Monday, January 31, 2011

Worry-Free Prayer-Filled

Our church is encouraging us to do a 10 day prayer and fast to try to get our focus back on God and see what He wants to say to us.  Some people may fast all food but fasting something else is an option too. I was praying about it this morning... what could I fast that is something I do a lot. One word popped into my mind.  WORRY.  Yes, I do worry a lot.  Lately I have been worrying about our adoption process, what I eat, if my daughter is too small to go to kindergarten this year, my husband's new job, our living situation, my health, if I'm spending enough time with God, etc.  Worry can become a part time job.  So God convicted me this morning and said that every time I feel the urge to worry about something I need to immediately pray instead. 

The bible says this about worry: "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" (Matt.6:27) "But seek first his kingdome and his righteousness, and all these thing will be give to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own." (Matt 6:33-34)

So for the next 10 days I am going to be turning every worry into a prayer.  I am going to be praying a lot I think!  I would love to spend time praying for my blog-reader friends as well.  If any of you have a prayer request that I can pray for please post it in the comments!  I will diligently lift you up!  Thanks and here is to 10 worry-free, prayer-filled days!!   (anyone else is welcome to join me!)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

God's Plans are Bigger than my Prayers!

This past week I have experienced God answering two of my prayers.  One request was small and one was big.  Yet God took the time to answer them both, and in a way that was so clearly from Him!   The first prayer I had was for an inexpensive dress.  My mom and I were driving to the store on Saturday so that I could look for a semi-formal dress to wear to my husband's awards ceremony the coming week.  A week prior my husband lost his job, so I was feeling a little stressed about finding an attractive dress for a good price.  So I prayed.  I asked God to find me a great dress at a great price. When we got to the store I must  have tried on 20 dresses and out of them all, only one looked good.  And it was $60...way more than I wanted to spend. I decided to take it to the register anyways to see if it was on sale. The cashier rang it up and said, "That will be $18."  Um, what?  I asked if he was sure and he said yes, that it should have been on the clearance rack.  Wow!  That just felt so amazing that God had heard my prayer and answered so clearly! 

A few days later we found out our big prayer had been answered!  My husband got not one, but TWO job offers!!! Only one week after he was laid off!  I still can't believe it!  This new job is SO much better than his previous job and will really utilize all the gifts God has given him.  We are so excited!  For the past year, his job has been in danger and we have prayed over and over again that God would provide a new job before he lost the one he had.  God didn't answer that prayer, and although I was disappointed at first, I am so glad now.  God had a bigger plan than what I was praying for all those months. If my husband hadn't lost his job, he wouldn't have gotten this new one. 

This got me to thinking about the way I pray. Do I pray BIG or do I allow my own fears and doubts to influence what I am willing to pray for?  Is there something that you feel is to big to pray for?  Are you allowing your doubts to limit your prayers?  I feel like my answered prayers over the past few weeks have shown me that God wants to use my prayers to show me how much He is willing to do if I just simply ask! Pray BIG!  Pray God-sized prayers instead of (your name here)-sized prayers.  He wants to be actively involved in our life and if we don't include Him, how do we expect Him to intercede for us?

Psalm 126:3  "The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with JOY."

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Heart, Soul, and Strength

Deuteronomy 6:5-7 says, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them on your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."

I read this passage today and was struck by just how specific it is.  God left no room for question.  It is very straight forward and I like that.  We are to love God with ALL of our heart, ALL of our soul, and ALL of our strength.  Not only does he want us to love Him so completely, He also wants us to teach our children to love Him this way. 

If we love God with ALL of our heart, than there is no room in our heart to love anything else.  There is no room for us to love things that don't fulfill us or bring us true joy.  I'm not saying we shouldn't love our families or friends but I believe that in a cool way, when we love those people we are still loving Him.  When we love Him with all our heart, He will transform our hearts to be able to love his people. 

If we love God with ALL of our soul, we are loving Him with every gift, passion, expertise, intelligence, cause, and desire that we have within us.  Our soul is our center, it is what makes us uniquely who we are.  When we love God with all of our soul we are loving Him with every amazing aspect of who He created us to be. 

