Archive for April, 2013

Peace

Posted: April 25, 2013 in Online Bible Study

I wanted to do a post for this week’s “Blog Hop” for my online Bible Study group. For more information about the current study, please visit Melissa’s Blog

Here was the topic I picked for this week:

Rest. In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength. ~Isaiah 30:15b (NIV)

Haven’t taken the “verse mapping” plunge? Dig into this verse for three days and share with us how your heart responds to His message to you?.

I have to admit…this verse caught me off guard. Why? Perhaps the terms “rest” and “quiet” don’t exactly fit into my immediate world right now. Last night I finally climbed into bed at 2AM after putting our three kids down…TWICE each! Matthew was in a great, wide-awake mood, Josh just really wanted mommy time and Caden wanted rocked…a lot! By the time my head hit the pillow, I heard Matthew let out his typical high pitched “shreek.” It was 6 AM…already? Rest. Quiet. Really?

In repentance – I stopped here. Notice it says IN repentance…as in DOING the action. Not after, not before…but DOING repentance. I’m not sure about you, but there always seems to be something on my heart that requires my humble approach to His Throne. Yet, the hustle and bustle of the day doesn’t actually allow time for this to be done…in the right manner.

…and rest is your salvation – As we are bringing our stones of guilt, shame, pride, arrogance…in other words SIN, to His Hand, the moment we hold our breath and actively, willingly give these pressures to Him, what follows? REST. Why? Because suddenly WE aren’t trying to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders anymore! Funny thing too…we were never meant to carry this weight to begin with.

Matthew 11:30 Jesus says, “For MY yoke is easy and MY BURDEN IS LIGHT.” – When we truly accept His forgiveness (and yes, this takes trust and time) we start this authentic relationship that results in REST for us and TRUST that He does what He says He will do.

If you believe “Jesus can take the wheel”…then let go and move to the passenger side (and while you are at it, quit checking the rear view mirror too!).

In quietness – I don’t think this means necessarily the silence from outside (or in my case…inside) noise. Though being in a quiet environment really helps me connect with God, I believe we can quiet our minds and our hearts in any circumstance. Why? Because we just gave our burdens to Him and His salvation is real to us. We have REST knowing that God can handle our little mess. Now we can truly quiet our minds from trying to figure everything out on our own and our hearts beat for His embrace and His presence.

…and trust is your strength. – Oh trust. How many times have you handed your burdens over to God only to somehow forget and revert back to your “self-help” methods? I’ve done it. God seems to nudge in, eventually when I let Him, and gently reminds me that He can take it all, He has already paid the price and truly there is more to life than trying to solve these issues on my own. To trust God fully is to go above just believing His promises, but its to actively LIVE OUT His promises on a daily, hour by hour basis. Trust is remembering how BIG He is and how little we are…but how He chooses to use us, as we are, to fit into His master plan. But in order to be used, we need to trust Him fully, that truly is our strength.

Isaiah 40:31 promises us:
but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Truly trusting in God to simply do what He says He will do, in the midst of our chaos, will give us rest and and reward us with His strength.

Last night, my son Matthew showed me an illustration of this verse. My little 7 week-old is well over 12 pounds now and his lungs (we believe) were over developed! He has a scream that would make Abraham Lincoln jump out of his grave! Last night, I sat in the nursery, rocking him back and forth. His eyes were open wide and he just could not settle down, regardless of my position. I did all the mommy duties – he had been changed, fed, burped, fed again and changed again! As I sat there, my arms tightly wrapped around his quivering body, I whispered, “Matthew, mommy is here. Matthew, mommy is here.” Its as if he was focusing on a moving shadow that caused him great distress. He was so “in” to that moment, he could not focus on who was holding him.

Finally, I reached down and kissed my son on the cheek. Suddenly, the crying stopped. His eyes met mine. His body fell into my hands, relaxed, calm and at peace. Suddenly, the weird shadow meant nothing. Why? Because he knew where he was (and that mommy was frankly, the safest place he has ever been…and ever will be on this earth!).

I don’t know about you, but I find myself wrapped-up in lifes circumstances to the point I tend to somewhat throw a slight temper tantrum. You know…it sounds a bit like…
Why are these things happening to me?
Why now?
I don’t deserve this?
My family doesn’t deserve this!
They don’t care about what’s going on with us or they would…
God, where are you?

