RE-Action

Continued from yesterday’s post…

The Roman mob comes to arrest Jesus and here are the disciples, probably jaw-dropped at this point, having no clue as to their role in this situation.  What do the disciples do?  Peter (John ratted him out) grabs a sword to save the day, save the world in his mind and rescue Jesus.  Or so he thinks. 

52 “Put away your sword,” Jesus told him. “Those who use the sword will die by the sword. 53 Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands[h] of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly? 54 But if I did, how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that describe what must happen now?”

Oh I am so guilty of this (I have yet to cut off someone’s ear)…but I do get in God’s way and try to save the day or rescue myself from anything discomforting.  Financial trouble – quick let me get a job, any job will do.  Discipline problems – quick let me fix my kids and ride them how ever long it takes until they turn into obedient angels (hasn’t happened yet).  Marriage struggles- quick let me do everything I can to ‘change’ my husband (that’s an act of God).  Sickness – quick let me eat everything as healthy as can be and exercise every minute I can squeeze in, or better yet, maybe I can worry about it every second I have and drive my body further into despair.  Kid’s making bad choices- quick let me freak out and call all my friends for advice and read every book they tell me to and try every crazy quick-fix-my-kid suggestion.

Sound familiar? I am a master at REACTING…and it’s the quick, no time for thought reaction. Panic sets in when we are not alert and alive in God’s word.  He has a plan, He fulfills that plan.  We are called to know Him, praise Him, love Him, and live in Him…and then spread that wisdom and love to the world.  We are not called to spread anxiety, stress, worry, or doubt.  The world has enough unbelievers…we are believers…and so we must spread BELIEF!

3“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

 

Dear Father-

Praise Your name that You have overcome the world…all the mess of the world has been diminished by You.  It is not left for us to hash through, mull over or become accustomed to.  We are not called to live in it, but to rise above the troubles of the world with praise and worship of our Creator, our Lover, our God.  In You may I live each day, alert and alive, ready for Your goodness.  I love you!

A

 

Source :Matthew 26:52-54, NLT; John 16:33, NIV

Alert and Alive

 

Alert and Alive

‘Garden of Gethsame’… Words can not describe this time or this place in the life of Jesus.  Personally, I do not even like to imagine what Jesus humanly suffered in this garden.  There is a reason God doesn’t reveal the future to us…we could not handle it as Jesus did.  But Jesus’ time in the garden we will study another day.  Here let’s focus on the disciples…because I can totally relate to how they chose to spend this time with Jesus.

They slept!  There was no sense of urgency in their actions, no reason to be on guard or alert, no deep-seated, hysterical anxiety…obviously they didn’t get the intensity or seriousness of what Jesus meant when He said He would be crucified.

40 Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? 41 Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!”

42 Then Jesus left them a second time and prayed, “My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away[g] unless I drink it, your will be done.” 43 When he returned to them again, he found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open.

44 So he went to pray a third time, saying the same things again. 45 Then he came to the disciples and said, “Go ahead and sleep. Have your rest. But look—the time has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.

Yes, there are so many times in my walk with Jesus, that I am asleep, not alert, and anything but intentional.  Jesus warns His disciples (and us) to pray, fervently, be on watch, lest we fall into temptation.  Lest we fall into anger, greed, self-righteousness…any and all of the above.  Our hearts want Jesus, but our bodies are accustomed to the instant gratification of this world.  If it’s not an immediate need to fulfill, it can wait, right?  On the flip side, if it will bring us more comfort in this world, let’s do whatever it takes to get it now.  It’s the unconscious motto of self.

In His words, you can feel Jesus’ heart, His anguish, His concern for His disciples.  It hurts.  And we know the hearts of each disciple all too well, we are tired and weary and don’t really understand where Jesus takes us sometimes and what He is asking of us and when it will end and why He can’t just rescue us and call it eternity already.  But He is reminding us…wait, don’t get caught up and comfortable in this world, be on guard, this is not your real home, with ME is your true home, it’s where your heart’s desires should cultivate.

Dear Father,

Praise Your name!  I just thank You for keeping the desire of holiness alert and alive in me.  It is so easy to let this life be our focus, to get caught up in the right-here-right-now syndrome.  Forgive me Father when I choose to not turn to You first.  You are it…my heart’s desire…may my life be a reflection of that.  I love You!

A

TIME

How our lives can change in a year, a month, a day, an hour. During this time last year my fate was enveloped in a dark cloud, consisting of the word ‘kanser.’ Everything was completely unclear, especially in the first week as we waited for answers through test results, doctor’s appointments, the nurse’s phone calls. We would go to sleep thinking of the unknown, yet only to wake up and pick up those same thoughts right were we left off. It’s crazy how much power we give our minds to wonder off…to bright futures…and to total dark places.

