Thursday, January 29, 2015

At the Cross.

I was going over resentments in my head again- the ones that love to swim around, stealing my peace. Records I play, conversations I have with myself and other people in my mind.

Well, I was lying in bed with the flu. Not fun at all, but it gave me some time to quiet down and take stock of some things. I looked over at the door that leads to the bathroom. It was shut, but it has that style where the indentations make it look like there's a cross in the middle. (I think that's an actual thing done on purpose somewhere? I should look that up.)

So I looked at the cross and just said- "Jesus, I am really struggling. Please, I need you to be with me."

And I looked again, at the cross, and a light {from the sun} came and lit up the area underneath the cross. It was as if Jesus was saying to me- "Lay those things down at my feet, at the foot of the cross." And so I did. I said "Lord, I lay down all these resentments and grievances down at Your cross."

And then the light faded and I felt this incredible peace come over me- especially in my mind- like a crystal clear, absolutely still lake. Just peace.

I'm so thankful for that experience. Thank you Jesus.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

No pain. No gain.

Look, I'm gonna get real here in this post.

This isn't a new struggle for me, but it's one I thought I had curbed....but not kidding, reared it's ugly head just at the beginning of the year. While I was trying to think about what I would do to better myself and my family this year.....I was also having these mixed feelings. To what am I referring??

Ugh...the feeling that I really want what someone else has. The feeling like someone else's blog or ministry or family or career or house...and on and on...would be so much better than what I have now.

Awful to say it...but even more awful to be living with it and just trying to make do. So...I have some changes to make.

On one hand- the best thing for us is to gain contentment.

"But godliness with contentment is great gain." 1 Timothy 6:6

And on the other- I really do think God wants us to desire to keep moving forward and to have a sort of dissatisfaction with our current state. I feel like that's a slippery slope- but I think of the pioneers- they were driven to forge ahead and make a better life- so that's the kind of thing I'm talking about.

But with me....

I find myself picturing life like two famlies running a race. I've got myself/family in one lane and the Jones's in the next lane....and actually, just for reality' sake, I look down and for as far as I can see, from the right and the left, just millions and millions of families, all running in their own races as well. The trouble is I feel like I'm spending so much time looking at the other races going on. All the other journeys and paths. And the problem is that those aren't mine. So.....instead of pushing me forward, they are just causing me to do some sort of zig zag out of control pattern that really isn't helping me go anywhere. And because I'm a mom, and really I help set the tone of the house....the kids are left to follow me around. Not to mention my husband, who's trying to lead our family...he probably looks at me and just wonders what the heck I'm doing, lol. I mean it's just a big mess. I end up so confused and upset and discontent.

But the really cool thing is that I can see God in this. I can see where He's put different things in my path, some right before the end of the year, so that I could look back and see a pattern. And the big thing, the thing I might be finally getting to is this-

No pain, no gain. 

Don't worry, it will all make sense in the end, I hope.

During December, I read numerous times about being willing to put forth effort in order to see change. I read about it in the context of my prayer life, my finances, my job, my mothering, etc. You know when you're like....hmmm, I think God is saying something...because you keep reading the same thing? I remember having this dream that I was all set to go into a battle, I had the gear on and everything and then someone said something about possibly dying during the battle and that was it for me, I was out. Kind of a good picture for me of how I was feeling about putting forth a lot of effort for something.

But honestly, as I've been examining my life...all the different areas, I am seeing some changes that need to happen. Ones that I've brushed off as, well this is just the way things are, or I don't have time, or I'm not good at that.

We just had one of our wonderful MOPS moms give a talk on limiting beliefs to our group. These beliefs are lies/rules we set up for ourselves and then live by, that are actually not good for us, and hinder us. And the excuses I just listed...yea, those need to go and be replaced with good rules- things can change, I have all the time I need to accomplish the things God has for me, I can do all things through Christ. (There is so much more to these limiting beliefs and I am still chewing on all the good stuff from our meeting, thanks Gen!!)

Now how does no pain, no gain fit in with comparing my life to someone else's??

I've heard this saying a few different times over the years...but it fits really well in this situation-

"If you think the grass is greener on the other side, it's time to water your lawn." 

So, most yards take time to look nice. Unless you xeriscape with stones and shrubs...you're gonna put some effort into keeping a nice lawn. I know....because we've had a crappy lawn before and I didn't put any work into it. Nice example right? But my point is we could've had a really beautiful yard if we would've taken the time to work on it.

And for every one of us....we have really beautiful things in our lives. Things with amazing potential. Things that God has placed there, to bloom and grow. But they take work and effort. It seems so simple. But seeds die without water, gardens wither away without care, cars turn to junk with maintenance....I mean the list goes on and on. If we don't take time to water and weed and care for our own lives, how can we expect to be happy with them? Of course we'll be tempted to look at someone else's and wonder why we don't have that too.

It's hard to look at something and realize it's been a damaging pattern for my life. But....I can say that I'm really excited to see God change me. I think I'm just at the beginning of what He wants to show me.....so I expect it to......take effort and time. LOL. But seriously.

XOXOXOX,

Annie