Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Perfect Peace

In a world full of so much pain and trouble, it is hard to imagine "Perfect Peace". Does that really exist? Well, I believe every word that is in the Bible, so YES, it’s real.

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. - Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV)

What exactly is perfect peace?

Perfect peace does NOT mean that your troubles will disappear. It does NOT mean that life will be easy. It does NOT mean that even more trials than you face now will not come your way.

So what does it mean? I am going to be honest; this is a promise in the Word that I am trying to hold onto. It isn’t easy when life is beating you up to believe that you can have peace at all, much less perfect peace.

Isaiah 26:3 says that if I keep my mind focused on God and TRUST HIM, He will give me perfect peace. Peace won’t come from worrying or wondering, it will come from TRUSTING in the Lord.

This post is not me telling you that I have attained the level of Trusting that provides this kind of peace. I don’t feel peaceful most of the time. However, it is me reminding myself to stop worrying and start TRUSTING again.

If you look up the definition of "peace" you don’t find a feeling. You find a state of being. So whether I FEEL at peace or not is irrelevant. What is relevant is the promise that God will give me perfect peace:
  • A state of tranquility or quiet
  • A state of security or order
  • Freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions
  • Harmony in personal relations

Monday, May 13, 2013

And God said "Trust Me"

I want to follow up on my Mother’s Day post. I wrote that post late Friday night and posted it around 1:30 AM on Saturday morning. Throughout the day on Mother’s Day, my thoughts turned quite frequently to my baby that I never met. I am always in awe of God and His love for His children. God reminded me of some things on Sunday and I want to share those with you as well. Mostly because I know I’m not the only one who has been through a miscarriage so I want to share with you what God shared with me.

First of all, I want to remind you that God has a plan for our futures and it is a good plan! "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV) We don’t always understand why things happen in our lives, but we need to keep trusting the promise that God has plans to prosper us and give us hope, plans for a future that is beyond anything we could ever imagine. You might wonder why a loving God would take a child away from us in order to fulfill some other part of His plan and how that is in any way a good plan! This verse of scripture is often used to give encouragement, but most of the time when people quote this verse they forget to remind others that these words were spoken to a group of people who were being punished by God. Now, I’m not saying that if you have a miscarriage it is a punishment from God (I don’t believe that all), but what I am saying is that even in a time where God was punishing a people, He was reminding them of the good that He had planned for their future. To me, knowing this makes this verse even more encouraging. We serve a faithful, loving God, who wants the very best for us. He isn’t out to get us or make us suffer in vain.

As I was thinking about my baby this weekend, I was praying and thanking God for raising my baby in heaven, since I couldn’t raise my baby here on earth. At that moment, God reminded me of some things. Our job as parents on this earth is to raise our children in the Lord. To teach them right and wrong, to teach them to love and serve God, and to teach them about salvation and what it takes to spend eternity with God in Heaven. That is our most important job as parents.

Psalm 127:3 says, "Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him." (NIV). The word heritage refers to something you inherit. If you receive an inheritance; that means it was something that belonged to someone else before you. Our children are an inheritance from the Lord.

God so gently reminded me in that moment, that my baby wasn’t my baby at all. My baby was His baby and had I gotten the opportunity to raise them on earth, it was with the understanding that I was raising that baby for the Lord. He reminded me that my ultimate goal for that baby was accomplished. That child is in Heaven, they made it!! Whatever God’s reasons were for it to be so early in life as opposed to later, I don’t know. What I do know is that my baby is home, where they belong. My baby is home where I so long to be. I look forward to going home soon to be with my baby.

Psalm 147:3 says, "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds". Scripture is full of similar verses. The Lord has great plans for you and He is there to heal your broken heart and bind up your wounds. He promises He will never leave us nor forsake us and that He will be there for us. Ephesians 2:20-21says, "Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." He has good plans for us and He can do more than we can ask or imagine. Trust Him today to bring His good and perfect plans to pass and rest knowing that your baby is home, right where they belong!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mother's Day: Here Comes Another One!

If there were ever a specific day of the year that I both appreciate and dread all at the same time, it's Mother's Day. I know it seems strange that being a mom and still having my mom around that I could dread a day focused on celebrating moms. Why is that? Let me start with the appreciation part, then I will move onto why I dread it.

I have a nine year old son who I love dearly. He makes me laugh, smile, and if I'm being honest, occasionally he also makes me want to scream, but what young boy doesn't at one time or another have that effect on women! He is a great kid and I am proud that he calls me mom.

I also have a great mother of my own. She has always made great sacrifices for me and my brother and sister. She put all of us through private school our entire school career. None of us ever went to public school. Living where we did growing up, I am eternally grateful for that sacrifice. I don't remember a time that we ever went without the things that we needed and everyone except mom generally got the things that they wanted. Mom never really went out and shopped for herself and I remember being glad the few times I remember her doing that. Again, sacrificing for the rest of us. I love my mom very much and even though I don't say it often enough, I sincerely appreciate everything she has ever done for me.

