VERSE:“Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” Galatians 3:3 ESV
READ: Galatians 3:1-6
EXCERPT: If your eating is draining your joy and drowning you in condemnation, it’s time for a grace check!• Are you trying to earn God’s favor by eating well?• Is condemnation a familiar feeling?• Do you believe your actions are more impactful in God’s eyes than Christ’s?
GRACE IN ACTION: Take some time today to examine your thoughts about God and your eating. How do you think your “good” and “bad” food days alter His opinion of you and His blessings on you? Then, determine if your automatic thoughts are true or false based on the Word of God.
************ The first two lines in the devotion today really jumped out at me “I believe your grace is enough Lord, I forget so easily. I let my shortcomings steal my joy and I stay stuck in self-condemnation too long!”
I have always been a black/white person, it’s all or nothing. I am learning though that when it comes to food and eating, just like there is not a good food or a bad food, it’s all food. That it’s okay to have one or two cookies, but not the whole package! So often when it comes to eating or should I say dieting…it’s like I made it through three days but that fourth day I couldn’t stop eating everything in site…just because I ate two cookies and thought “what the heck” so I would eat the whole package.
One thing that I have been learning through time in the Word, following NOOM, reviewing each of the daily devotions that 1. stay in the moment 2. focus on the right now 3. trust God and my heart 4. and remember every day is a new day!!! 5. and that God’s mercies are new every day.
********* What do you do to help you stay focused? Do you struggle with an all or nothing outlook? If so, how do you change your thinking?
VERSE: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2 ESV
READ: Romans 12:1-2
EXCERPT: If you find that your motivation to eat well and move more wanes when tempted or when results are slow, then consider how you could upgrade your purpose in your health and fitness pursuits.
GRACE IN ACTION: What are your top 3 goals? Do those goals motivate you to action even when the going gets tough?Consider how you can deepen your “why” into the spiritual realm, so that you don’t feel dependent on external props for your progress.
************** As I sit here listening to some worship music and reading God’s word after completing my morning NOOM lesson I am reminded over and over again…the mind is what controls so much and if my focus is on the things of the Lord then my actions will follow.
It’s a quiet day here in the trailer as Ron is off being Grandpa with Christopher, Treyson and Alexander watching scary movies. I have done three loads of laundry, found a beach towel I thought I had left at AKP, cleaned our little home on wheels, did the dishes and made myself something to eat.
First up was a strawberry chocolate protein shake made in my new Pampered Chef blender.
I think about my goals, my why…to get healthy, to be able to be more active and to live a long and healthy life to enjoy my family. Those three goals encompass more than just eating healthy foods, it includes getting some exercise every day. For me that is walking. Ron and I are walking around the campground once or twice a day. Now that the weather is a bit cooler in the evenings the walks are more enjoyable. It also includes spending time in the Word, surrounding myself with music that warms my soul and helps me to focus on the Lord and how he wants me to act in this world.
Maybe it’s my age but lately it seems that so many people are so critical of others, looking for the bad, the negative instead of seeing and finding the positive in things. Yesterday while scrolling through Facebook someone posted a picture of a bag of trash that was left at a campsite. The original poster was calling the people names such as lazy and slobs. I said “what about extending grace?” My thoughts were maybe they were leaving due to an emergency, maybe the wife was taking care of something and the husband was pulling the rig out of the site and both thought the other had picked up the trash. I know that has happened to us…I have gone to the campground office to take care of something knowing Ron would be pulling up outside the office to pick me up and both of us thinking the other grabbed the last of the trash to dump in can.
The responses to my response were about 50/50…some people agreed…extend some grace and compassion and others were so negative and reading those responses my heart hurt. I think people are quick to jump to the negative instead of giving the benefit of the doubt. And I thought about myself…25 years ago I was Negative Nellie and Angry Ali…and I am so thankful how the Lord has shown me
And I’m reminded to extend that kindness and grace to myself as I walk this journey of getting healthy. And that it’s like a marathon not a sprint! And I’m not perfect, never will be and to remember what I have tried to teach our little’s every day is a new day! If I fall, get up, shake it off and keep putting one foot in front of the other.
