Wednesday, March 31, 2010

More than a Good Bible Study Girl

This book is an amazing book! I love Lysa' stories about the 80s and family living, but more importantly, she writes about the same issues and struggles I face in my daily walk with God. I, too, feel a lot of doubt about my relationship with God. How can I matter to Him? I am so much of a mess and a failure. Yet, Lysa helps redirect my study and thinking to God's Word. Through her writing, she challenges me to become more than a girl who has a stack of devotional books, attends/leads Bible studies, do a lot of church activities and have a completely checked off to do list. She challenges me to strive to live my faith rather than add to my resume of Good Bible Study Girl. A life with God is so much more than my check list!

Friday, March 19, 2010


Thank you,God for being my portion for times of uncertainity and worry. Spending a day in prayer rather than worry and all the side effects of such thoughts was refreshing and rewarding. You are a great God!

66. Little Man reaching for my hand when we walk.
67. Hubby reaching for my arm or shoulder when we sleep.
68. Little Man saying, "Mommy, I want to be with you forever."
Oh, if only you would and could, My sweet little one.- Mommy sighs with tears.
69. The Isaelites journey in the Wilderness and the lessons I am uncovering from their trip.
70. Quitet time again to read, reflect and pray. - I am dry and thirsty.

Lord, be my portion today. Help me to see You, hear You and know You so I can follow hard after You today!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

No One Else But Jesus


No matter what my reality is, I should be able to readily count my joys and blessings.

53. Another year of life.
54. Children that want to love me and make my birthday special with gifts from their own rooms and possessions.
55. Refrigerators at church to hold my warming groceries from my officially dead refrigerator.
56.The soft hum of electricity flowing through a new and improved refrigerator.
57. The money available to make a most expensive and unexpected(not really wanted) birthday purchase.
58. Children with intelligence and academic strengths.
59. My daughter's sweet and beautiful handwriting (She is a lefty) and her gift of writing.
60. The love of books instilled in little hearts.
61. The best birthday gift given by little man- his quiet slumber on birthday day.
62. Additional 90 minutes filled with quiet commune with God in 2 Chronicles and beyond.
63. The gift of God's message to me for the day.
64. Another day of employment for hubby.
65. Plans change resulting in hubby home for my birthday. -Just having him here is enough.

Psalm 36:5-10a
5 Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.
6 Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
your justice like the ocean depths.
You care for people and animals alike, O Lord.
7 How precious is your unfailing love, O God!
All humanity finds shelter
in the shadow of your wings.
8 You feed them from the abundance of your own house,
letting them drink from your river of delights.
9 For you are the fountain of life,
the light by which we see.

10 Pour out your unfailing love on those who love you;

Colossians Chapter 1

Colossaians 1:4-6 (NLT)
4 For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all of God’s people, 5 which come from your confident hope of what God has reserved for you in heaven. You have had this expectation ever since you first heard the truth of the Good News.

6 This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace.

Colossians 1:5a (The Message)
The lines of purpose in your lives never grow slack, tightly tied as they are to your future in heaven, kept taut by hope.

Purpose of life? What is my purpose or role? Of course, a lot does depend on Dana's employment. Here is what I know though. My faith is weak. I am not obedient as I should be as a result of my weak faith and trust in God. I like to think that I have it all in my power and control to decide and manage life. Right! With my disobedient and poor decisions come great and severe consequences. So worry, guilt, shame and even worse mount up against me and leave me feeling powerless and just stuck-unmotivated. I am faced with acknowledging that the source of my anxiety (no peace), my joylessness, my irritablity (no gentleness, patience, kindness or mercy) is that I am not close to God! That is a horrible thing to admit. Sure, I can say all the right words and seem holy. Sure, I can keep myself beyond busy with God-related activities but it is all hollow- empty!
Where is the hope? I know Jesus and the Good News from the time I was a child. But I have lost sight of the faith and the hope and the fruit found from being close to Jesus.

Colossians 1:9-12 (NLT)

9 ... We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10 Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.