I’ve been there, so many times! I remember one morning, waking up to Josh curled up next to me in bed. I breathed deep, never really wanting to move or leave that moment. Then I realized, it was chemo day. My mind went from restful to distraught in a matter of seconds. I asked these questions. I was frustrated, sick, tired and I wanted to just stay home! I was tempted to pick-up the phone and reschedule the appointment.

But God spoke.

When I picked-up my phone to cancel, I received a text from a friend. It was 2 pictures of the sunrise that morning and she said, “Look, God is here!” At that moment, I felt like Matthew did last night. My crying stopped. My mind was focused. I remembered where I was…lying safely in His hands.

That day I went on to make a new friend and lead her to Christ. If I would have cancelled, God would not have had the opportunity to use my story to touch another’s life.

So I ask you…are you rested? Are you at peace? Do you remember Whos hands you are in?

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An Update

Posted: April 21, 2013 in Uncategorized

Just a quick update until I have more time…

We visited the audiology department at Arnold Palmer for our second ABR test for Matthew last Thursday. She interpreted the test to mean that Matthew has auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder (for now, I'll let you do research on your own). Though we can see why she came to that conclusion, she refused to give me the test (the auditory wave forms) showing why the ANSD conclusion was reached. She was unable to diagnose because she has her masters degree, not a doctorate. We plan to get Matthew tested again at a different facility, possibly one further away due to the fact we need someone who understands ANSD to run the test and diagnose.

That's all I can add for now! we will update later…I promise!! THese boys keep me busy!!!

When Your Mess Is Revealed

Posted: April 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

For the last week or so my mind has been tangled around this idea of messes in our lives. I guess during 3 am feedings my mind is focused on deeper thoughts than during the day (go figure!).

Question – Have you ever had your secret mess revealed in a way that forced you to take action?

Can you imagine? The one struggle you just can't seem to shake away that you just continually sweep under the carpet…the very thing you tell yourself is “no big deal” but keeps you awake at night…that mess being publicly revealed to those you keep it from?! To most, that would be a nightmare. Yet, to one woman it became a reality in a big way and I wanted to share her story. I'm going to write this coming from first-person…

This is her story…

I know we all have struggles. Mine was just different. Let me explain.

I am a wife to a good man. Our marriage was pre-arranged, but we made it work. He was a good man to me, but I wanted more. I knew my heart was wondering, but I didn't know what to do. How do you tell your husband that you wish he was like someone else? It's just not a conversation I knew how to start.

One day I met him. The absolute man of my dreams and he completely swept me off my feet! Now he knew I was married, but we were just blinded by the mystery and excitement of the moment.

One night while I was with him, our church leaders caught our relationship and of course deemed it as inappropriate. The next morning I was led by the leadership right in front of the service. Suddenly, the man of my dreams was nowhere to be found, yet my husband was front and center. The service stopped. The teaching fell silent. I remember shutting my eyes as my knees buckled and I fell to the ground.

The leaders announced my adultery. It was officially out in the open and I felt the eyes staring in judgement. I had nowhere to go. I couldn't really move anyway.

My mess was out there for everyone to see, judge, critique…I was the scarlet letter of my day.

Yet, Jesus met me, where I was and forced me to do something with my mess. He told me it was forgiven and to sin no more. Just like that, I was supposed to leave all of the emotional baggage, the pain I had done to my husband, my pride…I was supposed to just move on?

Jesus told me I was forgiven and my mess soon became a huge message.

Perhaps you've read my story?

But early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd. “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn't even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” (John 8:2-11 NLT)

Can you imagine being this woman? Not only was she faced with death, put in the center of a religious debate, judged by her entire town…but she had her mess right in the face of Jesus! I wonder what occurred days after this encounter. Her life was changed permanently, but did others gain hope from this event? Did others understand that their mess could be given to the Great Physician for not only cleaning but eternal healing? Did she live out the difference or did she go back to her old ways?

Nevertheless – remember this friends, regardless the size of your mess that you are holding on to tonight, you can give it entirely to Christ for forgiveness and the freedom to “Go and sin no more.”

The first step to cleaning is finding the mess. The second is determining how to remove it. Don't try to do it yourself…it usually adds to more piles to hand over to Him.

That should give everyone enough to chew on for a bit! More late night thoughts coming soon! Until then, you have my permission to start your cleaning and these messes are not meant to be recycled…handle with care!