If we love God with ALL of our strength, we are allowing our physical self to be used by Him in any way that He sees fit.  Whether that is with our hands to feed someone hungry, or our arms to give someone a hug, or our feet to do a walk for charity.  Loving God with our strength means be willing and available to be used by God to love on his people.

Lastly, we are to impress this passion for God on our children!  God is pretty specific in listing when and where we are supposed to share His love with our kids... when you sit, walk, lay down, and wake up.  Pretty much all the time.  Your kids will love what you love because they love you.  If you love sports there is a good chance your kids will love sports.  If you love music, your kids will love music.  These are great things but the most important thing is that your kids love God.  Do you love God?  I hope so!  If you do, talk about him, all day and all night.

I believe that if we are loving God with ALL of our heart, soul, and strength it will naturally be evident to our kids and family, and hopefully will encourage them to find a love for Him as well!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Future Hope

I am disapointed in myself for not writing more often.  This year, 2011, has started out a bit more rough than I expected.  At the beginning of the month an old friend called me and asked to watch her son full time this semester (she's a teacher).  I am very grateful for the opportunity but it has added more to my plate and made it harder to find my cozy place to spend with God.  Also, there was a baby girl we had a chance of fost-adopting and my hopes were up...but we found out yesterday that she is going to a distant relative.  Another thing that happened is my husband lost his job last friday.  We've known for a little while that there was a chance of this happening but when it does it still hurts and is a shock.  If my husband doesn't find a new job in the next 2 weeks we are going to have to move and make some dramatic changes.  This puts a lot of pressure on him and worry on me. 

Last night I hit my breaking point and the tears finally began to fall.  I decided to just go to bed and read my bible until I fell asleep.  I prayed and just really poured out my heart to was good.  I always feel so much better after I just give it all to Him, I don't know why I don't do it more often.  God's peace comforts like no other.  I figured I needed some words of advice so I turned to Proverbs. I found myself glued onto one particular verse in no time at all.  Proverbs 23:18 says, "There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off."  I felt like God was saying,  "Jamie don't give up.  There is still hope.  No, I didn't answer your prayers in YOUR timing, but I am God and I hear you and you can have hope that everything is going to be okay."

Wikipedia says, "Hope is the belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one's life."  I can have hope today because of how God has shown His care in past events of my life.  My husband and I have had a pretty rough first 6 years of marriage, not really within our marriage, but in the circumstances of our life.  We've been through much harder times than this and God has seen us through, sometimes miraculously and sometimes practically.  But our hope in Him has never faltered.  He is good and He will see us through this as well.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Kiwi Story

This story was written by me about 10 years ago!  Wow, time flies!  I was attending Bible College at the time in Austria.  God was doing a lot of work on my heart that year and building up my faith foundation that has kept me solid ever since.  I am copying this straight from my then-journal.  It is something that has stuck with me all these years and I still have friends that bring it up from when I shared it with them back then.  I hope it encourages you!

Today I was feeling really unattractive because I got a bunch of new zits, my hair is super flat, and I've gained weight and so on .... so I came down to the dock to pray and just eat this apple I'd saved from breakfast.  So, I was sitting here eating it and came to the middle and found a live worm in it!!!  I immediately threw it into the lake and started spitting.  Then I just went on and prayed more.  Well I asked God to speak to me and He started showing me an analogy.  That apple was beautiful to look at and from the outside appeared flawless...but inside it was rotten.  A kiwi, on the other hand, is on the outside not ver pleasant to look at yet amazing sweetness is inside.  I picked the apple over the kiwi this morning based on how it looked.  Yet if I had to choose between a beautiful yet rotten apple and a less attractive yet yummy kiwi, I'd choose the kiwi!  I feel like I am a kiwi today.  I'm not very attractive on the outside  yet there is sweetness within because of Jesus living in my heart.  Why does anyone choose the kiwi in the morning?  Not because of the way it looks on the outside but because when they see it, ALL they see is the beauty and pleasure within.  I want to look at people that way- not judge at all the physical appearance but just see them for all that Jesus has created them to be.  I want to see myself this way as well.  Whether I feel like a kiwi or apple in a given day, I want to feel lovely because my Lord is "enthralled with my beauty" (Psalm 45).  If He considers me suitable enough for His own Spirit to live in me than who I am to judge or criticize myself (or others)?  Do I know better than God?  Absolutely not!  God has blessed me so much, what in the world am I complaining about zits for?  I am a kiwi today and Jesus loves me...that is all that really matters.