VERSE:For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18 ESV
READ: Romans 8:18-25
EXCERPT: What would happen if rather than focusing on the food, you thought about how amazing you’ll feel when you wake up tomorrow, having made a choice you’re proud of? How would it change your perception of suffering and your experience of joy?Where you focus, matters.
GRACE IN ACTION: When the desire to eat outside of your true body’s needs pops up today, notice what you’re thinking. Are you making resistance harder on yourself by thinking about the food and not the Father? Try shifting your daydreaming from the goodies to the “glory that will be revealed” in you!
As I read through the verses in Romans this morning one thing kept going through my mind…my focus needs to be on the Lord, on how He wants me to live, what and how I can serve others and not on me. A memory of a time when I was really struggling came to mind…our son, Jamie, was in Iraq. That was a hard year for me. I spent the. majority of my time either in bed sleeping away the day, crying, worried sick that something would happen to Jamie while he was in Iraq…let’s be real, it wasn’t worry that something would happen to him, it was that he was going to be killed over there. I just knew it. I lived that year mostly in worry. One early morning, about 2:30a I was up, sitting at the dining room table reading/writing and saw this car drive very slowly from around the bay towards our house, lights shining in the darkness and the car was a dark color. The car drove past, and then went a little ways and turned around and came back slowly again…like they were looking for an address. As I watched the car I noticed it was dark in color and it drove past again and then went back around the bay. A few minutes later it came down the road again, moving slowly. By then I was crying and shaking. I knew it was someone from the Army coming to tell us that Jamie had been killed. I just knew it…but the car finally drove on…I guess I didn’t know.
A second time, I was washing dishes and looking out the window when a grey van drove past going towards the bay and then turned around at the corner and came back towards our place. And then they turned in the driveway…I hollered at Ron to go see what/who it was…I just knew it was the Army coming to tell me that Jamie was never coming home….it was probably just a few minutes but it felt like forever and then Ron came back into the house. The van was a DLS driver looking for an address…not the Army…again I just knew!! But I didn’t know!!! Two of the hardest moments in time where I just knew! what was going on…but I didn’t!!!
So often I let my mind (satan really) control my thoughts…Ron and I laugh now but there was a time when we were first married if he was late coming home. It only had to be five minutes but in those five minutes I could have him dead, buried and planning my life as a single woman!!! Because I knew…well at least I thought I did.
These verses and lesson are so timely…isn’t God’s timing amazing??? Once again I am in a place where I/we are not sure which road we will be taking, are we moving, staying, what job are we going to have and I am reminded to first off to
The words that come to my mind when I think of that year Jamie was in Iraq are paralyzed and scary. I don’t even remember a lot of that year. I was emotionally and physically paralyzed; I spent so much time hiding in the bedroom, crying and so focused on me and what I was going through that my focus on others was little to none. I remember one day, when I was not doing well I called our Pastor and told him I was scared…I was afraid of the feelings and thoughts I was having and he told me he had a project for me.
A little bit of me…when I was in therapy my therapist and Pastor Charles both told me that one of the things they appreciated about me was that I was willing to do whatever they suggested and the day I’m referring to above was one of those days.
Pastor Charles project for me was to get out my head and help someone else. He told me to call J, tell him I wanted to come and clean his home for him. J’s wife, D had passed away about six months prior to my “project.” And I couldn’t tell him that Pastor Charles told me to do it. So I called him and made a plan to go to his house. The scary part of going to J’s was his dog, a big german shepherd, who was loveable but I was so afraid of her. So J left me some treats for her and I made my way into the house. J had some errands to run and was going to be gone for about 4 hours…so I jumped in to cleaning. I love to clean other people’s homes, mine not so much, LOL. At first I remember thinking “this is ridiculous” how is this going to help me to not dwell on my thoughts and fears and yet I kept cleaning and cleaning. I found myself singing along with the radio and when I got done about three hours later my whole being felt better. I was so thankful that Pastor Charles pushed me out of my comfort zone or better yet, my pity zone. This is just one example of where I can see that by taking my focus off of myself and put on someone else. J wasn’t Jesus but by taking the focus off of me and putting it elsewhere, I was allowed to share Jesus love in a very tangible way. J has since passed yet I often think of him and how special he was to Ron and I. J & D loved us as if we were their children and I am so thankful that Pastor Charles sent me J’s way that day to bless him. I often think of that experience and how it “got out of me and got into Jesus.”
