Half-Way No More

So much for finishing the book I was reading and blogging about. Apparently, I am not the best and most devoted blogger BUT I am really good at doing things just half-way. Like the beautiful blanket I’ve been looming has been half-done since last year, collecting dust along with the book I’ve been writing for 2,000 years now, which is also half-done. So I guess my talent in life is doing things half-way or perhaps I have some sort of attention deficit disorder. Maybe I’m on a quest to find my purpose in life. Perhaps I should finish that book about a propose driven life to understand more. Oh well…

Nothing hits you like losing a close friend or watching a loved one suffer whether it’s physical pain or mental. Right now, I feel completely helpless. I have no clue how to help those around me who are suffering. Even though recent events are not affecting me directly, they are affecting people I deeply care about. What can I do to ease their pain? What can I say? In times like these, I reach for the bible.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.  Romans 8:26-27

With prayer, comes wisdom. With prayer, comes peace. With prayer, comes love. With prayer, comes forgiveness. With prayer, comes guidance. I will pray for my loved ones.

Dear Heavenly Father, I pray for those suffering around me. For those facing the lost of a loved one. For those facing parenting challenges. For those facing inner struggles that we can’t understand. Comfort them with Your love O God. Wrap them up in Your strong embrace. Shelter them from the storm O Lord. For all life is found in You and all hope begins in You. Amen.

Very recently, I was reminded that this life on earth is temporary and you never know when your last breath will be. When someone you love dies, you are reminded how mortal you really are. Those half-way projects make you feel like you’ve wasted a talent and time – well maybe not my knitting since there are a few holes in the blanket. I am going to try my best to always hug and say, “I love you” to my family when we part from each other because you just never know what will happen. It’s out of our hands. It’s in God’s hands. It’s His plan. So make the journey one to remember and not regret.

Advertisements

He made you because He wanted to!

Day 8:  Planned for Pleasure

God didn’t have to create me or you. He wanted to! That’s a huge difference. Just think about. He created us because he wanted us to be alive. That alone makes me feel very special.

We are not on this earth for our pleasure but for God’s pleasure. He gives us the ability to enjoy pleasures and it pleases Him when we are happy.

Worshiping God is our way of giving him thanks for creating us. Worship isn’t something you do just on the weekends, it should be happening all the time. When we go to work or clean the house, we should do it all for the glory of God. The next time you hit the snooze button in the morning because you are dreading going to work, be thankful God has given you a job! Work for Him. If you appreciate what He has given you, perhaps He will give you more responsivities – like a promotion. You just never know what he has planned.

Think about a task that you can’t stand to do. For me, it’s cleaning the dirty dishes. But tonight I’m going to clean those dishes so Jesus can eat off them…maybe sing a little while I clean.

Give God the glory

Day 7:  The reason for everything.

God is everywhere and in everything. Every act you do, every act you don’t do is for God. Think about it. If you call you child stupid, you’re calling God stupid. He created the child, He is the child. If lend a compassionate ear to a friend in need, you are giving compassion to God. He created that friend, He is that friend. God and His glory is the reason for everything. Without God there is nothing.

So living for God’s glory, seeking his glory, experiencing his glory are the greatest moments in life.

Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life outlines five purposes in life by bringing glory to God:

  1. We bring God glory by worshiping Him.
  2. We bring God glory by loving other believers. Personally, I think it’s shallow to not include nonbelievers as well. I understand by loving other believers and supporting one another creates an atmosphere that nonbelievers will want to join BUT I have a different take on this. All main religions in this world have one centered god that is above all others – who is to say that this one centered being isn’t the same being we all worship?  It’s a question many ask when seeking to accept Jesus Christ into his or her life. How do I know if I’m practicing the right religion? They all have one centered being and, as far as I understand, believe in loving and supporting one another. We should support and love all humans. For they will know we are Christians by our love.
  3. We bring God glory by becoming like Christ.
  4. We bring God glory by serving others with our gifts.
  5. We bring God glory by telling other about Him.

