fail to realize is I'm only sharing what God is teaching me daily. A while back I started sharing them because I felt like others may need them too and why be selfish and keep all the joy and learning I'm receiving in my daily walk with Christ to myself when everyone is facing some sort of battle (whether they realize it or admit it) and it just may help them too.
Most already know that my daughter went home for FIVE days with my family in Texas -- and it was THE LONGEST five days. I won't say it was the longest five days 'ever' because truth is, the longest five days was when we were waiting to see if our IVF implants were successful or not. It's amazing how God will take something simple and teach us something beautiful if we'll just open our eyes and heart to receive it.
Needless to say, she had a blast spending time with Nanee, Papaw, Auntie (my baby sister) and Sissy (my niece) and Uncle Todd. I think she grew a full inch in those five days and I'm certain she put on 5 pounds! (lol)!
She had an amazing time. She made priceless memories that I pray will be repeated every Summer. I cannot thank my close friends and family that extended such amazing support to me the week she was away. I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and earnest compassion of phone calls, texts, etc., just checking in on me during that week. It was TOUGH but I know I have the best memories of my childhood Summers with my grandparents, and I don't want to rob my daughter of that precious memory just because of selfish desires to not want to be away from her.
No matter what you're facing or where life takes you - remember your path was drawn long before you stepped foot on it...but you can easily get off course if you don't keep your faith in check, your heart occupied by Jesus and your mind filled with the Word... don't allow the desires of the world to predict where your eternity will be spent. Don't stop obeying Him when you get what you asked for...that when you should continue to forever be grateful and never cease in praising Him! For He is Merciful & Graceful in our daily blessings!
Until next time, please continue to pray for us and we'll forever be humbled by the following and love you've shown us...
"For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him." 1 Samuel 1:27