So this lesson is a reminder to me to keep my focus on the Lord, on what and where the Lord leads us.
The other part of this lesson reminds me that I am adopted, the adopted daughter of the Lord! That he is my Abba Father, my Abba Papa and he is so much better than any earthly father could be. Another memory I have has to do with our friends, Rita & Al Roth and they adopted a little baby girl, Bonnie…and she was so loved and so wanted and it was something I wanted for most of my growing up years…to be loved by a daddy who wanted me just for me. I never totally felt loved and accepted by either of my parents. Yes it’s hard to say that, but it’s true and it is something I have worked through, dealt with and come to terms with…it was and is what it is. Let me add here, I have had these discussions with my parents multiple times before they passed away. And I am so thankful for Abba Papa who has loved me just for me, just the way I am.
As I look at the verse at the beginning of this lesson I am encouraged. I am encouraged to continue to seek the Lord, to keep trusting him for each and every day and every part of my life. And the verse above encourages to keep seeing the good in things, look at food as good as tool to give me energy to go through each day and to seek God to help me make the good and healthy choices not only towards food but in what and how I do things. And I’m thankful for the hope the Lord gives to me to live each day to the fullest!!!
As I sit here listening to the rain on the roof of the travel trailer, enjoying sitting next to my hubby while he is watching a movie…I couldn’t tell you what the movie is I just know it has some cowboys in it and it is in North Dakota, I am feeling very blessed. And yet sad…
sad that things turned out the way they did at AKP. Thinking of all the kids we loved on in a very short amount of time.
So many boys! But blessed with a few girls too!!!
B ~ hoping he recognizes the positive changes he has made over the past few months, not grunting when someone asks him a question, using his manners and asking without yelling if he could play on the Xbox. L ~ a happy little boy who can entertain himself for hours with all his stuffies and who wears his Nutella sandwiches from the top of his forehead to the bottom of his chin. D ~ who just wants a forever home and rambles through life on his own time schedule. B ~ who taught me that you can eat ramen noodles right out of the package and just adding some hot sauce. C ~ who never knew a question he didn’t like and who taught me that sometimes questions just don’t need to be answered L ~ who finally trusted me to wash his hair and taught me that it’s okay to let kids do what they know how to do. M ~ who dreams big and can walk on his hands like a wheelbarrow all the way to the classroom, as long as Mr. Ron carried his backpack, and that his fast shoes is what makes him run so fast! And that trying new foods is okay to do!! C `~ who loves tater tots and could eat them 3x a day, every day of the week and who needs to remember he doesn’t have to do what the other boys do just because they are doing it. C ~ keeps on drawing and building and creating and that when he puts his elbows on the table while eating he hears Ms Ali say “elbows” and laughs at her funny rules. A & J ~ that they realize it’s okay to love your brother instead of always arguing. R ~ shares his precious smile with everyone he comes into contact with and he doesn’t have to mimic the older boys, that he’s special just the way God made him! C ~ to keep smiling and that it’s okay to be afraid of stuff as long as you don’t let it control you. T ~ hoping one day he learns that words can and do hurt and that football is the not the end all of life E ~ learns it’s okay to let others in and not everyone is out to hurt you. D ~ keep up those steps! And let your light shine as you reach for the moon!! The world is yours, just keep going!! S ~ that, like me, has never met a word she didn’t like and remember to keep being kind D ~ hope your dream to have dinner with Mr. Ron comes true at some point! E ~ keep smiling and writing and know that each day is a new day!!
Even though the sad feelings are there I am thankful for the laughs, smiles and hugs were and hope those memories help to keep them each moving forward and to remember that each new day is just that a new day, a new chance and most of all that God loves each and every one of them!!!