Where can I be more attentive to God’s glory during the day? For sure, I can seek His glory on workdays when trying to get the kids out the door in the morning. Instead of stressing out about the fact that I look I got only four hours of sleep at night (which I probably did), I will try to take the morning routine as a time to bond with the kids and give glory to God for the moment.

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord

God of power and might

Heaven and earth are filled

With Your glory.

Hossana! Hossana!

In the highest!

I get it!

Day 6:  Life is a Temporary Assignment

This may start off silly but read and you’ll see that today I discovered something great.

When I first heard the song, “Temporary Home,” sung by Carrie Underwood, I was driving in my leather seated, loaded with everything, brand new Jeep Grand Cherokee. The song brought tears to my eyes. How sad I thought to live in a shelter. How sad to be foster care. How sad the old man dies. I didn’t get what temporary home actual means until now. That song is one of positivity not sadness! The subjects in the song were facing serious adversities in life and instead of looking down, they looked up! Up to God and declared that this situation is temporary and that I know there is a better life awaiting me – eternal life with You.

So why do you need the best of everything? Why do you need designer shoes? Why do you need the latest cell phone? Why do need the brand new SUV? Why? Well, because I want it and that’s dangerous. Materialist objects become our idols we worship.

You shall not make idols for yourselves or erect an image or pillar, and you shall not set up a figured stone in your land to bow down to it, for I am the Lord your God. -Leviticus 26:1

Achieving success and wealth isn’t what God sees as a purposeful life. He wants you to see this life as a temporary life and serve faithfully in His name. If God blesses you with money, He must see that you are responsible enough to handle it, use it wisely, and put it to good use in His name.

So today I figured out something great! No matter how dismal a situation or how many worries I may have about life and my future, it doesn’t matter. It’s all temporary and I’ll make the best of it.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. –Romans 12:12

Question from day six in Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life:  “How should the fact that life on earth is just a temporary assignment change the way I am living right now?”

For me, I am going to stop worrying about what the future holds for me and my family. I know if I follow God and remain faithful that the lessons He has taught me will prepare my future – I just need to follow Him and abide by His rules. I am going to give more time to my family and spend less on things we don’t need. Will my children have the latest and greatest of material things? No, but they will have my love and memories to last this temporary lifetime.

Woe is Me

Day 5:  Seeing Life from God’s View

How’s life? Ever ask anyone this question? Been asked? I usually say life is great! I notice when you pass people in the office and say, “How are you today?” The usual response comes in the voice of Eeyore, “Everything is great.” Sometimes you’ll get, “Great, how are you?” Only that person just keeps walking. So one day, I decided to tell everyone I was terrible. No one knew how to react. It was quite comical.

The way you see your life shapes your life.

If you look down on everything and just see negativity, then that becomes your life. I recently fell into an “Eeyore” way of life. Gotta get up, fight with the girls to get them ready, drop them off, go to work, grocery shop, then pick the girls up, listen to the baby scream in the car, make dinner for the kids, clean the kids up, reading time with the kids, then put the kids to bed and then there’s no time for me to do anything fun cause I’m so tired. Woe is me….

Here’s a better way to look at it:  I am thankful and so lucky to have kids to love and that love me back. There’s nothing better than their hugs and giggles. I am thankful for a house to clean. I am thankful for clothes to wash. I am thankful for a job that pays. God has blessed me so much – it’s awesome!

This life is a test. The Bible is full of these tests. Like Adam and Even in the Garden of Eden being tempting to eat the fruit. You will fail tests and you will pass some as well. You are shaped by what you learn during these tests. It’s up to you to be positive and remain in faith or become an Eeyore.

Life is a trust. God entrusts us with responsibilities. How are you handling things financially? Do you think God would approve? I know I am failing that class for sure! I need to give more and spend less on needless things. The more God gives you, the more responsible he expects you to be. Please, God forgive me for wasting money. Please help me spend, save, and use any financial blessings to serve you better.