11 We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy,[a] 12 always thanking the Father...

I need and want in my life:
Knowledge of God's Will
Spiritual Wisdom
to Know the way to live so that God is honored and pleased
Produce Good Fruit - peace, joy, kindness, love,etc.
Know God better and better- Abide with Him, Curl up and intimately know Him
Be strengthened
See God's Glorious Power
Have joy, endurance and patience.

"ASK" - translated pray. Lord, please help me to know and understand Your Will for me and for my family.I want to follow Your Will for my role and purpose. I need lots of wisdom: Wisdom to raise kids, lead ministry, be a godly wife, be a faithful, loving and obedient daughter to You. Please reveal to my heart and mind how I should live to glorify and honor You in my family's lives and in my home. I want to be known by my patience, my kindness, my gentleness and my love. Not by the lack of it all. I want my family to benefit and be blessed by the fruits of the Spirit. Help me in my thirst and desire for knowing You more intimately so that I can be strengthened by Your glorious power and have teh endurance and patience to withstand life's difficulties and my failures. Help me to find and count the joys in life no matter what my reality is for each day. Remind me of the hope I have from faith and knowledge of You and life to come. You are a faithful God, loving and providing for me always. You have never failed me or disappointed me. You are glorious and wondeful. I do love You, God! How awesome You are. Thank You for Your faithfulness and provision for my life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

The Valley of Berachah

Often as I check in with the blogs I have kept as my favorites or get the few remaining blog updates in my inbox, I read something that bears further thought and study. If I am lucky, that happens sometime during that day. Otherwise, I get to it when I stumble across my notes about what I read. Which is what happened yesterday. I had every intention of journaling about what I read in Colossians (thanks to Lysa TerKeurst's online discussion study of said book) when I stumbled across some scribbled notes about powerlessness, victory and bridges in 2 Chronicles 20:1-24. I was drawn to these notes as I am feeling somewhat powerless over what the future of Dana's employment with this company and what exactly am I suppose to do in life - Did I mention that yesterday was my 43rd birthday? That sounds so old and I feel so immature and uncertain like a young girl. Where, oh, where, is maturity and confidence? I digress.
So I wanted to know more about how to experience victory over powerlessness. The story picks up with Jehoshaphat looking at the armies of Moab and the armies of the Ammonites among OTHERS about to attack the Israelites. Can you imagine so many against you at one time? Well, I can. That is my life! My weaknesses, my sin, insecurities, trials and worries of mothering two blessings, household management in this economy with the threat of unemployment, tying to be a better wife that someone like Dana deserves plus the demands and expectations of children's minsitry - Don't even go there with the feelings of failure and inadequacey! I feel such immense powerlessness just as the Jehoshaphat must have.

Look at what happens in 2 Chronicles 20:4-24 NIV (with some editing by me)

4 The people of Judah came together to seek help from the LORD.....6 and said:
"O LORD, Our God .... You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. ......9b we will stand in your presence ....and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.' .....

12 O our God, ... we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you."

There is the POWERLESSNESS! I do not know what to do, Lord!

15 ..... This is what the LORD says to you: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's. .... 17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, .... Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.' "

20.... Have faith in the LORD your God and you will be upheld; have faith ... and you will be successful." 21 .....sing to the LORD and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness ....
"Give thanks to the LORD,
for his love endures forever."

This is the BRIDGE! The way to victory!

22 As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against (the enemies), and they were defeated. 23 .... destroyed and annihilated.

25 .... plunder,... more than they could take away.... 26 ....assembled in the Valley of Beracah (Valley of Praises), where they praised the LORD.

27 Then, .... (all) returned joyfully ...., for the LORD had given them cause to rejoice over their enemies.

Here is the VICTORY! Overcoming and conquering the enemies of my life!