The Message In The Mess

Posted: April 11, 2013 in Online Bible Study

“Clean-up this mess!” It's a sentence, demand, decree, dreadful wish and it times a yell to the vast air at my house because nobody is listening. Being a mom with mom friends who talk about mom things…the topic of cleaning (or possibly lack of cleaning) comes up a lot. Just a few weeks ago a mommy friend asked her Facebook friends how to keep her house clean. Is it possible for a mom with kids to keep her house really clean?

The jury is still out on that one.

I've learned a few tricks like…
– Finding one room of the house to call my “haven” and keep it clean my way every night before bed. That way when I get up in the morning (or 2 and 4am) there is a clean, refreshing room waiting for me.
– I don't need my house spotless. It is lived-in and there are memories in the little messes around the corner. Is it filthy, no. Are there handprints on the mirrors…with my boys, that's almost a given.

My biggest lesson thus far:
My kids can clean-up their own mess…period. My boys are learning if THEY make the mess, THEY are responsible to clean it up…not mommy, not daddy, not the Tooth Fairy! I even resorted to grabbing the trash bag and threatening to get rid of the little cars all over my living room floor! Ask Josh and he will tell you – if it belongs to him and mommy trips over it, he runs to grab it before I do!

Funny how these little lessons are dropped when we grow-up.

Somewhere along the line, we start assuming that our little messes will be cleaned-up by someone other than us. I'm not talking about leaving your leftover sandwich out after lunch…I'm talking about the messes we make with relationships, messes with bad choices, messes with how we deal with our kids, messes of mixed-up priorities…the list could go on.

The mess in my life right now has been stress. The stress of an added third child and adjusting to meeting the needs of everyone (though never at the same time). The stress of job searching…filling out an online application only to receive an email to complete a 2-hour assessment and then complete a paper application! The stress of Matthews hearing challenges and upcoming tests. Stresses of my upcoming appointments.

My current online Bible Study Group is reading “Stressed-Less Living:Finding Gods Peace In Your Chaotic World.” Gods timing seriously is humorous in my little Boring world! (If you want to learn more about these free online Bible studies, check out www.melissataylor.org)

We just read through chapter one and two points hit me right between the eyes:
– I'm responsible for my stress
– Stressful lives continue through the same cycle, unintentionally until a different INTENTIONAL plan is achieved(in other words, quit doing the same thing and wonder why you are stressed!)

Oh I have valid reasons for my stress…(as do you, I know! I know!). Yet, we have control over our thoughts, emotions, actions and…stress! Some of us have so many un-dealt with piles of stress lying around it may even stink up our daily lives and relationships with others. It's time to pick up our mess before it completely takes over our lives.

Our verse for this week is the picture on this post. I've made it my background image on my phone (another mess to clean-up…phone addiction!). I've found it so relaxing this week before I text, check email, update my notes, check on jobs, make that call, plan that appointment (wow…I really do need to work on that phone addiction!) – I see this reality that God will STRENGTHEN me, He will HELP me and He HOLDS me. This Truth forces me to let go of trying to control the things I can't and seek Gods guidance in the areas He has given me the choices to make.

I'm planning to post a follow-up to this topic later…when I have the time! I wanted to share a story of a woman that had her mess aired in public and was forced to do some power cleaning in an amazing way…I really enjoyed her story and will share it soon!

Get cleaning…

Looking Forward

Posted: April 10, 2013 in Uncategorized

We are looking forward a lot these days.

Forward to Matthews next pediatrician appointment this week.

Forward to my appointments with neuro and Dr A (remember him?) sometime by the end of the month (most likely following another rescan and bloodwork).

Forward to Matthews hearing retest.

Forward to Matthew to be fitted with hearing-aids.

Forward to interviews (Steve and I have both been to quite a few lately!).

Forward to Josh's graduation.

Forward to the day Caden will FINALLY want to go potty…ON the potty!!!! (I had to include Caden here somehow!).

It has been so nice to finally be feeling good again and having enough energy to go out with the family! We have been to the beach, McDonalds, Turkey Creek park, other parks, the mall, a few stores….it's been so relaxing! Matthew is an easy baby (thus far) and is great on trips! We even have the van seating finalized…Josh and Caden LOVE watching the baby while we drive!

My back is doing better 🙂

We have a lot going on for the rest of this month between Matthew and myself regarding appointments. Please keep these appointments in your prayers!

Pictures!!!