VERSE: For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 3:23-24 ESV
READ: Romans 3:21-28
EXCERPT: Our negative assessment only leads to further guilt and shame, which have a sneaky way of growing into (even more) poor choices. It’s a joy-stealing cycle that can only be stopped by one thing.So, how can you stop the downward spiral? With God’s grace. Grace that washes and wipes away our human failures.
GRACE IN ACTION: Today is Salvation Celebration Day! Spend the day thanking God for sending His Son, and thanking Jesus for doing that which not one of us could do.Then, praise Him with your choices and in your failures (as they remind you of how He’s covered you with His blood).
I am so thankful for God’s love for me. I call him my Abba Papa…he is my protector, my counselor, my friend and most importantly he loves me for me…just the way I am!!! With all my foibles and flaws but also because he knows my heart…I want to bring hope to the hopeless, love to those who feel unloved, encouragement to those who feel down…all the things I want to do for others he does for me.
I started this new journey of making healthy choices and getting healthier emotionally and physically on Sunday, September 26…it’s been one month. I am actually doing two programs by combining them…it’s not a diet ~ I’m making changes in my every day lifestyle…some of the things I have done include;
~ logging everything I eat ~ I stopped eating in bed at night ~ shopping on the outside aisles of the grocery store as much as possible ~ started writing every day, if only a paragraph or two ~ spending time in God’s Word (should be at the top of my list) ~ being intentional in my conversations with others
Over the next month the goals I’m adding to my list include:
~ not buying soda pop of any kind ~ increasing my water intake ~ reach my daily step goal ~ continue the things mentioned above
and I know I can continue on this road to getting healthier physically, emotionally and spiritually by claiming
******** Do you believe you have a purpose in this life? Do you have a scripture verse you cling to during hard times?
VERSE:“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 ESV
READ: Matthew 5:13-16
EXCERPT: When you choose to keep going even when you want to wave the white flag, it speaks volumes to the value of Christ in your life. When you get up one more stinkin’ time, when it would be so much easier to stay stuck in the mud, it screams, “He is worth it!” to the world.
GRACE IN ACTION: Today, it’s time to focus on how you can tell others about the goodness of God! This need not involve how you eat (but it could). The idea is simply to get our eyes off our plates and onto the harvest.
As I read over this lesson it hit close to home…as we made the decision to leave A Kid’s Place we were filled with ambivalent feelings: we loved working with most of the kids, the basic things that a mama and papa do ~ cook dinner, make sure they have full tummies, they are loved, get taken to the park or out roller skating but the hard stuff was the name calling that we endured day in and day out. Yes we know the kids we worked with came from “hard places” and faced struggles that some people never could even think about. Yet, in reality don’t we all come from hard places. Don’t we all face struggles in life. One of the things we tried to express to the kids we have cared for over the years is that just because yesterday was a hard day doesn’t mean tomorrow has to be has difficult. The bottom line has to do with choices we make with the knowledge we glean over our lives.
As we were preparing to leave AKP I felt like we were giving up, we were “jumping ship” or running away. We would have loved to be there for years, celebrating achievements like birthdays and graduations. But sometimes we have to ask ourselves am what I am doing doing any good? am I really making a difference? Our mission has always been to love the kids the Lord brought into our lives and to give them tools to learn how to make good choices and to be proud of who they were. And to have hope for the future!
So we made a tough decision ~ to move on, to make a healthy choice for us, for our lives. It’s like I’ve been learning about food they are neither good nor bad they just are. So the decision we made to leave AKP was not good or bad it was what it was. And our hearts are heavy as leave behind some precious little ones but we put their lives in the hands of the Lord, praying that the right people will come into their lives to continue to show them God’s love. And we will continue to pray for each of them as well.
And just like we have tried to teach all the little’s that have been in our care we move forward, knowing that each day is a new day and God’s mercies are new each day and we start fresh each day seeking where the Lord would have us to be and have us to go wherever that might be.
******** Have you ever thought about all the people who you have come into contact with over the years? How something you said or did may have affected them? As you start each new day, do you wonder how you can have an impact on someone?