What I get from this passage is this reminder-- My battles are not mine alone. The battle belongs to God, who is all powerful and mighty to conquer! I am powerless to conquer my enemies, the battles and trials of my life alone. I am constantly trying to go it alone and take care of everything alone. I always end up defeated, pushed down and pushed back. Defeated with only more pity, more frustration, more discouragement and more fear. The battle belongs to God, who is all powerful and mighty to conquer!

Here is the sad part of everything- I know who is my Savior and my Protector. I know what I should do to get help but I don't... sigh

Look what Jehoshaphat reminds me to do... Look to God, Seek Him. Alone I don't have a clue as to what to do or how to manage but God does. God, I am sorry for when I don't cry out to You. I don't trust You to take care of everything. I should know that You are always here for me-always! I am sorry that I get so afraid and so incredibly discouraged about so much of my life! I don't want to be afraid and discouraged! I want to be able to stand firm and watch You do Your mighty and glorious work in my life and in the lives of my family! Amen

I do not have a passive role in this battle. I should be praising God! I should be watching and recognizing the power, might and splendor of God at work and praising Him for all of His love for me and my family!

The means of my leaving my powerlessness behind me and moving on to victory- PRAISES! PRAISES and thanksgiving to God for His love endures forever. His love will last and always be present no matter what! I must turn my sight, my focus to Him, have faith and be aware of His glorious work in my life. PRAISE GOD! I should be living in the Valley of Beracah ! I should name the things I am grateful for daily despite my circumstances, despite my reality. PRAISE GOD!

Victory will be mine because God will ambush, destroy, annihilate my worries, my frustrations, my sin, my weaknesses, my failures, my lack of faith and trust, my insecurities. I will no long be powerless over these things, but finding victories in life because the I stood firm, sought God with faith and watched and praise Him for His love, might and power endure forever. The Valley of Beracah sounds like a lovely place to be settled. Praises and joy that comes from seeking and focusing on God's glory and work in my life against my enemeies. It is time to cross that bridge from powerlessness to victory against the enemies of my life.

Ephesians 6:10-12 (NIV)
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

1 Corinthians 16:13 (NET)
Stay alert. Stand firm in the faith. Show courage.Be strong.

Isaiah 25:1 (NIV)
O LORD, you are my God;
I will exalt you and praise your name,
for in perfect faithfulness
you have done marvelous things,
things planned long ago.

Psalm 63:1-5

1 O God, you are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you,
my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land
where there is no water.
2 I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.

3 Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.

4 I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.

5 My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


43. A few stolen moments to blog.
44. A speedy appliance repairman.
45. Kind, understanding and knowledgable nurses at pediatricians.
46. A few stolen moments to scrapbook.
47. Sweet birthday wishes.
48. Children and hubby that love me despite my weaknesses.
49. A loving and merciful God who fills in my gaps. 2 Corinthians 12:9
50. Sunshine and the fresh new buds of new life- Spring is coming!
51. Another book study with Lysa TerKeurst- Colossians this time!
52. God's provision- Each day thankful for another day of employment for Dana.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Becoming More than a Good Bible Study Girl