But isn’t all of life unknown? Does any one of us know our number of days? No. Yet we live as if tomorrow will always be there. Have you ever been around someone who knew their life was coming to an end? They live as we were meant to live. Most importantly, they love as we were meant to love. That’s living…that’s purpose! And not that I want that kanser scare back, but I want to remember the deep reflection and no-limits love I felt for those God has put in my life. How quickly I felt urgency to really live in relationship…to seek forgiveness for taking my marriage for granted, or not spending precious moments with my kids, or calling good friends that I had let slip away.

Unfortunately, my to-do list never shrinks and the mundane struggles of life will always be there…but will my loved-ones? Do they know how I deeply I love them just as they are? How I treasure them? Do they know my intense love for Jesus? And my desire for them to experience that same love?

Oh time! How I have prayed for you to stand still, but it is truly me that needs to learn to work with you.  My Time…God’s tool!

27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Proverbs 31:27-28,31

 

Dear Father-
May I treasure the time You have given me. May I not waste one day, one hour, one minute living apart from You and Your ways. Help me, my Lord to focus on eternal matters before earthly. I pray that my love for You would overflow to those You have put before me! I love You!
A

It isn’t ‘PERFECT’

“One day at the end of our earthly lives, we will stand before God with a full understanding that we had the power of Jesus Himself working within us, and an acute awareness that we did so little with it.” ¹

YIKES!

Perfectionism…it’s a disease that creeps through my veins and wearingly yearns for everything I do to be top notch.  Everything I touch, speak, write must be done so that there is no fault found, no better way…it will take first place…and inside I can get relief (or so I think.) I laugh as I type!  I am doing it now…what’s the best adjective, the most descriptive verb…but it doesn’t sound ‘the best’…it could be superior (yes, I initially typed ‘better’…highlighted it…checked for synonyms…found ‘superior’…changed it).  My life is undone everywhere I turn because I seek perfection, yet it will never be achieved.

I cannot accomplish God’s will for my life with perfectionism at the forefront.   The two don’t work together; it’s one or the other.  They are both jealous and calling out to me…One out of love, grace and mercy… the other, out of fear, selfishness, control and the need for prize-winning approval.  Which will I choose?  My heart longs for the One, yet my nature falls to the other.

Today, I am submitting, at least for this moment.  Honestly, I have no time to stop and write this.  Taxes are spewing over the kitchen table…Clutter has found it’s way to every corner, and then some…the laundry no longer fits in it’s basket…my expired drivers license reminds of a life I once had (maybe I should not have admitted that in writing)…and on and on and on.  If you ask my mind, it works on self-inflicted overload .  I don’t have time for this…really, I don’t make time for what God is calling me to do.

My God doesn’t scream at me, He doesn’t remind me where I lack or fail, He only encourages and brings me wisdom.  He is not the squeaky wheel I long to subdue, only to show itself again day after day, hour after hour, second after second.  He is my peaceful place…my calm water…my rest from myself.  He only wants to work through me; and He patiently waits for me to allow that.

So whether or not this writing even makes sense today…no matter.  I have restrained the monster inside, if only for this moment, and done what God has asked me to do…give Him the first fruits of my day, not the left-over 2am thought.

Dear Jesus,

I sit at Your feet this morning…unorganized, undone, out of time.  The day is calling out to me.  And I know You will meet me here and there.  Thank You for reminding me of the power You have so graciously and freely pass on to Your people.  Teach me Your ways and subdue the worldliness in my body.  I seek freedom in You.  Forgive me for my ugly idols…I don’t like them much either.  I pray my life would be a reflection of Your power surging through me.  I love You Lord.

A

¹Tiegreen. The One Year Walk With GOD Devotional. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale,  2004.

 

Preparing the Way…

Oh how I neglect, how I put-off, how I procrastinate for another day….and another…and another.  Forgive me, I am no professional blogger.   I can’t keep up.   The desires of my heart and my to-do list keep my head spinning out of reality most days.  But God reined me back into reality today; hit me with something I desperately needed to be reminded of.  What is important?

Doing God’s will…being a godly wife and mom…working diligently in my mission field (my kids)…reading God’s word and actually applying it…being healthy…being a good steward of finances and time…being a carrier of the light of Jesus…being accountable.

HMMMM….

And why am I not whole-heartedly doing any of those?  Ok, yes, I am hard on myself, a naturally critical person (especially directed at myself).  But still, if that is what I value most in my life, my heart forgot to send the memo to any other part of my body and has yet to truly enforce the issues.

In BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) this year we are studying the book of Matthew (yes, BSF is way cool, check it out if you have never tried it).  And this past week we studied John the Baptist and how he boldly prepared the way for Jesus.  **CONVICTING PART*** How am I preparing the way for Jesus?  Am I giving Him the best, or just good, or even mediocre?  Do I put-off what He puts on my heart to do, no matter how unimportant it might seem?