VERSE: For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV
I’ve been reminded so many times over the past few weeks that I am quick to extend grace to others but not to myself. I often ask myself why am I not as nice to myself as I am to others? If I’m honest with myself it’s because I don’t believe I deserve it. Even after all these years…I so often feel so inadequate and not good enough. And as I’m writing this I wonder why???? I know I’m one of the daughters of the King and in my head I know I’m good enough but in my heart…I don’t often see it or feel it.
READ: Ephesians 2:4-10
EXCERPT: What if the “fix” to your food struggles isn’t found in how you eat? What if God is simply using this area of weakness in your life as a canvas for Him to create something beautiful? Because, in a world that is obsessed with all things beauty and weight loss, one who pursues a better way will shine like a city on a hill.
GRACE IN ACTION: What would happen if you shifted just 10% of your efforts from trying to lose weight to seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33)?How can you try that shift on for size today?
In answering the question above I think I have already started to do that…yes I’m paying attention to what I’m eating, I’m focusing on not snacking when I go to bed at night…and it’s been 13 nights…two more nights and I will just know I won’t be eating anymore when I go to bed at night. It’s just something that is true for me now. There are so many things that I do, some or most or once in awhile that I need to change to do it for under the Lord. The following are the things I am trying to do on a daily/regular basis to just live a healthy life:
No eating in bed when I go to bed.
To weigh every day ~ not so much to see if I’m losing weight but to just stay aware as there are so many reasons for why my weight fluctuates.
Recognizing there are no bad foods…I need to eat in moderation and not a crazy out of control person.
Drinking more water…my struggle is drinking soda pop. I love the fizz of the beverages so now I try to drink more flavored waters, sparkling water and less of the soda pop.
We are trying to stay on the outside of the grocery stores…sticking to fresh foods and less processed. Not always easy but getting easier.
Logging what I eat…ALL of it!!! If I can’t be honest with myself who can I be honest with?
Being consistent in checking my blood sugar not only fasting in the morning, but before & after meals and before bedtime. I have found by checking it at bedtime and eating some protein & carbs as a planned evening snack I don’t want to take snacks with me to bed.
AND I am focusing on spending time in the Word, praying more intentionally, writing for pleasure and being intentional of doing some of the things I like…crocheting. I have gotten into a slump of watching TV and playing on my phone and not focusing on the things that are important to me…spending time with the Lord, making gifts for family and friends, and walking just because I enjoy it! And another important thing is to say yes to my hubby…he likes to go for rides, he likes to stop and check things out and I want to do things with him, do the things he likes to do, not just what I want.
******** Do you ever lose yourself in the busyness of life? How do you find yourself again? Again I know what I need to do
VERSE:So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV
READ: 1 Corinthians 10:24-31
EXCERPT: Why do you want to lose weight? What about a shrinking size leaves you starstruck? God does great things in us and for us because of His kingdom purpose. He has a grand plan in mind that is far greater than a jeans size. Even the most daily tasks have the capacity to glorify God. Why would weight loss be any different?
GRACE IN ACTION: Today is a blank slate. Looking ahead, what is one healthy choice you can make in the name of glorifying God?
The theme of these verses is that whatever we do, whether it be eating, drinking or living life we should be doing it to bring joy and glory to the Lord. One of the things that I have been working on (seems like I’m working on lots of things) is to be aware of what and how much I’m eating. I don’t believe the Lord wants me to be a glutton about my eating! The question asked above “why do I want to lose weight?” is easy for me to answer but not always easy for me to keep following: and that is to get healthy. I want to get healthy to be able to spend quality time with my hubby and my family!!! One of the things I am doing to get healthy is to change how I look at eating, not as good or bad but making healthy choices, not skipping eating something but to eat in moderation. One thing I noticed this past week while at work was that when I was dishing up snacks for the kiddo’s (we had been given cinnamon rolls, chocolate chip cookie cake and chocolate cookies!) I really wanted a piece of the cookie cake.
So as I was cutting squares I cut a small slice for me…I am so glad I only cut a small one ~ it was so sweet!! So one of the many things I’m trying is to just eat smaller portions.
************* Life is always full of twists and turns, sometimes due to our choices and sometimes because of others and this week has been no different for us.