Questions to ponder:  What happened recently that was a test from God? What are the greatest responsibilities God has given me?

My children are one of the greatest responsibilities God has given me. I am tested on a daily basis with my patience as a mother. Kids screaming for no reason. Kids being disrespectful. I have very strong-willed daughters. It can wear you down and sometimes I start yelling. Those are the times I fail the test. I will keep trying to improve and look for ways to deal with these stubborn girls.

A perfect example of my preschooler’s thought process happened one night at dinner. It seems every night we go through the same routine of how many bites does she have to eat and she negotiates on how to get a cookie. It’s tiring. Finally, one night I just yelled, “I don’t know how many bites! How many bites do you think Jesus would want you to eat?!” With a devilish smile and sweet voice she replied, “Jesus would want me to take one bite and share the rest.” Needless to say, I pray daily for patience.

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

Forever is a long time

Day 4:  Made to Last Forever

I’ve heard several people talk about how old they want to be when they die. Most say one hundred. We are born with the urge to live forever because God installed that instinct into our brains. This life right now is just a preparation for the next – for the “life eternity.” So what’s it going to be:  Heaven or Hell? I’ll take Heaven!

So if this life is just a short preparation for what’s to come, why do we place so much value on materialistic things? Why do we rack up debt? I’m guilty of it. As a mom, I want my children to be happy and sometimes I spoil them with new things. Well, not just sometimes, but a lot. I should be spoiling them more with “my time.” Being a working mom, I feel guilty I am away from them and it makes me feel better buying them things. It’s wrong. Part of me is starting to think it’s selfish of me to work, but because of all the debt I’ve created, I don’t have a choice right now. Shame on me. I beg God for forgiveness on a routine basis for this. It’s a habit I’m working on breaking.

The more we work on becoming closer to God, the stresses of life lessen or perhaps even disappear. I know this works. I was working in a very stressful job, unable to dedicate my time to my family. I started praying to God for guidance. Then one day, a meeting was going into overtime and I couldn’t pick my son up from his practice. I was frantically texting friends and neighbors to see who could help me. It dawned on me that the meeting was absolutely ridiculous, negative and a total waste of my time. I got up and left. Kindly said I have a family matter to attend. The next day, I started searching for a new job that offered more flexibility. I took a pay cut but I found a job that helps me put my family first. I was praying to God, and still do, to help me prioritize my life to have Him first and my job last. Slowly, I’m getting there.

Your purpose in life isn’t just this life on Earth. It doesn’t end when you die. It continues on into eternity.

We are made to last forever.

What is something you can stop doing and something you can start doing to bring you closer to God? I can stop using credit cards to buy things my family doesn’t need and I can start attending church more often – stop using the kids as an excuse to get out of going.

God has…planned eternity in the human heart. –Ecclesiastes 3:11

“Surely God would not have created such a being as man (and woman as well) to exist only for a day! No, no, man (and woman) was made for immortality. –Abraham Lincoln

Driven by God

Day 3:  What drives your life?

Sit down and think for a moment just what drives you to do what you do every day. Is it the need to be successful? Anger? Need to be accepted? Fear? Laziness? Money?

I really have no idea what drives my life right now. Currently, I’m dealing with an emotional state that does not exist. I feel nothing. It’s weird. This could be happening because of lack of sleep and down time. I am light sleeper and hear EVERYTHING at night. So I’m usually up between 2am and 4am. I’m thinking this constant tired-state has created a feeling of not really feeling. It also hinders my memory a bit. Maybe it’s some kind of depression but I don’t feel unhappy. Who knows? God does.

“Without God, life has no purpose, and without purpose, life has no meaning.” This quote from The Purpose Driven Life tells us that we may not know what our purpose is but with God in our life, we have a purpose.

Ask yourself, what is really driving you? For me, at times, it’s fear. This may sound silly but fearful of completely a lifelong goal and then have it be a failure. But if you complete it, how can it be a failure?