Flashback to this past August, 2009. I was traveling six hours with my hubby and kids to visit my family and take my mom to a Beth Moore simulcast. Right before we left, my preordered and much anticipated book, Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl arrived in the mail. Woohoo!!! The van packed with my sweet little ones and their DVDs and a loving hubby to do all the driving and we set off. I opened my book before we got out of the driveway and settled in for the drive. For almost 6 hours I spent some girl time with my bloggy friend, Lysa TerKeurst, and reminisced about the 80s. Like, is there any other decade?! I read and reread and underlined - okay, underlining was kind of hard in a moving van, but I marked all of the words that were so me. Needless to say, there was a lot of marking going on. I even read sections aloud to my patient hubby who loves me so much that he let me read on this long trip. Did I mention that he willingly took on full kid duty all of Friday night and Saturday morning while I was at the simulcast? Anyway, I got a great hunk - much better than Rick Springfield and Tom Selleck combined!
I had read What Happens When Women Say Yes to God earlier in the year and had written on an index card a prayer that Lysa shared in that book. She shared it again in this new book: "God, I want to see You. God, I want to hear You. God, I want to know You. So that I can follow hard after You everyday." This prayer is now my daily prayer. I actually repeat it a few times a day. I realized as I read this book that my actions and my words may appear to be set on God. I do a lot of children's and MOPS ministry work every week but my one on one, just me and God relationship was not at all where it should be, especially if I am a ministry leader. Using Colossians 3:1-2, Lysa reminded me that my heart and my mind should be set on God. His truth should should totally change me. I should not be the same if I am getting my heart and mind daily set in God's Word and His Will for me.
Despite all my efforts and good intentions with children's ministry and MOPS, I was never filling totally satisfied. I was trying to find my signifigance through these good and Godly things, but I was unfullfilled. I felt like a fake and not effective in these ministries. I could say all the right words and even be sincere, however, deep down in my inner most parts, I knew that I was, as Lysa said, a hollow woman, not a holy one. Jesus was the only thing that could satisfy and fullfill me, but I was not there with Him. My time with Jesus was crowded out by all the many demands of motherhood, children's ministry, MOPS, just daily living. I put getting ready for Sunday morning children's programming and MOPS meetings ahead of my daily time with God and even my family. To make matters worse, Sundays were so crazy busy that I didn't get out of the children's department to go to worship. I was depleted and not finding any source of refreshment from God. I made some really not great decisions and my unhappiness and frustration with myself only increased. So I buried myself in more ministry and good deeds for others to find my fullfillment and satisfaction with life, with myself. Now armed with my daily prayer of seeking God, anticipating hearing from Him and expecting to know His Will for me has challenged me to intentionally make my time with God a priority and a special time of the morning. I am not perfect at keeping my daily appointment with Him. Kids waking often in the night make it hard to get up at 5am. But I really miss and long for that time of quiet conversation with God when I don't sit with Him in the mornings.
Lysa is the kind of friend I would want to take shopping with me. She would not be afraid to tell me that those much coveted tapered leg Zena jeans don't look good on me. I know this because she is the kind of friend who challenged me and told me with all honesty that despite all the wonderful ministry things I did, Bible studies and conferences I attended, how godly my husband was, etc. that I needed to make some personal changes with my relationship with God. I need an undivided heart. Psalm 86:11 "Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in Your truth;give me an undivided heart , that I may fear your name."On the return trip home, I was reading the chapter, "Unlikely Lessons From a Pineapple" when a God thing happened. For several weeks, verses regarding waiting kept cropping up in daily devotionals from Proverbs 31 Ministries and other places. Beth Moore shared at the simulcast about waiting on God from Psalms 37. Then I read about David and Goliath in Chapter 6. David was sent back to the fields after being annointed king to wait on God's timing. Here again in the midst of this book, I was hit again with the notion that I need to wait on God. Allow Him to prepare me where I was with the things I needed to do what He had in store for me. I was in tears on I-65. I so wanted to hear and know more about God's Will for me. I longed to climb up in His lap and have Him reassure me that I was loved and He had it all in control. I didn't have to worry and try to arrange everything all on my own.
Fast Forward to March, 2010. I have read this book twice now. I laughed and cried through this book. Each reading uncovered another challenge and discrepancy in my relationship with God. Yet, I was encouraged to keep going and seeking Him because He was waiting for me and wanting me to come closer. The decisions and my attitude is not always the best still, but I am filling myself and arming myself with God's Word. I am letting it rearrange me, change me and it feels great. Psalm 119:30-32, "I have chosen the way of the truth: I have set my heart on Your laws. I hold fast to Your statutes, O Lord; do not let me be put to shame. I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free."
I posted some entries in October and Novemeber about the first three chapters as I participated in an online study. Life happens and prevented further postings but I continued with writing my thoughts and prayers in my journal. I am so excited to lead two groups in a study with Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl beginning this week! This book has blessed me and continues to bless me and I pray that the women who read this book are as challenged to be more than just a good Bible study girl.