If you are friends with me on Facebook or read my blog you know that I/we have been dealing with a lot of issues surrounding our jobs at A Kid’s Place and this past week things culminated with us giving our notice on Tuesday 10/19 and our last day of work was Thursday morning 10/21.
We have loved our job working with foster kids 95% of the time but the times that it has been hard it has increasingly got harder and after a very difficult 4 weeks of work culminating with this past Sunday and the behaviors of some of the boys being just too much and so we decided it was time to get out of direct child care. This is what Ron read to our HR Director and Program Director on Tuesday morning:
It isn’t working out for us here. We have the capacity and capability to be good house parents to kids. What we do not have is the capacity or capability to be house parents to children who do not have respect for anyone and decide that they can do whatever they please whenever they please.
I guess that we just don’t understand the way that this place operates. Some of the boys in our house just don’t think they have to do what we tell them to do. Then there aren’t available consequences to help these boys learn how to behave because they think that they know everything and that as houseparents and staff we are just stupid and don’t know anything. We have been told “take their electronics.” We can ask them for their electronics or tell them to turn their electronics in at quiet time. If they choose not to turn them in then there isn’t anything we can do to get the electronics away from the kids.
I brought this up to JB, Program Director the day DC got in trouble at school and walked home. Her reply was maybe you can take it when they take their shower. These kids aren’t dumb they aren’t going to leave their phone out when they go take their shower; they take them in the bathroom with them. I am not going to go into the bathroom when they are in there undressed to take their phone. That would just leave me open to getting a complaint filed against me.
I could understand the pushback a lot more if they were new children to the program but this comes from the kids who have been here the longest. They know what the rules are and aren’t afraid to tell us what the rules are. There have been rules implemented since we have been here and rules that have been in place for a while but not enforced. When we get told by the Residential Supervisor that this is the rule and she wants us to enforce the rules, yet the kids tell us we are just stupid houseparents, this is a stupid rule and so on. The thing is that they also throw a lot of swearing in with it.
I can tolerate the swearing but don’t like it. There are only so many times you can tell them to watch their language before they start swearing more just to be obstinate to us. But when they call my wife a fucking bitch multiple times it is too much. Showing that kind of disrespect to my wife is just plain intolerable and I won’t put up with that. That is the straw that is breaking the camel’s back.
And with that we completed our shift at A Kid’s Place on Thursday morning. One thing I have told Ron many times over the years is that I was abused as a child and there is no way I will allow myself to be abused as an adult.
The last four days have been filled with peace and anxiety, restful sleep and restless sleep from anxiety filled dreams, planning and unplanning, job interviews and more job interviews, time spent in prayer and time at the pool, we went to a little farmers market and took a short drive and through it all Ron and I keep reminding ourselves
and so as we continue this journey we call life we will keep our faith in HIM and do what we need to do for our emotional and physical health and most importantly
VERSE: Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Philippians 3:12 ESV
READ: Philippians 3:12-16
EXCERPT: You and I, we’re resilient. Yes, we’ve fallen more times than we can count, but each and every time we get back up. Don’t count how many days you’ve spent with your face in the mud. God doesn’t. Rather, think of how God must be glad that you’re willing to keep fighting to please Him. Just as it touches your heart when even a disobedient child finds comfort sitting on your lap, so God longs to comfort us. But He can only do so when we let Him.
GRACE IN ACTION: Imagine a recent episode where you started down a slippery food slope. Picture the scene. Now, how could you rewrite that story so that you ended up in the comfort of God’s “lap”? Create a plan of action for the next time you’re face-first in a food temptation.
As I reflect on the verses this morning about not being perfect but still striving and moving forward, I think about the past few days and months of our lives. We have had some real blessings but the hardships seem to come big and strong like a lava tsunami roaring down a mountain side.
It’s fire hot, not caring where or what it destroys in its path. That’s where I have been especially the last few days. I’ve been crying out to God and a couple of friends…what do I do? how do I do it? was our decision to make a major move four months ago the wrong thing? but as we look at each turn we see how the Lord opened up doors, put things in our paths that said move and yet I feel like the last month, the past weeks, especially the past few days.