If I were to ask a friend what my drive in life is, I’m betting he or she would say my children. Is this what I want to drive my life right now? Yes it is. I believe God wants me to raise them into loving, independent adults who know Him.

By allowing God to enter your life and allow your “purpose” to just happen is allowing peace into life.

You, Lord, give perfect peace to those who keep their purpose firm and their trust in you. –Isaiah 26:3

You are not an accident

Day 2:  You are not an accident.

I recently read a statement that you can’t have illegitimate children.

Parents may be questionable but children are never a mistake, an accident, the oopsy-baby or the “bonus baby.” God planned each human long before he or she was even conceived. You are not an accident.

He has a plan for you and this thing called faith is what we must have. Faith is that blind trust in God and knowing that whatever He’s plan is for your life, you accept it. Once you achieve this level of faith, stress in your life will lessen or even disappear.

So when you’re in your forties and find out you are going to have another baby, it’s no accident – it was planned.

“God doesn’t play dice.” –Albert Einstein

I am your Creator. You were in my care even before you were born. Isaiah 44:2

It’s not about you!

I haven’t posted anything in a long time. Why? Well, I fell into a habit of just “getting through” the day. You know that feeling when you say to yourself:

“Only one more hour until the kids are asleep.”

“Only thirty more minutes and it’s nap time.”

“It’s 5:00 A.M. and the baby is wide awake, I guess we’ll go shopping at the 24-hour grocery store. At least she’ll be strapped to a cart and I can have my coffee as we shop.”

“If we go to the jungle indoor play park we can waste two hours.”

I fell into a pit of self-pity and despair. I even told the baby, who is very rambunctious and adventurous, that her sister and brother are lucky she was born last or they would not exist.

Maybe it seems worse for me since I am over forty. Yes, that’s it…I’m just old. I look into the future filled with me being old and not able to retire. I see our friends enjoying each other as a married couple without the hassle of taking two little ones everywhere with you. How nice it must be to just take off to a weekend getaway whenever you want. It may be harder for me because I am over forty. That’s the self-pity part I’m referring to.

Am I unappreciative of what God has given me? Yes, I am. I feel horrible about it. Yet, I have this overwhelming sense of low self-worth. The kids are sucking the life out of me. I keep thinking how I would love to have a successful and more lucrative career. Then I think I’m forty and if that hasn’t happen yet, I’m not sure it will. Oh my then I feel like I’m a loser! But how can I even think about a career when I have to attend to sick kids, athletic events, doctor appointments and such? Those kids!

Why am I blaming the kids? It’s the life I chose. To put family before work. Have I put God above everything else? No. Right now I am battling with myself. I’ve lost me in this process. What is my purpose in this life?

So I’m cleaning my bedroom and dusting the books while at my lowest moment of mental anguish dwelling whether or not I should pursue a “big time” career and just give up on raising kids, when I dust the book “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren. I read it several years ago during a different time in my life – one not so crowded with snotty noses, whining and temper tantrums because she can’t have a brownie in the bath tub. It dawned on me that this book was in my dusting way for a reason. So I put it on the bed for that night’s reading.

I forgot about this forty-day journey the book takes you on. A rush of excitement and wonderment went through my soul as I opened the book.

Day 1:  It’s not about you. It all starts with God.

Wow! What a slap in the face! What a wake-up call! It’s not about me. If I focus on myself, I’ll never discover what God’s purpose is for me. It all starts with HIM. He has a greater plan and I am part of it even if I’m not sure what my part is. I must trust and have faith in the Lord that my purpose fits into His plan. I can’t choose my purpose in life, God has it planned for me. So why bother trying to figure it when He has it handled? Thanks God! That’s one less thing I need to stress about now.

I will be writing about my forty-day journey as I read the book. Already I have discovered more happiness. After reading the first day, I came home after work with the kids and decided we would play right away instead of diving into household chores. It made a huge difference. There was more laughter in the house instead of the usual whining and crying. For the first time in a long time, I was having fun with the kids again.