If someone really important, someone I held in high regard were coming over to visit me, wouldn’t I want everything to be looking ‘the best’?  The best food, the cleanest house, the most obedient children, I would work hard for everything to be as close to perfection as possible.  Yet, is that what I am doing every day in preparation to see Jesus?  Am I diligently preparing my children to see Jesus, or am I more concerned with how they make me look as a mom, their academic success or whether or not they are good athletes?  Do I care more about the way people see me on the outside than the way Jesus knows me on the inside?

Do I give Jesus my best?  Because I hold no one in higher regard than Him, yet He lives within my unclean heart, and sees my rotten attitude, and knows my stinky sins over and over again.  And I continue on in mediocrity, justifying my life as it is, because I am ‘busy’, or I am tired, or I have a lot of kids, or if I had this or that I would be different.

So…going back to what is important in my life, which is where my best needs to start…every day…not neglected…not put-off for another day or another season.   It’s not perfection; it’s giving my best, by focusing on the prize of Heaven, doing my part to make the outward path a little smoother, and the inward dwelling of my heart a little cleaner.

Dearest Jesus-

Thank You for loving me in spite of my ugliness.  You deserve only the best from me Lord.  Help me to continually strive on with joy in my heart.  I thank You for those You have entrusted to me on this path of life, especially my children.  I pray I can speak boldly of You with love.  If there is anything good in me Lord, it is You.  Thank You for the work You do in me.

A

Bailey Dean Bowers

Born July 23, 2013 at 8:49pm, 4 lb 13oz

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She is still super tiny, not even 6lbs yet, but she is doing great.  We do have to use a heart monitor on her for awhile until she remembers that she needs to breath at all times, esp when she sleeps.  But we haven’t had too many episodes and should be done with that soon. 

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She was born at 34 weeks but she met all the marks of a typical newborn and was able to be released from NICU within a couple of days.  She stayed in special care for a few extra days until we could get a home heart monitor for her.  At 6 weeks she is doing great.  Sleeps a lot, much to the frustration of her siblings…and gets tons of love and kisses, even if she is sleeping.

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Here is a picture with her daddy so you can see just how tiny she was (is).  She was the same size as his forearm.

6 weeks

It is so hard to believe it has been 6 weeks since that crazy Tuesday night.  Wow, we have been through some serious recovery.  I want to thank everyone for covering us in prayer, for the meals, laundry, cleaning, errands, babysitting, gifts, kind words and caring hearts.  The pathology report came back clear with the kanser only being found in the cervix, so we will not need to do any further treatments, just follow-up exams every 3 months.  So a big fat WOO-HOO for that!

Before the surgery I asked both my oncologist and OB if it would really take a whole 6 weeks to recover.   I thought since I was semi-young, in good physical shape, eating totally healthy that I could knock off a few weeks and be running around playing with my kiddos by now…or at least be able to keep up with them.  Nope!  Totally not the case.  It hurts, I hurt. 

We have came so far from being in the hospital, so I am not complaining (well, only to my husband).  I won’t go into great detail, but there are so many things that doctors fail to warn you about that are part of recovery…and not that we really want to mentally climb that mountain before we physically climb it.  But knowing a little more of the ‘what might happen to you’ would have helped knock some of my ego down and not get my expectations up.  (Just so ya know…if you ever have to have a robotic lymph node dissection…it involves a ton of swelling, and all that lymph fluid has to come out somehow, and it is very painful, and it could mess with your nerves…disclaimer: I am no doc, so it might not happen this way for you)

In my little mind I thought I would be done with needing to rest or done with struggling to bend down or get up…I thought it would all be back to normal life…as normal as life is with a newborn.  I had no idea that my kids could walk faster than I, especially my 4 yr old.  Now I know how they feel when I am speed-racing through life and they are running to keep up.  It’s a good reminder to slow down and wait for the important things in life.

God is definitely teaching me huge lessons: on patience, not being anxious, being humble and asking for help, overlooking the mess, being content with where I am and quit looking to where I think I wanna (or “should”) be, having joy in the moments…no matter what those moments might look like. 

Dear Father-

Thank You for saving me!  Thank You for giving me life, Your life and new life.  Oh how I yearn to do life Your way, not my ugly fast-paced get it done style.  I see that You are slowing me down in the moments to teach me to live more and love deeper.  Thank You for my children…for teaching me through each one of them.  I pray that I would see the frustrations and trials of my life as Your teaching hand bringing me closer to Your kind of life.  Forgive me when I grumble through my days and waste opportunities to show love and grace.  I love you.

A