I was crying out to God and sharing with my Bestie how I’ve been feeling, what I’ve been thinking and she challenged me:
I have been mulling over my reply to you since last night. I feel like I have so much to say, but I don’t want to kick you when you are already down, you know. I just feel like it’s time for a “come to Jesus meeting”. I have read her heartfelt words over and over and even again this morning…. Now, sweet sister. I have some things to say. First off – I LOVE YOU!!! Tons and tons and tons!!! Second, I hear you. You are frustrated. You are discouraged. You are confused. Those are all ok feelings to feel. And, it’s ok to visit those places, but like the old saying goes, don’t unpack and live there. You wrote in your blog: “Life should be fun and not so full of strife or is that just a dream, a fallacy of wishful thinking?” Where in the Bible does it say that? Actually, it says the exact opposite. It says that in this world, we will have troubles. Especially if we are doing God’s work!! That ol’ devil doesn’t want you to be successful with these kids! He wants you frustrated and angry and tormented. Don’t give him that victory!! And, don’t give those boys that victory either! They are like the playground bully. The more upset you get, the more they win. But, you have to remember, they are children. Their opinions don’t count! You are who GOD says you are!! Not some 14 year old boy! Laugh at them the way they laugh at you when you try to talk sense into them. It’s not going to be easy to change your reactions, but you truly have to accept that you cannot control them or their words. And, that’s what it is, m’dear. Your frustration is because they are not behaving the way you want them to. Change your expectations. They will not treat you with respect because they’ve never been modeled it. You cannot force them to. They will not change until your expectations do. If you truly believe that this is where God sent you, then you have to ask Him, “what is it that I need to learn about myself in this place?” and then do some soul searching. Yes, you are sent to these places to help the kids, but you also have lessons to learn yourself. And, Ron can’t fix this for you. You know he would if he could. But this is the job. You have to find a way to make it work for you. I love you! I hope you know that. I don’t say any of this with the intention of hurting you. Please know that!
I told her and I say again, I know she loves me and I love her and I’m so thankful for our relationship, friendship and how we have weathered some major storms in that relationship and how much she blesses me in so many ways. Above I bolded what jumped out at me. I probably could have bolded the whole thing 🙂
Come to Jesus meeting ~ I say that a lot in my head and my heart and even sometimes to the boys…they just look at me like I’m a crazy woman. Yesterday morning our sweet little S told me she was praying to Jesus in the shower. I told her I often talk to Jesus in the shower. It’s just between him and me and he knows me inside and out so it’s no biggie to him that I’m naked and washing or standing and talking or crying. I told her sometimes when I find myself crying to Jesus I let the shower run over me and mix with my tears and I see those tears running down the drain and disappearing. And the feeling of hot water running over my body is God’s warm and loving hands wrapping his arms totally around me. And maybe, just maybe I need more of those Coming to Jesus Meetings on a regular basis!!! I KNOW that the days I take even just a few minutes in His Word the days go better…at least on my inside emotional train.
Second, I hear you ~ that resonated with me because I have been feeling like no one has been listening to me, really listening to me and hearing my heart cries. Just reading those words made me stop and feel her love surrounding me.
Don’t unpack and live there ~ ouch!!! I know how easy it is for me to get stuck in one valley and campout!!! My Bestie knows me so well :).
Where in the Bible does it say that? Actually, it says the exact opposite. It says that in this world, we will have troubles. Especially if we are doing God’s work!! `~
And I know this inside and out…when we are following God’s plan that ole’ devil doesn’t want us to succeed!!! Staying focused on where and what the Lord wants from us and for us to do just rocks the boat and yet I am reminded that even when the boat is a rocking Jesus is right beside me. And HE will never leave me!!! I know that…I just need a reminder once in awhile and I’m so thankful my Bestie loves me and cares about me and calls me to a Come to Jesus Meeting when necessary.