Each time I read this entry it speaks to me again and again.  Whether I feel like a kiwi or an apple or a mixture of the two, all that truly matters is that Jesus lives within me.  My outer appearance is not going with me to heaven.  Only my spirit.  Which one do I care more about?  And which one do I notice more in others? 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Just the back up plan

This week some friends of ours found out that the children they have been fostering to adopt may go back to the birthmother.  I can't go into details but this is not a healthy home for the kids to go to live.  Our friends are devestated and angry.  We are praying for a miracle, praying that something will happen in the next week that will change the course of events that are headed toward destruction for this precious family. 

As a foster adopt parent we are often looked at as the "back up plan."  Reunification with the birthfamily, no matter how unhealthy the situation, always seems to be the County's first priority.  It's twisted and wrong.  Giving birth to a child does not mean that you should be a parent.  Drug addicts should not be parents.  Period.  Children deserve better than that. 

We have been going through the process of trying to foster adopt as well.  It has had many valleys.  There is little communication and nothing is certain until the day the birthparents rights are terminated.  Often times we have wondered why we are doing this.  Is it worth all the waiting, wondering, hoping, praying, and stressing out?  The answer is right there on the child's face.  Yes.  I am just thankful that God doesn't look at me the way the County does.  God doesn't see me as his backup plan.  I am His plan!  He knit me together in the womb and breathed life into me!  He has a plan for my life! Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a hope and a future."  Thank you God for that!  

And thank God that His plans are bigger than the County's plans.  He knows what He is doing and by praying and seeking him we can be apart of that plan.  Please keep our friends K&B in your prayers!  Thanks!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Ugly Rug Sin

I am back :)  It was a great holiday vacation and it was nice to just relax with family but I did miss going to my cozy place to learn from God and coming here to share! 

Today I got to see an old friend that mentored me when I was in Bible College in Austria about 10 years ago!  She was always such a deep ocean of God's wisdom and grace to me and I am so thankful we have been able to see each other about once a year for the last 10 years.  As we went on our walk today she reminded me of something that God taught me when I was in Bible college.  I call it "The Kiwi Story" and I promise to share it this week.  But after she mentioned it she told me that it is often the crazy stories that God uses to teach us something new.  Then she shared a story of hers and I want to share that story with you today.

She said that when her and her husband were younger they rented a home that had this horrible carpet in it.  I think she said it was red with inlaid squares that had gold, black, and white.  Sounds hideous!  Anyways, she said that as time passed they started to not hate the carpet, then they started to think it was okay, and then they didn't notice it all.  But every time someone new came over, boy did they notice it!  Ha!  She said to me that God spoke to her that it was just like the sin in our life.  When we first commit the sin, we are horrified and confess immediately.  But as time goes on and we continue to allow the sin in our life, we start to like the sin and eventually forget that it is even there.  These sins cause you to become farther and farther from God.  They are so subtle that you don't even notice that they are hurting your faith. 

God sees everything we do.  He knows us better than we know ourselves.  We need to be continually in prayer, asking God to bring to light the sin in our life that we can't even see.  We need to pray for the eyes to see this sin the way He sees it and not the way the world sees it.  Maybe you are thinking of a sin you have in your life right now.  A sin that you have told yourself is "no big deal."  Every sin is a big deal to God no matter how big or small.  I pray that you won't let another day go by without repenting of that sin and asking God to help you clear it out of your life.  He has so many great things He wants to teach you and do through you but you have to have a clean, open heart for Him to guide you towards a life only He could dream up for you!