My Grace is Sufficient

As I have been studying and praying about my word of the year, compassion, it seems that I have found myself more and more without compassion.

I don’t think it is any mistake that the Lord would have me choose this word, and then right along with that word, have me start the study Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit by Teri Maxwell. Through these 2 things (my word of the year and the book) the Lord is showing me more and more ways that I am not like Him. That I’m not compassionate. That I’m not meek and quiet. I admit, it has been discouraging. I feel like I’ve been even less meek and quiet with my children lately. (read that: harsh and angry.) I have been down. Frustrated and angry with myself for not being able to change myself or snap out of it.

You know what I have been forgetting these past few weeks?

“Three times I pleased with the Lord to take it away from me. But, he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Cor. 12:9.

I admit, I find it hard to boast in my weaknesses. I would much rather they go away! I have been struggling greatly with my oldest child lately. I have asked a few people to be praying for me…that I can be patient with her (because I haven’t been) and that I could be full of grace towards her (because I haven’t) and that I can love her. I love my children. But at times, my actions don’t show it.

But, God’s word tells me to boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses. You know what? I am weak. I am harsh with her. I’m not patient with her like I could be. We have good moments, but in my mind, the bad outweigh the good at this point in time.

Again, God reminds me that I’ve been looking to myself. I’ve been forgetting that His grace really is sufficient. His power rests on me when I acknowledge, and even boast, in my weaknesses. I can be thankful that God has shown me my weakness because now His power can shine through.

In the book I’m reading, Teri Maxwell reminds us of the power of God’s Word. She reminds us not to neglect that time with Him. When I’m angry, go to Him. When I’m frustrated beyond words, go to Him. When I’m upset that I’ve missed the mark one more time, go to Him. “Cast all your cares on Him, because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7.

God ordained that I be reading this book at this exact point in my parenting journey. He knew just what I needed. And Teri reminds of that in her book:

“I know there were plenty of other activities I could have done over the past 15 years during that half-hour I spent with the Lord. We could have done more schooling, had a cleaner house, more fun playtimes, more ministry, more individual time with each child, more sewing, more exercise, or more sleep! I look back over all those years and all the choices set before me as to how to use those hours. I know there is nothing that could have had the impact on my life, and the lives of my family members, than time with the Lord. This is particularly true in the realm of a meek and quiet spirit. Any other decision for that time would have been one more robber of a meek and quiet spirit. However, time with the Lord is the opposite. It was the one “needful” thing for me. It was a meek and quiet spirit builder!”

I am thankful for today that God has reminded me (once again) that His grace truly is sufficient for me. His grace is sufficient for my parenting struggles. His grace is sufficient for my lack of wisdom. His grace is sufficient for those times I speak harshly to my children. His grace covers me. His power rests on me when I trust in HIS power and not my own. I’m so thankful that though I am weak, so very weak…He is strong!

Jesus loves me this I know
for the Bible tells me so
Little ones to Him belong
they are weak but HE IS STRONG.

Our history

Friends, Beth Moore has done it again. Or should I say that GOD has done it again…once more, through Beth Moore. I am only 2 weeks into the Esther study, but wow. It is so good! This morning’s video session has me bubbling over with thoughts in my head and I had to come here and share!

Here is the quote that really got me going:

“You cannot amputate your history from your destiny.”

Ok, go back and read it again. This had to sink in with me for a minute. What Beth is trying to say here is that NO MATTER WHAT our past holds, we can’t change it…but God can and WILL use it. Our history is what God uses to create our destiny. Our history…the good and the bad…was and is in the hands of a Sovereign God who loves you and has a plan for you. (Remember Jeremiah 29:11??)

In God, your past and your future share the same root – JESUS!. Jesus will take the ugly, stained pictures from our past and turn it into a beautiful destiny that only HE could imagine or create. He uses our past to teach us, to grow us…to redeem us.

In our lesson this morning, we saw how God took Esther – who remember had suffered the loss of BOTH parents – and brought forth her glorious destiny. We often read the story of Esther and forget that this was a young girl who had no parents! Such a tragic story, yet God used her past to make her into what He wanted her to be. He used her past to bring about the purpose He had for her life.

In the video, Beth Moore used the scripture 1 Cor. 1:26-31.

“Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God – that is our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”

This verse brings a lot of encouragement and hope to me. The majority of the time (ok, all the time) I feel very UN-wise. I’m definitely not influential, not of noble birth. I am often foolish and know I am so very weak. But He chooses me. He chooses me, the weak of this earth, to bless…to use…to bring glory to Him.