While I have a great son and mom to celebrate with, the last few years I have not looked forward to Mother's Day. Somewhat because I often feel guilty that I don't always buy my mom a present. It makes me feel like a terrible kid. I also don't always go see her on Mother's Day. I'll try to call her, but is that really enough?

I also feel like there is a part of me missing on Mother's Day. About seven years ago, I had a miscarriage. Most of the time I don't think about it, but days like this one make me feel like a part of my family is missing. I wasn't far enough along to know if it was going to be a boy or a girl, but John believes it was a girl. I picture a little girl running around with curly blonde pigtails and blue green eyes. I think about how great of a big brother Jonathan would be and how many times he has asked for a baby brother or sister. I think about all the time my mom and I spent in Girl Scouts or doing crafty things, or me learning how to sew, cross-stitch, plastic canvas, latchook, etc. I think about how cool it would be to be able to teach those things to a daughter. I think about the memories I have of all that with my mom and I wonder if I will ever have that from a moms perspective.

I also honestly don't feel like a good mom. I take care of necessities, but I fall extremely short when it comes to spending quality time with my son. Maybe it's because I don't have cool boy stuff to teach him. Maybe it's because of all the other things racing around in my mind all the time. Either way, it's unfair that he is going to grow up and think back on his childhood and probably remember playing alone in his room more than anything. He doesn't complain and he generally goes to his room on his own, but what is he going to say about me when he grows up?

So, my plans for this Mother's Day include going to church with my family, calling or going by to see my mom, maybe a movie/game night with my boy, and thanking God for raising my baby in heaven!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Hiding Place

I have heard of Corrie Ten Boom throughout my life but had never read her story. I decided recently that I wanted to do that. The Hiding Place is the story of Corrie Ten Boom and her family as they live their life doing what they believe is right. During World War II, Corrie and her family helped hide Jews from the Nazi’s in an attempt to help them escape the Nazi Concentration Camps. The Hiding Place is the story of this effort and what happened to them when they got caught by the Germans.

Two of the main characters in this book are Corrie Ten Boom and Betsie Ten Boom (Corrie’s sister). The relationship between Corrie and Betsie really intrigued me. While Corrie is the one we hear about the most, Betsie is the one who holds Corrie together and keeps her focused on the Lord and trusting in Him. Corrie tended to be the one to think through the logistics of how things were going to turn out while Betsie just trusted that God was going to handle everything.

Despite living through terrible conditions in Nazi Concentration Camps, Betsie continued to love others and forgive even those who did such horrible things to them. She showed a kind of love that most of us would not have the strength to. She saw even the German officers as people whom God created and loved.

This book was incredibly inspiring and completely worth the time to read. It makes me want to strive to be like Betsie in all situations. I highly recommend this book!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Rivers of Living Water

I am by no means an expert on the Holy Spirit. I am ill equipped to even attempt to write a blog post about Him as I do not have great background knowledge, but what I do have is personal experience and moments from Him that I want to reflect on.

John 7:37-39 says: On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

I have read this scripture before and struggled to really understand what Jesus was promising would come. I may be a bit literal in my thinking, but hearing “out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” is something that is not easily comprehended for me. I remember as a teenager hearing this verse and thinking the same thing. While I knew it didn’t mean literal rivers flowing out a person’s heart, what exactly does it mean?

Again, I am not an expert, so I’m not going to give you some definition and tell you that this is exactly what this means. What I will say is this: The Holy Spirit, if we allow Him to, can infiltrate every single part of our life: the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful. He is our friend, our comforter, our companion, and our guide. He is many other things as well. As we allow the Holy Spirit to be all of those things to us, we fill ourselves up with Him; then we will overflow with His love and peace. That doesn’t mean that we don’t struggle in life, but we have the ability (the help) to get through the trial. I also believe that we will overflow with His love for others and will want to share His love with anyone who will listen.

The pictures you see in this post are a few pictures I took on a trip to Denver. Outside the hotel was a three tiered pond. In between each tier was a rock wall that created a small waterfall at each level. I was walking around outside the hotel and looking at this pond. I was intrigued with it. Not that I haven’t seen ponds and waterfalls before, but this one seemed so pretty to me. It was peaceful, serene, and calming. I was walking around it, taking some pictures, when I suddenly stopped. I thought; this is how the Holy Spirit moves. He flows in our lives and increases us to the next level in Him.  He flows over the rocky parts of our lives and helps us through them and when we reach the end of those rocks, we come out on the other side, calm, peaceful, intact, and still moving forward.

My prayer for each of you and myself today, is that the Holy Spirit will move in your life and mine today. That He would carry you and me through the trials and that He will be your calm, your peace, and your comfort today. Holy Spirit dwell today in me and help me to continually dwell in you. Use me to show the love of Jesus to others today and help me to be your light as I go through this day. Bring the people into my path who need you Jesus and help me to say or do exactly what they need me to for them to see you. Thank you for your love and your salvation! Thank you for the ability to share those with others. Thank you for your unfailing kindness and your faithfulness. Thank you for loving me and giving me the opportunity to love others.