You are who GOD says who you are ~
What is it that I need to learn about myself in this place?” and then do some soul searching. Yes, you are sent to these places to help the kids, but you also have lessons to learn yourself.~ Ouch again! Life is always full of lessons if we are willing to learn and are open to learning. Over the majority of my adult years I have had many lessons about being flexible, being intentional, being enough and at the same time WANTING things to go my way…control…control of everything and anything and my Bestie hit the nail on the head in so many ways…expectations and control and holding a tight rein on what I think things should be like. So I step back and say “Lord what do I have control over ~ not much if I am honest with myself.” I kept seeing the word EXPECTATIONS and there was another nail right there…I tend to put a lot of expectations on myself and others even if I don’t voice them they are there. I know that is one area of my life I need to work on…expecting things from myself as I’m the only thing I can control and lower my expectations of others to be more realistic in life.
Slippery slope ~ I have used this phrase for so many years but not in the context of food but I can see how it happens…as I’ve said so often lately about how crazy and stressed our lives have been over the recent months my emotional well being has been all over and up and down that slippery slope. And yet I’ve maintained a semi solid footing on life. Looking at “slippery slope” of my food life…I can see how my awareness over the past few weeks has kept me from that FOOD slippery slope…trying to stop the habit of snacking in bed…I’m talking, full on eating cookies, chips, candy etc. after crawling into bed while playing (mindlessly eating) games on my phone. Last night was the 9th night of no snacking in bed! It has been a conscience choice let me tell you ~ especially after stressful interactions with kids ~ seeing the bag of chocolate goodies we bought for treats for the kids and three weeks ago I would have grabbed one or two handfuls of those mini candy bars but I have purposely chosen not to. Hard but not something that MUST happen! Making one choice at a time, stepping into one strong foothold at a time…thank you Lord for encouraging me through friends and family to to keep making those positive choices even when that Almond Joy would taste so yummy!!
********** This post has been a bit disjointed because it has taken me two and a half days to finish writing it due to life happening. Leading me to ask, how do you handle lots of interruptions when all your wanting to do is focus on one thing? I think it’s called perseverance, just keep going. And that’s what God has called me to do, just keep going! Maybe the going is in circles, maybe it’s five steps forward and three steps back (wasn’t there a book by that title many years ago?) but to just keep moving and hopefully more in the forward motion than backwards. So today we take a couple more steps…where are you stepping to?
VERSE: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)
Sometimes so very hard to remember that who and what I used to be is just that…used to be. Today is a new day, I am walking anew with the Lord and YES, a few hours of sleep does help. Trying to have a positive attitude this morning as the kids slowly get up and come out to the common areas. We are now up to 10 ~ 8 boys, ages 7-16 and 2 girls, ages 8 & 14. One of my many prayers this morning: Lord help me to speak softly, listen quickly and remember they are only kids!!! Amen.
READ: 2 Corinthians 5:14-17
EXCERPT: B.C. (before Christ), you were held to a standard of holiness that you could never fulfill. But, after you accepted His grace and made Him Lord of your life, you (by His blood) filled every single standard God has set for your life. You are, as they say– “good to go.” But you and I, we still hang on to that worldly measuring stick where how we eat and whether or not we’re bathing suit ready defines our worthiness. It’s as if Christ’s sacrifice means nothing at all.
GRACE IN ACTION: What is holding you back from walking in the fullness of Christ? Today, when you feel yourself shrinking back because of your shortcomings, put your foot down on that negative thought and stand on the blood of Christ!
Yesterday and last night were a bit rough. Kids refusing to settle down, waking up younger kids and laughing and thinking it was funny, a new arrival at 12:10AM, mind racing and the last time I looked at the clock it was 4AM!!! I tried listening to music ~ it was too loud!!! I tried praying ~ instead tears ran down my cheeks. The feelings of failure were running rampant. It is so hard when in my heart I know God has called me (us) to this place, A Kid’s Place. To love and nurture these children that are hurting from so many things in their young lives. And I know they are often reacting, we know they aren’t thinking! And taking things personally…so hard not to do when kids are yelling in my face, calling me names, swearing at me, telling me they don’t have to listen to me/us. And my humanness, wants to yell back, tell them to shut up!!! And instead I crumble on the inside, lash out at my sweet loving hubby!!! And that brings me back to
And so I continue to pray Lord help me to speak softly, listen quickly and remember they are only kids!!! And to extend grace to them and to myself in every moment of every day!