It almost seems impossible. Too good to be true. How can God use me after all I’ve been through? After all the mistakes I have made? But, as Beth Moore said this morning, God is attracted to the weak because in those weak vessels there is room for HIS strength.

John Piper’s thoughts on President Obama

Read what John Piper had to say concerning the events of our country over the past week. It is so good. So good. Please take a few minutes to read it…and be reminded that Our God Reigns. He is Sovereign over all. Do we truly believe it?

The President, The Passengers, and The Patience of God

A New Little Sister…

No, I am not expecting! HA! I wanted to share some really, really exciting news with you. But let me back up. One of the things I have cherished most about homeschooling is the time in the mornings where we gather on the couch and work on our scripture memory verses, talk about prayer requests and pray together. Hearing my kids pray has to be one of the highlights of my life. And, just so you know I’m not trying to paint this perfect picture of a perfect little family praying together on the couch…sometimes to simply get to the couch we have crying and fighting. But, we always started our morning on the playroom couch. I have funny memories of hearing Caleb pray for the people in the ambulances. Emily is my little prayer warrior, listing sick people, our child we sponser, our president, people at church…and on. And on. Hannah’s prayers are more concise, yet beautiful none the less.

About a year ago, Hannah began asking questions about becoming a Christian. I am sad to say that I didn’t write down the “exact” day that she began asking. But, I would try to answer her questions and have been praying that God would continue the work in her heart. Months and months ago she prayed and thanked Jesus for coming to die for her and asked Him to come live inside of her and be the leader of her life.

Since that time, I have not pushed or really brought things up at all. We’ve gone about our morning routine, always memorizing a new verse, praying daily for our family and those that the kids bring up as prayer requests. Well, a few weeks ago, Hannah told me that she wanted to be baptized!! I did not even realize that she had been thinking about this. So, I began asking her questions and we have been praying about it ever since.

As most of you know, my girls are extremely shy. I have told Hannah that when she is ready to be baptized she has to meet with our children’s pastor, who she knows, Dr. D. His wife is Hannah’s Sunday School teacher and she loves Mrs. Delores! But, just knowing how shy she is, I asked if she was ready to talk with him and she said no. I knew that would be the case. But, she is still saying she wants to be baptized…and when she prays, she asks for courage to do the right thing. We have prayed together that she would be brave enough to talk to Dr. D when the time is right. She brings this up (not me) probably every 2-3 days. I’m so proud of her for her follow-through! She continues to pray about it and is working up her courage, I can tell.

In the meantime, I asked Dr. D if he had any resources for younger children that I could be reading and doing with her daily. He had a book that I wanted to share, it has been SO good for me to do with Hannah just the 2 of us during naptime. We’ve been doing it for about a week now.

This book is called “I’m a Christian Now!” and is written by Todd Capps and Sherry Shaw, it is put out by Lifeway. So far, the things we have done in this book are look up John 3:16 (one thing I love about this book is it is having Hannah look up verses by herself, which I have been wanting to teach her to do! She LOVES finding the verses and figuring out where the books of the Bible are.) We have talked about admitting to God we are a sinner, believing Jesus is God’s son and came to die for us, we’ve talked about why it’s important to memorize scripture (Psalm 119:11) and what sin is, what repentance is, and how we can tell others about Jesus. Next week’s topics include baptism, so I’m excited about that!

This book is kind of like a workbook, very bright and colorful for kids and has places for Hannah to write in the answers to their questions.

Thanks for sharing in my excitement! Please pray for Hannah as she works through this decision. I have struggled greatly as a parent wondering, is she really ready? What about all those difficult mornings I have with her? But, the Lord has been soooooo good to remind me that in the same way I struggle with sin and the flesh, so will Hannah. I have things that I struggle with…I haven’t gotten in perfectly yet in any way shape or form. Just like He’s still working on me, I should not expect a night/day difference in Hannah either. As much as I can know in my heart, I believe Hannah understands what she is asking and praying. She knows she is a sinner. She understands that Jesus came to die for her. She believes that God loves her and sent His son for her. And when she prays, she admits her wrong and asks God to forgive her. Some of the sweetest prayers are actually on the hardest mornings. Pray for me that I can be patient. God is teaching me so much through my children…and this is just one more time that God has shown me how much my relationship with God is mirrored by my relationship with my kiddos…and how much like a child I can be!

Life: Imagine the Potential

I saw this on Elizabeth Foss’s blog this morning and loved it. Wow. At the top of my prayer list for Obama is that the Lord would show him the value of life. God creates life. God values life. God defines when life begins. The days of our lives were counted before we were ever a thought in our parents minds. Imagine the potential. Of each and every life.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made, your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139